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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.

Trip to the Capitol

On June 14, I took a magnificent 1 ½ day trip to Australia’s capitol, Canberra. Getting there was simple, I took a train from Newcastle to Sydney and then another train from Sydney to Canberra. I had to start the trip at night to make it to Canberra early so I could make the most of my time there. I boarded the train to Sydney at almost two in the night and off I went to Sydney. After reaching Sydney Central station, I lounged around in the beautiful grand concourse section of the station. The station is very old and historic. After taking in the surroundings for about an hour, I boarded the train for Canberra. Unlike the train from Newcastle to Sydney, which is paid for with the Opal public transportation card, the Canberra train must be pre-booked online. The train journey to Canberra was one of the most beautiful train journeys I had ever taken in my life. I passed through various sheep grazing fields, mountains and hills, and cozy small towns along the way. I was even able to see a few wallabies! The journey was overall very picturesque to say the least!

Me in Sydney Central Station
Train from Sydney to Canberra
View from Canberra train

After reaching Canberra station, I walked to a nearby convenience store and purchased the local public transportation card. Canberra is in its own state, the Australian Capitol Territory. The state is situated within New South Wales. Because of this I had to purchase a new public transportation card, as Opal cards won’t work in Canberra. Once I got that situated, I walked to my hotel. Canberra isn’t a very big city, so it can easily be traversed by foot.

Reached Canberra!

After getting refreshed, I headed out to the Parliament building for a tour. The Australian Parliament building gives out public tours which is a wonderful way to check out the building and learn about the central government. The tour was very informative, and I learned a lot of interesting things about the Australian government and the building itself. I learned, for example, that the Australian government has a senate and house of representatives and that the parliament building was designed by an Italian-American architect. The parliament building is itself quite an architectural masterpiece.

Parliament of Australia!
House of Representatives chamber
Senate chamber
Another view of Parliament

Afterwards, I traveled down and toured the Old Parliament Building which is situated right across from the current Parliament building. The Old Parliament Building is the original parliament building that was the seat of government during the early to mid-20th century. This building has a more traditional colonial architecture and both chambers of the bicameral legislature are built to resemble the British house of lords and house of commons.

Old Parliament Building
Prime Minister’s room in Old Parliament Building

By the time I got done touring, it was five in the evening and all the other landmarks were closed so I walked down to the National Library of Australia and chilled in there while checking out their historical literature collections.

National Library of Australia

The next day, I woke up and went to the Royal Australian Mint where they manufacture the country’s coins. There I also took a tour and learned about the history of currency in Australia. An interesting fact I learned is that during Australia’s early colonial period, coins were used from all over the world as the colony had a shortage of coinage, so the colonists used anything they could get of value from Spanish coins to raw gold ingots. The mint also produces medals and currencies for other countries around the world.

At the Royal Australian Mint!
Coin manufacturing area

After seeing the mint, I traveled to the National Museum of Australia. Like the Parliament building, this museum is also an architectural wonder. I toured the museums various exhibits, all of which display a comprehensive history of Australia and its peoples. The museum is a great place to learn Australian history and culture through various artifacts and exhibits.

Entrance to National Museum of Australia
Cannon from Captain Cook’s ship, the Endeavour

The last landmark I saw on my Canberra trip was the Australian War Memorial. The Australian War Memorial is a breathtaking site. The landmark hosts a museum dedicated to Anzac history and service as well as a memorial to the Anzac forces who served in wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping missions. The most striking part of the memorial was a wall with the names of those who died in service. Seeing the wall was a humbling experience as I learned about how Anzacs played pivotal and heroic roles in major conflicts throughout recent history from World War 1 to Iraq.

Australian War Memorial
Inside the dome of the Memorial

Canberra is a beautiful city and I enjoyed my time there. I wasn’t able to see all I wanted to see due to time constraints, but I was satisfied with what I was able to experience. The city has many museums, galleries, and monuments. They provide a great opportunity for learning about all things Australia. If you ever visit Australia, make sure Canberra is on your itinerary!


Aman Kukal is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Economics. Aman is spending the spring semester in Newcastle, Australia with the ISA Newcastle, Australia: Courses with Locals program.

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 Journey Back Home

My last few days in Korea were somber, I was still having a great time with my friends but we all knew that our time together was quickly coming to an end. I began to reflect on my time studying abroad and how much of an impact that it had on my life. I did and saw some amazing things and I got to experience an international university that was both challenging and rewarding.

