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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:52 am
Well, I don't think anyone is currently representing UNC, so I feel I should put up my name...
Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 3:48 pm
Oooh....whats the history department like? I am looking to do a Masters at the College of Charleston, SC, or UVA but I know that Chapel Hill is known for its Classics...
Posted: Fri Aug 24, 2007 6:38 am
Well, I've hardly been here long enough to comment from personal experience, but I've a friend who is a History major (a senior), and is interested in further study here - give me a day or two to chat to him!
Posted: Fri Aug 24, 2007 9:17 am
Now THIS is a perfect use of this forum.
Posted: Fri Aug 24, 2007 9:53 am
Paddy Emerson from the year above me went to UNC on the Scholarship (can't remember the name now) - and he is now a superstar!
Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 6:12 am
Well, I'm hearing only good things about the history department here from the majors and grads who I've spoken to... I mean, one senior who I know is planning on trying to hang on here to become a grad student - but I would assume that his focus, the American South, would not be one you share!
Sorry I can't help out more (tho if you're serious, I would email the department - they're generally very good at responding), except to say that if you were considering the setting and campus as well, Chapel Hill is pretty unbeatable!
Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 7:32 am
Unless you come to UCLA, of course!!! How's it going over there on the East coat, Mark? Are you finding American life to your liking? I'm sure you'll end up like me - I wouldn't go back if you paid me!!!
Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 7:48 pm
Well it's certainly different - especially coming straight from Horsham! Without stirring up too much in the way of nationalistic sentiments, I do have to say the enthusiasm and intensity the Americans put into everything is definitely refreshing. Life's pretty busy at the moment - I'm pledging, among other things, but there's nowhere in the world I'd rather be right now.
I do still have to 'regroup' with the few other Brits here every now and then to maintain my sanity, though - American 'humor' and 'tea' are two things I believe I'll never adjust to!
So how much longer will you be at UCLA, Graham?
Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 6:43 am
You'll adjust to the humor, I'm sure. Or else you can just impose your own. The tea however, you will never like. My best advice to you is to find a British or Indian store where you can buy imported tea, or else have some shipped from home. I'm glad you noticed the difference too.
So you're going to be a frat boy, are you?
Perhaps my opinion is influenced too heavily by the obnoxious fraternities around here. I'm sure a good CH boy like you would never become one of those.
I'm here for about 2 more years. At least that's how long I have left until I get my PhD. I might try to stick around UCLA for a postdoc. I have no intention of returning to the UK however, Life here is great. I love the education system, the science is better here, and I love the people so much more (sorry). I'm sure you'll feel the same way too, soon enough.
Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 2:31 pm
I have no particular interest in the American education system (other than to note that, person for person, they seem to be even worse educated than your average Brit) and less in the availability of tea (I'm a coffee man), but my curiosity was piqued by your affinity for the people (which presumably is mostly those involved with academic life) and your apparent disdain for the 'fraternity' set. Doesn't that (i.e ivy league) go more or less hand in hand with the US equivalent of an Oxbridge education? Regardless of that, how much contact have you had with 'middle America' - you know, those countless millions who have never been to Mexico, or Europe, or anywhere outside of their own county, or even town?
Lightheartedness aside, I'm really not having a go at you, I promise, but I have many US friends who have lived abroad in many different countries for many years (as have I), who cannot understand the generally perceived US attitude that the rest of the world is most ungrateful for all the help that the US most selflessly provides, and I'd be interested to hear your views.
Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 3:33 pm
No offence taken to your questions; i get them a lot and so I'm fairly used to them.
The US education system does differ from the European system and , yes, the level of education that your standard high school graduate has recieved puts them much below the level of an A-level student. In fact, The first two years of college are very much A-leve level, or below. However, my affinity to the US system is that the final two years of an undergradute degree allow students to immerse themselves in a large variety of subdisciplines in their chosen major. Some claim the standard of a college graduate in the US is the same as that of a graduate in the UK. I don't think that is generally true. However, the opportunity to acheieve that is there. The classes are available and many students do leave with an education that is to the same 'level' as UK students. The difference is that they are less specialized and have a range of options available to them. Not satisfied with your education so far? Wel, go to grad school. And here the US system realy stands apart because it is so much more flexible than the UK. The reason I came here to do my PhD is that the UK system is so unfunded that practically every PhD student is working on a project that their advisors gave them, because it was already funded. I get supported through teaching assistantships and fellowships, and get to do the research I choose to do for my dissertation. The UK PhD system tends to breed students who can do projects, while the US breeds scientists who can think for themselves.
