The GoGlobal Blog

Tag: Madrid

Pretty in Paris

Pretty in Paris

Make sure to visit this at night for a stunning light show every hour on the hour
If you can afford it, the views from the tower are breath-taking

I’ve been lucky enough to have visited Europe before. I saw some cities in Spain, France, and Italy, and loved them all enough to come back. Recently, I returned from a trip to Paris, which I saw last time I was in Europe.

I thought I wouldn’t have much to do, since I’d been to the Eiffel Tower, seen inside the Louvre, and entered the Notre Dame, but I didn’t have enough time to visit half of what I wanted to.

As preparation for this semester abroad, I hunted down works of fiction that took place in Europe as inspiration on where to visit during my stay, and I had a few new ideas on what to see in Paris. This trip was so fun because it was like a scavenger hunt, I was either viewing the touristic attractions in a new light or visiting places a tourist would normally walk by.

Be sure to look for the cat if you don’t have the time to read part of a book in there
A complicated, beautiful work of art. If you think it’s pretty on the outside, wait until you walk in

I highly recommend reading a couple books that take place in the countries you’d like to visit, because that way you’ll learn about new places to visit, or gain more knowledge on places you already know of.

Thanks to the books I have read, I was able to visit the church of St. Etienne du Mont, Shakespeare & Company, and learn more about Point Zero.

I learned Point Zero is where all distances in France are measured. Apparently if you make a wish on it, it’ll come true, and if you don’t make a wish, you’re bound to return to Paris again one day.

Don’t worry, I made sure to stop at Point Zero before I left Paris, but I can’t tell you what I wished for, or it won’t come true!

It’s worn away from the tourists walking past, to Notre Dame
San Sebastian and Rome!

San Sebastian and Rome!


This blog post is all about my weekends in San Sebastian and Rome! Just warning you now, this is a long one, so make sure you have some time if you wanna read it all.

San Sebastian is a town in northern Spain and it is the cutest little beach town. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a super chill and fun weekend. San Sebastian was about 2 and a half weeks ago, and it was one of my favorite trips. I really enjoyed it! The only thing that got me down was the rain, but it wasn’t too bad. My trip started off with a 7 hour bus ride, which actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Once we arrived, my friends Julia, Rachel, Benita, and I dropped our stuff off at our hostel and then started to walk around. We were blown away by how beautiful it is! We grabbed some lunch and then made our way to the mountain that we were about to hike up so we could watch the sunset. It was kinda rough, but once we made it to the top it was totally worth it. We took a million pics at the top and then found a good spot to watch the sunset. It was so beautiful and an amazing view!

After the sunset, we just grabbed some dinner and walked around a little more. We wanted to get to bed early because in the morning we were supposed to go to a little town in France for a day trip, however, I actually forgot my passport in Madrid! So unfortunately, I couldn’t go. It turned out to be a good thing though because everyone says if you study abroad, you need to go on a solo trip. I had the day in San Sebastian to do whatever I wanted! I ended up at first getting starbucks (of course right?), and then going to the aquarium. I also did some shopping and bought some souvenirs. It was a really good day! I wanted to go to the beach, but it was drizzling on and off almost all day. I did find a pretty cool spot to relax and enjoy the view though! That night, my friends and I tried pintxos, which you have to do when coming to San Sebastian. It’s really cool! Different bars have many plates of food out, and you can try a portion of whatever you want. It costs only 2 euros per portion, which is a pretty good deal! We went to 3 different bars, and the bartenders were super fun to talk to. We also met two australian guys who just graduated high school and took a year off to travel around Europe. It’s easy to meet a lot of cool people from travelling around! The next day, my friends and I went in a cable car up a mountain to see the view! Once we got up there, it was breathtaking! We also got to ride a roller coaster around the top of the mountain. It was actually really fun, and we weren’t expecting it to be like a mini roller coaster. It seemed like we were riding over the ocean, and it was honestly so cool.

After that we made our way down the mountain and found a place to eat lunch. They had really good burgers and gluten free bread. I was super excited about the bread lol. Definitely my chow of the trip. Oh let me explain what that means. My friends and I have a pow, wow, and chow of every trip. The pow is the worst thing that happened, wow is the best, and chow is the best thing you ate or drank. It’s pretty fun comparing everyone’s pow’s, wow’s, and chow’s. Anyway, after we ate we walked around a little more and made our way to the bus station for our 7 hour ride back to Madrid. I really liked this trip, and even though I forgot my passport, everything worked out for the best!

