University of California, Santa Barbara
Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Fall 2015
Melanie Woiwode Memorial Scholarship -Fencing
While I was abroad, I joined the Morley Blades Fencing Club in Lower Marsh and fenced roughly once a week at the Waterloo Action Center. It was fun for me because I had access to all the equipment I needed and I received a lesson and a unique set of match partners. The club is filled with people who are young and old, and all different levels of ability. By far I was the youngest one there, and it gave me a chance to work with people who were much more experienced and improve my technique.
Fencing was one of my favorite experiences of my freshman year at UCSB and I met some of my best friends through the sport. But at my final quarter before studying abroad I had to quit because of work. I wanted to use my time abroad to get back into the sport and also get a different perspective on how the sport is taught in the UK compared to how it was taught by my coach. I was really lucky there was a fencing club so close to my home, and it gave me a great chance to meet some of the local British people who lived in my area, and were able to show me around places I didn’t know were in my neighborhood. This was especially fun for me because I actually didn’t know too many local Brits because my program was so international. I found that my coach in the UK was way more technical and went very heavily in depth into the how to plan attacks and the correct uses of all the different moves, things I wasn’t as heavily aware of in the US.
I didn’t think I would be able to take fencing while I was in the UK because it’s notoriously expensive and I originally didn’t even bother looking for a club. Knowing this scholarship existed gave me the push I needed to explore the idea of getting back into sports and it was honestly one of the best experiences of my study abroad.