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My delayed sign off… I’m sorry!

Time January 22nd, 2013 in College Study Abroad | 1 Comment by

Hello Everyone!!

I am so sorry about the delayed goodbye, maybe I just did not want to let it go. I happy to announce I am finally back in the US and at Memphis. I moved into my apartment, and I am finally getting settled in, though we do not have internet which caused this delay in my post. It is freezing here, like colder than Europe, which makes me miss England a little. I am finally in with money again thank goodness because broke did not look good on me. For the past week I’ve been home I’ve taken two very long road trips, one to Raleigh, NC and the other all the way from Charleston to Memphis. Being in my own apartment makes me feel so much older than last semester. Living in a flat with 14 people sharing 2 bathrooms and a kitchen makes you love but hate dorm life.

I miss my flat family so much though. We shared so many laughs, meals, clothes, make up (not the boys), and tears. I will never forget those days! The irony about leaving is I left with the first person I ever met in this program, Matt Roddy. We joked about meeting each other first at the airport and then we rode the bus all the way to Heathrow when we left. It was bitter sweet but really I couldn’t ask for a better person to start and end with. The one thing I did notice when I left was the fact the it felt dream like. I went from living with a lot of people to traveling with my best friends and then back to Memphis. It is still a surreal feeling that I was gone from my normal life for a semester, so you could say I’m still adjusting.

I learned a lot while I was abroad, not really in the academic sense, other than I like the American system better, but in the bigger picture kind of way. I will now share what I learned in hopes that some aspiring study abroad students find these experiences helpful.

  1. Stay true to yourself. If you don’t want to get into what everyone else is, don’t. But do try to get involved with your flat it is an instant group of friends.
  2. No one cares if you don’t drink. If you get offered drinks but don’t want them say, no. You can still have just as much fun with everyone else.
  3. Life is way more expensive overseas like everyone from transportation to food is probably third higher in England so plan and budget wisely but don’t forget to still have a good time.
  4. If you plan to travel at the end make sure you don’t travel over the holidays unless you are 100% sure. I had a great time traveling but money was very tight, you miss home (meaning your family), and you have all your stuff and if you didn’t all ready know traveling with a 52lb suitcase and then a like 8lb carry on is hard especially if you are walking and only taking public transport. (Yes right now my arms look good!)
  5.  Your creativity will flourish because you are out of your element. I read and wrote so much while I was in England it was so refreshing. I know I will keep writing and it has a lot to do with how much I wrote overseas.

Overall I would not trade this experience. Was it perfect? No. But was it worth the all the hassle? Yes, because I can say I am a better and stronger person because of that trip. Flat four of Tawney Tower I miss you and hope your new students are as awesome as your last!!

Love Always England,

Dominique

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I see the light.

Time January 3rd, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Hello!

So I am officially getting ready to leave Europe. I have been here 3 months and 8 days…It has been quite the journey.

During this vacation I have seen some of the most beautiful parts of Europe. Munich was great, very laid back, and there is a Texan there that makes the best burrito’s at and good conversation haha (so go to Pure Burrito you wont regret it)! Paris was well…Paris. Paris and I have a love hate relationship. It is a little dirty and smells kind of funny, but it does have some beautiful parts to it as well though I’ve seen it 3 times now. Christmas just did not feel like Christmas there. And out of all the places and trips I have taken never have I walked so much in my life as I did in those 2 weeks.

Back to England!! Liverpool was so cool. It reminded me of Manchester which is another English city to add to my love list. Albert Dock is really pretty and the nightlife was some of the best I been in. Only downfall was my hotel mix up…that cost me $200…not a fan of Hampton by Hilton…just so expensive!!

I am currently in London. I spent New Years at the London Eye! The fireworks were epic and I will never forget that moment as the clock struck 12 in London…I never though I would get to be there and if I knew the aftermath I probably never would have went out. Too many crazy people!!

I do have a good feeling about this year though. No resolutions because I do not think those ever come true but I feel like this is going to be my year just because of how these last couple of days have played out. I met Daley today!! For those of you who do not know who that is hers a British R&B singer and I was devastated that I could not see his show in London in November. This morning I was having breakfast in SoHo with my friends and he walked in and I swear my heart stopped. My friend got his autograph for me because I was star struck but I eventually got a picture…talk about the start to a good year! Well I hope everyone’s holiday season was as good as mine! I will let you know how it feels to be back in the states in a couple of days!!

See you soon America!!

Dominique

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Finals to Freedom

Time December 18th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Hello Everyone!

