The GoGlobal Blog

Month: September 2015



I have never felt more like the girl I was meant to be until I began this trip. There are moments where I ache for my family or friends from home, but I continue to find who I am by pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I have to keep reminding myself that is okay to take a moment to sit down and take it all in. Here is something I wrote a few days ago, but I forgot to post!

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Finally a moment I had been waiting for since I had my first sip of coffee here, I was able to sit and enjoy my pumpkin spice latte with a red telephone both in my view along with a red double decker bus. I thought long and hard about the choices I would be making this upcoming semester in regards to budgeting. Unlike some of my peers, my parents have blessed me with the opportunity to make it on my own. They always tell me that they may not be able to support me completely in regards of finances, but they would always support me with love. I will say that love is way better than money any day. I was able to save enough for this trip thanks to opportunities from some of the nicest people I have encountered. I called my mom to discuss how I should budget in about eight trips I was eager to book. She prompted me with a question I would recommend to anyone budgeting abroad, “Well, would you rather eat pb&j’s and see those places, or eat heavily with one or two trips?” Moms really know what is up in any situation. I had decided to budget myself roughly $350 dollars per week, about 217 pounds per week.

It has only been my first few days, but I can manage this. As I walked around Westminster this afternoon I realized how relaxed and happy Londoners always are. Maybe there a few business people in a rush with no time to share a smile, but the majority of people say hello  or how do you do! I have to remind myself as I walk around to not have my Chicago street face on. I am only half kidding, but really the people here seem to be moving at a much calmer pace which happens to go quite smoothly. The weather has gone all over the place today, which honestly makes me less homesick. Living in Chicago in the morning you dress for summer and the afternoon you dress for winter.

Last night I had my first genuine laugh here with my roommate Christina. It felt amazing. Walking around the street I listened to Hurricane by MSMR on repeat, it was magical. The lyrics seemed to fit the mood of the weather. I think the strangest thing I have encountered in this new place is the amount people choose to smoke. It is less taboo here, they all do it very casually as if it was naturalistic.Do you ever just wonder who you are? Not in the sense of who you want to be or what you wear or what you listen to, but who you are in the eyes of the people around you? I think people often forget that we play a role in people’s life whether it be an extra or the main character. Do you know who you are? Should you even bother to ask? Last night I had encounter with someone who made all these questions cover my mind.

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Every moment in London I find myself falling in love with places I used to pin on my Pinterest, but more importantly I was already living my dream.

Bienvinidos!!! (Welcome!)

Bienvinidos!!! (Welcome!)

Hola mis amigos! After my crazy first week here in Spain, I thought it was about time to update you all on everything that has gone down so far! We arrived in Madrid a day late (long story short we had an emergency landing in Bordeaux, France and had to stay overnight in a hotel until the next flight out to Madrid) and were whisked away to see our apartment! We live in the barrio (neighborhood) Arganzuela which is a pretty residential area with a lot of families and elderly couples. There are a few restaurants and cafes nearby along with the essential grocery and convenience stores. In Madrid, public transportation is heavily used and is easy to access, similar to the CTA in Chicago! On our first night we ventured onto the metro to head into Sol, the city center of Madrid, for our first tapas experience! Tapas here in Madrid range from croquetas, fried cheese and Spanish ham balls, to tiny finger sized baguette sandwiches called montados (so delicious and so cheap)! Spaniards typically eat smaller breakfasts than back home in the US, a piece of toast, a cup of yogurt or even a piece of fruit. They have a tiny snack during mid morning and then lunch, which is their biggest meal. At 2pm most stores and businesses close for a siesta, meaning coffee break! Dinner doesn’t normally begin until 9pm (my stomach is still getting used to this new meal time…) and many people often eat later than that! I’ve quickly built up a passionate love for Spanish food that no boy could ever replace, trust me, if you had jamon (Spanish ham) you would completely feel the same way too.

A few stops away on the metro is a beautiful park called Parque de el Retiro. Here, people come to picnic, workout, row boats and even visit the Palacio de Cristal! The Palacio de Cristal is a beautiful glass building that literally sparkles in the sun. It was created in 1887 to house exotic flora and fauna as part of an exhibition. Today, the Palacio de Cristal is a popular tourist spot, perfect for shameless selfies and solo pics… 😉 From here we headed over to the monument to Alfonso XII which is really just a big ole’ pond with a huge monument (as seen in my picture below!). Here, people are able to rent row boats and sail around for as long as they want. We weren’t able to snag a boat because it was a busy Sunday afternoon and it seemed like the whole city of Madrid had plans to row boats too!

