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United Kingdom

Exploring The U.K.

It’s always nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and Oxford was the perfect escape. Oxford is a city in England that is most known for the iconic University that some of the greatest scientists, prime ministers and even wizards (Harry Potter) have lived.

 

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When I think of Oxford my first thought is the University of Oxford, a school that everyone knows about, it is one of the oldest universities in the world and always finds itself in the top 10 list of best universities in the nation. The Bodleian Library is the second largest library in England, which is second to the British library. When you’re walking around the university campus it seems that you’re in a movie, a place that is unbelievably beautiful. I don’t understand how there are real people that go to school in these amazing buildings. I was just in awe of the surrounding areas and would definitely not be able to focus on my school work, but then again it is a high honor to go to Oxford so school must be a focus.

 

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The city of Oxford as a whole isn’t just the university, it is the perfect getaway from the city of London. Oxford holds a lot of history and culture and I think it is the perfect example of the mix of both. The university keeps the historical importance of the city and with a high street that adds a bit of modern touch. Oxford is definitely a city that I will be coming back to.



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5. One Last Sprint

Dear people who read these things,

The end is near, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, I can almost taste America. I leave for home in just about two weeks. Almost…there…

Anyways. Exams are this week. So that’s happening. There isn’t much excitement involving this ordeal of four two-hour essays writing sessions. The teeth are being grit, the thing is being done.

So I went to London the other day. It was a $25 trip. Pretty good for London I think. Especially if I had the urge while in America it would cost thousands of dollars. Pictures of Big Ben, The London Eye, and Buckingham Palace are included below.

I am very much extremely super duper totally excited to go home. I didn’t know coming here would be this hard. I probably shouldn’t have gotten myself engaged less than a month before departure to England…my bad ;) All joking aside, it was a rough journey, only to be met with a sense of time speeds of a hundred-year-old tortoise.

On the upside, this is life and I am better for it. Life will be difficult at times but I have been made stronger. Through this semester I have learned that God never leaves even if you feel misplaced in the picturesque movie-land of the UK.

Being here has brought me back down to earth. When I studied at Concordia I had all these dreams of traveling and never settling, going on constant adventures. But all I’ve been wanting lately is a chance at the normal life. Now, sure what is normal is subjective, but nonetheless, I understand myself more. Real life has slapped me in the face.

One thing that I have been able to grow academically speaking is my in learning skills. The way the classes and homework worked here, I was given a lot of free time to make work routines for myself. All this extra time to study and pray gave me lots of time to think. I was able to try my own ways of learning material and take my own time at doing it. Hopefully I’ll be able to take these new learnings back to Concordia with me.

This semester has been such a contrast to my past year and a half at Concordia. There, I was busy, overcommitted, busy, constantly exhausted, and oh did I mention busy? I used to pray for breaks where I could sit and ponder life, take a breather, where I could take time each day to get my bearings and prepare for the next day of chaos. God chose to answer my prayer in this way. He sent me to England to get that breather and to be taught a lesson [more like many lessons]. I’ve grown as a person and I’ve grown closer to my Savior.

Even though many days were filled with tears, it will all be worth it when I finally run into the arms of my fiancé, my mom, my dad, my brothers, my sister, and everyone I meet once again at Concordia. I didn’t know I needed you all until I spent 137 days away.

Thus concludes my final blog post for this study abroad at the Westfield House.

Blessings to all!

Kara Zieroth

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4. The Break of all Breaks

Dear good people,

It has been about a month since my last post and so many things have happened since then. I am in the last week of my month long break. For the first two weeks I decided to hop around Europe. There are too many stories and adventures to be told than can fit into one blog post. So a quick overview of my adventures shall be given.

The first place I went to was Berlin. The city of Berlin seemed to me to be a just a big city. If everyone wasn’t speaking German I would think that I was in any old city. It took extra searching to find certain tourist attractions. The ones I visited were the Berlin Wall, the Berlin Dome [Cathedral], and the Brandenburg Gate. The Cathedral was by far the prettiest Cathedral I’ve ever visited. I got to climb to the top of it. What a view! The food that was eaten: Bratwurst.

The next day I took a train to Wittenberg like the good Lutheran that I am. Everything that is worth seeing is on the same general road: The Lutherhaus, Melanchthonhaus, the Castle church, the church that Luther preached a whole lot of sermons at, and the Marketplace with the statues. It’s a very cute town. However, much of it was under construction and renovation due to the Luther 500 happening in a couple years. So that was a tad disappointing. The food that was eaten: Spetzle and a Doner Kebab.

Copenhagen was the next destination. Danish is such a weird language. I feel like it’s harder to read than English. I spent three days there. It sure was lively at night. The architecture was beautiful. During a free walking tour I learned that the majority of the city burned down three separate times. Sheesh people. The main tourist area was Nyhavn [picture included]. I went to a couple museums and special buildings and cathedrals. Good thing they were all free! The food that was eaten: Danish Pastries and a Danish Hot Dog. [Special Copenhagen beer was also had]

The next plane took us to Dublin. Yay exit row seats! Yay English! Boy had I missed English. What a relief. My travel buddy and I met up with more travel buddies. We went to the Guinness Storehouse and drank some beer. The next day was one of my favorites. We took a day trip bus tour to the Cliffs of Moher. Our tour guide was delightful, kept us entertained during the long journey to the west coast of Ireland. When we got to the Cliffs of Moher we stepped out of the bus and were welcomed with the strongest wind you will ever experience. I could lean into the wind at a 45 degree angle and not fall over. A picture of the Cliffs is included. They are much more grand in person though. The Cliff have starred in a few movies like Harry Potter [6th movie, horcrux location] and The Princess Bride [The Cliffs of Insanity!]. On the way back to Dublin we stopped at a couple touristy places. The rest of the time we had in Dublin was spent exploring the city. Food that was eaten: Irish Breakfast, Seafood Chowder, and a Tart and a Scone from the Queen of Tarts.

Scotland was the next destination. Glasgow is not a very pretty city. Very industrial. Many drab buildings. We took another day trip bus tour. This time we explored the Scottish Highlands. Our guide was dressed in a kilt. Of course. He introduced us to some Highland deer and Highland cows, both of which we were permitted to feed and pet. We passed mountains and lakes [lochs]. I went on a boat across Loch Ness. Nessie unfortunately did not grant me a sighting. Shucks. After the tour we went out for some drinks. I ordered ice cream instead of beer. I declare that it was a good life choice. We took a train to Edinburgh the next day. This is my favorite city. Hands down. We went on a free walking tour. There are so many Harry Potter inspirations everywhere! [This was the city in which Rowling wrote Harry Potter  (The Elephant House)]. Bagpipes could be heard from any point in the city, street performers, there were cashmere shops, the castle up on the hill, and every street was picturesque. Easter Sunday was the last day of my adventures. We found a Catholic Church for Easter worship [nothing compared to a Lutheran Easter celebration, but you take what you can get].  After that I made my way by train, plane, and automobile back to Cambridge. Food that was eaten: Haggis panini, Haggis with Nachos, Haggis on a Pulled Pork Sandwich [haggis is my new favorite thing if you haven’t noticed], and Gelato.

Throughout the course of our travels, my travel buddy and I stayed in hostels. Because they’re cheap. And they are cheap for a reason. Imagine a small room of ten bunk beds, people of all types, and a bathroom to share. I slept with my backpack and purse next to me most nights to avoid thievery. The lack of privacy was unnerving and so was the lack of curfew. Alas, it is over and done with, but the memories prefer not to be revisited. Along with being cheap, saving money was rough. I wish I would’ve set a budget for each day. It would’ve probably ended up with fewer nights of going to sleep hungry. But all the food I did eat, I made sure it was special to the place I was [or cheap grocery food]. For example, Scotland and haggis. Mmmmmmm! I will have to practice making it.

During the last weeks of my stay here in Cambridge I will be working on paper and studying for exams. The end is near [in more than one way]. 5 more weeks and I’ll be using American money, eating Chipotle, and driving on the right [correct] side of the road. Not to mention I’ll be with loved ones. The excitement it real!!! Righto, that’s all I have for this month.

God’s Blessings!

