How Amanda Spent a Weekend in England

This weekend I hiked the Yorkshire Dales with my best friends. It was the best weekend I could ever ask for. We treated ourselves to a bed and breakfast with the BEST beds ever; it felt like I was sleeping on a cloud. This time, we actually all had a bed too (which is rare, usually we find someone on the floor or in the bath tub). The bed and breakfast included a breakfast full of organic, free-range, and homemade food. We had a traditional English breakfast and the best hand-pressed coffee in the world.

On Saturday, we milled around town and had lunch at an adorable pub in Leeds. We made a new friend, a local drunk guy, who bought us a whole bottle of red wine! I’m not usually a fan of red wine, but it was delicious! Then, we hopped a train to Skipton and ate some dinner in town after a long nap. I had the best red snapper in the world and the price didn’t end up being too bad, because I shared it with Kendall.

The next day, we took a taxi to Malham and hiked around (see pictures). It was BEAUTIFUL and I died a little inside, missing the nature and beauty from back home. Colorado makes it ridiculously easy to enjoy nature and beauty, because it’s right outside your door step. It was freezing, so our hike was cut a bit short. It was well worth every penny spent to see a bit of nature for a day. 

We ate lunch in town, had some hot cocoa, and headed home. It was a refreshing weekend of good sleep, good food, and good conversation ❤


Amanda is a junior studying journalism and technical communication at CSU.  She is attending the University of Leicester for the spring 2013 term.  


Its All Dutch to Us! Getting settled in The Netherlands

Halo from the Netherlands!

So we finally went to school on Wednesday and Thursday for our orientation, and lets just say the Dutch really don’t like to be organized or clear on instructions. So we show up to our first day and find the classroom with 7 minutes to spare (yes!), so we sit outside waiting for potential friends to come join us.

Finally! We see friends coming our way! 2 girls and 1 guy! I feel like I’m 10 again. Many of you might know my family moved as if we were a military family, even though we are far from it. So every couple years, I would walk into a brand new elementary school, ecstatic to make new friends. So here I am, in another country, in college, acting how I did when I was 10.

Our first 3 friends were from Latvia (to be honest, I didn’t know where that was on a map). So we pursue conversation, because the Latvians (Martin especially) loved to speak English. No teacher shows up, but 5 more IBMS French students show up wondering where orientation is as well.

Long story short, we finally found where we were supposed to be. Apparently they changed the room number, but didn’t bother telling any of us. We caught up to the group and continued on the tour of the school. No gyms here, only intense staircases.


Lots of stairs on campus!


We finally meet up with the entire group of IBMS exchange students, there has got to be maybe 50 of us? There are 4 Americans, us two and Sam from Kentucky, and this other girl from Idaho. Everyone else is from literally ALL over the world. A few places that stuck out were Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Latvia and of course all over Europe.

After a 5 and a half hour tour (ok it was really only 45 minutes), we headed to the Noodle bar. We were so relieved to be sitting down in a warm restaurant, and our two free drinks coming our way. Everyone at the table got beer, and it was much needed after a long day of walking in the cold. The restaurant was delicious even though they served 5 types of meat, one plate of noodles, and one plate of veggies. MEAT GALORE!

We sat next to our American friend Sam, two lovely French ladies, and a German guy. We had fabulous conversation about how home is different for us all, what adventures we are seeking while we are in the Hague, and what brought us to study in the Netherlands! I punched myself for not getting a picture of our table.

We got home after that insane day and passed out in our twin beds, listening to random beeping sounds and a kid beginning his rap profession right outside our window (how lucky are we?)

Thursday was a whole new day, with twice the chaos. We woke up at 8 am to leave a bit early before school in search of a mousetrap. We went to our local Kruidvat (spelling?) and asked if they sold such a thing. She directed me towards a box, with poison in it. Nothing like the wood with a spring and cheese on it, like the ones us Americans have. As long as it kills the mouse then it will work, especially for 3 euro. We bought it, set it, and headed to our second day of orientation.

On our 20-minute trek to school we experienced some rain, then some hail, and potentially some snow. But like Colorado, it all stopped by the time we got there. So this time the ginormous group of exchange students herded to the closest tram station, where we flooded the tram full of people headed to work (poor locals). The tram conveniently dropped us off right next to the peace palace. The building is beautiful.

It is the International Court of Justice, so me being a weird person who wants to become a lawyer and loves court rooms, I was stoked to go inside! Well we quickly learned there are only 2 days out of 365 that they let tourists inside the actual building! So instead we were stuck in the museum next door, listening with headphones to a robot tell us about history.


International Court of Justice

Lunch was delicious with some soup, who knows what it was, and then we got this really yummy pasta. This time we sat next to a guy from Latvia, a guy from Canada, and a girl from Ecuador, and of course our American friend Sam. The conversation between cultures was once again an awesome experience.

After our tummies were full, we headed back to the school to finally get to the important stuff, our schedules. During the introduction presentation, I was in a food coma and struggled to keep my eyes open. All I wanted was 5 minutes of sleep, but of course that didn’t happen. They shuffled us to a computer room and we started the journey of scheduling our classes.

