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Going to See Plays in London

     For my intro to London stage class I’ve been to see about 4 shows total. The best part about it is that I don’t have to go to see certain shows by myself! Some notable theatre’s that I’ve been to are the London National theatre and the Phoenix theater.

      My classmates all meet up by the library at 6 every Thursday and we set out to see a new play at a new venue every week. It’s interesting because every venue is different in every way. Whether it’s the size, location or even the spectators. It’s very refreshing to be at a new theatre every week for these purposes. Here there is a theatre on every corner, back home I can count the amount of theatres we have on my hand! Anyways every time we go out, I’m always excited to go out and see what’s in store for the new week.

     Last week I went to see a play that was for a deaf audience. It was so interesting to see a play from that perspective. There’s a girl in my class who is losing her hearing and I just love that as a class and theatre community we can all appreciate different audiences.

      The only downside to seeing plays every week (and I know how could there be a downside??) is the money I spend for transportation. I do sometimes get lucky and find buses to the theatre, but I doesn’t happen often. I wish that there were more frequent cheap options available, but I usually have to take the tube or train. It’s fine though because the shows I see make up for it!!

     I don’t even spend time thinking about it because the shows are so good. I think I brought this up before, but yes transportation isn’t cheap here so when I go out, I try to stay out for my money’s worth. Some people leave straight from class and spend the entire evening in central London until the play starts. I should start doing this, but I never can find anyone to tag along from my class. Usually people leave class and eat or do whatever they need to do before leaving to see the play.

     Once I was out at a theatre with my class and I saw Emilia Clarke, she’s an actress in Game of Thrones. I spotted her about 15 minutes after I got to the theatre. After the show, we went to see a one man play called baby reindeer, the whole class saw her. I wanted to go up to her but everyone said it was inappropriate. Big cultural shock for me, but now at least I know! See you guys soon!


Kierra M. Fayne is a junior at the University of Missouri- Kansas City studying theatre performance. Kierra is spending the fall semester abroad with the Missouri-London Semester Program: University of Roehampton. She plans to study theatre in London to seek new techniques and tools that will help her tackle performances with more ease. Kierra was raised in Kansas City, Missouri, where she has made connections that have helped her identify her goals to study theatre performance. She is now ready to spread her wings, find connections, and make new friends in London.

Disclaimer:  Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space. The opinions or statements expressed herein should not be taken as a position or endorsement of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Thrifting in London

     With Halloween literally around the corner I’m getting more and more excited day by day. Everyone here loves Halloween. I have yet to be scared here in London, like at a horror house, but we shall see. The university is putting on some scary maze and I cannot wait! Back at home you don’t have to search hard to find scary places, but here it’s a bit of a rarity.

    I keep wondering what it is, like is it because of religion or something, but a flat mate said that he thinks America just goes all out for Halloween. Like even though Halloween didn’t start in America we took the concept and made it our own. It’s still fun even though they don’t celebrate Halloween like America because everyone here loves Halloween, and I love that because Halloween is my second favorite holiday.

      Me and my friend in the spirit of Halloween went out to find some quick easy Halloween costumes. Just to our luck there was a costume shop just a 15-minute bus ride down the road. Now I wasn’t expecting a lot, but this store seemed to have it all. My friend found two costumes there! They had everything from light up tights to realistic politician masks. We had a lot of fun in that store, and the staff is awesome. I think the store is called party palace. Oh yeah, I forgot to add the most important part…the costumes were dirt cheap!

     Afterwards we decided to go thrifting because there were so many thrift stores that were in that area, we had to check them out. I found such cute sweaters for such low prices I couldn’t believe it. I love thrift stores because you never know what you’re going to get…kind of like a box of chocolates (LOL I’m very cheesy sorry). No but really every thrift store has a different vibe to it.