Kara Zieroth

Berlin Wall

Berlin Wall

Brandenburg Gate

Brandenburg Gate

Castle Church Doors-95 Theses

Castle Church Doors-95 Theses

Luther Statue

Luther Statue

Nyhavn, Copenhagen

Nyhavn, Copenhagen

Copenhagen Castle

Copenhagen Castle

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

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Loch Ness

Loch Ness

Highland Deer

Highland Deer

Highland Cow

Highland Cow

Glencoe, Scotland

Glencoe, Scotland

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Inspiration for Diagon Alley

Inspiration for Diagon Alley

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Tom Riddle Inspiration

Tom Riddle Inspiration



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3. The Halfway Point

Dear friends,

A few days ago I celebrated the half way point of my time here in Cambridge with a glass of wine [yes the drinking age is 18]. For many reasons it feels like this point hasn’t come soon enough, but it is uplifting to know that I’m that much closer to accomplishing a semester abroad. Many travels and adventures have been had as usual. Pictures will be included. But the most valuable things I am learning are not necessarily unique to the UK, but the experiences and trials have brought me to them. There have been many self realizations and shoves from God that I wouldn’t have been able to see if I was comfortable in the states. God brings you to your lowest points to build you back up in Him. My little brother likes to comfort me saying something along the lines of, “A skilled sailor doesn’t come from steady waters.”

My classes are going as well as they can. I’m learning how to help myself focus by getting enough sleep and taking breaks at the right times (and putting away Facebook Messenger, even though the time I get to talk to my loved ones seems like it’s not enough). The two big things I have to prepare for each class is a term paper and an exam. I am nearly complete with one term paper. The teachers expect quality work so it has been an arduous and stressful process so far. But that’s school. It is a good thing to learn how to push myself instead of procrastinating like I normally do.

Next week marks the start of a month-long break. For the first two weeks of it I have planned to go to Berlin, Wittenburg, Copenhagen, Ireland, and Scotland. I think it will be fun to try to live out of one backpack for two whole weeks. Details and plans still need to be worked out [a little stressful that things haven’t been planned yet, but circumstances happen]. Flights around Europe are much much cheaper than flights within the US, so that’s why I’m able to hop around to so many places. I’m sure I’ll have many stories to blog about next time.

This past weekend was a Westfield House Sunday. Westfield House Sundays are where Dr. Lumley rents a van and all of us students are taken to different ELCE [Evangelical Lutheran Church of England] congregations. Last weekend we went to the church in Plymouth [on the shore of southwest England]. Along the way we had opportunities to see Stonehenge and the Lacock Abbey [Harry Potter was filmed there!!!]. The congregation fed us that Saturday evening, we were assigned members to stay with overnight, and we joined them in worship Sunday morning. Again they fed us and we started our journey back to Cambridge. On the way back we stopped at the Mayflower Memorial Steps and drove through a most beautiful national park. The Dartmouth national park was beautiful. It is now one of my favorite places on earth. Pictures included. My favorite part about it was all the sheep. Yay sheep!

Speaking of sheep, the reading for this morning’s chapel was John 10 where Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd.” This has been a dominant thought for me all day. Just as I am wandering the world, falling into sin again and again, I am like a silly sheep who can’t seem to stay with the flock. I go my own way and I get stuck in a thorn bush. Jesus Christ always comes to my rescue, even when I hit rock bottom. He leads me to green pastures and quiet waters, he restores my soul time and time again [Psalm 23].

There are moments where I’m completely ready to hop on a plane home. The amount of times I have looked at plane tickets from London to Minneapolis is shameful. But God keeps showing me that he has much more to teach me. My time in England is not over yet. 66 days to go [but who’s counting still? (I am, I’m still counting… ;)]. Prayers and love to everyone back home in the US of A!

Kara Zieroth

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2. Countdown? Who's counting down, not me...

Dear friends,

I have been here in Cambridge, England for 47 days. A wild ride so far. They say the homesickness goes away. I’m still waiting for that to happen. In the meantime, there are many lessons I am learning, especially about trusting God and his timing and Patience. Oh that patience. But God has good plans. But my sinful nature can’t help but count down the days until I fly back to my family, fiance, and friends [and American food, one cannot watch too much Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on the Food Network, so good!].

It has taken a while for classes to get up and running and to understand what the structure is supposed to be. To be frank, the teachers for sure know their stuff, but class administration is lacking. The faulty and staff seem to be wearing too many hats. But I am trusting them to prioritize. I am a little nervous for the end of the semester when papers and tests happen, but I’m sure I will find out how those work. I just need to keep up on the readings and homework.

I seem to have more free time than usual. This may be because I am not involved in any clubs or jobs. That’s probably it. So, I use this free time to read for classes mostly, so there ya go. But this time also allows me to cook better meals for myself, take long walks down by the River Cam, and I have more time to delve into Scripture and have Jesus and Kara time. Which is great. Perhaps there is another lesson God is trying to teach me here.

Free time also gives me opportunities to spend time with the wonderful friends I have made here. Watching movies, gallivanting off to the pub, and having chats at the dinner table are just some of the few things that I enjoy doing with these people. I am going to miss them.

I have travel plans for my month long break. I have purchased plane tickets to Germany, Denmark, Ireland, and Scotland for two weeks of non stop traveling. Many adventures will be had.

That is all I have to say for this time. Don’t be shy to message me on Facebook! Blessings!

Kara Zieroth

 

P.S. Attached are some pictures of Luther Hall, the River Cam, the Church, Salisbury Cathedral, and King’s College Chapel.

Dining Room in Luther HallKitchen in Luther HallBedroom in Luther HallResurrection ChurchSalisbury CathedralKing's College ChapelThe River Cam



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1. So Here I Am

Hey all!

So, I’ve been here in Cambridge for about 2 weeks now. It has definitely had it’s ups and downs but I’ve made it this far. There are a lot of things about this place that get me excited like the community, classes, and sight-seeing. And there are some things that have stressed me out beyond belief. But I will start off with the good.

The people here are WONDERFUL. Dr. Lumley has been extremely helpful. Whenever I have a question she is totally open to answer it. In fact everyone here is willing to talk to me about anything. There are 8 of us new students from America, so it has been nice knowing there are other people who are in the same boat as me. The students who have been here for months already, or even years, are darling. The community feel and Christ-focused atmosphere is a great blessing and comfort. There is chapel every weekday and Sunday service on every Sunday. Much to everyone’s convenience, the church is right across a narrow street from Luther Hall [the place I sleep and eat and stuff, yeah]. So the spiritual life here is great. Most of the people here are here to study theology [although there are some students who are Theater, History, or English majors who are making this work]. So it’s wonderful that the people here are serious in their faith.

I’m taking classes this semester that I’m excited about. The way school is done here is different, but not too different. You just need a good amount of self motivation. We typically meet once per week at the Westfield House per class. There, a tutor [professor really] will teach and have discussions with the group [the largest size class is 10 people]. Outside of class we are expected to do readings upon readings and research. Like I said, self motivation is key. As a student it is also recommended that I go to the Divinity Faculty to sit in on lectures for enrichment [faculty means college, much like in America we would have the college of business, they would call it the business faculty]. Anyways, the Divinity faculty is one of the thirty-two colleges of Cambridge University. The few that I have gone to so far have been really interesting. The professor comes in and starts lecturing until the hour is up and then everyone leaves. So there’s no personal interaction really. The Divinity Faculty is about a 25 minute walk away. Some students here have bikes [which impresses me because the roads are backwards here, I pray no one dies].

So far sight-seeing has been kept to a minimum for reason which I will explain later. But the amount that I have done has been beautiful. The City Centre of Cambridge is a unique place. There are pubs and stores, colleges and chapels, and there are people riding bikes. Everywhere. Like they say St. Paul, MN is a biking city. That’s nothing compared to the thousands of bikes here. It’s ridiculous. Pretty great. But ridiculous. The general atmosphere here has honestly felt like a dream and a Dr. Seuss book. Every building is carefully constructed and everything has it’s own cute little place in the world. The sidewalks and streets are generally narrow and the buildings are smaller. I feel like a giant sometimes. The American life value “bigger is better” keeps popping into my mind. Oh America… Like I said, it seems like everything has it’s place. There is a street nearby with a row of houses and each one of them looks like they were built to look just like they do now. There’s a bike there, a pathway here, and little bush over there and it looks like pure perfection. Sometimes it drives me nuts.

Now for misfortunes [which I share here to scare off those prospective students, just kidding, but really, things to look out for and might possibly expect].

