This student profile is part of a series on the students who attend PKP. Sherry is a student at University of California, Los Angeles and she came to PKP in 2014.
Studying in Cambridge is, I believe, every student’s dream. Even for just two months, I still feel honoured to join the Pembroke-King’s Programme as one of the 2014 PKP scholarship winners. As an international student in University of California, Los Angeles, I am keen on studying abroad and experiencing different cultures. Even so, my journey to Cambridge has opened the door of a world that I had never expected before. As every professor of Cambridge says, it is an ancient place with thousand years of history, but it is also the cradle of innovation for the world. Every corner I turn, there is a story to be expected; every conversation I have inspires me to step forward. I had never thought that I could fall in love with this poetic university town so much in such a short time.
With a diverse range of topics offered, all the PKP classes are worth taking. I leapt at the opportunity to explore things that nowhere else would offer. Being in Cambridge, I got to explore in person during several field trips in my Classical Architecture class. There is no better way to learn the reasoning and mathematical beauty of an architecture style that dominates every corner of the country. From Palladian period to Neo-Classism to the Contemporary Classism, from Christopher Wren’s textbook Trinity Library to William Wilkins’ Greece-influenced Downing College, to John Outram’s imaginative Judge Business School, I had the chance to experience every steps in the historical development of Classicism and its revival in Britain. ‘Spooks and Spies’ presented me a new way and perspective to learn history-through the eye of intelligence community. We explored the twentieth century through different angles: how an individual’s actions can change the world situation, how the performance of the intelligence services is restrained by policy makers, and how intelligence failures are both natural and inevitable.
Cambridge is a place with mesmerizing magic that can inspire people to generate great ideas. The eagerness for knowledge I found among my lecturers and students has awakened my own enthusiasm for knowledge. Fortunately, I was also offered the opportunity here to come across my potential academic focus. As one of the scholarship winners, every week, we were presented with a fresh new social topic. Without much preparation in advance, we engaged in dialectic discussions, imitating a learning form for Cambridge graduate students. During the last seminar, by Dr David Jarvis, several wartime film clips were presented, along with the topic of national identity. I found myself engrossed in the dialogue of media influencing British national identity formation, a focus combining both my interests in sociology and my major of Communication Studies.
My Cambridge family lives every moment to the fullest. As we work hard, we also play hard. Outside the classroom, we organized activities exploring Cambridge and Britain in every aspect. The famous “Formal Hall” dinners, weekly Afternoon Teas, Scotland and London trips, Cambridge Shakespeare Festival, and the BBC Proms coloured my summer with the richness of Cambridge and British culture. Beyond these, students often have their own ways to embrace the summer. Personally, I woke up 5:30am every morning for jogging, during which I literally ran through every street and lane in Cambridge. For weekends, I went to Wimbledon for Federer’s match, Windsor castle for the unique sense of British royalty, Ely for the religious peace and Wales for the British country break. Two months in Cambridge was not enough in every way, but PKP programme is definitely an incredible starting point, for academic development and life. The more I wish to go back to the beginning of this summer and relive the programme, the more I realise that behind the opened door, a long journey toward my dreams is waiting for me.