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Thanksgiving

To start off this post I will give a quick rundown of the events of the last few weeks.

Picking up where I left off a few weeks back, I was lucky enough to compete in a golf tournament with the UCC team at St. Anne’s Golf Club in Dublin. It was a great week and my first real taste of Irish links golf. I’m not exactly sure how I was able to play, considering I was the only non-Irish kid in the field, but I’m sure glad they let it fly. I did not play extremely well, but I could not have cared less. It was an awesome opportunity to compete and represent the university and meet a few new friends along the way.

Following the golf tournament, we headed back to Cork for a full week of Jazz festival. For five days every year, at the end of October, artists come from far and wide to play live music all over the city. Almost all study abroad kids stay in town for the long weekend because it is a big deal. Each night we went out, we were able to sample music from some of the area’s finest musicians. Needless to say, it lived up to the hype.

Fast forward a couple days, and we were off to Edinburgh, Scotland. I was a bit bummed I had to sleep in the Dublin airport on Halloween, but it was well worth it to say the least. The first day a buddy and I made the journey up to St. Andrew’s Scotland where I was able to tour the most famous golf course on earth, The Old Course. We spent the day walking around, taking pictures, and admiring the history. I was like a kid in a candy shop. Shortly after we mosied back down to the city. Edinburgh quickly became one of my favorite places I have been so far. The city offers abundant history, incredible architecture, some great hiking, and unrivaled views of the North Sea. During the 3 days we spent in Scotland, we toured the city, ate local cuisine, took a trip to a beautiful national park, and had an overall great time.

This past weekend, along with a friend, I took a jaunt up to the northern part of Ireland for a golf trip. County Sligo did not disappoint. The course was right on the Atlantic and had a beautiful backdrop of mountains, rock outcroppings, and amazing plateaus. Aside from the golf, we were able to tour Sligo a little bit the night before. As far north as we were, the area was very rich with tradition. The pubs, people, and food were a fantastic example of true Irish culture. It was a quick trip up north and a lot of travel for two days, but I would recommend it to anyone who steps foot in Ireland.

Looking forward to the coming weeks, I am very excited for what lies ahead. This week, in fact, my family will be making the trip across the pond to visit for about 10 days, and I could not be more excited. This also coincides with thanksgiving and our last week of class, which seems crazy in itself. I remember thinking as I was leaving that it would be about 80 days until my family came over, which seemed like such a long time. I couldn’t have been more wrong. My time here has flown by, and it is crazy to think that after I get done traveling around with my family, there will be just a couple weeks of finals left and a plane ride home. As I have done over the entirety of my time here, I will try to make the most of it and really soak up the last few experiences.

That should be easy this week, as we plan to cover as much of this beautiful country as possible. After a few days in Cork, we will head west and shoot up north following the Wild Atlantic Way. I am so excited to not only show them a few of the places that makes Ireland so great, but also to see many of these places for the first time myself.

Since this week is the prelude to a very special holiday and time of year in general, I thought it necessary to mention a few things along those lines as well. It is pretty tough not to have many feelings of gratitude during an incredible experience such as this one. Not many people get the opportunity to go and do something like this, and I am extremely grateful to be able. Not only am I thankful for what this trip has brought, but the people and places that wait for me back at home. Sometimes when we are in the middle of those people or places, it is easy to gloss over how lucky we are to have them. It is kind of funny how magnified things like that become, and how special we realize they are when we are 4000 miles away. Obviously, I am enamored with what I have been able to experience over here, but because of those reasons I will be more than ready to head home in a few weeks. Along with a big smile I will bring those thoughts of appreciation back with me, or what most people would call… thanksgiving.


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.

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.

Neither Here Nor There

Thank you for joining me for the second installment of my journey through Ireland. These last few weeks, much like the first few, have had their share of excitement, discovery, and head scratching moments. Since my last post, I have done quite a bit of exploring, mostly around southern Ireland. In reality, classes have picked up a bit, so I have to pick and choose my days to wander. Still, it is mainly just lecture as they do not believe much in homework apparently, which is more than fine with me. With that it leaves me quite a bit of extra free time to go to cool places during the week. 

