From Communication University of China, SAF Fall Correspondent Yiqing Liu is chronicling her experience at UCLA.
The climate of Los Angeles is a year-round mild to hot and mostly dry climate for the L.A. metropolitan area in California. It is classified as a Mediterranean climate, which is a type of dry subtropical climate. It is characterized by seasonal changes in rainfall, with a dry summer and a rainy winter season.
As sad as it is to see the summer slip away, the start of the fall season is always a beautiful thing to behold. It’s not the shorter days, the lower temperatures, or the pumpkin spice-everything that really makes autumn a season to remember; it’s the brilliant change of leaves, when the verdant green of spring and summer gives way to a fiery kaleidoscope of yellows, oranges and reds for a brief but memorable few months every year.
There’s no better place to witness this dramatic shift in our yearly calendar than in one of the most scenic cities on the planet: London, England. Here are a few places, from parks to picturesque pubs, to soak in the brilliant fall foliage when you’re in London this autumn.
Arguably London’s most popular park, Richmond Park gets all the love for being the largest park in the capital. Covering a whopping 2,500 acres, there’s no shortage of space here and that’s a good thing - because it’s also home to around 650 free-roaming deer. The park was originally created by Charles I in the 17th century as a deer park, and today it remains one of the most important and respected nature conservancy centres in the country. Naturally, there’s plenty of trees and grasslands for the deer to frolic, making this a perfect place to surround yourself with autumnal landscape.
The Spaniards Inn
Nothing goes better with a crisp autumn day than an old-fashioned British pub. This Old World pub sits at the edge of the famous Hampstead Heath, immortalized in popular culture by many including the likes of the poet John Keats, and offers some of the most breathtaking views of this celebrated park. The pub in particular dates back to 1585, and is a celebrity in its own right; you’ll find mentions of the Spaniards Inn in Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and legend has it that Keats actually wrote his classic Ode to a Nightingale in the beer gardens here.
Part private residence, part world-famous performing arts centre, there’s simply nothing like the Barbican anywhere else in the world. Built in the Brutalist style in the 1980s, this feat of design is at the heart of London, literally, and figuratively, as an epicentre of classic and contemporary arts. What’s most interesting about the Barbican is that along with several theatres, galleries, cinemas and halls (one of which is home to the London Symphony Orchestra), it’s also home to about 4,000 residents, living in some 2,000 apartment units designed as part of the complex. It’s beautiful and fascinating to visit any time of the year, but it’s during the fall when the stark Brutalist architecture really comes into its own.
It might seem strange, but London’s cemeteries are some of the prettiest places to escape from the busy city. There are several Victorian-era graveyards, sometimes collectively referred to as the “Magnificent Seven,” around London, but it’s Highgate Cemetery that’s perhaps best known. It’s the final resting home of major historical figures such as Karl Marx and George Eliot, as well as more contemporary figures like Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and the singer George Michael. A place of quiet self-reflection, the cemetery is home to some of the finest funerary architecture you’ll see, as well as a profusion of trees and other wildlife.
What would London be without its canals? This tranquil residential area is a welcome respite from busier nearby hubs like Paddington, positioned where the Grand Union and Regent’s Canal meet. Peaceful and atmospheric, this is a prime place to stroll along the walkways and marvel at adorably charming houseboats that line the waterways, a glimpse into the quirky lifestyle of canal-dwelling. Unlike its Italian namesake, Little Venice is in no danger of sinking, so don’t avoid this dazzling neighborhood during the fall, where you can wander for miles under a gorgeous autumnal canopy.
Worried about missing out on all the fun to be had in London in fall? Check out some of the exciting study abroad programs offered by the Study Abroad Foundation - just a stone’s throw from some of these extraordinarily scenic spots.
Autumn (what the Brit’s call fall) is the time to try Britain’s more traditional and more ridiculously named dishes. I mean, fish and chips are obvious, right? But toad in the hole or bubble and squeak might puzzle even the biggest Anglophone.