Palacio de Cristal
Palacio de Cristal


Monument to Alfonso XII
Monument to Alfonso XII

This past weekend we were able to participate on a program wide field trip to the beautiful city of Segovia. Located about 45 minutes from Madrid, Segovia embodies everything beautiful about Spain. From the tiny cafes, to the beautiful castle, Segovia truly has my heart! We began our day at the Alcazar de Segovia, a masterpiece of a castle that started out as a humble fortress. The tour of the castle was breathtaking, room after room filled with beautiful artwork and so much history. In 1862, the castle survived a terrible fire that destroyed almost the entire interior; since then (thankfully) it has been partially restored. The ceilings were so intricately detailed I could barely look away from them! My favorite part of the tour was when we had to trek (I’m not even being dramatic the stairs were a pain to climb I was #heavybreathing the whole way) to  the top of the tower which has an amazing 360 degree view of the city.  The pictures do not do the castle justice!


From there we headed down to the cathedral square where we were able to explore on our own for a bit. Full of tiny alleys that house the sweetest shops, we stumbled upon a quaint café and had café con leches (half coffee half milk) and delicious pastries. After about an hour or so of relaxing and souvenir shopping, we were on our way to lunch! For our first course I decided to try gazpacho, a cold vegetable soup that was surprisingly refreshing. Then, it was time for our main course…in Segovia, El Cochinillo (suckling pig) is a city tradition and delicacy. The pig is tender and delicious served with a tasty gravy, my mouth is water just thinking about it! They cut up the pig and serve it in rather large portions (hooves and ears included) like the picture shown below. We finished our meal with a sweet cake that tasted just like Christmas with a scoop of ice cream. 10/10 would recommend trying el Cochinillo if you are ever in Segovia!

El Cochinillo

Our last stop of the day was to the beautiful summer palace of King Felipe V and his successors called La Granja de San Ildefonso. Full of lush greenery and colorful flowers, la Granja has a calm and relaxing feel that made me want to lie out in the sun and take a snooze! Instead, we opted to try out the maze and see who could finish it fastest. After splitting up it was only a matter of minutes before my group realized there was no way out and we were doomed to stay trapped forever. Thankfully, someone had figured out how to read the map and we finally navigated our way out, 25 minutes later. Finally with one last picture, we were on the bus and on our way back home to Madrid, leaving the beautiful city of Segovia behind.

La Granja de San Ildefonso
La Granja de San Ildefonso

That seems to wrap up my first week in Madrid, a lot of good food, fun times with new friends, and a new desire to explore a new city (not to mention back to studying because this is STUDY abroad and not just abroad…as our teacher says!) But until next time, adios my friends!!!


Misconceptions about Korean Culture and YES Club

Misconceptions about Korean Culture and YES Club

I should rename this blog: “I Am Constantly Surprised By Korea Because I Am Lazy And Did Not Learn Anything About Korean Culture Before Arriving And Thus Wrongly Assumed That All Of Asia Was The Same”. But since that title is annoyingly long and I’m not even allowed to name my own blog (only my posts) I will have to settle for the next best thing, which is dedicating sections of my posts to addressing my misconceptions about Korean culture.

Misconception #1: Koreans primarily drink tea. Wrong. If I had done even an ounce of research on Korea, I would have realized that tea is infinitely more popular in China and Japan. In Seoul there are coffee shops EVERYWHERE. I used to scoff at Chicagoans who are so obsessed with Dunkin’ Donuts that they build them into El stations (I’m looking at you Loyola stop on the Red Line) because god forbid anyone should have exit the El train without a cup of Dunkin’ coffee in hand. But here in Seoul, coffee is taken to a whole new level. My guess is that high caffeine intake is what allows Koreans to consume copious amounts of alcohol for such a long periods of time (I just can’t get used to the fact that they start drinking at like 7/8pm) but once again this is just random speculation. I hope that by the end of these four months I will have reached a definitive conclusion. Nevertheless, the point is I have never seen so many coffee shops in one place and I have no idea how they all manage to stay in business.

