The GoGlobal Blog

Month: February 2014

Paris, Versailles

Paris, Versailles

This past weekend my friends and I hopped on a plane to the city of love <3 

Getting to Paris was definitely an adventure in itself. It began when the night before we were supposed to leave, we received an email from Ryanair (the most elite airline in Europe) that our flight had been cancelled. Why? Because the entire airport (Ciampino) decided to go on strike for the day. No biggie, Italians on strike is nothing new. I mean even today, they decided that tomorrow they are going on strike so none of the buses will be running. Except this is a huge inconvenience because we have the Papal Audience tomorrow which means my roommate and I will have to walk to the Vatican at 5 in the morning tomorrow. NBD.

So anyway, 3 of my friends were able to rebook their flights for free for the following day. But then there were two of us who couldn’t. Knowing the Italians are pretty chill, we decided to just show up at the airport (without tickets or even a reservation) and beg them to let us on the flight…

After explaining our situation to the ticket lady, she got her supervisor and the fun began (all of this took place around 5 in the morning). The supervisor came and promised us he would do everything he could to get us on the flight with our friends. He rushed us through security and within 5 minutes we were by the gates…. What.

And to top it off, one of my friends forgot she had brought her expensive lotions that were over 3 oz. But no worries, she made friends with one of the workers and she got her through security, cutting everyone in line and even stopping the x-ray machine so she wouldn’t have her lotions confiscated.

It was definitely an experience I’m never going to forget.

So that was the basic summary, details were left out that you probably would not believe unless you had been there. But hey, we made it to Paris!

Side-note: the French men are by far the the most polite, handsome, and respectful.


Orientation Shenanigans

Orientation Shenanigans

Buongiorno regazzi!

 Since being here in Rome, Loyola’s JFRC (JFoRCe, as it’s affectionately called here by the students) has taken great care of us.  As part of our orientation package for the first week and a half, we explored the magnificence that is the Colosseum and walked through Imperial Fora, all of which was done during a beautiful day trip.  And after the first week of classes, we ventured down south for a bit of history hunting!

 The Colosseum and Fora grounds were absolutely awe-inspiring.  The most striking thing about these monuments and ruins is the history that is behind them.  Centuries upon centuries of gladiator fights, animal hunts, political empires, and so much more are still standing tall and strong, waiting to reveal their secrets to anyone who will listen.  The different Roman forums were particularly amazing simply because of their sizes!  We explored the ruins for a few hours and I still think I missed a couple of monuments that were hidden there!!  But no matter, I still have plenty of time to get back and explore the ruins, and it’s only a short commute from campus.  

The beauty of Italy continued as we took a journey down south for our longer orientation weekend trip.  The first day of our trek brought us to Paestum, where we saw three beautifully preserved temples and ruins.  The three temples were absolutely enormous, and one of the things our tour guide told us is that temples back then were built facing East/West because that’s how the sun rises and sets.  Absolutely stunning.  We then traveled on to our hotel which was located inVietri sul Mare.  The entire hotel was essentially built on the side of a cliff overlooking the sea…needless to say, our view of the sunrise each morning was breathtaking, look:

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Amazing, right??

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And that’s one of the temples from Paestum!

For the next two days of our trip, we explored a buffalo mozzarella farm and a wine vineyard located at the foot of Mount Vesuvius.  By far, the best mozzarella and wine I’ve ever tasted in my life.  Since the vineyard was located at the foot of a volcano, the soil is ridiculously enriched, making their wine some of the best!  However, it amazes me that so many people settled at the base of this active volcano…I know living there would make me a nervous wreck.

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This was our guide around the vineyard.  Rumor has it he gave Leonardo DiCaprio a private tour!!

Anyway, as per usual when having fun, the orientation trip ended way too soon.  Just as I was getting used to multiple course lunches and dinners over the long weekend, it was time to pack up and head back to JFoRCe.  The Campania region we traveled to that weekend was by far one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen.  I hope I can head back there and to Napoli and have some of their famous pizza soon!  And if I’ve learned anything so far being in Italy and in Rome, it’s that I could spend my entire semester (heck, even entire years) exploring Italy, and I would never get enough.  There’s enough beauty and history here to last a lifetime.  I can’t wait to see where the next couple of weeks take me!

 Ciao for now!

