The GoGlobal Blog

Month: August 2015

The first weekend

The first weekend

If you are a dreamer like me, you’ll know that you spend too much time imagining the life you have preserved for so long. When you finally begin to see it in front of you rather in your head you develop a strange feeling. From when I was about six years old I always tried to write out a plan for my life, but as I see a different part of the world I can happily tell myself that I do not want to have my life planned out. I do not want to know what is going to happen in a year, instead I want it to unfold as I follow what I love. I won’t lie, the first time being abroad I wake up feeling homesick. I miss the people I have shared laughter with and the familiarity of their mannerisms. I won’t lie, the first time being abroad is thrilling. I love venturing out, losing my way and  finding a hidden gem in a place I get to call home for a little while.

As the first few days flew by in London, I made new friends who surprisingly feel the exact way as I do. I traveled alone to the classic tourist places all people must visit the first time they visit London. I ran into friends while exploring a new world. I kept trying to push myself out of my comfort zone, but my stomach refused to try anything but pizza, a salad and of course my favorite American meal a hamburger. I promise though to have my taste buds taste a while new side of the world as my eyes see it. I visited the Camden Lock Market which is a hipster town and the complete opposite of all shopping sites you have ever been too. With street art on every corner and store fronts 3d art, you will be sure to be amazed by what you thought would be just some ordinary market.

Being in a place that has bars that have been open longer than America has been established is beautiful alone, to imagine being here while the history we read about in books took place. The most fun I have had all weekend was going to London’s biggest street festival, Notting Hill Carnival. I am unsure if you have been to Lollapalooza, but this was Lollapalooza’s big brother in the world of festivals. My roommate and I finally unwound to enjoy our new home, we stopped being anxious! The music was different than anything I have heard, people came from all over to enjoy the food and music. As people danced, others indulged into delicious foods or even cheered on the parade. The whole town felt to be shaking with excitement for a festival, everyone was happy. The biggest difference I have notice between Chicago and London is that people seem to not worry about making eye contact and starting a conversation. Although in another English speaking country, communicating can be challenging. I have been told my Chicago accent is too thick!!

Notting Hill Carnival

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Fourth Time’s the Charm

Fourth Time’s the Charm

Ciao tutti! My name is Aleksandra Wysocki, but please, know me as my Polish nickname, Ola. It’s what I’ve been called my entire life and it was one of the reasons I chose to study Italian vs. Spanish (because Hola, me llamo Ola! seemed a bit annoying to me…. Okay, that’s not the reason I chose to study Italian, but it’s definitely one of them).

Moving on.

This is my fourth time in the eternal city. I’ve been lucky enough in my life to have been here three times previously; six weeks during the summer when I was thirteen years old, a winter break vacation when I was fourteen, and a ten day choral tour through Loyola this past summer. Disregarding the most recent trip, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve grown up a lot both physically (thankfully, because middle school me had a lot of work to get to where I am now) and emotionally between my previous visits and now. I look at the world in a different way than I did back when I was thirteen and (hopefully) people see me differently.

Ola a Roma, natale 2010.
Assisi. giugno 2015.

You may be wondering why Roma again? Why not somewhere new? Well… I’ve definitely thought about it, to be honest. There are a lot of places I could have gone, but yet, I’ve always gone back to the thought of living it up in la citta eterna.

Despite being here before, I can’t tell you street names where certain things are. I can’t tell you where the best gelato is (although right now Giolitti’s is at the top of my list) or where you can get the best dish of bucatini all’amatriciana (it’s to die for). I don’t know all of the names of the neighborhoods other than Trastevere, Centocelle (where I happen to have family, which is the reason I’ve been here before) and now Balduina, thanks to being a student at the JFRC.

During my last trip here this past summer, I got the opportunity to travel outside of Rome. Thanks to the generosity of the university, Loyola’s choir got to not only stay at the JFRC, but travel to Napoli, Pompeii, Assisi and Firenze and for the first time, I got to travel around Italy without my family. I didn’t only stay in the touristy areas of cities. I got the opportunity to explore on my own and with people my age, and for me that was life changing.

That is why Roma again. I want to better my Italian and to spend time with my family here as well, but I truly love Italian culture. I love their way of life, at least what I perceive it to be. I want to discover this beautiful nation personally. If I can see other places in Europe, that’d be amazing too, but my focus will be Roma. Not only will I be interning at an Italian film production company (which I’m psyched for) but I’m also hoping to tutor Italian students with English.

I’m excited to be back and see where this adventures will take me! Jet lag and orientations have rendered me ridiculously tired these first few days and I feel like I’ve been running on adrenaline. Yet, that exhaustion isn’t complete, as I’ve been out almost every other night, chilling in Piazza del Popolo and eating some delicious pizza. The beach trip to Maccarese was also a blast, despite the fact that it resulted in a slightly sunburnt Ola.

To wrap up this somewhat long post (I’m actually quite surprised with myself, seeing how much I ended up writing) as mensa just opened up and I’m quite hungry, here are two pictures from my Sunday walk in the city center with some new friends.

Bucatini all’amatriciana. Definitely order it if you love yourself. Originally, it was known as more of a poor man’s dish, because it was so simple and had few ingredients, but I see it as more of a triumphant ode to simplicity, as IT IS DELICIOUS.
Hidden corner off of via Cavour.

P.S. If you want a more in depth look at my adventures/more pictures, feel free to follow my personal blog at!

15 Things I’ve Learned from Sweden

15 Things I’ve Learned from Sweden

15 Things I’ve learned from living in Uppsala, Sweden since August 15th, 2015:


1. Kayaking in the Baltic Sea with Sweden’s former Minister of the Environment (who is also your professor for three of your classes) is a pretty stellar experience.

2. Cars WILL stop for pedestrians no matter where or when. This is a huge culture shock coming from Chicago…

3. It’s always a great time for FIKA! (Fika is not the actual coffee or biscuit you eat on a fika break, but rather refers the concept of taking a break, relaxing, and socializing with those around you. Swedes typically take 1-3 per day.)


4. That being said, the Swedish lifestyle is SO much more relaxed than what Americans experience.


5. The majority of shops close around 8pm (or earlier) Every. Single. Night. No late night Target runs here…

6. Not having classes on Fridays (to ensure the possibility of traveling to other European countries while here) is pretty sweet.

7. You can make 15 jars of jam, a strawberry shortcake, strawberry vodka, two trays of chocolate covered strawberries, a meal of strawberry pancakes, strawberry syrup, and still have plenty leftover to eat after picking 51 lbs of strawberries from a local berry patch! ( and I’m still not sick of them)


8. Don’t be surprised if you’re enjoying lunch on a canoe in a public park’s lake and happen to come across a group of grandparents sunbathing and swimming nude.


9. Everyone spends their free time outside from lounging on blankets in the park, to eating picnics in the shade of trees or running along the river—You can tell that everyone is trying to soak up as much sunshine as possible before there’s only a couple hours of sunlight each day. (In the fall and winter, the sun will only be up for 6-8 hours each day! In northern Sweden, there can be as little as 2 hours of sunlight during the middle of winter.)


10. Grocery shopping can be quite difficult when the only Swedish you know is how to count from one through ten and the days of the week.

11. Thank goodness Swedes are very friendly and can speak English extremely well! I haven’t had any trouble with asking for directions and I now can tell the difference between the cartons of milk and cartons of yogurt when I’m at the grocery store all by myself.

12. Uppsala has a ton of university students, but you don’t have a social life unless you get a “nations” card and join one of the nations. (Nations are somewhat comprable to Greek life in the US, as you have to be a member to participate. But once you’re a part of one nation, you can go to events at whatever nation you’d like. They’re somewhat like student run nightclubs and restaurants that are open for meals as well as partying late into the night. Nations are known to host fancy formals and other dinner events throughout the semester as well!)


13. Everything is gosh-darn expensive here. Eating out costs an arm and a leg- a meal of fish and chips from a local pub cost me about $25… It was delicious, mind you, but I’ve begun to discover the joys (and horrors) of cooking for oneself.

14. Studying environmental policy in one of the most environmentally conscious and progressive countries in the world is already proving to be a phenomenal opportunity. Learning about environmental practices and actually experiencing them rather than simply reading about them in the textbook is absolutely incredible.

15. I could spend an entire week exploring and enjoying the beautiful Swedish archipelagos. They are so unique and truly highlight the special (and threatened) ecological systems of the Baltic Sea.

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This list is just a taste of the many wonderful things I’ve already had the opportunity to experience during my stay in Sweden so far! I’m sure I’ll be having many more adventures (including a visit to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency with my professor on Tuesday! I’m honestly beyond excited for that…which shows you how much of an environmental policy fanatic I really am J ) in the upcoming months and I’ll do my best to keep you updated with everything that’s going on here in good ol’ Sverige.

First Impressions of Seoul

First Impressions of Seoul


I arrived in Seoul last Monday and as classes still don’t start for another two days, I have had a decent amount of time to get acquainted with the city that I will call home for the next four months. Before coming to Seoul, I conducted literally no research about Korean culture/society/language/food, simply because I am lazy. However, this wasn’t always the case. I began the summer with high hopes, going as far as to buy a Korean language workbook to learn some basic phrases but I soon came to terms with the fact that 5 summer classes, work, and Netflix would take top priority. Therefore, upon arriving in Seoul I did not know what to expect. I had eaten Korean food perhaps once or twice before but it didn’t stand out in my memory than any other Asian cuisine. I had watched only one South Korean film- Old Boy- but only remembered it for the scene where the man ate an entire live octopus, which was equally fascinating and horrifying to watch as the octopus literally tried to claw his way out of the man’s mouth as he swallowed. But I digress… the point is I arrived in Seoul unprepared. Prior to my departure, when people would ask me why I chose to study in South Korea, I had a hard time coming up with a good reason because the honest truth is I don’t really have a lot of good reasons for choosing to study in Korea. I have a variety of reasons as to why I didn’t choose other countries in which to study abroad, but not many reasons for choosing Korea itself. I feel a bit awkward saying that because there are a lot of people who have spent years planning their experience abroad in Korea. Nevertheless I am confident that this semester will prove to be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life.

It has only been 6 days and already I am in love with Seoul. It’s so vibrant. At all hours of the day and night there are people in the streets, cafes, restaurants, shops, doing stuff. Stores stay open past 9pm. My hometown of Ham Lake, Minnesota is not exactly a hotbed of glamour and intrigue. Therefore it is a bit overwhelming for me to find myself in such a busy bright hub of activity. Last night (Saturday) I ventured out to the district of Hongdae in Seoul to explore the nightlife. There are clubs, bars, and restaurants  everywhere, all filled with groups of Koreans enjoying themselves. One thing that must not be overlooked about Seoul is the drinking culture. I had heard that Korea in particular has a very active drinking culture, but it definitely must be experienced firsthand. At the orientation for the new exchange students, the International Buddies program (exactly what it sounds like, Korean and international students forming friendships) ended their introductory presentation by announcing to the crowd: “Join our club! We can all go out and get wasted together!” When I studied in Rome at the John Felice Rome Center, the consumption of alcohol was repeatedly stressed as a social activity that was not to be abused, as Italians typically do not go out and get roaring drunk. Whereas in Korea, drinking appears to have evolved from a social activity into a national sport. Say what you will, bars and clubs have proved to be an excellent way to meet native Koreans, all of whom have been eager to learn English and help me learn basic Korean.

A quick word on some favorite Korean foods I have discovered thus far… (the descriptions and spellings of which may or may not be accurate as I still don’t know any Korea so I have been guessing wildly when reading menus)

  • Bingsoo: shaved ice covered in sweetened condensed milk, tried one in a bowl with almonds and one in a cup with an entire slice of tiramisu on top

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  • Shabu-shabu: basically a pot of soup in the center of the table over a burner, you are provided with a bunch of ingredients that you can cook in the pot (meat, veggies, noodles)


  • Japanese curry: similar to Indian curry (if not the same? Difficult to say…)IMG_1862

Stay tuned! More to follow…



Benvenuto! I have arrived!

Benvenuto! I have arrived!

Benvenuto! As you have probably figured out by now I am spending my semester in Rome, Italy at the John Felice Rome Center! Cool, right? Well after arriving only three days ago I can honestly tell that this semester is going to be amazing. Although I am junior I feel like I am a freshman all over again. These first couple days have been filled with orientation seminars to fully emerge us students into the culture and help us have the best experience possible. Everyone is slowly getting to know each other and awkwardly engaging in small talk. So far I have met students from all over the place such as Saint Louis University, Santa Clara University, Fordham University, and even a girl from Iceland! The JFRC (John Felice Rome Center) is located in the cozy neighborhood of Balduina. Although the neighborhood is a little quiet right now, as most of the locals are on holiday, it seems like a great place to be situated.

Through jetlag, orientation, and unpacking last night was the first night I finally realized I was actually in ITALY! Myself and several other girls ventured around the city and were just amazed. Thankfully, we arrived into the city center on the 990 bus (I am still trying to figure out the whole bus system) and easily found our way around. We got to see the Castel Sant’Angelo and the Vatican for the first time!

Night 1


Vatican at night

Immediately I realized that there is so much I have to learn while I am here. Seeing these two sights emphasized that I know very little about Rome and its culture. I have already started reading and doing research on everything and I am so excited! (Trust me once I get it all down I will share my knowledge!) Another very significant event of the night was when I got my first gelato and it was ahhh-mazz-ingg! We ended the night by buying a few necessities in a local convenient store, where I was immediately overwhelmed. Speaking no Italian at all I nodded when the cashier rambled something to me. It turned out he was asking me how many grocery bags I wanted for my items because each bag is .10€ which I found to be a simple, yet interesting cultural difference.

Today was filled with more orientation sessions but our night was spent at a local restaurant. A group of students and several our Student Life Assistants went to a Sicilian restaurant with the best food I have eaten so far on my trip! The meal was full of a variety, ranging from seafood dishes, to interesting eggplant combinations, and of course wine. Around two hours later after we finished dinner and walked back through the cobblestone street. I developed 4 new blisters but it was worth it because I looked super cute in my wedges. We completed our night by taking a quick detour to the highest hill in Rome to see the city sparkle in the night sky, which was absolute breath taking.

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Stay tuned for more updates, I promise things will get more exciting and less Lizzie McGuire like as I get settled in! Ciao for now!

Reality begins to set in

Reality begins to set in

Today is the day I take my first flight out of America, the place I call home. It happens really fast, one moment you are sitting in your high school class writing out a bucket list you hope won’t be just a dream and then the next moment you are finally able to cross it off your list in college. I think the rest of my generation ought to start to believing that a dream is reality waiting to happen, you have to put your whole heart in it along with some sweat and tears. Here’s to the beginning of an adventure I wished for as a little girl, hope you follow along! Cheers !

If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough

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