I’m Surrounded by Winers, but I have no Complaints.

I’m Surrounded by Winers, but I have no Complaints.

If you are like me and like a glass of wine, then you are probably aware that France really understands wine.  I would recommend that if you visit France you visit a vineyard with wine tours and tastings. This past Wednesday, the program that helps me become more immersed in French culture, l’Institut Méditerranéen de Langues et Services (The Institute of Mediterranean Languages and Services), offered an excursion to a local vineyard for a wine tour and tasting. We went to le Château de Flaugergues and let me tell you it did not disappoint. It was this lovely château, just outside of Montpellier, with beautiful gardens and nice wine. The first thing we did was exploring the gardens then once that was over we had the chance to learn about tasting wines and then, of course, try some of their wines.  I typically prefer red wines but le Château de Flaugergue had surprised me with their white wine. But while the vineyard was fun I’ve also been able to explore a more of France.

This past weekend I had gone with my Danish friend, Jens, to Pézenas. Pézenas is a cozy countryside city just about an hour outside of Montpellier. It is quaint and nice with a great market on Saturdays. It also has a beautiful countryside that all you need to do to get to it crossing a cute quaint bridge. One thing I didn’t know about Pézenas until I got there was that it has a lot of history with the famous French author, Molière. Molière is kind of the French Shakespeare, he often wrote many plays making fun of the nobles but, never king so he wouldn’t get in trouble. Last year in my French class we had actually read his play, l’École des Femmes, and while it wasn’t my favorite book I have ever read it was cool to spend a weekend in a town that inspired several of Molière’s plays.

I have also taken a few day trips to Nîmes and Marseille. I was able to take a last-minute train out to Nîmes for a day at the end of September. Nîmes is a very cool and old French city with a lot of Roman influences. And we were there for a bullfighting festival, but we all agreed that we did not want to watch the bull lose so we just enjoy the people food and drinks. As for Marseille, it was another excursion and we had a very historical tour of the city, our tour guide even gave us his rendition of the French national anthem, La Marseillaise… it was only a little weird to stand in the middle of the street and hear a man sign to a crowd of tourist. But now I know what the anthem sounds like with all the passion a French man could give to it.

 

Each place I get to visit here in France has all of these cool nuances and a special pizazz about their place and culture that are so fascinating to me but, until I travel a little more that’s all I have for this post. All I can do is keep learning more about Europe and the people here in my little corner of the world.

À la prochaine!

 

Tapas, Cervezas, Iglesias..Oh My!

Tapas, Cervezas, Iglesias..Oh My!

     Hola! My name is Jennifer and I am a junior double major in Spanish and Speech-Language Pathology. I am currently in España, more specifically Northern Spain in Valladolid. This beautiful city was once before the capital of Spain, one of the oldest cities where pure Castellano is spoken and filled with breathtaking architecture at every corner. I arrived in Madrid a little over two weeks ago and let me tell you that these past few weeks  have felt more like a month.

               Once arriving in Spain, we got to meet the other students in our program from other parts of the U.S. My program consists of me and two other LVC students, two students from Elizabethtown College, two from University of Wisconsin and one from Michigan. From the moment we all met, we have felt like a family and that is an amazing  feeling knowing that you are able to rely on people who are going through the same experience you are. After getting to know each other, we all hopped on a bus and heading to our new home, Valladolid. Once there, we were introduced to our host families and got settled in. Being able to live with someone who speaks the language and knows the culture and history of the city is something that really helps us integrate ourselves into our new lives. The first day we went and explored the city in a true Spanish way. Hitting the streets like locals getting tapas, cervezas (yes, the legal drinking age is 18 here) and talking to locals. Luckily for us, after the first week here, there is a festival that goes on during  this time which allowed us to immersive ourselves even more. 

Walking around the city is the best way to learn more about the culture and richness of my new home. One day I stumbled across this beautiful church with hand carved statues and amazing architecture. The churches in Valladolid are one of the many reasons that this city is visited. 

Even more, on my way to the center of the city, I pass many beautiful churches which emphasizes Spaniards love for their religion as well as their architecture. All in all, my first two weeks here in Spain have been amazing and would not change a single thing. Being able to explore this city as well as hoping onto a train or plane and see others parts of the world is such a thrill. For now, hasta luego amigos y hablamos pronto!

I Saw London Now I See France

I Saw London Now I See France

Hi! My name is Ellie I am a senior French major at LVC, so you might have assumed it but, I’m spending my semester in France! To be more exact, I am in the south of France in a city called Montpellier where the beach is 20 minutes away and the weather has been wonderful. I arrived in Montpellier five days ago and it has been crazy but, you know, like the good kind of crazy. Getting a hand of the language is the hardest part but I can already tell I’m improving which rocks and I can only get better from here.

