Written by Gavin Damore ’16 studying abroad in London
I was ecstatic when I received the timetable for my first term at Goldsmiths College; only one class session a week, with Mondays and Tuesdays off. So much free time, it seemed, but it turns out that’s not quite true. If you want to excel in the British academic world, you need to spend much of that extra time in the library.
Goldsmith’s Library is open 24/7. I initially thought this excessive; how many students really do work on a Friday or Saturday night? But no matter what time you decide to pop over, there will always be plenty of people there, whether they’re watching a film, reading a book, or editing a musical composition. This is due to the fact that students don’t go to class quite as often in England as we do in America, but not because college – or as the Brits call it, “Uni” – is less intense. It’s just as rigorous, if not more rigorous due to the strong emphasis on individual work. Lectures and seminars only provide a starting point; from there, you have to decide where your interests lie and use library resources to dive into your own research.
My final grade in each class is determined by an 8-10 page essay, and even though it’s not due until the middle of December, I’m expected to start working on it now. Having access to Stonehill’s databases while abroad is enormously helpful in this! While Goldsmiths has an amazing array of resources and provides access to other libraries in the area, it’s still reassuring to turn to the Stonehill catalog for additional scholarly articles. It’s actually something I did recently; I started doing research for my Hollywood Cinema essay about Charlie Chaplin’s films. Out of curiosity, I decided to check Stonehill’s database to see what was available, and ended up finding a fantastic source to add to my bibliography.
It’s comforting to know that the MacPhaidin Library can help me out abroad, especially in a country where libraries play such an integral role in academic life. Combining Goldsmith’s resources with Stonehill’s gives me confidence in my research and makes the studying part of study abroad a smooth process.