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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.

Wanderlust

I have not written as many of these things as I had originally planned, but it is sometimes hard to find the right things to say in just a week’s time or even do enough cool stuff in a week to write about. Over the last 3 or so weeks since I have written, I think I’ve done some noteworthy things, so here goes.

​For starters I just want to say that this trip, if you want to call it that, is flying by. As I am writing I am almost exactly halfway through my time here. Before heading out, four months seemed like a big chunk of time to be away. When you get down to it, start adventuring, mixing in school, and just living life, that amount of time can pass by before you know it. I realize now that in a few years when I look back on this it will seem like such a small chapter of my life, with a huge impact, nonetheless.

​A lot has happened since I last wrote, so I will go through the events I found to be the most memorable. Before I came, I planned on thoroughly traveling Ireland, mainly the southern area around Cork, before venturing to other countries. This proved to be exactly what happened. Last week I was finally able to get an appointment with immigration and get my temporary status that allows me to travel more freely around Europe. Look at me now customs guy at the airport. That was a weight off my shoulders as I already have many trips planned outside of Ireland. First, I will start with a little journey I embarked on a few weeks earlier.

​A few Saturdays ago, I did not have any plans for the weekend so a friend and I thought it would be cool to go hike the tallest mountain in Ireland, Carrauntoohil. If you look it up, it shows that it is only about 4,000 feet tall which does it no justice at all. In fact, I will never judge a mountain based strictly on height again. To be fair, the bottom of the mountain starts right around sea level unlike most of the mountains in the states which start already at 8 or 9 thousand feet above sea level and rise about the same amount as Carrauntoohil. To throw in another wrinkle, it is also a twelve-mile bike ride and some change just to get to the base. The hike itself was listed at four to six hours and a bike ride that long is about an hour. When we arrived, we had only about five hours to get the job done, so if you do the math, we had to book it. The first part of the jaunt seemed like a cake walk right up until it started pouring with a forty mile per hour wind mixed in. This continued as we trekked through the valley up the steep rock chute between the peaks. As we crested that, the weather broke for a bit to reveal one of the coolest views I have ever seen which I will picture below. With not much time to waste, we carried on. From there it was probably a 2,000-foot ascent to the top. The weather was much like the first half, but there was no quitting to be done. We reached the peak and were treated to glimpses of beauty through the heavy fog. After a brief sit to bask in the pride of reaching the summit, we were off like a shot. Something about being crunched for time, fighting through the elements and putting burning legs to the back of your mind makes it that much more special. The rock chute I mentioned was basically a river by the hike down, so it took intense focus to get through the precarious positions to reach the bottom. The race was still on though as we hustled back to our bikes and pedaled to no end. We screeched into the bike shop just as the man was locking up and sprinted to the bus stop. From dawn to dusk it was a mad dash, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

​Moving on to this past week, I was lucky enough to make my maiden voyage out of the country. The first stop was Norway. It was quite the experience as I bussed to Dublin, flew over and reached my hostel at half past one in the morning. I woke up early to realize that no one else in the country does the same, apparently. I toured the city and took some photos before getting some coffee and mapping out the day. It was raining most of the time, so I settled on a short train ride out of the city to hike around a lake called Randsfjord. As we say here, it was absolute class. The countryside was beautiful and the small villages very cozy. Later, I headed back into Oslo to have dinner and do some more exploring. After a few short hours, I was content with my short trip as I had an early flight the next morning to get home at decent time. Two choices were presented to me on lodging as I could rent another hostel or bunk in the airport for the night. I thought it would be more memorable to do the latter, so I decided on the tile floor of the terminal. Boy was I right. I will never forget getting zero sleep waiting on that 7 am flight back to Dublin. Most people shake their head at me when I tell about my trips, but it keeps things interesting. Maybe the hostel would have been more comfortable, but who wants to hear about that. A two-hour flight and a four-hour bus back to Cork pretty well wrapped that one up, and I was ready for a nap.

