Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Getting to Know Me

Time January 11th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

It’s five days before I leave for England, and obviously a lot is on my mind. Before I share some of my preparations and excitement, I thought I would give a brief introduction to who I am.

I am the third child of six. Being a part of a large family has been so much fun. My two older brothers are married and I found out this Christmas that I’m going to be an aunt for the first time. Thankfully, the baby isn’t due until I get back from being abroad, but I am a little sad that I will miss the months of preparation. We are all very close and being the first grandchild, I’m sure the whole family will want to be a part. I am a Junior at Butler University and I’m studying mathematics to become a college professor. That means I’ll be in college for the rest of my life. At least it feels that way some times…yet I love it! I’ve been looking at graduate schools recently, but mainly I’m enjoying my time at Butler.

Besides school, I’m really involved in both the churches I attend (one at home and one at school). I teach 4-6 year old’s during Children’s Church, help out with the youth occasionally, sing on the praise team and in the choir, and help out in any other ways needed. I’m also part of several clubs on campus that are focused on volunteering or mathematics. I work on campus during the school year in a department that helps staff and students learn how to use technology. If you haven’t guessed, I’m a bit of a nerd and geek…and my mom can receive all the credit for that.

While I’m abroad, I will still be studying mathematics at Leeds University and working on my thesis. As part of the honor program at Butler, I am writing a thesis on cubic graphs and their important applications. I’ve been in contact with a professor in London who wrote several papers on cubic graphs, so hopefully I will be visiting him later this semester for an interview. I will definitely share that experience on here!

My mom and I are arriving in England a few days before the official start of the IFSA-Butler program. We are arriving in Leeds Friday morning, then she will be flying out of Heathrow Monday morning. We are hoping to get to know Leeds a little the day and a half we are there, then exploring London for a day before she goes back home. I’m really excited that she gets to share part of this experience with me.

Am I ready to leave? Ummm…that is a resounding no. I haven’t packed anything yet, although there is a pile that’s been growing in my room of things I might want to take. Now whether or not it will all fit in my suitcase, that’s a problem I don’t want to think about yet. I’ve been going through all my emails and newsletters to make sure I have all the paperwork and information I need. I’m still putting together a packet of all the important documents and papers that I will need with me abroad. I’m a bit of an organization freak, if you can’t tell.

Sometimes I get nervous when I think about being away from my family for so long. Being so close to them, I know it’s going to be hard at times. I also know that we will keep in contact as much as we can, so that will really help. I go to school three hours away from home, which is far enough to limit my trips home to at most every other weekend. But I’ve never been away from home for longer than a month at a time. Right now, I’m not really worried about all that. The excitement of actually being in England is a little overwhelming! I’ve dreamed of going to England since I was in middle school. I’m a huge fan of Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice, the 2005 movie. I mapped out the houses used to film the movie and I cannot wait to visit. Not to mention Jane Austen’s house just outside of greater London. Aaaahhhhh! It’s hard to believe that it’s actually happening! Sounds so cliche…but it’s true. When you think about and dream of doing something for such a long time, your brain doesn’t always catch up when it all starts to come true.

I’m going to start packing Monday, so once I have everything put together and ready to go, I’ll try to remember to write up another post before I leave.

Until then…


“You is kind. You is smart. You is important”
Aibileen Clark, The Help


Wellies and Trainers and Bears, Oh My! Or-How packing shoes prepared me for London.

Time January 3rd, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Cheerio! My name is Kristina; I’m a 20 year old Jersey girl studying at Johns Hopkins while stateside. However, what I’m sure everyone is more excited about, is the next semester that I’ll spend in London at King’s College.  It’s New Year’s Eve, about 11pm on the East Coast and it’s finally beginning to hit me.  In less than 48 hours, I’ll be on a flight to London. Oh. My. Gosh.

In truth, this realization has been building up all week, mostly while I’ve been packing up my shoes. But first, a bit of background. I’ve never been much of a shoe lover. During high school, if the shoes were comfortable and not falling apart, I wore them. That all changed when I met my college roommate, Sarah, who has the largest sneaker collection I’ve ever seen and gives the best advice when shoe shopping. Therefore, after two and a half years of college, I’ve come to love shoe shopping. And you can blame Sarah for the shoe metaphor throughout this pre-departure blog.

Packing for a semester in London scared me. I purposefully ignored any part of the preparation until after Christmas before suddenly realizing that I was one week from departure with an entirely empty suitcase. The empty suitcase only increased my fear. So, on December 26, armed with my IFSA Preparing to Study Abroad book, I locked myself in my room with the company of my London playlist (featuring Adele and Mumford and Sons, of course) and began packing. The clothes part came surprising easy.  It’s truly amazing how much you can fit in Space Bags (Thanks to my cousin, Nikki, for the suggestion!) and packing up the essentials for a few months in England was relatively stress-free.  But then I had to pack shoes.

To begin with the simple things, I packed my wellies first.  Better known as rain boots to Americans, wellies are essential for UK’s wet winter (I’ve been told it dries out a bit in March so we’ll see). However, as a history major, I simply cannot let the moment pass without sharing a interesting fact:  The name “wellies” is actually short for Wellington boots, made popular by the Duke of Wellington in the 19th century.  But I digress and pack the wellies first.

Then come the trainers (sneakers) required for the abundance of walking in London. In the trainers category, I’ve tossed a couple pairs of Converse Chuck Taylors (Chucks) for two reasons:  I like them and the Tenth Doctor wears them. Maybe I should explain. The thing is-I’m a Whovian, meaning a fan of the popular British sci-fi show Doctor Who. Although some (my roommate) would argue that fan is a bit of an understatement.  I watch a lot of British television via BBC America, so I’m curious to experience smaller everyday things, like watching telly, from the other side of the pond. The previous Doctor, portrayed by David Tennant, always wore Chucks with his suits, so my Chucks have been added to suitcase for the awful lot of running I plan to do while abroad.

Also collected in the pile of shoes are a pair of plaid sneakers, newly acquired as a gift from my parents this Christmas, and therefore added last minute; new black flats bought on the worthy guidance of my roommate this month, and a pair of boots I hope to use on IFSA’s Adventure Weekend.  The shoes collected in my suitcase are a pretty good representation of what I hope to experience while in London. Firstly, dodging puddles and embracing the weather, which shouldn’t be too difficult after handling a Baltimore fall. Secondly, I love cities. I grew up about an hour by car or train from Philadelphia and New York, respectively, and I plan to wear down those trainers while experiencing London. I hope to communicate that passion for exploring cities in my upcoming blogs. And thirdly, in addition to my excitement of living in a city, I cannot wait venture out a bit, gaining some valuable memories in Scotland, Wales and Europe.

And now it’s getting close to midnight and the start of 2012. I’m very much looking forward to kicking it off in London and squeezing an extra day into my time abroad this leap year! But for now, I’m powering down the computer to celebrate with my family. Happy New Year and see you in London!   sta70243