The GoGlobal Blog

Tag: Study abroad London

The London Packing List

The London Packing List

Keep Calm and Carry On signs and post cards can be found everywhere in London.
Keep Calm and Carry On signs and post cards can be found everywhere in London.

Anyone who has traveled to another country can explain the benefits of packing light. Most international airlines have baggage charges that can get pretty expensive. Normal struggles of getting through TSA and customs multiply when traveling with many, and often heavy, bags. Most importantly, though, you don’t want to have five bags worth of clothes and forget that you’ll probably bring home a number of souvenirs from the country you’re studying abroad in. How are you going to carry it all home? Shipping? Might as well study abroad twice in a row – because the pricing would be about the same.

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Bonjour- From Across the Pond!

Bonjour- From Across the Pond!


Wow! This has been the most incredible week thus far! I will focus on my weekend in Paris, as that has been my favorite part of this week! I apologize for how long this post will be, as I can’t help but describe every detail of my trip… the main point of this post is if given a chance, you must go to Paris, the most romantic city in the world!

Friday morning we had to get up at 5am in order to make the charter bus at 6:05am. After finally getting on the bus, it finally hit us that we (Kathryn, Carmen, and I) were going to Paris! We expected to sleep on the bus for the entire 6-8 hour journey to Paris, however we hardly slept at all! We drove to Dover, where we got off the bus and went through French customs (which really just consisted of a frenchman talking french, then asking where we were going, and then stamping our passport). We then got on the ferry, which was nothing like a ferry I’ve ever been on- it was more like being on a cruise where there were restaurants, bars, and even stores that had beauty products. It took about an hour and a half to get into France. Once we arrived, we got back on the bus and drove for about another hour and a half where we then took a lunch break and went to “Quick”- a burger place that had a “Dark Vador Burger” and a “Jedi Burger.” Of course we had to try them! It was very strange ordering in French, as I spoke no French, Carmen only knew Spanish, and Kathryn knew some French. Luckily, Kathryn got us through!

After eating we got back on the bus and drove another hour and a half until Paris was finally before our eyes! It was breathtaking! The moment we saw the Eiffel Tower I knew I was going to love Paris!

We went on a boat tour on the river and saw various historical sights and then we went on bus tour around Paris. It was marvelous! We then had free time where we grabbed crepes for dinner at a crep restaurant across from our hotel. I had a nutella crepe with bananas!

After dinner we decided to go on an adventure and look around Paris. Our tour guide told us we should go near Notre Dame to a popular student area where they have different pubs and shops. It was supposed to be a 15 minute walk from the hotel. Apparently we took the wrong turn because after 30 minutes or so, Notre Dame was no where in sight. We got out our map like classic tourists and just stood there trying to figure out where we were. I was a little hesitant to ask for directions because I had heard French people tend to dislike Americans and won’t try to help you if you ask for directions. However, that was not the case at all, in fact throughout the trip, every person we asked was very helpful and did their best to help us. It was funny because we would ask for directions in choppy french, and then many times the person we asked would just respond in english like they knew we spoke english!

Anyway, we never did make it to the Notre Dame, but we walked around the river a little bit and managed to find a small restaurant on the river. We were all really tired so we ended up going to bed around 12a.

The next morning we had to wake up at 7a (you really don’t get any sleep while traveling, although I have no reason to complain), where we got a free complimentary breakfast (it was literally the best breakfast ever!). There was the usual eggs, sausage, cereal (although it was chocolate cereal), and then there was the amazing croissants, ham, cheese, and french bread! They also had a fancy coffee machine, fresh orange juice, and milk. “Wow” is all I can say!

After breakfast we were off to our busy day of seeing Butte Montmartre, a small, beautiful neighborhood right outside the old Paris walls where famous artists like Van Gough and Picasso once lived. It was very neat because there was an artists’ square where many different artists were painting and trying to sell their own art work. There was this one statue of a famous singer in France (whose name escapes me at the moment) but her life was very tragic- she had three husbands all of whom ended up committing suicide while being married to her- eventually leading to her committing suicide- anyway the reason I bring up this statue is supposedly it brings you good luck to rub her chest area- something that seemed totally bizarre! After walking around for a while and stopping to admire Van Gough’s old apartment (an older Japanese lady now owns it but only visits about once a year and leaves flowers in the windows to pay her respects to him) we got lost from the group! Kathryn, Carmen, and I were all freaking out because we couldn’t find our tour group anywhere. Eventually we did, but for about 15 minutes we were completely lost. It’s all part of the experience, right? 🙂

After the walking tour we went to Notre Dame, where the gothic architecture was just gorgeous. To my surprise, you were allowed to take pictures inside the beautiful cathedral, which in a way seemed to take away from the experience, but I’ll admit I did take some nonetheless. It was too beautiful not to!

After taking in the site of the gorgeous cathedral, my friend Carmen wanted to get a good picture of her jumping in front of Notre Dame so we kept taking pictures, but none of the shots captured her in the right moment. After about ten tries, we finally succeeded at getting a good jumping picture! We celebrated and a group of people started clapping because they were watching our many failed attempts at getting a good picture! It was so funny! We bowed and just laughed off the moment.

We then went to grab some lunch at a local cafe with a few people we met on the tour. I had the “madame,” a sandwich on french bread with cheese and ham. It was pretty delicious. After getting full on french bread, we decided to find Angelina’s, a restaurant that is supposedly known for having the best hot chocolate in the world. It just so happened it was fashion week in Paris and we just so happened to pass where fashion week was happening. There was something about just knowing famous people and designers were just a tent away just made our experience in Paris that much more exciting.

