Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sabrina Testut

From American students to Interns in London, the 2013 GLSers have definitely experienced a lot of change this past semester. I know for me, it was a huge change going from Tennessee, which contrary to English popular belief, is not just a bunch of hillbillies drinking whisky on the front porch, to London, England, which really doesn’t have as bad of weather as Americans tend to think. All of this change that I experienced  definitely helped me learn a lot; I learned to always make sure to look both ways at least twice before crossing the streets in London just to make sure I didn’t look the wrong way, I learned that if I wanted  to blend in with the locals wearing a North Face jacket and Sperry’s might not be the best idea, and I also learned that the not so pleasant looks I got on the tube weren’t anything personal, the next time I rode I just needed to be a little more conscious of how loud I was letting my conversation get.  

This past semester was definitely an experience.  We practically started out as 27 strangers living together - thankfully, not exactly Real World style-in a country many of us had never visited before and now it feels as if I spent every day with some of my closest friends. It really is entertaining to look back to last semester when all the GLSers hardly knew each other and were secretly all afraid of Fred, oh how studying abroad has changed us.

The first two months in London were fantastic, Statistics and BA were great and so were all of the travelling adventures I went on. I also really enjoyed the real London working experience that I got out of my internship at Maxus. Maxus is an international media planning agency with many major clients such as Fiat, which was the team I worked with.  My first week at Maxus was definitely chaotic because it was full of jumping on to projects hoping I wouldn’t mess anything up too much while also trying to get to know everyone I worked with. I couldn’t have asked for a more welcoming company, everyone was so nice to me and made me feel as if I had been there for months. I also really enjoyed all of the projects I was able to help with. All of the projects I worked on were very eye opening and helped me understand so much more about the media world than I ever thought I would know. Maxus made  me love the media world; the people are fun, the work is interesting, and the perks aren’t too bad either!

This semester was all I could have asked for and more. Dr. Mee and Lane were wonderful, I made 26 new best friends and I had the experience of a lifetime.  My only regret – I wasn’t  there for the wedding.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Looking back on London

As I look back on mine and my classmates' time in London, I can't help but think about how absolutely phenomenal our experience was. Our classes were wonderful. Our teachers augmented their usual syllabi in order to complement our time in London and were enthusiastic to get to know us through out of class activities and day trips. Each of our teachers was truly excellent and I personally felt that they cared about me holistically, not just about my grades or my homework.

As my internship, which was in Parliament in the office of Sarah Teather MP, wound down I took a  weekend trip with a few of my fellow GlSers. I went to Brussels, Belgium with Nicholas Love, Daniel Whitaker, Astrid Emkes, and Hannah Alexander. We had an amazing time. We ate so much and enjoyed the wonderful Belgian chocolate. It was really a wonderful trip to take at the end of a semester in Europe. Perfect weather and you can't beat the location!

My final trip of the semester was with one of my roommates Nicholas Love. We went to Paris together and had a truly perfect weekend. The weather we had a was amazing. You can't beat the French when it comes to aesthetics and fine cuisine, and we enjoyed both immensely. This was definitely one of my favorite trips.

London was truly amazing. I can't believe it is already over and that I am now back in the States looking back. The friendships that I and the rest of the GLS Class of 2013 forged while we were abroad are some of the best we have made in college. This trip served not only as a chance to learn about other cultures and have a bona fide addition to our resumes, but as a chance to really get to know the people that are a part of the community that is the Class of 2013 and Global Leadership Scholars.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Brianna Milam

