Summer visit to UA Wimbleton: going down the tube

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Summer visit to UA Wimbleton: going down the tube

Victoria H. '13/ student

Victoria H. '13/ student

Victoria H. '13/ student

Wimbleton girls group together with a smile.

Sam P. '13

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For most of the year, the halls of Ursuline are sprinkled with exchange students from many of our Ursuline Sister schools. Polluting the hallways with their green or blue uniforms, disrupting the homogenous UA student body, these foreign students lead completely different lives than those of their Dallas hosts.

Amidst the vast array of global travel opportunities, does one ever take the time to wonder what life would be like in another country? Is Ursuline Dallas anything remotely like the Ursulines of South Africa or China?

Speaking on behalf of The Ursuline School, located in Wimbledon, England, the answer to the previous question is no. While many of our sister schools share a common crest or an identical Catholic foundation, the average school day is a completely different experience. However the most taunting, surprising difference is not the schedule, or the school day itself, it is the trek to get to school.

From June 28 to July 10, 12 Ursuline Academy girls departed DFW airport en route to Wimbledon, England, the home of The Ursuline School. These 12 young ladies were quick to realize that despite a common heritage, the two Ursuline schools had little in common.

To start off the day, the average Ursuline Wimbledon student wakes up at around 6 in the morning. After a small breakfast, she puts on a modest royal blue uniform and begins her day. Lucinda Murphy, 14, and her sister Melissa, 15, do not have the luxury of a quick trip in a spacious SUV to expedite their trip to school. Instead, they grab their backpacks and begin walking to the nearest bus stop, about a quarter mile away. The sisters grab whichever seats they can on the bus, often times being squished between strangers or separated by large strollers holding loud infants. After roughly 15 minutes on the bus, they push through the crowd to exit, grasping their backpacks tightly to their core. Upon exiting the bus, they enter the neighboring tube station, which is the US equivalent of a subway. Twenty odd minutes later the sisters rapidly emerge from the tube station, and break into a rapid walk, bordering a jog, in order to catch a second bus, filled with fellow students. Entering the royal blue tide of students, they engage in typical teenage girl chatter that echoes loudly off every surface of the vehicle. A few minutes later, the Ursuline Wimbledon students, including Lucinda and Melissa, exit the bus and begin the final leg of the trek to school; a quarter mile climb up a steep, damp hill.

This journey to school is enough to discourage any Ursuline Dallas girl from studying abroad in Wimbledon. Caroline A. ’14 dealt with a particularly difficult journey as she “walked four miles to school every day there and back.” Yet, to add to the fire, the Ursuline Wimbledon girls make this trip every morning and afternoon without the help of a 4 pack of Chicken minis.

Apart from transportation, Ursuline Wimbledon varies greatly in the structure of the school day. The school schedule in England is filled with many more classes, and intermittent breaks. Students have a very broad curriculum to choose from, and each girl is required to get at least one credit in cooking class. The Ursuline Dallas girls took part in a cooking lesson, and learned how to make traditional English scones and tea. Natalie M. ’13 displayed her Ursuline appetite by eating a record of eight scones.

The London Delegation opened the eyes of many Ursuline girls to life across the pond. The students in Wimbledon attend a school so similar to UA Dallas; however they lead completely different lives. Although English weather, school, transportation and altogether life may seem so estranged from a typical day in the US, rest assured, many similarities were found as well. As it turns out, The Ursuline Wimbledon School has also contracted Bieber Fever along with the One Direction Infection.

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