Thursday, 27 March 2014

Study Abroad 2013

Well, I realized I am super duper bad at blogging, seeing as I stopped updating only 3 weeks into the trip.  Not to mention I have been home for 3 months and am just now getting to this.  But I though I would recap on everything I learned, experienced, and saw while I was abroad last semester.

First off, no I did not see or meet the royal family, yes, they drink a lot of tea there, crumpets are gross, yes, they think we have an accent, football is the same thing as soccer, a sweater is a "jumper", chips are french fries, "You alright?" means "How are you?", no I did not come back with a British accent, I met Ron Weasley, and yes I actually did "study" while I was abroad.

Studying abroad in London has to be one of the most eye-opening experiences I have ever had, and probably ever will have.  I learned so much about myself, different cultures, and life over the course of 3.5 months.  Living in London was surreal, yes they speak English, but life is so much different.. even in the smallest ways.  Taking and relying on public transportation had never been so important.  And then there was the walking that us fat Americans never seem to do.  I found myself walking a minimum of 2 miles everyday just to get to school, the tube, or the bus station.  I never though I would enjoy walking so much... Almost everyday I would go on a walk around the city and find myself in a completely different part of London.

Those of you who know me know that I AM a California girl.  Anything below 70 degrees is cold for me, I NEVER wear pants, the beach and my rainbows are my best friends, and the closest I get to layering is a sweatshirt over a tank top.  London is NOT California... The weather changes by the minute, its almost always cloudy/rainy/windy, and "warm" is my definition of chilly.  While I did find myself complaining about this quite often, it just became a way of life while I was there and I found compromises for my California ways such as: wearing tights under my skirts and dresses, beanies and gloves, and embracing the days it actually didn't rain, and drinking tea like it was oxygen!

My favorite thing about London was the lifestyle and scenery.  Hyde Park (London's Central Park) was my second home and I found myself going on runs there or sleeping in the grass every second I could.  Walking down Oxford Street, through Covent Gardens, or past Buckingham Palace were some of my favorite memories.  I loved going to plays and musicals... While I was there I saw Wicked (FRONT ROW), 39 Steps, Once, Matilda, and MoJo.  Being in a place where soccer is so appreciated was so cool to take part in. It wasn't too bad being of legal drinking age while I was there either! Everyone is so carefree, and I felt so cool when I started to learn my way around the city and didn't look like a total tourist.

The 2 big trips I took while I was abroad were Greece and Germany.  Greece was SPECTACULAR! I can not stress enough how much I loved it there.  I went to the island of Santorini first, where I walked up and down the steps from the tall cliffs to the ocean, cliff jumped into the Mediterranean, went wine tasting, hiked to the famous Red Beach, and ate lots and lots of Gyros! From Santorini we took the 8 hour ferry ride to Athens were I got to see the Parthenon and Acropolis!  The Greek people are extremely nice and their food is to die for!  Not to mention Greece was super cheep compared to London!  Then, over a long weekend I then took a trip to Germany.  Germany has always been somewhere I have wanted to go, and would still like to return and see more of the country.  I spent the weekend in Berlin and a friend and I rented a bike for the day to help us see all we could.  We took tons of pictures of the Berlin Wall, visited the Holocaust Memorial, saw the Brandenburg Gate, and again... ate lots of delicious food! I love traveling!

The last half of the semester abroad I had an internship with an event planning company called Action Challenge.  Here I helped design and launch their new website, write content for their publications, and learn a lot about event planning and marketing.  The people I worked with were super nice, and of course very interested in the fact that I was not only American, but from California.  ("Why did you leave?!" was a common question).

To conclude I just want to say there is absolutely no way I could ever summarize my semester abroad in a blog short enough to keep your attention.  I had the greatest time and made some of the greatest friends.  I definitely missed home, the weather here, and my friends and family, but thanks to technology they were only a text or Skype away!  I encourage everyone to travel as much as they can if given the opportunity.  It is expensive, but SO SO worth it (you can live on bread and rice like I did)!  I will include some pictures because I feel like pictures can show you about my trip much better than I can write about it!  I can't wait to go back to Europe someday soon!





Saturday, 5 October 2013

Rocks, Baths, and Football!

Since I was super busy with school last week, I didn't have time to write, so this post will cover the last 2 weeks! Here we go..

Last weekend I went on a day trip with a lot of the kids I go to school with.  We went on a tour of Stonehenge and the city of Bath!  This trip was so much fun.  We left at about 8am (midnight for most of you) and first stopped at Stonehenge which was about an hour and a half away from where I am staying.  It was way different than I expected, not sure why but I thought it would be on a cliff, but it was literally on the side of the road and way smaller than I expected!  Don't get me wrong, it was still big, but not as big as I imagined.  Apparently there are a bunch of conspiracies of how the rock formation got there since when they got there, there wouldn't have been the invention of the wheel yet.  The latest conspiracy is that it was aliens... I don't believe that for one second!  We were there for about 30 min, took some pictures, walked around it, and were then off to Bath!

City of Bath
It was about a 45min bus ride from Stonehenge to Bath.  This city was absolutely BEAUTIFUL, and definitely one of my favorite things I've done since being here.  Bath is a Roman city in England and is home to the only hot springs in the country.  The city gets its name from the Roman Baths that were built in the city.  Today the baths are a museum type place that we got to tour.  There were so many people in there at once that it was a little hard to enjoy the museum (plus I was starving the whole time), but it was still very cool.  After the museum we had a little bit of free time to walk around and get lunch.  The city was so pretty, with lots of shops, street performers, and cool views!  The lunch I had was also super good.  Being there really made me want to go to Italy!  We then left bath and headed back home.  It was a super long day, but a ton of fun and a great experience! 
Bath Abby

The rest of the week was very busy with school! I only have 2 weeks left till finals, so I have a ton of papers and tests coming up!  However, on Thursday I had a field trip to a mosque with my Islam in the West Theology class.  We went to the largest mosque in the UK, witnessed a prayer service, and then went to a traditional Turkish restaurant for dinner.  The food was so good! I had lamb, which I had never tried, but it was super good (although there aren't many foods I don't like).  I also received my internship placement this week!  I will be an event planning/PR intern for a company called Action Challenge that organizes outdoor trips and challenges (races, mountain climbing, charity events, etc.).  I will start that on November 1st, and have my interview this week!

Turkish Mosque in London
Lastly, today was one of the most exciting things I've done since being here and something I have always wanted to! I got to go to an English Premiere League game!  The game was Fulham vs. Stoke City.  It was so cool to watch a "football" game in a country where people actually care about professional soccer.  The atmosphere was amazing, everyone cheering and chanting the entire game!  We were rooting for Fulham (who was the home team) and they won with a goal in the 80th min!  It was so much fun and I wish I could afford to go to another game, especially a Chelsea or Manchester United game, while being here, but because soccer is so much more popular here, tickets are basically only available to season ticket holders! 
Well thats about it for these last two weeks!  My mom and dad will be here in exactly two weeks, and I can't wait to see them.  I miss everyone more and more by the day.  Hope you are all doing well!



Sunday, 22 September 2013

It was a Wicked week in London!

Wow, this was a crazy week!  I have a lot to write about, so sorry you have to read so much!  Hopefully I can remember it all. I am getting really good at being a tourist. Okay here I go!

Front row
It all started on Tuesday, the 17th!  And if you know me well, you know all good things happen to me on the 17th (my birthday, High School Musical 2 came out, I got hired at Us in the Son, I met Nick Jonas, etc.)!  Well on this day I got to go see Wicked the musical.  Not only did I get to see it, I got to see it from the very front row!  It was my second time seeing the show, and it was amazing to see it from so close up.  The actress who played Elphaba was incredible, and I read that she had previously played Glinda, so you can imagine the vocal range on this girl!  It was such a great night!

The Telegraph Newspaper
On Thursday I had another field trip for my Media in Britain class.  We went on a tour of The Telegraph newspaper that is located in London. We first listened to a talk by one of the guys that is in charge of advertising, which was very interesting especially after having worked for LMU's school newspaper in the advertising department.  After the talk he gave us a tour of the huge office building and the newsroom where all of the journalists work and meet.  I wasn't allowed to take picture inside the newsroom, but the picture I did include is a picture of the entry way which is decorated with figures of olympic sports.  All of the heads of the athletes are The Telegraph's logo.

Tower Bridge
On Friday after class I went grocery shopping, and the cashier who was checking me out noticed I was buying literally all of the cheapest items in the store.  This lady was super sweet and after asking me if I was from America (understanding how expensive everything is in London) she wrote down some recipes for cheap meals I can make and told me where to find all the ingredients! There are nice people in the world!  Later on Friday, two girls and I tried to go see an outdoor movie that was free and right next to the London Tower Bridge, however we are really bad with directions and got lost and when we got there there were no more seats.  Oh well, now we know and we are going to try and go next week when they are playing Grease!  But the good news is I did get some good pictures of the bridge, and we went back to our apartments and ate ice cream and watched our own movie!

Saturday was a super fun day, and full of touristy things!  Since a lot of people we live with traveled to Dublin this weekend, Aya and I thought we would explore more of London for FREE!  First we went to Abby Road and took pictures on the same street as the Beatles!  Let me tell you, this is the hardest thing to do... trying to dodge traffic, and dodge other tourists, and get the perfect picture is very stressful!  But after many attempts we managed to get it right!  We then got lost again trying to find the Beatles store... but getting lost is all the fun of it!  After Abby Road we headed over to Brick Lane in East London.  Here there is a ton of street art, shops, markets, and really cool paintings everywhere.  We kind of had a mini photo shoot with all the awesome graffiti and paintings.  To end our journey for the day we headed back to our apartment but stopped at one last place... the house that the mom from The Parent Trap lives!!  The house is only about a half mile from where we live and is in a VERY nice area!  It was a very fun and exciting day!

Lastly, Sunday!  Today I got to tour the state rooms of Buckingham Palace!  Unfortunately the Queen is not in London at the moment, so I did not get to see her, but it was a really cool feeling to know I was technically in the Queen's house and that she has been in the rooms I was in.  The palace is beautiful, and so historic.  It was a great experience.  Too bad we weren't allowed to take pictures inside.  The rest of the day I have just been working on homework, projects and papers... because I actually am here for school, you know!
Buckingham Palace Gardens

Once again, I am having a great time but missing everyone so much!  I was so happy to be able to skype some people I have really been missing this week, and I hope to skype more soon!  Let me know if there is anything else you want to hear about or if I am boring you with all my writing!  I've posted a lot of pictures on Facebook recently, so check those out too! Love and miss all of you!



P.S. More pictures!


My favorite of the street art
Who knew graffiti could look nice?
Parent Trap house!!