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Study Abroad

Hello again!  As we’re moving back into the swing of school, you’re probably wishing you were still in the vacation spot you spent spring break in.  Or at home, sitting on the couch and eating too many Girl Scout cookies.  Either way, I understand how you feel.  I think I need another whole week of break to get caught up on all the things I didn’t do during vacation.  Oh well; only six more weeks to go!

Anyway, I thought I’d share some of my adventures with you today.  But then I began editing pictures and thinking of what to say, and three hours later I am STILL editing pictures and no closer to accomplishing my to-do-list for the weekend!  Note to self:  don’t edit so many pictures in one sitting.  I have decided to give you an overview of my trip, with some photos and travel tips, and leave it at that for this week.  I will likely be posting a lot about Europe; I have so many stories and so much history to tell!

To begin…I took the trip with a group of teachers and students from Fontbonne.  The trip was put together by a travel company called EF (Education First) College Study Tours.  For the price I paid, the trip included transportation everywhere (by plane, charter bus, ferry, and London’s underground trains), hotels (nice ones, not hostels or cheap places), two meals a day, entrance fees to museums, castles, cathedrals and other historical sights, two city tour guides, and a tour guide who stayed with us the entire trip.  The trip seemed expensive, but I think it was very well priced for everything that was included.  Our tour guides were very knowledgeable and explained to us a great amount of history concerning the locations we visited.  I would definitely recommend taking a trip like this, especially as a first excursion out of the country.  It was well planned with much guidance, but also gave us some free time to see places we wanted to visit.  And our tour guides only lost us a few times, so they proved to be very capable.

A few travel tips you should be aware of:

In Ireland and the UK, nearly everyone speaks English.  However, since we speak American, you should be aware that some phrases/words/gestures do not mean the same there as they do at home.  For example, displaying the number two with your fingers is an expletive that Europeans would consider to be offensive.  If you’re going to be traveling to a different country, I suggest you research a little about their sayings before you go.

In Europe, everything is expensive.  EVERYTHING.  Our dollar only equals about .70 cents in euros and .50 cents in pounds sterling (used in the United Kingdom—England, Scotland, and Wales).  But a meal that costs ten of our dollars still costs ten dollars there, which could be 15-20 dollars in European dollars.  So bring lots of money.  Also, if you take one of the EF tours, you might be offered extra experiences that are not included in the sum you paid for the trip, so you will need funds for those if you want to participate.  We were offered rides in a jaunty (a horse-drawn buggy in Ireland), a show put on by a man’s sheepherding dogs, and tickets to see the play Spamalot in London.  And you will probably want to buy souvenirs for every single person you’ve ever met before.  So, like I said, lots of money.

Make sure you have a converter AND adaptor with you that works for the countries you will be visiting.  One of the girls in my group only bought an adaptor, which makes our plugs fit into the European sockets in the wall, and had to borrow our converters.  The electricity in other countries uses different wattages, from what I understand, than we do, so you must have a converter to change the energy into a suitable kind for your own appliances.

This post is getting long, so I’ll throw in a few quick pictures and let you go for today.

The Irish countryside. I promise these are real places!

A beach in Ireland. Very rocky, not sandy.

Same beach, but so pretty it needs an extra picture!

A street corner in Wales. Yes, it is as beautiful as it looks.

A view of Llangollen, the Welsh town we stayed in for a night.

The iconic red telephone booths in England!

I hear the next spring break trip is to Spain and Portugal, with an optional excursion to Morocco.  It sounds absolutely wonderful, so you should all sign up!

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Spring Break is Here!

by Kristen on March 12, 2014

in College Life

Hello, everyone!  Today I am writing as I scramble to complete homework and travel preparations.  I have much to do because, in a few days, I will be leaving to go on a spring break vacation in…

(wait for it)

…Europe!  I am taking a short-term study abroad trip with a group from Fontbonne to England, Ireland, and Wales.  As an inexperienced traveler, I am super excited to be visiting another country!  I have never left the United States, nor have I ever been on an airplane.  This spring break will be a week of new experiences, for sure.  I promise to post many pictures of my trip when I return.  You’ll probably get sick of Europe posts after a while.  Or be jealous of my adventures.

Either way, that’s all I have to say for now.  I hope you all have fantastic vacations full of rest!  And probably homework.  Because, let’s be realistic, we are students.

