Why Study Abroad?

When asked why people should study abroad I can’t think of just one reason. There are so many reasons to study abroad. In my short time in London I made friends I will never forget and created memories that will last me a lifetime. There is more to studying abroad than just the studying. While I learned so much when it came to the class matter, I also learned a lot about myself.

I always knew I was an independent person, but this trip helped me learn just how independent I am. Being able to get around a foreign city, and take side trips to Paris, is really something. In three weeks we went from staring at maps and not being able to find the tube station to only looking up which stop to get off at before figuring out directions as we went.

Being outside of a classroom is such a different experience. Seeing the things that you’re discussing and exploring the places you’ve read about give you a different sense of understanding. We read a book by Charles Dickens and then got to see the places that inspired him. Walking around and exploring London during free time with friends helped us all to learn about the way other people live and how that has affected the literature we read. Studying abroad has broadened my knowledge in so many ways and I think that everyone should go somewhere if they have the opportunity.

World Travelers

Our time here in London has flown by and our plans for a weekend in Paris came up much sooner than I had expected. We had 48 hours to see Paris, and I think we accomplished a good amount. As successful tube riders in London we got ourselves to Heathrow Airport with ease. Security felt like a breeze and all of a sudden we were waiting to board a plane to Paris

After making it to the hotel, via taxi of course, we came across a small grocery store and made ourselves a rather late dinner. We slept in, but only until 10:30, and then took the day by storm. With amazing weather we walked all across Paris, hardly ever using a map. We started at Notre Dame, one of the most amazing buildings I’ve ever seen, and ended the day at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower.

The love lock bridge was second on our list of stops. It’s an amazing site and I think that everyone should see it in person. The Louvre is another place that will never cease to disappoint. I could go back another five times and still not see everything, though I did see the Mona Lisa! I sipped my cappuchino while we casually strolled through the parks heading off towards more things to see. We all ate our way through the city, and I managed to try Nutella for the first time. With all the crepes I’ve consumed I think I might turn into one, but it was well worth it! I’ve also been telling myself that we walked them all off after being gone from noon time until about ten thirty Saturday night.

Even though we relaxed a bit on Sunday and found a restaurant for breakfast I had such a great weekend. It went by so fast! As we boarded the plane back to London I realized that I flew from London to Paris in the time it takes me to drive from my house to Lowell. That forty-five minute plane ride brought me memories to last a lifetime.


Connecting the Dots of London

Yesterday we saw some of my favorite things so far in London. We got to go to the British Library and see all of the old manuscripts that they have on display. It was amazing to see so many things that I have read throughout school, but unfortunately I have no pictures to show because it’s not allowed. Seeing Jane Austen’s handwriting and some of Bach’s works on display was such an incredible experience. This isn’t a display just for English majors, anyone in the world can appreciate the original copies, or in some cases oldest known copies, of famous works for the sake of their age alone. Seeing a 4th century text is not something people see everyday!

Being in London and seeing the rich history has been an eye opening experience for me. Last week, during a Dickens walking tour, we learned that the Rose theatre was preserved underneath a building near The Globe Theatre. After leaving the show Antony and Cleopatra, I saw a sign outside of a building saying it was the preserved area of the Rose. Seeing the way London comes together all across the city in ways you wouldn’t have noticed without looking is really cool. The amount of history here is unbelievable. This study abroad trip has made me much more interested in the history of Boston.

The Blink of an Eye

The final count down has begun. We only have four actual days left of class meetings because of our free weekend. It seems like the time has gone by so quickly, but I also feel like I’ve been here for a long time. There is such a difference between studying abroad and visiting. Living in someone’s home has brought the everyday life of London into my own reality. Walking to and from the tube and walking through the station like I own it makes me feel like I’ve been here for a semester.

Today was a very important day in the history of London and of Europe in general. August 4, 2014 marks the 100 year anniversary of the day England declared war on Germany, which began WWI. I’m so glad we were here for that. A few days ago at the Tower of London there were thousands of ceramic poppies being placed around the outside walls to commemorate fallen soldiers, but tonight was “Lights Out London”. It was amazing to see the London Eye not lit up and to also see a big spot light shot up into the night sky. Trafalger Square was completely darkened, and is also a memory I will have forever. Reading about the history of a country is a far different thing than seeing where the old and new come together to form such a great city. Take has gone by in the blink of an eye as the old cliche goes!

View From the Top

I always enjoyed going to plays and musicals when I was younger, and was even in a few as a young high school student. However, I didn’t know much about the history of theatres before coming on this trip. Not only have I seen some of the most famous theatres in London but have also seen some incredible shows.

The Crucible was absolutely amazing and I found myself falling in love with the tragedy of the story even though I had never read it before. We’ve also seen a concert and another show called Wonderland when we first got here. If the rest of the shows on our schedule are anywhere near as good as these (which I’m sure they are) I can’t wait to see them.

