Study Abroad, Honors Program & Other Student Experiences

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Study Abroad, Honors Program & Other Student Experiences

Rugby Rascals

June 19th, 2013 · Victoria Engle '14 - Australia

Hey guys!

I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather lately and decided that I was suffering from “cabin fever.” Last Saturday my friend, Tom, and I bought rugby tickets to see the Brisbane Broncos play the Wests Tigers this past Monday. Although it was freezing cold (remember it’s winter here), it was still a lot of fun and the energy and excitement were enough to keep me a little warm! It definitely gave me the jolt of fresh air that I needed!

To get to the game we walked a few blocks to catch a bus to the Suncorp Stadium. Tom and I were waiting for the number 385 bus when all of a sudden a random bus that said it was going to the Suncorp Stadium pulled up in front of us. It was jam packed with people in jerseys, beanies, and scarfs, all ready for the match. We were the last two people that the bus driver stopped for since it was so crowded! We stood in the front near the driver, holding on for dear life and trying not to knock anyone over. I was afraid that if I knocked even one person over it would create a domino effect and everybody else would fall down. Anyways, it wasn’t until we were getting off the bus that I really glanced behind me and noticed that everyone was wearing orange and black- the colors of the opposing team! After I stepped off of the bus I looked to my left and saw another bus but all of those passengers were wearing maroon and gold- the Bronco’s colors. I’m not sure how exactly it happened but we somehow ended up on a Wests Tigers shuttle. Oh well, at least we got there!

The match was intense to watch. I’ve never seen rugby played before, especially by professionals. Every time someone got knocked down or pushed over I would groan as if I could feel their pain. It was all worth it in the end though, with the Broncos beating the Tigers 32-12! After the game was over, Tom and I joined the happy Bronco fans and skipped all the way to the train station to head back home.

I took a few videos from the game and put it together for you to have a look if you’re interested! It was hard to compact 2 hours in to 5 min. but it gives you a good idea of what the game was like and how excited the fans were:

I hope your Monday was as exciting as mine!

xoxo, Victoria

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Artin’ Around

June 15th, 2013 · Victoria Engle '14 - Australia

Hey guys!

Finals are here and you know what that means- stress, procrastination, more stress, and a general lack of fun in the air. Late yesterday afternoon, my roommate David burst through the kitchen door and declared that we needed to take a break from studying. He had read online that an Aboriginal art exhibit was on at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), a few blocks away from our place, so we decided to treat ourselves with some fresh air. We only had about an hour in the museum before it closed but we still had a lot of fun! It was nice to stare at artwork rather than flashcards and lecture outlines.

When we got home I procrastinated a little more and quickly threw together this video of a few things that we saw! Sadly my battery died on the way home, right before we walked through the markets (of course) but anyways, enjoy!



p.s. the best part about the museum was the children’s section! David and I were the biggest, oldest ones in the room but that didn’t stop us from making fun (and slightly creepy) kangaroo masks!

Kangaroo Crew!

Kangaroo Crew!

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Euro Trip!

May 16th, 2013 · Honors Program, Laura Haeberle '14, Study Abroad

Hi everyone! Sorry it’s been a little while since my last post. Euro trip, for all it’s greatness, had rather limited internet. But alas, this was was nothing! I had such a fantastic time and all my hours of extensive planning ensured that basically everything went off without a hitch. Good job, past-Laura. But enough gloating, I’m sure you’d rather here about my adventures. Beginning with our first stop…



  • Arrived after another regrettable 10 hour Megabus ride (thank goodness it was only 4 pounds)
  • Reached our hostel, right along one of the main canals
  • Wandered through the red light district. It was….interesting
  • Went to a few of the best bars and clubs in the city
  • Took a walking tour in the morning -2.5 hours of exploring the city’s greatest landmarks
  • Grabbed a delicious, pastry-filled lunch at a cute cafe (the first of MANY on this trip)
  • Got slightly lost trying to get to the Botanical Gardens (though we made it there with an hour to spare!)
  • Took a bunch of pictures of the canal at night
  • Grabbed a very confusing bus the next morning to…



  • Tried curry wurst! And bratwurst, so goooood
  • Explored the giant cathedral (massive and beautiful)
  • Went down some shopping avenues and picked up pastry breakfast
  • Read in a hammock at the hostel (drinking tea and eating communal cous cous, a distinctly Laura action)
  • Played German scrabble (it’s like regular Scrabble, but with a lot more S’s)
  • Went to a former Gestapo prisonS
  • Walked across the bridge to see the love locks (reminded me of Paris)
  • Got super rained out mid-way through the day (meaning I trekked it back to the hostel)
  • Visited a chocolate museum (they had free samples!)
  • Met some nice Canadians at the hostel and went out with them for the night
  • Saw the cathedral and city lights lit up
  • Embarked on a Eurostar train to…



