Tuesday, March 30, 2004


I picked up a packet at the IPE office today that contained an actual application to the University of Aberdeen and a "pre-departure guide" that is supposed to prepare me for life in the UK. It made me nervous at first when I realized that I had to apply directly to the University of Aberdeen as well, but I guess if it wasn't a foregone conclusion that I was in, they wouldn't have given me a pre-departure guide at all. Right?

The booklet is filled with the kinds of details that would have taken hours to pump out of Marianne were I simply to ask her about them, but it's written in a style reminiscent of the match.com profile that tried to be my buddy. It opens with the sentences, "Congratulations! You are about to embark on a journey that will change you forever! Does the thought of change make you a 'wee' bit nervous?" I have to wonder if the pre-departure guide for studying in the US opens with, "Congratulations! You are about to embark on a journey that you 'ain't' going to forget as long as you live!"

A few more bizarre tidbits sprinkled throughout the guide:

"Be spontaneous! Be adventurous! Don't be afraid to experiment. This is an opportunity to eat things you have never eaten and see places you've never seen."

"Just keep an open mind, don't order iced tea and you'll be fine!" This cryptic piece of advice is never explained, but it is reiterated in big red letters in the margin. Can someone fill me in? Is iced tea the British word for terrorism? What?

"While you are packing, make a list of what you have packed in each suitcase (especially Mr. Teddy, he's priceless!) in case you need to make a claim."

"Plastic is the international language."

Seriously, though, this guide is pretty damn thorough. This kind of detail about every aspect of studying abroad, from packing to reverse culture shock upon returning home, is giving me the butterflies in my stomach that I was talking about not having the other day. I looked up from reading it after an hour and was startled to find I was still in America.


Wednesday, March 17, 2004

It begins!

Dear Eric,

Congratulations are in order! You have been designated as one of the University of Washington's nominees for the 2004-2005 exchange at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

While final admission decisions are made on the other side of the Atlantic, we have every reason to believe your admission will be confirmed. This is sure to be one of the most rewarding years of your undergraduate experience.

Attached to this email are your "Statement of Acceptance and Payment Contract" and "Terms of Participation and Payment Schedule." Please read both documents carefully so that you understand the terms and conditions of your participation in this exchange.

In order to reserve your spot on this exchange, you must sign and return to IPE the attached "Statement of Acceptance and Payment Contract" by no later than Monday, March 29, 2004. Failure to meet this deadline may result in your exchange slot being offered to another student. If you do not wish to accept this offer, please send me a brief email stating your decision as early as possible and no later than the March 31 deadline.

Following IPE’s receipt of your "Statement of Acceptance and Payment Contract" additional application materials and instructions specific to your host institution will provided in an acceptance packet available for your pickup at the IPE office as of Monday, March 29, 2004. More detailed instructions and a list of important dates will be included as part of this packet. Please note that your completed host university application and supplemental materials are due Friday, April 2, 2004.

Congratulations again on your acceptance to this exchange. Enjoy spring break and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Best Regards,

Cameron Frisch
Foreign Study Adviser

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