Though they couldn’t hear the Thompson Chapel bells announcing Mountain Day, Williams juniors studying abroad celebrated this College tradition in their own way in nations all across the world.
President Morton Owen Schapiro gave special dispensation to the 22 students studying here in Oxford as there are no mountains nearby. “I hereby declare Flat Day on Friday,” he said in an e-mail.
While a few students were unable to escape their Oxford tutorial meetings last Friday, most everyone celebrated “Flat Day” in the Exeter College Bar that night with a glass of cider and a special toast to Williams. Later on that night, I attempted to lead a singing of “The Mountains,” which was very entertaining to say the least.
However, Oxford students were not the only juniors abroad celebrating Mountain Day. “I enjoyed Mountain Day by going to Vienna for the weekend and drinking Sturm, which is almost fermented wine,” said Neil Hoffman ’04, who reports that he is having a “wonderful time” this semester studying in Budapest, Hungary.
Across the globe in Central America, Nick Brandfon ’04 had a very Mountain Day-like experience while studying abroad in Belize.
“We had no classes down here [on Friday],” said Brandfon. “So, I went for a hike through the Columbia Rainforest Reserve in southern Belize with a Belizean friend.” Their final destination was a huge cave filled with bats, assassin beetles, and lots of ancient Mayan Pottery.
“On the way back, we stopped at an enormous waterfall with a really high jumping rock,” he said. “My night was spent drinking Caribbean rum and dancing to a kickin’ group of Grifuna drummers.”
While juniors down under in Australia found out about Mountain Day late, they too have enjoyed the outdoors while studying abroad.
“Due to the fact that we are 14 hours ahead of the USA, by the time I got the e-mail announcing it was Mountain Day, it was past dinner time,” said Michelle Cuevas ’04. While she wasn’t able to go on a Mountain Day hike last Friday, Cuevas has been enjoying the outdoors during her semester abroad.
“I can see the ocean and beach from my balcony,” she said. “Every day I climb the ocean cliffs near my house and sit and look at the ocean. It’s a lot different from Williams, but it is just as beautiful in a whole different way.”
Emily Steinhagen ’04 spent Mountain Day in the “red center” of Australia, at Ayers Rock in Alice Springs where the temperature was 36 degrees Celsius (97 degrees Farenheight).
“I spent Friday in Uluru National Park checking it out and doing a bit of hiking,” she said. “ The rock is nearly 3.5 kilometers in diameter and is actually the tip of a mountain that protrudes from the ground. [At sunset,] the rock actually changes colors as it gets darker. It’s a pretty incredible sight.”
In Other Oxford News . . .
Three of our outstanding Williams athletes have been accepted onto the very prestigious Oxford University Blues teams, the Oxford equivalent to varsity athletics. Starting as a midfielder for the women’s football (soccer) team is Emily Ludwig ’04 while playing men’s hockey are Andrew Thomison ’04 and Ariel Zetlin-Jones ’04.
Finally, though the games are starting at one o’clock in the morning, many WCOP students here are staying up late the watch the World Series televised live here in England. On Saturday, several students e-mailed the English Channel Five commentators a question, which was read live on national television between the 6th and 7th innings.