Life is busy! But when you get a sabbatical, it’s important to make that special time purposeful. We’ve compiled a list of things you might consider to help you make the most of your academic inquiry, and a “bucket list” for your journey.
First things first…
- Investigate your temporary home’s official website and tourism pages. These are wonderful places to start. From here, you will usually find links to the facilities they offer, when they are available, if there is a charge, and links to local specialized websites. These official pages save search time and will give you a great overview. It’s possible to find hidden museums and galleries and more! For example, if you’re planning a sabbatical in Oxford, UK, visit “Welcome to Oxford City” and perhaps “Welcome to Oxfordshire.”
- Find out how long travel times are. Travel will eat into your research, writing, and investigation time, so when planning your schedule for these things, be sure to keep travel time into account. Be sure that you account for the location of your temporary home away from home, read reviews of local transportation (is it reliable and on time?), and access local transportation schedules if you won’t have a car (are you able to access transportation only at certain hours of the day?). Most cities have an official city webpage devoted to public transport. If you need assistance in discovering how long it will take, ask your home rental or home exchange hosts, do a web search, or call your destination(s) for a clearer picture.
- Investigate your colleges and universities of interest. Consider the research facilities, libraries, and collections available. One important thing to find out is whether you need to apply in advance for permission to access these collections. This will save you many headaches. For example, many libraries and important collections will require you to complete an application before you may have access. Even then, you may only access the collections at certain times of the year, and some items or collections are available by appointment only.
If you’re searching for more practical tips for general preparation, check out some additional articles on the Sabbatical Homes blog, including “Before You Go! 10 Things to do Before Leaving for Your Big Trip” and “How to Pack Efficiently.”
Now, for our bucket list…
Bodleian Library at Oxford in the United Kingdom. This is the main library at Oxford, used for research. It’s second only to British Library in size, and it’s one of the oldest libraries in Europe. There are too many treasures here to count. Of note are original copies of Shakespeare’s first folio and a Gutenberg Bible.
George Peabody Library, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. Located just a stone’s throw away from the Washington Monument, this library is free to all. It covers a number of topics, but the emphasis is on the liberal arts, exploration, and geography as it was understood in the 19th
Wren Library at Cambridge in the United Kingdom. This library is part of Trinity college at Cambridge, and its namesake, Christopher Wren, designed the building. It houses quite a few rare original documents, such as Isaac Newton’s works, the first book printed in English, and over a thousand medieval manuscripts.
Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Canada. This library features the largest collection in Canada of rare texts available to the public. The collection covers a wide swath of interests, and while much of the emphasis is on Canada, they also have ancient Egyptian papyrus manuscript fragments, an ancient Babylonian cuneiform tablet, and annotated proof sheets of various Darwin works (but not Origin of the Species).
Rijksmuseum Research Library in Amsterdam, Netherlands. While this is not a university library, it is the largest public library of its kind in the Netherlands. This research library houses and extensive collection of art history records, such as sale catalogs. Much of this is available online, but there are still tens of thousands of sale catalogs not yet entered online.
Huntington Library in San Marino, California. The Library’s collection of rare books and manuscripts in the fields of British and American history and literature is nothing short of extraordinary. For qualified scholars, The Huntington is one of the largest and most complete research libraries in the United States in its fields of specialization.
What destinations are on your bucket list? Share with us in the comments below!