So the trip to England was not a complete success. Jordan (another Longhorns in Leeds student) and I missed our connecting flight from Philadelphia to Manchester due to weather. So we got to spend what was supposed to be our first day in England wandering around Philly. It was a great little vacation where we got to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where our nation was created. It was sort of ironic that we were in the birthplace of our nation waiting for our flight over to our former “motherland.”
Once we finally landed in England on Sunday, we got a description of the city’s beginnings and multicultural background from the honorable Max Farror, a local professor and activist of Leeds. He told us about the tension between different classes and ethnicities that shaped the culture and history of Leeds, which we noticed when we began our walk around the City Centre. Leeds seems to be an awesome place and luckily the weather has been very good for touring. The people of Leeds are very friendly and very interested in us Americans. We seem to be the horde of tourists attacking every corner of the downtown area with our cameras and loud American personalities.
Later Sunday night a group of us experienced the nightlife around the campus of Leeds Metropolitan University, where we are staying. Right away, we noticed the differences between how Americans and the English act in pubs. According to an article we read by Kate Fox, British people like to keep to themselves or with their circle of friends, but some of the natives are very friendly and love to talk to us “yanks.” They talked about the culture of Leeds and how it’s mainly a younger city full of students and young professionals, very similar to Austin.
So far the trip has made me realize that the world is bigger than just the University of Texas. I have been so ethnocentric by thinking my culture is the predominate culture, but it isn’t. The world is a huge place where many different thoughts, ideas, and cultures thrive and shape every part of this world. Leeds and England overall has its own style of everyday life and I am determined to try to embrace as much of the great country as I can. Here are a few photos to make everyone jealous.