As the rain sets in and the clouds adopt their winter grey, Brits turn to comfort food. Yes, it was once a country renowned for its nondescript, tasteless mush, but now there’s international food in the supermarkets, cooking shows on every TV channel, and it’s in the global top ten for Michelin-star restaurants. The Brits love to eat. And those traditional favorites are enjoying a renaissance, using great produce, interesting twists, and updated family recipes.
Bangers and mash
Bangers and mash, at its most basic, is a plate of sausages (known as bangers because they used to split when cooked) and a pile of mashed potato. But the Brits do love to tinker (attempt to improve things) with recipes.
So you might have bangers and mash with an onion gravy; the mash might have in it cheese, sweetcorn, mustard, cabbage, or anything else the cook can find in the fridge that might add a little interest.
The bangers, though, are often a huge source of pride. Yes, you can cook bangers and mash with everyday supermarket sausages, but every local butcher has his own secret sausage recipe, and many towns and counties have sausages very specific to them (look out for Cumberland sausages, Lincolnshire sausages). Not all sausages are equal.
Yorkshire pudding is not a desert. Let’s clear that up immediately. The Yorkshire pudding starts out as a pancake batter (milk, flour, eggs), but instead of frying it in a pan, cook drops the batter into very hot fat in an oven dish and leaves it cook at a high temperature for about 20 minutes until it rises into little towers of delight, a little like Japanese Takoyaki.
Yorkshire puddings are an exciting part of the famous Sunday roast, served alongside a mountain of vegetables, roast potatoes, and roast meat.
Toad in the hole
Bring together Yorkshire pudding and bangers and mash and you have toad in the hole. No amphibians to be seen, though.
After cooking the bangers in the oven for a while, the cook adds oil to the tin, turns the heat up, then pours the batter into the tin, covering the bangers. Add a pile of mash, greens, and onion gravy, and you have a British favorite.
Shepard's pie and cottage pie
A layer of minced meat, carrots, and peas in a gravy covered by (more) mashed potatoes. It’s a real winter warmer and a comfort-food favorite, and it’s one of those dishes that every family has its own recipe for—something a little special to make it their own.
The only fundamental difference between shepherd’s pie and cottage pie is the meat: lamb is the base for a shepherd’s pie, and it’s beef for cottage pie.
Roast meat is not a British invention, but the tradition of a Sunday roast very much is. The Sunday roast is an occasion; it gathers family and friends around a table heavy with vegetable side dishes (Yorkshire puddings, brussell sprouts, roast potatoes, roast parsnip, carrots, leeks, chipolata sausages, cauliflower in a cheeses sauce … the list goes on).
And taking pride of place is the carving board with a joint of meat. Traditionally—we’re talking King Henry VII of the 15th century ‘traditionally’—the meat was beef, but these days it could be chicken, lamb, or pork. Some people go with goose, duck, or turkey, but that’s more around Christmas time. A nut roast is the perfect substitute for vegetarians.
Bubble and squeak
Possibly the most exciting sounding of the UK’s weird-named food, bubble and squeak is a hotch-potch of all the Sunday roast leftovers, cut up and squashed into a skillet and fried as a patty with a delicious crust.
Because, with the best will in the world, the Sunday roast is about, every now and again, eating a bit too much, so there are always leftovers.
The name ‘bubble and squeak’ comes from the sounds it makes when its cooking. It should be left to cook, not pushed around, so the squeaks come as the steam tries to escape from the top of the huge patty.
Yes, major cities such as London and Edinburgh can keep you busy, with tons of things to do. But the pretty little villages dotted around the UK are equally important when it comes to understanding the culture of this land. We’ve gone deep into the countryside and dug out these hidden gems for you to explore. Why not get yourself out and about and take some walks just like the Brits do, when you are studying abroad in Britain?
This small but picturesque English village may look familiar - it has appeared in the famous TV show Downton Abbey, the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice, as well as in movies such as Harry Potter and Wolfman among many others. Wandering through the village, you’ll find pretty Cotswold stone houses, little atmospheric teahouses, and the nearly 800-year old Abbey.
