How universities are meant to be
August 12, 2007, 1:35 pm
Filed under: education, spain, travel

I like to stroll through old cities without aim, allowing the flow of the day to dictate what I see. As Ian and I were drifting towards the cathedral I saw some grand gates opening onto a garden.We wandered in, to find ourselves in the University of Granada’s botanic gardens. The fountains and greenery were a relief from the heat, and the descriptive signs were a good way to practice our Spanish.

After wandering for some minutes we returned to the gate, to find it padlocked shut. Ian was concerned, but as a resident of Cambridge I’m used to having the right to wander through universities at my leisure. So we went into the building, to find more wealth of Spanish architecture.

It’s a shame that in Australia so many universities have been boiled down to educational factories. Some, like the University of Adelaide’s main campus, retain the charm and detail that inspire deep thinking and wanderlust. But newer campuses, like University of South Australia’s brutal City West campus, are lifeless and anti-inspirational.

I’m used to Cambridge, but had considered it a kind of special anomaly. (Many within Cambridge encourage this perception.)

Discovering the University of Granada made me realise this is how universities are supposed to be.


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