The GoGlobal Blog

Month: February 2012

The Playground of My Peers

The Playground of My Peers

The playground of the rich and famous: The French Riviera! Last weekend I boarded a bus with 25 other Erasmus students and made the 8 hour drive to the Cote D’Azur (as the French call it) to enjoy a relaxing weekend. We arrived at our hotel in Nice and quickly made our way to our rooms after a full night of driving. I woke myself up early in order to stroll around the streets of Nice and start warming up my French vocabulary from high school and that my French friends in Barcelona taught me. It proved quite useful as I was the only person in our entire group that was able to speak French! I stopped at Cafe Malongo, a boutique espresso and tea cafe, to sip a café au lait and bask in the morning sun. I caught up with the rest of the group at the hotel and we made our way to the train station to head for Monaco, the city/country north of Nice. The 30 minute train ride is entirely along the coast and passes through big and small towns on the way; it provided quite the view of what to expect throughout the Cote D’Azur.

We arrived in Monaco and made a beeline for the harbor to “ooh” and “aah” at the boats, yachts, super yachts, and mega yachts. After we scraped our jaws off the docks, we walked along a path up the hillside in order to reach the castle of the Royal Family of Monaco. The whole harbor and much of the coastline was visible from atop the hill and it was clear that the luxurious lifestyle of Monaco continued along the seaside. While the group paused to take pictures with the magnificent background, I ducked away and started exploring the smaller side-streets nearby. The boulangeries and pâtisseries that lined the streets were stocked with fresh bread and sweet delights, the catalyst to the floodgates opening in my mouth. Succumbing to a temptation that even the most devout couldn’t resist, I nibbled (scarfed may be more accurate) on some macaroons of the utmost quality.

I rendezvoused with my friends at the church home to the tombs of the Royal Family of Monaco and paid my respects to Princess Grace Kelly and the rest of the deceased royals. We then all took lunch-I devoured a fresh tuna fish sandwich with olives, tomatoes, lettuce, and oil and vinegar-and meandered back down the hillside toward the harbor. We made a quick pitstop at the Ferrari garage and I still question whether they actually work on the cars or just display them for all to see. As the group stood with mouths agape at the beautiful craftsmanship, I took the opportunity to duck into more side-streets to read the menus and investigate what the plats du jour were for each restaurant. After my cuisinal curiosity was satisfied, I asked a shop owner which way to the Monte Carlo Casino and set off to find fame and fortune in the legendary lap of luxury.

While I was unable to enter the casino because I was under-dressed, I was able to see the caliber of individuals entering and exiting the establishment and I cannot wait to be one of them. Next to the casino is the Café de Paris with plenty of outdoor seating to grab a café au lait and drink up the atmosphere. It was starting to cool down with the seabreeze so we decided to make our way back to the train and head back to Nice for the night.

All in all Monaco was a captivating city and I am eager to return with a disposable income. Also, I still have the hardest time taking Kelly Grace seriously after the MadTV skit.

Nossa, Nossa!

Nossa, Nossa!

February 28, 2012

Nossa, Nossa

Ciao on this gorgeous Tuesday morning!  I have so much to tell you about today!  Nossa, nossa means wow in Portuguese and is a part of a song that brags the third spot on the Italian music hit list this week.  I hear it everywhere and I am not complaining!  This title seemed fitting to this blog post because I have seen three of my personal top travel hits in the past few weeks.

Napoli Pizza!

Two weekends ago a few friends and I headed south to Naples for better weather and lots of pizza.  We arrived at the train station, took a far too expensive cab ride to our hotel, and instantly went to find some of the famous grub.  It was amazing.  Naples is the “inventor” of the Margherita Pizza and each restaurant has an old family story to that proves they, in fact, are the true originators of pizza.  I’ll be honest though; I wasn’t just there for the pizza.  A few weekends back I ran into a small luxury vintage dealer at the outlet mall in Rome and noticed that the headquarter storefront was in Naples.  I had to find it.  Now, I am not sure if I need to call Apple and thank them for my new buns of steel or complain and cry, but my navigation system led me up about a million meters of back alleys and staircases to reach the main fashion street of Naples.  The supposed “30 minute” walk took my friend Lauren and I about 3 hours of sweat and climbing.  It was so worth it!  We shopped, ate, and left the touristy area to see the gorgeous natives of Naples.  The next morning, we woke up and took a ferry to Capri!  I am in love.  The many rocky cliffs in contrast with the foamy sea was a breathtaking scene.  Each home boasted a colorful theme of tiles and stucco.  I thought I would never see a place more beautiful…

View of Taormina from the Greek Theater!

