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

Freshman Year (Pt. 2)

Time October 28th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, England | No Comments by

At the start of each school year I often find myself telling the incoming freshmen “Ah, what I wouldn’t give to be a freshman again.” The truth is, I don’t mean it. I am perfectly happy to have my friends, know where all my classes are, and not be at the bottom of the totem pole. But I have come to appreciate as much flak as freshmen get for being clueless to the ways of the world (or at least within the microcosm of a college campus) there is also something to be said for the fleeting virginal pleasure of being immersed into so many new experiences all at once. Arriving at Oxford, I have certainly felt like a freshman again. And while I have been quickly reminded why I am so glad to no longer be a freshman, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t also nice to do it all again. I have even found myself eating in the dining hall again (though when your dining hall is straight out of Harry Potter it has slightly more appeal than the buffet style cafeterias that defined freshman year).

Here all new students are called “Freshers” and they are grouped together based on the unifying characteristic that they are new to Oxford. Regardless of age, nationality, or area of study, we are all Fresher’s. The approach is quite a welcoming one, and while I have often felt inundated with orientations, safety briefings, and inductions, they are all admittedly quite useful. Knowing how everything worked at my home institution may have been old hat, but crucial information like library hours and best places for a late night snack have all had to be relearned. For this reason, it is exceedingly helpful to be treated like a freshman.

It also gives you a unique opportunity to reinvent yourself. Every year when New Year’s Day rolls around, people embrace the opportunity to make positive changes in their lives. Gym memberships soar, healthy eating abounds, and bad habits are kicked to the curb… for about a month. Occasionally New Year’s resolutions lead to lasting changes for a better lifestyle, but ultimately the same habits creep back in. The numbers may have changed on the calendar, but not much else has. If you are in the same environment with the same routine and same temptations, trying to make significant changes, no matter how well-intentioned they may be, will be supremely difficult to maintain. However, when you’re entire surroundings are new, no one knows you, and you haven’t even adjusted your sleep pattern (much less a daily routine) you have a golden opportunity to build your new lifestyle however you like. You have enough independence to sleep all day every day, or not sleep at all. It’s like freshman year all over, but hopefully this time with some added wisdom. We will have to see how long it lasts, but I have welcomed this opportunity with open arms. I am trying to force myself to eat healthy by only buying (somewhat) healthy groceries. I have joined the crew team, which practices at the ungodly hour of 6 in the morning (serving the dual function of getting me out of bed to start my day and getting some exercise). And in class I have taken the initiative of being responsible about my work. I realize that I chose to come here, I am here to learn, to take advantage of the academic prowess of this esteemed institution. If I wanted to skate by and follow along, I should’ve stayed home. Surrounded by some of the most historic and beautiful architecture in England, walking in the footsteps of some of our world’s greatest minds, I would like to be the best version of myself that I can be. I aim to leave Oxford having made my time here worthwhile, taken advantage of every opportunity available. After all the planning, hoping, working, packing, travelling, stressing, wondering, and everything else, I am finally here. I didn’t just come to visit, to pass through. I came to grow, and I intend to do so.




Casey Has A Cold

Time October 17th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, Wales | No Comments by

6 boxes of tissues,
5 cartons of orange juice,
4 hours of sleep a night on average,
3 packs of lemsip,
2 bottles of cough syrup,
1 day of missed lectures,
and about a million cups of tea later…Yes, it’s true. I have a cold. Or the flu. Perhaps even both. Regardless, I am sick, and have been for about a week and a half now. Not cough-cough-I-feel-icky sick, but body-aches-all-over-can’t-stop-coughing-up-my-spleen-lungs-filled-with-snot-fever-gives-me-cold-sweats sick. It has been absolutely horrible. BUT it hasn’t kept me from having a blast here in Wales! Picture

Last Wednesday, I visited Cardiff Bay. I took the touristy pictures (all of which can be seen under the Places I’ve Been tab on my blog), went to a pub, saw lots of pigeons and seagulls, and went home on the train. It was a perfect little afternoon outing.

Friday, I got to participate in the Student Sleepout with my flatmate Meg (until we had to leave because I was too sick to be outside all night). The Student Sleepout was a fundraiser/volunteer experience to bring awareness to the amount and severity of homelessness in

PictureCardiff. A group of students raised money and/or showed their support for a couple homeless shelters in the city by sleeping out on the streets as long as they could. We were each given a cardboard box to sleep on and could only bring whatever we could carry. Some people brought sleeping bags, others snacks, and some just brought the clothes on their backs. At the beginning of the event, two members of the homeless community came to speak to us along with a staff member of one of the shelters in the city. The conversation was very open and honest and helped ease some of the nerves and aided understandings of the experience. It was eye-opening for many of us there.