​I’m sure many other things happened that are worth telling over the last few weeks, but these really stick out to me. In the coming weeks I plan to head over to Scotland with a few friends along with a nice stay in Cork for the upcoming jazz weekend. Currently, I am sitting in a rental house in the middle of a golf tournament as I was lucky enough to compete with the UCC club team. I would tell the tale, but I have rambled on enough. Therefore, I’ll save it for next time. I’ll do my best to write again soon. Until then lads.    


Matthew Twaddle is a sophomore at the University of Missouri- Kansas City majoring in civil engineering. He is attending the University College Cork in Ireland through the UMKC Direct Exchange Program during the fall semester. Matthew is from Maryville, MO and is excited to continue his education in Cork, Ireland where some of his family still resides.

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.

Taking Flight

Leaving home for the first time can be a bit daunting. No matter how many times you tell yourself or tell others that you are ready for it, you never really are. Sure I may have left home to go to college, but it is just not the same. In Kansas City I at least have the occasional day trip back home whenever I need it. This is a whole new ball game. Definitely exciting but new ground nonetheless. In my mind, getting over here and getting setup was really just an after thought until it became reality. I realized it wasn’t going to be a cake walk when I got to customs the morning of September 3rd, looking like a zombie since it should have been the middle of the night. Showing up with every document except for my letter of acceptance to University College Cork was a microcosm of  my whole journey up to this point, so it was very fitting. I thought I was going to be kicked out of Ireland before I got in, but here I am two weeks in. Look at me now, customs guy.

It took a bit of learning, getting looked at weird, and wandering around to get settled in. Now I have all the necessary supplies I need to make it through the semester, which is mainly sandwich stuff and a pair of hiking shoes. To be fair, those shoes have already taken me to Killarney National Park and The Cliffs of Moher which were both mesmerizing, so I would say they have been a solid investment. With one week of classes down and a few adventures under my belt, things are becoming a bit less foreign with each passing day. Sure, it is easy to miss home and the family and friends that make it that way, but living in the moment is something I have always prided myself in. If you worry too much about what is going on elsewhere, opportunities will pass you by. This is an experience I don’t want to squander by thinking about being somewhere else or about what I am going to do next, but instead by enjoying where I’m at in the moment. This semester is going to fly by anyways so why not enjoy every minute. That is something that is pretty easy to do in a place like Ireland, as every corner reveals something else to be intrigued by. I also can’t forget to mention that the adjustment has been made so much easier by all the awesome people I have met. Making friends is a bit easier when everyone is equally confused about their situation, but I never imagined how many great people I would meet, and even go travel with, in such a short amount of time. I guess it isn’t a huge shock that a bunch of study abroad kids would want to adventure and explore new places. Nevertheless, I am really glad they do. Already I am extremely thankful for what this trip has brought to me and pumped for what is to come. I already have a few excursions in the works. I’m going to take a few trips with friends and a couple solo treks, so stay tuned for my next move. Oh and classes went well this week too. I made it to all of those.

Thanks a million, cheers.


Matthew Twaddle is a sophomore at the University of Missouri- Kansas City majoring in civil engineering. He is attending the University College Cork in Ireland through the UMKC Direct Exchange Program during the fall semester. Matthew is from Maryville, MO and is excited to continue his education in Cork, Ireland where some of his family still resides.

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.

Dear Future Globetrotter

Flamenco show in Granada, Spain

Spain is amazing. Traveling is such an adventure. Studying abroad is a gift. I truly cherish the months that I have had the privilege of living in this beautiful country and all that it has taught me. As the semester comes to an end, a handful of consejos (advice) come to mind that I think are important for anyone about to embark on their own journey abroad. These are some things I have learned (in no particular order) during my time in Granada, Spain. Everyone is unique and has their own story, struggles, and journey abroad, so they may not apply to every person out there. But, I do think what I have observed and learned is very useful and I hope you find it to be as well.