Directions: getting to Lacock takes about 40 mins if you’re driving from Bristol, just over an hour from Oxford, and 2 hours from London.
Castle Combe, Wiltshire
Often referred to as one of the prettiest villages in England, this hidden gem looks like a piece of medieval history right out of a folktale. Nestled in a wooded Cotswold valley, this traditional English village has been featured in films such as Stardust and Stephen Spielberg’s War Horse. Important landmarks include the 14th century market cross, a water pump that dates back to the medieval period, and the 14th century church of St. Andrew.
Directions: Castle Combe is located about 30 mins from Bristol by car, just over an hour from Oxford, and around 2 hours from London.
Once described as “the most beautiful village in England” by the famous English poet William Morris and depicted on the inside cover of all British passports as a nationally notable architectural conservation area, Bibury definitely has its own charm. Arlington Row, consisting of a row of weavers houses, is the place that gets photographed the most - and deservedly so.
Directions: it takes around 1 hour by car from Bristol to Bibury, around 40 mins from Oxford, and just under 2 hours from London.
Located next to the beautiful grounds of stunning stately home Chatsworth House, the village of Edensor is made up of an interesting mixture of different but charming architectural styles, from Swiss-style cottage to Italian-style villas, from Tudor cottage to Norman house. The dominating feature of the village – St Peters Church - has a tall Early English tower and spire, beautifully designed windows and marvelous fittings.
Directions: Edensor is just over an hour’s drive from Manchester, and 2.5 hours from Oxford.
Also dubbed “one of the Peak District’s prettiest villages”, Ashford-in-the-Water is home to a low triple-arched stone bridge named “The Sheepwash Bridge”, which it’s claimed is the most photographed bridge in England. Crystal clear waters, willow trees by the river, attractive houses built with mellow stone and the surrounding hills make for a scene reminiscent of a classic English countryside painting.
Directions: from Manchester, Ashford-in-the-Water is just over an hour’s drive away; from Oxford it’s 2.5 hours by car.
Situated in North Yorkshire, this historic market village is an authentic delight that has been featured on numerous calendars and chocolate boxes. The quaint village is filled with pretty houses, idyllic gardens, a stream that runs along the street and - most impressively - the extremely photogenic thatched Beck Isle Cottage. It’s also walking distance to the hamlet of Ellerburn, which has an ancient Saxon Church.
Directions: it takes just over an hour by car from Leeds, and about 2 hours from Manchester, to reach Thornton-le-Dale.
Clovelly is an enchanting village sitting upon a steep cliff on the North Devonshire coast. Yet with cobbled streets, pastel and whitewashed cottages, and beautifully decorated windowsills, you may think you’re in Greece. The car free fishing port also has two museums, a number of craft workshops and gift shops, and offers a series of harbor-side activities for visitors.
Directions: it takes just under 2.5 hours to reach Clovelly if you are driving from Bristol.
Long Melford, Suffolk
As the name suggests, this idyllic village has a very long High Street, with an array of antiques merchants, art galleries, indie shops, cute tearooms and restaurants, and typically Suffolk-style inns and pubs along the street. Made famous by artists Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable, the quintessential English village of Long Melford houses two turreted Elizabethan stately homes and a superb medieval church.
Directions: Long Melford is 2 hours from London, and about 2.5 hours from Oxford by car.
SAF Correspondent Zimo Wang from University of Foreign Studies is chronicling her life at the University of Edinburgh.
Amazing places to study at the University of Edinburgh
Working at the highest academic level alongside some of the most influential people in your field is one of the best things that could happen at the University of Edinburgh. I couldn't help myself from taking pictures of those meaningful moments when I fully enjoyed my studying at the UoE.
From Soongsil University, SAF Fall Correspondent Heeyeon Ryu is chronicling her experience at American University.
I highly recommend visiting Old Korean Legation in Logan Circle.