Monday, I went to the Big Pit National Coal Museum (also under the Places I’ve Been tab on my blog). It was awesome! I got to wear a helmut with a headlamp and go underground in a real coal mine for a tour given by a retired miner. Every time a question was asked to our miner/tour guide, he answered it with a story from his, his father’s, or grandfather’s mining days. I thought going to school in Appalachia gave me some insight into the mining world, but, boy, was I wrong. There is so much more to it than I could ever imagine. The culture, history, and traditions behind the entire coal mining industry here in Wales is rooted deeper (haha, deeper–get it?) than anything I’ve ever known.

Every night, my flatmates and I play a game of cards, specifically the game Contract Rummy. If you don’t know how to play, any of my flatmates and I are well-versed and would be happy to teach you, I’m sure, as we’ve played it practically every night for the past two weeks.

I’ve only got a few little life updates for now. This weekend I’ll hopefully travel some more and be able to give some more exciting updates other than “I smashed my thumb in my bathroom door after being woken up by the fire alarm this morning.”

Until next time! Thanks for reading!

Want to know more about me? More about my adventure? More in general? Check out my travel blog “Casey in Cardiff” by clicking here or typing the following into your browser:

Casey in Class

Time October 3rd, 2016 in 2016 Fall, Wales | No Comments by

Now that I’ve accomplished what seemed impossible last weekend–enrolling in classes–and have completed my first week of classes, I feel like I’ve had a decent amount of time to compile the list below:

​10 Things to Know About Uni When Studying Abroad in the U.K.:

  1. Courses are called modules. Classes are called lectures. Schedules are called timetables. Semesters are called terms. If the accent doesn’t give away the fact that you’re from the US, using any of these “American English” terms will.
  2. Professors are not called “Professor” until they’ve earned the title, much like how you wouldn’t call a professor who hasn’t gotten their doctorate “Dr. So-and-so.” Lecturers is a more appropriate term.
  3. My lectures have between 30 and 230 students in them, as opposed to back home, where I’ve never been in a class with more than 20 students. I definitely just feel like a number here (except for in the class in which I was called out for “being the American who emailed a lot of questions ahead of time.” I felt more than just a number in that class for sure…).
  4. University (Uni, for short) and college are not the same thing here like they are at home. When people ask what school I go to back home, I feel like I have to explain myself every time I say “Emory & Henry College.”
  5. Students attend Uni for 3 years, not 4. They don’t use freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors as descriptors, but say they are in Year 1, Year 2, or Year 3.
  6. Every lecture is set up the same way. The lecturer stands up in front of the class, opens up a PowerPoint presentation, and begins the lecture, not a second too early and not a second too late.
  7. Lectures are once a week. Not Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Not Tuesdays and Thursdays. Just one day a week.
  8. Lecturers will send/upload the slides for their lectures before the actual lecture, sometimes as far as two weeks in advance apparently. Students are expected to look at the slides beforehand, take notes on the slides, read out of 20 different books, take notes on those, and then show up to lecture just to take more notes, which they should review and rewrite later, combining them with the notes they took before the lecture. When looking at the amount of prep work students do here compared to the amount I do at home, I feel like I’ve been “college-ing” wrong this whole time.
  9. There is no such thing as a liberal arts education. It is completely unheard of to take classes in different schools. Students pick a school (or major) they want to be in and will only take classes in that school. For all of my E&H readers, this means no Transitions, no Foundations, no GWIC, no Connections, no Modes, etc.
  10. There are no pop-quizzes, no quizzes in general, no tests, no mid-terms, no reflection papers, and hardly any coursework. You can wave participation grades goodbye because there aren’t any of those either. Most of the time, each module will have one or two grades total. Whatever those grades are amount to your final grade. In a couple of my classes, I will have one graded written exam–a 2000 word essay–and in others I will have two written exams that will be averaged together. Yikes!

Side-note: I don’t mean to generalize with this list. It is just what I found to be true with my experience. Although some of these things will probably be a little difficult to get used to, I still feel like I am a normal college student, boarding the struggle-bus and fighting the battles of non-essential spending and procrastination.

In the end, my lectures seem like they’re going to be pretty interesting! I’m already super excited about this semester, and it’s only been a week! 10 more weeks to go! Wish me luck!