  • Tried Belgian Waffles (with Manneken Pis gummies on them -yum)
  • Saw the actual Manneken Pis statue (pretty small, but I came with no expectations)
  • Were awed by the buildings of the Grand Place
  • Visited the Brussels Museum, seeing various costumes for the Manneken Pis boy
  • Tried free samples of chocolate (needed to be done)
  • Saw an amazing panorama of the city from the top of  a parking structure (thank goodness for off-the-beaten-track maps)
  • Went out with more new Canadian friends for some free music
  • Day tripped to Gent, about half an hour away
  • Tried everything at their annual food festival (we picked the perfect day to visit)
  • Sampled the “Gent nose,” a purple triangular gummy that sorta tastes like Gushers
  • Tried horse (not bad!) and escargot (eh…)
  • Ate some delicious appel streudel
  • Marveled at the historic buildings, cathedrals, and canals
  • Saw the castle of Gent!
  • Tried mastellen (a bagel with chocolate, all grilled to be delicious)
  • Headed back to the hostel to get some sleep for…



  • Woke at 4:30am, getting ready completely in the dark, to walk to the train station, catch a shuttle to the bus, and eventually make my flight (leaving my two lovely traveling companions behind)
  • Arrived in sunny Budapest to meet up with my friend Suraj (who lives on the fourth floor with no elevator, ughhh)
  • Walked across nearly every bridge, getting great views of the city skyline
  • Explored Margaret Island, a park that’s, well, an island
  • Saw the main touristy sections of town, and the famous book fountain (whose pages turn!)
  • Visited Suraj’s favorite cafes, sandwich shops, and bars (everything was fairly cheap, so I could afford to eat real food!)
  • Tried various original flavors of Geltao (coconut Nutella, plum & cinnamon, Kinder chocolate)
  • Climbed to the top of the citadel and the Budapest castle
  • Visited some famous ruin bars, whose insides are enormous, former-apartment sized, and very…uniquely decorated
  • MORE pastries for breakfast
  • Saw the Synagogue, Parliament, and the Basillica
  • Explored the Castle district on the Buda side, visiting all the thrift shops (and getting some great finds)
  • Adventured around City Park (which looks straight out of a fairy tale)
  • Saw the Grand Markets (and paid way too much for a tourist-y langos -fried dough with cinnamon and crushed walnuts :])
  • Went to the Baths, warmed by natural hot springs

And, after a long many journeys, have made it home to London. I have only nine full days left in this city (single digits!) and it’s heartbreaking to know how soon I leave. London has been so good to me, and I truly love living here. Still, there’s no need to get overly emotional just yet. I still have SO MUCH I need to do! Today will involve walking to Camden (while the weather is fairly nice), picking up some last minute souvenirs, and then seeing The Tempest at the Globe Theatre. Tomorrow might be the food festival at Southbank (again) and possibly Abbey Road. There are a bunch of little things I’m still trying to see and do, but I think when it comes time to leave on the 25th, I’ll be ready. This semester has been the adventure of a lifetime, but I know there are so many more to come.

Keeping hopeful,



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Back in the US!

May 15th, 2013 · Meagan Douches '14 - France

A popular street full of cafes and bars next to the Vieux Port

A popular street full of cafes and bars next to the Vieux Port

So my year abroad has come to an end and I’m back home in farmville, PA (aka Lititz).  The semester seemed to end so abrupt since I had finals all last week until Friday and then my flight home was Saturday morning.  It didn’t seem like enough closure to wrap up such an amazing and immersive year, but I was kind of ready to move on at the same time.  Bittersweet to say the least.  After what seemed like a million hours flying with a 4 hour layover in Dublin, I arrived at JFK to find my parents waiting for me.  I was feeling very patriotic when I arrived and I had an urge to kiss the sweet American soil, liberty and justice for all!  Another silver lining was seeing my dogs reaction when I finally got home!  I thought it would feel weird to be in my house again after 8 and 1/2 months, but surprisingly it just felt like home.  Considering that I was staying with host families the entire year and therefore never really had a place that was “mine,” I felt happily at ease being home.  With that being said this weekend I’ll be moving back into Arcadia to start working in the Communications department again.  I had been debating the last few months whether it would be better to just stay home and try to find a job (almost impossible around here) or to stay on campus like I did last summer, but now I’m happy to be going back.  I have a guaranteed 40 hours a week and I miss the social atmosphere of being on campus.  So I’m looking forward to be going back.

The fire festival in the port

The fire festival in the port

I realize that I hadn’t posted about my last week or two in France, so I’ll catch you up.  Basically the last few weeks leading up until finals was crazy, just like always.  The good news is, I feel like I got a lot out of almost all of my classes.  They were mostly political science based, which is hardly my area of expertise, but I really feel like I learned a lot about the history and relations between France and North Africa, and that I can understand and empathize with Maghreban people.  So no matter how I did on my finals, at least I’m taking something away from my classes.