These past four months in London have flown by faster than I can even begin to describe.  It feels like just yesterday that we were exhaustedly dragging our bags through the rain into our 17th century flats and beginning to explore the new culture we suddenly found ourselves immersed in, but today we are packing our bags to hop back on a plane to the U.S.
I’ve enjoyed my time in London, and throughout the past few months, I have learned a great deal about myself and my fellow GLSers.   I think that the time we have spent here has brought us together not only because have we learned and worked together, but because we have explored, discovered, and laughed together.  We have successfully travelled the world as a group of 27, and in doing so, we have become study partners, travel buddies, and best friends.
Living abroad has had its challenges – from wrong directions to misunderstood words, sometimes it’s a bit difficult to adjust to a culture that seems so similar yet, in reality, is so different.  I still catch myself finding new differences almost every day, but each new thing I learn makes me feel a little closer to being a true Londoner.
I’ve met some wonderful people through my internship and had many unforgettable experiences in London.  I’m sad to be leaving this beautiful city behind, but I know that when I return home, I will still have my GLS class to reminisce with me about the ‘good old days across the pond’.  It’s time for me to return home and see where else my life and the GLS program will lead me.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Genna Rossi

 I'm glad we had the times together just to laugh and sing a song, seems like we just got started and then before you know it, the times we had together were gone.
 (Dr. Seuss)

           “Learning by doing” is the phrase I think of when I think of our Global Leadership Scholars experience. Whether that means being knocked down from standing on the left side of the escalators or taste testing a different peanut butters to make London feel like home, it’s funny to admit that we’ve all brought a little piece of our culture to London. By far, I’m most impressed with each of our personal growth. I am proud to say I can now make travel arrangements like my Dad AND actually get us beyond the confines of the airport! The majority of us have averaged about six trips during our short four months here. We have expanded our horizons through cultural submersions and it’s definitely something I’m going to miss.

            Secondly, the culture of independent living in London is something worth missing. We’ve planned, we’ve discovered, and we’ve lived the great adventures of everyday Londoners. Whether it be the food stalls of the Borough Market or the soccer fields of Regent’s Park, I’m proud to say I’ve checked off the majority of sites on my “to-do” list.

            In our last month of April, we started off the first weekend touring the Olympic Site and riding atop the London Eye. How amazing it was to see London in a whole new perspective! This past weekend, Thien and I took one last adventure to see beautiful Stockholm, Sweden! It was a great way to end our traveling seeing Kungliga Slottet royal palace, Stadshusset city hall, eating delicious Tunnbrodsrull! Being so close to the end of our adventures in London, it was easy to admit that we missed our friends back in London already!

            I’m not going to lie, I’ve definitely been thinking about all the little things I miss about home (not to mention, all of the talk about Chik-fil-A makes me believe that everyone else agrees with me). Looking back, this has been the most wonderful learning experience I have ever had. I am going to miss so much of London, and I can only hope that one day I’ll be able to return and reminisce.

            Reflecting on one of the best things about this experience is being the fact that I have been graced by the presence of twenty-seven wonderful friends just within the confines of the building. The bond we have made with each other is the most unforgettable part of this journey. Little did I know getting on a plane alone four months ago I’d have so many learning experiences with friends that have been there with me through it all. 

            I don’t think I’m the only one who’ll admit that we’re all going to be a little lonely without each other. For the past four months we’ve been rubbing off on each other and I’m happy to admit that a little piece of GLS greatness will be left in London. It’s hard to believe that in one week we’ll all be back to Blackberry messaging, homemade meals, and having dishwashers…well, maybe it won’t be so bad after all!

            This experience has taught me a lot about myself and building relationships with others. I have learned that without the amazing friends I have been surrounded with, this experience would not be the same. London is a wonderful place worth exploring and through our explorations, I have learned so much more than I could ever imagine.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Jessie McDowell

The first two months of our European adventure involved country hopping to everywhere from Amsterdam to Switzerland with a little school stuck in between. We always arrived to our flats on Sundays completely exhausted from our weekend traveling, but excited to do the same thing the next week. 

Internship life is not the same. We went from acting like crazy college students traveling around Europe on a whim, to being real adults with big kid jobs. To be honest, I hated it. This could be due to the fact that my internship was straight out of “The Devil Wears Prada”, or that on my first week I tripped over a computer cord (franticly running around for a scary boss will do that to you) and demolished the company laptop. Yup, it was a rough week. Stay in school. The real world sucks. 