     Some thrift stores are much too expensive, some are dirt cheap and you’ll never know until you go in to see the prices. The thrift store I got most of my sweaters seemed really posh, but the prices were considerably low. Things were so cheap yet so beautiful. I am sad to say that none of the shoes I liked from this store fit me. I told my friend that its “god sending me messages not to get anymore shoes”.

     The thing is I came here with quite a few shoes so that’s the joke. It’s okay though, at least my friend found some shoes, and she’s totally obsessed with them. She couldn’t even bear to take them off in the store. I told her that’s how you know you must get that pair of shoes. I guess I can say this was a perfect place for shopping.

We also got ice cream, I got green apple gelato, for £2! Is it me or is that really cheap? I would have never been able to find cheap gelato back at home. Okay see ya later guys.


Kierra M. Fayne is a junior at the University of Missouri- Kansas City studying theatre performance. Kierra is spending the fall semester abroad with the Missouri-London Semester Program: University of Roehampton. She plans to study theatre in London to seek new techniques and tools that will help her tackle performances with more ease. Kierra was raised in Kansas City, Missouri, where she has made connections that have helped her identify her goals to study theatre performance. She is now ready to spread her wings, find connections, and make new friends in London.

Disclaimer:  Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space. The opinions or statements expressed herein should not be taken as a position or endorsement of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Arriving in London

     I’ve been in London for four days now and I’m still pinching myself! I still haven’t gotten the chance to see central London, which is a bummer, but I’ll find a way. In my home in Kansas City most people rely on their cars for transportation, but in London it’s the opposite. Mostly everyone here relies on public transit, which is great, but I’m not used to it at all.

Today I missed the opportunity to go explore central London with fellow international students. The jet lag has been real, and has finally caught up with me! When I first arrived in London I didn’t feel tired at all. It was just yesterday that I began to feel extremely exhausted, but I have been staying up very late due to me getting used to new surroundings. Due to that I completely missed out on exploring the city today.

While I’ve only been here for four days, I’ve already met some great people from my flat and orientation. I’m happy to be putting myself out there in social interactions, and meeting new friends. One person who has really made an impression on me is my flat rep Dre. He has been very kind and understanding. Sometimes, I cannot understand a word he is saying but he won’t hesitate to repeat himself!

So far I’ve been to Asda (a “Walmart” like supermarket), a student friendly bar on campus, and a campus movie night. I feel great so far, but missing out on photo frenzy is kind of getting me down. If I didn’t explain already, photo frenzy is a day when all international students go out into central London and explore the town. The University of Roehampton even set up a clue game to have fun finding historical pieces.

It sounds very fun, and I hope to go enjoy the city soon. As I’ve said already i didn’t go into the city so I have no pictures of the city. Instead here are some pictures of my view right now.


Kierra M. Fayne is a junior at the University of Missouri- Kansas City studying theatre performance. Kierra is spending the fall semester abroad with the Missouri-London Semester Program: University of Roehampton. She plans to study theatre in London to seek new techniques and tools that will help her tackle performances with more ease. Kierra was raised in Kansas City, Missouri, where she has made connections that have helped her identify her goals to study theatre performance. She is now ready to spread her wings, find connections, and make new friends in London.

Disclaimer:  Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space. The opinions or statements expressed herein should not be taken as a position or endorsement of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

To Study or To Travel? That is the Question.

King Henry III’s round table replica found in Winchester Great Hall.
Winchester Cathedral

I think I’ll only get to take four books home– weight restrictions and all that. But I’ve made up for my disappointment by buying a wooden sword and tiny catapult/pencil sharpener. The second week of the program we were able to take an amazing tour of Jane Austen’s house, and Winchester Cathedral and Great Hall! I technically should’ve brought my homework along, but how could I write an essay surrounded by so much history?

The tutorial system of education, however, does NOT disappoint. It is amazing to have a class with just three other students and one faculty member. While I am beginning to adore my tutor, I’m still quite biased toward UMKC professors (shout out to Doc and DJ)! I can only imagine what kind of learning I’d be able to achieve if I had access to this system in the states. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to learn about myself and grow my study habits by finding a new system that works well for me. I can’t wait to implement some of the teaching style when I’m a professor.