My flight to London from Minneapolis was quite the experience. There was a mishap before the flight and it ended up with me riding a coolio cart thing through the airport and running onto the plane at practically the last second. But thank the Lord I made it. It all went smoothly from there, I took a bus to Cambridge and then got on a taxi to the Westfield House and was welcomed warmly by the people, la dee da. But in the course of the mishap, I was unable to check one of my suitcases. My parents had to mail it to me, which it didn’t come until two days ago, and the British postal service is frustrating to say the least. But I have clean clothes now! Hooray!

Another misfortune came about because my email must have been too complicated to spell or something. This resulted in 5 days with no Wifi, no communication with my family, no life pretty much [cuz yeah facebook… kidding, again]. My roommate let me use her Wifi to let my family and my fiance know that I wasn’t dead yet. So that was a blessing. But after those five days, ah! Wifi never felt so good.

Three days ago I got dreadfully ill. Like 24 hour fever and homesickness all in one. I missed all of my one class that day. I stared at a wall for so long. 5 hours too long. But by that time family and friends and fiance were finally awake for me to talk to. Technology is a wonderful thing. But not six-hour time differences. Jet lag was a struggle by the way. Sleeeeep. It took about a week to get back to normal.

The weather here is splendid. I guess any whether that doesn’t involve snow is wonderful to me. Right now it’s in the thirties [F], but it never gets below freezing. Over all I am enjoying myself. I expected there to be more of a culture shock, but living in a house of mostly Americans gives a large comfort bubble. Which is both good and bad. But there are many opportunities to burst out of it and do fun things in the town like Evensong and drinking legal alcohol at a pub [no worries, all in moderation of course]. Photos are below.

I think that’s enough rambling for one blog post. More rambles to come [with pictures of Luther Hall too]. In the meantime, God Bless you!

With much Love, An Entrance to Kings College Gothic Architecture University Library The Divinity Faculty A Mini Castle Punting

Kara Zieroth



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Goodbye London!
London Tower & Tower Bridge

London Tower & Tower Bridge

Butterfly Paradise at the London Zoo

Butterfly Paradise at the London Zoo

Today marked my last day of my summer intern program.  During the past 8 weeks that I’ve been in London I have learned more about the British culture than I imagined.  For one, I learned more about its history and issues.  One hot topic that’s been on debate right now is the Scottish independence.  Also, I noticed a different atmosphere between London, Dublin, and Edinburgh.  My friends and I planned a trip to Dublin, Ireland a couple weekends ago and it was nice.  People say that Dublin is smaller than London, but it still felt big to me at least.  The people in Dublin were very nice and helpful too!  My friends and I were lost a couple of times but we would be offered help by Irish bystanders!  I thought this was very different compared to London because in London when you’re trying to find a place or are lost (and you clearly look lost) no one will come to your aid.  I understand why Londoners aren’t jumping at the opportunity to help lost tourists, but I thought it was a nice gesture in Dublin.  While in Dublin we booked a tour to Galway and the ride was beautiful.  I’m a huge fan of Game of Thrones (GOT) and was sad that I didn’t get a chance to do a GOT tour in Ireland since it’s filmed there, but the scenic drive to Galway was the spitting image of GOT.  The scenic drive was my favorite part of Ireland and I would love to just go on a scenic ride throughout Ireland.  Last weekend, my friends and I decided to visit Edinburgh, Scotland.  People say that Dublin is smaller than London and that Edinburgh is even smaller than Dublin, and those people were right.  Edinburgh is a smaller city compared to London, but it was a very majestic city.  Right when we got to Edinburgh we had an amazing view of the sun shining down on Edinburgh castle.  At first, I didn’t realize that Hogwarts was inspired by Edinburgh castle until the next day when I saw the Edinburgh castle enveloped by fog.  Even though Edinburgh is a much smaller city compared to London and Dublin, it felt as though Edinburgh had just as many (if not more) tourists than both those cities.  I think maybe an important reason is because of the Scottish heritage that stems from Edinburgh and also the city itself is just so beautiful.  Well, Ireland was beautiful too, but I personally think it was due to the scenic drive.  I feel that Edinburgh has the things that I liked in London (architectural buildings and churches) and also in Ireland (the beauty of nature).  If I lived in Scotland, Edinburgh would be the city I would live in; if I lived in England, London would be the city I would live in; if I lived in Ireland, I would live in a small town on the seaside.  In each city, I felt a different atmosphere but I loved each place for their differences.
Traditional Irish Riverdancing in Ireland

Traditional Irish River dancing in Ireland

Ireland

Ireland

Ireland

Ireland

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

A hill in Holyrood Park.

A hill in Holyrood Park.

The Left View of the Hill

The Left View from the top of the Hill

The right view of the Hill

The right view from the top of the Hill

This past Thursday was my last day of my internship.  I grew to love working at my internship because of the environment my co-workers provided for me.  I didn’t have your traditional ‘co-workers’ because I only worked with the other volunteers a couple times, but I did work with my three supervisors every day.  My supervisors felt more like my co-workers than my superiors because they did not hover over me with their authority where I would feel like an inferior; on the contrary they provided me an environment that was very welcoming and warm.  I love my co-workers!  They were very professional and a group of very nice people who are passionate about their job.  During my time interning I noticed another difference between the British culture and the American culture.  In the British system, if a woman were on maternity leave she had up to a whole year (and if she’s lucky it’s a year and a half!) off and she was guaranteed a position from her employers.  This also is applied to the spouse too, so both parents can enjoy taking time off on maternity leave and raise their child.  I found this to be amazing because compared to the U.S. system we get 6 weeks off and that is only for the mother, not including the spouse.  Also, in the British system, during the first 3 months of her maternity leave she would be paid full time from her job and afterwards she would receive half pay for about 5 to 6 months.  The British system sounds very great but there are cons to this too.  The mother is guaranteed ‘a job’ which means it could be a better or worse position that she had before she left.  But in the U.S. the employer guarantees the same job that the mother had before she left.  There’s also the question of ‘if a British mother does take a whole year off on maternity leave then how is she able to support her family when she does not receive any sort of payment from her job after the 9 months of payments?’  There are some factors that we would have to look into because even though her spouse could support the family with their income the family now has an infant who feeds every 4 hours, gets a diaper changed at least 3 times a day, outgrows its clothes within 3 months, and keeps on growing and now you also have to support the mother who is on maternity leave who also needs food too and obviously the spouse needs food too.  And remember, the spouse could also go on maternity leave for a whole year too.  I found that the British system’s approach on maternity leave sounded ideal, but realistically it doesn’t seem like it could work perfectly. From this summer intern, I have gained a new skill and also become more aware of cultural differences.    During my internship I learned how to be creative and I improved my communication skill.  Working with children can be a challenge because you have to learn how to keep their interest especially since their attention span is so short.  I found that to be challenging when trying to teach them about the activity or the topic, but I found ways to keep them engaged in the activities.  Also, I had to make some small scale projects such as certificates, make a database on all the elementary schools, and data input on transportation surveys.  My communication skill was improved during my experience interning in London.  Communication is important for all work relations and it was especially so during my intern this summer.  I realized that communication is vital when working with children because you have to make sure that you’re using the correct vocabulary and if you use a new word you have to make sure you define it for them. From my experience during my internship in London, I want to other students to know that studying abroad is a life changing experience.  To study abroad you must be willing to accept the challenges that it comes with.  Yes, there are going to be times where you are excited to be in a new place but there are also times where you  are nervous to do new things, but remember that this is a once in a life time experience.  You may have 8 weeks or 15 weeks to study abroad, but time flies quickly and it’ll seem like you just started.  Take advantage of your time in the new place you’re at and fully indulge yourself into the culture.  Be open to try new things but remember to also stay in your comfort zone.  You don’t need to try all the new things, but you should make an effort to try new things.  Learning how to make an effort will make your experience more fun.  An example would be when I went to Ireland.  I didn’t originally plan on going to Ireland but my friends wanted to so I decided I would try it too.  When we were in Dublin we went to see the Guinness Factory and something funny yet dangerous happened.  I did not have an interest to see the Guinness Factory, but it is a big part of the Irish culture thus I made my decision to go to the Guinness Factory.  I’m glad I did go see the Guinness Factory because I saw the history of brewing beer and while we were there a fire started in one of their barley factories.  Of course, we were safely evacuated out of the building and no one was injured, but now I will always remember my trip to the Guinness Factory.  You never know what you’re going to get and you’ll always have a story, so enjoy what you can!
Entrance to the Guinness Factory

Entrance to the Guinness Factory



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Life of a Londoner
I'm finally in London!

I’m finally in London!

