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Postcard from America

Dated: 2 November 2016

Lynn with democrat Bernie Sanders
Lynn Travnikova, recent Woodhouse graduate and biology poster-girl in our new prospectus, sent us an email about her new life in America.
After her first year at Woodhouse, Lynn attended a summer school with the Sutton Trust. She then went on to win a scholarship and full bursary to Middlebury College, the prestigious liberal arts college in Vermont, USA.
Battell, Lynn’s dorm, and the mountains behind it  
Lynn had this to say... 
“Middlebury’s a fantastic place, and I’ve done a good job of settling into living in America and adjusting to all the cultural changes - I now say fall instead of autumn, sweater instead of jumper, and am slowly developing a bit of an American twang to my accent, which is horrifying.
This term, I’m taking an intro class into computer science, a gender studies class and a Russian class. I still have no idea what I’d like to major in but a minor in Russian is looking very likely! The professors are all really fantastic, but I do still miss all of the great teachers at Woodhouse.
In addition to classes, I’ve joined an acapella group on campus called the Bobolinks and went on tour to Boston, New York City and Connecticut a few weeks ago performing with them.
On my fourth day in the US, I happened to meet Bernie Sanders at a Labor Day rally and things have pretty much been going up since then. Americans are very friendly people and the town of Middlebury is a world away from London with how small and welcoming it is, the population only being 6,000 people. 
Although I miss the constant liveliness of living in a big city, I’ve come to love living in the middle of nowhere. When I go outside in the mornings, I can see mountains from the moment I step outside the door and all the trees have been especially beautiful in fall because of all the foliage. Additionally, when you go out at night you can see a ridiculous number of stars because there’s so little light pollution! I’ve also attached a picture of the view from the room where I do computer science so you can get an idea of just how rural it is here – just farms and trees as far as the eye can see!
However, things been quite tense with the election approaching very soon. All of my friends are busy filling out absentee ballots and everyone watches the presidential elections with a mixture of amusement at how ridiculous they are and absolute terror at the prospect of what’s to come. I’ve definitely found that America is very extreme in comparison to the UK, regarding both opinions held by people and simply how allegiances are displayed. In fact, despite Middlebury being known for being liberal and having many very liberal students, I’ve been surprised at how many (relative to the UK) conservative opinions are held by those around me, especially regarding gun prohibition. The focus which people place on whether something is constitutional rather than whether it’s morally wrong or right and the impact it has on people is also something which has surprised/confused me. I think it can be summarised in the fact that Americans are more concerned with individual liberties than the wellbeing of their society as a whole, which is a weird concept for me to get my head around. Regardless, I can say without a doubt that it’s been very interesting being exposed to opinions which are so different from my own and not at all what I had expected, and it has sparked some very enjoyable conversations.
The winter is approaching us very quickly over here, with snow having already fallen for a while last week and the distant mountains already being frozen over in the mornings - I’m bracing myself for temperatures of -30 in the coming months! For now, though, I’ve been enjoying the good weather and considerable lack of rain in comparison to London.
Send my very best to everyone at Woodhouse! Sincerely, Lynn Travnikova"
We wish Lynn all the best in her new adventure and hope she keeps in touch. Once a Woodhouse student...
Lynn in our 2017 Prospectus available 12 November 2016 

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