Before we rode the roller coaster on top of the mountain!
View from the top of the mountain!
The beautiful sunset!









Okay now about Roma! I fell in love with Italy! And it was really cool because it was the first time I was outside of Spain. I kept responding to Italian in Spanish lol. Anyway, the trip started out kinda rough. Because Jackie and I are broke college students, we decided to sleep in the airport the night before our early flight. We decided we would lose some sleep instead of 30 euros on a taxi. Jackie fell asleep, but I was definitely not comfortable to fall asleep on a cold floor. So I got two hours of sleep on the plane and that was it lol. When we arrived in Rome, we got some coffee and did some of the touristy things. We saw the Victor Emmanuel National Monument, the Trevi Fountain, the Vatican, and also the Pantheon. We ended up getting about 35 thousand steps that day. I was so exhausted! For dinner, Jackie and I met up with our friends who are studying abroad in Rome! I know a lot of people studying in Rome because Loyola actually has a campus there. My friend Francie is in nursing with me and one of my really good friends, so it was really good to see her! At dinner, they had a student deal that included a bunch of food and some wine for only 15 euros each. It was so good and the dessert wine was to die for! After dinner, we were in Rome so of course we had to get gelato. It was probably the best gelato I have ever had! Then, Francie and I went to our hostel to try to get some sleep because we were so exhausted.

Since Francie studies in Rome, she was my tour guide the entire weekend! My second day in Rome consisted of Francie and I going to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. We spent the entire day there, but took a break to get some pizza and gelato. I was really surprised how many restaurants offer gluten free pizza and pasta! Because we were at the Colosseum, I had Lizzie McGuire stuck in my head and was constantly singing “What dreams are made of”. It was a really fun day! At night, we went to a gluten free restaurant and as we were walking across the river, we came across a street performer on the bridge. He was amazing! He was singing American songs, so it was really fun to sing along with him. He even attracted a huge crowd of people because it was obvious he loved performing. Francie and I listened to like 10 of his songs before continuing to explore Rome. I got to meet some of her friends and we had a really fun night!

The next day, my last day in Rome, we went to the Vatican to see the pope. He was performing an Angelus ceremony. We didn’t have a good spot, so we could barely see but it was still really cool. After, we went into the St. Peter’s Basilica, which is the largest church in the world. It is crazy how big and beautiful it is! After that, we got lunch and met up with one of Francie’s friends! We did some more touristy things, and then I had the night to myself. I went to get dinner and ate some gluten free pizza one last time. The waiter was super nice and we had a pretty good conversation about travelling and a bunch of stuff. I stayed one more night in the hostel and then woke up early and went to the airport to come home to Madrid. I loved Rome, and so far it is my favorite trip! Rome is amazing, but unfortunately the public transportation sucks, so you can’t expect to get anywhere fast in Rome lol. Other than that, it was an amazing trip! I still can’t believe how much money I spent on food. I had enough pizza, pasta, and gelato to last a lifetime lol. No, I could never get tired of Italian. Well that’s it for now guys! See ya later!

France and I at the Colosseum!
The Colosseum!
Madrid Madrid Madrid!

Madrid Madrid Madrid!


So I am now about a week and a half into my study abroad experience, and I’m still having such a great time! Now that I’m getting used to my classes, I am starting to think about the real reason why I came here: to travel! Travelling is my passion, and I can’t wait to plan all the trips I want to take. Even though I can’t wait to travel, most of my friends and students around me are spending their free time looking at flights trying to find the cheapest one. Like how boring is that? I mean I guess it’s cool when you find a good price because then you get to go on an awesome trip for super cheap! However, it’s still a hassle looking up flights all day. I’m not even kidding, so many of us are constantly on our computers and once in awhile you’ll here “omg this flight is 40 euro round trip!”. Then a discussion on if they should just book it now or wait for later. They were making me think that I need to get going on planning my trips, so I decided to book one! My friend and I made the spontaneous decision to go to Mallorca for two days! We’re super excited, and you guys will hear all about it in a couple weeks! However, I can’t go anywhere else until I know more about the city I am living in for 4 months, so this weekend was all about Madrid!