Hello!  My name is Anida Yang and I am a senior at CSP and I am in London this summer for an internship and a U.K. cultural course.  It has been a month since I have been here and I love it!  Life here is just so much more different and I’m sad that I will be leaving London next month already!  Some things I noticed as I got here were the cars.  The cars here are very compact and they are so cute!  I was trying to find a pick-up truck but there were none!  I finally saw one two weeks later but the size of it was still that of a compact car and even if it was considered a pick-up truck the end of the truck is shorter compared to what we normally see in America.  I think the cars here are cute since they’re much smaller and there are a lot of fancy cars in London since London is a huge city full of money.  Another thing I noticed quickly was our terminology.  If I said ‘pants’ a Londoner would assume I was talking about their underwear.  So, make sure you say trousers when you talk about ‘pants’ because it has an entirely different meaning.  Another terminology which I found cute was a stroller.  Their terminology for a stroller is a buggie!!  Life in London is very fast paced and it was interesting to learn how they measure distance.  Normally if you need to go to the store you would ask how many miles it is, but in London you ask how long does it take to get there.  For my internship interview I saw that if I take the city bus it would take me 46 minutes to get to the place and at first I thought that was absurd and was wondering if I could take the tube (subway) instead since they are faster.  But then I found out that if I took the tube it would actually be longer!  In short, what I’m trying to say is if it takes you 20 minutes to walk to work versus the buss which takes you 40 minutes to get to work, then people will walk to work over the bus.  Also, a stereotype about London is that there’s never-ending rain.  So, far it’s been very beautiful here with 70 degree Fahrenheit and it does rain, but it’s more of a little drizzle which will only last for about 10 minutes.  The place that I am staying at is located so conveniently!  It’s a student accommodation housing so it’s not linked to a specific school, but for all students.  It’s not a dorm because there’s no communal shower, but there is a communal laundry mat.  You can choose which type of rooming you want depending if you have the money.  For example, I am living with a roommate and we each have a bunk-bed desk and we share a communal kitchen with 7 other students who are in the same program as us.  We are located on Woburn Place in Bloomsbury which is next to two main tube systems, a smaller tube system and we have the city bus lined up right outside of our apartment.  So, getting to somewhere in the city is very convenient.  That’s also something that I noticed differently in London compared to where I live in the U.S.  Where I live I need a ride to go everywhere since there’s no subway and I don’t normally take the bus, especially since I live in the suburbs up north in MN.  Now that I’m living in London I feel a bit more independent because it’s easy to find transportation and I’m doing it all on my own.  One frustrating thing that I’ve found out about London is that the streets are crooked and it’s hard to find their street signs.  There are no street signs on poles like you would find in the U.S. instead these street signs are on the buildings.  Some times I can’t find any street signs on the buildings so I always get lost in London.  Even though I’ve been here for a month, I still don’t know where everything is and it’s okay because I have asked other Londoners and they don’t know too!  So, even though you are a native Londoner or a foreigner it’s okay to be lost because everyone is lost.  The class I took here in London was interesting.  We talked about social media and it was interesting to see how big of an influence it is in their everyday life.  There’s always people at the tubes handing out free newspapers to you and everyone here is always interested in your political views especially if you are an American.  At my internship place we had a 17 yr old high school-er who was volunteering and she was asking me about my political views and also my views of college and the job outlook.  I was surprised at how passionate and informed she was because when I served on Student Senate and I tried to get freshmen to register to vote they were uninterested and acted like it had nothing to do with them.  It made me wish that the young adults in America were more attentive to their own political issues and world issues.

Where I had my U.K. cultural course!

Where I had my U.K. cultural course!

This week has been my 3rd week working at my internship place and it has been fun!  I get to work with children from elementary schools and educate them about environmental issues.  Each day we work with a different school and sometimes we work at two different schools.  Since we work with so many different schools and classes, we do different workshops with each class and school so nothing is ever the same as the previous day.  We have done some sessions about compost, recycling such as reusing one’s old t-shirt by turning it into a bag, and making paper.  The work life in London (in U.K. in general) is very different than the work life in the U.S.  Work here means that the quality of the work is valued over the efficiency whereas in the U.S. it is quite the opposite.  Since I’ve been working in the U.S. my whole life by the time I came here I was still in my U.S. work life mode and I would finish completing office work within an hour and it was supposed to keep me busy for the whole day.  Also, being on time to work is being on time and not 15 minutes early to work like how it is in the U.S.  And if you were late by 5 minutes it would be okay!  You wouldn’t get a warning, but instead a concerned question on why you were behind schedule.  Also, when one is going to make tea they ask everyone in the office if they want some.  It is a norm to drink tea here but I have also seen some people drink coffee too (which is what I drink when they offer tea).  Also, another thing I noticed different in their work life is their attitude towards tattoos.  Since I work with different schools I have seen teachers and staff bare their tattoos naked without it covered up.  I assumed that the work life here would be very similar if not the same as it is back at home, but it’s less conservative than it is in America.

Where I'm interning at!

Where I’m interning at!



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Greetings from London, England!
Hello everyone!  My name is Brittany Bernitt and I am a junior at CSP and I made the best decision of my life when I decided to come to London to study for the semester.  I have been here for a little over three weeks now and I have loved every minute of it!  I am shocked at how much I have already learned about not only British culture, but other cultures around the world as well.  The building I am staying in is filled with college students from around the world that are studying here in London.  I have managed to meet someone new and learn something new here almost daily.  Study abroad has truly been a life changing experience for me so far and it has only just begun!  Some interesting things I have learned about British life here so far: 1.      Having an outlet in a bathroom is illegal for safety reasons. 2.      Most people do not go grocery shopping themselves.  They do it online and have it delivered.  They also only buy food for a couple days to a week at a time because food expires much quicker due to illegal usage of most preservatives. 3.      Fast food is EXPENSIVE!!! For instance: a McDonald’s big mac is 7£ = about $11.25. It will cost you that much (7£) to go to a café and get an actual meal and coffee here. 4.      The UK thinks of America as their “best friends”.  They are much assimilated with us.  They also think of themselves as “the bridge” between America and Europe. 5.      The presidential election is just as talked about and broadcasted here as it is back home.  Obama is like a “celebrity” in the UK and no one understands why we would ever vote differently, but they are very interested in knowing our political views and reasons. 7.      Gas prices are roughly 7£ to 8£, which would be about $11.50-$12.50 a gallon.  Holy cow! 8.      Buildings do not start with floor 1 as the lowest level.  The first level is called G or ground and the second is 1. I have been so privileged to have been given this opportunity and have been able to experience so many things to far!  In just three weeks I have been on the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, London Fashion Week, Trafalgar Square, a Shakespeare play at The Globe theatre, a comedy play called 39 Steps, Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus, many museums, and so much more!  I have even been outside of London to the country to see Stonehenge, a rugby match, and what is said to be the most beautiful city in England… Bath! Don’t get me wrong it was definitely very stressful for me the first couple of days being here.  This was my first time out of the county and I also at the beginning of the summer found out I have some very severe food allergies.  It was difficult figuring out what places to go to to get what I wanted and needed.  It was also very difficult orienting myself and fitting in so I did not stick out like a tourist!  In less than a weeks time though I was able to figure things out and feel like a local.  I even get people asking ME for directions now! If any of you are interested in hearing more in-depth about my experiences here in London I post stories and pictures on a blog almost daily and you are more than welcome to check it out!  brittanygoestolondon.blogspot.com Cheers!  -Brittany

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I'll Be Home for Christmas!

cyfarchion(Greetings) Everyone,

Well it is a bitter/sweet time as things are wrapping up here in Bangor, Wales I only have four more days until I am back in Minnesota.  I have had an amazing time and I am truly blessed that I have had the opportunity to come to Wales for a semester.  To anyone considering studying abroad I say “DO IT!”  I have met so many people from all over the world, made life-long friends, and done things I could have never done if I stayed at Concordia for the semester.  I know it is a huge decision and it can be very scary but I promise you will never regret it.  I have learned so much living in another country and I can’t wait to share all those experiences with my loved ones and friends.  One of the best cultural experiences I had was celebrating a British Christmas dinner with my flatmates.  I learned all about their customs at Christmas time.  Some of which were similar to the U.S. but others that are common for them. In the picture below you will notice that we all have crowns on our heads they are part of a tradition where everyone has a gift called a “Christmas cracker” in front of their plate.  You each hold on to the crackers and pull them apart. Inside you get a joke, small toy, and a crown. Everyone wears their crown throughout the rest of the meal. Almost every family does this during their Christmas meal.