Jane Austen’s House in Chawton
The idyllic English country side near Chawton Manor

I may be a literature student, but there are yet words I’ve not encountered. I believe those are the ones I’d need to accurately describe the beauty of this place. For now, I think I will go with: My heart is full and my head dreams for more.

 

 

 


Ashley Silver is a senior at the University of Missouri — Kansas City studying English Literature. Ashley will spend the summer semester abroad with the IFSA-Butler program in Oxford, England.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Small City Dreams

Ye gods but Oxford is beautiful. I’ve been here for one whole hour and I am already in love. I’m staying in the dorms in Magdalen College; it’s the one with its own deer park. Can you imagine UMKC having a deer park in the middle of Kansas City? That would be wild. Don’t get me wrong, I love our quad, but there’s a distinct lack of deer. 

London’s West End has some great shows!

It is SO much quieter here than in central London. I had to stay at a hotel near Tottenham Court Road for the first couple days, just to get situated with my IFSA program. London is BUSY BUSY BUSY GO GO GO!!! There’s a constant flow and irregular heartbeat to the city that was very new to me. I can completely understand why people choose to make it their home. The tall buildings and narrow winding streets hid treasures around every corner. We took a VERY long walking tour and I got to see things I’d only read about in Dumas books. But, as I’ve lived in Kansas City for most of my life, it was a bit too much close quarters for me. I’m VERY glad to have learned that about myself before I committed to living in London or a similar big city. 

The deer get right up close to my window!

Oxford, on the other hand, is so far exactly what I wanted it to be. The buildings are shorter, the birds are louder, and there is grass to lay in. Also, some castles and the Hogwarts dining hall. But, I’m really ready to just settle into school here. The tutorial system of education is new to me and I am greatly looking forward to experiencing it. I have also brought a half empty suitcase that I’m looking forward to filling with books!

 

 


Ashley Silver is a senior at the University of Missouri — Kansas City studying English Literature. Ashley will spend the summer semester abroad with the IFSA-Butler program in Oxford, England.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

What Even is Time?

I have no idea how long a month is. I mean, I know how long a month is. But I don’t know how long a month is. Time is weird and it doesn’t make sense to me. There are only three times: right now, the far off future, and never. Hence why I’m sitting in the airport writing this blog post like I should’ve done a week ago. My friends keep telling me a month is a really long time, that I’ll have SO much time to see EVERYTHING in England. I just keep telling them I have homework. Because, again, time is hard and I do not have a good grasp on how long a month is. Also, I’m taking 11 credits in one month, which genuinely seems like a lot. 

I know we are supposed to talk about our plane trips, but… ok so from MCI to Georgia was like, an hour and a half? And that’s how far my cousin’s house in Iowa is. So Georgia is a close as Iowa. The flight to England is 8hrs and that’s how far Colorado was, so England is like going to Estes Park for me. 

I guess what I’m getting at is: if you have a study abroad trip, don’t worry about how long you’ll be there or how far away from home it is. Time and distance are completely meaningless and incomprehensible. 


Ashley Silver is a senior at the University of Missouri — Kansas City studying English Literature. Ashley will spend the summer semester abroad with the IFSA-Butler program in Oxford, England.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

2018 UMKC Study Abroad Programs Now Accepting Applications

Spring and Summer 2018 faculty-led study abroad programs are now accepting applications. UMKC faculty and staff develop, direct and teach these UMKC credit-bearing programs. You will learn and travel with UMKC faculty member(s) and students, exploring common interests. Program lengths vary from one to six weeks  and cultural activities and excursions are included.

Faculty-Led Bloch MBA Capstone Taipei

One of the four Asian Tigers or Asian Dragons, Taiwan is an economic power in the global market. Known for its industrial & high-tech manufacturing (especially semiconductors), it has become one of Asia’s biggest traders. Students will have a unique opportunity to experience its exceptional history and culture in both casual and business environments, while working on a real company consulting project.