Want to know more about me? More about my adventure? More in general? Check out my travel blog “Casey in Cardiff” by clicking here or typing the following into your browser:


Casey in Cardiff

Time September 28th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, Wales | No Comments by

I’m in Cardiff and I’ve survived my first week at Uni–what everyone calls University or College here–and am beginning my second! This second week is really Week 1 of Uni, meaning classes finally started today.

Since being here I’ve found a lot of things to be different than back home. For example, Orientation or Week of Welcome doesn’t exist. I was literally dropped off at my flat, handed a sheet of paper with a couple events on it, and told “Good luck. Call if you need anything,” despite not having an international phone plan at the time. Picking classes (the term used here is modules) has been an absolute nightmare. Everyone in Uni here in Cardiff gets put in to classes for their specific school (or major) and only for that school. A liberal arts education does not exist here. Students take classes that apply to their degree and then they graduate–all in three years. And here I am, trying to squeeze everything I want to do in to four! However, I will say that I feel pretty accomplished now that I’ve got a working schedule (everyone here says “timetable”)! Although it was difficult, it got done. I am taking Cross-Cultural Management, Managing People in Organisations (have to make sure I spell it “correctly” here), Reformation History, Globalisation and Social Change, and Power, Politics, and Policy (In class today, there were four stabs at the United States, thanks to last night’s debate…). Not bad, eh?

Freshers Week–Orientation week, if you subtract the academic parts and multiply the social parts by 10x–was loPicturets of fun. I met lots of new people and got to know the city a little better. I still have a lot to explore, though! I plan on exploring more of it this week. Tomorrow, hopefully, my flatmates and I will head on over to Cardiff Bay! This past weekend, some of us took a trip to Brecon Beacons National Park and hiked to the peak of Pen y Fan–one of the best hikes I’ve ever done! I was blown away–literally and figuratively, meaning it was absolutely breathtaking, but the wind was so strong, I found myself almost blowing off the mountain a few times! Check it out under the “Places” tab under the “Connections” tab on my blog! There, you’ll also find photos from my trips to London, specifically from the day trip I took to see Sara and Bailey! It was great seeing them. #wheredasquadat #squadabroad

I’d love to share more, but my tummy is pretty full from my flat’s second Taco Tuesday, which is making me kinda sleepy. I have to write up some notes from my lecture today (Yes, just one! Another fabulous difference between the US and UK! I only have each class once a week and no more than two classes in general a day!) and prepare for my two lectures tomorrow. Wish me luck as I brave the next week! I’m super excited for everyone else I’ll get to meet, everywhere else I’ll get to go, and everything in between!



Want to know more about me? More about my adventure? More in general? Check out my travel blog “Casey in Cardiff” by clicking here or typing the following into your browser:

Casey Through Customs

Time September 15th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, Wales | No Comments by

This post is coming to you from the UK! London, to be exact! Yes, you read that correctly: London. I’m not in Cardiff yet! Let me explain; IFSA-Bulter (the program I am studying abroad through) has an orientation of their own for all 190 students studying on the island of Great Britain (Fun fact: out of the 190 students, I am the only one studying at Cardiff University!). So, here I am, staying in a nice hotel one street away from Oxford Street–one of the places I was told I had to see. Despite the minor jet lag I experienced, I’ve already had one heck of a trip, starting before I’d even left the country!

Having experienced the fastest check-in and security check in an airport ever, I had plenty of time to hang out before boarding my Icelandair plane. While waiting, I noticed a man who kept walking back and forth in front of me, occasionally stealing a glance my way, and then a woman doing the same thing. My red flags were flying higher than ever before when the man and woman, now together, approached me and asked if I knew a “fun woman” named Monica Hoel (Shout-out to Monica for being a fun woman!). Well, of course I know Monica, just like every other Emory & Henry College student and alum! The couple proceeded to explain their stalker-ish behavior–they were trying to read my t-shirt and tag on my bag to make sure they read “Emory & Henry College.” They had both graduated from Emory years ago! We chatted about the school, different people we knew, the study abroad programs, and much more! What a small world!! Read More »


Faith Takes Europe

Time April 27th, 2016 in 2016 Spring, College Study Abroad, Ireland | No Comments by

One great thing about how UCC does finals is that it includes a study break that’s at least a week long between the last day of classes and your first final. I got a break of almost two weeks– two weeks I know that I could not spend the entirety of studying. Making sure to block off two solid days before my first final to study, I planned my “study break” around Europe. Read More »


Adventures in London and Glasgow

Time April 4th, 2016 in 2016 Spring, College Study Abroad, Ireland | No Comments by

Something I didn’t consider before choosing where to study abroad was my proximity to an airport. I’m not sure why it never occurred to me, because it would seem that ability to be able to journey from your home base country to another would be extremely important, especially since I ultimately decided to study on an island. Thankfully, there’s an airport a taxi ride away from where I live, with 20 euro flights to places like London and Glasgow, just across the pond.