Misconception #2: Soy Sauce is a common condiment in Korea. Once again, I was thinking of China or possibly Japan. Soy sauce is not typically offered with Korean dishes. Korean food is not salty, or at least not nearly salty enough to be up to snuff with my American standards. For the first week everything I ate tasted incredibly bland. After a lifetime of excessive sodium, ‘natural’ (i.e. unprocessed) food initially appears to lack flavor. (Un)luckily for me, Koreans make up for reduced salt with an abundance of SPICINESS. There is so much spice in everything, especially the things you’d expect to be ‘safe’ (chili popcorn disguised as “cheddar” popcorn). To further confuse my palate, certain foods are unexpectedly sweet, such as anything ‘butter’ flavor. In a moment of weakness following a long soju-filled night out, I ordered the garlic butter fries to be delivered from McDonalds (fast food delivers here! It’s amazing!). But ‘butter’ flavor here is sweet in the most unappetizing sense possible and the fries more closely resembled one of those high-brow ‘gourmet’ flavor combinations that no normal human being outside a Michelin Star restaurant would ever be dumb enough to consume. So in the future I’ll pass on anything butter flavored.

As the weeks go by I will continue to add to this list or misconceptions as I’m positive there are many things I have yet to discover about Korea…

In other news, I have joined the YES Club, also known as the “Yonsei English Society”. Originally I was hoping to join the Mentor’s Club, which involves exchange students being paired with Korean mentors who then do stuff as a group. However, after being rejected no less than three times from the Mentor’s Club (despite my enthusiasm) due to an abundance of exchange students and a lack of available mentors (can you tell I’m not bitter about it?) I decided to try something else. I had to interview to join the YES Club, which I thought was very formal, however I am told this is a common occurrence when joining a club (at least for the clubs at Yonsei Universities, I’m not sure about all Korean universities). Anyways, we have had only one ‘meeting’ so far, which involved going out to dinner as a group to eat Korean BBQ. This is always a fun activity because it’s perfect for a group- there is a grill in the middle of the table upon which the meat is cooked and everything (the meat, side dishes, drinks) is served ‘family style’. I am not sure yet what a typical YES Club meeting will look like, but I am told that at the end of the semester the club will perform a musical (they are trying to narrow it down between Mamma Mia! and Cats) which I am sure will be interesting to say the least.

In the meantime, the most important upcoming club event will be held Friday night, called “Membership Training”. This is a fancy word for what amounts to a night of binge drinking, the purpose of which is to get to know the other members of the YES Club in a relaxed, fun atmosphere.”Membership Training” is apparently as common an event in Korea for clubs as “carbo-loads” are in America for soccer teams before big games. The current schedule has us set to depart campus at 6pm on Friday evening and return to campus at 8am the next morning. I am not rock-solid on all the details (I am more of a follower than a leader in this situation) but I was told that we will take a bus to some house in suburban Seoul and then the festivities will commence. I am really looking forward to getting to know everyone in the club as I have not yet had a chance to meet very many Yonsei students because most of my classes are with other exchange students.

Until next time!




My Own Roman Holiday

My Own Roman Holiday

Whenever I would tell my friends or family that I was going to Rome they would all respond the same way, “Oh my goodness you have to see Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn!” Well, I finally did and I can say I loved it. I think my favorite part was when Joe Bradley finds the Princess on the street, puts her in a cab, asks where she lives, and she mumbles drunkenly, “Colosseum.” Of course the cab driver angrily responds “IS WRONG ADDRESS!”

Anyways, I am telling you all this not only because you should all go watch the movie but also because last week I got to see the Colosseum and it was unbelievable! (I now understand why Princess Ann wanted this to be her home.) Before arriving at this well-known site I did not know what to expect. Once we (all 250 JFRC students) got there I was instantly overwhelmed! The detail is absolutely amazing, and to think of all the historical figures that stood in the exact spot I stood was unreal.


After visiting the Colosseum, we walked down the way to the Roman Forum, which once again was incredible. We walked the grounds for hours and every five feet I felt myself stop to admire the ruins around me, and the viewpoints of the enteral city.

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We completed our afternoon strolling around Trastevere, which is my new favorite neighborhood in Rome. Every street corner was picturesque and so quaint.

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After surviving our first week of classes we completed our JFRC orientation in Umbria! This region of Italy was absolutely beautiful and full of history. Upon arriving in Passignano sul Trasimeno we visited a family farm called Azienda Agraria Orsini. The family was beyond welcoming and seemed very excited to have us. Several of the women gave our group a demonstration on how pasta is made, and then we got our own chance to try! (Sorry don’t expect me to be making any homemade pasta when I get back to America because I was not good at it at all!)


The farm does not just make their own pasta but also makes baskets, harvests grapes, and harvests beans/legumes! My favorite part of the afternoon was when we got to stomp on grapes picked from the fields to start the process for making grape juice and wine! The scenery was beautiful and the people were so eager to share with us their customs and traditions with us.

