The GoGlobal Blog

Month: April 2013

I Am Having Too Much Fun

I Am Having Too Much Fun

Hola Todos!!

I know it seems like I am always have the best time over here and I just want to reiterate…I am having the best time over here!  Last week my friends and I went to a futbol game, it was Real Madrid against the Seville team (I do not remember their name).  Madrid won and I guess that is why I can not remember the other teams name!  It was really cool seeing the players in person, the whole team is VERY good looking.  My friend Bianca met some Brits at the airport on her way back from Barcelona and we showed them around Sunday and Monday.  They were awesome!  So funny and so sweet.  We really had a good time showing them around, and it was cool to show people around our new city, it definitely made us realize how well we know this place.   Saying goodbye to them was a dose of what it is going to be like saying goodbye to all of these wonderful people I have met here studying abroad.  It is too sad to think about.

We had great weather most of the week, so I went to Retiro a lot.  We had a test on Thursday and had a study session in the park, it was really nice.  Friday, the USAC group went to Salamanca!  Salamanca is a gorgeous college town about 2 hours from Madrid.  The collage in Salamanca is the oldest in Europe!  If you ever visit Salamanca you have to find the frog, that is right the frog, on the outside of the collage wall.  Supposedly the nightlife in Salamanca is really fun, but I did not stay the night.  Last night my friends and I went to a Thi restaurant and then got crepes at our crepe spot!  It was a great end to a long day!  I do not have plans yet for this weekend, I might just go souvenir shopping!  Vamos a ver (We will see).

I am going to Malaga on Tuesday for 5 days!!  Malaga is a small town in the south of Spain right on the beach!  I went once when I was little so I am excited to go again!


Alright so some things that I have noticed:

People cuss all the time.  Sometimes it seems like every other word is a cuss word.  Now cussing here is a bit different.  In the states we have a bunch of bad words and a couple of really really bad words, here they have a few really really bad words, they get really creative with them, and they go after your feelings.  They say things we would NEVER say in the states because it is just rude!  For example,  They say, “I ‘poop’ on your dead people.”  WHY would you say something like that?  They also say,  “I ‘poop’ on the communion host.”  WHY would you EVER say that??  These are just some of the examples I can give online, it gets much worse.  The vulgarity is amazing.  I feel like we would not even think to say these things in the states, especially screaming them at the television in a bar to a futbol player…

The futbol fans are intense!!  They really get into the game!  They cuss the players out when they win the game so I was wondering what they would say if they lost the game.  Well, I found out Wednesday night in the bar near my house.  Real Madrid lost them game 4-1 and the fans were tripping out.  The vulgarity in the bar was too intense for me, I was just laughing at it.  The creativity is amazing!

So the crisis is getting really bad.  On Thursday we got an email saying that there was going to be a demonstration in Sol, the center of the city, and as American citizens we were advised to stay out of that area and preferably at home.  This demonstration was unlike the others because it was not authorized.  People stole from stores, had lockouts and sit ins, there were bombs being thrown, SWAT was there beating people up and taking them to jail, it was just a bad scene.  I stayed at home and watched it on the news.


Okay that is all for now!!  Stay Tuned! 🙂

Tyler Monroe

The group at the GAME!


Ellie!! Our new British Friend!
Spring Break 2013

Spring Break 2013


Wow can’t believe it’s been almost a month since my last blog entry. As you have read, I had my spring break during the beginning of April, traveling to four countries in a matter of 18 days. And honestly, as fun as it was, I am EXHAUSTED. I will try to do a quick recap of everything that happened without drawing it all out to long and making you all jealous 😉

First Stop: Aix-en-Provence

Since I had already been to all the major cities (Paris, London, Berlin, etc.) last semester, I decided to visit some lesser known places and focus on visiting friends and relaxing, as compared to going crazy with sight-seeing and touristy adventures. My first stop was to Aix-en-Provence, a small city in the south of France, to visit my good friend Phoebe from Loyola. I would compare Aix to Alicante in that it is a rather small city, but it is beautiful and relaxing and has almost no tourism, which I personally prefer. The first couple days I was there, Phoebe took me around the city, showing me where she hangs, her school, the museums, favorite restaurants, etc. I met a couple of her friends and we went out for drinks and dinner a couple nights, but for the most part, we just talked and relaxed over a cup of coffee at the café below her apartment. We went to Marseilles for a day with one of her friends, which was fun, but spent most of the time just hanging out in her apartment and cooking homemade meals. It was nice not having to pay any money for a hostel and spending practically nothing on fresh produce to make our food the whole time I was there. Being in France and catching up with my friend was a very relaxing and fun way to start my spring break.

