We finally made it across the ocean to Durham, UK! After several days of jet lag, several differences between the two Durhams struck me:
It is amazing how old everything in this Durham really is. The Durham Cathedral and Castle are the two oldest structures I have ever seen, dating back to when Leif Erikson first stumbled on Canada in the 11th century. Buildings that are a hundred years old or more are just scattered about the town. It was strange how casually the locals talked about buildings so ancient, when in the United States, anything that has been around that long would either be in a museum or turned into a national landmark.
The layout of Duke University versus Durham University are also very different. Duke has a contained, walled-off campus with defined boundaries, and it looks very different from the surrounding city. Durham University has an urban campus and is distributed all over the city of Durham. It also follows a college system: every student is a member of a college, which is essentially a residential life group, with its own dorms, cafeteria, and campus life groups. However, the two universities seem to share a similar relationship with their respective Durhams: students tend to cause some disruption in the lives of the locals while school is in session, but the universities also have large local outreach programs.
It has been wonderful getting to explore the city over the last few days, and to meet all of the people at my worksite. Everyone seems very friendly, and I am excited to dive into working and learning more about this Durham!