Thursday, 20 November 2014

Good-bye, Au Revoir, Ciao, Cheers!

Wow, within a blink of an eye, my adventure in Europe is over. As I am leaving to go home tomorrow, I want to thank AIFS for giving me this opportunity to blog and share my travel adventures with you. Without AIFS, my experience in London would not have been the same. So, thank you, AIFS-you guys are the best!

Over the course of 10 weeks, I have learned not only a lot about myself, but about traveling as well. And I want to share some tips that I hope will help future/current travelers and study abroad students. 
1. When you are uncomfortable, you are growing. Yes, when you are UNCOMFORTABLE, you are growing. This was my mantra throughout my entire trip. Almost everyday, I did something outside my comfort zone. And, it wasn't anything dramatic like skydiving, but taking the Tube by myself or asking a stranger for directions. Many people think that being uncomfortable is correlated with negativity, but that's not true. Being uncomfortable allows you to challenge your limits and learn to defy those limits. 
2. Do NOT waste a single second sleeping. We all like to sleep, but you can sleep all you want when you arrive home! I'll be honest this is a hard one, but get up, grab an espresso and GO! You will regret it if you don't. 
3. Travel for the right intentions. It's fun to party (I KNOW), but don't let partying and drinking be your main priority. Your abroad to travel, to see the world, share stories about your cultural experience. That story about you and your friends going to a club, yeah, that gets old. 
4. You can have more than one home. "You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere." I left a family behind in London to go home to my family in California. London was an experience I will never forget and I call it home. 

Well, that's it. That's all I have. 
Traveling has made me realize that the world is HUGE and there are still many places that I want to explore that I still have yet to see. Also, traveling has taught me that I am truly blessed to know so many wonderful people. THANK YOU to everyone who has supported me (in both big and small ways) along my journey, each of you will always have a special place in my heart!






This blog entry is from Monica Hamilton.  For more from Monica, visit her blog at

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Czech Me Out!

A wise man once said, “Wherever you go, go with all your heart”, and I’m pretty sure Prague is where I left mine. Everything about the excursion was absolutely superb. Upon arrival, we got to our hostel, which was possibly the nicest place I’ve stayed in thus far. After a night on the town and getting a little taste of what the remarkable city had to offer, I knew I couldn’t take any moment I had there for granted. The following day we had a walking tour of Prague, with a beautifully educated guide who took us to only the most stunning and intriguing places. We made our way through the square, to the Charles Bridge, the Lennon wall, and eventually made our way to the breathtaking Prague castle, where a few of us lucky ones got to see the changing of the guards… On accident, but awesome nonetheless. With a free afternoon and Halloween in our midsts, we couldn’t miss out on some shopping and an unforgettable night out. The next day we got to spend seeing the city ourselves, trying out the local restaurants, souvenir shopping, and trying our hardest to figure out the currency and nearly impossible language barrier. After a belly full of a surprisingly delicious traditional Czech meal, our day came to an end. The last day, we hopped on a bus and travelled to the Lidice Memorial, the Terezin Memorial, the Ghetto Museum, and the Maddeburgh Barracks. These holocaust memorials spoke volumes simply by standing in the empty rooms alone. If you thought learning stories in school was enough to move you to tears, visiting these places puts word of mouth to shame. Although it left a melancholy feeling with us all, it was a blessing to be able to see for myself the tragedy that struck so many. From sad tours to happy ones, Prague kept a piece of my heart. And even though Ahoj was the only Czech word I actually got the hang of, there is nothing stopping the inexorable desire to go back, and hopefully be able to say na zdravĂ­! (cheers!) without sounding 100% American.
This blog entry is from Jessica Clemons.  For more from Jessica, check out her blog;

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Tuesday, 4 November 2014


If you’re ever in the area of Muswell Hill (North London) during early November, don’t forget to check out the fireworks display around Alexandra Palace during Bonfire night.  When you’re done viewing the fireworks, O’neills Pub aka The Church Pub at Muswell Hill is a must-see.  O’Neills sports good live music, big screens displaying football, rugby or other popular sports, and even boasts a nice cornered-in fooseball table (Tablesoccer) with plenty of room, good acoustics and a fun, friendly atmosphere!
This blog entry is from Emmaneul Doublin.  For more from Emmanuel, check out his blog at