One of my friends is studying at Queen Mary University in London, so I took one of these very inexpensive flights for a weekend to visit him. I almost chose to study at QMU when applying for schools abroad, and I feared that visiting there may make me regret my choice of UCC instead. Being a laid-back travelers, we wandered from place to place via the Tube, enjoying the sights and sounds of people from everyone rushing from one place to the next. Being foodies, we took advantage of the diverse cultures and ate authentic sushi and Indian food (both of which are very hard to find in Ireland). Being huge nerds, we geeked out at Platform 9 3/4 (I’m a Ravenclaw by the way), and, being shopaholics, gaped in Harrod’s (a very expensive, very beautiful mall, in short). London had the glamour of New York with the diversity of Los Angeles and the sprawl of San Francisco. It delivered the dazzle promised by the media, with a healthy dose of lovely accents and delicious food.

Read More »


Glasgow Photo Tour

Time January 12th, 2016 in 2016 Spring, College Study Abroad, Scotland | No Comments by

  1. Glasgow Botanic Gardens, which I get to walk through to go to class every day! It’s gorgeous
  2. St. Mungo’s Tomb and Cathedral, St. Mungo is Glasgow’s patron saint, and his tomb is under Glasgow Cathedral (picture 5)
  3. Drinking fountain in the Boyd Orr building, drinking fountains that I’m accustomed to don’t exist in the U.K, at least as far as I’ve seen. Make sure to bring a cup of some sort!
  4. The cloisters located in the main building, They’re pretty, one of my favorite spots on campus.
  5. Glasgow Cathedral, the original founding place of University of Glasgow, one of the oldest spots in the city, and an absolutely gorgeous building
  6. Donald Dewar statue, located outside of Glasgow’s equivalent of a shopping mall (The Buchanan Galleries)
  7. Duke of Wellington statue, located outside of the Glasgow Museum of Modern Art (the cone is thanks to Glaswegians, I think it’s a good addition)
  8. BRGR burger, featuring a BRGR “Hawder” which was completely new to me, but also in celebration of the first dinner I ever had with my flatmates!

IFSA Butler Weekend — Northern Ireland!

Time November 11th, 2015 in 2015 Fall, College Study Abroad, Ireland | No Comments by

This weekend, IFSA Butler took  all of us to Northern Ireland, which (confusingly) is actually a region of Great Britain. Our first day, we got up early and made our way to the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge which connected a small island to the mainland. We were able to walk across and get some beautiful views on the island (and look at how blue the water is! I promise I didn’t do anything to enhance it!)

After this we drive to Giant’s Causeway, which is the most visited attraction in Northern Ireland. It is most famous for it’s ‘hexagonal’ (read: pentagonal, hexagonal, and many other variations of sides) pillars that make up the shoreline. Lucky for us, it was an absolutely gorgeous day outside, so the pictures below show the real beauty of the area.

The next day, we took a Black Taxi Tour of Belfast, where we learned about the violence that’s taken place there in the last 50 years over whether Northern Ireland belongs to the UK or Ireland. We saw murals honoring those who fought for their beliefs, and also the Peace Wall that separates the two factions. We each got to sign the wall and I got some great shots of my friends writing.

After this we had the afternoon to ourselves, so my friends and I walked to the Titanic museum (the Titanic was built in Belfast). Unfortunately it was closed by the time we got there, but you can see below how beautiful the building is.

This was definitely the most educational trip I’ve taken during my time abroad, and I’m really glad that IFSA brought us here together, because I don’t think I would have taken the time to explore this part of Belfast otherwise.


My last few days in Bristol

Time June 21st, 2012 in College Study Abroad | 1 Comment by

It’s getting quite quiet around Durdham Hall as friends and flatmates trickle home. Two of my flatmates have gone so far – Mat to Portsmouth and Hannah to Los Angeles, CA. It’s slowly setting in that I will eventually have to leave, and I feel a bit sick whenever I do have to think about it. I will miss this place SO MUCH!!! I know I will be back at some point, but it certainly feels far away in the future as I am completely broke from studying abroad twice over the course of my uni career so far… Anyway, I have every intention to make my last few days here count.

After my exam last Thursday, (So glad that’s done!) the flat got together one last time to celebrate Hannah and Steffan’s birthdays and also to wish Hannah a safe journey home as she left Durdham at 4am the next morning. Lots of tears, but overall a good last night here for her.