So finals are over. School is over. Essex is over. Its crazy to think that 3 months ago I was just walking onto that campus thinking “What am I doing here?” with My IFSA boys Matt and Andrew. The three of us and the rest of our flat have grown so much in our time at Essex it is crazy to think it is all over. We are a family that made amazing memories that will never be forgotten. Things I’ve learned from Essex:

1. The English schooling system is totally different.

2. When your grades are made up of a paper and an exam…try not to wait until the last week aka finals week to write 3 papers you will wish you hadn’t.

3. Drinking is the British norm so if you don’t it will be a long semester.

This was a great adventure and now I’m on to a new one. For the next three weeks I’ll be traveling in Europe with two of my best friends! I’m so excited to start this new adventure. We will be in Germany, France, and then back to England! This new adventure has taught me a few things already that I would like to share with future travelers…

1. Don’t Pack a 50lb suitcase to do walking travel.

2. Once you have spent the semester abroad…(no offence to my besties I’m traveling with but) go home because you are poor at that point.

3. Your ankle will give out on cobblestone, so be prepared.

4. You have to pay for every meal so essentially your money will be going to have the energy to walk.

5. You will get lost so embrace it.

I will update you guys on my travels during the holidays and upon my return to the mainland.

Cheers,

Dominique

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Exams…I’m not a fan

Time December 13th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Hey guys!! Just a quick video on finals time will update you on friday when i am free from school…cannot wait!


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The Holidays Are Here

Time November 27th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Hello World,

So this past week was a lot of fun but very bittersweet because of Thanksgiving. Our flat held a Thanksgiving dinner but on Tuesday…I know it just was not the same. We had people traveling on Thursday so we had to improvise but it still was a wonderful meal complete with 2 turkey, mash potatoes, corn, and so much more. We had about 17 people from all different backgrounds and nationalities there. It was a lot of fun. We all went around saying things we were thankful for and for a second a think all the American students really missed home.

On Saturday I went to Bath with IFSA, which was pretty but very cold and wet, typical English weather. We saw the Roman Baths and the Christmas markets and despite the weather everything was packed with people getting ready for the holidays. We had a taste of Sally Lunn’s Buns, which are so good. I would definitely recommend that restaurant to anyone who is taking a trip to Bath. Over all it was a very good week. Right now everyone is plugging in for finals in a little over two weeks. It’s crazy to think things are winding down. I however am getting very excited for the end when I get to travel with my friends from back home…adventure time!! Well that’s all for now but I’ll be back next week with an update about Les Mis!

Cheers,

Dominique

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Smiths tour around the great city of Manchester

Time November 19th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Hello Everyone!

There are a few bands that make up Rock and Roll history in England, The Beatles Sex Pistols, Joy Division, The Rolling Stones, to name a couple but a big name of many in Manchester England is The Smiths. This past weekend I have to pleasure of taking a Smiths tour around the great city of Manchester led by Mr. Craig Gill, the drummer from The Inspiral Carpets. Let me tell you, that city is pure Rock and Roll. From the beginning of the tour you can tell that the city has little hidden gems of Smiths history literally embedded in it from street plaques, murals, to just mindless graffiti of lyrics, the city is inundated.

The first stop on the tour was Strangeways Prison, which to any Smiths fan is recognizable from their album ‘Strangeways Here We Come.’ Next, probably the highlight of the day, was a tour of The Salford Lads Club where the famous cover of the LP ‘The Queen is Dead’ of The Smiths was taken on Coronation Street. Inside we saw The Smiths room, which is now decorated with memorabilia and post it letters of fans from all over the world! After a short drive we headed to Morrissey’s old house on Kings Rd. People currently live there and are now just used to fans skulking outside their house in admiration. Going a litter further up the street led us to The Iron Bridge where Morrissey walked to school every day is the site of the lyrics ‘Under the iron bridge we kissed, even though we ended up with sore lips’ from the song “Still Ill.” On the bridge there are Smiths or Morrissey lyrics plastered everywhere in honor of the single. Later we stopped outside of the Southern Cemetery where he met his friend Linda Sterling frequently growing up. Next stop was the Free Trade Hall, which is where the inspiration to form The Smiths came from in 1976 after a Sex Pistols gig in Lesser Hall. Gill explained later that only about 40 people attended but all of them came to be large players in the Manchester Rock and Roll scene in later years. The last stop was the Ritz which is where the first Smiths concert was held in October 1982.

All together this tour was phenomenal even for those who do not know much about The Smiths. During the tour you could feel the inspiration the city brought to these artists and you felt the spirit of music all over the town. If anyone is a smiths fan I encourage you to take a trip up to the city of Manchester and just enjoy the youth and grit of this musical city.

