The GoGlobal Blog

Month: February 2013

Is it wrong that I’m not missing home? :)

Is it wrong that I’m not missing home? :)

Hola amigos!

Well, that was quite a busy week and weekend.  First off, I was fortunate enough to get an internship at the Alicante Provisional Archeological Museum (M.A.R.Q.)! I will be working in every department of the museum, from restoring ancient pottery and sculptures to giving tours to visitors, in Spanish too. Luis, the director of USAC in Alicante, drove me to the museum Monday for my first day, which was incredible. Anna, my supervisor, took me around the museum, showing me their collection, which is over 9 million pieces ranging in dates from prehistoric times to the mid-1800s. My favorite part was the behind the scenes areas, where they do the cleaning and restoring of the ancient pieces, which is where I spent my Wednesday. They also told me I would be going to the dig site once or twice a month which is just a little north of the city. There, I would be helping them search and excavate pieces in the tombs and dig sites. Basically, I am the next Indiana Jones hahaha. I am so excited to be doing this twice a week, and really learning what goes on in a museum, which could be a potential career for me in the future.

School is still awesome, learning more every day and surprising myself with how good my memory is with my Spanish. I’m meeting more of my classmates every day as well. In Rome, I lived in a dorm where I was constantly surrounded by other students, whether it was in the library, the cafeteria, our bedroom wings, classrooms, out in the city or in other counties during weekend travels. I was with these 183 students 24/7 and became incredibly close to many of them. It’s quite different now here in Spain, however, because most of the time I only see a lot of these people at school or when we go out on the weekends. I don’t mind the change, but sometimes I miss having my closest friends right down the hall from me. On the other hand, my host family is comforting and fun to hang out with, so I don’t mind being away from American students a majority of the time. I actually just finished watching Mamma Mia with my host family in Spanish, and it was hilarious watching them try to sing the songs in English. They are really such a sweet family, and AMAZING cooks. Always making the best home cooked food.

I also went to my first Spanish fútbol game on Saturday, and that was quite an experience. The game was played in Elche, a town just a couple minutes away from Alicante. It was Hercules, the Alicante team, versus the Elche team. My closest girl-friends here and I decided to go after we heard it was cheap and close by. We made it a day trip however, starting with a visit to the huge outlet mall between Elche and Alicante. However, we went during siesta time, the few hours a day that every working person goes home to eat with family and take a quick nap, and so everything was unfortunately closed. So instead we went straight to Elche to check out the city. We walked around, checking out the cool church of Santa Maria and the old castle nearby. We also found a huge palm tree forest, which we later found out is the biggest one in all of Europe. It was extremely beautiful and exotic, and it had several banana and orange trees within it. We met this old man who was wandering around the forest, which seems a little sketchy at first, but after talking to him a little (all in Spanish of course) we realized he was super sweet and he took us on our own little private tour of the city. There wasn’t much else to see besides the forest, but it was a pretty little town and worth the visit.  Around 6, we got hungry and went to this cute little Spanish restaurant for dinner, and had incredible salads and pastries. We then went to the futbol game, and were immediately excited by the atmosphere. A lot of USAC students were there, as well as die hard Hercules team fans.  I had gone to one in Rome, and that was quite the experience. The fans were cursing, singing, and screaming, nothing like the fans at games in the states. But the Spanish game and the fans were ten times more intense than the Italians. They screaming insults and swear words left and right, and I admit I joined in- When in Spain right? It was a lot of fun, but unfortunately Alicante lost. I was just happy to see a game and check out another town nearby.

The group I went with returned to Alicante around 11 pm, and since we were still amped up on the energy from the game, we decided to go out for the night. Unlike in America where people start going out and partying around 10/11 at night, Spaniards don’t start partying until 2 am. It’s going to take me a while to get used to that difference, and I will admit I haven’t been able to do it often. I get tired by midnight, and have decided to stay in with my host family watching movies or … dare I say it… doing puzzles. Lame, I know, but my body is not ready is not quite up to Spaniards partying standards! Maybe by next weekend I will try staying out until 6 am, which they do every weekend. I don’t entirely mind though, especially when Idoya has her friends over, which are my age. We all hang and talk, even if the conversation is full of broken English and sloppy Spanish. I really enjoy their company though, and their attempts at teaching me new Spanish phrases and styles. I have been in Alicante for about 3 weeks now, and I have enjoyed every minute. Carnival is coming up next weekend, which is similar to Halloween in America, and I am really looking forward to the big party and costumes. Every week is getting more and more exciting! Is it bad to say I don’t miss home too much? Hahaha.

Hasta luego amigos!



