#STUDYABROADPROBLEMS

Karly Sandsmarks is spending Spring 2014 at University of Westminster in London. She is a junior majoring in English with a concentration in Writing and minoring in Political Science. You can find her blog directly here: http://whereintheworldiskarlysandiego.wordpress.com/.

[Originally posted February 20, 2014]

Just because you’re off exploring the world for a semester doesn’t mean that life back stateside ceases to continue (a familiar lesson I learned during my first year of college). As a result, it is inevitable that you will miss some things – big or small – back home. Besides that, living abroad may prevent you from certain luxuries that you can only experience at home or school. In recognition of this phenomenon, I have created a list that I am hereby dubbing, #StudyAbroadProblems (let’s get this trending on twitter, fellow travelers).

1) “Chipotle Announced the New ‘Quesorito’ and I Can’t Enjoy it Until I’m Home #StudyAbroadProblems”

I first found out about this national treasure online and immediately dismissed it as a joke. It was an idea too simple, too genius, too revolutionary that it couldn’t be anything more than a fellow burrito-fanatic’s clever use of Photoshop to hype gullible Internet users into a fantasy. It would be the new Rickroll of online trolling. Desperate for knowledge, I took to Twitter (like any social media-savvy twenty-something would do) and posed the question to my friends in the States. I was shocked to discover the truth; Chipotle had done it, the “Quesorito” was real. Immediately, I ran to my nearest Chipotle and asked if they had heard such a thing…no such luck. I was so distraught that there was nothing I could do but to curse the Burrito Gods and curl up into the fetal position (I’m kidding – I got a lowly normal burrito). See you in June, Quesorito.

Karly Sandsmark 1

2) “The Dollar/Euro/Pound Exchange Rate is Killing Me #StudyAbroadProblems”

This horse has already been beaten to death, but the exchange rate is about as grueling as that figure of speech. Not only is London the most expensive city in the world, the Pound is the strongest currency in Europe. Should have studied abroad in a developing country…

3) “Thou Shalt Always Pay to Pee #StudyAbroadProblems”

First you rip me off with the exchange rate, and then you make me pay to use the bathroom? C’mon Europe, work with me! To make matters worse, most of the bathrooms in Europe are very unsanitary, which makes me question if the people standing outside collecting change are actual employees or if they are simple clever entrepreneurs.

4) “Everything is Tiny #StudyAbroadProblems”

Karly Sandsmark 2

Everyone knows that, in general, everything is smaller in Europe, whether it be the cars, the flats, or the quaint cobblestone streets. But I was not expecting my bathroom to be akin in size to those on an airplane. (I have provided a picture as evidence – note that both hands are touching opposite walls). I understand that there is not too much room in central London, but this is a bit ridiculous. If I have to stand partially outside of the shower to shave my legs, the shower is too small. I could go on and on about this, but I’ll spare you the rant.

Karly Sandsmark 3

5) “What Language Are You Speaking? #StudyAbroadProblems”

There are 23 official languages of all EU states. Not even considering all the unofficial languages, there are so many words that I don’t know. The best part is that I speak English and only English (how cultured of me, I know). I can get by with Spanish, but the remaining 21 languages are lost on me. Luckily, we live in a world where English is widely spoken and as long as you attempt some local dialect, not all foreigners will write you off as a stupid American.

Although there are many #StudyAbroadProblems, I can wholeheartedly say that they are worth it for this experience!

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 ❤

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Amanda is a junior studying journalism and technical communication at CSU.  She is attending the University of Leicester 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!!!

FullEnglishBreakfast

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!

hotcrossbun

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…

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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.