I have a break in class from Tuesday morning through Wednesday evening, so that has become my exploration time. These have been some of my favorite trips because they involve little to no planning and a lot of figuring it out on the fly. For example, on the 17th of September, I hopped a bus up to Killarney and spent the day touring the castle and gardens. I walked around for hours before sitting down at a fishing dock away from the crowds to take in the scenery. There I met a guy named John, who had been backpacking Europe for a few months, and struck up a conversation. The conversation lasted a couple hours and ended with John eventually deciding he would buy a plane ticket to head back to the states to get a fresh start. I can’t take any credit for his realizations, but I wish him the best in his new pursuits. After that whirlwind, I attempted to walk back to Cork, got lost and ended up hailing a cab to get back to my apartment. That’s a story for another time. 

The next weekend I was lucky enough to embark on a fly fishing trip to a small town in the next county over. Late on a Friday night, I made the trek over to the town of Clonmel where I rented a last minute AirBnb. The nice lady who owned the house called me a cab for the next day in order to get to the fish shop. After arriving a bit early the workers and guide showed up and started collecting gear. Once we were armed and dangerous it was time to snag some trout. The day consisted of catching a few fish, learning some tricks of the trade, and seeing a ton of awesome country. The guys were extremely knowledgeable and kind as almost everyone has been. All of this made for a great day on the water.

Jumping ahead to this week, again with a few friends, we went and toured the town of Kinsale on the southern coast by way of bike. There we went around the city and out to an old military fort dating back hundreds and hundreds of years. I was able to learn a bit about the area’s history and take in the scenery. To no one’s surprise the views out over the Atlantic were nothing short of amazing.

This leads us to this Tuesday. A few days ago, I was sitting in my morning class thinking I had not done anything spontaneous in a minute or two, so I headed to the bus station as soon as we were dismissed. I had remembered reading about a bike trip through the Gap of Dunloe that was a must do, so I bought a ticket and was off. Upon arriving in Killarney, I rented a bike from a local place, nodded as the guy went through the local stops to make, and tore out of town. About 8 miles in I chained up and began to ascend a hiking path. An hour or so later I stood at the top of Slippery Bridge or “Big Gun” peak looking over more country than I could even take in. After staring in amazement for awhile, I headed back down realizing I would be in a real time crunch to make the last bus back. From there I picked back up the bike trip and headed through the Gap of Dunloe. I would try to explain the surrounding scenery, but it’s just one of those places you have to see for yourself. I attached a picture below, but it does not even do it justice. Five or so miles later of pedaling up the rugged terrain and down through the Black Valley, I finally got a bit of signal and realized I had an hour and a half to bike 15 miles back either direction. With the steepness of the surrounding hills, that just would not be possible. With a little detour and a lot of luck I was able to find a flooded walking path back through the forest and out to the main road. A couple miles and a soaked pair of shoes later I was right back on track. From there it was a long but manageable 8 miles back into Killarney. Legs burning and heart racing, I chugged along cursing myself out, and made it just in the nick of time. I chained up the bike and hustled to catch the last bus as it pulled in, a great success. 

As I look back on these last few adventures, I realize they are not things that can be strategically planned out. Life is about adjusting on the run, so sometimes you just have to buckle up and let it fly. I know these are the times I will look back and appreciate the most because they weren’t supposed to happen. I can’t be quite sure if it’s curiosity, determination, or just plain stupidity, but the three combined seem to create something special, something an itinerary will never capture. These trips are just more meaningful. They are about the journey and not the outcome, more about the story of getting there and less about the end result. That’s life.

 Again, thanks for reading, and I will continue to keep updating as often as possible. Much obliged. 


Photo courtesy of The Gap of Dunloe


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.

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.

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.

“You´re 25 and you´ve never seen the ocean???”

I’m 25 years old, and I have only just now experienced the ocean, which luckily was during my study abroad trip in Costa Rica. Guys, this place is absolutely gorgeous.

