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It’s not goodbye, it’s a see ya later

It’s been two weeks since I got back from Argentina. I sometimes forget that I don’t need to constantly speak Spanish. Driving felt weird as well since I was constantly walking to get to places while abroad instead of driving. Whenever I have driven around since returning home, I have been more cautious, especially on the highway. I kept worrying if I was driving in the center and not merging into the other lanes correctly. I still remember what the highway was like in Argentina. The memory haunts me from driving. I kind of miss walking around to get places. Everything was so conveniently located since most places were all close to each other.  As soon as I got back to the U.S, I ate my favorite food every day until my stomach could burst. I gained some weight as well. I was kind of disappointed by how much I gained.

I can’t really tell if I experienced any culture shock since I got back or if I am currently experiencing it. My daily routine has definitely changed. My eating habits have been changed as well. Argentina was experiencing winter at that time and didn’t have many fruits and vegetables available for purchase. Host families will not buy a lot of vegetables and fruit due to the high cost of seasonal produce. Luckily I was able to receive plenty of nutritious food from my host mom. She was a nutritionist. Her food was amazing and was better than the food that I found outside the home. I have been making adjustments and changes throughout my return. I definitely think that I have learned a lot from my study abroad experience. For example, I think I improved in listening to Spanish. I wished that I was able to study abroad longer and improve my skills more. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to go study abroad and travel by myself. I wouldn’t have done it without the support from my family and friends. There were many difficult and happy times throughout my study abroad trip as I was able to explore a new country and eat different types of food. If I had an opportunity to do this again, I definitely would. Hopefully, later in the future, I will be able to visit Argentina again and explore more cities and landmarks. My journey of studying abroad ends here but I will cherish these memories until I die. There are not many people who have the opportunity to study abroad and therefore I am thankful for this opportunity and hope others have an opportunity like I did.


Julie Jeong is currently a freshman at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Chemistry, Entrepreneurship, and Spanish. Julie will spend the summer with the UMKC Spanish Program in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She plans to attend UMKC’s Dental School after her undergraduate study. She plans to use Spanish in her career as a future dentist who strives to help patients and eliminate miscommunications.

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.

Wait… It is over???

I am now on my way back to the United States from Scotland and I am happy to be heading home, but so sad to be leaving Scotland behind.

At the beginning of the trip I was very homesick and could not wait for this trip to be over and by the second week I never wanted it to end. Soooo, why should you study abroad? Because it is the single best thing you can do to make yourself grow as a person. It is the best thing you can do to truly learn about a topic. It is simply the best thing you can do. So do it. I mean it. I worked many hours of overtime and spent many sleepless nights working to save up for this trip. I applied for every scholarship possible and it was one of the most tedious processes, but everything I did for this trip was worth it. It was worth it when I first landed in London and saw the British flag. It was worth it when I was gazing up at the Eiffel tower taking in its beauty. It was worth it when I was walking through Edinburgh’s castle.

Edinburgh Castle

It was worth it when I smelled and touched the ocean for the first time in my life. It was worth it when I found new friends in the park. It was worth it through the sleepless homework filled nights. It was worth it gazing at the Highland mountains in Scotland. It was worth it. I would do it all over again tomorrow. I was so homesick in the beginning and now I never want to leave Scotland. A piece of my heart will always be here. There is a maturation that comes with traveling abroad and stepping out of your comfort zone so far you want to be sick. When you decide to step out of that zone you discover the greatest joy and some of the best memories. Do not let fear hold you back because if I had let it hold me back I would have missed the greatest experience of my entire life.  I left my small town and everything I have ever known and experienced the world for all it had to offer. I met new people. I tried new things. I laughed….. A LOT. I guess what I want to say to all of you is please study abroad. Please meet new people. Please try new things. Please try this. It will be one of the best things you have ever done. Good luck everyone. Adventure finally found me, I hope it finds you.


Kylie Wilson is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Nursing. She is spending the summer term abroad with the UMKC Honors Program in Scotland. Kylie is from small town Helena, Missouri and hopes to be a Cardiac Intensive Care Unit nurse in the future. She has a pet cow named Betsy whom she loves dearly.

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.

UP….UP…. AND YOU ARE IN THE HIGHLANDS

The ocean

Want to know the most beautiful place on planet earth? It is the Highlands of Scotland! Greenery surrounds you almost everywhere you look and the water is restless, but stunning.