 

While I have explored parts of the city so far in the past few days, before I came I actually got to stop in England for a week to see an old friend of mine, Ella. Ella lives right outside of London so, it was really cool to have a local show me all the cool spots. My first full day, we had gone into the city of London and saw all the typical sites, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben (even though it was under construction), Piccadilly Circus but those weren’t even the best parts. A little fact about me is I love watermelon, and my friend, Ella, found a place that served watermelon soft serve in a piece of watermelon, so we had to go. While the city was cool and a great place to grab a “cheeky Nandos” we kept moving through England. We traveled to Hever Castle, where we were queens for a day and to the beach town Broadstairs, where a seagull attacked us. We also spent some time watching British reality TV shows, my favorite was Come Dine with Me, a cooking competition that features average people who compete against one another to see which one gives the best dinner party. Come Dine with Me is now a personal favorite of mine, the producers must find the weirdest people have to cook a three-course meal with entertainment and as well the guest get to snoop around each house because each guest hosts their dinner at their own houses.

 

 

All of that was amazing but Ella and I finished out my time in London together with a cream tea, which is afternoon tea with a scone with butter, clotted cream, and jam, and it was wonderful way to end a week with a friend who I had really missed and can’t wait to see again.

Well, Freshmen year got done so quickly and Sophomore already loading………..

Well, Freshmen year got done so quickly and Sophomore already loading………..

It’s been ages without updating my blog, I actually hadn’t forgotten about it, no way. This  is an overly delayed update, I am not sure how I got captivated to overlook posting my words. Well, two months ago I concluded Freshmen year and it’s again just a month away from yet another year. How time flies! Let me take a little step back and glimpse into Freshmen Spring Semester.

Spring Semester

This marked my second semester at LVC and a lot unfolded during the course of this semester. Some of the things nobody would have imagined the naive me would do a year ago happened. This amazing place continues to fascinate me as I realize that I am growing in an exponential way I would personally have doubted too.

Academically,the semester was quite fruitful  in comparison to Fall semester most probably because some adjustments had faded away. I am very much optimistic about my Sophomore year and the rest of my entire college career, being confident that they won’t be major transitional adjustments to impede with my academic goals. One of the major academic decisions I did was changes in my major declarations. I finally settled in an Analytical Finance major  and double minor in Mathematics and Computer and Data Science. I wrestled with what  I am really  passionate about and I realized that I am greatly passionate about developing a skill set that prepares me for careers in the interdisciplinary field of Financial Analytics and Technology/Data Science with particular application to the Banking and Financial Services industry. I am already making minor steps towards this “over-ambitious” dream of mine.  This summer I am working in Information Technology as Information Systems Student Programmer and part-time Student Assistant in Academic Affairs and Institutional Research. The jobs have allowed me to perform tasks and gain experience intimately related to my dream field so they hone skills in me in a tremendous way. I can’t help, but feel that LVC is home and the most amazing place fate had for me. I am unfolding into a person who is certainly better than yesteryear. The overwhelming support of the community at LVC is profound.

Outside of class, I became involved in extra-curricula activities and I will serve as the President of Global Education (2018-2019) , Student Representative in Intercultural and Inclusive Learning (2018-19). I also will continue my membership in Math Club and my favorite fellowship group, the DiscipleMakers (this is where I have met the majority of people whom I can claim to be very  close to me at least now).  A lot of fun activities also happened, I learned skating(which became one of the things I profoundly found intimidating , it is difficult ). We had fun with Global Education members and of particular interest was our International Food Festival (I made some Zimbabwean food it was really really fun but overwhelming), we had a Camping Trip to Swatara, and other miscellaneous activities like Dutchmen Day, Redbook Trips, etc.

One of the biggest event happened in April, the Scholarship Luncheon-an annual event for LVC students with full tuition scholarships to meet in person with their donors . JonnaLynn was present, her and I were selected to make remarks. It was certainly a profound moment for both of us to share our unique stories.

Insights , As was part of my goals, I wanted to develop friendships, I would say I  certainly made some concerted efforts to both gain and impart cultural awareness with my American classmates. In the process I learned quite a lot. I noted that the concept of friendships in the US has different meanings. It is fluid and dynamic. I learned that friendships here assume various gradients of depth and commitment ,  yet be deemed as friendship. Someone you occasionally say hi to can deemed a friend. This is a great departure from what friendship entailed back in Zimbabwe. There friendship was reserved for relationships with greater devotion and more substantial connection, which appears to not be requisite elements of friendship in the States. For this reason, as an International student the majority of your friends are very likely to be International students. I discovered that there are quite a number of meaningful explanations of why this is so. Of course, this is not to say strong friendships cannot be formed with Americans, and neither is it to imply that Americans cannot also relate. I personally have a decent number of friends who are Americans but it is an insight I got in the process.

