|

United Kingdom

Tours, Tours, Tours
In the past two months studying abroad in Cambridge I have probably been on more guided tours than the rest of my life put together. Touring often goes hand-in-hand with visiting new places, especially when traveling in groups of people. In my first two weeks in Cambridge I think our group did three or four walking tours only of Cambridge, not including tours of various churches and London. However, these tours have been some of best learning experiences of my time abroad so far. It is so fun to learn from locals, especially when they are passionate and add their own personality and funny comments into the tour. Another great plus is there are lots of free walking tours or audio tours that are covered in the price of admission. I spent the last weekend in February in Edinburgh with a group of students from my study abroad program. I instantly fell in love with Edinburgh and went on the two best tours of my time abroad so far! On Friday our group did the free Potter Trails Harry Potter walking tour of Edinburgh. Our guide was so knowledgeable not only about Harry Potter, but also about J.K. Rowling’s life and the history of Edinburgh. She also gave us all wands, kept us entertained with spells and Harry Potter trivia along the way, and gave us some advice for other great places to visit in Edinburgh! On Sunday I was hoping to do a tour of the Scottish Highlands but discouraged by the prices of all the tours I was finding. Somehow, I stumbled across a free tour given by Hairy Coo Tours, a wordplay on the traditional Scottish Hairy Cows. I got some friends to sign up for the tour for me just to be safe and read many reviews online to verify this free tour was not a scam. The tour turned out to be such a fun experience and we learned so much about the Highlands and Scottish history along the way. It was such a fun way to experience the beautiful scenery of the Highlands and definitely fit my student budget! For anyone traveling or studying abroad I would highly recommend looking at tours in the areas you are visiting. While tours are not everyone’s favorite thing, in my experience so far it has been a great way to see the highlights of a city while learning about its history and quirks from a local. Do some research in advance (TripAdvisor and Pinterest are my most visited websites at this point) and be open-minded to some unique experiences! You will learn a lot along the way and hopefully create some fun memories!

View Policy
Weekend Trips in Europe

I have officially been in Europe for a little over a month now! My classes have been going well and have had way less work attached to them than I am used to. This has given me time to take weekend trips almost every weekend!

One of our program trips was to Bath, England where we got to explore the Roman baths and see the cute town’s architecture. We also went to Stonehenge which I was excited about and surprised to learn that it is literally in the middle of nowhere. Just rocks in the middle of a lot of land.. why did they put them there? I think it functioned as a clock, but all I know is that it was pretty cute.

Roman baths.

 

Stonehenge.

We also went to Wales where I fell in love with Welsh cakes! They are kind of like scones, but not quite a scone. They are, however, very good. Wales had the most amount of sheep I have ever seen and also gave me two rainbows in one day! How perfect!

My friends and I at Caerphilly Castle in South Wales.

 

Me at Tintern Abbey in Wales.

My friend and I took a weekend trip to Paris and it was so much fun! I have still not stopped thinking about their croissants which were the best I have ever had. We also went to the Louvre and seeing the Mona Lisa in real life was amazing, but I honestly thought she would be a little bigger. We visited Versailles while we were there and I do have to say that Louis XIV really went off on the palace design, especially the garden. When we went back to Paris and climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe (I’m still not sure if the view was worth the 1 million steps) we were blessed with the most incredible view! Paris at sunset with the Eiffel Tower in full view. It was honestly breathtaking and I still cannot believe that I saw such an insane view with my own eyes! Wild!

Me in front of the Mona Lisa.

 

Me in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Amazing view at the top of the Arc de Triomphe.

I have also been exploring London since we have been having really great weather. My friends and I were even able to have a picnic in Kensington Gardens yesterday!

Our spread at our Kensington Gardens picnic.



View Policy
London, England
Hey everyone! I have been in London for almost two weeks now, and it has been really cool. I used the first week as a get my life together week and ended up buying a lot of stuff for my room/bathroom like cleaning supplies and a thicker duvet since it was a lot colder than I anticipated, as well as things for our kitchen. I actually got very overwhelmed while grocery shopping and came back with only pasta and an apple. Needless to say, I had to make another trip. I also met up with a fellow Gilman Scholar and we went to the British Museum (all museums are free! How cool!) which was very interesting. We also had a few orientations and meetings for school, however, I mostly tried to adjust to the time difference. This week was the start of my classes, and I have been very shocked! Their classes are about the same as ours, however, the students speak a lot freer and do as they wish during class. I have mostly noticed this with my smaller classes and our professors just roll with it, so I am assuming that is the norm. They do have considerably less assignments though, as all bar one of my classes is wholly graded off a single assignment. This weekend we are going to Stonehenge and Bath, so I am super excited for that! Below are some pictures of my time in London so far. Mumina Mohamud

The view from the top of the London Eye! Big Ben is the closest tall building, however it is covered in scaffolding as it is currently under construction.

