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Courtauld Abroad

This year is a unique one; with COVID-19 travel restrictions and most coursework conducted remotely, many Courtauld students are studying outside of London for the first time. Across oceans and time zones, meet some of our fellow Courtauldians endeavoring to complete their degrees from abroad.

January:

Hannuri Lim

Who: Hannuri Lim (BA 3) 

Where: Busan, South Korea 

Time Difference: +9 hours 

Rachel Kubrick: Please tell us about your experience deciding not to or not being able to come to London this year. 

Hannuri Lim: The pandemic has definitely changed most of the plans that I had for this year. At the start of this academic year, my family members were worried about me returning to London, so I postponed my departure to November. Unfortunately, I am still waiting to return to London! I recently paid the deposit for my new flat in London (starting from February) but since the new restrictions on flights to/from the UK are taking place, I will have to wait again and see if my flight ticket survives.  

There was no official lockdown here in South Korea so my experience of the pandemic may be less difficult and intense than others. Still, 2020 has been a tough year for me, too, because all the plans that I had for my last year of university suddenly evaporated. I had to pay for my empty flat for months, ask my friend to pack my belongings for me, and above of all, miss out on my university life in London - with friends.  

However, on the bright side, my dog was so happy that I did not have to leave and could take her for a walk everyday.  

RK: How has taking your courses remotely in a new setting affected your learning experience? Have there been advantages? 

HL: I have been away from home since high school, so the biggest problem with learning at home was that I did not have a room. At the beginning of the term, I made my own study space in the corner of my younger brother's computer game room. He did not appreciate it, but I had no choice.  

Another issue with remote learning is that I had to find online resources. During my last two years at the Courtauld, my research heavily depended on paper books in the library, so it was a real challenge for me to find research materials online. I think learning how to research online will be an important skill in the unpredictable future, so I am glad that I am getting used to it now.

 

RK: What's the biggest challenge of being a Courtauld student outside of London? 

HL: Time difference could definitely be  one of the challenges of being a Courtauld student outside of London, especially when it's +9 hours. The afternoon lectures in London time were happening quite late for me. For instance, my Lessons in Critical Interpretation seminar was from 1 to 3 AM every two weeks. Although I got used to sleeping late throughout the term, early morning classes were not the most amazing part of my remote learning experience, for sure. Yet, on a positive side, it was nice to see the sunrise after the lectures sometimes. 

RK: What do you miss most about London? 

HL: Friends, park strolls, pub, Brussels sprouts, library, and having a time for my own for the entire day! 

 

RK: Once international tourism resumes, what travel tips do you have for readers thinking about visiting South Korea? 

HL: It is very unfortunate that so many people who visit South Korea only stay in Seoul. If you are looking for a city experience full of pop culture, vibrant night streets, and modern architecture, yes, Seoul could be the best city to visit in South Korea. Yet, as an art history student I also strongly recommend visiting the countryside. You could book a stay in a traditional Korean house - hanok - or explore the landscapes of the Korean peninsula.  

I will be very happy to recommend some places to visit in South Korea if anyone is interested. You could also visit Busan, the harbour city, and then I could show you around. If you want to travel to Japan after visiting South Korea, then I could bitterly send you off at the Busan International Port!  

 

RK: What has been your favorite local food to order in or cook since quarantine? 

HL: One of the best parts of staying at home in South Korea has been the fact that every type of food can be ordered in. I once ordered in steamed snow crab and that was my favourite.

 

RK: What have you been doing when not studying? 

HL: I have been walking my dog, occasionally seeing my grandparents and friends, binge-watching Netflix, scrolling through Instagram, and trading second-hand items with neighbours through an app called 'carrot market.' 

RK: Where is the first place you want to go when you can travel again? 

HL: As of now, I really hope to travel safely to London and resume my university life! I hope things will get better soon, so that perhaps in the near future I can enjoy being surrounded by tourists in Covent Garden once again. 

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December:

Aniela Rybak

Who: Aniela Rybak (BA 3) 

Where: Paris, France 

Time Difference: +1 hour 

Rachel Kubrick: Please tell us about your experience deciding not to or not being able to come to London this year. 

Aniela Rybak: I decided to move to Paris during Reading Week. Unfortunately, everything that made my experience in London so special was no longer available. Not being able to go to university and experience proper studies, see my friends, visit galleries and museums or go to the cinema influenced my well-being more than I expected. Being an international student means dividing your life between different countries, with my family and best friends in Poland and my boyfriend in France, the travelling difficulties started to be a big issue. I spent three weeks in Paris in September and absolutely fell in love with the city, so I made a decision to take my chance and move here. 

RK: How has taking your courses remotely in a new setting affected your learning experience? Have there been advantages? 

AR: I think I can speak for the majority of students, if I say that remote studies are not fun. Because university is not only about taking classes and doing coursework. It’s about the daily commute to the campus, sitting in the library for hours with your friends trying to finish your essay, having a coffee after class, getting lunch in the common room and gossiping about everything and anything. Those experiences can never be replaced by Zoom classes. The biggest advantage I see was of course the possibility for me to move to Paris and make the most out of this bizarre situation. Living with my boyfriend, which would not be possible if university was working normally, being able to practice French on daily basis and experience living in a new city are definitely the high points of this situation. 

 

RK: What's the biggest challenge of being a Courtauld student outside of London? 

AR: I think the biggest challenge is that taking classes online makes you feel very disconnected to your studies. I have been experiencing a lot of difficulties with focusing on my class, if I have to take them in my bedroom. On the other hand, if we think about it, it is quite incredible that thanks to modern technology we can be studying in one country and living in another. After all, it is better than not being able to study at all. 