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Once we finished up on the farm we took a ferry through Lago Trasimeno to visit the Isola Maggiore. We had a fabulous afternoon exploring the island and walking in the footsteps of Saint Frances. That evening we had a wonderful welcome dinner at our hotel and heard from several faculty and staff members on how important the John Felice Rome Center is to each of them and their experiences.


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The next day we walked around the ancient city of Spoleto. The town was beautiful and full of historical churches and buildings. We also visited the town of Foligno, where a traditional festival was taking place! Our evening was so fun, as we explored the historic cobblestone roads, drank delicious wine, and ate legendary gelato.10987412_10207637184072725_8127833146039209836_n11951267_10207637183512711_5961100849114880276_n


Our final day of orientation was my favorite. We started off the morning in the town of Todi, which is known for its amazing piazzas and beautiful buildings. Of course we visited stunning churches and had a delicious lunch, where I ate wayyy too much pasta. After our three hour-long lunch (yes meals take that long here and I love it) we visited Cascate delle Marmore. Cascate delle Marmore is the highest waterfall in all of Europe and probably one of the most beautiful. We hiked our way through the trails and got a nice refreshing rain shower when we made it up top and saw a breath-taking rainbow. This adventure reminded me of all the amazing things Italy has to offer.11986609_10207637187912821_75426153994160264_n10406823_10207637187112801_3698326011176363057_n

As for my time spent thus far in Rome I think I am slowly falling in love. The food is out of this world; please pray that I don’t turn into a pizza or pasta because I actually eat one of the two with almost every meal. Oh and the people are so beautiful. The men and women that casual walk through the streets are always so well dressed and walk with a sense of pride that I have never seen before. I think I may need a completely new wardrobe to fully immerse myself in the culture. Don’t worry I have already found the Zara, which has five floors!!! Every ally way looks like it belongs in a magazine and makes me wish I had a little balcony to sip my espresso on. (Sorry Dunkin Donuts I have found a replacement.)


Grazie for keeping up with me so far! I will be travelling to the Amalfi Coast this weekend so stay tuned!

All the World’s a Stage

All the World’s a Stage

                                                  “All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players.

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts.”

– Shakespeare, As You Like It

Wow! It has been a ~wild~ first week of classes, and sitting here on a Sunday evening thinking back on it, I am so excited to see what the rest of the semester brings!

Obviously I’m still enjoying playing tourist.

First off, they’re going to be keeping us quite busy! Mondays we have Period Dance, Movement for Theatre, Voice and Diction, and Stage Combat (I think the goal here is to get us as sore as possible for the rest of the week). Tuesdays I just have Acting and Acting for Shakespeare in the mornings, so I think I’m going to set the afternoons aside as my grocery day. Wednesdays we’ll do Speech and Dialects, Physical Theatre, and Space, Place, and Text. Thursdays are usually some type of workshop or extra class, and then I have individual sessions for Audition and Alexander Technique before we all join back up for Dramatic Criticism. Fridays we have more Acting and Acting for Shakespeare, and sometimes a walking lecture somewhere in London. And of course, weekend day trips, evening theatre visits, and endless hours memorizing once we really get into the swing of things.

The highlight of this week for me was absolutely our visit to the Globe Theatre on Wednesday night. We got to see As You Like It in (a reproduction of) the space it would have been performed in during Shakespeare’s time. The theatre is open-air, and it rained pretty heavily on-and-off the whole time, which was annoying but also in a way only made the experience more powerful. The actors acknowledged the rain, incorporating the space into their performance and connecting the world of the characters to the world of the audience. I was honestly awed by the fact that hundreds of people made the choice to gather and stand getting rained on for three hours all to see a piece of theatre. I will definitely be returning to the Globe before the semester is over.

It was a comedy and I still cried.

Friday was another interesting experience. We had our first walking lecture to the site of the Rose, another theatre of Shakespeare’s time. Today the Rose serves as a small, functioning theatre space, set on a balcony that overlooks the excavation site. It was found in the 1980’s, photographed and catalogued, but they had to basically rebury it to keep it preserved. When they have the funding, they plan to re-excavate. Currently it sits under a layer of basically dirt, with water on top to keep the environment moist, and LED lights outline the footprint of the walls and the stage, to give visitors an idea of the space it used to be. After that, we visited the site of the original Globe (down the street from the reconstructed Globe of today), Southwark Cathedral (the church that Shakespeare and lots of other famous English writers went to), and the ruins of Winchester Palace. We also stopped by St. Paul’s Cathedral, for more tourist photo ops.