1. Make every effort to get out of the American bubble. You are going to make new friends in your program and in your classes, and that is wonderful! But odds are most, if not all, of those people will be from the United States, which means you will mostly be speaking English and it will be more difficult to meet locals. This happened to me, and while I love the friends I’ve made, I didn’t meet many locals. It was a lot more challenging than I expected. I spoke English more than I imagined I would when at the start of the semester I really believed the majority of the language I used would be Spanish. All I’m saying is to find a balance and be intentional about meeting the locals in your city.

2. Don’t wait until you have the perfect friend(s)/group to do something you are interested in… Similarly, don’t be afraid to do things alone. The biggest example of this for me was when I took a solo trip to Manchester, England. I went for the sole purpose of visiting the Chatsworth House, which is Mr. Darcy’s home in the newest movie adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. I really hadn’t found anyone that was interested in going there, so I went alone. It was a very challenging experience but one I really cherish. I’m the type of person that loves to share experiences with others, so at times during the trip, I felt very alone. However, this also meant I got to learn even more about myself: what I like, what I don’t like, how I travel without outside influence, and so much more. It’s okay to do things alone and you’ll even grow from it!

3. If you’re abroad to learn and practice a new language, don’t shy away from continuing to speak in that language if the person you’re talking to responds in English. This happened to me far more often that I would’ve liked. It’s usually in situations where the person I’m speaking with is in a hurry and I’m taking too long to get my point across (like ordering food at a restaurant). It sometimes made me question my Spanish abilities. Were they switching to English because I wasn’t speaking Spanish well enough? I was there to learn so I wouldn’t let that stop me from speaking. Who knows? Maybe they want an opportunity to practice their English. Just keep practicing! You’re there to learn.

4. If you see something potentially interesting or are curious about something around a corner, through an archway, up/down stairs, go explore! You won’t regret taking those few extra steps and seconds to check it out. Even if it doesn’t end up being that noteworthy, you won’t leave the country wondering what could’ve been. Plus, you just never know what you will find!

5. Learn how to use public transportation systems; it’s a great feeling when you get it down. I still struggle with it at times, but Google Maps is a lifesaver. Keep in mind, some countries are easier to navigate than others with this mode of transport, but you’ll get the hang of it.

6. Front load the time you’re living in the country by doing a lot of activities, exploring, eating new foods, meeting locals and new friends. Time really does fly when you study abroad and you don’t want finals week to suddenly be upon you and you still have so much on the table. It’s not fun to be studying for finals and still trying to cram a few more activities in. It just it makes it hard to enjoy it all. I was a victim of this… the procrastinator in me really revealed itself this semester. Don’t wait!!

7. Just take it all in! Enjoy every second and find special moments in each day. I know this is very general, but there is so much to discover and take in. Make the most of your time!

Thank you for joining me this semester and for taking the time to read about my adventures! I hope that those who are planning to study abroad have a wonderful experience. And if you are still on the fence about whether you should go or not, I have one piece of advice for you: do it! You won’t regret it.

The Alcázar in Segovia, Spain

 

Picos de Europa, northern Spain

 


Camille Meeks is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Psychology and Languages & Literature with an emphasis in Spanish. Camille will spend the Fall semester studying in Granada, Spain through International Studies Abroad as a Truman Good Neighbor Scholar.

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.

Transitioning from Newbie to Native (More or Less)

A pic of me on a side trip to Morocco and the Sahara Desert!

Let’s be real: there’s a honeymoon phase to almost any new thing we do. Whether that’s starting a new job, new school, new hobby, or making new friends, there comes a point when you see the activities or the people for what/who they really are. You may still enjoy it, but you begin to know the true depth, see the flaws, and generally have a deeper understanding of reality as you become more accustomed and comfortable in that environment or with those people. I have definitely noticed a similar trend with studying abroad.

Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and for me, I even welcome it by embracing the sometimes uncomfortableness of the situation. When you reach this point, it is when you really begin to learn the culture and experience something new and beautiful.