The Times Higher Education World Rankings is the largest and most diverse university rankings that exists today, compiling information on nearly 1,400 universities across 92 countries to provide a data-driven list for prospective students around the world. With competition so fierce, it’s an achievement cracking the coveted top twenty, where world-famous schools like Oxford, MIT and Harvard consistently rank.
The rankings for 2020 are out, and the University of Toronto snagged the 18th spot on the list - up three spots from last year, and beating out storied institutions like Duke and Ivy League college Cornell. Here’s why University of Toronto is a Top 20 University worth checking out.
A totally unique student life in one of Canada's most exciting cities
The St. George Campus in downtown Toronto is one of the oldest in Canada, dating back to the nineteenth century. Buildings here are stone edifices, beautifully preserved with gorgeous ivy snaking up their historic walls - like something out of a movie set. Philosopher’s Walk, a meandering green space with a foot path that runs across campus, is a popular common ground for students and staff to kick back and relax on, soaking up the old beautiful architecture.
If you get sick of the majestic campus buildings (but really, how could you?), make a break for the nearby neighborhoods of the Annex & Koreatown. These two neighborhoods combine to become one of Toronto’s oldest and most diverse neighborhoods, the epicentre of Toronto trendiness. It’s a lively, student-filled area that’s packed with cool restaurants, independent bookshops, cafes, and live music venues, not to mention famous Toronto cultural attractions like the Hot Docs movie theatre, which screens documentaries and independent films from around the world, and the Royal Ontario Museum, the largest museum in Canada and one of the biggest in North America. With the largest population of Koreans outside of South Korea, this is also the best place to track down authentic Korean barbecue the next time a bulgogi craving hits.
It's not all about the academics
There’s over 1,000 clubs and student-run organizations, so students at the University of Toronto are spoiled for choice when it comes to pursuing their hobbies and personal interests outside of the classroom. From mahjongg to mixed martial arts, there’s something for everyone to get involved with, and find a new group of like-minded friends in the process.
With nearly 13,000 students from China, the largest contingent of international students at the U of T, the number of clubs offered for Chinese students is massive. Groups like the Mandarin Debate Association, the Asian Gaming Association, and the Chinese Entrepreneurs Group are just a few examples of the offerings for Chinese students. The University of Toronto Chinese Students and Scholars Association (UTCSSA) is the largest Chinese students’ association in Toronto; they’re one of the main organizers behind the Spring Festival Gala that takes place every year, bringing together Chinese students from across the city to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
It's amazing at basically everything
The University of Toronto has long been considered arguably the best school in Canada, but it can be hard to quantify why that is. According to the Times Higher Education rankings, which looks at metrics like teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook, U of T ranks highly in some pretty impressive categories, like how often its research was cited globally and its overall international reputation. The University of Toronto ranks so well, in fact, that with a score of 85.5 out of 100, it was only ten points behind the top university on the list, Oxford.
According to another university ranking, QS World University Rankings, U of T also came out on top in a wide variety of specific subjects, like engineering, nursing, and pharmacy & pharmacology. It was one of a handful of universities that ranked in the top 25 globally for 34 taught subjects; only six other universities could beat that, including Cambridge and Stanford, which makes it safe to say that U of T is excellent across the board.
Cracking the top 20 is no small feat, but Canadian schools really are among some of the best in the world - and now it’s official! If you’re interested in studying at one of the world’s best universities, Study Abroad Foundation offers several programs at the University of Toronto.
With that fresh chill in the air, you might need something to warm you up. Nothing can do it quite as deliciously as a sugary Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte can. The boom of popularity for this coffee drink has created a flavor trend for the season. From Cheerios to Trader Joe’s Joe-Joe’s cookies, the flavor has made its way around to so many items it’s now synonymous with autumn.
Autumn Girl Vibes
In what’s become a full internet sensation (called a meme) the ‘Autumn Girl’ can be found all over college campuses. The Autumn Girl can be identified by her large flannel scarves, a pair of lace-up brown boots, and a comfy sweater. With that Pumpkin Spice Latte in one hand, and her phone talking selfies in the other, you will see her playing in colorful autumn leaves as she walks through the parks or anywhere with good views.