LDA friends at St. Paul’s

Last night a group of us went out to see The Bakkhai at the Almeida Theatre, not through school but just for fun on our own. It was… well, it was a Greek tragedy. The production value and the performances were great, and like any show, I think it’s easy to learn about acting and theatre from watching it. But as far as entertainment value goes, I was mostly invested for two reasons: one, the Greeks are such an important part of our history as actors, so you basically have to appreciate them even if the plots and themes aren’t always easily accessible to contemporary values and sensibilities; and two, it was so gory and uncomfortable that it was hard to look away. Naturally, we all went out to the pub after.


Now onto a very full week of shows and our first weekend day trip. Cheers!

Life in the Eternal City

Life in the Eternal City

Well, we made it. Over 200 students from Loyola and across the country now reside at the John Felice Rome Center and call the Eternal City our home. (#blessed)

Living in a foreign country is something I’d only dreamed of, and frankly, it still feels like a bit of a dream. Each morning I wake up in Rome and experience something new: cappuccino at the bar, conversing with an Italian or having class at the Colosseum. Casual, right?


The first few days flew by, and to be honest, it wasn’t easy. Orientation was long, informative and at times a little boring. Homesickness is a very real feeling, and many students will experience it — that’s OK. Studying abroad will bring about many emotions. Living abroad will teach you so much, not only about the country you’re studying in, but also about yourself and life in general.

Here’s what I’ve learned thus far:

1. I know a lot more Spanish than I thought I did. Unfortunately, this I realized this because I am constantly confusing Spanish and Italian words.

2. “Bar” does NOT mean a place to go and binge drink. In Italy, a bar is a place to go and get your morning cappuccino or afternoon espresso.

3. Cute shoes are not the same as comfortable shoes. You’ll all hear someone tell you to bring comfortable shoes because you’ll be doing a lot of walking, and they’re telling the truth. I thought I could get by in the sandals I wear around at home and I have blisters the size of quarters. If you pack nothing else, bring comfortable shoes!

4. Life slows down. As a PR major, I’m constantly on my phone checking the latest news and staying up to date on what’s happening around the world. My phone only works when I’m on Wi-Fi now (which isn’t often), and it’s really not such a bad thing. Enjoy your time abroad away from typical distractions. Instagram can wait.

5. Punctuality doesn’t exist in Rome. Like I said, life slows down. No one is in a hurry to get things done. When dining out, meals typically take 2-3 hours, and they’ll never bring you the check without you asking for it. Also, the buses are rarely on time and come as they please. (We’ve waited hours and it never showed up.)

I still have a lot more to learn, and am excited to spend more time in Rome.

Stay tuned for more updates throughout my semester. Ciao! 🙂

My Roman Bucket List

My Roman Bucket List

Buongiorno! My name is Amanda and I will be writing about my adventures on this blog while living in the beautiful and eternal city of Rome! I had never been to Italy before, but I have to say, I am entranced. The people, food, architecture and overall atmosphere are unlike anything I have ever experienced! While I have been able to spend a little bit of time exploring the most famous sites of Rome, I still have a lot of things I want to do. Keeping this in mind, I wrote a “bucket list” to try and complete before I leave in December. A few are popular tourist destinations, a few are things I saw online, and the rest consists of anything my mind could dream up, but I want to do it all!

1. Get aperitivo (appetizers) at a rooftop restaurant.

2. Watch the sunset from the top of Piazza del Popolo.

3. Stare up at the Sistine Chapel for such a long time I get neck pain.

4. Buy a water-colour painting from a vendor in Piazza Navona.

5. Visit the Trevi Fountain while it is under construction and again when it re-opens in October.

6. Eat the largest size gelato I can get while people-watching on the Spanish Steps.

7. Get lost.

8. Tour the Castel Sant’Angelo at night.

9. Stand under the dome in the Pantheon.

10. Watch a sunrise over the whole city somewhere.

11. Buy my own Vespa.

12. Befriend Pope Francis and get invited to dine at the Vatican.

13. Discover an ancient artifact while strolling through the Roman Forum.

14. Get asked if I am Italian by a local.

I am very determined to finish all the things on this list, and will post updates all the time! Sadly I’m only kidding about the Vespa…

Nonetheless, “When in Rome” is truly a phrase I am living out for the next few months. So if that means getting gelato every night, so be it!

Even after living here for about one week, it still takes me by surprise when I wake up and realize that I am in a whole different country. Small occurrences keep me from forgetting where I am! For example, while I was typing this, the computer auto-corrected water color to water-colour. I am definitely not in America anymore!

As I get ready to go to class, I will leave you with a beautiful shot of the Spanish Steps I took two days ago.