The GoGlobal Blog

Month: January 2016

First Week in Sevilla

First Week in Sevilla

Its been a week since I set foot on Spanish soil and the time has flown by. They always say the first week is the fastest but I must brace myself for the next weeks to come. First weeks in new places always seem like a party, many of my colleagues went out and got to know the bar and disco-tech scene in Sevilla. I participated but I only during the odd days of the week. I am living with a host family after all and I feel responsible to inform then of my whereabouts, although they are very flexible with my last minute plans.

It surprises very much me that I am the only student staying with a host family out of 41 other International students (Erasmus, as they are referred to in Europe). I don’t quite understand the logic behind their choices, if they wish to learn more about the local practices and language why wouldn’t they want to do it. I guess most people have a different agenda than me and would prefer to not have any constraints on the impromptu schedule.

As far as my host family goes, they feel like my second grandparents. Both welcoming and friendly. The grandfather is an avid soccer fan of the local Sevilla FC team and watches every La Liga match on TV. The grandmother is articulate with her kindness and cooks me a delicious dinner every night. They have a large extended family who come over every Friday to have lunch and socialize. The grandparents have four children to which three of them have at least two children. So lets just say every Friday its like a little party here.

Living with a host family, in my opinion, is a must if you really want to get a closer understanding of how a new society functions and it’s an excellent way to continue practicing the language. After all, isn’t that one of the reasons why you chose to study abroad? Some people’s concerns are that the host parents will impose draconian law on you and will not let you ‘go out’. But this should not be the case, the key is communication. First thing it to get your host parents numbers and use WhatsApp to message them your whereabouts. It’s just like living your own parents in the US. You need to build trust between them and after a few nights of returning on time, they will have faith in you that you will make the right decision.

Highlights from my first week are as follow: going to my first Sevilla FC match at their home stadium (which happens to be 1 block away from where I’m living, in an area called Nervión). There really isn’t anything like it in the US. Sports team in the US are a predominately new phenomena and there exists many sports teams to be a fan of, which dilutes the overall force behind a particular team. In Spain and much of Europe soccer is the main sport to watch, play and root behind. In addition, most cities have only one high level team so the passion is increased even higher. To top it off, most soccer teams have been in continuous business for over one hundred years (Sevilla FC was founded in 1890!), so generations and generations of families have supported the same team and have been there at every up and down.

Next highlight is that I bought a folding bike. In my opinion this the best way to see and get to know the ins and outs of a large city. When you bike you have the freedom to go anywhere you’d like but without the hassle of having to stick to the road; you can go up on side walks and make illegal turns. This will also be my main form of transportation to and from the University. The ride to school is around 20 minutes and it certainly beats the time it takes to ride on the public bus and beats paying at least 10 euros for a taxi.

Finally, right off the bat I’ve gotten to know quite a few people at the university, mostly international students but also some Spanish students. The International students are predominantly from Europe, i.e. Germany, Finland and The Netherlands but there are also some students from Central and South America, i.e. Peru, Guatemala and Mexico. I like to hang out with the latter students because then I get even more practice in Spanish.

In conclusion, my first week has been a smooth transition from my Chicago life (even though the first few days I felt like I was living in the 3rd dimension due to the jet lag), I am taking four interesting classes: International Public Law, International Markets, EU Law and Constitutional and Territorial Organization of the State. The grandparents I am living with have been treating very well and I the students I have been meeting are interesting. To top it off, the school lunches are still provided by Aramark but it certainly couldn’t be the prison level experience because the food tastes 3x better than those at the Lake Shore campus.

Stay tuned for more in-depth cultural and political analysis next time.

Bienvenidos a Santiago!

Bienvenidos a Santiago!

I’m here in Santiago, Chile in my second week on the Universidad Alberto Hurtado Affiliate Program. So far, it has been extraordinary! I moved in with a host family, which consists of my “mom” and two “sisters” who are 16 and 18. We have two cats and a dog. The cats are named Bicho and Negri (a black cat), while the dog is a cute mutt from the street named Nala. Our intensive Spanish class started last Monday and is only for three hours a day! Essentially, everyday is an adventure of exploring this new city. I have already seen, La Moneda (the White House of Chile), Cerro Santa Lucia (pictured below), Barrio Bellas Artes, and many more markets. I was even welcomed to Chile my second day, by a flying piece of corn “choclo”  that hit my back! The Spanish situation is going much better than expected. Before, arriving I found the idea of living with a family who only speak Spanish, taking all my classes in Spanish and exploring a city where I do not speak the language fluently very daunting. However, everyone is very patient and I can already see my Spanish improving.

Tomorrow, we are going to Isla Negra to see Pablo Neruda’s house and the beach!

Hasta Luego!

Cerro Santa Lucia


It Feels like a Dream

It Feels like a Dream

I’m here in Rome! It’s currently Day 8 and it still feels like a bit of a dream.


It’s been an incredible week. I’ve already gotten the chance to visit the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, the Roman Forman, the countryside of Farnese, walk miles around Rome and even speak Italian to the locals.

