Hello, all. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Margaret Sawatzky. I am a third-year Scholar’s Electives student in the Department of Biology at Western, and I am currently on exchange at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich, Norfolk, in the United Kingdom.
To get the conversational ball rolling here, I’d like to introduce you in proper English style (introductions by a third party, as well as roundabouts, queues, and “football” being stereotypical hallmarks of the British) to UEA, Norwich, and Norfolk.
Please imagine that you are looking at a map of Great Britain. Focus in on England. Divide England in half along an east-west line. Look just below the line, on the eastern side of the country, where a large “bump” of England appears to nudge its way into the North Sea. This “bump” is the county of Norfolk. Over the years, Norfolk has been known for flint, wool, and the breeding and rearing of canaries, but most especially (and consistently) for its fertile soil, which has been used for farming since prehistoric days. It is a county of few hills, with wide, smooth waterways and lakes (known to locals as “broads”), and flat grasslands and fens under seemingly endless open skies. Over the past two thousand years and more, Norfolk’s farmland, as well as its relatively mild climate, and proximity to Europe, has made the county an appetizing (literally and figuratively) location for Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, and Vikings alike, as well as for more modern immigrants (and exchange students). Nevertheless, there is still plenty of open countryside for a traveller to lose him or herself in.
Norwich is the capital city of Norfolk, and is about the size of London, Ontario. It is a cathedral city (with a Gothic cathedral made of limestone imported from France, and a Norman castle dating back to the 11th century), and has been quite prosperous on the whole through some of the most turbulent times in England’s history. For a city in a traditionally flat county, Norwich itself seems remarkably hilly, with narrow cobbled streets (complete with half-timbered houses and cobblestone-style flint churches) leaping up (or down) steep inclines in many areas of the city. I am curious as to how some of these streets came by their names… Cow Hill, Pottergate, and Ten Bell Lane, for example, must have some interesting stories to tell.
The University of East Anglia is situated outside on the outskirts of the city, about three miles from the city centre. It was built in 1963, and is known for its “modern” concrete-and-glass architecture and eco-friendly design, as well as its very attractive campus grounds (the university was built on the site of an old golf course). My residence, Mary Chapman Court, is owned and operated by the university, but is located in downtown Norwich, within 5 minutes’ walk of the castle and open-air market, and within about ten minutes of the cathedral.
With that preface, then, Western, please meet my new home. Norfolk, Norwich, and UEA, I am pleased to introduce my friends and fellow students. I look forward to bettering our acquaintance over the coming year.
Cheers from Norwich,