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The Tower of London (video)

Time October 1st, 2010 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

If you were like me and you thought the Tower of London was ONE tower then check out this video.

The Tower of London from Elizabeth Erickson on Vimeo.

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How to Pack to Live in London… (video)

Time September 7th, 2010 in College Study Abroad | 1 Comment by

How do you squeeze one very large closet and two dressers into a suitcase to take overseas? Here’s how!

How to pack to live in London… from Elizabeth Erickson on Vimeo.

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London Calling… part 2

Time August 19th, 2010 in College Study Abroad | 1 Comment by

If you survived yesterday’s tale, congratulations. Picking up right where we left off… like anything in life, sometimes the hardest thing isn’t having a dream, it’s narrowing down your dream. Just saying that you’re going to do something doesn’t necessarily mean that you will. You have to put some action to the words. That may mean planning for years before stepping out on a limb or it may mean ditching the planning process and taking a leap of faith (I’ve done both at various times). In this case, I can’t just pick up and move. There was A LOT of planning involved. Well, planning and paperwork.

After perusing all of the potential universities in England, there were some very clear indicators that helped me narrow down where to go. First, I knew I wanted to go to school IN London, thus ruling out Oxford and Cambridge which are in a different part of England. Secondly, the school needed to have a program for the fall term (versus only offering the spring term or a full-year program). My first choice of universities was actually the London College of Communications under the University of the Arts. But alas, they did not offer a fall term for study abroad students. Thirdly, the school had to have my major AND minor as I was not going to live in London and NOT take a photo class. So though the London College of Communications was not an option, Westminster was not a bad second choice. In fact, little did I know but Westminster is renowned for their journalism program (or so I’ve been told).

I’ll take this moment to interrupt our regularly scheduled storytelling for a brief tidbit of wisdom. Sometimes the first option is not the best one (i.e. London College of Communications). Many times a door must close before the better door opens. I love how Alexander Graham Bell said it, “When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”

So I chose Westminster. And here’s where the door I chose to go through gets really cool. I’ve lived in a house with a ton of people all of my life. I’m the fourth of six children so there is a constant flurry of noise, people, dogs and music. I’m not complaining. I love my life. I love my home. But when moving to London, I really wanted to avoid having a roommate (you never know how psycho they’ll turn out to be), a host family wasn’t really an option and I was looking forward to having my own space. But housing for university students in London is a luxury, very contrary to our American “college dormitory for every student” lifestyle.

I received my housing placement a few weeks ago and I have been awarded housing at the Harrow campus of Westminster. Harrow is the only actual campus of the Westminster establishments. Every other location is a collection of flats in downtown London and you must commute to your classes all over the city. I’ll be living about 20 minutes via the underground tube from downtown London. I have my own bedroom and bathroom and will share a kitchen and common area with six other students in my flat. It’s the perfect set up. Close, but not too close to downtown; my own space and the campus is quite new.

Looking ahead one month from now, I’ll be setting foot on British soil (remember I’ll be spending my first two weeks abroad in Spain) and there are quite a few things I’m excited to do and see while I’m living abroad. Here’s a few in no particular order: seeing all of the ways that I can spice up (pun intended) British cuisine; shopping at local markets; getting off of the typical tourist’s path and discovering various parts of the city; museums, lots and lots of museums; food in general; attending the theater, symphony and several music shows by native British artists (i.e. Imogen Heap at Royal Albert Hall); getting plugged into a community of people in a local church in London; making new friends; reading Jane Austen and not having to imagine the locale; living in one of the busiest, most diverse cities in the world where culture is thick and history is rich.

I covet your prayers whilst I’m living abroad. I’m so very excited about this new adventure. Please comment or shoot me an email and let me know that you’re reading. I want to know your thoughts, comments, questions, etc. It’s one of the beautiful things about the online community…it’s a COMMUNITY! Talk, chat, comment or Skype me. I welcome the company! ;)

So here’s the summary of my really long London story – Day 2:

Dreams do come true. Often the dream takes planning and sometimes you have to just jump out of the boat and walk on some water. Among other things, I’m looking forward to the food in London, the arts and the new culture…and of course reading more Jane Austen books. Please pray for me and feel free to chat/email/comment/Skype me… my virtual “door” is always open.