Just a small glimpse into the beautiful Highlands

There is always a hanging mist in the Highlands in Scotland and I admit it is really cold here, but if you bundle up and brave the cold it is a sight worth seeing. We took a boat into the Highlands and I have never been on a cruise ship, but that is what I imagined it would look like. It was huge and luxurious with a cafe. I was able to relax for a little bit and enjoy the ocean. On this trip to the highlands we are visiting the Isle of Lewis and the Isle of Harris. There are many monuments here and the start of our journey in the highlands we went to the Butt of Lewis. You read that right. I said the Butt of Lewis (don’t google or you may get some weird images). It is the end of the Island of Lewis and there are cliffs high up that we got to look off and stare at the ocean. I stared at the sea gulls circle around trying to get the fish and there was a seal popping his head out of the water daring the sea gulls to come closer. The water crashed into the rocks angrily and the vastness of the ocean is enough to make the largest person feel small.

There was a lighthouse behind the cliffs and it was everything I imagined it would be. I felt at home here and never wanted to leave. But we made our way back to our Hostel for the night where nine of the girls in my class here all stay in a hostel room together. It was so much fun, it felt like a slumber party! The next morning we had class things to clear up, so we gave our speeches in the hostel. This trip has taught us all how to be flexible and roll with the punches! It has been a very fun experience seeing what our journey will bring us next. The second day we made our way to the Isle of Harris where we stopped at an old town where we learned how tweed blankets and scarves are made. It was interesting to watch and the people there were very kind. A nice man explained everything to us and left nothing but happy feelings in my heart. I will definitely be visiting that town again.

The mighty and powerful stones

Next, we made our way to the Calanais stones which were tall, mighty, and mysterious. These stones are mysterious and no one knows exactly why there are there. After the stones we made our way to the beach and at the beach I got to see a HIGHLAND COW (pronounced coo). If you have been following my blogs you know I am a farm girl and all I wanted this whole trip was to see a Highland cow and get a picture with it! I finally got it and my dreams have been fulfilled.

My baby Highland cow. I FINALLY GOT A PICTURE!!

We then made our way back to the hostel and all in all. The highlands were pretty amazing. As always, may adventure find you… even if it is so far north that it doesn’t get dark at night.


Kylie Wilson is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Nursing. She is spending the summer term abroad with the UMKC Honors Program in Scotland. Kylie is from small town Helena, Missouri and hopes to be a Cardiac Intensive Care Unit nurse in the future. She has a pet cow named Betsy whom she loves dearly.

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 mighty and powerful…. Ocean!

I am a little ol’ farm girl as I have said before. I had never been anywhere before this trip and that includes the ocean unfortunately. But I finally got to see the Ocean last week!!! Let me tell you I have never seen anything more beautiful and powerful.

The beautiful ocean!

I was immediately captivated and in love with the ocean. It was cold out and the water was dark, but I was still in love and I have made myself a promise to save all of my money and go to a warmer beach next summer! My classmates and I walked around the beach collecting rocks, shells, and memories. We laughed as many of us had to climb or rocks to get close to the ocean and quite a few of us fell a few times (I may or may not be the person who fell repeatedly, but we won’t talk about that). One of my classmates found a dead jellyfish on the beach that must have gotten stuck when the tide rose up and couldn’t escape when the tide went back down.

The poor jellyfish we found.

We were also had the most perfect view of a castle ruin in the background of our ocean adventure and what made the ocean experience even more fun was the people I was experiencing it with. My classmates are so supportive and sweet. They make every adventure fun and worth it.

The castle ruins.

I am very grateful I get to experience some of these amazing “firsts” of my life with them. A few of us sat on a rock for a while and just enjoyed the amazing view of the ocean in front of us. The air was a little crisp, but we didn’t care. We watched the amazing power of ocean waves crashing into the rocks and felt how truly small we are and how beautiful the world is. If you are in need of a humbling experience go to the ocean and just stare at how large it is. It makes you feels so small and your troubles even smaller. I hope all of you get to see the ocean someday and get to adventure the world with some amazing people like I do. Good luck and may adventure find you… and may it help you find yourself.


Kylie Wilson is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Nursing. She is spending the summer term abroad with the UMKC Honors Program in Scotland. Kylie is from small town Helena, Missouri and hopes to be a Cardiac Intensive Care Unit nurse in the future. She has a pet cow named Betsy whom she loves dearly.

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 Guide to Scottish Food

The best breakfast I have ever had.