During autumn visiting cornfields can be transformed into a great activity. Cornfield’s are turned into corn mazes after the autumn harvest is finished. Some may be scary while others are perfect to walk through with a group of friends.
Pro tip: Make sure to grab a group of people you don’t mind being stuck with for potentially a few hours… as the term maze suggests you will need to find your own way out and you never know how long it might take.
You might have the opportunity to hop on a hayride—usually a wagon pulled by a tractor with barrels of hay to sit on—and ride over to the pumpkin patch. When you come to the rows of pumpkins you’ll get the chance to pick out your favorites.
Now you have your pumpkin, the options for what to do with it are endless! Traditionally many carve it into a ‘Jack O’Lantern’ or scoop out the seeds and bake a snack. If carving doesn’t seem like fun, pumpkins themselves are used as lovely decorative pieces around the home.
Apple orchards are a fun way to spend an autumn day. Grab a basket, walk through the grounds, and pick yourself some apples. What can you do with them? There are a number of foods that are perfect for the season. From apple pie to applesauce, or even apple cider in autumn the flavor of apple is nearly as ubiquitous as pumpkin spice. With the turning colors of the foliage around, orchards can also provide the perfect photo opportunity, don’t forget your selfie stick!
When the sun sets, and you’re not ready for the day to be done, you might have the chance to attend a bonfire. S’mores are a version of a cookie sandwich made by roasting marshmallows over a fire. Put on a sweater or sweatshirt; get some graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate; and make S’mores while you hang with friends and classmates around the fire.
The list wouldn’t be complete without this popular American pastime. Football season is a high-light of the year for many Americans. There’s nothing quite like game day with friends. The ritual usually involves a wide range of snacks—buffalo wings, chips and dip, and other easy to munch items are prepared before the game and placed nearby for quick access. Everyone hangs on the edge of their seats as the game takes place on a Saturday (college games) or Sunday (professional games) afternoon. Having a team to root for is part of the fun and people usually show their support by wearing jerseys or hats.
Other fun Autumn activities we missed? Send us a message and let us know!
From Soongsil University, SAF Fall Correspondent Heeyeon Ryu is chronicling her experience at American University.
If you are worried about adaption at AU or need some tips for it, you should read this!
Today is the 30th day since I came to America. So I'm going to tell you what I felt when I got used to this school.
First, American University has a very large amount of reading. There is basically about 20 pages to read in each class, and I write at least two essays per semester. If you take the SIS (School of International Studies) class, it will be harder. Overall, AU focuses on studying. I dreamed of relaxing and the leisure life here, but the reality is that I always read books in a library. Most of the students are busy but passionate.
Second, a good way to make friends is to participate in the program held by Abroad at the AU program. We can become friends naturally while working together. Everyone is looking for friends because they are all international students. Just go and say hi first! I have been told not to go around with people from the same country when I go abroad. However, do not be afraid of that because it is not true. People from the same country are more likely to feel a bond when they are in a foreign country. In addition, it’s easier to be friends and rely on each other when you are stressed. Most international students become friends first with people of the same culture who speak the same language.
Third, I want to tell you to not be afraid of the language barrier. In class, other students may quickly raise their hand to answer. But I need time to organize and translate my thoughts. Since the professor speaks fast, I only understood 60% of the class the first week. This situation made me feel intimidated. However, now I understand 90% of the class and participate well. If you’re missing something or don’t know the words, just ask the professor or a friend next to you. A good way to prepare is reviewing the material before class. Do not be afraid, just do it!
The last topic is about the extracurriculars. I highly recommend joining the LEP (Language Exchange Program). This program matches students who want to learn languages. I meet with my partner at least once a week. It’s a good opportunity to make friends and develop your language skills. Conversations are easy because your partner is also interested in your culture and language. In addition, AU allows you to enjoy your hobby. There are so many clubs here that you will be able to find one you’re interested in, no matter what hobby you have. The clubs related to Korea are the KSA (Korean Students Association) and K-Pop Dance Club. If you are interested in singing and playing piano, you can use the practice room in Katzen Art Center without a reservation for free.