On Friday we celebrated another set of birthdays, and then on Saturday my hall hosted ‘Durdhambury’, a day-long music festival with food, facepainting, and plenty of other fun things to do. I didn’t spend that much time down in the quad as it was raining for quite a bit of the day, but I heard most of the bands from our kitchen anyway as it overlooks the quad. It was a great chance for everybody to see each other one more time before most people headed out on Monday and Tuesday.

Yesterday I finally walked along my running route on the Downs to take some photos – something I’ve been meaning to do for ages! It was a bit cloudy, but no rain!

9411 9425_bridge

(The best bit of my running route – when I get to see the Clifton Suspension Bridge in all its glory)


Today my plan is to go back down to the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery to explore a bit more. (Last time I was there, it was mobbed with little kids…) Then I’ll probably grab my last ever Felafel King felafel on laffa (SO GOOD) before I come back up to Durdham to pack and finish a book. Friday will probably be all about packing and saying goodbyes, although I hope to be able to squeeze in a visit to my favorite coffee shop Café du Jour at some point.

My next post will probably be coming from the other side of the Atlantic, which I can hardly come to terms with. It just sounds so ridiculous that I will have to leave Bristol and all of the great people I’ve met here. Wish me a good flight and a good ‘re-entry’ into American culture, and I will be back with an update from the US of A in a few days!


10 British Foods

Time April 26th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

For the most part, British food is the same as American food, but there are some foods that seem unique to the British palate or are food obsessions.

1) Curry
In Leeds, there are curry shops everywhere! Some of them are chain restaurants, like Jaldi-Jaldi, but the smaller takeaway (carryout) shops dot every corner. Chicken Tikki Masala is the #1 British food right now, not fish & chips (I’ll get to that later). For those of you who don’t know what curry is, it’s an oriental dish that is made of bite-size portions of meat simmered in a sauce & served with rice or noodles. The sauce is what makes it curry, and it’s full of spices and usually thick. I absolutely love it! My perception of its popularity may be a little skewed though, since my second family has a Jamaican heritage and likes things spicy (in general, the British are known to have a bland palate). I don’t think curry is very popular in the US, but if you want to try something new & amazing, find a good Indian restaurant.

2) Potatoes
I live in catered student housing, meaning I eat most of my meals in a cafeteria. So I’m not positive whether potatoes are a British food obsession or of they are just trying to fill is with carbs. Either way, they serve them every night & occasionally at breakfast. Most popular are chips (our equivalent to steak fries), but we also have them boiled, mashed, mashed then deep fried as fat stick, served as hash browns, or oven baked to crispy goodness. They haven’t served scalloped potatoes yet, so maybe that is an American thing.

3) Fish & Chips
Fish & chips is to the UK what pizza is to the US. If you don’t feel like cooking, get fish & chips takeaway. Skip the ketchup (ok, only sometimes…I still love the sweet, tangy dip), and go for salt & vinegar, freshly squeezed lemon juice, or a sweet chili sauce. All the above are delicious!

4) Pastries
When I hear the word pastry, my thoughts go towards a sweet dessert. Here, pastries are often meat filled and served for lunch. Instead of stopping at McDonalds for a quick bite, find a local pastry shop. Prices are really cheap, although its not the healthiest option, and you can eat on the go. While you’re there, see of they also sell flapjacks. Flapjacks are not pancakes, but rather oat bars, and extremely good!

5) Mint
Mint is something I would consider unique to the English palate…or at least it doesn’t really fancy mine. It’s most often served with lamb, as a dipping sauce or baked into the gravy of a mint pie. I’ve tried both ways, and neither was really a favorite, but perhaps it’s just me.

6) Tuna
Growing up, we didn’t eat a lot of tuna, so maybe that’s why I don’t fancy it. But tuna seems to be on every lunch menu here. They serve it traditionally on a sandwich…but the huge shocker for me was a tuna jacket potato. Jacket Potato = Baked Potato Why would anyone in their right mind want tuna on a baked potato? Curry jacket potato, yes please! Chili jacket potato, yum! Cheese jacket potato, yes! Tuna jacket potato……..what?!?

7) Scones
Loveliness! That’s all I need to say. In the US, I was used to the dry, hard, triangle shaped scones served at Starbucks that definitely must accompany a drink, but are good none the less. Here, scones are much lighter, softer, and just plane delicious. They remind me more of a sweet biscuit, which Britain doesn’t really an equivalent of. Biscuits & gravy is a crazy concept to them, because what they call biscuits we call cookies (or tea biscuits), and they don’t often use a white gravy. I was so happy to introduce that recipe to the Miller family! Nana & Pops, you would be well received in their house!