Stop Two: Greece

After 6 days in France, I was off to Greece to join two of my good friends that are in the USAC program. I arrived in Athens a day early, and after checking into my hostel, I decided to spend that first day alone exploring the city. I walked around the Acropolis and ate some delicious Greek food by myself, and did some light shopping too. I did not mind being alone at all, especially in a city with so much beauty and history. However, around 8 pm when I returned to the hostel, I met some really nice Australian girls who invited me out for dinner and drinks with them. It was fun hanging out with them and getting to know more about them, what they were doing abroad, where they were going next, and of course, more about their Australian culture. The next day my friends joined me, and we took it easy just walking around the city and shopping. The following day, however, we were up bright and early to go on a 5 hour free waking tour of Athens. Our tour guide was an archeologist, so he was able to give us more information and details about certain ruins, buildings, and life styles of the Greeks back then. Of course I had learned about a lot of this back in Loyola, but it was quite the experience to actually be able to see and experience these things. We explored museums, the Acropolis with the Parthenon, Zeus Olympus, the Agora, the ancient forum, and numerous churches. We were all exhausted by the end of the tour, that after a nice dinner and some repacking for our adventure tomorrow, we were in bed by 11 pm. That Friday we headed off to Mykonos, a small Greek island that is part of the Cyclade islands. Mykonos was absolutely gorgeous! It was the island that you image when you think of the Greek Islands- amazing sunsets, warm temperature, bright white buildings with blue and red accents, and incredible food. It was quite the island adventure, exploring this tiny island and enjoying the sun and beaches. The tourism season of the city hadn’t started yet, so we got to see the island in its natural setting- old men and women going to church, children playing at the beaches, people cleaning and working, etc. The crazy partying tourists hadn’t arrived yet, which allowed this trip to be very enjoyable and continue my Spring Break of relaxation. We returned back to Athens after two days at Mykonos, and parted our separate ways to spend the rest of Spring Break in different cities. I absolutely loved Greece, and truly hope I can return some day.

Stop Three: Rome, Italy

There was no way I was not going to return to Italy during this second semester, to revisit my friends and my second home, Rome. I was only in Rome for two days, but it was enough to make me nostalgic for last semester. I visited some friends that are still studying in the JFRC center and was immediately overcome with a mixture of feelings. I was so happy to see my friends and return back to my home last semester, seeing my favorite sites and eating at my favorite restaurants, but I was incredibly sad too that not all of my friends from last semester were there to accompany me. It really made me miss them all and appreciate the community and love that I experienced last semester. The second day in Rome, I was joined by my friend Lizzy, and I took her all around to the famous spots and ruins, acting as her free personal tour guide. It was fun showing her my favorite spots and reliving some of my memories from last semester. We ate at the best gelateria and pasta restaurant, and had a great time simply strolling the old Italian streets, as everyone should when visiting Rome. My time back in Rome was short and cheap, but it was nice to revisit this gran city.

Stop Four: Milan, Italy

I had a one day layover in Milan between Rome and Barcelona, so I decided to message a friend of my family who was living there, seeing if she was available to take me around Milan and show me what a local does. She was delighted to have me for the day, and showed me a wonderful time. She took me around Milan, showing me the great shopping and bar areas, the breath-taking church, the main plazas, and her favorite restaurants. She took me out for Indian food (my favorite!) and even took me out to Pavia, a small city on the outskirts of Milan that has an incredible medieval feel to it. There is an ancient and beautiful monastery there which we spent a couple hours at, admiring the incredible paintings, architecture, gardens, and interior designs. My stay with Jane was very short, but it was lovely. It was nice having an older woman showing me her city and taking me out, just to treat me and have fun… also helped me save some money!

Last Stop: Barcelona

After 15 days of traveling, I was coming to my last trip during spring break- a weekend in Barcelona with my friend Allison. I arrived mid-afternoon that Thursday, checked into my hostel, and slept until my friend arrived. I was so tired from all the planes and buses that a nice long nap was necessary. She arrived around 8 pm, we went for dinner and drinks, and decided to go to bed early for the night so we could take advantage of the next day. That Friday morning we went on a three hour free walking tour around Barcelona, seeing all the famous sites of course- the medieval churches, the Jewish quarters, the Gothic buildings, all of Gaudi’s unique buildings, and the Picasso museum. I had not walked that much since the first month in Rome, and my body was incredibly sore by evening time. We did some more exploring after the tour, checking out some flea markets and other museums, and of course we did some shopping and eating. I really like Barcelona, but it was way too touristy for me. I heard more English and German there than any other country or city I had ever visited before. It was fun being able to talk and understand the people more, but I felt like the true Catalan culture was lost in the midst of all the foreigners and concentration on tourism. Nonetheless, the Sagrada Familia, the beaches, the seafood, and the lively atmosphere made this trip very enjoyable. It was not nearly was relaxing as my previous adventures, but it was nice a bang it the end of my spring break.