Christmas Dinner in Bangor

Below are a few suggestions I have for anyone who wants to study abroad.

  • Take lots of pictures!
  • Make a budget for you money before you leave.
  • Meet the locals.
  • Write a journal (you may think you will remember everything but you don’t and it is nice to have a written reminder).
  • Try the local cuisine.
  • Travel as much as you can. Don’t just stick to the area you are living.
  • Most Importantly……HAVE FUN!


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5. One Last Sprint

Dear people who read these things,

The end is near, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, I can almost taste America. I leave for home in just about two weeks. Almost…there…

Anyways. Exams are this week. So that’s happening. There isn’t much excitement involving this ordeal of four two-hour essays writing sessions. The teeth are being grit, the thing is being done.

So I went to London the other day. It was a $25 trip. Pretty good for London I think. Especially if I had the urge while in America it would cost thousands of dollars. Pictures of Big Ben, The London Eye, and Buckingham Palace are included below.

I am very much extremely super duper totally excited to go home. I didn’t know coming here would be this hard. I probably shouldn’t have gotten myself engaged less than a month before departure to England…my bad ;) All joking aside, it was a rough journey, only to be met with a sense of time speeds of a hundred-year-old tortoise.

On the upside, this is life and I am better for it. Life will be difficult at times but I have been made stronger. Through this semester I have learned that God never leaves even if you feel misplaced in the picturesque movie-land of the UK.

Being here has brought me back down to earth. When I studied at Concordia I had all these dreams of traveling and never settling, going on constant adventures. But all I’ve been wanting lately is a chance at the normal life. Now, sure what is normal is subjective, but nonetheless, I understand myself more. Real life has slapped me in the face.

One thing that I have been able to grow academically speaking is my in learning skills. The way the classes and homework worked here, I was given a lot of free time to make work routines for myself. All this extra time to study and pray gave me lots of time to think. I was able to try my own ways of learning material and take my own time at doing it. Hopefully I’ll be able to take these new learnings back to Concordia with me.

This semester has been such a contrast to my past year and a half at Concordia. There, I was busy, overcommitted, busy, constantly exhausted, and oh did I mention busy? I used to pray for breaks where I could sit and ponder life, take a breather, where I could take time each day to get my bearings and prepare for the next day of chaos. God chose to answer my prayer in this way. He sent me to England to get that breather and to be taught a lesson [more like many lessons]. I’ve grown as a person and I’ve grown closer to my Savior.

Even though many days were filled with tears, it will all be worth it when I finally run into the arms of my fiancé, my mom, my dad, my brothers, my sister, and everyone I meet once again at Concordia. I didn’t know I needed you all until I spent 137 days away.

Thus concludes my final blog post for this study abroad at the Westfield House.

Blessings to all!

Kara Zieroth

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4. The Break of all Breaks

Dear good people,

It has been about a month since my last post and so many things have happened since then. I am in the last week of my month long break. For the first two weeks I decided to hop around Europe. There are too many stories and adventures to be told than can fit into one blog post. So a quick overview of my adventures shall be given.

The first place I went to was Berlin. The city of Berlin seemed to me to be a just a big city. If everyone wasn’t speaking German I would think that I was in any old city. It took extra searching to find certain tourist attractions. The ones I visited were the Berlin Wall, the Berlin Dome [Cathedral], and the Brandenburg Gate. The Cathedral was by far the prettiest Cathedral I’ve ever visited. I got to climb to the top of it. What a view! The food that was eaten: Bratwurst.

The next day I took a train to Wittenberg like the good Lutheran that I am. Everything that is worth seeing is on the same general road: The Lutherhaus, Melanchthonhaus, the Castle church, the church that Luther preached a whole lot of sermons at, and the Marketplace with the statues. It’s a very cute town. However, much of it was under construction and renovation due to the Luther 500 happening in a couple years. So that was a tad disappointing. The food that was eaten: Spetzle and a Doner Kebab.

Copenhagen was the next destination. Danish is such a weird language. I feel like it’s harder to read than English. I spent three days there. It sure was lively at night. The architecture was beautiful. During a free walking tour I learned that the majority of the city burned down three separate times. Sheesh people. The main tourist area was Nyhavn [picture included]. I went to a couple museums and special buildings and cathedrals. Good thing they were all free! The food that was eaten: Danish Pastries and a Danish Hot Dog. [Special Copenhagen beer was also had]

The next plane took us to Dublin. Yay exit row seats! Yay English! Boy had I missed English. What a relief. My travel buddy and I met up with more travel buddies. We went to the Guinness Storehouse and drank some beer. The next day was one of my favorites. We took a day trip bus tour to the Cliffs of Moher. Our tour guide was delightful, kept us entertained during the long journey to the west coast of Ireland. When we got to the Cliffs of Moher we stepped out of the bus and were welcomed with the strongest wind you will ever experience. I could lean into the wind at a 45 degree angle and not fall over. A picture of the Cliffs is included. They are much more grand in person though. The Cliff have starred in a few movies like Harry Potter [6th movie, horcrux location] and The Princess Bride [The Cliffs of Insanity!]. On the way back to Dublin we stopped at a couple touristy places. The rest of the time we had in Dublin was spent exploring the city. Food that was eaten: Irish Breakfast, Seafood Chowder, and a Tart and a Scone from the Queen of Tarts.

Scotland was the next destination. Glasgow is not a very pretty city. Very industrial. Many drab buildings. We took another day trip bus tour. This time we explored the Scottish Highlands. Our guide was dressed in a kilt. Of course. He introduced us to some Highland deer and Highland cows, both of which we were permitted to feed and pet. We passed mountains and lakes [lochs]. I went on a boat across Loch Ness. Nessie unfortunately did not grant me a sighting. Shucks. After the tour we went out for some drinks. I ordered ice cream instead of beer. I declare that it was a good life choice. We took a train to Edinburgh the next day. This is my favorite city. Hands down. We went on a free walking tour. There are so many Harry Potter inspirations everywhere! [This was the city in which Rowling wrote Harry Potter  (The Elephant House)]. Bagpipes could be heard from any point in the city, street performers, there were cashmere shops, the castle up on the hill, and every street was picturesque. Easter Sunday was the last day of my adventures. We found a Catholic Church for Easter worship [nothing compared to a Lutheran Easter celebration, but you take what you can get].  After that I made my way by train, plane, and automobile back to Cambridge. Food that was eaten: Haggis panini, Haggis with Nachos, Haggis on a Pulled Pork Sandwich [haggis is my new favorite thing if you haven’t noticed], and Gelato.

Throughout the course of our travels, my travel buddy and I stayed in hostels. Because they’re cheap. And they are cheap for a reason. Imagine a small room of ten bunk beds, people of all types, and a bathroom to share. I slept with my backpack and purse next to me most nights to avoid thievery. The lack of privacy was unnerving and so was the lack of curfew. Alas, it is over and done with, but the memories prefer not to be revisited. Along with being cheap, saving money was rough. I wish I would’ve set a budget for each day. It would’ve probably ended up with fewer nights of going to sleep hungry. But all the food I did eat, I made sure it was special to the place I was [or cheap grocery food]. For example, Scotland and haggis. Mmmmmmm! I will have to practice making it.

During the last weeks of my stay here in Cambridge I will be working on paper and studying for exams. The end is near [in more than one way]. 5 more weeks and I’ll be using American money, eating Chipotle, and driving on the right [correct] side of the road. Not to mention I’ll be with loved ones. The excitement it real!!! Righto, that’s all I have for this month.

God’s Blessings!

Kara Zieroth

Berlin Wall

Berlin Wall

Brandenburg Gate

Brandenburg Gate

Castle Church Doors-95 Theses

Castle Church Doors-95 Theses

Luther Statue

Luther Statue

Nyhavn, Copenhagen

Nyhavn, Copenhagen

Copenhagen Castle

Copenhagen Castle

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

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Loch Ness

Loch Ness

Highland Deer

Highland Deer

Highland Cow

Highland Cow

Glencoe, Scotland

Glencoe, Scotland

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Inspiration for Diagon Alley

Inspiration for Diagon Alley

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Tom Riddle Inspiration

Tom Riddle Inspiration



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3. The Halfway Point

Dear friends,

A few days ago I celebrated the half way point of my time here in Cambridge with a glass of wine [yes the drinking age is 18]. For many reasons it feels like this point hasn’t come soon enough, but it is uplifting to know that I’m that much closer to accomplishing a semester abroad. Many travels and adventures have been had as usual. Pictures will be included. But the most valuable things I am learning are not necessarily unique to the UK, but the experiences and trials have brought me to them. There have been many self realizations and shoves from God that I wouldn’t have been able to see if I was comfortable in the states. God brings you to your lowest points to build you back up in Him. My little brother likes to comfort me saying something along the lines of, “A skilled sailor doesn’t come from steady waters.”