Once again, I was wrong.  This past weekend I took a school trip down to Sicily.  If Sicily isn’t on the “top ten places to see before you die” list…it should be.  I flew into Palermo and stayed at an adorable bed and breakfast.  Claudio, the owner, gave my friends and I an amazing breakfast and a ride to the shuttle stop.  From there we grabbed the school bus and drove to Agrigento to see the gorgeous ruins of the Greek and Italian people.  The sea was so blue and the history was so vivid in the architecture of these ancient men and women.  We ate amazing seafood and woke up in the morning to head to Taormina.  Here is where I truly found the most beautiful city I have ever seen.  Tucked away in the cliffs with a view of the Ionian Sea and the volcanic Mount Etna, Taormina is flawless.  We visited the Greek theater and ate lunch overlooking the waterfront.  Adorable stores, amazing bars, and delicious restaurants fill the windy cobblestone streets of the city.  We walked around munching on their famous cannoli and luckily bumped into the festivities of Carnivale in the main square.  Costumes, food, drinks, confetti and families filled the streets with excitement!  It was the greatest day I could have ever imagined.

I flew back into Rome and remembered once again that I am, in fact, still a student.  A week full of midterm exams, papers, and presentations is ahead of me.  Luckily I am going to take the advice of the Roman people…as much as you work you should play twice as much.  Spring break is just around the corner and play is exactly what I am going to do!  Madrid, Alicante, and Barcelona to visit some of my best friends is exactly the kind of trip I need!  Viva Espana!

Ciao for now!


Live from London it’s… Monday?

Live from London it’s… Monday?

Fact: I have been in London for a month. Fact: It is getting warmer and I am beginning to feel more and more like a local. Fact: I am starting to call London my home!

It seems like it has been ages since my last blog post because, well, it has! So much has happened within the past couple weeks that I don’t even know where to begin telling my adventures (I’ll attempt to do them justice!)!

In the past couple weeks I have been to both Portobello and Camden Markets, I have been to M&M’s World London, and I have finally attended my first play production here in London. All of which were amazing.

First let me tell you about the markets. They are crazy! We need some in Chicago! There are people everywhere trying to get the best bargains on all of the merchandise being sold at random booths. The owners of each booth are quite pushy, as every time you even eye one of the dresses (there are multiple dress booths, that all sell the same dresses) they come up to you and tell you you should take it for “only 15 pounds.” 15 pounds is equivalent to about $25… not exactly the best deal when the material is quite thin and the dresses are very small. My friend Kathryn was looking through the dresses at one booth and one of the owners came up to her and she promptly turned to me and said “watch how it’s done.” She bargained with him for 5 minutes and got him to give her two dresses for 22 pounds, a really good deal considering the dresses were marked as 15 pounds each!

M&M’s World London is perhaps one of my favorite places I’ve been to so far. I know it is very touristy, but after all, I am a tourist, just one who is staying for over 4 months! When you’re walking on the street you can smell the chocolate! It’s every chocoholic’s dream! When you walk in the store, you are instantly surrounded with various M&M merchandise, plus buckets upon buckets of colorful M&Ms. There were pretty many people in the store, but the store was so big, it had multiple levels and different “M&M rooms” like the green M&M was described as a “princess M&M” and thus they had girly things in the green M&M room. There was even a scale looking object that you would step on and it would tell you what M&M color you would be and why. The line was pretty long so I didn’t participate, but I would imagine I would be blue because after all, blue is the best M&M ;).

This past weekend, I saw my very first play production and I have to say it was pretty neat. I saw “She Stoops to Conquer” with Kathryn and my new roommate Sophie (yes, in these past two weeks I have gotten a roommate!). It must have been a popular play to see because it was completely sold out. We sat in the second row on the right hand side of the stage. We were so close to the stage! The acting was superb and the play was interesting (this means if you’re ever in London, you should see it :)).