Faculty-Led Bloch Summer: Urbania, Italy

The UMKC Summer Program: Urbania, Italy is three weeks of total immersion into Italian culture while taking UMKC courses from UMKC instructors. Urbania is located in the Le Marche region between Tuscany and the Adriatic coast of Central Italy. The region is best known for its beaches and its art and culture. Urbania will be our “home base” as we explore other cities in Italy, including Rome, Florence, Gubbio, Pesaro, and more. Classwork is brought to life by utilizing Italy as the lens through which new topics are explored. To further enhance the experience, students will take part in a conversational Italian workshop. Students will learn the basic linguistic elements of “survival Italian” used in real-life situations outside the classroom (i.e. asking for directions, ordering a meal, shopping, etc.). Prepare to be transformed by an authentic experience of Italian life and culture.

Faculty-Led UMKC Bloch Summer London

International Study in Business: London, United Kingdom, is an integrated class investigating management practices of HR and leadership in the United Kingdom. Not only will participants visit one of the most modern yet historic cities in the world, they will learn how management policies and practices differ between the US and the UK. The Brexit context makes this course a particularly relevant and informative experience for graduating students of all levels.

Faculty-Led UMKC French Language Summer in Lyon, France

The UMKC Lyon Summer Study Abroad Program is a six-week, homestay experience, June 4 – July 13, 2018. Students from UMKC or any other university should have completed the equivalent of at least one year of college French and should have a minimum French GPA of 2.5. At the end of program, students will have engaged significantly with aspects of Lyon history and culture, including its UNESCO world heritage sites and famed Guignol puppet theater. They will also have improved their French communication skills through extensive practice and coursework.

Faculty-Led UMKC Geosciences Spring Break Bahamas Program

Dr. Tina Niemi is a Professor in the Department of Geosciences at UMKC. She has been leading this Field Methods course in the Bahamas since 2007. The class will also take part in Dr. Niemi’s ongoing research with UMKC graduate students investigating the paleolimnological record and changes in the coastal morphology due to recent hurricanes.

Faculty-Led UMKC Honors Summer Program in Ireland

Our home base will be the seaport city of Cork, a community of 125,000 people. Founded in the 6th century, Cork soon grew into an urban commercial center heavily involved in European trade. Cork has seen it all—medieval feuds, the Black Plague, the English War of the Roses, and eventually the modern movement for Irish independence.  Although nicknamed the “Second City,” Cork residents consider their city the real hub of Irish culture and politics.

Faculty-Led UMKC Spanish Language Summer in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Participants will be housed with host families who are specifically chosen for their interest in sharing Argentinean life and culture with foreign students. Students generally eat breakfast and dinner with their host families. By living with families, students not only communicate in Spanish with native speakers, but also eat Argentinean food, live in an Argentinean home, etc. The home stay is an invaluable aspect of the UMKC program in Buenos Aires and sets it apart from other summer study abroad programs. There will be 1-2 students per home stay location.

“Do you have any British money?”

A year ago, my best friend visited Paris and England. In preparation for my two months in Europe, I picked her brain extensively. On numerous occasions, she told me that one of her favorite visits during her entire trip was one to Bath, England. So, when Serena suggested we take a day trip to Bath during our three-day weekend in London, I jumped at the idea. We bought our train tickets in advance and made our way to Paddington Train Station at 7am. When we arrived in Bath, we were met with a beautiful ancient Roman city. We roamed the streets for around 20 minutes, taking in yet another city of cobbled streets and ancient buildings. Then, we headed for the bath house and museum. We spent easily 2 or 3 hours following the masterfully-crafted exhibits in the museum, all the while seeing glimpses of the main bath through windows throughout the building, causing the anticipation for the main attraction to grow. Throughout the museum, we learned about Roman life in England through plaques and artifacts and by walking the same paths the Romans did so long ago. As a history major, this was my favorite historical site, and when Serena, a Chemistry major, said she loved it as well, I was thrilled that she wasn’t bored to death by something that I found so incredible.

