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Lawren Maris


Exchange Fall 2015 (4A)
Business Administration WLU (Double Degree) and Mathematics UW, Honours Co-op

Warwick, England, United Kingdom  University of Warwick Exchange

My time at the University of Warwick was incredibly action-packed. Compared to Canada, England is very small and there are a lot of (cheap) transportation options. This made it really easy for me to do a lot of trips on the weekends or days I didn’t have class. I took advantage of this and explored a new place every weekend.

The university actually reminded me a lot of Waterloo – a high academic focus but the students are also quite social.

It didn’t take me long to decide I wanted to play for the Women’s and Mixed lacrosse teams. I had never played before, but Warwick had a development squad, so I could play with no experience. The team had weekly practices and socials, which was a great way to meet all of the other Warwick Lacrosse members. The women’s ‘freshers’ (new kids) even won our final tournament of the term!
women's lacrosse team

I spent my first afternoon at Warwick sitting on the steps of the piazza (an open set of steps for hanging out, which faced a giant tv screen) watching the World Cup rugby game. This quickly became a habit of mine. I loved the centricity of rugby to England’s culture – basically anywhere you’d see hockey here, you’d see rugby there.

The University of Warwick is just outside the city of Coventry. Coventry felt quite small, despite having approximately 320,000 people. Coventry also has quite a bit of history, as most of England does. At one time, it was the capital of England. It is also where Lady Godiva lived – the city center has a commemorative clock where, every hour, a naked Lady Godiva will ride her horse around the clock face. Coventry also has an 11th century cathedral that was partially destroyed during World War II.

Since the school term didn’t start until October, I spent September travelling through Portugal, Spain, and Germany. I spent roughly a week in each country, experiencing the unique cultures and landscapes of each. I kayaked through the beautiful grottos in Portugal, practiqué mi español y vi arquitectura de Gaudi en España, and celebrated Oktoberfest in Germany.

selfie while kayaking architech in Spain celebrating Oktoberfest in Germany

The first weekend was Thanksgiving so I made (as close as I could) a Thanksgiving dinner for my flat mates. It was the first time all 12 of us were together (for over three weeks we thought we had 13 in the flat). This is when the dynamic of the flat started to form (Charlotte and I found out we were the loud ones, and Alex and Ross started their bromance).

visit to London with London Bridge in background

The next weekend preluded my birthday, so a few international friends (Sheila, Lois, and Kiersten) and I went to London for the weekend.

We packed a lot into that weekend – the Tower of London, London Bridge, mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral, the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, a boat ride to Greenwich, and so much more. Kiersten and I also visited Harry Potter World.

I spent my 21st birthday at Stonehenge. IT WAS AMAZING. This was definitely one of my favorite days.

We also checked out the Salisbury Cathedral and ate lunch in a pub that was so old it had goat bones in the floor.

The whole day was perfect. I’m going to have a hard time topping that next year.

standing in a London phone booth
spent my 21st birthday at Stonehenge

My next adventure was to the town of Rugby – the place where my favorite sport was invented. I went with Lois and Kiersten on the day of a semi-final game of the World Cup. We visited a couple of different museums that talked about the history of the game. The downtown was decorated and there was a small festival going on. They also had the game playing on a giant screen – it seemed like the whole town was there. After the game, we went to Northampton to visit a friend I had met during the first few weeks of travelling.

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