I did manage to do some cool stuff during this hectic time.  My last weekend there was a huge fire festival at the Vieux Port as part of the European Cultural Capital of 2013 (Marseille is this year’s capital city).  It was actually really cool and it was so nice to see the port so lively and full of people (maybe too many people, but quand meme).  There were these flaming flower pots everywhere and they even lined up in the water so that all of the boats were illuminated.  People were also sending off floating lanterns into the sky just like in Tangled.

The beach in the calanques

The beach in the calanques

Me at the beach

Me at the beach

The weather started getting really warm and nice the last few weeks as well so much beach time and tanning was had.  However, my last full day in France is a day I will never forget!  I was invited to go hiking in the Calanques (rock formed cliffs/mountains in the ocean) with another American student, Brenda, and her host mom.  Brenda’s French friend Claire decided to join us so after picking her up, her host mom drove us all to the calanque d’En Vau (said by many to be the prettiest).  We parked the car and started our hike.  The terrain started out very grassy with lots of trees, but as we continued downhill for a little over an hour, eventually we were surrounded by enormous rock formations.  I saw many rock climbers doing what looked to be impossible and terrifying, yet I mentally decided to add that to my bucket list.  Then, all of the sudden, the rocks opened up to the most amazing site I’ve ever seen!  We had reached the water where two huge calanques were separated by a small passage to the ocean.  Between the two calanques lay a small pebble beach full of people and with the most amazing turquoise colored water.  There were kayakers, rock climbers, swimmers, and families everywhere all enjoying the strong Marseille sun.  The water was rather cold, but Brenda and I forced ourselves to dive in and once we did that, we never wanted to get out.  I have no idea how long we swam for, but we talked about how we’ve grown from this year abroad, and how lucky we are to be able to experience places like this.  After swimming, we picnicked on the beach and laid in the sun.  When the time came, we packed our things and hiked back up the calanque.  It may sound corny but, I still consider that to be one of the best days of my life.

The view during our hike

The view during our hike

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The End (of only freshman year, calm down everyone)

May 10th, 2013 · First Year Study Abroad Experience, Mariah MacKenzie '16

Yahoo! I’m finally back home in Sandwich (yes, I realize, it’s a weird name, please don’t ask me what kind of sandwich I live in, you’re not funny) and of course extremely sick. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t eat or sleep properly, if at all, for a week straight. My bad.

Finals week was quite crazy to be honest. If I wasn’t studying for an exam, I was working on my English portfolio. If I wasn’t working on my English portfolio, I was working on my final project for computer science. If I wasn’t doing that, then I was procrastinating and being there for my friends when they were getting tattoos, or helping other people with their work, or trying to figure out how I was going to pack everything, or at work study… you catch my drift, right? Craziness. It wasn’t very good for my mental or physical health, either. Like I said, I’m sick as a dog now that I’m finally home and can see my friends again (figures) but that wasn’t the only negative side effect from the past few weeks. I was totally out of it and more of a dumb klutz than usual from the fifth onwards. Example of utter stupidity: I went to Walmart with Iz on the sixth, and when we were about to exit her car to go into the store, she asked me to lock the door. Standard instruction, right? So I proceeded to lock the door, and then sit there for a solid three minutes, trying to figure out why on Earth it would not open and let me go outside. Classic, classic Mariah moment.

Our room turned into a bit of a war zone, especially the last night we were in it. At least I had Oreos to keep me company...

Our room turned into a bit of a war zone, especially the last night we were in it. At least I had Oreos to keep me company…

Duyen's messy half

See? A war zone even on Duyen’s side, too. I wasn’t lying.

I noticed this had been added to my sign outside our dorm sometime during the week... but who did it? And how delusional can he/she possibly be?!

I noticed this had been added to my sign outside our dorm sometime during the week… but who did it? And how delusional can he/she possibly be?!

And LOOK! Mom was nice enough to send me a SECOND care package! It was beautiful.

And LOOK! Mom was nice enough to send me a SECOND care package! It was beautiful.

Anyway what’s even crazier than finals period was how fast this semester zoomed by! Seriously! My mom and I couldn’t believe she was helping me move out of the dorm it felt like she had just dropped me off in a month ago. I don’t understand how that happens.

Thankfully there weren’t any tears on departure with friends, just a bunch of hugs and best wishes for awesome summers. Frankly I was a bit frazzled during the whole ordeal just because I had barely slept the previous night after completing my portfolio, and then I had to pack just about everything after my English final before my mom came to take me. Oh, and vacuum and clean the place, too. We were so petrified of the fees we vacuumed the room three times and scrubbed every desk and dresser with Windex. I think they’re a bit ridiculous… I mean, getting charged $25 for not vacuuming? Aren’t people going to do that anyway to get the rooms prepared for next year? It didn’t make much sense to me and my roommate, but we did it anyhow. So but yeah. It’s all a bit of a blur.