We’re always getting coffee somewhere
The Royal Palace of Madrid

My friends and I explored Madrid as best as we could! We first walked around Sol and then went to Retiro park, which is super beautiful. We rented row boats for 6 euros and got to spend an hour rowing around a lake, which was so fun! We also went on a bus tour and saw the amazing architecture and learned a lot of history. On the tour, we also visited the Royal Palace, which is super beautiful! Like if I could live there I totally would. Anyway, it was such an amazing weekend learning all about where I’m going to be living for the next four months!



At orientation, SLU told us all about how there are different phases of our study abroad experience. First is denial, then we experience culture shock, and then acceptance of our new life here. So basically they told us that we will be so caught up in being here that we will deny that we are homesick or the feeling that we don’t belong. They said that eventually we will fall into a pit of depression and most likely want to go home. They were so brutally honest that we thought they were joking. Unfortunately, they were not. But don’t worry, I haven’t fallen into my pit of depression yet! Hopefully I won’t but apparently it’s inevitable. So that’s fantastic, but it can actually be beneficial to us because we can then learn more about Spain and everything about it. That’s what I’m hoping at least! So right now I am still in love with Madrid and everything about it! My classes are getting a little difficult, so I’m starting to realize that I’m not on vacation and that I still need to focus on school. My classes are super interesting though, so I’m excited for everything that I’m going to learn! I’ll let you all know if I fall into my pit of depression, but honestly if I do I don’t think it will be bad. I’ve already made so many friends, and I can’t wait for all the trips I’m going to go on! Well, that’s it for now! ¡Hasta luego!

New Adventures in Spain

New Adventures in Spain

¡Hola mis amigos!

I’m 4 days into my study abroad experience in Madrid, Spain, and I absolutely love it. Yes, there are times when I miss home, friends, and a familiar place. However, knowing that I am in a country that is so beautiful where I can learn the amazing culture is exhilarating to me. I can’t wait for the rest of this semester here in Madrid.










Living with a host family scared me at first, but now I am so grateful for it. I was nervous that I wouldn’t have any freedom and that I wouldn’t be able to communicate, but fortunately, I had nothing to worry about! My host mom is so accommodating, and understands it can be scary to be in a new country where you might not know anyone. I also have an allergy to gluten that my host mom knows of and makes sure everything I eat is gluten free. And let me tell you, she buys the most amazing gluten free cookies. Living with a host family is honestly the best way to live in Spain while studying abroad. I’m learning so much about the culture and the language. If you want to learn Spanish, a host family is a great idea!

I was worried about making friends here, but it is super easy because everyone is in the same place. We’re all nervous, but super excited to start this amazing adventure. Upon arrival, I had a day to unpack and just get used to my new home. The next day we had orientation. It was simple and only a few hours where Saint Louis University told us everything we needed to know; from how to get a metro pass and a Spanish SIM card to which bars most students go to. I know, not really what schools should be telling us, but still good to know. Even though they told us that, trust me, Saint Louis is all about safety. Honestly if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be here right now. So thankfully, Madrid is a safe city where students can learn about the culture, practice Spanish, study, and learn more about themselves.

So far, I’m enjoying every second of my study abroad experience and I can’t wait for my future adventures. I know this is going to be the time of my life, and I can’t wait to share with all of you! For now, ¡adios y hasta luego!

Bienvenidos a Madrid

Bienvenidos a Madrid

¡Hola! ¿Qué tal? Greetings from Madrid–Spain’s capital city and the heart and soul of its vibrant culture. My first 10 days here have been filled with incredible sightseeing, countless new encounters and unforgettable experiences, and some less glamorous communication fails as I continue to learn about and adjust to the Madrileña way of life.

My first discovery was that Madrid is truly a city that never sleeps–a lesson made particularly difficult to cope with due to the jet-lag I was battling the first week of my travels.  From the shops and flea markets in the morning to the tapas and discotecas that continue all through the night, the city is literally teeming with life at every hour of the day.  Out of self-preservation, I have learned to fully embrace the traditional Spanish “siesta,” aka taking a much needed afternoon nap!

I’ve also slowly been learning to fit in with the Spanish norms of behavior and experienced my first bit of success just this morning when I was mistaken for a local (I proceeded to give the poor woman false directions in broken and heavily accented Spanish). However, my first few days were full of confusion and social blunders as I might as well have broadcasted to all of Madrid that I was an American tourist.  Here in Spain, blatantly staring at strangers is seen as perfectly acceptable, yet offering them a friendly smile is considered too forward. Needless to say, this took some getting used to, as I spent my first few days awkwardly smiling at everyone who looked my way on the Metro!

