Monthly Archives: February 2017


After writing this week’s post, I had hard time thinking about a title that would best fit it.  The events that have occurred are a bit scattered, and I couldn’t find a word or phrase that could tie everything together. Nonetheless, this week has been nothing but eventful — ranging from an exuberant ESL class, visiting London, and redefining home.

This week’s theme for our ESL class focused on stereotypes about Americans and the Spanish. Alex and I both thought that this would be a great opportunity to tackle some of the common misconceptions about the United States in Spain, and vice versa. We had the class break up into small groups and make a list of all the American and Spanish stereotypes that they were aware of.  Continue reading

Making Breakfast

This week was significantly less eventful in comparison to the beginning few weeks. I mainly focused on adjusting to my new living space, new school system, and the new idea of adulting. This is not a real word; however, I do believe it defines the concept of living on your own for the first time- that first whiff of reality. All my life I have lived with my parents. There was always someone who would make dinner or do laundry—usually this wonderful person was my mother. Commuting to Marymount, there was no drastic transition from high school to university (or “uni” as Australians would say). Now along with the new cultural experience of being abroad I also must understand how to live on my own.  Within this short amount of time I have realized a few different things. Eating breakfast only takes 20% of my morning while cleaning the dishes needed to prepare the breakfast is the other 80% of the time. If I don’t pick up my clothes from the floor, they will be there until I get the energy to organize them. No longer do they magically fold themselves and end up in my closet. Most importantly, purchases add up quickly. Each small indulgence from a green tea ice cream, to a large soda with my meal, chips away at the small budget I have given myself. Continue reading

Carnevale Celebrations

Carnevale is a typical Italian celebration that has been kept a tradition for thousands of years. The word Carnevale stems from the Latin words carne (meat) and vale (farewell), thus this tradition is in light of the Christian celebration of the beginning of Lent. According to the Christian tradition, Lent is the 40 days leading up to Easter when meat is not consumed. Typically this festival involves a celebration of large groups of people and even parades where people wear masks, resemble elements of circus environments, and take to the streets!

Continue reading

Settling In

After living in Spain for six weeks, I finally feel completely settled in. Sometimes it seems like I’ve lived in Madrid my entire life, as I now know the streets of Puerta del Sol like the back of my hand and find it bizarre to eat lunch before 2 pm. Other times, it feels like only yesterday when I stepped off the plane at Barajas International Airport and typed in “where is the baggage claim” on Google Translate.

In these six weeks, I’ve developed a fairly consistent daily routine. I’ve gotten involved in several extracurricular activities at school and as a result, have made numerous friends from all over the world. A month ago however, I didn’t think I would have fit-in so well into my new life in Spain. Not to say that my first few weeks in Spain were undoubtedly incredible – as I had fallen in love with paella (Spanish rice), viewed a beautiful Flamenco performance, and dove headfirst into a culture that has now become such an integral part of my identity. However, despite visiting some of the world’s most treasured sites and assimilating into Spanish culture, I still felt that there was something missing in my life that was a crucial element of who I was at Marymount. Continue reading

“Life is the Bubbles”: Week one in Australia

I have always wanted to move away from home and see the world although I always expected it to happen long after university. Now, I am typing this post from a city bench next to the massive Victoria State library overlooking a busy Melbourne intersection a few blocks from my apartment. Street performers play music in the distance and the familiar intoxicating smell of Thai food finds me, (like it often does). Although I am more than 10,000 miles away from home, it does not feel that way. Calling this beautiful city my home for the next 4 months sounds unreal and I am truthfully astounded to be here.

Continue reading

Florence Finds

Now that I have been living in the beautiful city of Florence for two weeks now, I have done quite a bit of exploring in this sector of Tuscany. Luckily, I only have class three days a week so that gives me two free days to wander around and get lost. Throughout the past week and a half I have been finding the most interesting places to eat, viewing beautiful pieces of art, and finding the best sceneries of the city.  Continue reading

Madrid in a Different Light

As the capital of Spain and one of the most visited places in the world, Madrid is a cosmopolitan city composed of museums, government agencies, the Spanish monarchy, and a spectacular nightlife to fascinate anyone. That being said, it’s fairly easy to get caught up in the glitz and glamour of Madrid, especially as a visitor to Spain. Spending a semester in Madrid allows me to truly be immersed in all the exciting aspects of the city. However, I also find it important to gain awareness of the socioeconomic issues in Madrid while living here. Volunteering abroad allows me to fully integrate myself in the local community and gain a new perception on a major metropolitan city, one that doesn’t just consist of visiting the most touristic areas. Continue reading

First-Week in Firenze

The first few weeks in a new place are always a little confusing and hectic, but also exciting. All of these emotions are filling your entire body at the same time because all you can focus on is being in a new city in a new country on a new continent with new people – what an exhilarating feeling. These are all the emotions I am currently feeling too. Although, I have traveled quite often recently, I have grown more accustomed to the quick changes than someone who may not be quite so used to it. We all have to go through these cultural differences in order to make the absolute most of our time in a new and exciting place!

In my first week living in the Italian city of Firenze (Florence), I have just begun getting to know my FIVE other roommates – yes there are six of us! Continue reading

Week 4: Conquering Fears and Misconceptions

Something that I’ve come to realize during my first month in Spain is that living abroad for an extended period allows you to fully immerse yourself in its society to the greatest extent possible. In contrast, someone visiting country for a few days may just have enough time to visit its touristic sites, but not gain awareness of the country’s socio-cultural atmosphere.

One of my goals as an international student in Spain was to participate in a community service activity regularly. During our Welcome Orientation at SLU-Madrid, we were informed of numerous volunteer opportunities supported by the university. I was particularly interested in teaching a weekly ESL class at my university to the local community. Continue reading