2017-05-03 / News

Travels in Oxford


(Editor’s note: Cathryn Lien, daughter of Cliff and Connie Lien of Carsonville, has been studying at Oxford University in England. This is her final “Travels in Oxford” article).

My adventure abroad has officially come to an end. My final essay to Oxford University has been submitted and the tearful goodbyes to lifelong friends have been exchanged. Returning to the United States is bittersweet to say the least. Although our culture has much in common with Great Britain, I’ve begun to feel the effects of reverse culture shock. I’m thrilled to be back in a country that serves Tim Horton’s coffee and where I don’t need an electrical outlet converter, but I’ll miss eating scones with clotted cream for breakfast and walking down cobbled streets on the way to class. I’ve found myself readjusting to life back home, undoing habits I’d formed to adapt to Oxford life, and the process has proved to be just as challenging.

Having spent these last three and a half months in England, I’ve become acutely aware of how different

America is from Europe. The most obvious difference is the age gap between our countries. In England, churches are rarely “planted.” People attend worship in cathedrals that have been holding services for centuries. The gothic architecture is breathtaking and is unlike anything you can find in states. There’s so much history in every London building and street corner. Americans generally live fast-paced lives, we drive everywhere, and we have many more conveniences. I truly missed Walmart and the ease of access of chain stores, but I wish Americans placed as much value on fair trade and the local business as England does. The English are, on a whole, more active than Americans; I’ll miss my frequent walks through university parks and botanical gardens. However, I’ve never appreciated the American belief that “the customer is always right” more than having experienced English customer service. In other words, English manners do not go farther than polite conversation and social interactions.

The political state of the U.S. and U.K. is, from a broad view, very similar. Our nations are divided; we’ve endured horrific acts of terrorisms, and the people are protesting now more than ever. While the U.K.’s media surpasses the U.S. is relating foreign affairs (I never heard the name Kardashian once from a U.K. media source), they are both still slanted and filtered to certain degrees. And despite the issues that divide us, fierce patriotism holds our countries together. Now that I call both these great nations home, all I can say is God Bless America and God Save the Queen.

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