Category: Chicago Livin’

Study Abroad and More!

Study Abroad and More!

 

A lot of people ask me what it’s like to study abroad, but have you ever wondered… what it’s like, coming back from studying abroad? I know, I know, I didn’t either. I was like: heck yeah! I’ll come back (I guess, if I have to… I’d rather just have stayed… But…)

There’s certainly ups and downs. One of the downs, it feels like, is that suddenly you don’t see the people you saw every day for a whole semester every day any more. Whaaat, we don’t live in the same building any more? Life is busy and it’s hard to make plans now that we can’t just run into each other in the lounge? We can’t just plan a weekend trip to another state because we have jobs and increased homework now?

Preposterous. Luckily, the Study Abroad office here has social events covered. I went to the Study Abroad Alumni social there and ran into not only my closest friends (with whom I had already arranged to meet there) but also some friends that I hadn’t seen in a long time, friends that I saw often while I was abroad but, because I was abroad again and they weren’t, I lost touch with.

The Study Abroad Alumni social wasn’t just open to alumni – nope, it was totally cool for people interested in studying abroad to attend too, so I got to talk with some students who wanted to talk with people who had been abroad. The event was held in Ireland’s – it’s the campus bar, right in our Damen Student Center, a pretty cool place to do your homework until (if you’re over 21) the night comes and your friends arrive but you don’t want to go off-campus. Plus, I mean, they had free food from Felice’s, our student-run pizzeria, so how could anyone say no?

The Study Abroad office was also hosting a raffle contest, open to students who answered a question or two about their study abroad experience on camera. So look out for a video from them soon, if you’re curious! I can’t guarantee they’ll put me in there, since they did interview a lot of students, but I did win a t-shirt for doing so. (It’s like, a really cool shirt. It’s got that Tolkien “Not all who wander are lost” quote, which is really taken out of context, but I love it anyway because I’m a huge Lord of the Rings nerd.)

So, the moral of the story is: Loyola takes care of her students who go abroad, from the moment you decide to go to when you come back, if you so wish. But it was really fun! If you’re even thinking about studying abroad, no matter what school you go to, I definitely recommend chatting with students who have already gone. I mean, I met a girl who had spent the semester in Russia! I didn’t even know we had a program that could send students there! Way cool!

What’s the Story – of Emmett Till?

What’s the Story – of Emmett Till?

Reading this blog sometimes, it may come across as if Loyola is just constantly hosting events about sad things in the world – I mean, I went to the Kristallnacht memorial, the session about the war in Yemen, and last week I went to an event called “Let the People See: The Story of Emmett Till.” Of course it isn’t, it’s hosting events that increase awareness of the injustices of the world, and memorials so that we don’t forget, as a collective. Among other events.

If you haven’t heard of the story of Emmett Till, I really recommend looking it up. I can’t tell it all in this blog, but … It’s good to know it. When I was there, an older gentleman I met – the spouse of a Loyola professor, who was at the basketball game going on while he was there at the talk – asked me why I was there.

“Well,” I replied, a little bewildered, “Academic interest.” I am a history major, after all. But as we got to talking more – about the topic, about Loyola life, even so far as to discover he was also a John Felice Rome Center alumnus and he was going to visit his son in China in the summer – I realized that I was also there out of a keen sense of I Should Know More. Just because something didn’t happen in my lifetime, like Trayvon Martin, like the events of Ferguson, and so on and so on, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be educated about it, shouldn’t be seeing the repercussions and understanding how it has affected us to this day.

That’s.. definitely my Jesuit education talking, but it’s right. The Story of Emmett Till event was hosted by the Loyola Library and presented by Elliott J. Gorn, who has published a book of the same title. He told us the story, as promised, and answered lots of questions that the very, very full house wanted to ask.

It helped, I’m sure, that there were refreshments served, and one professor with her entire class showed up. But there were people of all ages – from students to Loyola alumni to interested faculty and Rogers Park community members, all there to learn a little more from an expert on the Emmett Till story.