I am elated to say that I have now seen 9 beaches here, three which are on the list of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches. I also got to see a beach in Panama.

I’m referencing this article if you´re interested! (P.S., I´ve been to numbers 1, 2, and 4!)

I’m going to make this blog post about my absolute favorite beaches, and the remarkable experiences I had there.

The first area we went to was Playa Manuel Antonio, listed as the 2nd most beautiful beach. In that area, I saw 4 separate beach areas. My first experience was marvelous, there were monkeys playing on the beach (and on the lookout for things to steal from the beach goers). Here´s a link to UMKC study abroad´s insta if you´re interested in seeing a bit of that cuteness.

Playa Manuel Antonio

The next weekend, we headed to the Guanacaste province to check out Playa Tamarindo, listed as the 4th most beautiful beach. This place was gorgeous.

Playa Tamarindo

There were even howler monkeys outside of our Airbnb, while we were in the pool!

Howler monkey

Sunday, before we left Tamarindo, two of my friends and I got up really early in the morning. Our mission was to see the number one most beautiful beach in Costa Rica: Playa Conchal. Notice how the word Conchal looks like conch? As in the shells? Perfect, because that´s what this beach is all about. Playa Conchal has a large part of it’s beach area where instead of sand, you see itty bitty broken pieces of polished shell. This place is honestly the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen in my life, my little Kansas mind absolutely could not handle it!!!

Playa Conchal: Bonita!

How could I tell you it is the most beautiful place I have ever seen if I didn’t provide proof? Well, that would almost be……shellfish of me!!!

Clear waters of Play Conchal

Can you believe how clear this water is??? Even the waves are clear and completely gorgeous.

Even the waves were crystal clear!

When I tell you I’m ready to go back…that’s no joke! The last weekend I stayed in Cahuita. I took a short drive south to see Playa Negra in Pureto Viejo.

I can’t decide if Playa Conchal or Playa Negra in Puerto Viejo, where we went on my last weekend were my favorite.

I could not get enough of how cool this was!!!  I’m not quite sure why there was a random barge there…but it was super cool!

Playa Negra.

I love this picture because of the contrast between the white waves and black sand.

White waves on Playa Negra.

I don´t think I could have picked a better study abroad program. This program was awesome because it has so many places to visit, so much wildlife, and so many amazing beaches. Not only that, my Spanish improved dramatically! Now that all of my degree requirements have been met, I’ll take that Spanish degree now.

You better believe that my mind was blown during the entire program, and that I absolutely will be returning one day.

Sarah Schleicher is a senior at the University of Missouri – Kansas City majoring in Spanish and minoring in Latinx Studies. She will be taking the last two required classes for her B.A. this summer in Heredia, Costa Rica. She is currently a Pre-K teacher and Enrichment Coordinator, and she would eventually like to work supporting Spanish speaking children.

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.

No Worries in Café Clazic

A typical day for me looked like this:

My friends and I walk, three in a line, down the sidewalk to the café I had looked up online two hours prior to our designated meeting time. We met at the CU, “convenience store 4 you!”, outside our shared campus dorm, and started the familiar stroll down the sidewalks leading away from Dongguk towards the Chungmoro subway station.

The thing about walking after driving a car for, well, forever is that it seems like a hassle at first. But then it becomes less annoying. Then it starts to turn into a slight enjoyment. And then that small joy in the act finally culminates into a full-blown appreciation. Walking is now like second nature and I wish more of the United States was walkable.

The sky is overcast and looks like it could pour down rain any minute, but none of us had thought to bring an umbrella. On our walk to the nearby café, we make small talk concerning our university course load, the other areas in Seoul we’ve been to, and the topic that had my stomach in knots: our last days in South Korea.

They were coming fast and dwindling down into hurried goodbyes, tearful promises of meeting again, and long flights back to the countries we came from.