For me, this process took over a month. I can’t pinpoint an exact day since it’s so gradual. But I do know that today, compared to when I first arrived in Spain, I am much more comfortable and feel like I blend in (most of the time) to the natives around me. Here is a simple example of when I first noticed this change:

In the busier, more crowded areas of Granada there are typically people stopping others to take a survey, sell a service or product, etc. They usually only target Spaniards, so it’s safe to say I wasn’t called out during my first month here as I probably looked so lost. However, one day a man stopped me in the street, and said (in Spanish), “Is your family missing?” There was definitely something lost in translation (because what I thought I heard could not have been correct…I still have a lot of Spanish to learn) and I repeated back to him with surprise what I thought he asked and he quickly said in English, “Oh, you’re not from Spain?” I replied that I was from the United States and he apologized for stopping me and moved on without a second thought. I, however, was so honored! It was so simple and kind of silly, but I was so proud that someone thought I was a local. Usually being stopped like that by people of the street would bother me, but in Spain it means that I come off as one of their own. I feel that in myself, as well. I am so much more comfortable here than I was at the beginning: I walk more relaxed and continually feel more at home.

Hiking in Alpujarra, Spain. If you look very closely you can see the Mediterranean Sea between the mountains.

As I have mentioned in past posts, I love traveling. But this is more than traveling- it is a learning experience. I learn more about the culture, the people, the history, and myself every day. It’s not all pretty, but it is the reality and that’s what I want to know. I don’t want a sugar-coated semester: I want raw and real. I want to understand the economic crisis of Spain and how that is making it difficult for Spaniards, especially young people, to find secure jobs, forcing them to live with their parents until they are 25-30 years old, for example.

But at the same time, I have loved learning about the good things that this country has to offer. Like the fact that most students pay less than $1,000 for college per YEAR as opposed to universities in the United States costing anywhere from $10,000-$60,000 per year, causing most students to be in extreme debt. The government of Spain understands the importance of education and it shows in the prices of attending university. Spain’s education system and general economy may have its own flaws (for example, the reason that college is so “inexpensive” is because taxes are much higher), but at least it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg outright to attend college. It’s all much more complicated than I know, but that’s pretty incredible.

There is so much more I could discuss regarding the culture and the people. It’s an intricate and complex country with a lot of history and depth. And I haven’t even mentioned what I have learned about myself and my own beliefs by being immersed in this culture. There are still things that I have discovered but haven’t fully grasped and can’t articulate quite yet. I don’t think it will be until I return home and have time to process the semester in its entirety that I will understand how this semester has impacted me. I am looking forward to those realizations, because I’m sure this time has affected me in more ways than I know.

Thank you, Spain (and all other countries I have been fortunate to travel to this semester), for welcoming me, teaching me, and showing me all that you have to offer.

The mosque of Cordoba (now a Catholic church).
La Plaza de España (The Plaza of Spain). A few scenes from Star Wars were filmed here!

Camille Meeks is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Psychology and Languages & Literature with an emphasis in Spanish. Camille will spend the Fall semester studying in Granada, Spain through International Studies Abroad as a Truman Good Neighbor Scholar.

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 Joys of Hiking

Tomorrow it will have been 2 months since I left the United States and landed in Spain! 2 MONTHS! I can hardly believe how fast this semester is going. Midterms are just around the corner and then after that it’s a mere 5 weeks until finals! When studying abroad for a semester, you think you have so much time, but in reality it really does zip by.

Anywhere you are – traveling, moving to a new city, at school, at home, it is important to find something that fills your heart and that makes you feel connected with your environment. For me this semester that something has been hiking. It never fails to make me feel at peace and rejuvenated. Granada’s population is more than 230,000 inhabitants, whereas my hometown, Liberty MO, has roughly 31,000. Not only is the population greater in Granada but also the city is much more condensed. You can easily see from the city by walking in 1-2 hours, but Liberty is much more spread out than that. Additionally, I live in an apartment, with my host mom and roommate, that is about the size of my main floor at home in Missouri. It gets to feeling a little crowded at times, in the streets and at my host home.