I also went to the Museum of London with my history of Victorian London class. All of the artifacts were very interesting, especially the Victorian London part. Apparently people used to go on “Garden Walks” every sunday and they would dress up with crazy dresses and would wear unique hats, to say the least. After that a couple girls from my class and me went to St. Paul’s Cathedral, which again was breathtaking. It was surreal to see St. Paul’s Cathedral surrounded by the Occupy London movement. There were so many tents surrounding the cathedral and there were also many policeman just watching the protestors. This Occupy movement made the Occupy Chicago movement look miniscule.

I’ll admit that for the first couple of weeks, I was feeling homesick, but now it seems my homesickness has disappeared. I still miss everyone from home, but I am starting to call London my home as well.

This coming weekend I am finally going to Paris with a couple friends! I’m sure it will be beautiful and a lot of fun! I’ll take numerous pictures and keep you updated on how it goes!

Cheers from London!

“Under the Sicilian Sun”

“Under the Sicilian Sun”

With midterms on the horizon for the coming week, most Loyola students back in Chicago would be having a pretty calm weekend catching up on their work while pounding cups of Dunkin’. Although this weekend the meaning of the phrase “work hard play harder” took on a whole new meaning for me. Prioritizing your time is obviously one life skill that students must practice in college, although sometimes you also have to take time to “stop and smell the roses” to appreciate all of the worlds wonders that lie there waiting to be discovered.

The ancient ruins of Sicily, including Greek temples built 300-400 BC, reflect that no matter how fast and stressful your life seems you have to stop and recognize the big picture is that you play only a very small part in the history of the world.

Sicily is really like no other place I have ever been. Its unique terrain will enchant you as you continually view ancient rubble lying in untouched states. There is definitely a more vacation oriented vibe here with the mountains, sun, and blue waters it relaxes you. The food is also unique compared to the other parts of Italy and our group was able to enjoy local eats including fish, sweet tomatoes, and canoli!

There were in total 49 of us on the trip, including 3 of the best JFRC faculty I could have asked for. We flew into Palermo and worked our way across the island leaving out of Catania. All three days involved touring ancient sites to which our history professor could speak for tremendously. We saw the cathedral of the Pantocrator at Monreale, Greek temples, a Roman villa (with some sexy mosaics) and a Greek theater. I was awestruck by the history of the island and it was inspiring to see how the character of the island has been built from so many different influences over time.

I came with one of my close friends from the Rome center and enjoyed getting the chance to spend time with whole a whole new group of people to share the experience with. One of my favorite moments included sitting down for lunch with a table full of new friends on a terrazza over looking the cliffs and the water.

The weather this weekend was a gift and so were the people. Sicily exceeded my expectations. You must go there and succumb to the charm and culture of this island! It is going to be very difficult focusing back in on our school work, although you have to do what is most important in each moment you are abroad. If it’s sleep, then sleep. Eat? Eat! Party? Party! Becuase there is a time and a place for everything.


Vado A Firenze!

Vado A Firenze!

Sorry guys, it’s been a while. I just came back from Florence and it was absolutely mesmerizing. My friend and I were supposed to go two weekends ago but because of the odd snowfall in Rome, we were not able to get proper transportation to get to the Termini stop and catch our train outta town. How sweet the wait was though! Picture this: Light blue skies above the Duomo with gliding white clouds, children laughing as they ride the Merry-Go-Round in the warmish weather, a chocolate festival in full scale with the different vendors displaying their best chocolate art and cuisine. Can you say, “Chocolate Kabob?” There was no meat in this dessert, and it was really cool. You know how restaurants have the kabob meat on a pole and shave it off for your lovely meal? That was how my chocolate was served. A huge block of chocolate on a pole shaved off to be placed in a square pancake. Oh, and there was a lot of whip cream and chocolate syrup to top off the sugar fest. MMMMMM.