We were both completely lost and kept looking at each other like “Oh my god, what have we gotten ourselves into?” Luckily a nice Dutch student, Peter, sat down with me and walked me through it. Man was it confusing! The Dutch do things very disorganized and not constructed one bit. Very different than CSU! After 3 long, treacherous hours we left still a little confused about our schedules but ready to leave and rest up for the party at Havana that the school put together for the exchange students.

Havana was a blast, and we got to see all the people we met throughout orientation in a more relaxed atmosphere. In the Netherlands (or Europe in general), they see drinking as such a social thing, so the school sets up locations and times for us to get together and have some beer! It’s awesome!

Ta da! So overall, time is flying by and before I know it I will be on an airplane home with only pictures and memories. So we are enjoying every minute of every day of this once in a lifetime adventure!


Maddie and Sarah in The Netherlands.

Maddie is a sophomore studying business administration at CSU, and Sarah is a sophomore studying communication at CSU.  Both are attending The Hague University of Applied Sciences in The Hague, Netherlands for the spring 2013 term. 

Melissa Learns the Welsh Way

If you are attending a university and have the opportunity to do a semester abroad, DO IT!  Here I am living in a part of the world that seemed so far away and distant when I was growing up!  The “foreigners” are only foreign until you get to know them!  Yes, there are differences, and just because it’s different, does not mean that it is wrong or scary.  Life is all about making connections!  And through each connection you make, your life is being expanded!  I have made such great friends here!  It is easy to make friends when you go out with the attitude that strangers are merely friends waiting to happen.  Every time we go out, we meet new people, hear new perspectives, and have a wonderful time!

View of the bay from seminar classroom

View of the bay from seminar classroom

On Sunday, all the Americans and a hand-full of British people went to the student village pub to participate in the great American tradition: Superbowl Sunday.  Being 8 hours ahead of Pacific time, the game started at midnight.  Needless to say, we were there, even though we had class in 9 hours from kickoff.  I was very disappointed, however, when the first commercial break came on and instead of an epic 30-second preview of something companies had been building for months, we saw nothing more than the usual UK commercials!  I nearly cried!  It was a sad game for the 49ers, but at least they put in some effort in the end!

Travel plans are slowly, but surely being made!  Kate (another CSU girl living in the same house as me) and I are going to London in a few weeks to visit one of our housemates who moved out a few weeks ago.  While in London, we are going to see THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA!!!!!!!  I am so excited!  I have also signed up for a day trip to Stonehenge in March and an April trip to Cardiff for a huge rugby event.  Still so much more to see and do!!!

Classes started last Monday.  I am taking Fluid Mechanics and Differential Equations for credits that will transfer back to CSU and Film Studies as a fun credit.  I have class Mondays from 10am to 6pm.  Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays I only have one class a day in the afternoon. Wednesdays are a free day.  It’s definitely a bit of a breather compared to the busy schedules I’ve had a CSU!

Fluids and Diff Eq are classic engineering classes with overly smart professors who don’t know how to handle today’s crazy youth.  Film Studies is very interesting!  The teacher is younger and knows how to engage the class.  I am learning all about how to “read the film” instead of just watching it because film is really a form of art.  Even though I am not taking a philosophy class, I still get pretty philosophical when the teacher goes into the deeper meaning behind each shot in a film!  Yesterday, we talked about the different types of narrative: classical and modern.  Classical follows the idea of linear progression, everything in its place, the classic story.  Modern believes that life is not linear and that not everything is due to cause-and-effect; there are things in life that just happen with no explanation and that is what makes life life!!!


Traditional English breakfast

It’s funny to think about why things happen and how they happen and what will happen next.  The truth is, we do not have any idea on what the future holds for us!  We never know what people will just “happen” into our lives and shake up everything we know!  All we can do is go with the flow and be flexible with the changes and challenges ahead!  This is life, and I love it!


Hot cross bun

Melissa is a sophomore studying civil engineering at CSU.  She is attending Swansea University in Swansea, Wales for the spring 2013 term. 

Amanda arrives in England

What a day! I finally arrived into Heathrow today after an 8 hour flight with a slight delay that had me panicked.

Anyway, finally got my Travelex card and some currency. The exchange rate still baffles me and I swear they use Monopoly money over here; it isn’t real! From there, I met a ton of study abroad kids from around the US and Canada. We chatted and everyone is super friendly! We are all in the same boat which is a nice change of pace from my other international encounters. Usually, I’m the only person with a zillion questions. Now, we all have em!

Anyway, we all went to ASDA, which is like Wal-Mart and I picked up a few things for the room. When I got home, I had a roommate from South Korea named Sue! She’s really clean, which is awesome and she’s nice too! An added bonus 😉

From there, we had a questionable dinner of salisbury steak and mashed potatoes and were invited to drink at the pub. I had some room issues to attend to so I headed back early. What a day, what a day.

I feel like a freshman again, that’s for sure. I don’t know my way, I got lost in ASDA, and I ask loads of questions. Everything here is so different, yet strangely familiar.

Hopefully tomorrow goes easier on me, but I doubt it. We have a full day planned of getting a tour, getting bus passes, getting ID passes, etc. I’d like to register for classes soon, but can’t be too picky!

All in due time, I suppose…


The University of Leicester

Amanda is a junior studying journalism and technical communication at CSU.  She is attending the University of Leicester for the spring 2013 term.