RK: What do you miss most about London? 

AR: I miss my favourite places in the city: Notting Hill, the Barbican and Brixton. What I love about London is the fact that every borough has its own atmosphere and architecture, you don’t get the same feeling in Paris. I will also always miss the view from Waterloo Bridge, the best panoramic image of London you can get. 

RK: Once international tourism resumes, what travel tips do you have for readers thinking about visiting Paris? 

AR: Hopefully one day it will be possible again to hop on the Eurostar and visit Paris even for a weekend. My advice would be to go everywhere on foot, Paris is an incredible city for walking around. Don’t try and visit all the touristic places in one go because you won’t enjoy it. My rule in travelling is to leave out at least one place I want to visit from my list, so I have a reason come back. Make sure you give yourself that excuse! 

RK: What has been your favorite local food to order in or cook since quarantine? 

AR: Since me and my boyfriend like to cook a lot, we have been making many different dishes every week, so I've been discovering the world of French cuisine. I learned how to do a proper quiche and differentiate it from a tarte. I got to try traditional ratatouille and even made galette from scratch. I also have a goal of trying every cheese and yogurt available, which is not an easy task since both departments together take up half the space in every supermarket. 

RK: What have you been doing when not studying? 

AR: Since for the past few weeks we were only allowed to move 5 km away from our house, I got to know Montmartre, where we live, very well. We go on a walk around the neighbourhood every day. Apart from that I read as much as I can, talk to my family who are in Poland and discover the realm of French cinema in the evening. My recent favourites are: On connaît la chanson, hilarious comedy happening in Paris where music plays a big role, and Les garçons et Guillaume, à table!, adaption of a theatre performance which talks about an important subject of gender with a funny twist. 

RK: Where is the first place you want to go when you can travel again? 

AR: For sure I would like to be able to go to Warsaw more frequently to visit my family and friends. I also want to travel around France to get to know the parts I haven’t been to yet; Lyon is at the top of my list. 

November:

Sara Blad

Who: Sara Blad (MA History of Art, Bodies of Knowledge in the Early Modern Netherlands) 

Where: Utrecht, Netherlands 

Time Difference: +1 hour 

Rachel Kubrick: Please tell us about your experience deciding not to or not being able to come to London this year. 

Sara Blad: The UK rejected my initial visa application because my passport was too full (this happened three weeks before classes started). I chose to apply for a new passport at the US consulate in the Netherlands because it would only take 15 business days (it actually only took 6) instead of 8+ weeks in the US. Doing so would also give me some more time to spend with my boyfriend who lives in Utrecht. This solution was only possible for me because the Netherlands now allows all partners (married, engaged, or just in a long-term relationship) to enter the country. Given the UK's current COVID statistics and that I am pretty comfortable here already, I would prefer to stay put in the Netherlands. I am now applying for a partner visa. I hope this visa application process goes much more smoothly than the last one! 

RK: How has taking your courses remotely in a new setting affected your learning experience? Have there been advantages? 

SB: I think that being in a relatively familiar setting with my boyfriend makes this year's twists and turns less stressful. And while I wish in-person learning was possible, remote learning provides the flexibility for me to have the best of both worlds--studying at the Courtauld while also finally getting to live with my boyfriend. I'm from Washington, D.C. and we'd been long distance for a year. 

 

RK: What's the biggest challenge of being a Courtauld student outside of London? 

SB: Definitely not being able to easily access the library.

RK: What do you miss most about London? 

SB: Ole & Steen's cinnamon socials--I could eat one every day for the rest of my life. Masala Zone. Udderlicious ice cream--their sprinkles are divine. The Bookstores! Thank god there's a Waterstones in Amsterdam, but I wish I could visit Daunt Books and The Second Shelf. I'm also really bummed that I'm missing the Artemisia Gentileschi exhibition at The National Gallery. 

RK: Once international tourism resumes, what travel tips do you have for readers thinking about visiting the Netherlands? 

SB: Though Amsterdam is the Netherlands' most popular destination, Utrecht is just as charming but less crowded (and only 25 minutes away). I highly recommended walking along the city's canals while blasting Maggie Rogers' Heard It In A Past Life album into your ears. 

RK: What has been your favorite local food to order in or cook since quarantine? 

SB: I need to eat something sugary for breakfast and appelflappen makes me miss cinnamon buns and Lucky Charms a little less. It's a puff pastry filled with a mix of apples and raisins, topped with a thick sugar crust. Also, Oliebollen (Dutch beignets) are absolutely delicious and are now available at food carts all over Utrecht for the holidays. 

 

RK: What have you been doing when not studying? 

SB: I love to read. I'm currently reading Lauren Michele Jackson's White Negroes: When Cornrows Were in Vogue ... and Other Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation, which is very good. Min Jin Lee's Pachinko, Ottessa Moshfegh's Eileen, and Bernardine Evaristo's Blond Roots are up next on my to-read list! Also, reality tv is essential for my own happiness--I currently have Below Deck Mediterranean and the Real Housewives of Potomac on rotation. 

 

RK: Where is the first place you want to go when you can travel again? 

SB: Germany! I went to Berlin six years ago and did not visit a single museum ... I now want to make up for lost time! I'd love to spend two weeks visiting every museum in Germany. The Städel, Alte Pinakothek, and the Alte Nationalgalerie are all at the top of my list. 

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We'd love to hear from you!

The Courtauldian

c/o The Students’ Union

The Courtauld Institute of Art

Vernon Square, 

Penton Rise,

London

WC1X 9EW

the.courtauldian@courtauld.ac.uk

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