Before I start, I want to sincerely thank my college for offering me so much help.
The moment I stepped out of the coach, I knew this summer would be something different. It was abnormally hot in Cambridge. Having thanked the bus driver who helped me with my heavy suitcase, I slowly walked towards Tennis Court Road, where I was supposed to collect the welcome pack from my Programme Assistant (P.A.), and this was the start of my summer in Cambridge.
The program I participated in was the Pembroke-King’s Summer School at the University of Cambridge, which was intended to offer students all over the world an opportunity to experience life as an undergraduate in this world-famous university. One great advantage of this program is that we were free to choose any courses that interested us, even those that were barely related to our major. There were two modules in all. In each module, we had 12 lectures which were guided by extraordinary lecturers from Cambridge. Most lectures were followed up by related seminars which were smaller in size, allowing groups to be more intimate and discussion-oriented.
My first lecturer was a kind lady from Australia. She was so thoughtful that she not only gave us hand-outs of her presentation slides, but also made records of her own lectures for us to review conveniently. In order to help us remember those trick medical terms, she even invented an original dance and jumped from place to place, laughing and clapping with the whole class. Her class was always great fun.
My Architecture Lecturer
Our second lecturer was a English gentleman who had a great passion for History. He show me some amazing aspects of history, which I never thought I would be attracted to. His class was both intense and enjoyable. I had to read until midnight to fill myself in with the background information he gave us. During the last few days of the module, we almost spent the whole night in the library. I’m a little ashamed to say it, but it was definitely an unforgettable experience in which we fought side by side with our friends.
Besides the colorful academic life, there were also a range of amazing extracurricular activities on offer. It happened to be Shakespeare Festival when we were there. Every week, there was a classic drama ongoing in one of the Cambridge colleges. Enjoying the fantastic play while relaxing on the grass was just amazing! Our PAs also organized several sports times and wonderful tours to places near Cambridge. The most amazing trip, I have to say, was the one to Scotland. The view was just splendid! Magnificent castles, beautiful mountains, a peaceful atmosphere, delicious food…wow, I felt a strong impulse to just stay there forever.
Pollock Halls, University of Edinburgh
The most impressive thing I got from this trip, or perhaps the whole program, was the positive attitude towards life of the local people. I chatted with a local guide during a hike through the mountains who considered himself as a teacher helping people discover the beauty of nature. Besides this job, he also owned a small chocolate workshop and he loved to make chocolates with his wife. “It’s not about making money; we just want to enjoy our lives!” he told me. His words really left me with a deep impression. Throughout this journey in the UK, I encountered guitar-playing buskers who sang on the streets, passionate scholars who loved their majors more than anything else, an elderly man who had traveled across more than 20 countries on his old tricycle, and many other amazing people. They were pursuing their dreams beyond any obstacles and enjoying their lives. To me, it was quite inspiring. I feel like I have spent too much time living up to other’s expectations. The time has come to look deep into my heart and find out where the true enthusiasm lies. After all, life is a journey rather than a race, and we have just one chance to enjoy it. So I think I should slow down and savour each step of it.