My exploration of the UK was limited when I was in first year as I had no car. My first ventures outside of Cirencester revolved around visits to the family homes of my friends of the RAU. My friends have given me a unique insight into country British living.
My life growing up in Ireland largely revolved around the outdoors- hunting, pony club, horse racing and persistent attempts at water sports.
The RAU, being an agricultural university, attracts students from similar backgrounds.. just different to the activities I associated with the outdoors. On registration for first year, one of the major components of this process involved checking guns into the university gun safe. I questioned the place i was heading to at this stage!
I will always remember visiting one of my friends one weekend and she invited me to come to a shoot with her family. I am all for experiencing as much as I can over here and was all up for it. We headed over to the shoot. I stepped out of the car into a swarm of people wearing Shoffels (these are basically part of a non- compulsory uniform of the RAU) and each person either attended or had some connection to the RAU- we were over three hours drive from the RAU.
It was time for action and we headed off with their yellow Labrador, Tonks. The birds were encouraged to fly out of a wood and the shots started firing. I must make it clear that I wasn’t pulling any triggers- I haven’t quite mastered clay shooting yet!
Before I knew it birds were falling to the floor like sacks of potatoes from the sky! Tonks would instantly jet off to fetch the target and bring it back. At the end I was told to collect four of the birds. This was not something I was accustomed to. I let Emma collect them and show me the ropes!
The friends that I have made in England have given me an incredible insight into British culture and have exposed me to some of the most incredible and memorable experiences. I owe most of exploring of the UK to them.