Hearty. That is the best word I can come up with to describe Scottish cuisine. I love the food here so much. I would stay in Scotland forever just for the food. The breads are all fresh. The fruits are all sweet and the deserts are out of this world. Don’t even get me started on how good their jams are. I am not a fan of their meats, but I don’t really like to eat meat back in the United States either. I am going to give you a guide today on what you MUST try if you are ever in Scotland and some great foods to try if you are a vegetarian! First, eat the scones. They are phenomenal. I have had a scone everyday for the past week because the are so good. You can put butter on it or eat it plain. But I think they are best with the raspberry jam here. The raspberry Jam is so good I could just eat that without the scone! Next, you must eat some pie while you are in Scotland. The fruits here are so good and fresh in the summer months, so a fresh slice of pie with a cup of coffee is a great way to spend an afternoon in Scotland.

My lovely pie and coffee.

It is a bit colder here in Scotland even in the summer months, so a nice cup of steaming hot coffee is nice on crisp breezy mornings. Make sure you find yourself in one of the many coffee shops around Scotland to enjoy a nice cup of coffee and the view of scenery around you. Another must have is Scottish shortbread cookies.

My half eaten Scottish Shortbread cookie! It was too good to wait to take a picture!

They are delicious with some of that raspberry jam I keep going on and on about or you can have them by themselves they are still just as great! The cheese here for sandwiches or Mac’ and cheese is amazing as well. It is very rich and worth a try. The vegetarian Lasagna here was not my forte, but my friends who are vegetarian loved it and the Risotto as well. Scottish scrambled eggs are also a must try. I ate all of my eggs up and I am going to have eggs again (and again, and again) before I leave Scotland! But to warn you, they do not refrigerate their eggs here… I went to the grocery store and the eggs are just sitting in a random food isle. I tried them though and they were still very tasty and I am still alive, so I promise you it will be okay!  Another Scottish staple that you must have is of course the famous Haggis. If you do not know what Haggis let me explain. It is diced up and seasoned sheep INSIDE of a sheep’s stomach. Now here me out, it is their national dish and it isn’t as bad as it sounds. Also if you are a vegetarian there is vegetarian haggis that you can try that is pretty tasty as well. These are just some of my favorites since I have been here, but feel free to branch out and try something new and different. You never know a new dish may become one of your favorites, or if not you may get a funny story out of it. Good luck and may cuisine adventure find you.


Kylie Wilson is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Nursing. She is spending the summer term abroad with the UMKC Honors Program in Scotland. Kylie is from small town Helena, Missouri and hopes to be a Cardiac Intensive Care Unit nurse in the future. She has a pet cow named Betsy whom she loves dearly.

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 Adventure Begins…

‘Twas the night before adventure, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; the Osprey was packed with minimal clothing, in hopes of adventure that would soon be here. The boy, however, was not nestled all snug in his bed. Instead he had visions of a laptop and his very first blog.

At 07:00 CT today (6/30) the adventure begins! I will be off to New York, then leaving for Scotland in the evening! My osprey is indeed packed (my osprey porter 46) with what I deem as minimal, however, considering we will be in Scotland for quite awhile I made sure to pack a little extra than what most travel experts may typically consider as minimal, but only to avoid a copious number of laundry days.

I have always been a self-proclaimed wander-luster. Having been a Boy Scout and Eagle Scout I have gone on many adventures to many different places, however, I have never been to Europe and certainly not on my own. This upcoming trip brings a lot of emotions, but for me, it primarily excitement, as I am finally achieving one of my biggest dreams of traveling to Europe, an area that I have always kept a special eye out for on the world map in my room. The world is so vast and beautiful I cannot ever imagine spending it all in one place. The world was made to be seen and I fully intend to do so.

In preparation for this trip I have been reading many travel blogs, websites, and books. For me personally though I found Savvy Backpackers guide to traveling to be the most useful thus far. I will have to reflect on this point when I return to see if all of the advice given was actually good. If you are gearing up to travel though I would definitely recommend it.

At the end of the day, I am ecstatic to be able to travel and learn in Scotland. I am also excited to get the opportunity to do some side traveling after my Study Abroad in Scotland is completed and I intend to visit Southern Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. I will be sure to update you all not only on my study abroad in Scotland, but also whatever mischief I find in my side travels!

As my eyes begin to drift shut I know I have an incredibly busy day tomorrow and should have gone to sleep hours ago, but there is much ado when adventure is in the air, and not even the visions of sugar plums dancing in my head could lull my excitement tonight.