My classes are going as well as they can. I’m learning how to help myself focus by getting enough sleep and taking breaks at the right times (and putting away Facebook Messenger, even though the time I get to talk to my loved ones seems like it’s not enough). The two big things I have to prepare for each class is a term paper and an exam. I am nearly complete with one term paper. The teachers expect quality work so it has been an arduous and stressful process so far. But that’s school. It is a good thing to learn how to push myself instead of procrastinating like I normally do.

Next week marks the start of a month-long break. For the first two weeks of it I have planned to go to Berlin, Wittenburg, Copenhagen, Ireland, and Scotland. I think it will be fun to try to live out of one backpack for two whole weeks. Details and plans still need to be worked out [a little stressful that things haven’t been planned yet, but circumstances happen]. Flights around Europe are much much cheaper than flights within the US, so that’s why I’m able to hop around to so many places. I’m sure I’ll have many stories to blog about next time.

This past weekend was a Westfield House Sunday. Westfield House Sundays are where Dr. Lumley rents a van and all of us students are taken to different ELCE [Evangelical Lutheran Church of England] congregations. Last weekend we went to the church in Plymouth [on the shore of southwest England]. Along the way we had opportunities to see Stonehenge and the Lacock Abbey [Harry Potter was filmed there!!!]. The congregation fed us that Saturday evening, we were assigned members to stay with overnight, and we joined them in worship Sunday morning. Again they fed us and we started our journey back to Cambridge. On the way back we stopped at the Mayflower Memorial Steps and drove through a most beautiful national park. The Dartmouth national park was beautiful. It is now one of my favorite places on earth. Pictures included. My favorite part about it was all the sheep. Yay sheep!

Speaking of sheep, the reading for this morning’s chapel was John 10 where Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd.” This has been a dominant thought for me all day. Just as I am wandering the world, falling into sin again and again, I am like a silly sheep who can’t seem to stay with the flock. I go my own way and I get stuck in a thorn bush. Jesus Christ always comes to my rescue, even when I hit rock bottom. He leads me to green pastures and quiet waters, he restores my soul time and time again [Psalm 23].

There are moments where I’m completely ready to hop on a plane home. The amount of times I have looked at plane tickets from London to Minneapolis is shameful. But God keeps showing me that he has much more to teach me. My time in England is not over yet. 66 days to go [but who’s counting still? (I am, I’m still counting… ;)]. Prayers and love to everyone back home in the US of A!

Kara Zieroth

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2. Countdown? Who's counting down, not me...

Dear friends,

I have been here in Cambridge, England for 47 days. A wild ride so far. They say the homesickness goes away. I’m still waiting for that to happen. In the meantime, there are many lessons I am learning, especially about trusting God and his timing and Patience. Oh that patience. But God has good plans. But my sinful nature can’t help but count down the days until I fly back to my family, fiance, and friends [and American food, one cannot watch too much Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on the Food Network, so good!].

It has taken a while for classes to get up and running and to understand what the structure is supposed to be. To be frank, the teachers for sure know their stuff, but class administration is lacking. The faulty and staff seem to be wearing too many hats. But I am trusting them to prioritize. I am a little nervous for the end of the semester when papers and tests happen, but I’m sure I will find out how those work. I just need to keep up on the readings and homework.

I seem to have more free time than usual. This may be because I am not involved in any clubs or jobs. That’s probably it. So, I use this free time to read for classes mostly, so there ya go. But this time also allows me to cook better meals for myself, take long walks down by the River Cam, and I have more time to delve into Scripture and have Jesus and Kara time. Which is great. Perhaps there is another lesson God is trying to teach me here.

Free time also gives me opportunities to spend time with the wonderful friends I have made here. Watching movies, gallivanting off to the pub, and having chats at the dinner table are just some of the few things that I enjoy doing with these people. I am going to miss them.

I have travel plans for my month long break. I have purchased plane tickets to Germany, Denmark, Ireland, and Scotland for two weeks of non stop traveling. Many adventures will be had.

That is all I have to say for this time. Don’t be shy to message me on Facebook! Blessings!

Kara Zieroth

 

P.S. Attached are some pictures of Luther Hall, the River Cam, the Church, Salisbury Cathedral, and King’s College Chapel.

Dining Room in Luther HallKitchen in Luther HallBedroom in Luther HallResurrection ChurchSalisbury CathedralKing's College ChapelThe River Cam



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1. So Here I Am

Hey all!

So, I’ve been here in Cambridge for about 2 weeks now. It has definitely had it’s ups and downs but I’ve made it this far. There are a lot of things about this place that get me excited like the community, classes, and sight-seeing. And there are some things that have stressed me out beyond belief. But I will start off with the good.

The people here are WONDERFUL. Dr. Lumley has been extremely helpful. Whenever I have a question she is totally open to answer it. In fact everyone here is willing to talk to me about anything. There are 8 of us new students from America, so it has been nice knowing there are other people who are in the same boat as me. The students who have been here for months already, or even years, are darling. The community feel and Christ-focused atmosphere is a great blessing and comfort. There is chapel every weekday and Sunday service on every Sunday. Much to everyone’s convenience, the church is right across a narrow street from Luther Hall [the place I sleep and eat and stuff, yeah]. So the spiritual life here is great. Most of the people here are here to study theology [although there are some students who are Theater, History, or English majors who are making this work]. So it’s wonderful that the people here are serious in their faith.

I’m taking classes this semester that I’m excited about. The way school is done here is different, but not too different. You just need a good amount of self motivation. We typically meet once per week at the Westfield House per class. There, a tutor [professor really] will teach and have discussions with the group [the largest size class is 10 people]. Outside of class we are expected to do readings upon readings and research. Like I said, self motivation is key. As a student it is also recommended that I go to the Divinity Faculty to sit in on lectures for enrichment [faculty means college, much like in America we would have the college of business, they would call it the business faculty]. Anyways, the Divinity faculty is one of the thirty-two colleges of Cambridge University. The few that I have gone to so far have been really interesting. The professor comes in and starts lecturing until the hour is up and then everyone leaves. So there’s no personal interaction really. The Divinity Faculty is about a 25 minute walk away. Some students here have bikes [which impresses me because the roads are backwards here, I pray no one dies].

So far sight-seeing has been kept to a minimum for reason which I will explain later. But the amount that I have done has been beautiful. The City Centre of Cambridge is a unique place. There are pubs and stores, colleges and chapels, and there are people riding bikes. Everywhere. Like they say St. Paul, MN is a biking city. That’s nothing compared to the thousands of bikes here. It’s ridiculous. Pretty great. But ridiculous. The general atmosphere here has honestly felt like a dream and a Dr. Seuss book. Every building is carefully constructed and everything has it’s own cute little place in the world. The sidewalks and streets are generally narrow and the buildings are smaller. I feel like a giant sometimes. The American life value “bigger is better” keeps popping into my mind. Oh America… Like I said, it seems like everything has it’s place. There is a street nearby with a row of houses and each one of them looks like they were built to look just like they do now. There’s a bike there, a pathway here, and little bush over there and it looks like pure perfection. Sometimes it drives me nuts.

Now for misfortunes [which I share here to scare off those prospective students, just kidding, but really, things to look out for and might possibly expect].

My flight to London from Minneapolis was quite the experience. There was a mishap before the flight and it ended up with me riding a coolio cart thing through the airport and running onto the plane at practically the last second. But thank the Lord I made it. It all went smoothly from there, I took a bus to Cambridge and then got on a taxi to the Westfield House and was welcomed warmly by the people, la dee da. But in the course of the mishap, I was unable to check one of my suitcases. My parents had to mail it to me, which it didn’t come until two days ago, and the British postal service is frustrating to say the least. But I have clean clothes now! Hooray!

Another misfortune came about because my email must have been too complicated to spell or something. This resulted in 5 days with no Wifi, no communication with my family, no life pretty much [cuz yeah facebook… kidding, again]. My roommate let me use her Wifi to let my family and my fiance know that I wasn’t dead yet. So that was a blessing. But after those five days, ah! Wifi never felt so good.