My last two weeks in Seoul made me realize something. Nothing big or dramatic, but still relevant to the person I was growing into. That something then slowly crystalized into a myriad of feelings and emotions that eventually snowballed into a seemingly all-encompassing pressure on the person I thought I was.

Our trio passes the familiar GS 25, their signs a signature blue and red and white – inviting and welcoming to all searching for the nearest convenience store, then the Two-Two fried chicken restaurant which was always busy, and finally the ever-faithful Tteokbokki Party. The chain store acts as a marker for me, either traveling to campus or to the station, that I am on the right path and close to where I want to be. Instead of taking the left to cross the street and find the stairs that lead underground to Chungmoro station, we keep walking across the pedestrian crosswalk spanning six lanes hoping the drivers, who weren’t known for their “pedestrian first” mentality, wouldn’t do anything reckless.

After safely making it across, we continue straight on our path watching the darkening sky hoping it wouldn’t decide to rain. This part of town seems darker and gloomier than the other side of the street – the streets we knew well and came to love. It seems like a “wrong side of town” kind of feel. Much less tourist-y and full with hole-in-the-wall mom and pop type of shops. Finding the café I chose is much harder and more difficult than I anticipated. We wandered the streets crisscrossing and backtracking multiple times, all three of us too stubborn to give up.

Finally, I pull out my Naver maps, the Google maps of Korea, and type in Café Clazic. According to my maps, we were standing right in front of the coffee shop. Frantically we look around hoping the map app is trustworthy and we were closer to getting some caffeine. My friend spots the sign advertising the café and pointing to the building on our left with the letters “2F” indicating it is on the second floor.

Relieved, we make the climb to the second level and pause at the unassuming door double-checking within the group we are entering the right place. Reassured, we slide the door to the side and are greeted with the rustic interior of Café Clazic. The inside is dark, an old attic type of ambiance, with wooden chairs and desks scattered around. The ordering bar and expresso machines are located on the far right side. At least one mirror adorns every wall, giving you a glimpse of not only yourself but the other customers in the single room. Off to the side, another small room is connected but with a drastically different theme. This room is bright and light and filled with plants and flowers. In the middle, for decoration and the main point (according to the multiple Instagram posts tagging the location) is the claw-foot bathtub artfully filled to the top with leaves and petals. Small stools and crates surround the tub indicating the tub itself is usable as a table. This is further supported by the clear covering laying over half the tub on the end allowing drinks to be placed on top of that side.

Cafés like this, themed and artistically decorated, dot the landscape and seem to be deeply embedded into the culture of Seoul. From a complete pink environment, to plants and flowers bringing nature to the concrete city center, to animal-inspired themed cafes – Seoul has it all. This is the place to come and be surrounded by environments you see in magazines, movies, Instagram discover page, and what you imagine how you would decorate your future apartment when you have the money and the freedom of adulthood. These are places to meet friends, do business, study, or just enjoy what the city of Seoul has to offer.

Within the cafes of Seoul, for me, there are no worries. There are only good coffee and good company in a city I have come to love and feel comfortable in. Here in the center of one of busiest cities in the world, there’s peace and quiet in whatever café you choose or happen to chance by. Sitting in the chairs, nestled in the atmosphere that is quintessentially and unmistakably Seoul, enjoying either your own singular presence in the bustle of the country capital or that of a like-minded friend there is a quiet inner understanding and feeling of being settled for that small moment of the forever that seems to be your life.

Seoul is cafés and friends and traveling and endless opportunities to do and be whatever you want. At least as an exchange student. These past two weeks, I have learned I am stronger than I give myself credit for and I can endure much more than I think.


Emily Stahl is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Marketing at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. Emily will spend the semester abroad in South Korea participating in the Dongguk University exchange program. She is a member of the Delta Zeta sorority, Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, and Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society. Being from a small town north of KC, Emily is excited to live and study in the city of Seoul for 4 months. She looks forward to gaining a better perspective and understanding of the culture and society within South Korea. Emily is also eagerly anticipating expanding her knowledge of business interactions on an international scale and to meet people and make new connections while abroad.


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.