Possibly the last trip ever for this exchange program, plus some other other stuff

Hey guys;

I know, I haven’t posted in a while. Well I was both tired from the Stonehenge and Bath trip and lazy…but here I am, writing about the trip which took place almost two weeks ago. In addition, I would like to talk about some other things…

So let’s get started with the trip…

This trip, sadly, was to be the last university-organized trip I get to participate, and possibly the last trip ever for this exchange program. With only four weeks of classes left after tomorrow and the fact that exchange students would be really hard to find/they are busy doing alternative assessments, I do not expect any more trips. But that doesn’t mean that an invitation for a trip couldn’t turn up out of the blue. If there is one thing that the event of 30 December 2016 has tought me, is that invitations can turn up unexpectedly out of the blue at the last minute.

Anyways…this trip was, once again, just a single-day field trip, but it was somewhat longer than previous trips because we left at around 7:45AM or 8AM, and didn’t return back until like 8PM.

The meeting time was 7:30AM, at the very same place as previous trips. The bus we used was also the very same bus as the bus we used on previous trips. The ride to Stonehenge, our first destination, was around two hours, with a brief stop at a service station for toilets along the way. Just like the Oxford trip there is no guide explaining the sights along the way, so I just listened to music pretty much the whole way, in addition to taking photos and videos as usual.

The Stonehenge is basically a prehistoric monument containing stone structures built thousands of years ago. After we got off the bus we hopped on a shuttle bus to go inside to see the stones. Just like with other museums, there were audio guides available and I learned quite a lot from listening to the audio guides. If I remember correctly, this prehistoric stone structure dates back to around 2500BCE-3000BCE, way before the Romans arrived and possibly around the same time as the pyramids are being built in Egypt.

We spent around an hour or so at the stones, before heading into the gift shop where I bought a couple of postcards. After that we all hopped back on the bus to go to the next destination, the Roman city of Bath, for the Roman Baths, which is a complex of historic bath houses built by the Romans. Once again, along the way to Bath I just listened to music and took photos and videos.

We arrived in Bath at like close to 1PM. We have free time until 3PM so I joined up with one of the staff along with a few other students to go explore the city. Afterwards I went with the staff to Burger King for lunch is at around 2PM or 2:30PM.

After lunch, we met up with everyone else to go into the Roman Baths. Again, audio guides were available. These bath houses shown in the complex were pretty much swimming pools of the Roman times. They were the social center for the Romans, where people can meet up I suppose. These bath houses were also a place for healing, as, for example, the water that once filled the pools in the bath houses in Bath came from sacret springs and I suppose the Romans believe that it has healing powers.

After the tour, we went into the gift shop, but I decided to buy not just postcards, but also gold chocolate coins. Though the chocolate inside was just an ordinary chocolate, the coin face was actually made to look like Roman coins, making them quite unique. After that I decided to go buy a bottle of shower soap because the one in my dorm was pretty much used up already. After that, we all went back to the bus for the journey back to Sussex University.

On the way, once again, I listened to music and took photos and videos. We did stopped very briefly along the way, which allowed me to grab some Mcdonalds for dinner.

One thing that really sucks about this trip was…the weather. It was cloudy, and it rained almost the whole day. The Stonehenge portion was pretty much the worst as the stones were out in the open, with absolutely no shelter at all.

Overall, the trip was great, and full of knowledge. Out of all the trips organized by the internatoinal student support staff…I don’t think I can really pick a favorite as they were all equally good. I would like to say a big thank you to the international student support for organizing such amazing trips, I really enjoyed them.

Now, with the trip out of the way, let’s move on to other things…

So recently I’ve been thinking back to the reading week retreat I covered earlier…and I must say, I am seriously considering excluding it from the list of events this year, because…it is not a normal residential trip that I am used to. Plus, excluding my dad’s friend I am the only participant.

Lastly, I want to talk about my experience for this exchange program as a whole (excluding the bureaucratic part back in Thailand)…

With around four weeks left, I think I can more or less draw my conclusion for my experience here. Overall the experience was quite good, especially with the trips. But if I was to rate this exchange program on a scale from 1 to 10, I can only give it 6-6.5. The reason for this rather low rating is because up to now I am unable to organize trips with other exchange students to distant places in the UK like Scotland, and with just four weeks of the semester left I don’t think things will change, plus I didn’t get a Schengen visa in advance, which means that I can’t travel to mainland Europe which also means that my dream of seeing real snow and taking a perfect selfie in the snow is now out of the window. Had I managed to organize trips with other exchange students, this would have brought the rating to 7.5 or 8. Had I got a Schengen visa and able to organize trips to mainland Europe, this would have brought the rating to 8.5 or 9, and had I am able to see real snow and take a perfect selfie in the snow, the rating would have jumpped up to 10. But unless if something drastic changes, I guess 6.5 out of 10 is the highest rating I can give for my experience of this exchange program.

Anyways, I guess that’s it for now…

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