IMG_2684 IMG_2697


It has surprised me how quickly I was able to adapt. The first few days it was hard to get around but I already feel comfortable in this neighborhood and most importantly, I know where to get incredible gelato.


I’ve discovered that the Italian style of life is definitely something I could get used to. Eating five courses over three hours for dinner, not having to be on time, taking lots of walks and lots of naps, it really makes life less stressful.


A big adjustment has been communication with everyone back home. I don’t have data and on campus we can only get Wi-Fi in a few places. Honestly, it’s been nice. Finding our way around the city with just a map and a few Italian phrases has been a fun challenge.


This weekend I head to the Amalfi Coast and next weekend to Venice!


Also, fun fact: the dogs are cuter here.

Adventure is Out There!

Adventure is Out There!

Up (2009)

…and it’s up to you to go and find it!

What happens when you let a bunch of Theatre students roam around London on their own.
What happens when you let a bunch of Theatre students roam around London on their own.

I’m posting from the pristine, pastoral, and impossibly populated city of London, England! It’s not yet registered that I’m here, and my laptop refuses to change time zones (much like my sleeping schedule), but it’s been almost a week and I’m here to report on all my adventuring.

I’m part of Fordham University (New York)’s London Dramatic Academy, which means I’m using Heythrop College (London)’s facilities, but Fordham University’s program while still remaining a Loyola Chicago student. If that doesn’t confuse you, you’re doing better than I. Our first few days consisted of orientation and grounds/neighborhood walks, and fortunately for me, we’re in the most beautiful(AND EXPENSIVE) neighborhoods in London: Kensington! We explored Kensington Gardens, which is where Prince William and Duchess Kate live (no big deal), where J.M. Barrie was inspired to write Peter Pan (See the movie Finding Neverland), and where I WALKED AROUND. WHAT?! I also befriended a few swans. (Did you know every swan in London technically belongs to the Queen? Lucky Lady.) Our faculty-guided tour concluded at the Royal Albert Hall, named after the most well-rounded Prince of England; He organized the World’s Fair right there in Kensington known as the Great Exhibition. He was a fan of math, science, history, art….basically everything. That’s why the Albert Memorial across the street is such an ecclecticly-designed monument. He was a fan of everything, so the designers threw it all on there.

The next day, I had to pleasure of being let in on one of London’s greatest-kept secrets: The KILLER in the longest running play of all time, The Mousetrap. Mum’s the word, I made a promise I wouldn’t spoil the ending for anyone. Let’s just say I never saw it coming. It really was “premeire British,” as the LDA director Kathy put it; a real parlor-room mystery drama.

Finally, on Sunday, I did the tourist circuit around Westminster. I’ll need to go back to take it all in, one trip is definitely not enough, but it was beautiful! The buildings are older than the USA! And, of course, I popped into a phone booth for the required tourist picture. Unfortunately, it didn’t take me down into the Ministry of Magic like in Harry Potter…Then, I was reminded of my Loyola Honors Program repertoire when I visited the National Gallery’s Impressionist exhibit. There’s nothing like a little Manet to finish off your day of touring London.

I wish I had 10000000 words to keep retelling my adventures, but I have to get to my homework. (LOL I already have homework.) I can’t wait to post this weekend about my classes. Wish me luck!!




Ciao Roma!

Ciao Roma!


I MADE IT! I have been waiting for this moment for what seems like an eternity. I was notified of my acceptance to the John Felice Rome Center (JFRC) back in July and have been counting down the days until my arrival ever since.

Traveling here took about 16 hours, but it was worth every sub-par airplane meal. My initial thoughts of my new surroundings went something like this: watch out for taxi scammers, graffiti is everywhere, culture shock is real, jet-lag is REALLY real, there is no direct way to get anywhere and traffic laws might as well be non-existent.

Our campus and dorms are nothing like the modern Lakeshore and Water Tower Campuses that we Loyola students are used to, but I have come to appreciate the Italian charm that the JFRC provides. The dorm room I was assigned is a bit smaller than other dorm rooms on lower floors, but it does have a little screened in balcony overlooking our beautiful courtyard. Few dorm rooms are able to get WiFi, but the forced detachment from my phone has been one of the best things for me. It has gotten my classmates and me out into this incredible neighborhood and country that surrounds us.

I tasted my first Italian gelato on night one and it was sooo good. My friends and myself got a bit lost attempting to navigate the streets, but this is such a great place to get lost in. We attempt to speak the little Italian we know with the locals. It usually results in a chuckle from them as we stumble our way through piecing together a simple sentence, but they seem to appreciate it. Italians are truly some of the kindest people I know.

Orientation hasn’t been the most fun when you’re still getting over some serious jet-lag, but the faculty and Student Life Assistants (SLAs) try and keep things as interesting and exciting as possible. The energy put forth by our staff is truly contagious. They make me so excited for every adventure and memory that is to come over these next few months.

