I am a nerd.
I get really excited when I’m talking about the Neandertal capacity for art, or the differences between a Platyrrhine and a Catarrhine. If you call a gorilla a monkey I will scream. And human skulls make the best puzzles.
For a long time now I’ve been planning to go to medical school, but as my college career drew to a close I realized that I wasn’t ready to let go of my primates, yet. I was thinking about a gap year already, and then I started thinking about what I wanted to do with my gap year, and then I started thinking about getting a Master’s degree.
(Yes, I decided to fill my gap year with more school. You’re talking to the girl who went on a graduation vacation and came home with a trophy, having won the cruise ship’s “Dancing with the Stars” competition. I’m an overachiever.)
But I’m not just getting my Master’s degree anywhere. Nope.
I’m going to the U.K.
Good question. There are grad schools here, after all. But going overseas has several advantages:
- The U.K. is a great place to study biological anthropology. Sure, there are lots of US programs, but historically the US has emphasized sociocultural anthropology.
- Shorter programs – I’m getting my Master’s in 10 months, vs. three years at most US programs.
- Travel – I went to undergrad very, very close to home. Ten blocks from home. I actually lived at home my senior year. And while I enjoyed that a lot and I don’t regret it, I think it might be nice to try something new.
As I’m sure you can imagine, going to grad school in another country is a bit more of an involved process than going to college up the street. But it’s going to be SO MUCH FUN.
But What Are You Actually Doing? Specifics, Please
I am receiving my Master of Philosophy in Applied Biological Anthropology from the University of Cambridge. I am in Pembroke College (and will hopefully be living there). I’ll spend 10 months (minus a few weeks for Christmas break) in Cambridge, England, or exploring various parts of Europe with a $30 Ryanair ticket.
Watch This Space
As I finish up my preparations (I’m leaving October 3rd!), I’ll be updating you guys on the bureaucratic hellscape that is my life for the moment.
Once I get there, I’ll post every so often about my experiences — good, bad, and just plain weird. I anticipate there will be a lot of those. Most Americans wouldn’t consider England to be “exotic”, but there’s plenty of culture shock just the same.
All those entries will be filed under “On Real Life” and tagged “across the pond”.
And that’s that! Very exciting. Also nerve-racking. So if you have any advice to share about living in England or studying abroad, I want to hear it!