When I need some space to myself, hiking is a lifesaver. I don’t dislike the city or my apartment, but there is nothing quite like the silence, solitude, fresh air, and the openness and freedom found in the mountains. No traces of cigarette smoke or exhaust are smelled. The air is crisp and inviting. The view of the large mountains on the horizon and the tiny cars of the city in comparison remind you just how small you are, how small your problems are, and how much more there is in the world beyond your minuscule and often clouded perspective.

I can’t express how much I love the mountains and the joy that they bring me! There are no mountains in Missouri, which may be why I love them so much: it’s extra special when I am near them. I take every opportunity I can here to explore the vast trails of the mountains while I have them in my backyard. From my apartment to the start of the trails is about a 45 minute walk; at home it’s a 9 hour drive to Colorado to find the best mountains. I am so grateful to be studying where I am.

What I have particularly enjoyed is the two times my friend and I went hiking at 6:30 in the morning to watch the sunrise over the mountains. It is truly magical. For starters, the walk through the city to the mountains is quite tranquil: the only people in the street are those returning home after a night out at the club (it’s very common to stay out all night here… I can’t keep up!) When we get to the mountains, I love how the sun first lights up the surrounding peaks before fully revealing itself to you. After hiking for an hour or two, my friend and I are of course very sweaty. As we sit and wait for the light to break over the peaks, our sweat is drying and it is quite chilly. Through this experience I realized how often I take the sun for granted. As my friend and I were shivering from the brisk wind and cool air, we jokingly contemplated would happen if the sun just decided not to rise that day: we would miss out on the beauty that it brings with it and we would also still be very cold. When the sun finally shines over the crests, I instantly feel its warmth and began to thaw. Mmm, I could just bask in the sun all day. With the sunrise, the world rises around us. What a treasure is the new day that the sun brings. And in the mountains it is even more magical.

I didn’t expect to be able to write so much about hiking, mountains and nature, and I could definitely go on. However, I will conclude with a thought I had on one of my hikes. This activity lends itself well to somewhat cheesy (yet profound) metaphors for life, and I love that. Here is my most recent one:

When hiking, it’s okay, and even encouraged, to look back at how far you’ve come and all that you’ve passed through. But if you turn around and walk back the way you came, focusing too much on that path (your past), you will never know what views and experiences lie ahead, where life will take you moving forward. Occasionally when hiking, through the mountains and through life, you will get lost and you’ll be forced to go back and retrace your steps (to spend a short time in the past), but this is only so that you can find a better path forward the next time around.

Go out and experience the nature around you! Your mind, body, and spirit will thank you.


Camille Meeks is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Psychology and Languages & Literature with an emphasis in Spanish. Camille will spend the Fall semester studying in Granada, Spain through International Studies Abroad as a Truman Good Neighbor Scholar.

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.

Volubilis

It was a rough ride on the bus, as hardly any of the roads are paved here, but I could not sit still for this particular bus ride anyway. My heart skipped a beat as I had finally stepped foot on to my first site of Roman Ruins. Right here in Morocco! We all know the greatness of what the Roman empire used to be but who would have thought, they too, were also in Morocco.

The city of Volubilis is over 2000 years old. Ancient history is my kind of thing, so of course, I wandered away from the group and tour guide. I got to see parts of the city the group didn’t get to and I don’t regret it! A slab of floor to what used to be a common place for people to gather and tell stories STILL had all the labors of Hercules intact, and in color. Running like a child with too much excitement I couldn’t help but believe I was touching and feeling all the columns and stones and carvings that the Romans created all those years ago. Some stones have a sea shell to represent Venus (Aphrodite in Greek). There were alters for Diane (goddess of the hunt) with the writing still on them! You could feel yourself step back in time and just imagine the everyday life in how fabulous this city used to be, and to me, still is.

The best part? Volubilis is only partly excavated. They say there are still many parts of the land to dig into, and our tour guide even said they are waiting for the day they find the Colosseum of the city.