I wrote some advice based on how I felt while attending American University for a month. It wasn’t easy to adapt when I first came, but don't feel rushed! Time will solve everything. I’m sure I’ll miss these times later.
From Southeast University, SAF Fall Correspondent Jingzi Zhou is chronicling her experience at Columbia University.
Located in uptown Manhattan, a little remote from where all the neon lights shine, Columbia University is a rare paradise, free from the hustle and bustle of a world-renown metropolis, an ideal place to focus on academic performance while keeping pace with whatever is going on around the globe.
However, the university’s great expectations of its students are sometimes overwhelming. As a visiting student at Columbia College, I have experienced that pressure and been trying hard to handle it. I would like to be frank and talk about these things - namely the stress, temptation I have felt, and the possible solutions I have come up with to make sure everything could keep on their track. Despite all the frustration and struggle, the efforts I put on trying to manage these things turned out to be rewarding.
Every point I lose on the TOFEL test changes into tears that taste way bitterer - at least for me, this is true. Here at Columbia (or this could apply to many other highly competitive American higher education institutions), international visiting students can’t expect their language skills to take giant leaps in only a short period of time. All the esoteric reading materials, the specific terms on the slides and the responsive in-depth discussion in class place insurmountable tasks on newcomers, resulting in massive workload to compensate for the disadvantage.
Still, cultural factors play an important role during the process. Words and phrases may not make sense if foreigners are not familiar with typically American slang, aphorisms or metaphors, even if they successfully catch whatever instructors, TAs and classmates say verbatim.
The difference between previous educational backgrounds adds up to the predicament. American students’ K-12 education helps equip local students with common sense, ways of communication and means of assistance, which they take and use for granted without the awareness that foreign students might lack that knowledge. Hence, not only are international students’ academic performance are hindered, but also their social ties are restricted due to the asymmetry of information.
Difficulties are explicit during the time studying abroad, while pitfalls are more implicit, lurking in the bushes and waiting for a sudden attack. From my point of view, fear of mistakes, rejection, and failure could easily drag people into being wallflowers. The sense of isolation is not merely an objective product shaped by the outside environment; it is, on the contrary, a child of both objective and subjective factors. Whenever the fear grabs one’s heart, it gets harder to step out of the comfort zone, that is, go and talk to professors and TAs and form groups with fellow students.
The sheer weight of pressure also subordinates people to the lure of delicacies. In one of the three Columbia’s dining halls, Jony J, desserts, ice cream, drinks, grills, and many other delicious foods fill up the trays, ready to be served. Not only people’s eyes but also their noses couldn’t stand for such plentiful options. Gluttony thus becomes the daily topic of confession. Why couldn’t people just stop? The reason is simple: dining halls serve buffets, meal plans are overbooked, and “desserts is the word ‘stressed’ spelled backward.”
Facing so many challenges and temptations, how can people still pass through with flying colors? Here are some tips that could be of help.
Old Homies and New Buddies
First, if you feel uprooted and couldn’t adapt to the new environment at first, seek help from your family and old homies, but remember, not too much! They can be your loyal listeners during the transition period, but eventually, you should rely on yourself or reach out to someone new who is currently around you. Finding new friends is conducive to both courses and leisure.
Browse through the information posted on the university official websites to locate feasible helping hands！Faculty and staff like advisers, tutors, or mentors always welcome students to contact them. Also, peers could be reliable problem solvers too. There are usually student organizations voluntarily taking on your troubles and fighting against them together by your side. Do not miss those friendly buddies!
Work Hard, Play Hard
It sounds tough, but it is sometimes true, the best way to fight off negative emotions is to make yourself as occupied as possible! Find more meaningful things to fill in your busy schedule, your options could be a 3-hour-long intensive study in the library or a late night walk on campus (be sure to keep safe). Also, why are you always stuck in school? Go hang out with your besties to explore fancy-schmancy New York City! That’s why you are here for a city campus, right?
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