Sunday was literally the best day I have had in forever. I can’t remember the last time I laughed and smiled so much! A group of my friends and I decided to take a trip up to Korketrekkeren, a giant sledding hill right outside of Oslo. The hill is so big, you have to take a train 15 minutes from bottom to top! Once we arrived, we rented our little baby sleds and helmets (!) and ventured off to find the hill. This was the most thrilling sledding day I have ever had. The turns on this hill were INSANE. You would literally turn a bend and the ground was all of a sudden just sheer ice and the sled would just fly around these bends like crazy. Then there were little bumps and jumps the entire way down, so you just constantly get thrown in the air, snow in your face, freezing cold, and blinded. SO MUCH FUN. We went down the hill a total of three times which took about three and a half hours all totaled. According to the website, the hill is 2.6 km long and takes about 22 minutes to get down, without stopping. This is by far my favorite thing about Oslo so far, and I really hope we have time to go back again soon! I will never look at sledding in Chicago the same way again :p


Without Struggle There is no Success

Without Struggle There is no Success

Hola Todos!!

It is very VERY frustrating knowing what you want to say to someone but not knowing the words to say it… From buying a cell phone to ordering at a restaurant to going grocery shopping talking has been a struggle.  It is physically draining trying to have a conversation.  However, I can tell my spanish is improving!  I am remembering not just vocabulary but little things like the difference between “A mi tambien” and “Yo tambien” both meaning “me too” but a spaniard’s face with scrunch up in a second if you use the wrong one.  In other news, I planned a trip to Paris last week, but could not go because I got the Flu!  It was quite sad..but I got to catch up on my TV shows and lost a few pounds.

The “study” part of studying abroad is actually pretty difficult.  Learning a new language is NOT easy, true it is not Accounting or Finance, but it is not a walk in the park.  We have class every day for 2  1/2 hours and a bunch of homework.  I have to say it is much different then taking spanish in the States because I can practice what I am learning with anyone.  I am also taking a cooking class!  The chef does not speak english so we get to practice our spanish while learning to cook traditional spanish cuisine.  Friday the USAC group went to Toledo!  It was just a day trip, but we got a tour of old Toledo, a synagogue, and a cathedral.  Toledo is very different from Madrid.  Madrid is a fast paced city while Toledo is a small beautiful town with a beautiful landscape, and amazing architecture.  The city of Toledo goes back to B.C. and has Christian, Muslim, and Jewish influences.

Alright now for my little realizations and experiences portion of the blog.

I mentioned the staring in my last blog.  I decided I had enough and just stared back at someone, BIG mistake.  They do not stop looking at you just because you look at them.

Spaniards are the healthiest people I have ever seen.  A girl in my class tried to describe cheesy bread to our professor and she had never heard of it!  She made a “that is gross” face at the thought of cheesy bread.  They cook everything in olive oil. EVERYTHING even french fries.  Oh, and the french fries are not out of a bag, french fries are freshly cut and fried.  I am a big gelato fan and there are not very many gelato or even ice cream shops open during the winter, which makes me sad.  My stomach has definitely shrunk adapting to the spanish eating style.

Single working moms and working women are the main people on the metro.

I learned a little bit about their health care system

-Money for health care is taken from everyones pay check

-There is private and public healthcare

-For public, when you need to schedule an appointment all you have to do is call and they will set you up for free.  The problem is that it could take up to a month to get an appointment unless it is an emergency.  Everything is free and all prescriptions are up to 60% off.  Everything is free, even prescriptions, for old people.  They have the best equipment and the best doctors in public because everyone is paying for it.

-For private, when you need to schedule an appointment all you have to do is call and they will set you up for an appointment the next day.  You have to pay a certain amount per month for the quick service.

-The only difference between public and private is the amount of time you have to wait to get an appointment, that is what my host mom said.  And the public hospitals have better equipment and sometimes better doctors.

Most people would rather walk then drive

It is common to live with your parents until you get married, no matter how old you are.

Spaniards party hard.  I have never seen anything like it.  They start going to bars around 12 or 1am and go to clubs around 3am and catch the first train at 6am back home.  I found out they have “after hour discos” that open at 6am!!

Well that is all I have for now!! Stay tuned! 🙂

Hasta Luego!

Tyler Monroe

In Beautiful Toledo over looking the city

Hei hei from Oslo!

Hei hei from Oslo!

So I’ve been in Oslo for almost a month now, and let me tell you, it’s been more of an edventure that I could’ve ever imagined. This place is magical, seriously. My first few days were a little more difficult than expected: running through the Frankfurt airport to make my connecting flight, getting through passport check just as the door to the plane was closing, getting all of my luggage lost between Germany and Norway etc. Worth it? Absolutely. When I first got off the plane at Oslo Gardermoen Ariport, I couldn’t help noticing the fine layer of pure white snow covering everything. It was so beautiful, the sun was just beginning to rise and everything had this sparkling fresh glow. I instantly fell in love. The airport itself was a lovely example of simplistic Scandinavian architecture, all glass, concrete and light woods.

My first impression of Norwegians? No one seems to realize that it’s freezing cold here. When I landed, it was 19° outside with five inches of snow. No one was wearing a winter coat; most people had on little wind breakers or ski jackets. One man next to me was literally in a short sleeve t shirt. Funny enough, two days ago it was around 4° outside, a warm break from the typical -15 or -20° weather we’ve been having. I was walking around with everyone else in my sweater and jeans talking about how crazy warm it was.  Apparently, I’ve acclimated to the cold more than I thought.