Saturday, June 7, 2014

Global Competence

Now that I have been home for a while and I have really let the trip sink in I have been thinking whether or not I am a global citizen. I think I have definitely made a great start, but I don't think I am there yet. I have now only been to two countries, but I would like to travel to many more. I have learned so much about England and their culture. I also learned a little bit about France. I think that in order for me to become a better global citizen I need to some more of another language, I didn't realize how difficult it could be to tour a country that speaks a different language. I think that this study abroad trip was a wonderful experience. It really showed me that I can travel and I want to do it more. I also think that it helped me step out of my comfort zone and changed me for the better.

Monday, May 26, 2014

There's no place like home...

Yesterday was the longest day ever! I stayed up for a lovely 22 hours while we travelled back to the states. I had such an amazing time in London. It's an experience that I will never forget. I loved the whole experience, the history of the entire city was overwhelming but so interesting. It will probably take a few weeks to let it a sink in. Although I enjoyed the culture and the different life style I am glad to be back in my small home town. 

Thank you Tracy for all of your hard work. I can't imagine the amount of planning that goes into these trips. It was truly amazing and I loved every bit of it. 

I am so thankful that I got to experience this adventure. I am even more grateful for the friends I've made. I learned a lot from the city but even more from my roommates! Chloe is one of the strongest and amazing person I've ever met and I look up to her a lot. I'm so proud to say she is my friend and I can't wait to see all the other adventures we are going to experience in the future. Me and Jamie have been roommates before but it was especially amazing that we got to share this experience together. I wouldn't have survived the trip without her. She helped me over come my fear of traveling and together we jumped out of out comfort zones. We will never be the same and I think we will all be friends forever. 

Hands down best trip ever. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Following Shakespeare

Yesterday we took a day trip out of the city. We first went to Oxford University. It's really interesting how all of the different colleges work under the entire University. Our amazing guide Sarah took us around and showed us a lot of the historical points. I loved how the town shows so much character. Also there are many places that inspired famous stories, like Narnia, Alice in Wonderland, and even Winnie the Pooh. There were also many spots that Harry Potter was filmed in. We went to the Christ Church College, which is probably the most desired college to go to at Oxford University. The stair case in this college is the stair case where all of the kids in Harry Potter walked up to enter the great hall, and it was filmed there as well. I walked up the staircase just as they did when they entered Hogwarts. 

We left Oxford and went to Stratford, which is where Shakespeare was born, grew up, and died. We got to see the house he was born in and lived in. We also got to see the land where Shakespeare lived as an adult before he has it torn town before he died. It was very cool to see this town and all of its history. 

The last place we went to was Warwick Castle, which is now used as entertainment. We got to go down into a dungeon that was for prisoners of the time. We also went through some of the scenes of the men getting ready for war. My favorite part was walking through the scenes of Daisy's Party. Daisy was quite the it girl of her time and she was the mistress of a King. She was know for her excellent parties and gossip. We got to walk through different rooms as if we were at her party. 

Yesterday was very cool. I love the history of all of the towns we went through. Our guide Sarah knows so much about everything and it really makes the trips more exciting. I owe a huge thanks to her for making the history and learning so interesting. The history is definitely one of my favorite parts of this trip! 

Maria is also such a cool person. She is the one who has to babysit us while we on our tours and she has our tickets all organized and ready. She makes sure we are all keeping good time and has made our trip run very smooth. It has been fun to hang out with her and get to know her a little as well. 

Thank you Sarah and Maria!! You guys are great!!!

Big City Air

This is the first time I have ever stayed in big city for a period of time. I think that the pollution here is crazy. There are so any smokers in the city there is almost no way to escape the second hand smoke. This is probably worst part about the big city life. Also the underground (the tube) is like the main transportation of this city. They are pretty much the veins of London. When one of them shuts down the whole city comes to a stop. The tube lets off some serious air pollution as well. The group has noticed that when we blow our nose that I come out black just from breathing the air from the tube. It doesn't sound very healthy for a long period of time. It is nice that most people who do drive have small and environmentally friendly cars. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Time Flys!