If you have to look away due to the sparkling cleanliness, I understand.

If you have to look away due to the sparkling cleanliness, I understand.

The last picture I ever took of our dorm *sniff*

The last picture I ever took of our dorm *sniff*

Since I’ve been home, I’ve been hanging out with my cat Luna (see an adorable picture below) and watching a bunch television. And drinking liquids. Yup. Fun summer, guys! Woo! Hehe, just kidding. This summer should be epic seeing as I get to spend it at home. As I mentioned in my last post, I have planned to go to a bunch of concerts with my best friend Emily, and hopefully I’ll also be visiting my sister who currently lives on Nantucket Island a few times. It should be a lot of fun :)

Yay for being back at my normal, messy desk! And guess what's open on my laptop?! It's like Inception or something...

Yay for being back at my normal, messy desk! And guess what’s open on my laptop?! It’s like Inception or something…

Lunabella bids you a good day! (And yes. Yes that is a Hello Kitty blanket, that is on my bed, that I own. Stop being so jealous, it's unhealthy.)

Lunabella bids you a good day! (And yes. Yes that is a Hello Kitty blanket, that is on my bed, that I own. Stop being so jealous, it’s unhealthy.)

Other than that, I really don’t know what else to say! It was a lot of fun, blogging for my entire freshman year. I’m sorry, for probably the billionth time, that I didn’t get around to doing it nearly as much as I would have liked my second semester. Hopefully the, er, glorious and inspiring content of the few posts I did do made up for their small quantity? Maybe? I hope so. Thanks for reading them, or even just this one post, and I hope you have an amazing summer too!

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The Rain in Spain

May 2nd, 2013 · Honors Program, Laura Haeberle '14, Study Abroad

Remember those “warm rays of the sun” I mentioned in my last blog? Unfortunately, Barcelona did not get the message. Here’s how it went down.

So, I had a bus to the airport at 5:20, meaning I got up at 4:45 am!! AND I didn’t just pull an all-nighter and declare that I’d sleep on the plane foolishly! Granted, I got like no sleep because I was stressing about every little detail in the trip that could go wrong, but that’s besides the point. I scurried down in my “comfy heels” towards Baker street station, and grabbed my easybus no problem. From there, it was off to the airport, customs, and a couple hours of reading and waiting in the lobby. I’d forgotten how stressful it is to prepare for every part of taking a plane, but it’s a helpful reminder for when I’m traveling home at the end of this month. From the plane (good ol’ Ryanair, which swindled more money out of me before I even boarded), I took a train into the city centre of Barcelona and tried to use my directions to the hostel to get myself there and sit. Forever. Comfy heels were not holding up, unsurprisingly. I wandered for about

Casa Batlló, one of Gaudí's works. Also cost over 20 euro to go in, no thank you!

First picture in BCN: Casa Batlló, one of Gaudí’s works. Also cost over 20 euro to go in, no thank you!

an hour (it was supposed to be a 15 min walk) making many a-squares through the streets and taking a couple pictures as I less-than-strolled. At least the weather wasn’t awful! Sunny, but windy. I didn’t know how much worse it would get. Ahh, to be so naive!

I’d arrived a day and a half before my friend Suraj, whose birthday we were celebrating on Sunday night. I decided to grab some snacks at a local grocery store and left with a pack of Twinkies (they were not filled with white creme, they were filled with lies), and umbrella (the dreaded rain had begun) and the cashier’s phone number (I can’t explain this one). I contemplated going out with him that night, as he offered to show me the city, but life had other plans. My hostel roommate Matt walked in, and we started off having a two-hour conversation. When he suggested we go grab tapas and venture the city together, I decided to forgo plans with the cashier. Sadly, this meant I couldn’t go into that 24-hour grocery store again for the rest of the trip!

Still, no regrets. The tapas were great and Matt and I walked everywhere on Friday, getting a feel for the sights and sounds of Barcelona. We walked down Las Ramblas, popped into a beautiful and extensive market, saw and explored a few cathedrals, snapped some photos of the shore (not raining, but still damn cold), and hit up a few cool-looking statues. All before lunch! Unless you count lunch as the Kinder egg-flavored gelato I got while we strolled. I regret nothing.

The beach! Mmm can't wait for Long Island summers

The beach! Mmm can’t wait for Long Island summers

Eventually, we decided to climb up Montjuïc, Barcelona’s Olympic mountain. again, still in heels -this will become a sad motif of the trip. We traveled back down the shore, ventured to the pier, and then began our trek. On the way, we saw a family of four that had just been pickpocketed. I flashed back to my day at Versaille a few years back and the feeling I had when I saw my wallet missing. My sympathy went out to the family. Apparently, pick pocketing is really an issue here and people need to be super careful. My hand was on my purse at all times, no worries. Well, mild worries because I was using a scrawny reusable bag from Wales (good ol’ Ryanair only allows one bag, so I had to squeeze this in) and I think I looked just a bit like a tourist. Also, I was wearing flip flops for part of the trip, which is always a big European no-no (why???)