I went to the Uffizi Museum were I saw brilliant Rennaisance works such as Primavera and Madonna with Two Children. Then we went to the Academia were I saw the David statue, sculpted by Michelangelo. Such a fabulous piece of work. If you haven’t gone or are planning to go, I cannot wait for you to see it! If you are into designer things, you could check out the Gucci Museum. It was very, well, Gucci. If you are looking to see a play, definitely check out the Teatro Verdi. Who knows, Cyrano De Bergerac may still be running by the time you make it there.

If you are looking to get in some good shopping, Florence is the place to go. Would you like to buy a pair of shoes not over 20 Euro? Well, go no further. Take advantage of the SALDI and get yourself a whole new outfit for less than 50 Euro. And I’m not even talking about the street vendors!

If you’re not into shopping, I highly suggest you check out a restaurant called Dante. They have magnificent food, wine, and hospitality. If you say you are a college student, they will treat you especially well. Also, check out the architecture. Since Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance, just picture great artists like da Vinci and Michelangelo walking down the streets.

Remember that you can cover Florence in a day and half so if you’re looking for a fun weekend trip…you know where to go. Word to the wise, validate your train ticket before you get on the train! Also, if you are on a budget, you can find paninis for 2-3 euro from cute little shops named after famous artists and snag a great hot chocolate from a bakery. Or as the Italians call it, cioccolata caldo. Happy Reading!

That’s the last float, right?

That’s the last float, right?

Carnival: the root of our Mardi Gras. This is the celebration of the winter season and Sitges, a quaint fishing village 30 minutes outside of Barcelona by train, is purportedly The Host for Carnival. While Halloween is not much of a to-do in Europe, Carnival is the festival to don a costume (the more ridiculous the better, apparently) and enjoy yourself. So naturally my friends and I had to partake in the madness.

We arrived in Sitges in the early afternoon just in time to catch the children’s parade. This “tame” parade featured music at club-level decibels, elaborate costumes, themed floats, and puts any hometown Memorial Day parade to shame. Since there seems to be a dearth of rules for Carnival, my friends and I backed up against a building along with the rest of the crowd and let the floats pass a meter away from us, cheering, dancing kids and all. After the spectacle ended we made our way to the beach and walked along the seaside to enjoy the fresh air and the local scenery. Following a brief dinner we made our way to the park along the beachfront to watch the famous Carnival parade. The parade lasted over three hours in total and featured anything you could imagine: pirates, Romans, turtles, dancers, and who-knows=what. The atmosphere was charged with an intoxicating energy and you quickly succumbed to participate in the revelry. Each float had a sound system clubs would be envious of and the music from each float melted into one pounding rhythm that ensconced the whole town.

Following the last float, the attendees did not disperse to their homes, rather packed the pars, restaurants, parks, and clubs to hold on to the ephemeral happiness of Carnival as long as possible. On Fat Tuesday, Sitges evidently turns the level up one last time before the Lenten season begins. I’m unsure this is possible, however, I just may take the time to investigate further.

Recovering from the Snow

Recovering from the Snow

By leaving Chicago for the semester, I thought that I would be escaping the snowy weather, but I was wrong.  In the last two weekends, Rome has received its first major snowfall in 26 years!  It was interesting to watch the reaction of the locals.  They were all very excited, and I was even asked to take a picture of a group of girls in the snow.  It was a very big deal here.  During these times we were also advised not to leave campus because the buses were shutting down and we would have had no way to return to campus.  There were also some cases of heavy tree branches falling due to the weight of the snow.  Some of my classes were cancelled as well because the professors were unable to make it to campus.

On the other hand, this weekend’s weather has been near 60 degrees and beautiful.  Downtown there were various festivities going on for Carnivale.  Little kids were getting their faces painted, theater productions were performing in the streets, and an old-fashioned band was playing music while being driven around in a horse carriage.  It was all very cool to see!

Even though I have been here over a month, another cool thing I was able to see this weekend that I had not had the chance to yet was the Trevi Fountain.  It was so huge and so so beautiful!  The water was also very blue.  Of course, I could not resist throwing a coin over my shoulder into the fountain and wishing for love- as tradition calls for. 

This upcoming weekend a few other girls and I are going to Barcelona!  Then, the following weekend is already spring break.  It is so crazy how fast time is going while studying abroad here.