As long as I am able, I want to keep taking these opportunities to educate myself. So maybe I don’t listen to literally everyone’s advice about going to a professor’s office hours (I know, I know.) But Loyola presents so many opportunities to learn and grow that I can hardly keep up with them all!

 

 

Such a ‘Bler: My Second Lunar New Year in Chicago

Such a ‘Bler: My Second Lunar New Year in Chicago

It was a day in my Vietnamese áo dài (our traditional costume), Vietnamese food and non-Vietnamese friends!

I am an international student. I was born and raised in Vietnam and have been in Chicago for almost two years for university. In Vietnam, we celebrate Lunar New Year, which tends to come around early to mid-February – whenever the moon decides to finish its cycle haha. It’s a tradition in countries that celebrate Lunar New Year to gather with their family and friends for food and celebrations.

Noon on Monday, February 4th was when the clock hit midnight signifying the walk into the new Lunar New Year 2019 in Vietnam. I, as usual, was in class. Last year, I was able to wish my parents and brother on Facebook under the table (shhh) but this year, noon on a Monday meant THTR 266 – Acting I and so, my found sat on silent in my bag as the fireworks crackled back home.

Right after class ended at 12:10pm, I had a 25 minute break before my next class THTR 352 – Design II and so I quickly called my parents. I was running from Mundelein in my áo dài, wrapped in my winter coat and holding a Starbucks. I felt very cultured. It was nice to hear their stories about celebrations back home, though things were a little quieter with me being in Chicago, and with my dad being under the weather this year. Seeing them smile upon my call home from class in my traditional costume, made me even more homesick.

Later that day, my friends and I took the L to Argyle and had Vietnamese food at Nhà Hàng Việt Nam. I let them choose their order though they insisted on my recommendations. To my surprise they all chose VERY special and authentic dishes – it was a proud moment for me. They their first shared reactions to the food whilst I shared stories of traditions back home. Chicago was still chilly that day but my heart was warm. 

Here’s a throwback of my áo dài from last year on the beautiful steps of Mertz Hall: 

I made sure and will continue to wear my culture with pride each year. Don’t forget traditions even when you’re half way around the world from where you learnt them. Besides, it’s always fun to answer the questions that people ask when they pass by. Happy Lunar New Year everyone!

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS!

HERE’S THE SUCH A ‘BLER PLAYLIST:

Such a ‘Bler: Greetings Polar Vortex, and We at Loyola Stayed Warm

Such a ‘Bler: Greetings Polar Vortex, and We at Loyola Stayed Warm

And so, Chicago welcomed the almighty Polar Vortex.

Temperatures drops to scary levels and (blessing us all) Loyola along with other academic institutions cancelled school for two days. It was genuinely unsafe to go outside.

Frankly, I did not do much, but the “break” really helped put my work flow back on track (but more on that in a separate winy blog post haha.) A lot of professors tried to carry class through via Zoom or creative assignments such as to film (however we could) the storm with our phones in the case of my COMM 135 – Video Production class. I was really grateful for their efforts to not put a dent in our academic schedules.

However, what warmed me the most was the thoughts of my friends here. There were Instagram stories floating all over with information about shelters for the homeless and charity runs prior the full hits of the storm. Students of Loyola were purchasing supplies to hand out and raising funds through Venmo for those who wished to help without having to or were honestly unable to physically deliver donations. It was incredible.

A part of me still wishes I had gone outside to great the blizzardly beast. It was truly beautiful if not terrifying – as seen in the above photo of which I took (from a brave friend’s Instagram story). Stay warm!

 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS!

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Cold Weather Hits Chicago

Cold Weather Hits Chicago

As many of you may know, Loyola never cancels classes. At least for the 4 years I have been here, not once did any amount of snow or low temperature stop Loyola from holding classes. However, one of the coldest air masses will hit the Midwest this week. The temperature in Chicago is predicted to fall to record and dangerous lows on Wednesday. After seeing a high of about 34 degrees today (Monday), it will shortly drop to zero and Wednesday is expected to drop to -23 degrees, this is a record compared to the year 1985, dropping to a low of -27.

