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Study abroad: club, cards, and overcommitting

Back in Freshers’ Week, we attended the Freshers’ Fair, where clubs—or “societies,” as everyone here calls them—set up tables to recruit new members in the Student Union building.

Well, clubs and students advertised inside and outside two buildings, around a field, down by the film building, and pretty much anywhere they could for what must have been at least a mile-long line of freshers. Imagine Rollins’s Involvement Fair, but five times the size and with acrobats, live-action role players (affectionately known as LARPers), and pole dancers all desperately competing for the attention of first-year students.

Being the involved students we are, my fellow students and I picked up flyers for so many societies that we would need a Time Turner to join them all.

The next week was a busy one as we flitted from one club’s free “taster” session to another.

As the weeks wore on, we only ended up staying in a few of the clubs we originally tried, but for good reason – not only do clubs here meet multiple times per week, but they also require decent financial investments. The average club seems to charge around three to ten pounds for each term of membership. Some clubs, especially sports organizations overseen by instructors, charge per session.

Fortunately, much of the  money you put into a society goes toward activities, like the ever-prominent “social.” The bars on campus are frequented by societies holding their socials, where members unwind and drink together in a casual setting. Other popular social events include dinner and club nights—literally just a night of clubbing, but with your fellow society members.

In the end, we settled on a couple of societies to join individually and as buddies. Our favorite society is indisputably Pokémon Society. Each week, the club meets to play the video games, watch the anime, learn the card game, or just compete for the honor of winning Pokémon trivia (we came in second, despite being an hour late). Some weekends, the club goes into town to play Pokémon Go, and they even let us use their WiFi so we can play along too. Yes, we caught the elusive, European-only Mr. Mime, and we were introduced to a Charmander spawn point.

We’ve also joined some sports teams for the term. Micah’s furthering her martial arts education with Aikido, a form of martial arts more focused on chi, takedowns, and conserving energy than sparring or force. It’s been a nice, relaxing change—but she’s ready to get back to kicking and punching people. Meanwhile, Sianna has found that the Pole Fitness Society— which, honestly, is exactly what it sounds like—is a fun way to get some exercise each week. The club offers pole fitness lessons, weekly practice sessions, and yearly competitions for all skill levels. Sadly, we’ll have returned home before Sianna’s first recital, but the skills she’s learned will last a lifetime. Though we miss our clubs at Rollins (unbiased shout out to the best—The Sandspur!), it’s been fun to try new things at Lancaster. Who knows, maybe when we return, we’ll start Rollins’s first Pokémon Pole Dancing Society!

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