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Carlyn

A Day in Paris

by Carlyn on July 15, 2013

in Extracurricular

During my last week abroad in Europe, I decided to go out with a bang. As soon as my last class ended, I hopped on a plane to Paris. As I was staying in England this summer, I had thought about how close I was to France (much closer than St. Louis, Missouri). Instead of continuously thinking about it, I decided to just go for it. I spent two nights with my family who lives there, but only had one full day to explore. It was short, but definitely sweet. Walking the most famous city in the world in one day was one of the most tiring, yet thrilling experiences that I will never forget.

I started out my day by visiting the Eiffel Tower. First things first, right?! This was a sight that I was NOT going to leave Paris without seeing. It was quite surreal to see the real thing. I had seen this monument probably hundreds of times in movies, pictures, shows, etc. To be in front of the real thing was breathtaking. Because I was very limited on time, I didn’t go inside or to the top of many places. I was grateful just to be in the presence of these famous sights. In addition to the Eiffel Tower, I stopped at other key sights, such as the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre (where the Mona Lisa is), Notre Dame, Love Lock Bridge, and Shakespeare and Company bookstore. Just as I imagined, the city was beautiful. The parks, churches, theatres, stores, food… Speaking of food, I ate what I believe to be the most delicious crepe in the world. It was topped with coffee ice cream (with actually coffee beans!), coffee syrup, and whipped cream. Since I don’t speak French, I don’t remember the exact name of this outstanding dessert that I made into my entire meal.

With only a day to explore, I basically just got a preview of the “city of love.” I’m not complaining though. Out of this one day came many fun memories and stories. One thing that I did want to do in Paris was go to Disneyland. Obviously, this was not feasible. I guess I’ll just have to come back!

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Only in London can you see Big Ben. Only in London can you see Buckingham Palace. And, only in London can you see queen.

I felt a huge “aha” moment come over me when I first saw Big Ben. The architecture and gold detailing on that building is absolutely gorgeous. Seeing such an iconic monument really hit me that I’m in London. My breath was taken away (and not just because of all the wind) and I felt like I could just stare for hours. Plus, the massive Houses of Parliament are in that same area. It doesn’t get more British than that!

Oh wait, but it does. After visiting Big Ben, I witnessed the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. Talk about a beautiful building! The “guards” are those guys that dress in the red coats and big furry black hats, which are called busbies (and by the way, against popular belief, they do talk). A ceremony of music, marching, and horses took place. My face was pressed up against the front gates. The view doesn’t get any better than that! That same afternoon, I spent time relaxing in St. James’s Park, which is nearby Buckingham Palace. It was actually sunny for once on that particular afternoon, making it an absolutely lovely day.

The very next day, I found myself back in that same area. I started my day gazing at Big Ben again, and then walked through the park full of trees, pigeons, and fresh flowers, finally making my way to Buckingham Palace. I was watching the guards again, but for a different reason. This time, they were being inspected by Queen Elizabeth. She was being pulled around in a fancy horse-drawn carriage. At times it was difficult to see through the hundreds of officers on horses (not to mention the 20,000 tourists). But I did in fact get a decent view of the queen (eventually). I did see her with my own eyes. Yep, that’s right. I was in the presence of royalty.

Only in London…

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Sure, I’ll do a photo shoot in London

by Carlyn June 13, 2013

One week of study abroad classes down, four more weeks to go! Although, it’s not like I’m counting down the days I have left in London. I don’t want to rush this amazing experience. The course that I’m taking is called “Styling Fashion.” This is not a class offered in the fashion merchandising program at [...]

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Upcoming Summer Adventures

by Carlyn April 29, 2013

Wow! It’s hard to believe that I am already writing the final blog for this semester. While these past 16 weeks of school have been amazing, I am really looking forward to this summer. I guess you could say pretty much everyone is, but I personally have never been this excited. I’m pretty sure this [...]

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Thanksgiving is coming!

by Penny November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving is coming this Thursday (Nov 22). I feel so excited because it will be my first Thanksgiving in the United States. I really want to say thanks a million to my dear God. He is so faithful, graceful and amazing to take care of me wherever I am, whatever happens. I want to say [...]

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The Beginning of the End

by Lee September 14, 2012

Helloooo again, Woah, the last time I blogged must have been sometime in the Spring of 2012! Well, I am Lee Drahl, a SENIOR Speech-language Pathology major and I welcome you to the ride! Loads have happened since Spring 2012! By loads, I mean an absurd amount of changes, new experiences, new decisions, new options, [...]

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