Three days ago I got dreadfully ill. Like 24 hour fever and homesickness all in one. I missed all of my one class that day. I stared at a wall for so long. 5 hours too long. But by that time family and friends and fiance were finally awake for me to talk to. Technology is a wonderful thing. But not six-hour time differences. Jet lag was a struggle by the way. Sleeeeep. It took about a week to get back to normal.

The weather here is splendid. I guess any whether that doesn’t involve snow is wonderful to me. Right now it’s in the thirties [F], but it never gets below freezing. Over all I am enjoying myself. I expected there to be more of a culture shock, but living in a house of mostly Americans gives a large comfort bubble. Which is both good and bad. But there are many opportunities to burst out of it and do fun things in the town like Evensong and drinking legal alcohol at a pub [no worries, all in moderation of course]. Photos are below.

I think that’s enough rambling for one blog post. More rambles to come [with pictures of Luther Hall too]. In the meantime, God Bless you!

With much Love, An Entrance to Kings College Gothic Architecture University Library The Divinity Faculty A Mini Castle Punting

Kara Zieroth



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Goodbye London!
London Tower & Tower Bridge

London Tower & Tower Bridge

Butterfly Paradise at the London Zoo

Butterfly Paradise at the London Zoo

Today marked my last day of my summer intern program.  During the past 8 weeks that I’ve been in London I have learned more about the British culture than I imagined.  For one, I learned more about its history and issues.  One hot topic that’s been on debate right now is the Scottish independence.  Also, I noticed a different atmosphere between London, Dublin, and Edinburgh.  My friends and I planned a trip to Dublin, Ireland a couple weekends ago and it was nice.  People say that Dublin is smaller than London, but it still felt big to me at least.  The people in Dublin were very nice and helpful too!  My friends and I were lost a couple of times but we would be offered help by Irish bystanders!  I thought this was very different compared to London because in London when you’re trying to find a place or are lost (and you clearly look lost) no one will come to your aid.  I understand why Londoners aren’t jumping at the opportunity to help lost tourists, but I thought it was a nice gesture in Dublin.  While in Dublin we booked a tour to Galway and the ride was beautiful.  I’m a huge fan of Game of Thrones (GOT) and was sad that I didn’t get a chance to do a GOT tour in Ireland since it’s filmed there, but the scenic drive to Galway was the spitting image of GOT.  The scenic drive was my favorite part of Ireland and I would love to just go on a scenic ride throughout Ireland.  Last weekend, my friends and I decided to visit Edinburgh, Scotland.  People say that Dublin is smaller than London and that Edinburgh is even smaller than Dublin, and those people were right.  Edinburgh is a smaller city compared to London, but it was a very majestic city.  Right when we got to Edinburgh we had an amazing view of the sun shining down on Edinburgh castle.  At first, I didn’t realize that Hogwarts was inspired by Edinburgh castle until the next day when I saw the Edinburgh castle enveloped by fog.  Even though Edinburgh is a much smaller city compared to London and Dublin, it felt as though Edinburgh had just as many (if not more) tourists than both those cities.  I think maybe an important reason is because of the Scottish heritage that stems from Edinburgh and also the city itself is just so beautiful.  Well, Ireland was beautiful too, but I personally think it was due to the scenic drive.  I feel that Edinburgh has the things that I liked in London (architectural buildings and churches) and also in Ireland (the beauty of nature).  If I lived in Scotland, Edinburgh would be the city I would live in; if I lived in England, London would be the city I would live in; if I lived in Ireland, I would live in a small town on the seaside.  In each city, I felt a different atmosphere but I loved each place for their differences.
Traditional Irish Riverdancing in Ireland

Traditional Irish River dancing in Ireland

Ireland

Ireland

Ireland

Ireland

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

A hill in Holyrood Park.

A hill in Holyrood Park.

The Left View of the Hill

The Left View from the top of the Hill

The right view of the Hill

The right view from the top of the Hill

This past Thursday was my last day of my internship.  I grew to love working at my internship because of the environment my co-workers provided for me.  I didn’t have your traditional ‘co-workers’ because I only worked with the other volunteers a couple times, but I did work with my three supervisors every day.  My supervisors felt more like my co-workers than my superiors because they did not hover over me with their authority where I would feel like an inferior; on the contrary they provided me an environment that was very welcoming and warm.  I love my co-workers!  They were very professional and a group of very nice people who are passionate about their job.  During my time interning I noticed another difference between the British culture and the American culture.  In the British system, if a woman were on maternity leave she had up to a whole year (and if she’s lucky it’s a year and a half!) off and she was guaranteed a position from her employers.  This also is applied to the spouse too, so both parents can enjoy taking time off on maternity leave and raise their child.  I found this to be amazing because compared to the U.S. system we get 6 weeks off and that is only for the mother, not including the spouse.  Also, in the British system, during the first 3 months of her maternity leave she would be paid full time from her job and afterwards she would receive half pay for about 5 to 6 months.  The British system sounds very great but there are cons to this too.  The mother is guaranteed ‘a job’ which means it could be a better or worse position that she had before she left.  But in the U.S. the employer guarantees the same job that the mother had before she left.  There’s also the question of ‘if a British mother does take a whole year off on maternity leave then how is she able to support her family when she does not receive any sort of payment from her job after the 9 months of payments?’  There are some factors that we would have to look into because even though her spouse could support the family with their income the family now has an infant who feeds every 4 hours, gets a diaper changed at least 3 times a day, outgrows its clothes within 3 months, and keeps on growing and now you also have to support the mother who is on maternity leave who also needs food too and obviously the spouse needs food too.  And remember, the spouse could also go on maternity leave for a whole year too.  I found that the British system’s approach on maternity leave sounded ideal, but realistically it doesn’t seem like it could work perfectly. From this summer intern, I have gained a new skill and also become more aware of cultural differences.    During my internship I learned how to be creative and I improved my communication skill.  Working with children can be a challenge because you have to learn how to keep their interest especially since their attention span is so short.  I found that to be challenging when trying to teach them about the activity or the topic, but I found ways to keep them engaged in the activities.  Also, I had to make some small scale projects such as certificates, make a database on all the elementary schools, and data input on transportation surveys.  My communication skill was improved during my experience interning in London.  Communication is important for all work relations and it was especially so during my intern this summer.  I realized that communication is vital when working with children because you have to make sure that you’re using the correct vocabulary and if you use a new word you have to make sure you define it for them. From my experience during my internship in London, I want to other students to know that studying abroad is a life changing experience.  To study abroad you must be willing to accept the challenges that it comes with.  Yes, there are going to be times where you are excited to be in a new place but there are also times where you  are nervous to do new things, but remember that this is a once in a life time experience.  You may have 8 weeks or 15 weeks to study abroad, but time flies quickly and it’ll seem like you just started.  Take advantage of your time in the new place you’re at and fully indulge yourself into the culture.  Be open to try new things but remember to also stay in your comfort zone.  You don’t need to try all the new things, but you should make an effort to try new things.  Learning how to make an effort will make your experience more fun.  An example would be when I went to Ireland.  I didn’t originally plan on going to Ireland but my friends wanted to so I decided I would try it too.  When we were in Dublin we went to see the Guinness Factory and something funny yet dangerous happened.  I did not have an interest to see the Guinness Factory, but it is a big part of the Irish culture thus I made my decision to go to the Guinness Factory.  I’m glad I did go see the Guinness Factory because I saw the history of brewing beer and while we were there a fire started in one of their barley factories.  Of course, we were safely evacuated out of the building and no one was injured, but now I will always remember my trip to the Guinness Factory.  You never know what you’re going to get and you’ll always have a story, so enjoy what you can!
Entrance to the Guinness Factory

Entrance to the Guinness Factory



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Life of a Londoner
I'm finally in London!

I’m finally in London!