Until next time,

Fitz


Brandan Fitzgerald is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Business with an emphasis in Finance. Brandan is spending the summer term abroad with the 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.

Moher, Missed Flight, Midterms…Madness

I didn’t anticipate how difficult it would be to keep up with blogging. I have a hard enough time posting pictures for friends and family to see on Facebook, so I honestly am not sure why I didn’t foresee this struggle. Almost four weeks ago, I went to Rome. It was everything and more for my nerdy, history-loving heart. Since it was close to a month ago, I’ll forgo telling stories about it, except that I cried when I saw the Pantheon, somehow was in a Pride rally, and ate my fill of a buffet breakfast for two mornings in a row. The Italians do not hold breakfast in the same regard as Americans (or Irish or British) do. Bacon, how I miss thee.

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Back to Ireland: It was magical. From the kindness of the people to the beauty of the landscape, I am in love. The people are marvelous. Dublin and Galway were the two main cities I visited. Dublin was a hub and full of life. I enjoyed being able to speak English again. The accents were fabulous and the kindness of everyone was tangible. After a touring day in Dublin and a visit to the Guinness Storehouse, we went to Galway. Galway is latitudinally across the country on the west coast. We took a detour to see the Cliffs of Moher before venturing to the city though. They are absolutely gorgeous. Florence isn’t the greenest place on this earth, so to bear witness to such a marvelous site of nature was restorative to my soul. Once we explored and took pictures there, we went to Galway and ate lunch and walked around the city. Galway is traditional. People walked by speaking Irish as well as English. Although the language of Ireland is Irish, most people speak English due to the influence of England. It was amazing to walk by groups of people and hear the traditional language spoken. The group of girls I was with also ventured into jewelry stores after lunch to purchase Claddagh rings, as they were first created in Galway. Even though I’m not Irish, I bought one! That evening we returned to Dublin and had more pub experiences, complete with Guinness! Now here is where the fun truly begins: missed flight.

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I left for the London airport from Dublin early in the morning at 3 am on Monday. (Sunday was a free day for me and I explored around the city and went shopping) My flight left about 30 minutes late though, so I rushed through security and all but sprinted to my gate. Of course, the gate closed right as I arrived around 8 am. Therefore, I trudged back from whence I came and rearranged my flight for the great price of 100 pounds! 100 pounds, unfortunately is roughly $140, and my flight wasn’t leaving for another 11 hours. I was miserable, stuck in a dingy airport (Stansted is not like Heathrow), and needed to study for midterms. Only one free hour of wifi was available though, so I had to budget my time wisely. I was tired, hungry, poor, and in sore need of a shower. To the best of my ability, I studied for two midterms the next day, budgeted when I could eat, and tried to drink lots of water. Time passed so slowly. Eventually I was able to get the plane and made it, but of course, this was also 30 minutes late. My Pisa arrival was pushed back even further, and I still had to take a bus to get back to Florence from the Pisa airport. When all was said and done, I made it to my apartment at 1:30 am, promptly took a shower, ate leftover pasta, and fell asleep for a few meager hours before I needed to take two midterms the next morning.

It was a mistake to travel right before midterms. Of course, I realize that now, but I didn’t know I would be back so late. My original intentions were to get back to Florence early in the afternoon, take a nap, and study into the evening. Life doesn’t quite work out just the way we want, and I spent my day in the airport studying poorly. Although I wouldn’t change my Ireland experience, I regret leaving a day later than most people. At least my midterms are over, I improved with each one, and my professor knew my story. She actually asked me what was wrong with my eyes during the first exam. Apparently I looked terrible and she wasn’t afraid to comment on it.

Life lesson: Don’t travel before midterms, give yourself plenty of time for layovers, and bring a piece of technology, because you never know if you’ll be stranded for 11 hours and need some way to entertain yourself.

Where is the slow down button..?

It has been one week here in Lyon and I have felt like i’ve done so much! It’s true, I swear. Back home you would never see me do so much in one day. It’s crazy! I guess since it’s a new city and a new way of life, i’m just getting adjusted to it. (I really do believe that the days and nights in France are longer than your average 24 hours!). One thing I have noticed is that the French are very, very social. Their culture allows them and helps them to be, but back in the states, we need our alone time – our time to relax, procrastinate, maybe watch some Netflix (P.S. Netflix works here and I am so happy for that but no do not worry, I am watching in French!). When you’re trying to figure out a city, it is hard to stay at home and be antisocial. Spoiler Alert: You have to go out and explore.

