All posts by jaclynturner

Please Check Out My Newest Blog

Hi Friends,

I’ve started a new blog that starts with my amazing summer experience and covers all my thoughts and experiences and other things I like to write about. Please give it a follow, and thank you for following me on my study abroad blog. Jaclyn en Barcelona served as my diary to remember some of the best experiences of my life while traveling Europe. My new blog is justbeingj.wordpress.com

xoxo,

Jaclyn

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Weekly Photo Challenge: “Motion”

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Motion.”

I must say that this week’s photo challenge is aptly chosen. Literally, the ball is in motion, and I can’t believe how fast my experience abroad has gone by! 1 week left before I return to the states… will I continue blogging on this site, or create a new blog? I have not yet decided. When inspiration strikes, I truly do enjoy sharing a post or two with you.

Anyways, a motion photo:

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Life is most definitely in motion here!

Photo Challenge: “Blur” Week of April 3

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Blur.”

As you can probably tell, I’m really digging this photo challenge! It’s quick and easy and gives you a glimpse into my life in Barcelona!

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This photo, was also taken near Montjuic in front of MNAC at the magic fountain show. My friend Anne and I had thought the show ended, but it kept going on, until the water faded to it’s liquid clear self. I found this view truly majestic with the captivating art museum in the background. If you ever find yourself in Barcelona, see the art show. It’s a BLUR of color, music and synchronized water effects.

Photo Challenge: “Afloat”

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Afloat.”

Sometimes I browse along other blogs beside my own. This photo challenge intrigued me, so without further ado, my study abroad related interpretation of the word, “Afloat.”

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I took this photo while in a cable car, floating above the beautiful and list Montjuic, which is a montainous hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.  The journey was too short, but the views were breathtaking, despite the haziness of Barcelona in March!

I took this photo while in a cable car floating over Montjuic, a beautiful mountain area overlooking the Mediterranean.

9 Things No One Tells You About Studying Abroad

As my study abroad experience winds down, and I return to the States in the next two weeks, I’ve reflected on the things that I never expected or considered when I  was preparing for this adventure. Whether you are studying abroad this summer, next semester, or next year, I hope this post imparts some guidance to what no one tells you about studying abroad.

1.  It’s like starting freshman year all over again.

You just don’t get the help of orientation activities, clubs, and common areas to help you meet people. Most people seem to travel abroad with their friends, others, like me, try to be independent and go where I wanted to go. Studying abroad is a privilege, and I am honored that my parent’s let me study abroad, as the costs can prove inhibitive. That’s said, I feel like I have had to completely re-establish myself by finding new friends and meeting people who enjoyed my quirks. Except, I have noticed that when people come abroad with their friends, they aren’t as interested in making friends.

2. There will be times of loneliness.

As I said before, it’s difficult to come alone without a core friend group.  I’ve had my fair share of loneliness watching people have their instant travel and bar-hopping buddies. I got through it, and really had to reach out of my comfort zone. Also, do what you want to do, and don’t wait on others to make it happen.

3. You will miss certain American food items LIKE CRAZY.

Do yourself a favor, and pack yourself some peanut butter. Because if you find it in your respective country, it’s not the same! Once I got here, I was dreaming about goldfish, cookie dough and my favorite version of Special K. Save yourself the trouble, and try and save room for your favorite snacks. You can use the empty space for your souvenir collection.

4. Traveling get’s HELLA expensive, and it’s exhausting.

Euro-tripping sound’s amazing. I thought so at first too. Until I realized how expensive it could be. Flights, hostels, food and museums add up fast. Unless you have been saving up for months and years for these trips or your parents chip in, you might just be staying put. And more people than you think are all about staying in the region too! I also quickly realized that I was exhausted when I was traveling two or three weeks in a row. And then I got sick. Take a little downtime, and make sure that you are living and experiencing the city you chose to study in, and not just using it as home base in between your fantastic weekends.

5. You will spend most of your money on food, transportation, and booze.

Trying new dishes and restaurants- TOTALLY WORTH IT.  However, Keep the alcohol cheap and even, gasp, limit it , because you don’t want to waste all your money on being blacked out. Use those funds to have a memorable experience like renting a scooter for the afternoon or visiting a famous landmark.

6. There is pressure to go out every night, but please, do you!

There are many people here in Barcelona who seem to go out every night. Sometimes, it feels like everyone is going out. Some people can easily live that lifestyle, others need a break. Please feel strong enough to resist the temptation of clubbing 7 nights a week and get a good night’s sleep and your homework done every once in a while.

7. Some classes may be harder than in the U.S, and the indifference about that is too real.

I definitely have less work to do here, but my tests count more toward my grade. And that’s a scary thought, especially when that someone has test anxiety and loves the cushion of several smaller assignments to soak up an average test score. Also, don’t come abroad expecting your GPA to get a good bump, because that’s not going to happen. Just focus on maintenance, because you’re not going to have much time to study between all your traveling and exploring your city.