It was in the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD that Volubilis became a flourishing center of the late Hellenistic culture. Annexed to Rome about AD 44, as a reward for supporting Rome during the revolt of Aedmon; Volubilis was made a municipium. (This means the people here had partial Roman citizenship.) This city became the head inland of the Roman province of Mauretania Tingitana. In the end, the town was deserted (in 285AD) when Diocletian reorganized it. In Arabic, the providence was known as Oulili or Walila. Volubilis then became the capital of Idris, within the Idrisid dynasty, after 788AD.

As my feet touched ground here and my hands touched the floor of the labors of Hercules, I could feel the carvings in the alters for Diane. I walked through what used to be a Pagan church. I sat down where animal sacrifices used to be made. I climbed the steps to overlook the town as the political officials used to do there. I walked through and discovered the origin of the steam bath, which are culturally known as Hammam baths. Overall, I was so thankful and heartfelt for this experience, that a single tear fell down the right side of my face.

Leaning up against the ancient wall near what seemed to be the old exit from the town, I raised my right hand to brush back my hair. A piece of the ancient wall chipped off of the stone and onto my knuckles. I took it as a sign.

And I will keep this piece of Volubilis with me, forever.

I’m sure it will last another 2000 years.

Kaylee at the Ancient Roman Ruins of Volubilis. Located in Morocco

Kaylee Tindle is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is studying International Relations with a minor in Arabic. Kaylee will spend the semester abroad with the ISA Meknes, Morocco: Language, Culture and Society program. Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Kaylee is a United Sates Army veteran having served as a Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist. Although her service in the military has ended, Kaylee still plans to serve the United States of America through the world of politics.

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 Countdown Dwindles & Adventure Begins

As I write this post, I am a mere 6 days away from departing on my flight for a semester-long journey in Granada, Spain. The excitement and anticipation are growing with each passing day, but so are the nerves, questions, and expectations. However, the emotion that best encompasses how I am feeling is alegría (joy)! I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to spend four months overseas in a country I have always dreamed of visiting. Now, not only do I get to visit, but I get to live in Spain and truly immerse myself in what I know will be a beautiful culture and all-around amazing country. Here are just three of the many aspects of this adventure that I am most anticipating.

1. Improving Spanish

I have been learning and studying Spanish since the second grade, but you wouldn’t believe that if you heard me speak. I am probably better at the language than I consider myself to be, but living in Spain will be the true test. I have always had a desire to become fluent in Spanish, but classroom learning simply doesn’t do it for me. I believe that immersion is the best teacher and I am looking forward to the improvements that will come, especially increasing confidence in myself and my speaking, writing, reading and listening abilities. One way that I will improve is through the housing that I’ve selected for the semester: I opted to live in a homestay with a Spanish family. I thought that this would be the best way to not only learn more about the culture and lifestyle of Spain, but also to essentially be forced to speak Spanish around the clock. It would be too easy for me to use my housing situation as an escape from speaking Spanish, so I chose the homestay as a catalyst for me to continue practicing, even when I am at the home, a place where I usually would let my guard down and relax into English speaking habits. That is why I chose to challenge myself in this way. I’m sure my expectations will be met!

2. Self-discovery and independent travel

I love traveling! If I could, I would make it my full-time job. I’m pumped for this semester in Europe where I will have the freedom to travel in addition to completing my coursework. This is the first time that I will be traveling outside of the United States alone. It’s intimidating, a little scary, but also exhilarating. I’ve heard from other solo travelers that this is an amazing way to really learn more about who you are. I don’t doubt that for a second! I have always been pretty sure of myself, but I am looking forward to learning more about who I am. There are things I haven’t yet discovered simply because I’ve never been in this situation before: I’ve never been away from my family for more than a few weeks at a time, never traveled abroad alone, and certainly have never lived my life using another language in every-day circumstances. All of these scenarios, and more, are sure to highlight many of my strengths (and weaknesses, also important to understand about oneself) that I had never realized I had. I fully expect to be stretched beyond my comfort zone, but I am embracing it. I know this semester will be a challenge, but I am up to the task, whatever Spain has for me!