In the past week, I have been to about three museums, a plaza on the middle of town, hung out by the riverbank and slept at two different places (my friend’s houses from the program) other than my host family’s place. And don’t even get me started on all the walking i’ve done! (Totally losing weight and gaining muscle *insert arm muscle emoji*).

An experience that really struck me was the one I had Thursday night with my friends, Taylor and Manny. We walked by the river and saw a huge amount of people hanging out by the berges (riverbank). We decided to join them and it was such an eye-opening experience. There were people playing the drums, others playing the trumpet, and others singing. The riverbank by Le Rhône looks exceptional and tranquil at night. Seeing these people resembles seeing people sitting around a campfire singing and laughing – having fun, but on a much bigger and better level! There was probably hundreds of people there. Again, the French are very social.

Another thing I’ve learned this week is that the French are very serious when it comes to food. They love their food! Typically, the French spends about an hour to two eating diner. My host mother explained to me the reason why they take so long to eat and how important it is to have diner together as a family. When you compare that to our busy American lives, it is hard to do that every single night. I learned in my psychology class that a variety of eastern countries are very social and put lots of importance to family and those responsibilities compared to western countries which are more egocentric and based on individuality. I agree.

All in all, it has been a great first week here in Lyon, although it rained (on my parade :P) a couple of times this week, it did not stop me because i’m in France!! I can’t let a little rain bring me down.

Au revoir,

DA.

Only Lyon sign that moves throughout the city.
Only Lyon sign that moves throughout the city.

toodles peanut butter…hello nutella!

In two days I will be on a private jet to Paris. And by private jet, I mean a plane with 376 seats. I’m not a huge fan of sitting for 8+ hours so I made sure to get a seat by the aisle so I can take frequent walks to the bathroom. I also have a small bladder:P But that’s enough about me… let’s get to the important stuff, such as why the name of my blog (slash soon-to-be novel on The New York Times best seller list) is “nutella abroad.
 
First question I’m sure you’re all wondering: “Are you like totally obsessed with Nutella?
 
Nooooooo……….. I’m just very, very fond of it. 
 
Yes, I am aware that the wonderful land of America has Nutella. I am also aware that Costco sells jars almost as big as my head! BUT, there is something about the Nutella in Europe that makes me giddy. It’s just better. Like the Coke. 
 
Accept my words and book a flight there so you can experience the best thing since sliced bread for yourself. 
(It goes great on sliced bread, by the way.)
 
For those Nutella virgins who have never tasted the mixture of hazelnut, skim milk, cocoa and many other ingredients I don’t have memorized, do you live under a rock with Patrick the Starfish? Probably.
 
Anyway, second question you’re probably wondering: “Are you really flying all the way to Paris just for Nutella?”
 
Great question, thanks for asking!
Kanye West flies to Belgium for wood so why can’t I fly to Europe for Nutella? Just kidding, I swear on my dead fish’s grave that I am going to get an education too!
 
RIP Henry.
Nutella and knowledge…what could be better? Nothing.
 
Aside from eating NutellaI am spending two days in Paris with my fabulous pal Isabel and then we are taking a two hour-long train ride to Lyon, France. We will spend six weeks in Lyon where we will live with a host family and study French. After the program, I will be backpacking around town with some friends. We will start in Paris and make our way to Amsterdam, Croatia, and Italy. In other words, wherever the wind takes us… as long as the wind follows our semi-tight itinerary since we already bought train tickets 😛 
 
My fellow backpackers, Isabel, Jake, Rebecca, and I have decided that our trip motto is #wingingit. I’d like to think we are the perfect combination of spontaneity and being overly prepared.
Example: Rebecca is bringing anti-wrinkle spray; I’m bringing a first-aid kit and oatmeal; Jake is bringing his MacBook; and I’m betting my right arm that Isabel is bringing cleaning supplies, shower shoes, and a mini vacuum.
Yet, we have found ourselves saying “oh,yeah…we’ll figure that out when we get there.”
hence…#wingingit.   
 
Well, I’m sorry to leave on such short notice but I just remembered that I have to go get a cavity filled (thanks Nutella). Stay tuned for (mostly appropriate) shenanigans, Nutella-utopia, and my French-y experiences. 
Peace. Love. Nutella.
 
Au revoir!
 P.S., if anyone knows where the French male models hang out, let me know.