My last few days, I did not try to do new things to squeeze in an experience that I had yet to have. There were many things that I did not get to do while I was there and that was okay. Instead, I focused on doing the things that I was greatly going to miss; I went to my favorite cafes, hung out with my friends in our favorite bars, and ate my favorite foods. The smallest things that I did while there were the things I knew I was going to miss the most, because they had become a routine. I wasn’t going to miss going to the palaces, they were a tourist trip and I didn’t visit them every day. Instead, I was going to miss seeing the mountains when I walked to class, visiting my favorite beer and chicken place with my classmates, and going to the convenience store where I bought my cheap ramen that I had come to adore.

The idea of returning home was not easy. As I made my way onto the flight to come home I was distressed at how much I had come to love Korea. It was more than just a study abroad trip at this point; I had created a life for myself there and it was sad to let that go. No one tells you before you leave that coming back is just as hard, adjusting to life back in America is almost a reverse culture shock in itself, but it’s all part of the process and you just have to keep pushing through.


Emily Noe is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying History. Emily is spending the semester abroad with Dongguk University in Seoul, South Korea. Emily is working towards achieving her Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate in history.

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.

 

DMZ-Standing on the Edge of War

One of the most important things about understanding Korean culture and society is the recognition that Korea is still a divided country and is still currently in a stalemate with North Korea while participating in an armistice. This relationship between the two countries is extremely important in everyday life. While normal citizens may not think about it on a day to day basis, the existence of the problem is still very prevalent. The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is an infamous place to visit when going to South Korea, the DMZ is the official demarcation line that divides North and South Korea. Even though the tour to the DMZ is slightly tense and a little sad, it is one of the most fascinating and memorable experiences that I have ever encountered.

When you go on the DMZ/JSA tour the first thing that becomes obvious quickly is the absolute strict time schedule, there are a few stops on the tour including the 3rd infiltration tunnel, the Doran train station, and the Dora Observatory which only allows a very certain amount of time to look around. But the strictest of all of these is the Joint Security Area (JSA) which is the very controlled area where North and South Korean officials meet to discuss political issues. This part of the tour allows for less than 10 minutes to see the North Korean tourist center and the conference room that is officially crosses both countries. The most interesting thing about this point of the tour was the absolute quiet tension that exists in this area. There are many military officials posted and they are quite dangerous and trained to handle situations if skirmishes happen to break out.

This tour is by far the best thing that I did while I was in South Korea. Not only does it give some extensive history on the Korean War and why the country is divided, but it also informs on the current situation in Korea and some of the efforts that have been made to improve relations. The tour also has multiple stops on the agenda that better illustrate past and current situations between North and South Korea. Overall, this experience made me feel a multitude of different things including sadness for the history of both of the countries, discomfort while experiencing the actual tension of a war torn country, and excitement for seeing a piece of history that not many have had the pleasure of experiencing.


Emily Noe is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying History. Emily is spending the semester abroad with Dongguk University in Seoul, South Korea. Emily is working towards achieving her Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate in history.

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 Occupation that Destroyed a Nation

South Korea is a very old country. Their history goes back thousands of years and they are very proud of their heritage. Seoul, while it is a completely modern and updated city, has existed as the capital of Korea for quite a long time as it was one of the first cities to be established and many royal families lived in the area spanning hundreds of years. This allowed for the construction of many palaces and temples throughout the Seoul vicinity.

South Korean architecture is quite beautiful and unique; they generally focused on multiple open air pagodas on palace grounds as well as smaller buildings for sleeping and leisure. Most of the palaces and temples are done in the traditional Korean colors which include red, blue, green, yellow, and white. They also include imagery such as symbolic animals, moons, suns, and mountains that are intertwined within the architecture.

I visited one of the largest palaces that exists in South Korea today, Gyeongbokgung Palace is centered in the heart of Seoul, aligned with the mountain range in the background. The grounds of the palace are sprawling with a moat, throne room, sleeping quarters, temples, a library, and a massive garden that wraps around the perimeter. In the summer, there are people that wear traditional dress called Hanbok and play traditional music on South Asian instruments. What makes it better is there are signs at every building to give an explanation of when it was built and what it was used for.

But the palaces and temples (as well as most historical sites and artifacts) come with a sad history; before the Korean War and Japanese Occupation, most of the original buildings stood exactly as they had been built, when the Japanese came in to annex Korea, they destroyed everything that had to do with Korean history in the hopes that they could make the country Japanese. After the Japanese lost control of Korea, all of the buildings had to be restored, this took place mostly from the 1970s-90s, because of this, almost all of the historical sites in South Korea are reconstructed representations of what they were previously. Even reconstructed, they are important to Korean history as a whole and are worth being visited as they are extremely beautiful.


Emily Noe is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying History. Emily is spending the semester abroad with Dongguk University in Seoul, South Korea. Emily is working towards achieving her Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate in history.

