I had always been intrigued by universities, maybe because it used to be a foreign concept to me or because of the mystery that surrounds the idea of university. In 2008, I decided to take a solo trip to the United States to check out two universities, Yale and Columbia.
My first stop was Columbia University. I applied for a tour of the school, in particular the English department, to see if it would be something I’d be interested in. Columbia university is huge! Their buildings, as well as their courtyard, is something that we’re not familiar with in the Netherlands (as far as I know). Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures. When I arrived it took me 30 minutes of walking through the maze of Teacher’s College before I found the correct room. Though, from what saw and heard they have a very interesting English department and I can only assume that the same goes for the other departments as well.
A few days later, and in less than two hours (train, bus) from New York City, I travelled to New Haven, Connecticut.
Personally, I’d rather spend my university years at Yale, mainly, because of the relaxed atmosphere, lots of green, and the architecture. If Central Park (NYC) or Prospect Park (Brooklyn, NY) were located in New Haven it would definitely be a no brainer! Just as Columbia University, Yale has a rich history, which can be seen on the inside and outside of the buildings (and for us tourists, on a board).
Yale has an extensive library and many facilities that students can use during their years at university. Yale’s largest library is the library located on the centre of campus, Sterling library. There are approximately 4 million volumes that have found a home in this library.
On the internet (youtube or the Yale open course website) you can find several courses that were given at Yale. One course is called ‘The American Novel Since 1945’ given by Professor Amy Hungerford. During one of the 26 lectures that are online, Professor Hungerford discussed the novel Franny and Zoey by J.D. Salinger. This is one of my favorite novels and the story happens to take place in New Haven. Also several other writers were discussed during these lectures, such as Kerouac, Morrison, Barth and Roth. If you are interested in American Literature, check out Open Yale!
One more to show you how beautiful Brooklyn, NYC can be! Walking around parks was my favorite thing to do, especially either very early or during the evening when not many people were around. That way it seemed as if I were the only one in NY forgetting about the constant noise of people, cars and what not 🙂