8) Spreads
The British love sauces and spreads! At the grocery store, a full isle will be dedicated to fruit preserves, chutneys, and other sauces. At a really nice restaurant we went to for Rachel’s birthday, once they delivered our meals the server came back with a plate full of spread & sauces for us to put on our plate. Oh, and they have marmite, which is a dark brown, sticky, salty, & savory spread made from yeast extract. I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s common knowledge that you either love it or hate it.

9) Custards
Pudding (which refers to dessert in general & not just the milk-based food) is often served with a custard, yoghurt, or other sauce to pour on top. It doesn’t matter if it is cake, pie, brownies, or sometimes fruit…drench it! I personally love this, since brownies in a bowl of milk and tres leches cake are some of my personal favorites. Ambrosia is a popular brand of rice puddings & custards that I love.

10) Italian-Style Pizzas
Although there are some US chain pizza restaurants (Pizza Hut & Dominos), I think Italian-style is more popular. By Italian-style, I mean thin crust and amazing toppings. I think I prefer it this way, because the toppings are usually fresh & the main attractions, as opposed to focussing on lots of crust, sauce, and cheese. But I also miss stuffed crust…which in my book reigns supreme.


My Pride & Prejudice

Time March 9th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

If you know me, you know I’m a huge fan of Jane Austen. Which means you can quickly deduce that I’m a bit of a romantic. I’m currently rereading Pride & Prejudice, and I just picked up the movie for $4.50…it’s been my favorite movie for years, but I’m too much of a tight-wad to spend $10 on a movie, so I’ve been looking to find it on sale for a long time. And I finally did! Yay…….until I put it in my laptop and find out that apparently DVD’s are coded with the country they are sold in. At first it wouldn’t play, because it said I wasn’t allowed to play it in my region. Ok, bought it in the UK, I’m in the UK…but obviously my computer must still be set to the US. So I changed it to default to UK. Ok, good, temporarily fixed. But, I can only change that setting on my laptop 4 times, and regular DVD players in the US might not play it. Big bummer…but at least I have it to watch while I’m here. I might just leave it with a friend when I go back and continue my search for one on sale back home.

Ok, so enough about my experience with DVD’s and back to the purpose of the post. For those of you who aren’t Pride & Prejudice fans, sorry, this post is a bit themed. I love the 2005 version of the movie (and yes, for those who know there is a difference between the US ending and other countries, I love the romantic US one :0). So my goal is to visit as many of the houses that were used to in the film as I can. I thankfully found a blog ( that describes each of them.

Longbourn: The home of the Bennet family


I would love to live here! It’s not nearly as large & stately as the other manors in the movie, but it seems like a house you could actually live in! The actual house is Groombridge Place in the county of Kent, which is southeast of London and borders the sea. Who wouldn’t want a beautiful, 300 year home surrounded by a moat? Sounds dreamy to me!

Rosings: the home of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, aunt of Darcy


The home of Lady Catherine is definitely one of pomp and not such a welcoming place. But still, it’s history and overall splendor make it appealing. It was played by Burghley House in Lincolnshire, which is a county that borders York and is only 2 hours southeast of Leeds.

Netherfield: the home rented by Bingley in the neighborhood of the Bennets


I didn’t realize that huge estates could be rented, but that is precisely what Bingley was doing until he decided upon one to permanently live in. Netherfield was played by Basildon Park in Berskshire, which is just west of London.

Pemberley (inside): Darcy’s estate

Pemberley (inside)

The manor they used to film the outside of Pemberley is such an iconic estate that it was difficult to spend much time filming there, so they did most of the interior shots at another location. For most of the scenes, the inside of Pemberley was played by Wilton House in Salisbury, which is southwest of London.

Pemberley: the estate of Darcy


Darcy’s home is definitely the most breathtaking of all the large estates in the movie. The exterior shots, and some of the interior (such as the art collection of statues), were all shot at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, which is a little over an hour south of Leeds. Derbyshire is where Jane Austen said Darcy lived, and many suppose Chatsworth was the actual estate she modeled Pemberley after.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to see all of them…but I definitely want to go to at least a few! Not to mention Jane Austen’s Home, which has been turned into a museum for her. All in all, I feel so blessed to be in a country that has been the source of my inspiration and dreams for so long!


Little Differences

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

I’ve tried to remember as many of the little differences as I can between English and American culture. Here are the main one’s I’ve noticed so far:

American vs. British

Trunk (car) vs. Boot
Elevator vs. Lift
Biscuits vs. Cookies
Cell Phone vs. Telly
Mail vs. Post
Call (a person on the phone) vs. Ring
French Fries vs. Chips
Chips vs. Crisps
“Have a good day!” vs. “Cheers!” or “Cheerio!”
Friend vs. Mate (apparently not just an Australian thing :0)
To Rent (apartment vs. To Let
Grilled Cheese vs. Cheese Toastie
Line vs. Queue

I’ll add others as I think of them. But overall, adjusting to English culture hasn’t been that difficult. Sometimes I forget I’m the foreigner and find it funny when they can’t understand my accent. It takes me a minute for my brain to digest the fact that I’m the one with the accent…not them.

As far as accents go, I can distinguish where people are from, for the most part. People from southern England, especially London, have a more westernized accent that is really easy to understand. The others British people often call them “posh.” Those from northern England can be harder to understand, especially when they are speaking quickly or in a big group. People from Wales and Scotland have distinct accents too…but I think the easiest ones to pick out are the Irish. Their accent, in my opinion, is by far the best! I haven’t purposely tried to pick up on an accent yet, mostly for the fear of failing horribly! :0) But I do notice every now and then a word slips out that has a British sound to it. Secretly, I would love to come home with a full-blown British accent, but I want that to happen naturally. We shall see!


Pictures of Leeds & London

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

I didn’t realize until after I had published my last post that I’m not able to go back and add pictures…so instead, I’m adding them separately to this post.

Friday & Saturday
Pictures from when we arrived in Leeds and then traveled by train to London

Pictures from the one day I spent exploring London with my mom before she went back to the states


All Moved In

Time October 4th, 2010 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

I’m all done setting up my room at Queen Mary University, and the housing couldn’t be any better than it already is. At my American university, I’m used to sharing a room with one, or sometimes even two, other girls, and sharing my bathroom with an entire hallway of 20-30 girls. There’s only one kitchen per building, but they’re barely furnished and rarely used due to the requirement that anyone living on campus have a meal plan that revolves around the campus dining hall.

The British, however, seem to prefer personal space over sharing. In the student village section of campus, each building is broken up into apartments, called ‘flats’ here in the UK. I have my own personal bedroom, which is almost the same size as the room I shared at my university back home. I even get my own attached bathroom. Sure, my room overlooks the railroad tracks behind campus, but the view of the park behind the tracks is beautiful, and the thick curtains included with the room really help to block out the city lights late at night when I’m trying to sleep.

Queen Mary doesn’t have a regular meal plan program; they have several restaurants on campus and offer a limited prepaid voucher plan for dinners in one of the restaurant on weekdays, but there’s none of the full day, all you can eat plans that I’m used to back home. Instead, we’re expected to fend for ourselves the majority of the time, either cooking our own food or paying to eat elsewhere. Fortunately, each flat comes with a kitchen, fully stocked with everything you’ll need except for food, cutlery, and cookware. For example, mine comes with a toaster, microwave, fridge, stove, etc. It feels rather odd sharing a kitchen with ten other people. Most of my food goes into the school provided mini fridge under my desk, but anything that needs to be kept frozen has to go into fridge in the kitchen. Even though no one has taken any of my food yet, I’m always worried that one day something will look too good for someone else to pass up, and I’ll come back to find part of my lunch missing.

The food here is taking a little getting used to. Fortunately for me, the campus is located in one of the cheaper sections of London, so buying already cooked food from the little shops nearby isn’t costing me an arm and a leg; thanks to this, I’ve been able to try a little bit of the local cuisine. The Indian and Bangladeshi dishes are amazing; out of everything I’ve tried, they seem to have the most spice and flavor to them. On the other hand, the British food I’ve tried seems to be much more toned down than what I’m used to in the US. The ramen noodles I bought to make myself lunch had less than three grams of salt in the total package! Oddly enough, I have yet to try the national dish, ‘Fish and Chips’.


A Little Over a Month to Go

Time August 9th, 2010 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

I won’t be arriving in London till nearly mid September, but for me the adventure is already beginning.
My name’s Lauren Runza, and I’m a History/Politics double major at Rider University in New Jersey. I’ll be spending the Fall at Queen Mary University in London, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve always wanted to travel to Europe, and the idea of staying there for an extended period of time-even better.
In between shifts waiting on tables, I’ve spent my time studying what I can about British culture… sometimes this entails reading newspapers such as the UK Guardian, other times watching shows such as Doctor Who on BBC’s American channel. One thing that’s particularly caught my interest is the food. Unlike most universities in the US, the one I’ll be attending in London doesn’t have a meal plan. Rather, I’ll be living in a flat (aka apartment) which contains a kitchen, and my roommates and I will have to do all of our own cooking. This means that I’ve been readying myself with a few cheap and simple recipes that I can cook up after classes. At the same time, I can’t wait to to try all that London’s menus have to offer; I grew up in a small town, and rarely get to experience the varieties of flavors that cities have for the adventurous.
Some differences in wording that I came across while researching Britain’s cuisine:
-Dessert is commonly known as ‘pudding’ or ‘afters’.
-Cupcakes are called ‘fairy cakes’.
-Appetizers are ‘starters’.
-Baked potatoes are called ‘jacket potatoes’.


U.K. vs U.S.:A Look at the Education Systems

Time June 2nd, 2009 in College Study Abroad | 1 Comment by

While coming to study in Cardiff University, I couldn’t help but compare the U.K. and U.S. education systems. The two nations hold many differences in their approach to teach students from the lecturing styles, testing methods, and the overall level of independence that the student is given. I have found with my own personal experience that the differences are in favor of the U.K. system in my belief.

The first difference that I noticed while studying in Wales was how often I have to go to lectures for one class. In the U.S., on average for one class I go to a lecture three times a week, where in the U.K. there’s only one lecture a week. The Universities in the U.K. make this work by giving the students an extensive reading list that they are expected to go through on their own time.

When I went to classes at my home University, I had a variety of classes to choose from but once I was in the class, I was given one book and told exactly what was going to be on the multiple choice test that would be given to me in about three weeks time. This is extremely different to the U.K. in the fact that the Universities give more freedom on what the student can focus his or her main studying on and what approach he or she can take with the one examination time at the end of the semester. At Cardiff University and other U.K. Universities like it, you are compelled to become a scholar. I personally have gone to the library everyday I’m on campus to find books I want to read concerning the coursework that’s at hand. In every class I have taken at Cardiff, I am given an extensive reading list which is a guideline to what materials I should be researching on my own time. This gives me the freedom to choose which researchers and theorists I want to read about in depth and inevitably write about in my essay examination.

The testing method that is used by the majority of instructors in the U.K. is the essay format. With this format, the student is given a selection of about three to five questions where they usually only have to answer one in their essay giving them once again freedom to choose the actual material they are tested on at the end of the semester. Writing an essay on the course work requires the student to understand the material thoroughly. With this, the student is more likely to remember what he or she has learned and use this newly gained knowledge in the future. In contrast, the amount of material that is covered on multiple choice exams that’s given to students in the U.S. on a weekly basis doesn’t have the same affect. With the amount of testing and material we are expected to know, I feel student’s like myself are pressured into memorizing the material rather than actually grasping the concepts of the matter.

In my opinion, Universities across the U.K. treat the students more as adults and the amount of knowledge a student obtains while at University is solely up to the student. At Cardiff University, the students are trusted that they will do the independent reading and attend the lectures and seminars. If the student chooses not to do this, it’s the student’s own education that’s at risk and this will be reflected in the student’s grades. This is basically common knowledge in the U.K., but in the U.S. it’s a slightly different story.

In my U.S. classes, mandatory attendance is taken every time I go to class. If I don’t go to class everyday I will be penalized. I am given a book or two and am shown exactly what I need to know for the exam. Having mandatory classes three times a week and four exams throughout the semester, I feel as if we are being checked up on, to make sure that we are actually doing are studying. The freedom and trust that the U.K. education system gives the student I feel is not there in the U.S. Also, I don’t feel motivated to be a scholar and go to the library to read in depth on certain course material because an A is very achievable on exams without doing this. I am given the book that holds the material that all of my testing will be on in class so there is no point in checking out books from the library to research different takes on the subject. I’ve never once had to check out a book at my college’s library in the U.S. but now that I’ve been at Cardiff, I’ve checked out about thirty books and counting.

Overall, I would say I do prefer the U.K. education system over the U.S.’s. The amount of freedom and independent studying at Cardiff University allows me to have is working really well so far. I feel like I am treated more as an adult in the sense that my education lies in my hands only. Because of this, I am really interested in getting a Master’s Degree in the U.K. sometime in the near future, knowing that it would only take half the time as well.

Thanks to the U.K. education system, I have realized that a library serves a higher purpose than just providing a quiet place to study. It’s in fact a place that holds many valuable resources in the form of text that can better anyone’s education. Who knew?