Justice Aid to promote the rule of law

Justice Aid to promote the rule of law

About the blog

In this blog, we shall post our opinions on various issues related to the initiatives designed to promote the rule of law.   We shall emphasize the opportunities and challenges of the rule of law especially when we use the concept as a tool or means for development.  As this is a forum for free exchange of views on rule of law and development issues, we call on interested individuals to get engaged by putting forward their opinions.

Justice AidTM1 to promote the rule of law

Rule of law is a concept we ‘feel it but not define’ it. We all understand it intuitively, but we have a hard time defining it. However, there have been many attempts of defining the concept. The purpose of this first comment is not to define the concept.  Perhaps we can come back to that later.  The one thing that seems common to rule of law definitions is that there is a fairness or justice element which should be included. Today, I would like to focus on this element.

Inspired by an article2  from one of the PROLAWTM3  courses, I would like to forward an opinion of the possibility of setting up an institution which would be called Justice Aid. Its purpose would be to bring about better justice and bringing solutions to problems through the rule of law.

Justice Aid is not the same as legal aid. Legal aid is a corrective mechanism devised to reduce injustices which seem to occur when there are inequalities between various parties; the weaker party normally suffering the injustice.    Such inequalities could be related to gender, age, level of income, social status, etc. The nature of legal assistance ranges from providing legal advice aimed at resolution of a particular problem or provision of representation in a court.   Legal aid seeks to help the assisted individuals, but it has its limitations.

In many places lawyers are costly and scarce, and providing enough formal legal assistance to meet demand would be implausible. Conventional legal aid is also ill equipped to deal with the plural legal systems prevalent in most countries. Perhaps most significantly, the solutions afforded by litigation and formal legal process are not always the kinds of solutions desired by the people involved, and they do not always contribute meaningfully to the agency of the people they serve.4

These shortcomings can be corrected through a more holistic service which can be referred to as Justice AidTM. As relieving someone of the burden of some unfairness may go beyond the use of legal services, a Justice Aid institution would provide more than legal aid services.  I believe a group of lawyers along with their paralegals and social science experts can come together under this institution to help people pursue solutions which reflect the multi-faceted nature of most problems. Justice Aid practitioners would be looking for multi disciplinary solutions for victims of injustice.

This is just a concept.  I would like to see how this concept might be developed further on this blog.

1. The author is not aware of the usage of this terminology by others in the sense I use it here. However, some terminologies such as ‘justice service’ used by Vivek Maru in his article do convey similar meaning.

2.  Maru, V., “Allies Unknown: social accountability and legal empowerment”, in Stephen Golub (ed.), Legal Empowerment: Practitioners’ Perspective, (IDLO, 2010), Chapter 5, pp. 82-92. Available at: (February 15, 2012)

3. PROLAWTM is an LL M program on ‘Rule of Law for Development’ in Loyola University Chicago, Rome Campus

4. See Maru, V., supra n.2 p. 82

I Don’t Speak Greek

I Don’t Speak Greek

My recommendation for everyone: take a completely spontaneous trip at least once in your life. That’s what I did last weekend. If you’ve never heard of Thessaloniki, Greece, don’t worry. I hadn’t either until Ryan Air offered me an unbelievable price on a flight there. So, after looking around on the internet for a little bit, I discovered that it was actually a worthwhile place to visit. All within an hour, I had booked both my flight and hostel.

That was about a month ago. Last weekend, I was finally able to print out my tickets and hope on a plane. Due to the impromptu nature of the trip and the fact that I really like to chill out by myself, I went all on my own. And it was seriously one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

I have never felt such a sense of complete freedom. There was literally nothing holding me back from doing whatever I wanted and I could do anything at any time. Some people asked me if I was scared or nervous, but I was more excited than anything. I like to get out on my own and there is nothing like going to a foreign country by yourself. In Rome, I have my friends at the JFRC, but I was on my own in Greece.

When I first got off the plane, I only thought: “Oh. I’m in Greece.” It wasn’t until I rode the bus into the city and made it up to the hill by my hostel did I think: “Oh! I’m in Greece!” The view was completely gorgeous and I can honestly say that I have never seen anything like it. The skies were slightly overcast, but I wasn’t bothered at all. I was in Greece. It definitely took awhile for that to sink in. Later in the afternoon, when I was walking around, I was honestly grinning from ear to ear about the fact that I was in fact, in Greece. I probably looked like a fool, but it’s good to look like a fool every once in awhile.

