Tuesday, 7 April 2015

It’s difficult to really nail down what your favorite part of travelling would be. For me, it’s always been simple: I enjoy meeting new people the most. Just going outside your front door enables you the opportunity to meet someone new who could change your entire life or move right on through.
For me, this trip has of course been amazing for all of the right reasons. I’ve done things I never thought I could/would. But in all actuality, this trip has blessed me with some amazing people that I can add to my list of favorite people.
What would I do without my two friends from the program, Carly and Ola? You can count on this trip to be a vehicle for making lifelong friends. You find people that have the same interests, the same passions, and most importantly the same travel style. Some people feel the need to go, do, and see everything. Some people like to relax and soak it all up. The greatest bit about the AIFS program is that you meet travel partners, compatible travel partners.

 This blog entry is from Jade Ryals. For more from Jade, check out her blog at

Friday, 27 March 2015

Ah, Dublin.
Dublin was refreshing and lovely. Everyone was so friendly and knew how to walk on the streets. When Jason and I looked lost, people would walk up to us and ask us if we needed help with directions. It was also green and had flowers in bloom. Although London provides me with good air and greenery, Dublin was an entirely different story.
After only an hour long flight, we stopped in a pub called Madigan’s (on O’Connell street, haha) and started our first day. Next, we moved into the Spire Hostel and set out for some exploring. I went into several pubs and one called Sweeney’s was particularly awesome. It was some sort of soft-grunge (no Tumblr pun intended) place that had good drink specials and packages of guitar strings for purchase in a vending machine. I guess when I go into a place and see a lot of people my age with funky hair styles and tattoos, I feel right at home.
On the second day, Jason and I saw St. Patrick’s Cathedral along with the Dublin Castle. I saw so many shamrocks! Then, we went on the Guinness Storehouse tour which was a real treat even though I don’t really like beer, especially dark beer. We went into the world’s largest pint glass and learned how Guinness was made. One of the cooler parts of tour was where they gave you a baby pint glass and you learned how to properly taste Guinness (sweet on the tip of the tongue, roasted on the sides and bitter in the back). The following floor was all of Guinness’ advertising and had just been opened the day before we visited. It was pretty lucky. Being an ad major, I was enthralled by the cleverness of Guinness’ work, especially the Whistling Oyster and their take/twist on popular sayings. We ended the tour at the Gravity Bar where I could see the entirety of Dublin; the mountains, the ocean, the landmarks..everything. I felt weightless as the sun hit my face as the clouds rolled by. I became so relentlessly happy.
After a short break, we went to the Irish Beer and Whiskey Fest where we tried our hand at many craft Irish drinks. I favour the ciders so I had a good time trying out quite a few. An authentic Irish band played (complete with washboard and Washboard Willy) and everyone was so jolly.
I couldn’t spot one grumpy person the whole trip. Not even at the airport on the way back. I think it’s something in the Irish air.

This blog entry is from Eva Dietz. For more from Eva, check out her blog at

Friday, 20 March 2015

This week was unforgettable. It started off great when I was able to get a ticket to be a studio audience member on the TV game show 'Celebrity Squares.' Even though I didn't know any of the celebrities, since they are mostly on British TV shows, I knew the host--Warwick Davis. He played two different characters on Harry Potter and it was amazing to see him in person. It was also so much fun to be on a set and see how TV game shows are filmed.

The next day was even better! After class, my friend and I headed over to Leicester Square to try and get good spots at the Insurgent movie premiere! We were able to get really good spots-- right in the front row-- and got both Shailene Woodley and Theo James' autographs! I love Shailene Woodley so it was really fun to see her in person. After the movie premiere, we headed over to see Les Miserables, one of my favorite musicals. It was even more amazing than I was expecting. The talent of the cast was unbelievable. As we were leaving, we happened to walk by the stage door and were able to see/get pictures with a few of the actors and actresses!

On Friday night of this week I was able to meet up with one of my mom's best friends. She is a flight attendant and was in London for a night. It was really nice to see her--We had a wonderful time going to dinner, Lord of the Dance, and to a pub. I am glad she was able to take a trip to London..I only wish she could have stayed longer!

So I guess you could say I just had a typical week in London...

