Luard Scholar 2008 - 2009
Bethune-Cookman University - - Cambridge University
Junior Year Abroad at Homerton College, Cambridge:
To begin, I would like to graciously thank the ESU for providing me with a once in a lifetime opportunity to grow and develop through immersion in a completely new environment. I was greatly impacted by my surroundings from the moment I touched down. The dialects and the differing demeanors were a welcome change. Although the airport was a bit confusing at first, it did not put me off and I was still extremely excited about what I had hoped would be an outstanding year. I was not disappointed either.
Upon my arrival to Cambridge, I found that I was lost, but the people were very helpful in guiding me to my college. Once I got there, I was instantly taken aback by the facilities and I knew then that the next year of my life would be heaven. I was placed on a floor with ten other Americans and four Australians. I was able to make friends with the Australians quite easily, and the Americans were cordial as well. I loved my room because it had a view and I could see what was happening outside whenever I wanted. After I had settled in to my new surroundings, I met with Steve Watts, my director of studies. He helped me organize my schedule, and explained what would be required of me. He was very helpful, and I knew we would get along nicely. Steve explained that I would be having supervisions with a man named Steven Methven. Steven was a swell philosopher who was nice enough to give me my first and last cup of English tea. (I didn't like it very much.) The supervisions with Steven were challenging and quite different, because they were one on one. Though the work was difficult, it was also rewarding, especially after our discussions when I realized that I understood more than I had thought. Similar to the supervisions, classes were also challenging yet rewarding. I enjoyed the material we covered and in particular, I enjoyed logic. My professor looked just like Sean Connery.
Outside of lectures, life was bliss. I quickly made friends with my fellow Homertonians, Homerton being the name of the college I attended. My new friends introduced me to what would become my favorite restaurant while I was there: Nando's. They also helped me to adjust to the rigors of academia. I joined the rugby team, though there were several other sports to choose from. It was most enjoyable, though it did spawn my greatest expense. One day while we were practicing, someone tackled me and fell on my ankle. It was broken and sprained and I had to be rushed to the hospital. For the next three months, I was on crutches and in a wheel chair. I was thrilled because the healthcare system covered my operations so I did not have to take out loans to finance my recovery, as I'm sure I would have had to do had the injury happened in the states. I was quite fortunate because my medical bills were covered, and the stipend I received was more than enough to insure that I could live comfortably. I did have to get over the conversion rates, but the stipend went far in helping me have a wonderful time in England.
Once I finally recovered enough to walk without hobbling, I took a trip to London and got to see Big Ben. It is a wonderful piece of architecture. My family had come to visit, so we got the chance to play tourist. Though they complained about the weather and the food, I found that neither of those things could tarnish the love that I had developed for England. I realize that it is different from America, but I love it nonetheless. I am even considering moving there after graduation, if I can find employment. As I think about the time I spent overseas, I can't help being nostalgic. Though I have been gone for a few weeks now, the impression England has had on me is not one that is easily forgotten. The people I met have changed who I am and who I hope to become. I made lifelong friends and I feel that I took a great deal from the experience. I also feel that I left a little of myself across the pond. I know that I have made an impact on the way some of the people I met view Americans, and I'm sure it was a positive one.
Concerning the ESU, I cannot say how thankful I am to have been chosen to represent you. Your program has changed my life, and I can honestly say that I would not be who I am today without you. The experiences I was able to partake in were things I could have only dreamed of; yet you made them reality. I hope to develop into a citizen worthy of membership in the ESU and I hope to be a vessel to aid in the fulfillment of the goals of the ESU. My perspective has changed immensely as the result of the opportunity I was given. I view the United States in a different light. Though America is still home to me, I now know that there is more to the world than the red, white, and blue. I am forever thankful for the understanding that the Luard Scholarship has given me.
- Justin Bynum