A group of us attempted to work public transportation on the second night and go down to the area of Trastevere. Well, we utterly failed and ended up about a mile away from our destination. We got off our bus near the Vatican and got a more scenic evening than what we anticipated, but nobody seemed to mind. We eventually made it to Trastevere and it was so neat. It was the Italy I had pictured in my mind complete with narrow streets lined with shops, restaurants and bars (in Italy, “bars” are a place where you get coffee, but I’ll refer to them in the American way on here). Some of the bars in the area were undoubtedly geared toward Americans and the drinking culture we have, (it was €1 Shot “Braindestroyer Night” at one bar) but it was still a great night out in the city with friends. After another failed attempt with the public transportation, we began the forty-five minute walk back home in the rain. We only hit a small bump when the Italian police pulled us over in the vacant St. Peter’s Square to see what five, young Americans were doing there on a Thursday night. After I struggled to speak with them in Italian, a friend and myself ended up talking with them in, of all languages, Spanish. The run-in ended with joking over favorite NFL football teams and a “buonasera” (good evening). Needless to say, navigating the bus system has become a large priority we are all veryy slowly accomplishing.

I attended a neighborhood restaurant visit with about 100 other students on our third night. We were served a four-course meal complete with red wine to drink. The meal was delicious, but I would have to say that the tiramisu we were served for dessert was my favorite part. I can’t say that I am the most adventurous eater by any means, but I have been working on getting out of my comfort zone.

Day number four consisted of a trip to the Colosseum and Roman Forum. The city of Rome is filled with an incredible amount of history and beautiful architecture. To get to experience it daily is remarkable and I feel so blessed. It is crazy just how innovative the people must have been to construct such grand and intricate buildings centuries ago. Here I can hardly put together my niece’s toys even with clear instructions right in front of my face. After touring these two sites, I walked through some of downtown Rome with a few friends and tried my first Italian espresso. We were given a bus ride from campus to the Colosseum, but it was up to us to find our way home. We once again failed tremendously at this test. This was fine at first because we were in the beautiful and bustling downtown (it’s “saldi” (sale) season in the stores), but that was before 30 minutes turned into an hour and finally an hour and a half of being lost. We finally made it back to campus two hours after leaving the cafe. Needless to say, directions are not my thing (and apparently none of my friends’ either). I visited some classmates at The Zone (a hotel about a 15-minute walk away that houses several of our students), for some wine to end my over 13-mile walk of a day.


To sum up my journey this far, I would say this: I don’t always know where I’m going, but I feel so lucky to be making the journey.


Until next time,


I have arrived!

I have arrived!

It’s been a week since I have stepped foot onto Aix-en-Provence in southern France. Let me just say, I’ve seen so much it’s felt as though I’ve been here a year already! I was nervous to arrive as I had only been to the metropolis that is Paris, and I knew that everything was going to be different. And I was going to actually have to speak some French, as hesitant as I was to do so. But all my nerves washed away immediately when I got here. I was so comfortable. The buildings were older than anything that exists in the United States, and the language was beautiful, even coming from complete strangers on the street.

It’s still notable to say that culturally, of course, it took some adjusting. Especially with transportation. While I am comfortable with the CTA in Chicago, buses were a whole other story to me. Coming from the Marseille Airport to Aix was a journey on it’s own, trying to navigate the terminal and then find the correct bus. My friend Mariana and I arrived together, and after staying in a hotel close to the airport the first night, we made it on the bus to Aix. As we arrived to the gare, we took taxis to our dorm, Les Gazelles. Looking back on it now, the gare is not at all far from our dorm, and we could have most certainly walked. But I think it was better for us to take a taxi at the time than to get lost off the get go. But we made it.

My room here is small, but as it is only me in here, it’s the perfect size. I brought basically only clothes, sheets, and blanket with me, so I had to buy (or steal from the school, and by steal I mean they gave them to us) pots and pans, plates, and cooking utensils. Apparently everyone here cooks their own meals in the kitchen. As my roommate and I rarely cooked real food back in Fairfield, this was something that was going to take some getting used to. LIVE UPDATE: I have cooked myself THREE meals here so far. One was potatoes, carrots, and chicken, another was chicken, noodles and peppers with a curry sauce, and the other was a sandwich. I think I’m off to an excellent start.

But the part that was most nerve-racking to me was speaking French. I am not the most confident in my ability, but I know that I am not a bad speaker at all. The hardest part for me in orale comprehension. I can reply to what someone says to me easily, but first I just have to know what they said to me. Obviously native speakers speak significantly faster than any my teachers ever have, so I felt a little unprepared. But, I have to say, I think that I have been doing a great job so far. I’ve interacted with many people in stores, restaurants, as well as in blablacar (I will explain blablacar another time).

Classes have just started, and I’m excited to see where the semester will take me. It’s been just peachy thus far, so I can only imagine that it will get better from here! knock on wood!

From when I visited Nice this past weekend. Most beautiful city in the world!

From when I visited Nice this past weekend. Most beautiful city in the world!