I have arrived at the University of Nottingham in Nottinghamshire for a three week Stanford seminar covering medieval language, landscape, and culture. The campus here is beautiful, and local students have claimed that Nottingham is the Stanford of the U.K. While I'm assuming this comparison has to do with the slightly sprawling campus layout, the University of Nottingham is nothing like Stanford. Here's why--
First off, we are living in a dorm building in which every room is a single bedroom with a private bathroom inside. We all know Stanford could never grant its students this remarkable level of privacy. Secondly, dining hall food here is altogether lacking in kale and quinoa. I have not seen a single avocado nor tasted a drop of coffee even 1/100th the strength of a cup of Philz. Thirdly, they have not drained their beautiful boating lake here in the name of salamander salvation. Fourthly, in true British propriety, Nottingham is essentially a conference center--it's a tad more mature than our beloved Camp Stanford. Fifthly, there are bars on campus. And by on campus, I mean in residence halls (these are closed for the summer session, though). One would not describe a party as "lit" here but rather as "popping." Additionally, a flask is a water bottle, not a carrier for alcohol. Also, while Stanford's mascot may be a tree, the Nottingham campus is actually well-forested with beautiful foliage. A tree mascot would be quite fitting. Situated near Sherwood Forest, beware that wandering around Nottingham may inspire thoughts of stealing from the privileged white rather than further perpetuating upper class entitlement. In the case of heavy rain, no need to suffer the embarrassment of soaked trouser-seats from riding a drenched bike through El Nino--they have tunnels connecting the main academic building in the heart of campus. What a concept! Also, there is no need to even mention quiet hours at Nottingham. If anything it's too quiet. However, one must beware of lengthy days in the summer. The sun set at 10pm last night and rose at 4:40am. Lastly, beware of it raining marshmallows if you ever visit Nottingham. I thought it was hailing earlier today, and looked out my dorm window to find a bunch of stale mini-marshmallows falling from above. Apparently dumping things out the window is an acceptable form of food disposal here. Stanford environmentalists would not approve of such actions, nor would they be pleased with the shattered glass bottles that line the footpaths throughout campus. Overall, it's very lovely here. But, to those who believe Nottingham to be the Stanford of the U.K., I can assure you that Stanford is nothing like Nottingham. Each is beautiful and unique in its own quirky way.
And now you must excuse me, for Beowulf awaits.
(PS, my apologies for typos. I've been up since 4:40am thanks to the ridiculously bright and early sunrise, it is now 10:40pm, we had six hours of class today, and my mind is muddled by today's rapid submersion into Anglo-Saxon history and Old-English etymology)
^This is the idyllic on-campus lake. You can rent kayaks and paddle boats an feed the swans.
^The Downs , as they say.
^Neither a cactus garden, nor the Papua New Guinea Scultpure Garden, but a real garden with green plants.