Regardless, we got to the top of the mountain, marveled at the incredible view, and started looking around for the Magic Fountain, specified as a landmark on our map. And we trekked, with Matt using his Spanish skills to ask old men about this strange fountain. Eventually we found it! And it was turned off  D: It’s apparently only on for shows at night for a few hours, so we weren’t even close. We popped into a cafe and I got a cheap bacon and cheese sandwich (seriously, one of the best things I’ve had in ages -don’t tell me how sad that is) and carried on to the hostel for a quick rest. Then we walked to the Sagrada Familia, one of the beautiful big cathedrals and only a 20 minute walk away. We were tempted to go inside, but 13 euro was just a smidge too much. And the outside had a bunch of construction, which slightly soiled the view. We grabbed some fantastic tortilla wraps at a kebab shop for dinner, and then sat around drinking tea and waiting for Suraj to show up. After some reuniting hugs and a quick stop for their dinner, it was time to sleep off the back (and foot) pains of the day. As my second hostel experience, not too bad!

The next day, Matt left for his next European adventure, but this pain was lessened by my new friendship with another roommate, Kerin. She joined us in our trip down Las Ramblas and around the shops of el Born and the gothic quarter. At night, we made our return to the Magic Fountain and I FINALLY saw it all lit up. Afterwards was a paella dinner and some sangria, so Spanish. Then the next day

See  what I mean?

See what I mean?

was a trip to Parc Guelle, a park situated on the top of a hill and adorned with beautiful buildings -it looked like a gingerbread house! You’ll also note the umbrella in the corner because YES it was raining the whole time and my only footware was either “comfy” heels or flip flops with no traction. Totally my fault, but totally awful. Also, my umbrella started breaking so it’s probably a good thing I didn’t go out with the cashier. If his personality is anything like the umbrella he sold me, I would’ve been disappointed.

I digress.

The views from the park were incredible, just like those from Montjuïc. After all the hiking everywhere, I needed a break at the hostel before beginning Suraj’s birthday bash. The plan was to not stay at the hostel and just be out all night. Int he morning, we could take a plane home and crash there. I knew this plan and still booked a night flight on  Monday, thinking, “Oh, worst case scenario I’ll have some time by myself to enjoy the beach!” Again, lies. But birthday night was still a relative success. We went from restaurant to bar to diner to club to beach to hotel, and Suraj seemed to enjoy himself, despite the weather, the sketchy people at the club, and the fact that the rooftop hotel club closed at 4. Whelp. The beach at night was beautiful too, I just wish it were nice enough to lay on and enjoy -seeing a sunrise would’ve been spectacular.

Instead, we journeyed back to our favorite hostel as soon as the underground was running again and then grabbed their stuff and left. I had the whole day to myself, so I shopped a bit with Kerin and then took a pretty satisfying nap and watched a few movies with other hostel inhabitants. Not a bad way to end the trip, especially since I was not going outside in a downpour -yuck.

I got home the next morning around 2am and just collapsed. Tuesday was spent meeting up with a friend at Borough market (where I finally found German food! Sorry, dad) and trying to get back in the London swing of things. Also, enjoying the weather because everything is beautiful. Yesterday, I finished up all my requirements for GCR and only have one short final reflection left, then I’m done with the semester! I also booked hostels for this weekend’s Eurotrip and man, was that expensive! It was about $200 for six nights in various cities, which hurts my college budget feels. But then when I think about the fact that most hotels in the U.S. charge that for one room for one night, it feels a little less awful. I’m going with friends and I’ll have a great time, so it’s okay. And I’ve decided not to venture to Italy at the end of the semester. No need to cram it in, I have the rest of my life to see the cities! And I figure, if there’s one place in Europe that I’d return to for an extensive trip, it would be Italy. So I feel alright about it all. Plus, I get my last ten days in London, enjoying my friends, walks around Regent’s park, and those last minute things on my bucket list. I’m so in love with this city, and I know it will be tough to leave it. I might return one day, but it’ll never be quite like this; I’ll never be a local again. Still, I have so much to go home to -family, friends, puppies, babysitting, beaches, and an anything-could-happen semester of student teaching back at Arcadia. It’s weird to think I have less than a month here. But I know I’ll make the best of it :]

Also London has SUN! Better weather than Barcelona; this is my city.

Sun bathing in Regent’s,


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Josephine’s Week of Adventures. Part 1: Dublin

April 29th, 2013 · First Year Study Abroad Experience, Josephine Lippincott '16 - London, England

I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m SOOOOOOOOOOO sorry.  I’ve been home for about a week now and I haven’t told you about my last 2 weeks abroad.  I promise the updates are coming.  They’re just a tad overdue.

