Monday, November 25, 2013

Britain From A to Z: M


The UK is known for its great universities. Places like Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial College London, St Andrews, York, Cardiff, King’s College London, and so forth. People travel from all over the world to attend these schools. Interestingly, people travel from all over the world to attend our local university, the University of North Alabama. So, perhaps this is more due to the quality of the university’s outreach program than to its name recognition.

It is humbling to think about the great minds that were once part of those prestigious British schools. John Locke attended Westminster School, Christ Church, and Oxford. Charles Darwin went to Cambridge and the University of Edinburgh. Isaac Newton attended Trinity and Cambridge. Margaret Thatcher matriculated at City Law School and Oxford. Marty Feldman attended the School of Hard Knocks in London. I’m assuming here, of course, that Marty Feldman actually had a mind.

On our tour of Britain, we didn’t specifically target schools for visits, but we did see several along the way. It would have been interesting to actually visit some of the campuses, but there were too many other things to see. To paraphrase Forrest Gump, “Sometimes there just aren’t enough days.” 
The University of Glasgow

One thing we learned that I found very interesting was that public schools in Britain are called state schools while private schools are called public schools. The former makes sense, but the latter at first seemed bizarre. But on further thought it made some sense. Schools not run by the state were being run by the people in the public. Yet, I still had occasional lapses while trying to keep this in mind.

We have a friend who attends the University of Oxford. He’s also a Rhodes Scholar, so he definitely has the brains to go there. The interesting thing about the city of Oxford is that it is full of schools. Just bring up Oxford on Google Maps and see how many schools you can find. It’s amazing. We attempted to meet up with our friend while there, but he was back in the States at the time. Oh well.

As I’ve mentioned in some previous posts, my son Andrew loves Wales and would like to study and teach there someday. I guess time will tell.

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