Back in Alicante…

I was actually incredibly excited to head back to Alicante after being gone for almost 20 days. I was missing my host family a lot, even though we had texted and talked on Facebook several times. I was missing my bed and home cooked meals, and I was tired of flying and tours. I was ready to sleep and enjoy my last month back in Alicante. School was hard to get back into when I returned, but it was easy being back with my family and friends. I realized though that I only had a month left in Alicante, and I became very sad this past week. I have two more trips left, one to Scotland and one to Portugal, and although I am excited, part of me just wants to stay in Alicante with my family and the beach. Can’t believe this semester is wrapping up so quickly… it feels like it went by so fast! I still have a couple weeks of school, internship at the museum, and free weekends, but I know it will fly by right before my eyes. I am starting to worry about how I am going to return to real life after this!

I really hope students are reading my blog and learning a bit about traveling, like all the ups and downs and the numerous opportunities that come about from traveling. I hope they, or yourself, see that it is possible and totally worth working hard and applying yourself to set out on an adventure like this. I honestly wouldn’t give up any of it. I hope that I can really share my experiences and my advice to students who want to study abroad, whether it’s suggestions on where to study or advice on how to save money and apply to different scholarship programs, like the Gilman scholarship, to help with this adventure. If anyone is interested in some more one-on-one communication, I would love to help out! I really want other students to have an incredible time traveling the world and growing as an individual, no matter where you are now or where you want to go.

Please find me on Facebook (Ryann Nicole Howard) or email me ( to find out more!


Ryann Howard

Mykonos, Greece
Crunch Time!

Crunch Time!

Hola Todos!!

Well, I have  less then a month left of this wonderful experience.  I am going to miss this place soooooo much. Since I only have a little bit of time left, I am trying to do everything I wanted to do here before I leave!  The weather has really turned around here!  For most of the 3 months, it has been cold and rainy but this past week the temperature has averaged about 70 degrees!!  Everyone in the USAC program has been taking advantage of this amazing weather.  That being said, I have spent a lot of time outside walking around and sitting on the grass in the parks, just enjoying being in Europe with such great weather.   Last Sunday, my friends and I went to a Bull Fight!  I never ever thought I would actually go to a bull fight.  Thought I did get a little queazy, I thought I would cry the whole time or puke or get up and leave, but I didn’t, I sat though the whole ceremony.  I can appreciate the art of Bull fighting, but I do not think I would ever go again, it seemed like animal cruelty.  The atmosphere was awesome and they let one bull go because of its bravery, so it was not all bad.  I would recommend it.  I also went to a Cirque Du Solie Show last week!  I love those shows and it was really cool to see one here.  Tonight, my friends and I, are going to a Futbol game!!  We are going to see Real Madrid play at the stadium here, I am super excited!

I just found out that I got an A- in my most recent spanish class which is awesome!  I am so glad I am having fun and working hard, it makes me feel good.

I am going to Malaga in a couple of weeks for independence day weekend!


Okay so some things that I have noticed:

Spaniards do not really like people from Latin America, they see them as immigrants and they call them bad names.  (I think that is one of the reasons I have gotten mean glares, they think I am Dominican.)

Apparently 80 degrees is not hot enough to wear shorts or a dress cause all of the USAC students got mean glares on the metro for it.

Spaniards are not good at speaking english, it is too hard to pronounce the words so they just do not try.  I am not sure why it took me so long to realize this.   My professor said that  one of the things most spaniards make as their New Years Resolution is:  to speak english-more or at all.

I do not think I ever told you guys this, but I call myself Jordana (Jordan is my middle name)

because I HATE the way spanish speakers say Tyler.


Alright that is all!  Stay tuned 🙂

Tyler Monroe


Great Photo I caught during the Bull Fight! 


A few weeks ago, a bunch of friends and I went to the FIS World Cup of nordic skiing up at Holmenkollen. There were cross country ski races in the morning and ski jump competitions in the afternoon. I know I say this a lot, but this had to have been one of the best days I’ve had here. Norway is just a magical place full of fun and wonderful things.

The day started out pretty eh and I wasn’t even particularly excited about the event. However, as soon as I met up with my friends on the metro, I got excited. Like, really excited. The metro cars were PACKED with ski fans from all over the world, but mostly Norwegians. My friend Grant and I got super excited when we saw a small American flag peaking out of one man’s backpack.



Once we arrived at the stop for Holmenkollen, my excitement grew. There was a little souvenir cabin set up right up the hill from the stop selling scarves and giant flags and Norwegian cow bells etc. It was the one time in Norway when I said to myself “Ok I’m going to spend money on something overpriced and unnecessary.” I was so prepared to buy a Norwegian flag. Unfortunately, I notoriously never have cash on me and the souvenir seller didn’t take credit cards. I was CRUSHED. My emotions really went through the ringer that day for no apparent reason.

My friends and I began our ascent up the winding hill that leads to another hill that has a giant ski jump on top. On our way, there was a man on the side of the road with a bunch of Norwegian flags and cow bells. He had a sign in the snow that said he accepted credit cards. I was over the moon. His flag was bigger and 30NOK cheaper than the woman’s back at the cabin. Score! I excitedly handed over my card and anxiously awaited that one word I had quickly come to learn in Norwegian- Godkjent. But no, no approval for me. See my card doesn’t have this little chip in it (THANKS AMERICA) that most European cards have. So it generally only works at larger stores that still accept all cards. This guy couldn’t take my silly American chip-less card. I was so sad. Two attempts in five minutes, neither of which ended with me clutching a Norwegian flag. Then he said the nicest thing I have heard since being here: just keep it. I was flabbergasted. Excuse me? I was so confused by what he was saying to me because for some reason that flag held way more value to me than to him. He told me to keep the flag and if I ever saw him in town, I could pay him then. If not, he told me I should pay it forward and remember to do something nice for someone else. I couldn’t believe it. Guys, I literally cried. It was so dramatic. I was so overly happy I cried. I couldn’t thank him enough as my friends started laughing and pointing out the fact that  I was crying from happiness.




^That’s right before he told me America isn’t valid in Norway. So much happy.

Let’s just say the day was on the up and up from then on out. We met the winners of the cutest-couple-award-in-my-heart-forever: a woman with the BEST sweater I have ever seen, not too mention the most Norwegian, and her husband, who just so happened to own a mini replica of the Holmenkollen ski jump in hat form.




The rest of the day was super awesome: I received a bunch of free trail mix from a man with a super beard; wandered around the spectator camp and saw a giant troll statue (oh Norway); witnessed adorable older Norwegians dancing in traditional dress and being too cute for words; and found the ice sculpture of Holmenkollen meant for children to slide down and proceeded to slide down myself. Before climbing the ice block (literally this thing was complete and total ice, I don’t know how the kids weren’t slipping all over the place like I was) I asked one of the fathers watching his children slide down if it was ok for me to go up. He smiled at me and said it was only for kids and then asked “are you a kid at heart?” BEST RESPONSE EVER. Obviously, I smiled big and ran up to the ice hill immediately. I kind of sort of accidentally slipped at the top and fell more than slid down the slide and almost crashed into a child, but still a super cute, super fun experience :]







My friends and I finally sat down to watch the women’s ski jump competition. I happily ate the cold chili I had packed and sipped cocoa from my favorite “ikkje få panikk” thermos. We stayed at the competition until about 4:30 in the afternoon. In the women’s ski jump, AMERICA won which was super cool because we didn’t even know the US was competing initially. It was so fun to be some of the only Americans there and super live up to the stereotypes- yelling our country’s name every time a US competitor came up, obnoxiously proclaiming that America always wins, even in Nordic ski competitions, etc. So much fun to be those people for the day :p

All in all, fantastic fun was had all around, and the FIS World Cup will be a fond memory I hold in my heart forever <3



Hola Todos!