 

Franklin D. Roosevelt memorial in Grosvenor Square, where I had lunch.

 

Shopping at the aptly named Oxford Circus.

 

The Shard, which is just outside my housing! Photo by Yasmine Taviot, my flatmate.



View Policy
5 Differences Between Concordia and Cambridge
I have been studying at Westfield House in Cambridge, England for almost one month now! Unlike most of the other Concordia students studying abroad this semester I do not have a language barrier in England (most of the time!), but I have noticed some major differences between my days here in Cambridge and my normal routine at Concordia. In typical click-bait fashion, here are five differences I have noticed between Concordia and Cambridge.
  1. Classes: Concordia is a small university and tries to keep class sizes to smaller than twenty students. I may have thought I would not be in a class smaller than those at Concordia, but I was wrong. Westfield is a very small school; all my classes have less than ten people in them, and my average class size is four people. Many people warned me the learning style in the UK is different than in the US, but honestly, I have not noticed much a difference. The classes are taught similarly to my classes at home where there is a lot of reading during the semester and final paper summarizing our thoughts.

    Westfield House students Spring 2019

  2. Food: This is one difference I did not expect to encounter living in England. Obviously British people have their own food and preferences, but I did not realize how different their food was. The first time I went grocery shopping I was so confused! Many of their foods have slightly different names than I was used to, meaning I had to look a little harder and longer on my first grocery trip. Due to different health regulations, many foods also taste slightly differently than in the US. One other major difference is British food tends to be healthier. This has been a really nice change except for when I am craving something sweet; British chocolate just isn’t quite the same!
  3. Travel: After having a car on campus, I hardly ever walked to Target to do my grocery shopping; driving in just so much more convenient. Obviously I will not be driving in the UK, but driving is much less common. Walking around Cambridge in the morning, it is normal to see people biking all over town in business clothes. Gas is ridiculously expensive here, but walking is a part of their culture. The train station is a two mile walk from Westfield House, which is considered quite doable by most British people (and honestly it was not that bad).

    the River Cam which I cross to get into the center of Cambridge

  4. Weekends: Most of my weekends at Concordia were spent hanging out with friends and doing homework. As I am not going to waste my opportunity to explore and travel while in the UK, each weekend I have gone a different adventure. Since most of my homework is reading it is easy to take a book on the train or bus with me. I have visited so many beautiful and historic buildings, museums, and towns. It is so fun to be surrounded by so much history and I looking forward to even more adventures on future weekends!
  5. Tea time: This is maybe the one stereotype about British people that is entirely true. They love their tea over here. Tea is a normal thing to offer at pretty much anytime of day. Cambridge is a university town, so obviously there are a plethora of coffee shops and cafes, but tea is a much larger part of the menus than in coffee shops in the US. There is nothing better than being offered a warm mug of tea wherever you go!
As I continue to settle into life in Cambridge, I am excited to continue exploring and learning more about British and European culture and history. Sending love and hugs to everyone from the UK! -Bethany

View Policy
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.

 

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-11-35-25-pm

15171268_10154797182918466_7958296191640579296_n

 

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.

 

15178158_10154797183053466_8808073138946392281_n

15170819_10154797183403466_8257917127929332067_n

 

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.



View Policy
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

18245_10205212712690918_8047475300335460477_n 10685395_10205212713330934_8512784888126128214_n 11013352_10205212715130979_389939617680000866_n



View Policy
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

11150453_10205010134546591_7372754719530951251_n

Loch Ness

Loch Ness

Highland Deer

Highland Deer

Highland Cow

Highland Cow

Glencoe, Scotland

Glencoe, Scotland

11130279_10205010745081854_3840687827459541992_n

Inspiration for Diagon Alley

Inspiration for Diagon Alley

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Tom Riddle Inspiration

Tom Riddle Inspiration



View Policy
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

1 3 7 8 5 6 2 4



View Policy
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



View Policy
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



View Policy

Uncategorized

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

18245_10205212712690918_8047475300335460477_n 10685395_10205212713330934_8512784888126128214_n 11013352_10205212715130979_389939617680000866_n



View Policy
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

11150453_10205010134546591_7372754719530951251_n

Loch Ness

Loch Ness

Highland Deer

Highland Deer

Highland Cow

Highland Cow

Glencoe, Scotland

Glencoe, Scotland

11130279_10205010745081854_3840687827459541992_n

Inspiration for Diagon Alley

Inspiration for Diagon Alley

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Tom Riddle Inspiration

Tom Riddle Inspiration



View Policy
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

1 3 7 8 5 6 2 4



View Policy
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



View Policy
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



View Policy