We passed a hotel where a lot of people were just standing around the front door. We couldn’t figure out what was going on so we asked why people they were waiting outside of the hotel… it turns out Jessica Alba, Kristen Stewart, and other famous people (there were about five) were staying in the hotel for fashion week. It also turned out Angelina’s was right next to this hotel! The line just to get into Angelina’s was about a 45 minute wait and yes, we waited over 45 minutes to get this hot chocolate. Let me tell you, it was worth every minute! The whipped creme was different than whipped creme in the U.S. as it wasn’t very sweet but it was somehow still very good. Everything about Saturday was just amazing!

We were pretty tired so once we got back to the hotel, we rested for a bit and then went on a pub crawl. In order to get to the pub crawl we had to take the Metropolis (Paris’ version of the L). Carmen got on the train and then the doors were closing so I decided to stick my arm in the door thinking it was like an elevator and would open. Much to my surprise the doors closed right on my arm without any warning and my arm was stuck! Luckily another person thought they could take on the doors as well and was literally stuck half on the train and half off. They opened the doors after about 20 seconds but those 20 seconds seemed like the longest 20 seconds ever!

On Sunday we woke up early to get breakfast (again, amazing!) and then we went to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa, besides some other breath- taking artwork. Our guide knew a “secret” way to get into the Louvre so we didn’t have to wait in line to see the museum. The museum was massive! Supposedly it would take someone 6 months to see every piece of artwork in the museum, and that’s only looking at each piece of art work for 15- 20 seconds!

After our visit to the Louvre, the reality of going back to London began to sink in. We left Paris around 1p and got to the British customs around 4p. Unfortunately we were stuck in traffic just to go through customs for about 3 hours. By the time we got through customs and finally on the ferry, we were starving so we got our first fish n’ chips! It was good, but one complaint I have is you have to pay for each ketchup pack you use… this is bad news for a ketchup addict like myself (haha)!

We arrived back in London safe and sound where it was nice to be home!

Since I am here to study, I guess I should mention I actually had my first paper due today (thursday) for my personality psychology class. The way to turn in papers is different from in the U.S. in that you don’t put your name on your paper, you have to print off a cover sheet that has your student id number on it, and you have to turn your paper in to the undergraduate office sometime before your class! The British are all about the anonymity!

Anyway, I am off to make some dinner! Tomorrow I actually leave for Edinburgh, Scotland!

Cheers! 🙂

P.S. The reason Paris is the most romantic city in the world in my opinion, is there is this bridge where couples go to leave a pad lock on the fence of the bridge and then they throw the key into the river to symbolize they will be together forever! Men if you’re a sap for romance, this would be the perfect place to take your lady!

Snow in London… and much more!

Snow in London… and much more!

I checked the weather everyday for about a month before arriving in London so I would know what to expect. And everyday it said the weather was about 50 degrees. Since being here in London, it has not gotten above 38 degrees and it has snowed… twice (Oh and snow in London is a big deal! Even if it snows just an inch everyone freaks out!)!

I have officially been across the pond for over two weeks now, and I gotta say the time has just flown by! I am now living in student housing, as my other housing arrangement wasn’t working out. I am loving my new home, as my friends live on the floor below me and it is much closer to London Met, where my classes take place!

So a run down of my classes: on Mondays I have Cognitive Psychology for two hours in the morning, followed by an hour of a psych lab. I had my first lab today and it seemed pretty neat, as we did memory experiments and I learned how much my short memory fails me! On Tuesdays I have Journalism and Employability, where we learn how to become desirable future employees and get jobs when we graduate. In fact, in two weeks I have an “official” interview where we apply for a job on a student run website and then we work on the website the rest of the time. This is by far the neatest class I have here in London! On Wednesdays I have history of Victorian London and then on Thursdays I have Personality Psychology.

I really like the teaching style of the Professors here. They are so conversational (except for my Personality Psychology class, because there are about 75 people in my class) and friendly and they insist on you calling them by their first names. The one thing I’m still trying to get used to is figuring out how to get around campus. London Met has two different campuses, a Center campus and a North campus. I have two classes at each campus, but the north campus is so confusing because basically all of the classes take place in this giant building called “Tower Building” and it is so complicated to find your way! Even faculty get lost as my journalism professor said! I had to ask someone for directions on just how to get out of the building (haha that was embarrassing!).

Fridays are my days off which is quite nice! After a busy morning of moving my stuff into my new room, me and Christina decided to see Platform 9 3/4 from Harry Potter. Actually, the platform to Hogwarts is at the same train station that I use everyday, Kings Cross Station. People were lined up to get pictures of themselves getting ready to leave the muggles behind! Yes, I was one of those people 🙂

On Saturday, my friends and I decided to adventure out to see Buckingham Palace. It was so pretty! The guards looked silly with their big, fluffy hats and their unique way of synchronized marching. I had always imagined many guards outside the Buckingham Palace fence, but there were only two, and they were inside the fence. My dreams of making a guard laugh were destroyed (haha). It was especially neat because the Queen was inside the Palace, evident by the flag being raised while we were there. After taking many pictures, we decided to walk to Parliament (because, being true Londoners, we walk everywhere!). It was pretty cold outside though so we had afternoon tea in a small restaurant in Hyde Park. I also indulged in my sweet tooth by having an “orange chocolate” cookie. It was interesting to say the least!

After arriving at Parliament, we were so cold we decided to go back and get ready to celebrate our friend Kathryn’s birthday!

Sunday was filled with doing Sunday chores and getting ready for the next week 🙂

Random fact but one of the days I was traveling using the tube (London’s underground subway system) someone, who hardly spoke English, had a list of English vocabulary words and he asked me what “journey” meant. It’s so neat to be surrounded by so many different cultures and having the opportunity to interact with so many people.

London, I’m obsessed!

Until next week, cheers 🙂