The Sad Reality Of the English Speaking Privilege

The Sad Reality Of the English Speaking Privilege

Globalization is inevitable. With the ability to instantly connect with someone on the other side of the world, we are closer than ever. Yet is globalization simply a synonym for “Americanization”? With McDonald’s (or “McDo” as the French call it) cropping up everywhere while Timber blasting in the clubs, the United States of America seems to have forced its way into nearly every corner of the world.

In Pau, I am blessed with a diverse classroom with students from all over the world. My class has every continent represented, with the obvious exception of Antarctica. When discussing our home countries, a student from Brazil brought up the idea of USA being the modern day Rome. At first this idea seemed bizarre, but after I let it sink in I realized how accurate that observation is.

Whether it is positive or not, the USA is the center of world as Rome was many years ago before it met its tragic end. Like Rome, the USA has an incredibly powerful military, an expansive trade system, and, most importantly, a shared language. What differs with Rome is how it conquered new lands and forced Latin upon them. The USA goes about the spread of the English language in a slightly more crafty manner. English has become the language of trade. As a result, people all around the world learn English in addition to their native language.

How does this all relate to this American student studying abroad? Well, being in France has made me realize how much of a privilege I have as an American. Many Americans discuss the male privilege, or the affluent privilege, yet we all forget that we have an American privilege.

Even in the small town of the south of France, I can find English speakers and discuss things in my native tongue if I am too lazy to speak French. Then I look at other foreign students from Japan, Romania, Russia, Korea, etc., who are struggling with learning French and cannot fall back on the English language crutch that I abuse.

You may be asking: well doesn’t this apply to Australia, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and any other English speaking county? It is absolutely does, but as Americans we take it one step further. These other countries are much more thorough in their foreign language training, while the USA fails to teach Spanish properly despite its continuous growth of the Spanish speaking population.

With our privilege, we do not have to learn another language. This a reality that we must be proactive about and begin to change.

It is not limited to the language either. Miley Cyrus is still twerking, Meryl Streep is still a goddess as she cries onscreen, and President Obama is still smiling ear-to-ear as he walks with Michelle. American culture is everywhere in not just France, but all over Europe and Asia as well.

It is so easy to lose sight of everything as an American. Other countries have music, movies, books, politics, social issues, and many other things that we must being to pay attention to. With us being closer than ever, it is more important than ever to understand other countries and languages.

If you are American and reading this, leave your English language privilege behind and begin to globalize yourself rather than further Americanize yourself. My goal is understand as many cultures as I can as I slowly retire my English language crutch. I am blessed with this opportunity to live abroad and I need to begin to identify as a citizen of the world, rather than a citizen of the United States of America.

It’s Not a Goodbye, It’s a See You Later

It’s Not a Goodbye, It’s a See You Later

Two years ago as I prepared to leave my hometown of Pittsburgh to go to Chicago for my freshmen year of college, there was goodbye after goodbye. It all became too much until a dear friend of mine told me that for every goodbye, there is a hello. That insight reminded me of the excitement of the unknown. With no connections, I journeyed to Chicago and as a result I see life in a completely different light.

Now as I prepare to leave for Pau, France for five months I find myself saying one too many goodbyes. I remind myself of the insight given to me, but this time it feels different. The people in my life are all ones that I have a special relationship with. Now I realize the importance of my relationships in life, which I did not before. For my loves ones that are reading this, you know who you are and you know the special place you have in my heart.

In exactly one week I will be on a plane from the United States to France. Many American students have made this trek before, but every experience is unique. What Europe holds for me remains to be seen, but it is sure to be one hell of a trip.

As I cross into foreign territory I know the beauty that I am leaving behind. Chicago and Pittsburgh are two wonderful cities that have given my 21 year old self enough experiences to make me into an old soul. That being said, I know I am prepared to take in the chic French lifestyle. The world is a beautiful place and there is no better time than now to experience as much as I can.

In French, “Au revoir” means goodbye while “À bientôt” means see you soon. We will not use au revoir because this is not a goodbye. You will be with me every step of the way during this journey. Never will I lose contact and I will always have you in spirit. We may not be together in the physical sense, but we will never be apart. Farewells can be very emotional, but this will not be. There is no reason to be sad as life has great things in store and I can’t wait to share my experiences with all of you.

Here’s to all the hellos (bonjours) that are soon to come and remember, c’est à bientôt non au revoir.