I hope you have enjoyed my friends’ posts so far and I am so excited to introduce myself to you as well. My name is Miranda and, as you can guess, I am also one of the 2016 Fulbright Summer Institute participants here at the King’s College of London. I’m a rising sophomore at Kansas State University studying Political Science and Communication Studies, minoring in Leadership Studies. Yes, minoring in leadership is a thing and it’s life changing, but so is this opportunity to explore the UK that I feel so privileged to take part in.
So far my fellow participants and I, in a nutshell, have heightened our ability to get lost, reached new limits of exhaustion, and mastered the art of identifying pence coins. And it hasn’t even been a full week!
Yet, despite all of these newfound experiences, the stimulating class discussions during our “Wonderland: 100 Years of Children’s Literature Class” are the most looked forward to part of my day. I love the unique class topic and the new perspectives I have gained from having a class with students from so many different cultures.
On the second day of class, led by the wonderful tutor Victoria Carroll, we delved into the history surrounding the fairy-tale of Little Red Riding Hood, learning the process by which the well-known, modern day version emerged. The fairy tale’s journey followed a path created by various authors, each with their own agenda and unique adaptation of the girl who ventured through the woods. As a class exercise we then explored our own imaginations, creating a myriad of individual stories all based on the premise of the classic tale, but each having their own twists. From our small groups emerged feminist characterization of Red, a flipped-gender version, and a wolf-pelt collecting grandmother.
These starkly different personal adaptations we created have a clear comparison to each individual’s experience in London itself. They each hinge on the same premise: a perception of what London is before coming here, whether that is interpreted as the iconic London sights or a more holistic view of a global city. However, the end result is the same: each story is uniquely and wonderfully different.
Every individual here makes their experience their own.
It took me departing on this journey to understand the concept of my experience being the same as those before me, such as previous Fulbright participants, was irrelevant.
Yes, our experience in London thus far has included many of the clichés: visiting Westminster Abbey, seeing Big Ben, walking along the Strand, and of course eating gelato. While we are doing the same things as so many others before us, the point is, it’s still different. They haven’t met the same people or entertained the same conversations. They didn’t try blue lipstick on in Covent Garden or walk to the wrong end of the city when attempting to find Parliament Square.
Our experience is original. Our adaptation is well crafted. Our story is unique.
And it’s our choice how we tell it.
I’m just hoping that the way I’ve chose to tell you mine keeps you reading.
Cheers for now!