This week has gone by so fast. We went to the Supreme Court, attended a lecture at Kings College, and went to New Scotland Yard. 

Me and the girls went to the theater and saw Wicked on Tuesday night and it was absolutely amazing! I fell in love with the story and the musical. It brought me to tears a few times and it was great! I love that I got to see and experience it with Jamie and Chloe. 

Yesterday we took a train to Paris. It rained a lot and I forgot my unberella, but I was still in Paris. We went and saw Notre Dame and the Arc De Triomphe which were beautiful. We also went the Eiffel Tower, which was amazing! We stood underneath it and it's much bigger than you would think. 
We got to see the outside of the Louvre Museum because the line was like a mile long and we didn't have enough time to wait. I hope I can go back one day to see inside of it because the outside was beautiful. 

Today we thought we were going to New Scotland Yard all day but it turned out we were going to Buckingham Palace for the morning to watch the changing of the guards. When we got there Contable Watson informed us that we were going to go through the gates and watch it from the inside! This is very rare and people don't usually get this honor but we did and it was amazing. People were taking tons of pictures of is thinking that we were famous or important or something. 

Contable Watson had another great surprise for us today. We ended up getting to go to number 10 Downing Street which is where the Prime Minister lives. This is also something people don't get to do, only with special permission. It was an incredible experience. 

We all owe a huge thanks to Contable Watson because he showed us a lot of things. My trip to London wouldn't have been near as eventful with out him! 

Being American

In London people don't have a particularly positive view on Americans. During my stay here there haven't been too many comments about it. A few times while on the Underground, we've heard people mumble things about how they don't like Americans and things but it didn't bother me. Another girl on the trip had someone glare at her because she said she was from the states. These things aren't too bad and we have all been trying to just prove them wrong. 

Other times the people who are in charge of our group on tours make little comments too, but just for fun. They tell is how we drive on the wrong side of the road and talk funny. When we attended the police station most of the officers told us we were crazy for owning guns and that are cops are mean because they also have guns. The police in London only carry a baton and pepper spray, but it works for them. 

It's been interesting what people have to say about us. Nothing has been very offensive and people have generally been pretty nice and understanding especially when we try to pay for things with the enormous amount of coins they use. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Wow I'm in London!

This London trip has been going by very quickly! Jamie, Chloe, and I have been packing our days soo full of lots of fun things! Friday we got to go to the Making of Harry Potter, which is at the Warner Bros. Studio, and where they actually filmed all of the Harry Potter Movies!! It was so amazing to see all if the props and sets and special effects that were used to make the movies come to life. I was amazing with all the details and I nearly cried when we had to leave. It was so amazing to experience all of that. After that we went to the London Dungeon. The London Dungeon is like a haunted house that went through history of all the terrifying moments of England. We went through everything from the Black Plague  to Jack the Ripper. It was very scary but loads of fun. 

Over the weekend we have been doing tons and tons of walking and touring. Yesterday we went to Westminster Abbey. That is the royal church and is where all of the royal ceremonies, including the most recent royal wedding. Not only is this for royal ceremonies but also has tons of tombs and remembrance plaques of important people. We literally stood on Sir Issac Newton and Charles Darwin's tombs. We also got to visit the Great Queen Victoria's personal side chapel tomb. They had wonderful remembrance tombs for many of the wonderful past royals, educators and artist. The best tomb was the tomb of the unknown soldier that was put buried right in the front for anyone to appreciate the many soldiers that fought for this country and died and wasn't recognized because they couldn't be identified. This tomb is know to be the most important tomb, that isn't a royal, buried in the entire Abbey. It was all very amazing and emotional. 

Today was breath taking. We traveled out of London and went though the beautiful English country side to Stone Henge. It was so amazing to see these mysterious stones in person. I particularly like the theory that people traveled to these stones in the past for healing purposes. After that we went to the Roman Baths to see the city of Bath that was partially built by the Romans around 2000 years ago. We walked on the stones they originally laid. The baths are natural spring water that is very warm. The bath was built to warship a goddess. The water is known to have healing properties and we all took a big drink at the end. 

I knew that on this trip I would make some really awesome memories. I didn't know I would make some long lasting friendships as well...