The lows Tuesday and Wednesday could break records set in 1966. They’ll also feel much worse with wind gusts up to 30 mph, which will make it feel as low as negative 50 degrees, according to the weather service. But there could be as much as a 30-degree disparity from the north to the south end of the state, while lakefront communities could get a small reprieve, but that largely depends on how much ice cover there is on Lake Michigan.

Loyola faculty is monitoring the forecast over the next 24 hours, and they plan to notify the campus community of any potential class schedule changes or cancellations by 2 p.m. on Tuesday. This is a big deal for Loyola students, as this never really happens. 

The weather on Wednesday will be very dangerous, and it is important that all individuals take caution. Be sure to wear layers of clothes, cover exposed skin, be outside as less as possible, stay dry, and avoid alcohol and caffeine. These beverages interfere with the normal physiological defense against cold and can actually increase heat loss.

With a wind chill of -18°F to -35°F, frostbite can occur in 10 to 30 minutes if skin is exposed. Please be safe and stay warm!

Such a ‘Bler: Sophomore Fall Reflection

Such a ‘Bler: Sophomore Fall Reflection

Look alive ramblers, SPRING 2019 IS UPON US.

With a new year and 14-week adventure beginning, here are a few things this sophomore has taken away from a rollercoaster of a semester:

  1. Don’t trust your bi-weekly planning routine. There’s a reason the syllabus is prewritten and read through for specific queries on the first day of class – professors aren’t looking to let you have an easy start with the ‘tell us a fun fact about yourself’ ice breaker – THIS IS THE REAL EASY START. From this year onwards, I’m committing to jotting down ALL my quizzes, exams, assignments, presentations, extra sleep days – they type it, I write it – to make sure I have a clear vision of the semester and am able to preplan and reschedule more strategically.
  2. Be honest about your mistakes. Not only is it right, but the truth will always work in your favor one way or another. Frankly, professors are human – very intellectual and organized humans – but humans. They will listen to your concerns and fears if you let them. They want you to succeed, so be honest and let them help the way they can.
  3. Venture when you get the chance. This includes on-campus events, off-campus events, new study spots, odd hour adventures and things you want to go to but somehow landed in the situation of going alone. Doing this not only allows you to refresh your mind in order to tackle more words but always remember that you are here to experience. JUST GO! YOU. WILL. LOVE. IT.
  4. And well, take the chance! I’m essentially reiterating the last point because it is THAT important. Budging out of that burrito of comfort is so important because you’ll never know if you don’t try. That thing you’re so afraid of, may be the best thing ever. It may be the thing you’ve always been searching for. I took plenty of chances this semester and can’t even say that I regret the ones that ended less pleasant.

I’m ready for another ball game, are you?

 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS!

HERE’S THE SUCH A ‘BLER PLAYLIST:

Finals Breakfast 2018!

Finals Breakfast 2018!

Finals are approaching faster than it may seem, and as nerve wracking that sounds, the bright side is that winter break is almost here! You should be preparing for finals because you’re going to have a lot of reviewing to do, depending on how many exams you have, whether they’re cumulative or not, and the level of easiness or difficulty of the content.

You should also know when your finals are scheduled, and if you don’t, here is the link: http://www.luc.edu/academics/schedules/spring/exam_schedule.shtml

NOTE: Make sure this matches up to your syllabus, and if it does not, bring this up to your professor.

Now enough of the scary stuff, FINALS BREAKFAST IS ALMOST HERE.

Finals breakfast takes place at the end of each semester, the Tuesday of every finals week! The fun part of it is that its at 9PM instead of the morning, so take a break from the stress and get together with friends. Take advantage of the free food, after all, food makes everyone happy.

I wish everyone the best of luck on finals! Do the best you can, make sure you have tons of caffeine, and be optimistic. You won’t have to deal with this again until January 17th!