This week on my mostly American flat we will be celebrating Thanksgiving, two days early, but I’m still excited!! I will post about that next week as well as my wonderful Saturday trip to Bath! I’m excited to see some Christmas markets. Maybe I’ll even do a little shopping…hmm we’ll see. Until next time, Cheers!!

Dominique

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My travels have kept me away…Sorry!!

Time November 6th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Hello Everyone!

I have not updated everyone in awhile, I am so sorry for that!! Things have been crazy since my last post but I will now update your thoroughly.

Two weeks ago I went to The Lake District in England with IFSA on Adventure Weekend. Let me just explain to you how I fell in love with this place, it is so far away from the city, and there are mountains everywhere, and you don’t have cell reception, and there was nature and lush fall colors everywhere, needless to say it was the perfect getaway! I did not think about Colchester at all really, and if I could have stayed I would have. My recommendation to anyone who is coming to England at any point in their life, go to The Lake District! It is worth the trip. London is great, but it is always hectic. The Lake District is very peaceful, and sometimes that is what you need in a vacation. It is my favorite destination in England next to London.

My second trip, which was a week ago, was to…Warsaw, Poland. I have mixed feelings about Warsaw. The best part about Warsaw is that I met up with Victoria Busse, one of my best friends from school!! She is studying in France and was on Toussaints break and came to travel with me. It was great to see her and made me miss home a little less. Now back to Warsaw. It is not the prettiest place but there are pretty aspects to it. It was cheap which was really nice! The food was good. It snowed which in normal cases would make this Alaskan girl happy, but this time I was not happy to see snow. The wind was piercing so it made the snow hard to appreciate and Alaskans are such warm people, even in winter, the Polish however, are not. The nicest Polish people we encountered were at the hostel and on our walking tour. Finding things in Warsaw was close to impossible because we cannot pronounce anything in Polish. This made our activities limited so we only walked around Old Town, which was very beautiful, and saw The Palace of Culture and Science.

This past weekend we went to Oslo, Norway Andrew Stegman, a friend of mine from Essex and a fellow IFSA participant. This is one of my favorite destinations in the world! I went to Oslo when I was 11 with my dad and I always wanted to go back, so I did. Unknown fact about me: Oslo was actually the first place I ever drove a car and it was a Mercedes…I did not crash it! This time I did not get to drive, but I did get to traipse around downtown Oslo. The only downside to Oslo is how expensive it is to visit there. The exchange rate will fool you into thinking it is cheap, do not buy into the lie because here is a little known fact about Norwegians, they are either very well off or they are not, so unless you have an American Express Black Card or you know a parent with you, shopping, eating, heck staying in Oslo will be very, and I mean VERY, expensive to you. However the experience was worth it. We saw Parliament, City Hall, The Statue Garden, the harbor, The Palace, The Icebar, and The Opera House. All together this was a fabulous trip!

As you can see, I am not just neglecting my readers/watchers. I have been gone and in school when I am at Uni, so I am sorry. This week I am going to a Bluey Robinson concert in London on Thursday staying until Friday, and then to Manchester on Saturday staying until Sunday. I will come back on Monday and update you again, I promise! But until then…

Cheers,

Dominique


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Finally here and semi settled

Time October 12th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Hello Everyone,

Here is another post for you guys! Things are going well I have big things coming up so I will update you on that soon! Sorry for the sniffling in the post, I’m sorry I just got over a minor sinus infection. And for those of you wondering how my Project333 is going…it’s perfect! Packing light is a must in a country where you have only a wardrobe (what would be a cupboard in the states) as a closet, but I do need one more pair of jeans because one of mine are now too big thanks to walking on all these hills (and by hills I mean mini mountains)! I hope you guys enjoy this update there is more fun stuff to come!!


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Toodles,

Dominique

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Let Me Introduce Myself

Time September 14th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Hello everyone!!

After what seems like the longest summer of my life, I present you all with my pre-departure blog! I’m so excited to go on this journey and have the opportunity to share it. So please watch and enjoy!

One thing I would like to add is in the video you’ll hear me talk about bringing ONE suitcase. You may ask how I can fit everything I need in one suitcase, my friends are still baffled by this as well, but I am doing Project333. Project333 is a minimalism challenge that only allows 33 pieces of clothing in 3 months!! I am only taking 23 over there initially because I’m bound to find 10 pieces over there that I want. The reason I wanted to share this is because I know when people travel for long amounts of time and only one suitcase, “they think how am I going to pack?” I wanted to see if I could do it so I’ll also keep you updated on how this project works out because where there’s a will there’s a way HA!

Best wishes,

D

(PS. sorry for the glitch in the video…you know, technology isn’t perfect!)


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