Along with making these discoveries, I have been busy familiarizing myself with the city through visiting many of the famous parks, monuments, and museums such as Retiro Park, the Palacio Real, Catedral de la Almudena, museo del Prado, and Reina Sofía in addition to starting classes at La Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, moving in with my host family, and taking daily excursions to various surrounding areas.  This past Saturday, USAC took a day-trip to Toledo, the historic capital city of Spain.  Only an hour away from Madrid by autobús, this trip offered a great opportunity to learn about the rich history of Spain and its mix of religious cultures as well as to take stunning pictures of the ancient city!

With events such as the much anticipated World Cup starting on Thursday as well as the recent abdication of the Spanish King Juan Carlos, I couldn’t have asked for a better time to reside in the hub of Spanish culture. I’m excited for my weeks here to come and can already tell that it will be muy difícil to leave at the end of the month!

Until next time, ¡adiós!

The beautiful city of Toledo!
The beautiful city of Toledo!


A Few Study Abroad Questions

A Few Study Abroad Questions

The realization that my time in Madrid ends in three weeks almost brings me to tears. I have learned so much about myself in this city and I have met many amazing people. It will be so difficult to leave! I have been receiving a lot of questions lately from students who are considering studying abroad. I decided to put together some of their questions. You can find the questions/responses below.

Do you interact with the students in your program?

  • Yes! They have become my family. All of my classes are with USAC students.

How many Spanish classes are you taking?

  • I am in Track III and taking two elective courses. The History of Spain through Cinema class is in Spanish and the History of Flamenco class is in English. This schedule has worked out well for me.

Have you seen improvements in your Spanish?

  • I do not speak as much Spanish as I would like. There are some days where I realize that I have not had a conversation in Spanish outside of school. USAC offers suggestions for getting more involved in the Spanish culture. Many students, including myself, have English tutoring positions. This has been a great way for me to build a relationship with a family in Spain and earn a little extra spending money. There are also volunteer opportunities and internships.

Is it easy to understand the Spanish spoken in Madrid?

  • I still struggling understanding the Madrileños. They speak extremely fast and do not enunciate their words. I have an easier time understanding people from South and Central America.

Are you living in an apartment or homestay?

  • I am living in an apartment with one roommate. Originally, I had two roommates, but things did not work out with one of the girls.

Are you happy living in an apartment or do you wish you had chosen a homestay?

  • I have been very happy with my living situation (ever since the crazy roommate left). There are days I wish I had chosen a homestay, so I could build a relationship with a family in Spain and practice my Spanish more. With that said, there are some people in my program who are not happy in there homestay. So, I don’t know! I think it depends on who your roommates are or what type of family you are placed with.

What are your thoughts on Madrid as a Study Abroad city?

  • Madrid has been the perfect place for my study abroad experience. There is so much to do in Madrid. There are great museums, parks, restaurants and nightlife. I have also felt very safe in Madrid.


Carnaval (Carnival) was celebrated in Madrid a few weekends ago. Carnaval is related to lent and involves a lot of dressing up and celebrating. You can read more about it here. Some friends and I headed out Saturday night to catch the parade. For being first-timers at the parade, we did pretty well. We showed up five minutes before the beginning of the parade and scored an awesome place to stand. We were right in front of Palacio de Cibeles which changed colors throughout the parade. It was the perfect backdrop for our photos. Parades in Madrid are much different from the U.S. It is obvious that people are not too concerned about getting sued. Parts of the floats would extend into the audience, barely missing people’s heads. We stuck around after the parade to watch the firework show. It was the best firework show I have ever seen. The fireworks were synced to the music of an electric guitar symphonic orchestra. I was absolutely blown away. Check out the short video below!

The weather the following day was absolutely gorgeous- a big change from Spring in Chicago. Everyone was out walking along the river without coats and getting pumped for the soccer game that night. I walked along the river to Atlético Madrid’s stadium to check out the pre-game festivities. Atlético Madrid was to take on Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid. The atmosphere in Madrid was incredible. Everyone was sporting the gear of their favorite team and trash talking. Later that evening, I met up with some friend’s to watch the game at a restaurant near the stadium. On my way there, I heard the stadium erupt with sound when a goal was scored. It was unreal! The game ended in a 2-2 ties, so there was not excessive celebrating by either side at the end of the game. This weekend Barcelona travels to Madrid to take on Real Madrid. It is the only thing people have been talking about this week!

Palacio de Cibeles

Firework Display