Remember: Finals Breakfast Fall 2018: Tuesday December 11, 2018 9-10:30PM in Gentile Arena

Christmas Markets in Winter

Christmas Markets in Winter

After Thanksgiving, one of the most exciting things to look forward to is Christmas time. Although I personally do not celebrate Christmas, the atmosphere that Chicago brings during this holiday season is amazing and you should definitely take advantage of the many fun things to do in the city, especially the Christkindlmarket! This year will be the 23rd annual Christkindlmarket where each year, people from all over the world visit the Christkindlmarket. The outdoor market in the Chicago Loop has become so popular and loved that any Chicagoan will tell you that they could not imagine the city without it. The Christkindlmarket is no longer just a German tradition, it has become a Chicago institution. The unique shopping experience, typical German food and drinks, as well as diverse holiday entertainment make the Christkindlmarket Chicago a preferred and popular destination. In 2016 and 2017, the Christkindlmarket opened two other locations at Naper Settlement and Gallagher Way in Wrigleyville to rave reviews. 2018 marks the inaugural year of the Christkindlmarket Milwaukee at the entertainment plaza outside Fiserv Forum. Admission is always FREE! 

The Christkindlesmarkt is inspired by the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, which began in 1545, the Christkindlmarket Chicago brings a cherished German and European tradition with international flair and local charm to Chicago. Chicago’s largest open-air Christmas festival was first held on Pioneer Court in 1996. The Christkind, a fairy-like being dressed in gold and white robes with a crown upon her golden locks, is the namesake of the Christkindlmarket Chicago. Christkind folklore dates back to the 1500s and stems from traditional customs: Parades during the holiday season were guided by one “grand” angel, the Christkind. Since then, and still today, she is the bearer of gifts to most children in German speaking countries, much like Santa Claus is in the United States. Traditionally, gifts are exchanged December 24th and delivered by the Christkind, who leaves gifts under the Christmas tree and disappears before the children can catch a glimpse of her.

One of my favorite things to do here is to get the expensive $7 hot chocolate and take an insta with it. Also you get a cute annual mug with it, so I would say it is worth it 🙂

If you guys ever get a chance, you should definitely check it out. It will be open until December 24th.

 

Such a ‘Bler: Study Break?

Such a ‘Bler: Study Break?

What do I love about studying at a university right near downtown Chicago? It only takes a quick hop on the L to get my head out of a creative block and/or (haha) fatigue.

With my 3 areas of study (Communication Studies, Theatre & English), I always end up moving into Loyola’s Art studios/shops towards the end of each semester. Then comes hours after hours of crafting or typing of new pieces. Eventually the brain calls for a different adventure.

BY THE WAY, I made a new video about what I’m studying at Loyola. Watch it here:

The ice rink at Millennium Park is always a fun place to chill (literally). The price is very college student budget friendly and it only takes a few rounds to forget all that stress and exhaustion (mainly cause you’ll be focused on new brusies from skating haha.) But you honestly cannot feel anything other than refreshed on an ice rink, because if you think too much, you’ll fall. And look how cute Cloud Grate (the bean haha) is all snowed up!

Take some time to cool off, and maybe even a stroll around Millennium Park itself afterwards! The rink is yours until 8:30pm!

 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS!

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Such a ‘Bler: My Hiding Spot

Such a ‘Bler: My Hiding Spot

The last of my Thanksgiving break actually ended today when my boyfriend waved see you later on O’haire International Airport. I’ll see him in a few weeks for winter break, but for now, it’s full force finals fun. Here’s one of my secrets to treating oneself whilst treating oneself.

The 8th floor of Loyola University Schreiber Center.

Disclaimer: I am not a business student, but my good friend Maddie who is, actually showed me this spot. It is welcome to all.

There are plenty of comfy singular sofas and low tables or higher long tables if that you’re your concentration. The floor is quiet and spacious and breathes an air of relaxed productivity. However, perhaps the best part, are the huge glass windows that wrap the city of Chicago around surround you. The sunlight shines through these giants, and if you’re extra lucky, casts onto the walls. My favourite time is 5pm, 4:30pm during day light savings. That’s when it is the prettiest.

I used to just study in my dorm, which has nice windows too, but I somehow always end up feeling like a hermit. Studying around others in an open space also makes homesickness more bearable. I guess the tip here is to hop around. Don’t be shy, there’s definitely more hiding spots out there. Free coffee is also right next door, but more on that later.

 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS!

HERE’S THE SUCH A ‘BLER PLAYLIST: