The GoGlobal Blog

Month: July 2013

Pool Party

Pool Party

No one throws a pool party quite like the Spaniards. Especially when that said pool requires us to drive up the mountain, through the mountain and onto the other side of the mountain.


After classes, about 6 cars pulled up in the school parking lot to drive all 17 of us to Alvaro’s house for a swim. It was another hot day in Córdoba (no surprise there) so being poolside with great food and friends was perfect. Throw in some soccer and dancing, along with limbo and it was a great afternoon/evening.



Toro toro!!

Toro toro!!

Bulls are often associated with Spain, and with good reason. Spain is known for having bull shows where there are toreros and toreras involved. Thanks to the amazing people at Loyola Andalucia- Etea, Loyola Chicago students got to tour the arena in Córdoba where young men and women train and take lessons on bull fighting.


Here are some fast facts about bull fighting:

1. Yes the objective is to kill the bull.

2. The bulls selected for the shows are made sure they are healthy and in tip top condition.

3. The bulls are very well off for the duration of their life before the fight.

4. There is a police official who makes sure before each show that the animals, toreros, and arena are all following legal procedures.

5. There are people who train and take lessons don’t practice on a red bull until a show (that’s a bit scary in my opinion).

When we were inside the arena, there were students practicing their skills with what looked like a bright cape and others with a sort of replica of a bull. The ages ranged from 5 years old to in their 20s. All but one was men who were practicing and according to our expert (he used to bull right) there are more women now than in the last 20 years who are participating. Apparently in bull fighting, when a woman performs during a show, it is much more respected and admired.

So what do 17 LUC students do when you’re in a bull arena? Take some lessons from a professional.


Group picture in arena.
Day 8: Trips to Herculaneum & Capri

Day 8: Trips to Herculaneum & Capri

Ahhh my first official weekend without “jet-lag.” 🙂 A great thing about study abroad is the trips that the school plans for you that are included in your tuition. In my case, I got 2 day trips included in my tuition for JFRC. Our first trip was to Herculaneum, which is a town that was preserved by Mount Vesuvius. Much like Pompeii, Herculaneum is an amazing site that was captured by a volcanic eruption and even though it is a much smaller site than Pompeii, it much better preserved. We first went to a museum that depicted the city before the volcano destroyed it and afterwords we got lunch with the group and then had a guided tour of the ruins. Our tour guide was great and it was fascinating walking though all of the houses and up and down the streets of an ancient city and learning about how lived with the resources in the area.

After our tour almost everyone went on their own trips for the weekend, which I highly recommend doing. A couple of friends and I traveled to the the island of Capri on the Amalfi Coast off of Sorrento. If any of you are traveling to Italy this is a MUST SEE!! We got onto the island right around sunset and it was absolutely breathtaking! The harbor was lite up by the sunlight at just the right angle and the colors of the houses up the mountain looked so bright. My group and I stayed in Anacapri which is on the other side of the island from the main harbor. On our way up the mountain we got a view of the entire island, after which we all yelled “OHHHH MYYYY GODDDD!” because we had never seen anything like it.

The rest of our weekend was spent walking around the island, going to the beach and taking a boat tour around the whole island (Which, again, I would highly recommend you do if you go to Capri). We got a great history of the island and learned a lot about the special areas of the island like the blue and green grotto and the private houses of Giorgio Armani, the Gerber family, Sofia Loren, Dolce & Gabbana and not to mention Bill Gates’ private yacht. (Who knew right? Capri is the place to be! haha) We also soon found out that the road that we yelled “OHHHH MYYYY GODDDD!” on, is actually called “Oh My God Road” because that is what everyone says when they drive on it haha.

Needless to say, we all had a great weekend on the island. Between its gorgeous views and the fabulous limonchello (which Capri is famous for), it was impossible NOT to have fun! Off to another week of class and site seeing in beautiful Roma! Arrivederci (see you later)!

Inside of a house at Herculaneum
Capri Harbor
View from “Oh My God Road”
Just walking around Capri
Les Premières Adventures

Les Premières Adventures

Bonjour mes amis!


Saturday we spent the whole day in Marseille, which is about a 30 minute drive from Aix-en-Provence. We had absolutely fabulous weather and a day filled with sightseeing, shopping, and more than enough walking. We started out at the highest point of Marseille, at Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, and were able to see an incredible view of Marseille along with the beautiful basilica. From up top we could see out to the Chateaux d’If (where Monte Cristo has some scenes) and then headed down for lunch at Restaurant Saf-Saf. The cuisine there is from the Maghreb (mainly North Africa) and focuses on couscous. Yum! We all enjoyed ethic food and tried some new tasty desserts (one even tasted like nutella! score!). Overall everything was super delicious! After lunch we were free to walk around Marseille to explore and shop. We came across an gorgeous carousel and some street musicians playing by the dock, and later passed some more beautiful buildings and churches too. Marseille has a very different feel from the quiet streets of Aix and is well worth the drive over. Marseille is not only France’s largest commercial port on the Mediterranean but also the most popular point of entry for African immigrants. Hopefully, we get another chance to visit Marseilles and maybe next time hit its Mediterranean beaches!

Notre Dame de la Garde

Le Chateaux d’If

Couscous toppings


Street Musicians

Church Exterior



Sunday was open-air market day! After having the chance to sleep in a little after all that walking and left-over jetlag, we hit the markets. First stop was the arts and goods market lined up along the Cours Mirabeau in the center of Aix. I bought a beautiful hairpiece (and then had to go back for two more, oops! But they were just too awesome to leave behind!) and a small piece of painted artwork to hang on the wall . After the art market we moved on to the second-hand book market. You would never even imagine how many ancient books are just out there for sale! From French literature, to history, to childrens’ books, and anything else you can think of, it’s all there. I’m not even a big book fanatic, but this market had me sucked in! We even bumped into our professor scouring for some good reads that he hadn’t come across yet (the book market being possibly one of his favorite events in Aix – and hey, at least you know where to find him on any given Sunday!). On the way back towards the Cours Mirabeau for some lunch we conveniently walked right into the fresh produce market on the Place Richelme. It was incredible! The vibrant colors and the intoxicating smells were to die for! I ended up buying strawberries and raspberries to bring back home, but it was all so tempting! The whole day was a relaxing and wonderful French cultural experience to enjoy right before our first day of classes 🙂 Hope all goes well when the professors get there hands on Frenchifying us!

Art market

Flowers at the produce market

Fresh French bread!

Fruit and veggies at the produce market, yum!

Spinach, tomato, ricotta tart with balsamic dressing I ate for lunch (so delicious!!!)

Edouard et Maelle Ice Cream (it’s a must!)

Street musician at the book market



Monday was our first day of class and boy was it different than your standard American college class. After finding our class assignments posted on the walls, we wandered the hallways like all of us have done many times before, searching for our classroom and hoping not to be late. My class turned out to be made up of 13 students, 6 or 7 of whom are Russian, and the rest is a mix of Korean, Taiwanese, Brazilian, and Syrian – so we really rely on our French to communicate. With the slight language barrier, the scorching heat, plus the lack of air-conditioning in the school (and our residence for that matter) my class is one diverse group of eager, sweaty, slightly confused individuals haha. Our professor, Charlotte, could not possibly be any sweeter and is incredibly accommodating to our interests and needs. As always, our first day was filled with some get-to-know-each-other activities followed by some evaluation worksheets, granted I’m sure I’ll be getting my butt kicked rather soon with some intense French. Being in class today was a wonderful and revealing experience. Just the group of people plus the dependence on French and a lack of air-conditioning makes for a school-day much different from any I’ve had before.

Until next time!

Hasta Luego Costa Rica

Hasta Luego Costa Rica

After spending my last week in Puntarenas studying and preparing for three finals, I was super pumped to go on the southern Costa Rica tour that was planned by USAC. Before I left though, I had to say goodbye to several of my friends who were not going on the tour. It’s crazy how good of friends you can become with people after only knowing each other for five weeks.

For the first day of the tour, we had a long bus ride. It was a little over 4 hours total. About two hours in, we stopped for a break at Marino Ballena Park and went swimming. The water was beautiful, and there were tons of acres of rainforest behind us. We arrived at Sierpe that night and would only be there one night, until we took a boat to Drake Bay the next morning. The boat ride to Drake Bay was amazing. Every time we took one of those little boats to another destination, I felt like I was in Pirates of the Caribbean. Drake Bay has a ton of picturesque rocks throughout the water and little islands scattered throughout. The resort was so beautiful. We stayed in wooden cabins and we were situated right on the ocean.

For our first full day in Drake Bay, we hiked to Cocalita Beac. On our way there, we encountered a huge grayish colored snake that was in the middle of the path. The waves and current were super strong at this beach to the point where it was impossible to stand up right even in shallow water. There were huge rocks to take pictures on and crabs everywhere. The next day we went to San Pedrillo Beach and Corcovado National Park via boat. We went on a two hour hike through the forest. We finally were able to see some stunning macaws and toucans in the trees. The trees were so unique looking. They had the smoothest bark and roots that all seemed to blend in with each other. There were tons of trees that had several roots that looked like separate trunks of different trees, but they all belonged to the same tree. The remaining afternoons and evenings that we spent at the resort were spent swimming in the saltwater pool, hanging out at the bar and eating snacks, and playing spoons with everyone in the evening.

The second full day of the tour was definitely my favorite of the trip. We went to San Josecito Beach and floated a river in the middle of the rainforest. We first had to canoe our way to the top of the river and then floated down from there. We jumped off the top of several waterfalls and at one point had to swim underneath a rock in order to get to the waterfall. The river water was the perfect cool temperature. When we got back to the beach we had a delicious lunch and spent the rest of the day swimming in the ocean. Some of us were able to go snorkeling, but unfortunately there was not much to see, and there were so many waves that we were getting sea sick.

For our last day in Drake Bay, we went horseback riding at a nearby beach. It was definitely the longest and most intense horseback riding experience I have ever been on. We went through the forest up and down some pretty steep hills and through fairly deep rivers. I felt bad for the horses because they looked underfed and it was really hot outside, but the guides assured us they were fine. My horse had a mind of its own and was more concerned with eating as many leaves as possible and avoiding rocks at all costs. We went pretty far up until this muddy hill, where we all got off of our horses and hiked up to a gorgeous waterfall. It was huge and powerful. We went swimming and jumped off some rocks in the waterfall area. At the end of the trek, I was able to experience the most stunning view of the ocean, beaches, and forests on the back of my horse on top of a hill. Our horseback riding ended with terrifying galloping across the beach, but I somehow did not fall off of my less than perfect horse.

We got back to Puntarenas in the late afternoon and all of the students spent most of the evening together saying our goodbyes to each other since about half of us would be staying the second session too. Our bus to the airport was leaving at 4 AM so we all went back to our host families fairly early. It was sad saying goodbye to my host mom and host brother. They really do start to feel like family after awhile, even with the language barrier. I will never forget the incredible 6 weeks spent in Costa Rica because of the breathtaking places we saw and explored and the fantastic people that I was able to build friendships with. The study abroad experience is definitely one that makes you into a more adventurous person that begins to realize how short our time really is at any point in our lives, and that we should take every exciting opportunity that comes our way. The Costa Rican saying pura vida will always be with me in spirit as I try and readapt to the fast-paced and competitive life in America, but I will continue to take chances and remember that it is the human experience with one another that supersedes our technological vices and obsession with reaching the top.


Day 6: Welcome Mass and Dinner

Day 6: Welcome Mass and Dinner

Ciao tutti! As expected my study abroad in Roma is going very well. The first week of classes has ended and that means it’s time for the welcome mass and dinner!! 🙂 We had a beautiful private mass at San Ignazio di Loyola, which is a stunning church near downtown Roma. Following the mass, we all headed to an amazing roman restaurant with the whole campus. Dinner included a four-course meal and molto vino (a lot of wine 😉 ). Each course was better than the next, but I will say that my favorite course was the “pear pasta.” Yes. I said pear. I know it sounds a little odd, but trust me, it is so delicious! We also had gelato for desert (of course).

A little advise of any of you planning on studying abroad… GO ON CAMPUS PLANNED TRIPS AND EVENTS! You technically already paid for them in your tuition and they are actually really fun and a great way to get to know all of the students in your study abroad group. You also get to see things, like San Ignazio, that you would have never really looked for when walking around by yourself. It’s really a win-win.

Here’s a couple pictures from our mass and dinner 🙂 As you can see the church was breathtaking! Ciao!

Mass at San Ignazio


Welcome dinner 🙂






Manuel Antonio, I Love You

Manuel Antonio, I Love You

For the first weekend where USAC did not have a planned trip, five other girls and myself decided to venture off to one of the most popular places in Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio. It was super easy and cheap to get there from Puntarenas. It only cost about $3 and the bus ride was 3 hours to Quepos. When we arrived in Quepos, we took a cab to our hostel. We stayed at Vista Serena, where we lived in the first floor of a house. We had two bedrooms, a living room with a TV, and a kitchen all to ourselves. Right outside of our hostel was a stunning view of the famous beaches of Manuel Antonio. After an afternoon full of traveling, we were eager to go to dinner and relax. The hostel had hot water unlike our home-stays, which we were incredibly thankful for.

For dinner, we went to a restaurant called, “Pirate Sushi,” and quickly learned how American-friendly Manuel Antonio is. All of the waiters spoke English, the menu was in English, and they had several familiar items on their menu like hot dogs, burgers, and chocolate cake. That evening, we went to Bar Latino, where they had Ladies’ Night, which is a popular thing on Friday nights in Manuel Antonio. There were some Ticos at the bar, but mostly gringos. The next day, we went to Manuel Antonio National Park. My friend Jessi and I, decided to shell out some extra money to get a professional tour guide to take us through the forest. It was the best $30 I have ever spent. His name was Gustavo, and he could spot a dragonfly on a leaf miles away. He had a telescope that he used to let us see every little organism in the forest and used it to take pictures for us. We saw white-faced monkeys, squirrel monkeys, howler monkeys, spiders, sloths, tons of different insects, crocodiles  and rainforest crabs. They had really amazing beaches within the park as well, but we were too tired to go swimming. Hiking is an exhausting activity. After lunch we hung out at the beach for a little bit but it was so rocky we did not stay long. It was so strange being in a place where everyone spoke English and everything was written in English after being used to speaking broken Spanish in Puntarenas to try and order a drink. We spent our last morning there at the beach and had an iced coffee since we had been suffering from Starbucks withdrawals.

Week 1: Learning My Way Around Italy!

Week 1: Learning My Way Around Italy!

Ciao tutti!

Well, I must say this week has been…surreal? Yes, I would say that word is the best way to describe everything that is happening to me so far! I love being in Rome, it is SO much fun. There are so many things to do around here and to see, and I’ve really gotten a chance to immerse myself in the wonderful culture!

I’m taking Italian 102 and my professor encourages us to use our Italian whenever we can. This is a tip for anyone going to a foreign country: TRY TO USE THE LANGUAGE. I went out with a group of people to a small restaurant owned by two guys, and we tried out our Italian. They helped us out with saying things, taught us words and phrases we didn’t know, and gave us free lemoncello  and cookies because they liked us so much. All because we spoke Italian with them! Everyone really appreciates it when you try to communicate with them in their native language when you’re in their country, and it also helps you immerse yourself in the culture!

I’ve also been learning the public transportation systems and how to get around. It’s pretty scary once you start, but you get the hang of it pretty quickly. The busses are full of people speaking Italian, which I really enjoy because I try to pick out what I can and can’t understand.

Another tip: It’s polite to offer an older woman or man your seat on the bus if they are standing. It’s all about this concept of “bella figura” or “beautiful figure.” The Italians really appreciate beauty, but in all things, such as behavior and manners as well as dress. It’s a really neat idea.

This weekend we went to Herculaneum, which was a smaller city than Pompeii but was also destroyed and preserved (oxymoron, anyone?) by Mount Vesuvius. However, unlike Pompeii, Herculaneum wasn’t preserved by the ash and dust of the volcano but by the actual lava. Therefore, it is more well preserved than Pompeii is. You could still see the frescos in some of the people’s homes, it was beautiful. After this, a small group and I went to Sorrento, which also helped us learn more about public transportation. We took what could be compared to the El in Chicago to Sorrento, and then to come back to Rome earlier today, we had to take TreniItalia, which we had to catch in Naples! It was a lot, but it was helpful to learn!

Everything about Italy is so different, especially when it comes to public transportation, but it’s also somewhat similar. I’ve really enjoyed being able to see Italy in a way that many people don’t get to! I’ll keep you posted about my next adventures to come!

Arrivederci tutti!

Commençons! (Let us begin!)

Commençons! (Let us begin!)

Today is the day! After a train from Paris Gare de Lyon and a taxi from the station here in Aix-en-Provence I have finally reached our residence here in Aix! The commute was wonderfully simple, and luckily I  just missed the chaos from the Tour de France which passed right through town this morning (but make sure to keep posted on all the Tour de France fun! And congrats to Andre Greipel for winning today’s stage!). My room here is amazing and sports some gorgeous colors and it even has a mini kitchen and an incredible view onto tile roofed homes nearby. Tonight the group is getting settled and heading out to dinner together to get to know each other better, and hopefully we all get a good night’s sleep and defeat the jet-lag before placement tests tomorrow!

The students we meet tomorrow will be coming from around the world for this program. For the most part the only language we should all have in common is French. I am so excited to encounter such a variety of international students and really get the chance to test out my French with not only French natives but also students much like us.

So not only will it be French boot-camp for the next few weeks, but it’s also the season for sales in Europe, and you know what that means…shopping!!! Aix-en-Provence is filled with both quaint shops and more mainstream shopping, but summertime also means street markets in southern France. I’m sure I’ll be coming home with a few too many Provence lavender products and handmade goods and delicacies (oops!). Hopefully I don’t get carried away with more than my suitcase can handle!

Oh! And lastly, on top of the trains, taxis, dinners, and a future of shopping, happy fourth of July!!!


Day 4: Oh Right, I’m Taking Classes Here

Day 4: Oh Right, I’m Taking Classes Here

Ciao! Classes are officially in full swing here at JFRC. (I am taking Italian 102 and Classical Mythology if any of you were wondering) After my first two days here I kinda forgot that I actually came here to study haha. I would highly recommend that you take some form of Italian if you come here, or whatever language of the country that you decided to go to. Even though many Romans know a decent amount of English, they are A LOT nicer to you when you at least TRY to speak the language, and I’m sure that goes for pretty much any country as well. For example, some friends and I went to dinner near The Pantheon last night and our waiter started talking to us in English, we responded in Italian and he was very pleased. We had a great dinner and the waiter really enjoyed conversing with us whenever he came to our table. It is also just a good idea to really submerge yourself into the culture as much as possible to get the experience you really came for. Being Italian is all about the way you speak, eat and present yourself. Eat well, take a breath and enjoy life. That’s what they do. A meal can last three hours, taking a slow walk and talking with friends is what Italians do best and do your best to adapt that custom because it is really a great way of life.

Other than taking in the culture, just walking around Rome is stunning. You can walk into the coolest things by taking a little adventure. Even walking from monument to monument can be a day in itself. The streets and paths throughout the city are so different from anything in the U.S. and it amazing what you will find. P.S.- Gelato is on pretty much any corner, eat as much of it as you can.

Alright readers, time for bed here in Roma… but I’ll give you some pictures before I hit the hay. Bounanotte tutti!

Dinner at The Pantheon
Fontana di Trevi


Just wandering around Roma
St. Peter’s Basilica