Monday, 3 November 2014

Living As A Native

  1. Hello again to my readers (if there are any of you out there….)!
    It's crazy to think that I have become accustomed to life here so quickly and so easily. I originally thought that being thrown into a big (foreign) city would have required a lot of adjustment, but it hasn’t! The tube, which seemed so very daunting at first, has fully been conquered. Walking around everywhere has toned my legs, so that one wasn’t hard to start enjoying. When crossing the street, I look right, left, right rather then left, right, left. The weather is a drastic change from sunny southern California, but I like it better here! Living above a continuously busy, noisy street has become my lullaby to fall asleep to. It's all a huge change that has become my everyday life.
    I’ve found that it is extremely easy to travel while in Europe. Everything is so close together; you could hop on a flight for 40 pounds (about 70 dollars) and bam, you’re in another county. A lot different from the states! That’s why I’ve been able to travel quite a bit while I’ve been here. Country wise, I’ve been to Scotland, France, Spain and I’m intending on spending a day in Wales next week. I’ve also had the chance to go to other English cities such as Stratford- upon- Avon, Salisbury, Bath, Brighton and I’ll be going to the city of Oxford next weekend.
    I haven’t been able to update my blog as frequently as I’d like! Due to my travels and schoolwork (yes, I still have class… even though it doesn’t seem like it at times), I’ve been incredibly busy! I wish I could share every amazing moment on here, but I’m too busy experiencing those amazing moments!
  6. This blog entry is from Rylee Leavitt.  For more from Rylee, check out her blog;

Friday, 31 October 2014

Adventures in Amsterdam

Weekend trips and extensive bus rides, life in London is never dull! This weekend my friends and I took a weekend trip to Amsterdam, which was definitely eyeopening but extremely beautiful nonetheless. Upon our arrival, we got to explore the area around our hostel. Filled with funky cafes, cool little shops, and a Nutella store, so there was no way we could have been bored. We made our way to the Anne Frank house, which was utterly moving. Being able to see the stories from where they came from and actually walk the same steps of someone so monumental in history was something I won’t ever forget. The next day, we made like typical tourists and found the I Amsterdam sign, and took a million pictures worth a trillion words. But you can put friendship in a simple sentence. Later in the day we strayed through the Van Gogh Museum. I shouldn’t even have to mention how wonderful that was! In visiting Amsterdam, the one thing everyone is supposed to do is see the red light district. Interesting, disturbing, and definitely just something you’ll have to see for yourself. Unfortunately, our weekend came to an end all too soon. But coming back to the familiar streets of London was much needed after the 10 hour bus ride back. From Dutch pancakes, Nutella muffins, and an infinite amount of laughs, Amsterdam did us well.
This blog entry is from Jessica Clemons.  For more from Jessica, check out her blog at

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

8 Reasons to go to Scotland

1. Men wearing kilts. I thought men only wear kilts on special holidays...No, it's their normal everyday attire. 
2. Picturesque scenery. Did Van Gogh paint this? 

1. Men wearing kilts. I thought men only wear kilts on special holidays...No, it's their normal everyday attire. 

2. Picturesque scenery. Did Van Gogh paint this? 

3. Historic architecture. When you mistakenly think you see a castle, and in actuality it is an ordinary shop...
4. The YES Pub. The Yes Pub is relative to the recent Scotland Referendum..someday, Scotland...someday and its only the best place to dance the jig to live Scottish music and spend your 19th birthday!!
5. Eternal river of beauty. Legend has it when you dip your face in this river for 7 seconds, you gain 7 years of eternal beauty
6. Loch Ness. Where are you Nessie? 
7. The Elephant House. A cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter and Philosopher's Stone. 
8. Haggis. Don't ask how it is made or what it is made out of-just try it. 
This blog entry is from Monica Hamilton.  For more from Monica, check out her blog at