8You will have FOMO.

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my friend’s snapchats and Facebook posts at home, I wish I was there with them. You will get FOMO as you see them all together on Spring Break just goofing around, wondering what would happen if you’re there. But. Please don’t let this FOMO stop you because you are having the experience of a lifetime as cliche as it sounds. Check in with them occasionally, but don’t let their actions make you homesick.

9. Hola

No, I’m not saying hello! It’s a chrome add-on that makes it look like you’re browsing in the US, and makes it easy for you to watch Netflix. Because, even abroad, you’re not going to stop binge watching. It’s the best form of me-time out there!

But all in all, you will have the time of your life, experience self-growth and immerse yourself in a totally new country.  As cliche as it is, you will have the experience of a lifetime. I’m so excited for you to start this amazing journey in your life! 

I Survived Spring Break 2015

So, If I decided to write a post about my spring break, it would probably take as long as my vacation to write it. And let me tell you, this “break” was no vacation but a marathon of traveling. Let me paint a picture: 6 countries in 11 days. That old adage there is no sleep for the weary or wicked is true. There is no sleep (or rest) for the student traveler. Nevermind, that wherever I went, the rain came too.

That said, my immune system suffered dearly.

So, I have decided to sum my experience up for you with two photos from each city.

Prague, Czech Republic 

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Swans by the Famous Charles Bridge
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Yes, these two men are peeing fountains. And the water is 100% drinkable. Bonus: This display is next to the Franz Kafka Museum

Highlight: Easter Market in Old Town and Public Works of “Art”

Berlin, Germany

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Constant construction and regrowth in Berlin
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Between the Berlin Wall. East Side and the West Side

Highlight: The Holocaust Memorial almost brought me to tears, and the Doner Kebab

Amsterdam, Holland

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Bikes, Canals, and Narrow homes!
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What’s a trip to Amsterdam without a pose with the “D”! IAMSTERDAM

Highlight: Van Gogh Museum, the Heinken Experience Canal Cruise, The Atmosphere and STROOPWAFEL

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So pretty!

Brussels, Belgium

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Europe has a fascination with peeing boys.

Highlight: With only three short hours, it would have to be the strawberry and banana waffle with warm chocolate drizzled over it. It was devoured before I remembered to take a photo.

Paris, France

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CHEERS TO PARIS
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Versailles

Highlight: I return to the city of lights! Loved the Musee d’Orsay- filled with impressionist masterpieces by Claude Monet and spectacular sculptures, Versailles, and of course, the Macaroons from Laduree!

So what was my favorite city? It’s a toss up. But, I would have to say Amsterdam because it is like nothing I have ever seen before. It’s like an adult fantasyland with idyllic homes and calming canals while all sorts of debauchery and fun are encouraged. Where else in the world can you hit up a coffee shop then indulge in the secrets of the red light district? No where.

But please, I wish Spring Break 2015 never came to an end. It was long and short at the same time. An exhausting whirlwind of new experiences. I loved every minute of it!

Now, I have returned to the grind, with finals week and my return home rapidly approaching the horizon. Oh my!

*All photos were taken by me!

That Time When All I Wanted was a Bagel

Thought it was time to catch you up to speed on my latest Eurotrip adventure. I just finished watching the new E show, the Royals, and I loved seeing the shots of the London Eye and Big Ben, places I was just at!  Let’s just say I’m hooked. Definitely a more enhanced Gossip Girl of the ELITE. I’m already waiting for next Monday afternoon so I can stream this indulgent distraction. I digress.

DSC_0580Mom and I arrive in London. It’s all sunshine and rainbows for the most part, until it’s time to find our hotel. We walk right past it since it doesn’t have good signage. Seriously. it was hidden under a valet area and completely unseen from the street. We would have kept walking if it wasn’t for a bloke (english for man) walking by the river, the Thames, who was actually staying at the hotel. Hotel’s nice, and by nice, I mean, I like the lobby… not the random skateboarding figurine being passed off as art next to the minifridge. Beds were not as plush as Paris and it wasn’t as centrally located, but I had a nice view of other rooms with scaffolding above my head. Basically, the hotel was under construction but they gave cookies with the tea and slippers, so that was a plus.DSC_0618

