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Friday, August 19, 2016

Winchester Exchange

This summer we went to Winchester College in England, which is about an hour southwest of London. After an eight hour flight from Charlotte, NC to London, we were only an hour's drive away from the smaller town of Winchester. From our very first steps on campus, the great tradition and history of the school was immediately visible through the chapel, boarding houses, and many other structures dating back over several centuries. The school grounds were beautiful, extending hundreds of acres into the countryside, including but not limited to the infamous St. Catherine's Hill, from the top of which the whole town and surrounding lands could be seen. Upon first encounter, the College definitely lived up to expectations as one of England's oldest and most prestigious schools.
At the Nashville Airport excited for the trip
Academics: When we arrived at Winchester, we attended classes as regular students. Before we departed, we each selected 3 classes to take while we were there. In addition, we were all required to take Div. Div is unique to Winchester College and has become a hallmark of the school. The class has no set curriculum and the teacher is allowed to teach whatever they desire, often involving watching movies or reading books. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, classes ran from 8:45 AM - 4:00 PM. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday classes ran from 8:45 AM - 1:00 PM. Unlike MBA's, Winchester College's curriculum was more discussion based. Instead of daily assignments, we were given weekly essays or reading to complete. Overall, academics are very stressed and Winchester and the boys are some of the brightest from around the world.

Athletics: Although Winchester College is best known for their academic excellence, there was a large variety of sports and activities available to students. Students participated in everything from squash to tennis on campus, but the College's most popular sports were Cricket and a sport unique to Winchester, known as Winkies, which is a mix between rugby and soccer.

Lord's cricket match in London

Brexit: Being in the UK for the Brexit vote was unforgettable. Crowds gathered in the town to campaign for their side, and we discussed the pros and cons of leaving the EU in our Div classes. The school held a mock debate, as well as a mock referendum, in which students voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU. With that said, the atmosphere the day of the vote was one of utter shock. People were openly pessimistic, to the point that the student body received an email urging us to "foster a pleasant and accepting tone in all discussions" relating to the vote.

Rainbow over the College
Exeat: Over Exeat, a long weekend break, the three of us had the opportunity to visit London. We each stayed with different host families, and saw classic sights such as Big Ben, Parliament, and the National Gallery, London's famed art museum. We also went to a cricket match, and viewed the ruins at Stonehenge.
Tom at the front gates of Buckingham Palace
Overall it was a great trip for all of us and a great opportunity for us to broaden our horizons and experience the world. A big thanks to the Warner family, MBA, and Mr. Gioia for making this exchange possible!

Jack and Brett with their fellow Collegemen