I have the travel bug!!! I want to travel the world 3 times!! I love TRAVEL.  I know I have not posted in a while but I am going to try to post once a week for the next 6 weeks.  I have had a really fun few weeks.  Basically all of Europe has spring break during Holy Week or Semana Santa so that was technically our second spring break.  My friends and I went to Italy!!  We went to Rome for a couple of days and then went to Sorrento for a couple of days!  It was the best trip I have ever taken!!  Italy is such an amazing place.  My motto on the trip was “Gelato:  everyday twice a day.”  If they spoke spanish I definitely would have studied there.  Rome is not as clean as Madrid, and I thought the people were a lot more down to earth and nice.  Rome is much more touristy then Madrid, for example, the metro said the stops in both italian and english.  The food was out of this world.  I had pizza or pasta for every meal.  We went to Palm Sunday mass AT THE VATICAN.  That is right folks…I saw Pope Francisco!!  Seeing the Pope and going to Palm Sunday mass was the greatest experience of my life. I can not even describe how happy I was that Sunday.  He rode around in the Pope mobil after the mass and we were so close to him! Seriously the best experience of my life, just indescribably wonderful.  In Sorrento we rode motor scooters for a day.  It was the most exciting and fun thing I have ever done.  The Amifi Coast is just beautiful and Sorrento was such a quaint little town, riding bikes was definitely the icing on the cake for my Italian adventure!

When I returned from Italy my mom, dad and sister came to Madrid!  It was not until my parents came that I realized that there is not that much to do here.  Walking, sleeping, and drinking is the spanish way of life.  We walked through the parks and walked around the center a bit, but for the most part we ate and drank the whole time!  It was a very relaxing vacation for them.  I was really glad my to see all of them and to hang out together as a family in a foreign country.  I showed them my all of my favorite restaurants, took them to churros con chocolate, and we went to dinner with my host mother which was pretty cool.  All in all it was a very fun second Spring break.

My host mom has started teaching me how to cook spanish food!!! I love cooking and it has been sad not being able to cook here so I am really glad she is teaching me how to make things!!  I am going to be a worldly chef before I leave!

I have decided that I am going to start going out more and taking advantage of the drinking age 😉 I went to el tigre, a nice little bar last night with a group of friends and it was a lot of fun.  In my final blog I am going to list all of the places I recommend going for drinks, tapas, dessert, and more if any of you, my readers, decide to go to Madrid in the future!

In school we are almost done with our 3rd class out of 4 and the work load is getting pretty intense.  We have to write compositions once a week and they have to be 350 words…all in spanish.  Our final for this class in next Thursday.  I realized that I need to speak more spanish, I can understand spaniards really well, but when it is my turn to speak I get my verbs confused so I just end up saying “vale” which means “okay.”  So, for the next six weeks I am going to speak as much spanish as possible so I can be as fluent as I can when I return to the States.


Alright now here are some things that I have noticed:

PDA is OKAY here.  People of all different ages make out everywhere.  On the metro, in the park, in restaurants, on the street, just everywhere.  I am not talking pecks or just a little make out session, OH NO it gets pretty intense, and they do not care who is watching.

In my last blog I said I would find out what the center of their lives are because it definitely is not their job, well it is just living.  They live.  Hanging out with their friends, going for walks, traveling, whatever makes them happy, that is what they do.  It is a really cool and interesting way to live your life.

Old people are everywhere.  Their old people are not like our old people.  Their old people ride the metro, they take the bus, they walk around, they sit on benches and stare or talk to friends, they are out and about all day long!  I do not know where they are going or why it is so important to get out of the house, but these old folks are always out of the house.  This city is covered in old folks.

They are in a crisis right now.  There are a lot of strikes and marches that go on every weekend.  Well two weeks ago there was a metro strike so there was not a lot of people to drive the metros.  This was a problem.  The metro normally runs every 3-5 minutes in the mornings but that week it was every 12-15 minutes.  This means that all of those people are waiting for a long time and by the time the train comes it is packed and there are a million people trying trying to get on the train with the million people who are already on the train.  Getting to school was rough!  I have to transfer trains once but some of my friends have to transfer twice to get to school.

It is not getting warmer 🙁

Everyone smokes

Being on time is an option.  If someone is running late, they do not call and give you an explanation they simply show up late. And what do you do while you are waiting for them?  Nothing, look up and enjoy the trees or the beautiful buildings and enjoy life.  It is strange but also very cool, no hurry and no rush.

Most cell phones are pre-paid or pay as you go so they do not use there phones like we do and text all day long.  The younger generation uses a texting app to text each other called Whatsapp.  So if you come to Spain and you think a guy is hitting on you do not be alarmed if they ask for your “whatsapp.”


Okay that is all for now!! Stay tuned 🙂

Bianca, Matt, Me, and Jordan in Sorrento!

Papa Francisco!!

Pope Francisco!!

My sister, Kennedy, and I having (non alcoholic) drinks 🙂

Besos everyone!!