Alright so we last left off at the pillow fight in Trafalgar Square.  The following Monday I started my week of traveling.  I had planned this trip at the very beginning of my study abroad experience and I was oh so excited to finally go.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let’s start at the very beginning.  3 a.m. on Monday morning.

That morning I dragged myself out of bed and met my friends Becca and Sheri downstairs in order to grab our scheduled taxi to take us to Heathrow airport.  From Heathrow we took a 1 hour flight to Dublin, Ireland.  After landing and grabbing our stuff, we hopped on a bus that took us into the heart of Dublin.  The three of us got off at a stop in Dublin and then attempted to find the hostel where we were staying.  After a few wrong turns and a couple complete turnarounds, we found our hostel, and dropped off our luggage.

We then met up with my friend Sheri’s boyfriend, who happens to be studying in Dublin this semester.  He showed us around Dublin and we stopped for lunch at this delicious restaurant called KC Peaches, where we ate sandwiches and refreshing smoothies.  From here we headed to Trinity College to see the amazing library and the Book of Kells.

First, anyone who knows me understands that I love books.  I love to read.  I could spend all day reading, and one of my favorite places in the whole wide world is a library.  So much so that in high school I worked as a page at a local library. The Trinity Library was one place that was on my bucket list because it’s an absolutely gorgeous library.  Honestly, I would like to live there.  There were just rows and rows of books.  I felt like Belle from Beauty and the Beast when she’s given the library.  I just didn’t want to leave.  But don’t take my word for how beautiful the library is, look at the pictures I took and see for yourself!

I'm going to live here.

I’m going to live here.

My girls

From there we wandered to a nearby park where the lack of sleep began to become obvious…leaping, hiding in bushes, basking in the sunlight that is almost non-existent in London.  It was great to be surrounded by trees and flowers.  It reminded me of home.

So much green.

So much green.

More Parks

We wandered around Dublin for a little while longer, before we headed back to my friend’s boyfriend’s flat.  There we all took a breather, which was definitely needed.  My legs were sooo tired from the amount of walking we had been doing.  All of us were pretty exhausted after the crazy day we’d had along with the lack of sleep so we all decided to turn in early.

We headed back to our hostel in order to get some sleep.  However, I feel as if I need to describe what it’s like to stay in a hostel.  Many people know what they are, but not many people have every stayed in one.  So please, allow me to educate you.

The hostel we were staying at was enormous.  There were two floors of rooms to stay in, and there were probably about 10 rooms on each floor, and each room held 12 beds.  Upon check in, we were given a room number as well as a bed number.  The beds were set up as bunks bed, so underneath the lower beds, there were baskets for each person to put their stuff in.  There was also a bathroom attached to the room.  It was almost like living in a dorm again, except with even less privacy.

I woke up the next day to very loud Spanish girls yelling at each other across the room, yet another adventure that comes from staying in a hostel.  After getting ready, we ventured out into Dublin and bought tickets for the hop-on/ hop-off bus.  The bus goes around the most famous sites in Dublin, and with the ticket you buy you can get off and on the bus at whatever sites you like.  The tickets are only good for two days, but it’s definitely a great way to see Dublin.  Some of the stops included were Trinity College, the Dublin Zoo, Temple Bar, and of course the Guinness Factory, which is where our story continues.

Hop-on/ Hop-off bus

Hop-on/ Hop-off bus

The Guinness Factory is huge.  It’s 7 stories and at the very top of the building you have a clear view of the whole city.  But before you get to the top floor, you get to learn everything about Guinness.  You first start the tour by learning about how the drink is made, then about how it was transported around the world since the time of its creation, next was advertising, and then another floor was all about “drinking knowledge”.  At the seventh floor, you were given you’re complimentary Guinness and then you could enjoy the view.  I’m not really a Guinness drinker, but I’m definitely glad I went and it was a lot of fun to experience.


After we finished, we headed back outside to wait for the bus in the freezing cold.  In case anyone was wondering about the weather in Dublin……COLD.  It was really cold, windy, and wet.  But then the weather kept changing in the blink of an eye….a lot like London actually.  So to anyone planning to visit Ireland in the next few weeks here is my advice: dress in layers, ALWAYS carry an umbrella.

Anyways though, once we were back on the bus we drove through Phoenix park and actually saw where the Irish president lived.  I didn’t expect that, so it was a pleasant surprise.  We eventually got off the bus around Temple Bar and went searching for a restaurant to enjoy a late lunch as well as some places to do some shopping.  Later that evening, we headed out to a real Irish pub for some drinks and to watch some soccer, before calling it a day.

The next day, Becca and I enjoyed our last few hours in Dublin by hiking all over with Sheri and her boyfriend, grabbing breakfast, and then heading back to the airport to head to the next part of our journey.  Dublin was definitely a great experience.  The town wasn’t what I expected at all; it had much more a small town feel than a big city feel.  The town itself is small, and you get the vibe that everyone knows everyone else.  I’m definitely glad I went, but I think if I were given the chance to go to Ireland again, I’d like to explore the Irish countryside.  I think that would be a nice change.