Frats are certainly not a must. Colleges do differ in how much influence frats have, but generally they're not a big deal and only a small ercentage of students are members.
In answer to your question about the people, sure there are a lot who have never left the country. I understand why now. You have everything you need here. This is a continent, for heaven's sake. I can drive for an hour and be in the desert, beach, mountains, snow or oak savannah. It's amazing! I think you'll also find that, percentage-wise, the number of Americans who don't have passports is similar to the number of Brits who don't have passports. And in response to the point about them thinking their saving the world, well brits aren't that much better. There's a perception here that brits will tend to tell you everything that's wrong with your country and then proceed to tell you why Britain is so much better. There is a generally tendency for that to happen. My point here is that, for all the faults that Americans have (and there are many), dont think you (populationally) don't have the same things going on. Many brits seem to still think there's an empire, they're xenophobic, and extremely arrogant. I don't believe any members of this forum are this way, but then most Americans I know (and many are not in academia) are not particulary 'american'. I reiterate that stereotypes are often not so well suported if you scratch a little beneath the surface.
Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 4:21 pm
Thanks for your reasoned reply, Graham, because I really wasn't taking the mick. My point wasn't really so much about the academic side of life in the US as the general and political side. It's as difficult to conceive of anyone voting for George Bush second time round as it as for, let's say, anyone to vote for Maggie Thatcher (3rd term), or Tony Blair (3rd term), or John Major (1st term), for example... And I certainly wasn't making any comparison between the US and the UK (I've been out of the UK for enough of my life to take a 'wider view'). I'm absurdly patriotic (sadly, these days) when it comes to sport, but I suppose my concern is that 'Middle America' has rather too much effect on world affairs, while knowing absolutely nothing about the world.
Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 4:47 pm
Ajarn Philip wrote:Thanks for your reasoned reply, Graham, because I really wasn't taking the mick. My point wasn't really so much about the academic side of life in the US as the general and political side. It's as difficult to conceive of anyone voting for George Bush second time round as it as for, let's say, anyone to vote for Maggie Thatcher (3rd term), or Tony Blair (3rd term), or John Major (1st term), for example... And I certainly wasn't making any comparison between the US and the UK (I've been out of the UK for enough of my life to take a 'wider view'). I'm absurdly patriotic (sadly, these days) when it comes to sport, but I suppose my concern is that 'Middle America' has rather too much effect on world affairs, while knowing absolutely nothing about the world.
Nowt wrong with that !!!
Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 6:34 pm
First, sorry Mark, for turning your offer of advice into a political discussion.
I think there's nothing wrong with being patriotic either. I am also fiercly patriotic when it comes to sport. I take your point about American influence in the world, but you have to accept, unfortunately, that this is always going to be the case; it was with the UK beforehand, and will surely be with some other superpower (China or India?) when the US looses it's influence. The middle ground of any nation is always going to be conservative by nature (just look how the tories have dominated British government) and there is no reason why it should be different here, as much as I do oppose it. Remember that there are still a large percentage of Americans who didn't vote for Bush, and who vociferously oppose his policies, both at home and abroad. And he's now been punished for not listening as the GOP have lost control of both houses.
Again, I know you didn't make comparisons, but they are invited regardless. The middle ground of many nations is widely ignorant of world affairs. While Americans unknowingly wield influence on what they don't understand, they are not alone in their ignorance.
btw, Where in Thailand do you live, Philip? My girl friend is half thai and has family in Chiang Mai. I hope to visit soon.
Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 7:30 pm
You don't don't need to apologise to Mark, as I took this thread off topic (there! you see how very English we're being?? 'No, no, after you...' And neither of us live there any more!)
I live near Hua Hin (a town called Cha-am), a long -awfully long- way from Chiang Mai (I've not been there yet, but it's somewhere I definitely plan to go.) If you ever travel this way please let me know, as we have a spare room.