Well, here I am at last. Harlaxton College. Located just outside of Grantham, England (about an hour north of London by train). I arrived four days ago, but have been anticipating this chapter of my life since I was first offered the internship position eight months ago. Since that phone call I received mid-May 2012, I left Peace Corps and my life in Morocco, moved back to Portland for six months where I worked two part-time jobs, and successfully finished my Master of Arts degree in International Education (hooray!). I have always loved being home in Oregon, but the past six months there were especially meaningful. Living in Morocco gave me a whole new layer of appreciation and those 10 months abroad reinforced feelings I had that spending time with family and friends is the greatest gift in life. It also, however, re-encouraged me to continually step outside of my comfort zone and to seek the unfamiliar. And so I left home, yet again, to embark on a journey that will (hopefully) develop me more professionally as well as challenge, excite, inspire, and teach me — as travel often does.
While this blog started during my time as a Peace Corps Volunteer over a year ago, I have decided to continue it after several months of silence (rather than start a new blog) since where I am today has been influenced by where I was before. I’m just starting a new chapter in the same book. I plan to repurpose this blog in a way and turn it into more of a travel log, mainly a place to share and store my impressions and photographs as a lifelong learner.
I am living at Harlaxton Manor which was built in the 1830s by Gregory Gregory (yes, his first and last name were the same). He was inspired by architecture from many cultures in Europe when designing this magical place. It is built on a hill nestled among many acres of gardens and grounds and is less than a mile walk to the quaint, cozy village of Harlaxton (mostly houses, a post office, village store and pub). Surrounded by rural, beautiful countryside and farmland, the manor is now home to about 150 U.S. university students who study abroad here each semester, plus the resident staff and faculty. The principal of the college speaks of an elderly female spirit who resides at Harlaxton Manor and her presence is felt. It’s a comforting, warm and welcoming place.
I am the “Student Development Intern” and work in the Student Development Office with the Student Affairs team, which includes the Dean of Students and Assistant Dean. They are two wonderful, young people (British man and German woman) who I am excited to work with and learn from. More details about my work to come, but for now, some pictures!
[Click to scroll through the photos, or just enjoy the slideshow!]: