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!





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