And this is where I will break off the update.  Stay tuned for part two of Josephine’s week of adventures: France.

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I can’t handle bingo during finals.

April 27th, 2013 · First Year Study Abroad Experience, Mariah MacKenzie '16

Tonight a study group has congregated in my room for Spanish. I don’t understand what’s being said. My roommate is flapping her arms and jumping around the room, speaking in gibberish. Deena and Izabelle are talking about the potential weight of fecal matter, and its consequences on weighing one’s self. Nancy is trying to ask a screaming Duyen questions, and someone on the internet wants to know if you can poop out of your mouth.


Before this, we were all at the last bingo night! I finally went to one! It was on the second floor of the Commons and fun…ish? I’ve decided I don’t enjoy bingo, because it just gets really stressful if you’re close to making the desired board. And I have enough to be stressed out about right now, thank you very much. Finals. Finding a job. Moving out of dorms soon. Working. The list of evil stressness goes on and on. It was pretty cool though; four people who were sitting at our table won prizes. Brittanie got a nice Pagoda backpack, two other girls won $50 gift cards, and Casey’s younger sister got the Kindle Fire. I was one away from winning a blu-ray player and a copy of The Avengers, but alack, someone else sauntered away with the prize. Too bad, so sad.

Izabelle, eating some dinner before the failure of a bingo night began (well, failure for yours truly at any rate)

Izabelle, eating some dinner before the failure of a bingo night began (well, failure for yours truly at any rate)


There’s not much else to talk about, really. I have been busy coding a computer science program, studying for a Spanish oral exam I have on Monday (yeah… that’s not going to go over so well), beginning to study for my computer science exam, submitting my final assignments for my freshman seminar, and planning what I will include in my English portfolio. Of course I have also been procrastinating a ton by playing video games with friends, watching YouTube videos, and making fun plans for over the summer. (Seriously! I’m going to go see Smash Mouth, Fastball, Gin Blossoms, Vertical Horizon, and Sugar Ray in concert on July 31… and that’s just one of my many concerts that’s coming up in the next couple of months. I AM SO EXCITED!)

At any rate hopefully I’ll have something more fun to blog about in the next few days. I think I will be visiting a tattoo parlor with some friends on Tuesday? So we will see what comes out of that…

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Beaches and barbecues in Corsica

April 26th, 2013 · Meagan Douches '14 - France

Salut tout le monde!

On the floor of the ferry, living the hobo life

On the floor of the ferry, living the hobo life

So about not updating for a while, it’s becoming a horrible habit and I apologize!  Last week we had Spring Break and I was traveling with no internet.  As you’ve probably seen already, I went to Corsica!  If you’ve never heard of it, let me explain.  Corsica is a French island in the Mediterranean that has amazing beaches, beautiful snow-capped mountains, forests, waterfalls, rainbows and unicorns.  Well I didn’t actually see any unicorns, but I’m sure they’re there somewhere.  So basically it’s magical.  Kind of like Disney World but without all of the screaming children.  But anyways, so Tuesday night we left Marseille to go take the ferry from Toulon (which is about an hour away).  It was four of us in total,  my two friends from my program, Lourdes and Suzi, our French friend Kevin and I.  Kevin was awesome and brought his car on the ferry so that we could get around the island easily.  So the first night was an adventure.  The ferry left at 9pm and didn’t get in until 7am.  And being the poor college students that we are, we decided not to pay for a cabin or a seat.  So after wondering around the boat for a while, we finally chose a nice hallway to invade.

Sunrise over Corsica

Sunrise over Corsica

We had the perfect dinner of wine, cheese (cut with a swiss army knife), salami, and bread.  As we were lying on the floor with our pauper dinner, this little French dog (belonging to an older couple) kept passing us with it’s nose in air, looking down on us in disgust.  Okay I may be exaggerating a little, but we were getting a lot of snarky looks from unapproving classy French people.

So after attempting to sleep under the fluorescent lighting with a soundtrack of the same ten songs playing all night (including “I’ll be watching you” my personal favorite) we finally made it there.  As the ferry was pulling up to the port of Ajaccio, I managed to get a few great shots of the sunrise.

On the porch of our trailer!

On the porch of our trailer!

We had booked a trailer at a camping style hotel and when we finally arrived, we were so thrilled!  After the experience the night before, having our very own (modern might I add) trailer with a kitchen and a deck (complete with the Walmart outdoor table and chair set!) was awesome.  The place had it’s own private beach as well, so we were set!  Our plan was just for some relaxing beach time (though homework was inevitable) so that’s just what we did.  We were graced with warm and beautiful weather almost the entire time (which is lucky for Spring).  Our days were spent playing frisbee, tanning, exploring and swimming,  and at night we had good old american style barbecues!  We made the classics: burgers, hotdogs, and s’mores!  It was perfect.