The weekend was full of taking in sights and culture. Luckily, there are signs in English or else I would have been completely lost. I realized as I was on the plane that I literally knew no Greek at all. Problem? Perhaps. Did I care? Not at all. I have perfected the “I’m sorry, but I really have NO idea what you’re saying” look. When it came to ordering food, I generally just pointed at what other people had and managed to get something of a similar nature. It was amusing and sometimes challenging, but I learned so much.

This is my “I’m in Greece!” face.

Thessaloniki is a city of amazing culture and history. It’s not Athens, but that’s completely all right. There are absolutely beautiful Byzantine churches that litter the city. It’s impossible to go for more than a few blocks without seeing one. I went inside every church I saw and was rewarded by beautiful paintings and architecture each time. Just like Rome, ruins are all over the city, only adding to its timelessness. Thessaloniki has its own unique history, which I also discovered when I visited several museums in the area. (Best part: I had free entrance to them! For once, it pays to be a student.)

Thessaloniki’s Famous White Tower

Speaking of which, prices of everything were just amazing! I was under-budget for the weekend, which was unexpected but oh so very nice. Sadly, the terrible Greek economy was obvious, but it was a tad bit convenient for a college student on a budget.

The Rotunda in Thessaloniki

Honestly, I could go on forever about Greece. It was an unexpected weekend, but one of the very best. I will always remember my time there and what a wonderful experience it was. I have a little advice to leave you with: Don’t be afraid of going somewhere alone. You never know what you might find and what you will learn about yourself.



With winter weather warnings in Rome, it ended up being the perfect weekend to head to the Alps. Six of us from JFRC, took a “Bus2Alps” trip from Rome to Interlaken for an adventurous weekend. We left Thursday night from Roma Termini and were on a bus for a total of 12 hours all the way up to Switzerland. With movies playing and a little sleep medication taken, we were in business and the ride actually went by rather fast. Next, after waking up from our long nap we dropped our things at the hostel and were ready to hit the slopes. We bundled up in many layers, and were able to rent all the gear that we needed for 2 days of non-stop skiing.

This was possibly my favorite weekend so far. Switzerland might just be my place. This country is magical. The massive mountains encircle quaint little towns, with so much to offer. Each little chalet is like an image from a storybook. The atmosphere here is chill. We spent both days on the mountain and then had some much needed food, beer, and sleep. Our hostel was awesome, very comfortable and clean.

About the skiing,… incredible! We took a bus and a few trains to get all the way up the mountain. Skiing in the Alps is not at all like the Rockies or anywhere else I have gone in the States. Let’s just say, you should know what you are doing before taking on these slopes. Getting up to the ski area we took the steepest gondola I have ever seen over the front of the mountain. It is amazing how the Swiss have engineered getting about these mountain towns. Getting off the gondola we were set right in the middle of the mountain with the most amazing views I have ever seen all around us. With that inspiration we stayed on the slopes until the hill closed both days. There were a few cute places at the top of the mountain to stop for lunch. We enjoyed breaking for beer, hot chocolate, and the best hot dog I have ever had.

It is very easy to visit this city on a budget, I had only spent 40chf (swiss franc) the entire weekend. Our hostel provided us with free breakfast, coffee machine access, and wifi. For dinner we found a cheap burger joint, and an Irish pub the were both very reasonably priced, with great food.

On Sunday we took a walk to one of the two lakes that surround the town and we were able to get a better look at the charm of Interlaken. This small city only gives you a little taste of what Switzerland is like, and I definitely have to come back and see more.

Skiing the Alps is a bucket list like activity that I am very lucky to have accomplished at such a young age. The program “Bus2Alps” is awesome and it was really nice to have their guidance for getting our equipment, hooking us up with such an ideal hostel, and also, we were able to have a nice community of other study abroad students from all over Europe in the group.

This weekend is going to be hard to beat, although you have to take each new place for what it is and live out your time there to your absolute fullest. You only live once!

Auf Wiedersehen!