Model of the original bath buildings in Bath, England

After going through the main museum, we finally made it to the main bath room, now an unenclosed courtyard. The bath was full of green water, and the room was sparsely decorated. It’s difficult to describe how it felt to walk around this bath – to walk around in awe in a space where the Romans went about their daily lives. Museum employees walked about the bath room in period costume – there was an aristocrat and a priest, among others. The aristocrat character stopped us and asked us where our “master” was – he told us that we’d better finish our job and get back to him! These interactions were a little detail that really rounded out the experience: not only could you walk around an ancient Roman Bath, but you could interact with the “Romans” as well!

The view from the upper level above the main Roman bath

After the baths, we went to lunch at a Moroccan restaurant in Bath where we had some of the most amazing food I’ve had on this trip. Unfortunately, when we got our food, I checked the time and we only had 20 minutes to make our train to Salisbury to visit Stonehenge! We ate our couscous and chicken quickly (I still wish I’d been able to savor that meal!) then headed down to the train station – we’d missed our train by minutes. So, we headed to the info desk and asked when the next one would be. We were in luck: the next train was in 20 minutes, and the next after that was over an hour later! We sat down at our platform, relaxed, and wondered at the seagulls hanging out at a train station in the middle of Southern England.

When we finally got to Salisbury, we went to the bus stop to buy our tickets for a bus to and from Stonehenge. We told the ticket lady our itinerary and she told us we wouldn’t have the time to make it there and back in time for the train back to London, but we were determined. We tried to buy our tickets, but didn’t have the cash. So we ran to an ATM and pulled out just enough to pay for our tickets. We ran back and got in line, but when we got there, I pulled out my mix of Scottish and English Pounds to pay, and the ticket lady took one look at my Scottish money and said “Oh, well, do you have any British money?” Taken aback, I looked at Serena, who had clearly heard the same thing I did and asked her to cover that portion of my ticket. It was the first time I was confronted with that odd asterisk to Scottish money. Scottish money is legal tender* in all of the United Kingdom, but English business are not required to accept it as payment. Ultimately, we made it to Stonehenge with enough time to snap some photos, take in the views, and rush back to our train to London.

Me at the Stonehenge

All in all, it was a crazy day, but it was well worth it to see those beautiful historical monuments (even if we did only get 10 minutes at Stonehenge!).


Victoria Davidson is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City double majoring in History and Foreign Languages and Literature with a German emphasis. Victoria is spending July abroad with the faculty-led UMKC Honors Summer Program in Scotland.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Alone in a City of 8.8 Million Residents (Plus Thousands of Tourists)

Big crowds scare me, especially if I do not have someone I know with me to help distract from my

A model of Stonehenge made from the rocks along the coast of the Butt of Lewis lighthouse

imaginings of all the potential things that could go wrong and cause widespread panic. So why would I ever dream of or even feel excited for a day spent all by myself in one of the most crowded cities in the world? I can’t seem to answer this question, but somehow I ended up convincing my friends to leave me behind in London as they traveled to Bath and Stonehenge without me during our weekend excursion.

 

A wax figure of Mary, Queen of Scots, a subject of our studies, at Madame Tussaud’s

The first thing I did on my solo adventure was find my way to and attend Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. I could tell during our first night in London while we were planning our weekend that my travel companions were not too excited about this suggestion, even though they tried to conceal it and not disappoint me. So I was happy to go to this attraction by myself and spend the time I wanted there without feeling rushed or sorry for making my friends spend valuable time and money on something they didn’t want to do. Afterwards, I returned to the hostel we were staying in and was surprised and happy to find our 20-person dorm room quiet and completely empty, giving me a great opportunity to finish writing my speech for class without any distractions.

With the weight of an incomplete assignment off my shoulders, I found myself with quite a bit of free time. I decided to just wander around and explore the city, and eventually found my way to a tea shop in a district of the West End of London called “Soho.” The shop was incredibly busy, so I barely fit my way into the door and up to the counter to order. Once I got my pastry and pot of tea and sat at a newly vacated table, the charming shop owner asked me if I would mind another customer sitting with me. I spent the next hour or so talking to a gentleman who had lived in London for around five years, who told me all about the hidden treasures of the city most tourists would never discover. After warming back up from the rain and sharing a table with yet another local customer (although he was much quieter), I walked across town to the London Eye, where I would eventually meet back with my friends.

A view from the top of the London Eye, a giant ferris wheel

The crowds of visitors eventually became too much for my nerves, so I wandered away and eventually found myself talking with another Londoner, this time an older gentleman being treated at the hospital I was seeking refuge from the rain in. He asked me what I was studying and what career I eventually wanted to have, and he told me his experience with England’s healthcare system after I expressed my wish to become a doctor. Speaking with these local citizens showed me their perspectives, teaching me much more about the city than I could ever get from simply visiting the most popular attractions.

 

Another view from the London Eye showing Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

Even though I began the day alone, I ended up meeting and chatting with three other young travelers from Canada and Australia, as well as three people from London. I think what gave me the opportunity to meet them was the fact that I was by myself and therefore open to interacting with people I didn’t know instead of focusing on prior friends. The best part about this “lonely” day, however, was that I could do and see what I wanted without worrying about making others miss out on what they wanted to experience. I was able to get a much more in-depth experience in London by taking the time to explore the city and meet new people, and my friends and I each formed new stories during our time apart to be able to share with each other.

 


Kathryn Smith is a freshman at the University of Missouri- Kansas City majoring in Psychology and Pre-Medicine, with the goal to become a psychiatrist. During the month of July, Kathryn is participating in the UMKC Honors College Program in Scotland.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Do we really speak the same language?

Four days in the UK have taught me a lot: always add $0.30 per pound spent to convert pounds to dollars, look right-left-right before crossing the street, and don’t worry about adding tax to purchases: it’s already included. I have also just begun to learn that although I might speak the same language as those in England, we don’t speak the same language. I thought I knew enough differences between the two languages, but I found myself asking my cousins for clarification when they said words, sometimes words that were even new to my vocabulary!

It wasn’t necessarily that we were saying different things, it’s just that words in American English have come to mean different things than they do for British English. As each language has evolved independently from the other, we have grown to have more and more differences. Just as English has changed from the time that Shakespeare lived, so has both American and British English. I found that most people in the UK have traveled to the US and therefore know the American words for things, whereas I usually had to ask for the American counterpart to British words (usually just for clarification). Below are a few of the words that I have run into so far. It will be interesting to see what I continue to hear in Scotland, as there are some words used that are not even English!

  • “Brollie”: a short-hand word for umbrella
  • “Car park”: parking lot
  • “Semi-detached”: a group of two houses together, what I refer to as a duplex
  • “Jumper”: sweater
  • “Laurie/Van”: words for small and large cars (no word for truck exists)
  • “Diary”: a calendar or planner used for dates, either paper or digital
  • “University”: the same word as in the US, however “college” is not used, also “school” refers to children under the age of 18
  • “Dummy”: pacifier
  • “Nappie”: diaper
  • “Estate Agent”: relator or real estate agent, responsible for both selling and renting homes
  • “First floor”: literally starts at the FIRST floor (there is no “ground” floor)
  • “Holiday”: vacation

And then of course, there are the ones that everyone knows, such as biscuit and queue!


Emily McIntyre is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Marketing and Entrepreneurship with a Spanish minor. Emily is involved with several student organizations, including UMKC Enactus, which uses entrepreneurship to solve needs in the community. She’s looking forward to studying abroad this summer with the UMKC Honors Program in Scotland, where she plans to explore more of her family heritage and country of origin.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.