Our Special Visitor

A few weeks ago the flat in Nottingham had a special visitor. The visitor walked in promptly at 10:30am followed by another special visitor who apparently was her boss. The visitor was led down in to our library where it had special meetings with Mark Johns, our professor, as well as three students. The visitor asked questions about students attending classes and their plans to leave the country in a few months. The visitor was from the UK Border Agency. She was here for a routine inspection that happens every few years in order to renew the Luther College license to sponsor student visas for the Luther College Nottingham Program. The visit made all of us a little nervous. We cleaned up the flat. We made sure that we knew the exact location of our passports. It was all a little bit stressful. I don’t have all that much to report about the happenings of that day. I was home when she arrived, but headed to the library to get some books for a paper sometime during her visit. The interesting thing about this visit was that she tried to convince Johns that he should be making sure that we are attending our lectures, seminars and tutorials. I understand that this could be a worry, but… seriously, you’re talking about students who are from the ages of 19-22. We’re beyond the age of being babysat. We don’t need someone to hold our hand and walk us to the bus stop. In the end, Johns convinced her that it would be perfectly adequate to have our lecturers sign a slip of paper taking note of our regular attendance a few times a semester. A good idea, except for one minor detail… in a class of over 100 students, how does your lecturer really know that you’re attending regularly? I’d like to think that when Luther study abroad center and Mark Johns chose the 12 students for the Nottingham program that they chose people who they would trust to attend class regularly. I’m not sure how this could not be the case. In the flat we have 12 students who regularly are seen doing their homework, reading and pounding away on papers for various classes. We’re not the crazy, partying crowd. We’re a community of caring, intellectual students who are attending college because we love to learn. We’re not the type who would decide to not go to class. In fact, I get really anxious and nervous when I miss a class. So the day that I had to walk up to my lecturer for Developmental Psychology, a lecture of aroudn 150 or so students, I was a tad nervous. I had never talked to my lecturer. In fact, as I walked up to her I was surprised by the fact that she was a lot prettier up close. I handed her the slip and nervously gave her the information on why I needed her signature. After about 2 minutes of turning it over, she turned to me and asked, “What is this for?” With that I cut the act. “UK Border Agency is ‘checking up’ on me.” I told her while emphasizing it with my hands. She laughed and quickly signed it. Then started asking little questions about where I was from and if psychology was my area of study at my home university. It was all very friendly. Then I said a polite, “thanks,” and walked off to catch my bus home. On my way out I glanced down at her name. (The Brits are a little weird about names. They see them as a very personal thing.) Instantly, I remembered her name from an experiment talked about in my Developmental Psychology book. I am continuously surprised by the fact that so many of my lecturers have conducted well-known research as well! I hope the UK Border Agency will be pleased with my little slip of paper. If only they knew the personalities of the group a little better. That’d be worth more than any little slip of paper could ever be. I’m here because I love to learn and experience new things. Why would I study abroad and then not study? Cheers ladies and gents ☺

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