S'mores, the taste of America!

S’mores, the taste of America!

So that’s the lowdown on Spring Break.  In other news, I’ve been exploring Marseille’s pub scene with my host dad throughout the semester.  Last night we tried out his new motorcycle (which is actually like a European scooter, but still cool) and took a ride along the coast.  We stopped at a cool British style pub and had a Guinness outside on the deck.  We conversed about the world, religion, and the role of the veil in Islam.  The usual.  Then we toured the other side of the city and headed back home.

The beach at our camp

The beach at our camp

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Father-Daughter Adventures in London

April 23rd, 2013 · Honors Program, Laura Haeberle '14, Study Abroad

As I sit in my London apartment, sun shining through the window, I am again reminded of how blessed I am. I LOVE the recent change in London weather, and another trip to Regent’s Park is indeed imminent. Especially now that I’ve found my go-to reading spot! Things have really calmed down, and it’s been exactly what I need. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been traveling or touring my city, leaving me to finish final papers in the wee hours of the morning. It definitely took a toll on my work -and my sleep! So having a few days to relax and just complete a few Arcadia odds and ends has been glorious. I’m officially done with all my classes at Westminster! It’s strange to see other study abroad students posting about how they’re leaving for home. I can’t imagine not having this final month to savor London and explore the rest of Europe.

Speaking of exploring, my dad visited yesterday and together, we explored the touristy sections of London! There were a few things I was saving for his visit (the London Eye, the Tower of London, etc.) and it was great to do them together. So what DID we do, you ask?

  • Saw Big Ben and Westminster (tourist pictures ensued)
  • Toured through Westminster Abbey (and not just a free organ recital, an actual tour!)
  • Toured through the Churchill War Rooms (I forgot how much I love all quotes by Churchill)
  • Visited Cardiff for the Dr. Who experience (he’s a big fan, me -perhaps a future one?)
  • Toured through St. Paul’s (minus walking up to the Whisper Gallery)
  • Explored the HMS Belfast (sooo many stairs)
  • Went to the Tower Bridge Exhibition (and snapped photos from each tower)
  • Toured Tower of London (wish we got an actual guided tour, but alas, the hail storm had other ideas)
  • Took a river cruise on the Thames (makes up for the one I missed early in the semester!)
  • Took a trip on the London Eye (the views were INCREDIBLE)
  • Saw the Chislehurst Caves (and experienced real darkness)
  • Visited Harrods (and grabbed a  delicious breakfast -minus the mustard)
  • Explored the Natural History Museum (specifically the dinosaurs)
  • Toured Kensington Palace (and got great views of the gardens)
  • Went to the Brick Lane markets (and tried the beigels!)
  • (Attempted) to visit Windsor Castle (it was closed! but we toured the adorable city)
Tower Bridge, in a moment of sun

Tower Bridge, in a moment of sun

View from the London Eye

View from the London Eye

A red-tinted view of Kensington Gardens

A red-tinted view of Kensington Gardens

Food-wise (because that’s a component of ALL my blogs), I had my dad try:

  • Meat pie at a traditional British restaurant (and salmon cakes -yum!)
  • Soup dumplings in China Town (Xiaolongbao)
  • Harrods pastries (for cheaps!)
  • Scones with jelly and cream (so so delicious)
  • Burgers from Gourmet Burger Kitchen (okay, so it wasn’t suuuper English…)
  • Free samples at the Brick lane market (and a Baozi dumpling)
  • Fish and Chips (from a diner though -not so classy)
  • Cider (self explanatory)
  • A Sunday roast (he chose beef, of course)
  • Thai food at a Churchill-themed pub (with flowers hanging from the ceiling)
  • Ribs at a Rolling Stones-themed restaurant (sweet potato fries were involved)
  • The beigels of Brick lane (with salted beef, of course)
  • A dark chocolate Bounty bar (compared to Mounds, still delicious!)
  • Burger King (I don’t take responsibility for this one)
The final restaurant for our lovely Sunday roast

The final restaurant for our lovely Sunday roast

Needless to say, it was a busy week. We didn’t make it to a few things (the London crypts sheanigans comes to mind) but we saw all the important stuff, and had a great time. It was lovely to see my dad again and be reminded of why it will be nice to come home this summer. I told him that I want to do more traveling over the summer, to which he replied that we could always visit our cabin upstate. Something I’m much more excited about than usual, but not quite what I had in mind… (Disney land??) I think my dad now has a better idea of how:

  1. Everything in London is expensive, ESPECIALLY if you’re eating out all the time
  2. Souvenir shopping is the hardest part of any vacation
  3. London involves a lot of walking. And a LOT of stairs

And all this brings me to today, a long day filled with homework in preparation for Barcelona this weekend! There’s a bunch to get done, but it will all be worth it when I’m in the even warmer rays of the sun.

Getting that tan,



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