Archive for October, 2013


Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

This past Sunday, I went on the International Society’s day trip to Liverpool (because what better place to be a day tripper)? It’s just under an hour away from Manchester so we left early and spent all day there. I loved the city- very fun, very clean, very friendly, and very musical. We had a two-hour bus tour in the morning and then spent the entire day exploring the city. Luckily, it was sunny and warm which made the miles of walking we did more enjoyable. One the way there, I met some other international students, one from the US, and spent part of the day exploring with them. The most enjoyable part of the day was the ferris wheel. Liverpool is home to one of these apparently famous German-made ferris wheels that sits right on the water and overlooks the canal on one side and the city on the other.


We also, of course, saw everything there is to see about The Beatles. Which is a lot. We drove down Penny lane, walked by Strawberry Field, saw Sergeant Pepper’s Pub, and stood outside the famed Cavern Club. Penny lane is approximately 30 feet long, Strawberry Field is the most insignificant-looking patch of grass with a plaque next to it, and Srgt. Pepper’s is a british pub like any other but we saw them. They’ve been seen. By Albert Dock, where our bus stopped, is the Beatles Story Exhibition where you can walk underground to the museum and see every detail of the lives of these four people. Evidently being the birthplace of the most iconic band in history means that everywhere you go, their music is just playing aloud outside. There is a big carousel right on the water that plays their songs and while we stayed nearby, that’s what I thought I was hearing. Turns out no matter where you go, you can here Hey Jude.


There are of course plenty of fun things to do and see in Liverpool besides trying John Lennon’s favorite drink at the pub. I also visited the Marine Maritime Museum, which offers the chance to learn a bit about the history of Liverpool as a wartime prospect. There is also lots of old architecture to see and great restaurants to explore. My favorite was the old fashioned ice cream truck. I don’t know what kind of ice cream I got because after asking the guy three times, I still didn’t understand, but it was very good. I enjoyed strolling around the docks and seeing the water and the boats. Although Manchester is a beautiful city in some parts, the part the I’m in doesn’t offer much for scenery or nature and it was nice to get a break from it.


Manuel Antonio Photo Gallery!

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

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Manuel Antonio

Monday, October 7th, 2013

This past weekend I visited Manuel Antonio national park. It was breathtaking. I saw wild howler monkeys, sloths, iguanas and so much more. The beach is located on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. Not the type of beach i’m used to, since Belize has the Caribbean sea, but still beautiful none the less. We stayed in a 5 star hotel with two pools and a water slide. The rooms were amazing. We each got our own queen sized bed. One of the best parts of the hotel stay was that the showers actually got warm and had water pressure, unlike the showers here in San Jose. We were able to see the beautiful sunset on the beach Saturday night and then attended a bonfire hosted by the locals. I went horseback riding to a waterfall. I jumped of the edge of the waterfall which was about 30 feet high. It was exhilarating. I still can’t believe I actually did that!

After this weekend we really got a taste of “La Pura Vida.” Excited for our next excursion to Arenal, a Volcano here in Costa Rica. It is said to be one of the most beautiful spots in the Country (but then again this place is the very definition of beauty.) One thing I have noticed since being here, is that usually at the end of conversations locals will end with the saying “Pura Vida.” I love it. It is almost like a daily reminder that life is beautiful and we should cherish every single moment.

~Pura Vida

Informational meeting, Oct. 9

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

H Potter taxi

Everyone goes to Venice….and the lucky few go on to Croatia.

Want more info?

Come to our first information meeting Wednesday, October 9, in Trinkle 207.

“Venice and Croatia”

A study-abroad trip to Venice, Italy and along the Croatian coast, May 13-27, 2014 examining how the empire of ancient Rome and early modern Venice grew, expanded, worked to accommodate change, and fell. (Or did they?)

“Venice and Croatia” faculty:

Professor L. Houghtalin, Classics,

Professor M. Och, Art History,

Lending a Hand

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Want to know what’s even more fulfilling than simply the act of studying abroad (including learning another culture and practicing a language that isn’t your own)?  Helping others in your new “home” country.  That’s what I have started doing recently!  For one of my classes at the University of Deusto, I am volunteering at a school in a poorer city neighborhood, teaching English to nine year-old kids.  Although it is fun, it has turned out to be more challenging than I anticipated!  I’ve worked with kids around this same age in the United States, teaching English to second-generation immigrants to the United States.  I thought that it would be very similar to what I’m doing here in Spain.  Boy, was I wrong!  These children in San Francisco – the name of the “rougher” neighborhood in Bilbao – are very different from the ones in Herndon, Virginia.  It seems like they’ve been exposed to things that kids in Herndon wouldn’t be…things that have made them grow up much faster than normal.  Not only do they seem more aware of the adult world, but they also seem to not want to associate with people from that world – me and the other volunteers included!  I’m not sure if it’s because they do not trust adult figures, or if they simply would rather interact with people their own age while they are all together, but most do not seem interested in us volunteers from America.  I was very surprised by this because at home when I have taken time to help out kids, they love it and they feel so special!  It is a tad disappointing, but at the same time I realize that this is a very different experience than what I was expecting in the first place!  In fact, I think that this will be an especially rewarding and fulfilling experience simply because it is proving to be unlike anything I’ve ever done before – it’s definitely challenging me to expand my ideas of how to teach and get through to kids.  So all in all, I’m really looking forward to making a difference – even if it is teeny tiny – in Bilbao, Spain!

That’s all to report on this front for now.  Sorry for the lack of pictures on this post.  (I’d rather not post pictures of children I hardly know on the internet!)

Weird Flower

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Weird Flower

A unique flower I passed today! Que curiosa!

My room!

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

My room!

Here is one angle of my room here is Costa Rica. Es muy grande, no?

This is Manchester. 2013-10-02 11:46:36

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

One of the biggest differences between UMW and UoM is that here, the campus is so big that I have to take the city bus to get to school. The three funniest things I’ve seen on the bus respectively, are a well-dressed business man get on with a colander on his head, another man perform a stand-up comedy routine at the front but declaring after “No laughing on the bus please!” then laughing, and a group of small children bounce around on a fairly empty bus and fall over like dominos as soon as the bus took off. Students seem rather unfazed by anything but their cell phones on the bus so sometimes I look at one for a really long time to see if they notice me.

Besides scaring teenagers on the bus, I’ve started to blend into city living. The campus here is very large and therefore takes much more planning than at UMW where I usually leave 5 minutes before class starts. I still find the class schedule very complicated here but I’m figuring it out and most of my classes are much easier than in the US so there’s a lot of free time for the 9 billion social events that go on here every hour. Except I’m the opposite of a party person so I’ve been joining clubs and societies and hopefully soon hall sports. This coming Sunday I’m going to Liverpool with the International Society and next weekend we’re headed to Edinburgh for a couple days.

The coolest building I’ve been in so far is one of the oldest in Manchester, the John Rylands Library. It is a beautiful, old cathedral-like building that looks like it may be a church from the outside but inside, it is rooms and rooms and floors of books from the 1400s written in Latin and Ancient Greek. It is considered part of the University of Manchester but it is no a functioning library, that is, you cannot check books out of it. Even if you could, you probably couldn’t read any of the books in it. One of the things I like most about this city is that classical and gothic architecture is so adjacent to very modern buildings, which dramatizes the old buildings even more. I have classes in buildings that look more like this library and ones in ultra-modern lecture halls, which offers something to the experience.

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These images are web-sourced. Although I have plenty on Facebook, these give a better understanding of the the building.