This blog entry is from Avery Lux. For more from Avery, check out her blog at

Friday, 13 March 2015

Hi Blog.

This week went by really fast, and I think it’s because we’re on the last leg of the trip. I’ll be sad to leave London, but the ending date looms like the fiery Eye of Sauron over the scarred plains of Mordor. Or something.

Anyway, this week was a blur, but! On Tuesday we saw Once, which I definitely recommend checking out. The music was great, the cast was really talented, the story line was adorable, the set changes were amazing, etc. etc.

First though, we hit up Tommy’s for burgers. Their special offer is pretty good, if you ever find yourself on King’s Road and don’t want to spend too much money on a bite to eat.
After dinner, we went to the Phoenix Theatre for the show.
Wednesday after class turned out really nice. I didn’t expect it to, because I had 1.5 hours sleep the night before (Note to my parents: Don’t worry, this is not a regular occurrence), but the call of sugar led Shannon and I to the area around South Kensington station, where we ended up eating crepes.
The Mona Liza Crepe (stuffed with feta cheese, mushrooms, bacon, and cheddar):
I would definitely recommend this area for a chill day out with friends. It’s also a cute date area, as exemplified by the adorable and fancy elderly couple that sat next to us and ordered a bottle of wine.
Today we went thrifting, which took us from Soho to the East End of London. First though, we started out the day with an English breakfast in Kensington :)
Another note to my parents: I don’t normally eat out this much, I swear.

Going back to the subject of thrifting: I love clothes? I love clothes so much. I am startled by how much I love being around clothes. I don’t even need to buy them, I just like being around them. Also, the employees at these places were ridiculously well-dressed and trendy. It was painful/amazing.
^^^ The changing room. That was the good hook.
After that, Bonnie and I went on the Jack the Ripper tour, which was great but which I didn’t get any photos of. There were some graphic pictures we looked at, but overall the tour wasn’t too spooky. I really liked the respectful way our guide talked about the victims—a lot of the time, we forget that they were real women living in terrible conditions.

We got home around 10 p.m., and Bonnie was kind enough to share some of her ice cream with me:
You see those? Those are homemade brownies, that Bonnie homemade and then decided to share with me. #FriendshipFriday or something.

See you next time then, Blog. Take care of yourself. Make sure if you’re sick, you’re coughing into your elbow to avoid the spread of germs to your hands and then to everything your hands touch. Make sure you’re staying hydrated—drink a lot of water. Coffee is not an acceptable substitute for water.

Good night.


This blog entry is from Samantha Solis. For more from Sammy, check out her blog at

Monday, 9 March 2015

This weekend I ventured off to Scotland with an AIFS group. I was expecting Scotland to be beautiful and to have a great time, and it was so much more than this. We started out in Edinburgh with a free night to explore the city. Meghan and I walked around and made it all the way to the Castle, where Mary Queen of Scots was held prisoner. It was beautiful to see at night when it was all lit up with the moon shining bright right behind it. This was also an incredible view of the city itself.     

The next day we got on a tour bus and began our three day tour around Scotland. My favorite stop of the day was this scenic hiking trail leading up to a waterfall, at Heritage Forest. It was truly beautiful—the fresh air felt amazing, and it kind of reminded me of home. We learned that the trees planted  in this forest and throughout Scotland are not native to the area. If you look at the ground, a lot of it is muddy and bare; this is because the trees planted here block out all of the sunlight, and the native plants cannot grow. Regardless, this was incredibly beautiful and nice  to be able to wander around for such a long time in nature again. 

Day three, even though it was incredibly cold, wet, and uncomfortable, it was by far my favorite. The bus driver gave us several challenges to do on various stops. The first was to walk across the Isle of Skye bridge, which connects the Isle of Skye to the mainland. It was really windy and pouring rain, so by the time we reached the other side we were all soaked! I thought it was fun though because I felt accomplished after walking the length of the bridge. We then stopped at the Sligachan River. This river has the legend that if you dunk your face in the water for seven seconds, you will be granted eternal beauty.This was our next challenge and I did it! The whole trip was a giant adventure! I actually liked being soaking wet and venturing around  the highlands—nature is quite something.   


This blog entry is from Avery Lux. For more from Avery, check out her blog at