This morning we went to the V&A Museum and got to look at different fashions from the last few centuries. It was so incredible to see how women’s dress has changed in the last 150 years and just how far London has come since then. After that we went to St. Paul’s Cathedral which is absolutely BREATH TAKING. I’ve never seen such incredible views both inside and outside of a church. We walked up about 600 steps to reach the very top and see an amazing view of London. It was worth the workout! This trip has honestly been the trip of a lifetime!!image image image

Ancient Texts and Magic Spells

Time is flying by. We’ve already been here a week and I seriously can’t tell if it feels like I’ve lived here for months or if we’re just so busy I don’t even realize the time has passed. Today’s trip to Oxford was amazing.

I grew up with a love of books and being able to see shelves and shelves of old books today was something I don’t think I could ever forget. Unfortunately you’re not allowed to take pictures up there but it was well worth the 3 hour journey. We also got to see a bit of where Harry Potter films were made which reminded me of the countless hours I’ve spent reading those books in my lifetime.

It has certainly been a busy week and looking ahead our days are full of more tours and shows and our weekend trip to Paris!!! I don’t know how we would get through this trip without our host families. Julie and I are so lucky that our host mom is making things so easy for us here so that we are able to really enjoy our time here. Particularly the Kenwood House yesterday which was unbelievable. I could just imagine scenes from Pride and Prejudice happening all around the grounds. London is so much fun, I can’t wait for some of the trips but I’m not ready to go home quite yet!


Selfie Me

I’m in the middle of feeling like I’ve been in London forever, and like time is flying by. We’ve already been here for five days and done so much. It’s hard to say if I even have a favorite part right now. I really enjoyed going to the British Museum the other day and seeing the amazing artifacts this building contains. It was also a good time to unwind by ourselves and to take our time with the exhibits we liked.

As a group we’ve grown a bond and already have become our own family. I think that one of the best things this trip has afforded all of us is the ability to get to know each other very quickly and find out we get along perfectly. As a student family we have tackled the Tube at rush hour, survived our first torrential London downpour and done a walking tour around the city center.

Although we switched a few things around on the schedule I’m so happy to be walking the streets and seeing the everyday culture of London rather than just seeing the tourist sites. However, we have seen some of the most important tourist sites anywhere close by. One of my favorite things was seeing Westminster Abbey and the history it offers. I was also so excited to see Cleopatra in the Museum, especially since we will be seeing the play Antony and Cleopatra.

Going to the Prom concert last night and being able to get dressed up for it was a lot of fun. It has been a a jam packed summer so far and with Hyde Park Cemetary on the list for tomorrow I’m so much more excited. I’ve attached some of the pictures from the last few days and a few “selfie me” photos as well!



The Views of London

After arriving yesterday morning we were all excited to start our three week adventure. We had all booked taxis to pick us up at the airport. Naturally as my luck would have it I was the person who had looked things up for travel and told the rest of the group which one I had chosen, and my taxi didn’t show up. I thought to myself, this can’t be how my trip is starting.

Julie and I finally made it to our homestay in Southgate after calling the company and sorting things out. Our neighborhood is AMAZING and we did a bit of exploring after settling in. It took a bit of time to figure things out but I think we’ve mostly got the tube down. Quite unlike Boston, we have to tap our Oyster cards to get into the station AND leave. A few of us learned that the hardway.

We attended a performance today of Wonderland, and it was such a great performance. The acting was great and the set was really interesting. It was similar to how the North Shore Theater is set up but quite a bit smaller and you sit essentially right up along the stage. There were a few moments that shocked me as I hadn’t seen the sign about loud noises but overall I truly enjoyed going to the Hamstead Theatre. We saw the whole view of the center of London at Primrose Hill right after the show. So far I am loving what we’ve done and the group is great to be with. I can’t wait for the rest of what’s in store!!!

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When Opportunity Floods Your Inbox

Growing up in a family of four children is a lot of work. My older sister plays by the rules, my younger brother makes his own rules, and my youngest sister falls somewhere in the middle of them. I was always different. Kerri, my oldest sister would try so hard for summer reading, I would take her books when she was done and read them somewhere between a few hours and a few days. After seeing my sister and mother read Harry Potter together, I read it myself in first grade. It only took me a few days. I only picked up speed from there, reading anything and everything I could get my hands on. I fall into another place when I’m reading, to the point of not hearing anyone call my name. There was one night in third grade I almost got grounded from reading after not hearing my mom call me to dinner repeatedly.

Reading has always been something special for me. I easily fall into a story as I paint the characters in my mind. Naturally I believe the book is ALWAYS better than the movie, though I must admit Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy did make it difficult to enjoy the book more. For me this trip is about taking something that I love and seeing it come to life. The places we’ll go and the things we’ll see are something I can’t imagine not experiencing. I love to travel as much as I love to read. I’ve been to Italy before and I took in everything my eyes could cover. I had always promised myself that I would study abroad in college, but as I changed majors and schools a few times things had never worked out until I saw the e-mail for this trip. As I approach my last semester of undergrad I’m so excited to see what these next three weeks have in store for us.