3. The city, culture, and people

Okay, okay, I know that is three aspects in one post, but I can’t help it. How could I only choose three to discuss? I first fell in love with Granada when I read three simple words describing the city: eclectic, mountainous, historic. I read these descriptors in the International Studies Abroad (ISA) packet that contained all of the study abroad locations available to students. Surprisingly, I had never heard of Granada before researching where to study, but when I read those words I actually became misty-eyed. I felt so drawn to the city. For one, I love mountains. They are so majestic and they make me feel so small but in the best way. They seem to speak to me saying, “There is more in the world beyond yourself,” if mountains could speak, of course. My affinity for mountainous regions makes living in Missouri kind of a bummer, but that’s what traveling is for. Anyway, all that to say, I know this city, like most cities in Europe, will be lovely. I hear (and have seen through pictures) that the city of Granada is beautiful. Likewise, I hear that it is as beautiful as the people who inhabit it. Everyone I have talked with who has been to Spain raves about the kind and welcoming nature of Spaniards. Additionally, I love other cultures that are different from my own and I strive to experience them from the perspective of the locals. I am looking forward to experiencing the diversity that Granada has to offer by living in such an eclectic city with quite a rich history. I enjoy how traveling allows one to meet so many different people from all backgrounds, each with their own unique stories. I am excited to have the people of Spain as a resource to make my experience the best it can be. As a generally introverted and reserved person, I am not typically one to initiate conversations, especially with strangers. However, I want to use this experience to break that cycle since I desire to have an authentic Spanish semester.

Pictured is me wearing the only luggage I plan to bring: a 60 liter Osprey backpack (it’s much roomier than it looks)! I’m embracing simplicity this semester!

There is no telling whom I will meet,what I will discover, the experiences I will have, or the things I will see. The mystery and uncertainty going into this semester is what makes me so excited. All I know is that I will have breathtaking adventures, eat amazing food, meet incredible people, and walk A LOT (I really enjoy a good walk) all while gaining confidence in myself and my Spanish-speaking abilities. This is going to be a semester of learning and discovery. I may not know the details of all that I will encounter, but that is all part of the process. I have an open-mind, an open heart, and the flexibility I need to have a truly maravillosa (wonderful) adventure in Granada, Spain.


Camille Meeks is a senior at the University of Missouri- Kansas City studying Psychology and Languages & Literatures with an emphasis in Spanish. Camille will spend the fall semester studying in Granada, Spain through International Studies Abroad as a Truman Good Neighbor Scholar.

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.

From Soldier To Student

Being used to traveling all over the world, experiencing new cultures and ways of life hasn’t been too much of a challenge for me. From the barracks in the desert of Kuwait, to living in South Korea, and even experiencing life in Japan I would say the hardest culture shock was coming from active duty Army, most of my adult life thus far, to a full-time student who will be utilizing her knowledge and language skills abroad.

As a student who is learning the language of Arabic, I have chosen this path for personal, and professional reasonings. Along with my minor in Arabic I will be studying International Relations in the country of Morocco. This is a place I never thought I would be going to in-order to start utilizing my skills. There are magical places in the country I never thought I would have the opportunity to touch ground on. I have ISA and UMKC to thank for opening this door for me. With every new culture experience; I have been brought down to the earth further and more so recognized her people in all aspects of their lives and as I walk through the threshold and into the magical journey of my semester in Morocco, I will no longer land in combat boots, but in my everyday shoes. Ready to explore, and ready to learn.

The knowledge I will acquire will only be the beginning of what will be setting the rest of my life. From soldier to student, I will represent UMKC, ISA, and my country of USA with honor. Follow me on my journey, through my blog posts! As I love to share my experiences.

And so, until I return.

So long!

سنشتاق إليك

(sanashtaq ‘iilyka!)

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Kaylee Tindle is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is studying International Relations with a minor in Arabic. Kaylee will spend the semester abroad with the ISA Meknes, Morocco: Language, Culture and Society program. Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Kaylee is a United Sates Army veteran having served as a Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist. Although her service in the military has ended, Kaylee still plans to serve the United States of America through the world of politics.

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.