Luckily there is a happy ending to this story... well, so far. Surviving my third week  in cut-throat fashion PR has given me a new perspective. I got told my press release was “well written” yesterday, and I have never been happier. I worked for that. Hard. Having an internship in a foreign country isn’t supposed to be easy. You wouldn’t grow and learn that way. I am lucky enough to have an great career opportunity, move to an amazing city with the best, most genuine people I have ever met, and see the world with my best friends. I never want to go home. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nicholas Love

The third week of our internships is already coming to an end! This experience is actually going by really fast, even though I am working 40 hours a week. Many of us are (hopefully) starting to get settled in to our placements. I am interning at EDM Media and they are a direct marketing company that does a lot of work for non-profit organizations and charities. I did not pour one cup of tea my entire first day at work! I was shocked when my colleagues made it for me. My co-workers have about 7 cups of tea everyday and I think I am slowly starting to become addicted to Earl Grey. I am glad to report that work has been very challenging for me and that I have learned quite a bit thus far. Dr. Mee would be very proud; I am doing statistical analysis everyday at work. I am so thankful that we took statistics this semester, I feel like I am filling in for a guy with a PhD in stats! I have been able to implement many things that I learned in statistics and in BA 207.

Because of our busy work schedules, many of us are not traveling abroad as much as we were. We have been using our weekends to truly appreciate and enjoy the great city of London. Thankfully, spring time has finally struck London and the long awaited blue skies and sunny days have arrived! Last weekend everyone explored the many parks found around the city. A group of us went to Regent’s Park for a day full of activities in the sun. We brought a football, a soccer ball, a frisbee, a hammock, and books for a whole day in the park. The weather has been glorious the past few days it reminds us all of home. My roommates and I have been visiting new parts of London and trying different ethnic foods, such as Indian, Persian, and even Lebanese. Audrey Webster and I went and saw Swan Lake this past Monday at the Royal Opera House and it was my first actual ballet. I am not going to lie, I was pretty lost in the story. So, naturally, I went home and googled it and now it makes complete sense. I just thought that Prince Siegfried was weird for falling in love with a bird, but now I get it. I feel so cultured now!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

James McDonald

"Around people I don't know, I'm totally at a loss" -Barbara Streisand

Spring break saw GLS'ers traveling all over Europe. From Switzerland, to Italy, to Austria, our group had representation all over the continent. I was fortunate enough to visit the French Riviera and experience the Carnival celebration in Nice, France, win (and then lose) 8 euros in the Monte-Carlo casino in Monaco, and even more fortunate to survive hiking the Cinque Terre trail in Italy. After being lost for nearly 5 hours, we finally found the correct trail only after crawling through thorns, balancing on the edge of cliffs, scaling vertical rocks, and falling into creeks on the reg. In a race against the remaining sunlight, we made it to Vernazza with less than an hour of light left. We moved on to Florence for the remaining part of our trip. After haggling down street leather vendors, avoiding fake rolex salesmen, and eating way too much pizza, pasta, and gelato, we managed to visit some great art galleries such as the Uffizi and the Gallería Académia. I also snagged an illegal picture of the statue of David by Michelangelo! My only regret is that I never gelled my hair and rode a vespa around the city. I was totally DTRAVAGMH (down to rent a vespa and gel my hair) but we never got around to it.

As everybody's spring break week came to a close, we were faced with a reality check as our work placements were to start the following Monday. I work with a company called FareShare that collects extra food supplies from major food distributors and then redistributes it back out to food kitchens. However, some people have struggled with internships that do not exactly fit what they wanted to experience. This has caused for a stressful week for many of my classmates.

This weekend was my first in London in over a month. We used it to experience new parts of the city and find other nightlife besides our usual hotspots. "Barbara Streisand" by Duck Sauce has found its way onto my ipod, as this techno song seems to fuel all of Europe's pubs, bars, and clubs. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to relax and not stick out as a tourist, but in the next month I will be in Paris, Amsterdam, and Alicante, Spain, so I don't think the feeling will last long.