Friday was my mommy’s birthday! We start off the day with a hop on-hop off tour for some sights. I really just wanted a bagel, but we had Italian instead near Picaddilly Circus at a place with Italian small plates as it neared early afternoon. Apparently that’s a thing. “Italian Tapas.” Had great atmosphere, loved my gnocchi. Afterward, we  went to the half price ticket outlet in Lecester Square for tickets to see Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, which is about 4 women in madrid who are having some sort of midlife crisis. Quite entertaining. I don’t think it’s going to become some big sensation, especially since the understudy was better than the rest of the cast, but also, she just had a more fun part. Before the show, we dashed over to Tate Modern Art, which confused me rather than awed me. I just wasn’t feeling it, and wish that I had left more time for the Globe and my man Shakespeare. I missed the entrance to the museum by like 5 minutes, never able to return….but I got a photo in front of the Globe. I always attribute my middle school drama teacher Ms. Kendrick back to my obsession with Shakespeare and the Globe, probably because she kept a little figurine of the famous playwright on a bookshelf, and we all joked that he was her boyfriend. Saturday we woke up early by my standards to catch a changing of the guard’s walking tour. We got to march alongside the guards to Buckingham Palace. We didn’t really see guards change place or get too close to the palace since it was absolutely mobbed, but it was a really vibrant atmosphere getting to witness a part of British customs.Interestingly enough, our tour guide said that they do the changing of the guards more as an aspect of tourism rather than a necessity or official protocol.

DSC_0679After, we planned to head to Hyde Park and Kensington Palace with a detour at Harrods. Harrods can only be described as a magical maze of retail goodness. I found my calling in the evening wear collection and my heart in Shoe Heaven. I have officially decided that Ted Baker and Kate Spade are my world favorite and those collections can do no wrong after wafting through this shopping mecca. For lunch, we ate at one of the many restaurants inside  such as champagne bar, gelado, morrocan place, disney inspired, laduree, burger joint… the list is endless. We stuck with pizza because we thought, how expensive can pizza be? We were wrong. But the chef swung around the bar area tossing dough and singing Italian songs, so that kind of made it worth it?? For my harrods souvenir, I settled on the cutest little Ted Baker ID card holder. Although Ted Baker can be found at Bloomies and Von Maur in the states, no one has the same selection and sizes available. Therefore, you can easily understand that I wanted everything, but settled for what my wallet found appropriate. We took the hop on hop off bus to kensington palace only to realize we didn’t have enough time to tour the palace if we wanted to try to get the the Book of Mormon rush tickets for $20. We ran back to Picadilly Circus with a fare amount of time to spare to enter the drawing. I wanted to see Book of Mormon so badly; it’s been my number one must-see for years, but ticket prices never go down.  I had been feeling so helpful, but as the 11 pairs were drawn, my name was not called. Interestingly enough, no one from the state’s name were called, which was kind of discouraging. I was in a mood after because I had my hopes up. My mom wanted to see Beautiful, the Carole King Musical but I was in one of those, if I can’t see the Book of Mormon, I don’t want to see anything else kind of moods. So, we went shopping. And discovered PRIMARK. Basically walmart prices meet Forever 21 selection but for kids, men and household items too. I had a field day buying unnecessary items like hot pink scalloped shorts, a laser cut black blazer,  METALLIC TATTOOS, and a trendy backpack.  I also got jeans for 7 pounds. I have seriously never heard of such a thing. I found out that Primark has locations in Barcelona and opening one in the Dirty Jerz, so I will be BACK! After Primark, we were so bloody tired, and I didn’t know where to go, so we stopped in McDonalds. It seemed like there were no restaurants around, and mom and I were so fatigued, I ended up eating Mcdonalds. and I hate McDonalds. Why couldn’t it be chipotle?

DSC_0679On Sunday we feel like we were slacking in what we wanted to see, so it’s a whirlwind. I FINALLY GET MY BAGEL. At the Waterloo train station. It wasn’t as good as back home but it will suffice. Then, we pranced our way to the London Eye which was so cool! I just wish it was a little more clear outside, but for the most part we had pretty good weather in Barcelona. Then we finally made it to Kensington Palace, hoping to catch a glimpse of Kate or Prince George.

The palace was gorgeous. Simple on the outside, magnificent on the inside. It was interesting to see the King and Queen’s quarters and how they had the exact same equal layout. I wish that I could remember which monarch they were built for, but it was for when the king and queen shared equal power.

Overall, an amazing trip, until we got so wrapped up in life that we missed our plane’s check in time by mere minutes. I would go into that story but it involves lots of hysterics and money. Obviously, I made it home though. Just in time for my photography class that proved useless that day.

And I didn’t get my postcard. AND YOU KNOW, IF I DON’T GET MY POSTCARD, IT MEANS I NEED TO GO BACK, JUST TO GET MY SIGNATURE MOMENTO!!!!!

Observations about London:

  • Theater is a huge part of the city ( West End). You see theaters everywhere
  • Not a cheap city, but Primark is super cool
  • The Tube has funny shaped trains
  • London is huge
  • Fish and Chips is just blah
  • Starbucks and Pret A Manger are on every corner