Hello!  My name is Anida Yang and I am a senior at CSP and I am in London this summer for an internship and a U.K. cultural course.  It has been a month since I have been here and I love it!  Life here is just so much more different and I’m sad that I will be leaving London next month already!  Some things I noticed as I got here were the cars.  The cars here are very compact and they are so cute!  I was trying to find a pick-up truck but there were none!  I finally saw one two weeks later but the size of it was still that of a compact car and even if it was considered a pick-up truck the end of the truck is shorter compared to what we normally see in America.  I think the cars here are cute since they’re much smaller and there are a lot of fancy cars in London since London is a huge city full of money.  Another thing I noticed quickly was our terminology.  If I said ‘pants’ a Londoner would assume I was talking about their underwear.  So, make sure you say trousers when you talk about ‘pants’ because it has an entirely different meaning.  Another terminology which I found cute was a stroller.  Their terminology for a stroller is a buggie!!  Life in London is very fast paced and it was interesting to learn how they measure distance.  Normally if you need to go to the store you would ask how many miles it is, but in London you ask how long does it take to get there.  For my internship interview I saw that if I take the city bus it would take me 46 minutes to get to the place and at first I thought that was absurd and was wondering if I could take the tube (subway) instead since they are faster.  But then I found out that if I took the tube it would actually be longer!  In short, what I’m trying to say is if it takes you 20 minutes to walk to work versus the buss which takes you 40 minutes to get to work, then people will walk to work over the bus.  Also, a stereotype about London is that there’s never-ending rain.  So, far it’s been very beautiful here with 70 degree Fahrenheit and it does rain, but it’s more of a little drizzle which will only last for about 10 minutes.  The place that I am staying at is located so conveniently!  It’s a student accommodation housing so it’s not linked to a specific school, but for all students.  It’s not a dorm because there’s no communal shower, but there is a communal laundry mat.  You can choose which type of rooming you want depending if you have the money.  For example, I am living with a roommate and we each have a bunk-bed desk and we share a communal kitchen with 7 other students who are in the same program as us.  We are located on Woburn Place in Bloomsbury which is next to two main tube systems, a smaller tube system and we have the city bus lined up right outside of our apartment.  So, getting to somewhere in the city is very convenient.  That’s also something that I noticed differently in London compared to where I live in the U.S.  Where I live I need a ride to go everywhere since there’s no subway and I don’t normally take the bus, especially since I live in the suburbs up north in MN.  Now that I’m living in London I feel a bit more independent because it’s easy to find transportation and I’m doing it all on my own.  One frustrating thing that I’ve found out about London is that the streets are crooked and it’s hard to find their street signs.  There are no street signs on poles like you would find in the U.S. instead these street signs are on the buildings.  Some times I can’t find any street signs on the buildings so I always get lost in London.  Even though I’ve been here for a month, I still don’t know where everything is and it’s okay because I have asked other Londoners and they don’t know too!  So, even though you are a native Londoner or a foreigner it’s okay to be lost because everyone is lost.  The class I took here in London was interesting.  We talked about social media and it was interesting to see how big of an influence it is in their everyday life.  There’s always people at the tubes handing out free newspapers to you and everyone here is always interested in your political views especially if you are an American.  At my internship place we had a 17 yr old high school-er who was volunteering and she was asking me about my political views and also my views of college and the job outlook.  I was surprised at how passionate and informed she was because when I served on Student Senate and I tried to get freshmen to register to vote they were uninterested and acted like it had nothing to do with them.  It made me wish that the young adults in America were more attentive to their own political issues and world issues.

Where I had my U.K. cultural course!

Where I had my U.K. cultural course!

This week has been my 3rd week working at my internship place and it has been fun!  I get to work with children from elementary schools and educate them about environmental issues.  Each day we work with a different school and sometimes we work at two different schools.  Since we work with so many different schools and classes, we do different workshops with each class and school so nothing is ever the same as the previous day.  We have done some sessions about compost, recycling such as reusing one’s old t-shirt by turning it into a bag, and making paper.  The work life in London (in U.K. in general) is very different than the work life in the U.S.  Work here means that the quality of the work is valued over the efficiency whereas in the U.S. it is quite the opposite.  Since I’ve been working in the U.S. my whole life by the time I came here I was still in my U.S. work life mode and I would finish completing office work within an hour and it was supposed to keep me busy for the whole day.  Also, being on time to work is being on time and not 15 minutes early to work like how it is in the U.S.  And if you were late by 5 minutes it would be okay!  You wouldn’t get a warning, but instead a concerned question on why you were behind schedule.  Also, when one is going to make tea they ask everyone in the office if they want some.  It is a norm to drink tea here but I have also seen some people drink coffee too (which is what I drink when they offer tea).  Also, another thing I noticed different in their work life is their attitude towards tattoos.  Since I work with different schools I have seen teachers and staff bare their tattoos naked without it covered up.  I assumed that the work life here would be very similar if not the same as it is back at home, but it’s less conservative than it is in America.

Where I'm interning at!

Where I’m interning at!



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Greetings from London, England!
Hello everyone!  My name is Brittany Bernitt and I am a junior at CSP and I made the best decision of my life when I decided to come to London to study for the semester.  I have been here for a little over three weeks now and I have loved every minute of it!  I am shocked at how much I have already learned about not only British culture, but other cultures around the world as well.  The building I am staying in is filled with college students from around the world that are studying here in London.  I have managed to meet someone new and learn something new here almost daily.  Study abroad has truly been a life changing experience for me so far and it has only just begun!  Some interesting things I have learned about British life here so far: 1.      Having an outlet in a bathroom is illegal for safety reasons. 2.      Most people do not go grocery shopping themselves.  They do it online and have it delivered.  They also only buy food for a couple days to a week at a time because food expires much quicker due to illegal usage of most preservatives. 3.      Fast food is EXPENSIVE!!! For instance: a McDonald’s big mac is 7£ = about $11.25. It will cost you that much (7£) to go to a café and get an actual meal and coffee here. 4.      The UK thinks of America as their “best friends”.  They are much assimilated with us.  They also think of themselves as “the bridge” between America and Europe. 5.      The presidential election is just as talked about and broadcasted here as it is back home.  Obama is like a “celebrity” in the UK and no one understands why we would ever vote differently, but they are very interested in knowing our political views and reasons. 7.      Gas prices are roughly 7£ to 8£, which would be about $11.50-$12.50 a gallon.  Holy cow! 8.      Buildings do not start with floor 1 as the lowest level.  The first level is called G or ground and the second is 1. I have been so privileged to have been given this opportunity and have been able to experience so many things to far!  In just three weeks I have been on the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, London Fashion Week, Trafalgar Square, a Shakespeare play at The Globe theatre, a comedy play called 39 Steps, Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus, many museums, and so much more!  I have even been outside of London to the country to see Stonehenge, a rugby match, and what is said to be the most beautiful city in England… Bath! Don’t get me wrong it was definitely very stressful for me the first couple of days being here.  This was my first time out of the county and I also at the beginning of the summer found out I have some very severe food allergies.  It was difficult figuring out what places to go to to get what I wanted and needed.  It was also very difficult orienting myself and fitting in so I did not stick out like a tourist!  In less than a weeks time though I was able to figure things out and feel like a local.  I even get people asking ME for directions now! If any of you are interested in hearing more in-depth about my experiences here in London I post stories and pictures on a blog almost daily and you are more than welcome to check it out!  brittanygoestolondon.blogspot.com Cheers!  -Brittany

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I'll Be Home for Christmas!

cyfarchion(Greetings) Everyone,

Well it is a bitter/sweet time as things are wrapping up here in Bangor, Wales I only have four more days until I am back in Minnesota.  I have had an amazing time and I am truly blessed that I have had the opportunity to come to Wales for a semester.  To anyone considering studying abroad I say “DO IT!”  I have met so many people from all over the world, made life-long friends, and done things I could have never done if I stayed at Concordia for the semester.  I know it is a huge decision and it can be very scary but I promise you will never regret it.  I have learned so much living in another country and I can’t wait to share all those experiences with my loved ones and friends.  One of the best cultural experiences I had was celebrating a British Christmas dinner with my flatmates.  I learned all about their customs at Christmas time.  Some of which were similar to the U.S. but others that are common for them. In the picture below you will notice that we all have crowns on our heads they are part of a tradition where everyone has a gift called a “Christmas cracker” in front of their plate.  You each hold on to the crackers and pull them apart. Inside you get a joke, small toy, and a crown. Everyone wears their crown throughout the rest of the meal. Almost every family does this during their Christmas meal.

Christmas Dinner in Bangor

Below are a few suggestions I have for anyone who wants to study abroad.

  • Take lots of pictures!
  • Make a budget for you money before you leave.
  • Meet the locals.
  • Write a journal (you may think you will remember everything but you don’t and it is nice to have a written reminder).
  • Try the local cuisine.
  • Travel as much as you can. Don’t just stick to the area you are living.
  • Most Importantly……HAVE FUN!


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