Another pre-departure video blog will be coming in the next week or so… stay tuned! Thanks for tagging along on this somewhat long, hopefully entertaining blog post. I promise I’ll be pithier and will post more photos and videos in the future. :)

All my love,

Elizabeth

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London Calling…

Time August 17th, 2010 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

It’s two weeks, one day and one hour exactly, at the time of this writing, until I leave for London. For those of you who don’t yet know the story, or for those of you who love me enough to read a story you’ve already heard: Welcome the tale of “How-the-heck-I-wound-up-leaving-the-great-(albeit hot)-state-of-Texas-to-go-live-in-London.”

Whew. I’m out of breath! Because I like to talk (or write), for your sake I’ll be breaking this story up into a couple of parts over a couple of days. I know that people on the internet usually like photographs (so click the link when you see a highlighted word) and don’t like to have lots of content to read. So I’m sparing you. (Just kidding… I’m still going to talk just as much– but you’ll like it! I promise. :)

Here’s where the story begins. For just a moment, forget that I’m 21 years old and pretend like I’m 16 again. If you didn’t know me then, I was just coming out of my awkward phase that lasted about three years. I’m pretty sure that I’ve burned every picture that exists in that time frame… no wait, my mom scrapbooked it. *Note to self: burn scrapbooks, ages 13 to 16.* It was somewhere between my 16-year-old self beginning dual-credit college classes and getting my first job that a dream appeared in my heart. It felt like this: an incredible desire/urge/longing to study abroad in London.

I say it appeared because I swear I didn’t think it up. In fact, I have no earthly idea where the idea came from. And that’s when you know it was God-given. Side note: there are people who get what we Christians say is a “Thus Sayeth the Lord” (with King James’ pattern of speech and all!). But there are others who get a small, quiet (or strong and loud inside) desire/urge/longing to be or do or say something. The big dreams in my heart have been given by God, but it comes in the form of a knowing what I’m supposed to do. Like London.

Fast forward four years. I’m 20 and now about to enter my junior year of college. After a miraculous turn of events, I begin attending Southern Methodist University (I did my first two years of college at a community college in Dallas). I’m majoring in Journalism and somewhat randomly chose Photography as a minor so that I wouldn’t have to stay in school longer than absolutely necessary. My only two criteria when looking for a school was that they have my major and have a study abroad program where I could go to school in England. In addition to SMU being an absolutely incredible school (have you seen their college rankings recently?!) and the fact that SMU felt as though it was tailored for me, it fit my two criteria perfectly. In fact, until the year I transferred, SMU had only been doing a summer in London program. The semester that I transferred in, they began partnering with the Institute for Study Abroad through Butler University to allow students to select a school in the UK to study abroad for a semester or a whole year.

I knew this was perfect for me. I could have my pick of the British Universities: Cambridge, Oxford, City, Westminster, University of London and tons of others. It wasn’t long after transferring that I stopped into the International office at SMU to declare my intentions to go to London. They throughly supported me and have been so helpful along the journey.

So the count down has begun and so has my little (ahem, long) story. In case you missed what I was trying to say (or you can’t wait until tomorrow to find out how all of my dreams have been shaping up) here’s a summary:

On Sept. 1, 2010, I’ll be leaving my home in Dallas, Texas to study abroad at the University of Westminster in London for the semester. Before I report to London for school, I’ll be spending my first two weeks abroad in Madrid where I’ll be staying with longtime friends. It will be a test of my will and mental agility as they only speak Spanish. I’ll be returning from London a week before Christmas and will finish out my schooling back in Dallas at SMU in January and will graduate with my Bachelors in Journalism in June of 2011.

Now that you know (in a nutshell) what the heck I’ll be doing in London, please read this summary of today’s story and get yourself ready for tomorrow’s continuation of the story… in detail.

Summary of story with a ridiculous title – Day 1:
You have dreams in your heart. They’re valid and the world needs you to pursue them because the WORLD NEEDS YOU. Some dreams will appear to you as if you’re hearing a “word from God,” a crazy turn of events, a friend or family member prodding you to pursue an opportunity or sometimes… just sometimes it’s a knowing from somewhere deep inside you. Follow it. And then enjoy the adventure of where your dream will take you.

Cheers,
Elizabeth

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The Red Shoes Project: Londontown!

Time August 6th, 2010 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Check out my new “Red Shoes” project as I embark on my journey to study abroad in London!

The Red Shoes Project Intro from Elizabeth Erickson on Vimeo.

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