Summer

As I mentioned earlier, I got an opportunity to work as Information Systems Student Programmer in IT and Student Assistant in Institutional Research. These happened to be significantly invaluable opportunities for the ambitious me. I have considerethem as opportunities to learn and advance my ambitions. I think of them as stepping stones for my next Internships and I am hoping and working to land an Internship off-campus next summer. Time has moved so quickly that I have realized that it is just about a month away from another hectic academic year with a full plate in front of me…. Well, I also have been watching World Cup and  watching it from this other side of the World made me reminisce about the past and think about the present and things yet to come. Only four years ago I was watching it from the opposite world this other side unbeknown to  me as a high school student that the next time I would have crossed oceans……Memories from across the oceans.

I am very excited for the new Almond Tree Scholars, both from Zimbabwe (Fatima and Darrell). I can’t wait to see them around campus !!!

 

 

 

 

 

Halfway done

Halfway done

It is a blast and unexpected year!
I can’t believe it is almost the end of my second year at LVC. Things go too fast, I have met a lot of good friends and taken many interesting courses that inspire my career. I never thought that I would have a chance to stand in the top of News Museum looking down Pennsylvania Avenue in DC with law class, never thought that I would present in the Inquiry this year, and never thought that I would climb an 800ft mountain to have the most beautiful view. LVC never fails to surprise me with academic and student activities opportunities.

I can’t wait until my junior year at LVC. I am planning for my internship and a cooperated research with my professor. On the other hand, next year will be my third year in college, then one more year and I am done. Four-year seems so long but it turns out too short. As people say ” I am a part of all that I have met”, I have met so many people in LVC and learned a lot from them. Also, I left a part of my youth here, at LVC.

One day when I graduate from LVC, I won’t ever forget the memories in LVC. Those memories will follow me everywhere I go.

 

International Food Festival 2018

International Food Festival 2018

 

It was crowded, busy, and exciting!

There were about thirty countries participating in the event this year. I and My hosted the Vietnamese table. After the continuous debate about what we would make, My and I decided to make “Banh bot loc” (transparent cake) which comes from Vietnam’s ancient capital-Hue. Under my expectation, it took us from 2 pm to 12 am the day before the food festival to prepare half of it. We began again on the next day and finished up right before the food festival. It was a tremendous working task. However, My and I enjoyed it so much. Both of us had never made “banh bot loc” before even though it is one of our most tasteful and common food. The preparational stage gives us so much experience of being an authentic Vietnamese, also it brings nostalgic feelings of home.

Even though the cake was not perfect (we made it a little bit chewy), I am glad that many LVC students like it. One of my friends even stopped at our table and helped us advertise the goodness of the cake for other friends. We even run out of food before the end of the day!

This is my second year participating in the food festival. The spirit of the festival never changes. People come here with the absolute willingness to learn about different culture and to have a real experience by enjoying food cooked by natives or study-abroad students or professors. Thanks to the food festival for giving us the chance to introduce our culture through food to many LVC friends and professors.

Giant’s Causeway

Giant’s Causeway

After being here since January, I finally made it out of Belfast and ventured out to the Northern Coast on a Game of Thrones tour. The tour was more amazing than I could have imagined.

While I really enjoy Belfast, I was beginning to feel stifled. With the constant rain, same views, and non-stop studying, I was in need of a break. The Game of Thrones tour was an event offered through the Queen’s residential life at a major reduced cost of most Game of Thrones tours. We were shown many filming locations along the North Coast and given insider secrets of the filming of the series.

The weather on the day of the tour was complete rubbish, but I didn’t even mind. Winds that almost knocked you over, rain that pelted your face, and cold that left you numb could not compare to the experience of the North Coast. The views were unbelievable and the smell of the North Sea is my new favorite scent. The tour lasted from 9:00 in the morning until 6:00 at night, and it was well worth the money.

While we saw many amazing places, my favorite location was the Giant’s Causeway. While it is smaller than most pictures make it seem, it is not any less magnificent. There is a small walk (or shuttle bus ride for £1 each way) down to the Causeway, and the walk is half of the experience. There are costal views to see along the way and you can take a few minutes to really breathe in that coastal air and relax. As a college student relaxing does not come easily, but I’m learning to enjoy myself in this country.