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.

A Birds Eye View

In South Korea there is a very popular tourist attraction called N Seoul Tower, or Namsan Tower. It is at the top of Namsan Mountain and it is many things combined into one, the first being an actual tower that you can go up to the top of and see the entire layout of Seoul. The second being a major shopping/restaurant hub which includes 4 different floors of different tourist shops, restaurants, and museums, and the final being one part of an outpost of a defense wall that circles a central location in Seoul.

The historical part of Namsan Tower is quite interesting, it has 3 beacons that sit on a hill that was built centuries ago to light in case the city was being attacked. There is also a defense wall that runs along the mountain that protects from invaders as well. The fact that these artifacts are centuries old and still intact is quite unique for South Korea, as most historical artifacts were destroyed by the Japanese at the beginning of the 1900s.

Namsan Tower is one of the premier tourist attractions in Seoul, and rightfully so, if you go at night (which I extremely recommend) the entire city is lit up and you can see the entire layout of Seoul. My favorite part of the experience was looking at the side of the city that is connected by the Han river, the bridges that are built over it, light up the water and make the city look extra beautiful in that setting. Seeing as this was one of the first things that I did when I arrived in Seoul, it gave me a great impression of the city and I immediately fell in love. The other thing that was quite fun was taking the cable car up to the mountain from the bottom, it’s not too expensive and you get to see both the tower and the city as you are traveling up!


Emily Noe is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying History. Emily is spending the semester abroad with Dongguk University in Seoul, South Korea. Emily is working towards achieving her Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate in history.

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.

Fire, Fire, Everywhere

Normally when there is a large fire of sorts, people aren’t whipping out their phones and taking pictures of it (unless you’re under 19, in which case you’ve probably already thought about what Instagram filter will complement the flames best; X-Pro II, anyone?)

If you find yourself at Leipzig’s “Lichtfest” (“Festival of Lights”) this year though, you likely have a very good reason to be snapping photos of the fire on display.

That’s because every year since 2009, the people of Leipzig have gathered in the city center with candles to commemorate the peaceful protests that occurred in the fall of 1989 against the East German government. And as history would have it, these protests were one of many contributing factors to the fall of the Berlin Wall later that year.

But this night is all about remembering, and a little bit of celebrating. People have gathered in the city center, just as they did 28 years before, this time to place their tea light candles in the shape of the number “89.”

The night is crisp with a little hint of fall in the air. If you look around, the streets are quiet with no running trams hustling by. The only lights on are those of surrounding businesses, the candles in people’s hands, and the number “89” illuminated by lights inside Leipzig’s Panorama Tower. 

Leipzig’s Panorama Tower in the distance

It’s a great night to be outside, and I don’t want to miss a second of it. I make my way near the stage so that I can catch a glimpse of everything. But wait! How can you participate in “Lichtfest” without even having a candle?

I remember seeing a large table of candles at one end of the event, but think surely there must be another table of them somewhere else. After all, the point of the night ~I thought~ was for everyone to have a candle in their hand.

So, I do some wandering, and I find the two large tables that are in the shape of the “8” and “9” near the stage. The table in the shape of the “8” doesn’t have a lot of candles on it, so I think to myself, “Oh, they’re going fast! Better grab one.”


I grab one, taking it with me for a ride back to my spot near the stage. The event begins to start with a four-piece band and some guest speakers. There are video montages and some live performers doing their thing; it’s going well, and I’m impressed by how organized and professional the whole event is.

But then the thought occurs to me as I look around, “Boy, not a lot of people have candles in their hands.” Maybe we aren’t suppose to be holding the candles from the table?

Performers onstage

The program continues, and in between acts, live video feed of the candle-lit “89” tables are being projected onto the screen behind the stage. Instead of the number of candles on the tables getting smaller, however, the numbers have increased – significantly. So much so that the tables are practically full.

And then it hit me: I had a grabbed someone else’s candle that had already been placed on the table! Without being too obvious, I walk back to the “8” table and nonchalantly put the candle back, as if it were my first time visiting.

To seal the deal, I take another picture of the now-glowing table so it looks like I have never seen the display before. I’m SURE I fooled everyone, especially the old woman who yelled “candle thief” at me in German (that didn’t happen).

A much fuller-looking table

What did happen was an evening I won’t forget. It’s weird to experience the celebration of historical events that you a) did not live through, and b) experienced in a country other than your own. But that’s exactly what happened here, and I have no regrets (other than taking that poor person’s candle).

Tschüss!


Vince Woods received his Bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. He is currently a sophomore at UMKC, pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in Education with the intention of teaching German. Vince is spending the semester abroad with the MAUI-Utrecht Exchange Program in Leipzig, Germany.