Unplanned Tuesday

Unplanned Tuesday

I received an email late afternoon Monday saying that my Tuesday class was cancelled due to the strikes that have been happening at Queen’s. Due to pension cuts, professors across Queen’s University have been striking in protest. Some professors can’t afford to strike, some are not as affected by the strike, and some are taking action and joining the picket lines. Three of my classes in the last week have been cancelled due to the strikes, but I did not expect my Tuesday lecture to be cancelled due to having an essay due at the end of the week. To fill my time, I decided that I might as well try and get my hair cut.

I’ve been in Belfast for almost two months now, but it’s been probably close to five or six months since I got a haircut last. My hair was becoming long, tangled, and unmanageable, and I decided enough was enough and I’ll get a haircut to commemorate my time here in Belfast. I didn’t want to spend much on a haircut since there are so many more things I’d rather spend my money on over here, so I went on a hunt online for a cheap salon near me. I ended up finding a beauty school in center city Belfast that offered £6 haircuts, which is extremely cheap, the only catch was a student would be cutting my hair. Thankfully, I’m a poor student myself, so I figured what do I have to lose?! I originally planned to get my hair cut Monday after a class, but the salon was closed. I left and decided I’d come back later in the week, or next week after it’s supposed to stop snowing.

With my class being cancelled, I ventured out into City Center early Tuesday morning, while most of my fellow students were still asleep. I found a small door with the name “Academy Hair and Beauty Training School” leading to a narrow staircase that took me up to the hair studio. It was a nice studio with a lot of students, some working on people, others working on dummy heads. I was helped right away, and left with a lot less hair and a longing for summer.

          

 

Even though it was supposed to snow, the morning was bright and beautiful! I explored some of city center and went shopping while I was there. When you find yourself in Belfast on a sunny day, no matter what your plans are you just feel the need to explore and take pictures. On my way back to campus, I stopped by the student center to just get a look at the strikes happening. At the student center they were giving out free crepes, so I even got a small brunch for free!

         

I left for a haircut early in the morning, and got so much more than I bargained for.

New Year, New Goal!

New Year, New Goal!

To many of my friends in here, we have been in 2018 for two month and 15 days, but to me, today is the first day of 2018 according to Lunar calendar. Lunar new year is much important to me as Christmas to many Americans. It is the time for family gathering, it is the time when every body experiencing nostalgic and excited feeling at the same time, and it is the time for us looking back what we did last year and setting new goals for the next year. Last year, I met a lots of people, some of them become very special to me, I traveled to 3 continents, 8 countries, and become Global-ed Club’s leader in LVC.

This year, 2018, I have a bucket-list to achieve:

  1. Get an internship in the States
  2. Finish the collaborative research with my professor
  3. Travel to Thailand in the summer
  4. Do an independent research

I will never be fun if there is no challenge. I wish that I can cross out everything in my list in the next 365 days. Then I will create a new list for the year after that ^^

 

A Month So Far

A Month So Far

Probably the best part of living in Europe is how close you are to other fascinating countries. This past weekend, I got my first experience of that in Paris. A challenge for myself was trying to wrap around another, completely different culture than the already complex one that I am currently learning back in Spain. However, the city of Paris had so much to offer that I didn’t myself getting distracted while navigating through the City of Lights.

It was the first trip that we planned as a group together, and now we wanted to see how it would work out. Something we got to experience that never happens at LVC was subways. Now with how vast of a city Paris is the metro became a reliable resource to get to multiple destinations quickly. I myself have experienced subways in Boston and New York a couple of times, and I can assure that they are not easy. Unless someone has taken the time to figure out what station is closest to your destination, which line to get on that is the quickest, and which stations operate those kinds of lines, it is very difficult. Looking back through the hassle of dealing with urban transportation, it actually made me feel more confident in preparing for a life in the city if needed.

The main highlights of Paris were visiting the Eiffel Tower and The Louvre. It would almost be impossible to spend an entire weekend in Paris and not have a chance to see the tower. The weather prevented climbs to the top of the tower, but it was still fortunate to get a glimpse of it, especially at night. After an early morning flight on Friday, it felt good to take some time to get to the city and get a crepe after seeing the Eiffel Tower. The next day was when the fun started. Some of us woke up early to get a tour of the famous catacombs. It was a nice history lesson that culminated with a dark past of France. After a nice French breakfast at a nearby cafe, we hit the metro to go see the famous Arc de Triomphe. Once profile pictures were decided and Snapchat stories were complete, we broke off again. I joined a group that visited the Louvre, which houses the famous Mona Lisa. It was hectic seeing so many people trying to get a picture of Da Vinci’s finest work. At the end of the day, it was an enjoyable time being able to see the many parts of Paris that make it a continuous tourist destination. This might have only been my first trip to another European country, but this gives me more motivation to explore the endless possibilities offered here.