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.

Oh, The Places You’ll See!

Traveling the West Coast

One of the best things about living in South Korea, is that you can see a lot of the country without having to travel very far or for very long. Size wise, the entire country of South Korea is about as big as Indiana. This makes it extremely easy to accommodate going to a popular place even if its only a day trip. One of the pleasures that I have experienced was taking a chance on a random Facebook group that organizes group travel for foreigners living in South Korea. Normally, I would never trust my life to people that I don’t know, however; Korea’s crime rate is extremely low and having already lived in the country for a few weeks, I felt it was okay to give it a shot. This particular group was ran by someone who gets paid by the government to show foreigners different aspects of Korean culture. The itinerary of the trip constituted of traveling to mostly smaller towns on the West Coast.

The first thing that struck me when traveling outside of Seoul, was the complete lack of foreigners. I mean literally, I was the only European with blue eyes for miles around, and the locals are not afraid to stare at you until it becomes infinitely uncomfortable. Some people were even taking my picture, they didn’t ask me of course, but it becomes pretty obvious when you have about 10 phones pointed in your direction. Honestly, I knew they were just curious so I didn’t let it bother me too much, but that was before they shuffled our group out to make kimchi in front of an audience. Yes, that is right, they made our group into a weird performing foreigners act, where we stood in front of a mostly older Korean audience and they dressed us up and made us make kimchi. Now, if you don’t know what kimchi is, its pretty simple; its a traditional side dish of cabbage fermented in different seasonings, you will find this at almost every single restaurant served on the side of your food for free. Making kimchi is a pretty important aspect of Korean culture and most older women take this task very seriously, so it only makes sense that they would find it hilarious to have foreigners trying to make a traditional dish while they watched.

After we had humorously fumbled through trying to make kimchi appropriately, the organizers rushed us on to a stage and turned on music where they then insisted that we dance. So now I’m dancing, after having just made kimchi. Normally, the entire experience would have been humiliating, but it was a lot of fun and the locals were so nice and excited to see us. The whole thing turned out to be okay because at the end of it, they gave us free food and took us down to see the ocean. By far, this was one of the weirdest experiences that I’ve had in my entire life, but it is now one of the fondest memories that I could not have gotten elsewhere.


Emily Noe is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying History. Emily is spending the semester abroad with Dongguk University in Seoul, South Korea. Emily is working towards achieving her Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate in history.

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.

ROMA

ITALIAAAAA
La bandiera italiana

Il Colosseo / the Colosseum
La via para il Colosseo / The street to the Colosseum

Después de que el programa había terminado, me fui para Italia; yo volé de Madrid a Roma, la capital de Italia. Roma es una ciudad muy antigua y muy histórica. Había muchas vistas, mucha historia y mucha cultura para ver; vi tres vistas muy famosas – primer el Colosseo, después la fuente de Trevi, después Las escaleras españolas. Que bonito era todo por Roma, era como Nueva York pero con más historia. Italiano es bastante como Español que pude comprenderlo un poco, pero es bastante diferente que no pude comprenderlo muchas veces (jejeje). Yo pasé dos días allí, pero es tan gigante que no tuve el tiempo para explorar todo. Estudié la lengua latina en la escuela secundaria y me emocionaba mucho visitar esta ciudad de que había oído tanto por los años. Hacía mucho calor allí. La plaza de España era muy bella y había una bandera gigante allí, otra cosa que me alegraba ver. Mis dos amores europeos en un lugar. 🙂

IL COLOSSEO La fontana di Trevi

After the program had finished, I left for Italy; I flew from Madrid to Rome, the capital of Italy. Rome is a very old and very historic city. There were many sights, a lot of history and a lot of culture to see; I saw three famous sights – first the Colosseum, then the Trevi fountain, then the Spanish steps. How beautiful was everything, it was like New York but with more history. Italian is enough like Spanish that I managed to understand a little, but it’s different enough that I do not manage many times (LOL). I spent two days there, pero it’s so huge that I did not have time to explore everything. I studied Latin in high school and it was exciting me to visit this city that I had heard so much about over the years. It was really hot there. The plaza of Spain was very beautiful and there was a huge Spanish flag there, another thing that I was excited to see. My two European loves in one place. 🙂

Le Scale Spagnole / The Spanish steps
La fontana di Trevi / the Trevi fountain

 

Os veré luego, amigos. Hasta pronto. N8
I will see y’all later, friends. Until soon. Natagnél


Natagnél Frisella is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, studying Spanish Language & Literature. Natagnél is traveling through Spain this summer 2017, concluding with the UMKC Spanish Program based at the University of Granada in Southern Spain.

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 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.