Recent Entries by Courtnee  

My Musical Adventures in London

So there are so many opportunities to see popular concerts in London. With the O2 arena, which is massive to smaller venues and clubs, there are plenty of areas to catch a concert.

Since I have been in London, I have gotten to attend the Brit Awards and the Justin Timberlake concert.

The Brit Awards were an award show for popular UK artists and there were performances by Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Beyonce, Lorde, the Arctic Monkeys, Pompeii, and Rudimental. It was so much fun! I was also part of the live audience so it was interesting to see how a show was made behind the scenes. The host would count us in after the commercial breaks so that we could scream and show the television program that there was a live audience in the building. I also chose to sit in the upper level so that I could see the side of the stage. It was interesting to watch them do set changes behind the scenes of another performance. We were also able to have a great view of the celebrities below by sitting further up.

The Justin Timberlake concert was a spur of the moment purchase for my 22nd birthday. Because its JT and you just have to.

I have to say it was the best concert I have ever been to and probably will ever go to. JT is just a great all around performer, from the dancing and singing to the stage set-up. It was an amazing show! Plus, most of us grew up listening to 'N Sync and those were the days. Plus, his show definitely features the old songs that we know and love. The words just automatically came to me during the show!

Is the Queen in?


Something interesting that I learned while in London is how to tell if the Queen is at her residence in London, Buckingham Palace.

On the top of the palace there is a flag pole and if the queen is out it will show the Union Jack flag at the top which looks like this:


If the queen is in, then her personal flag will be shown which looks like this:


I was at Buckingham Palace once when the queen was in! However, it would have taken a lot of time standing around at the right entrance to catch a glimpse of her!

Image credits:


So I only have about a month left in London (so sad!) but I have had some really great experiences during the past three months. Here are my five favorite experiences:

1. Wandering the streets with only an oyster card.

Part of the fun in London is getting lost! If you plan on going to one place in London and then end up walking around, chances are you will stumble upon a tube station in an area where you have never been before. My favorite random adventure is when I went to see Big Ben and ended up walking to Buckingham Palace!

2. Attending a Rugby Match!

Even though I have no idea what is going on most of the time, it was still really entertaining through the crazy fights and constantly losing place of who has the ball. It was also at Wembley stadium which was huge! There were so many die-hard fans and it was fun to see everyone dress up and waving their flags in the air!

3. St. James' Park

One of my favorite green spaces in London is the park near Buckingham Palace and near the Horse Guard House. This is also near the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben too so there are plenty of people around!

4. Walking along the riverside

It has been amazing to go out in the sunshine (in the spring semester!) and walk along the River Thames. There are usually large crowds but it is possible to get a bench or sit in the grass for a quiet afternoon. Many of the museums are located along the river side or in close walking distance to the river. So it is fun to take a day and wander around near the riverside and find a new museum to look around!

5. Musicals

The theatre in London is wonderful! Living in Brookings and the Rochester, there are not any major productions which I have been close enough to attend. In London, there are different theatres just around the corner from eachother and there are usually cheap tickets if you go the day of a show! I have went to Once, a love story, and Spamalot, a comedy. Both were great!

Hopefully you get a chance to make your own list of favorite places when you study abroad!


Tube Tweets

So as I have been making my commute around on the tube, I come up with all of these great tweets but am never in a wifi zone to send them out. I thought that I could just make a blog with them so you can enjoy!


....the tube is so crowded and there is nowhere to hold on so you seem like a bobo doll (google it) gaze into someone's eyes because it's either them or your shoes for the next 45 minutes. make eye contact with the same person multiple times but keep turning away.

....someone talks to someone else on the tube. Because that doesn't happen, ever. overstep someone else's boundaries by placing your elbows in someone's face because you are trying to read the metro on a crowded tube. witness someone trying to run and catch the tube only to miss it by 'that much' get separated from one person in your group because they didn't hop on before the doors closed. It feels like the saddest moment in a movie and then you press your hand on the glass and scream "NOOOOO!"

All of these would undoubtedly include #thatawkwardmoment

Hopefully they were enjoyable and funny. If not, you will just have to come to London and witness these awkward moments for yourself.

Sick in England...


So I've been feeling a little under the weather this week which is no fun ever, but especially when you are abroad.

I have had a really busy week coming back from break, so maybe that is the reason that I got something. It could also be the fact that I am wandering around hospital wards for my internship throughout the week, who knows.

The unique thing about being sick in England is the knowledge of the pharmacists. It is typical for Londoners to go into a pharmacy and ask a pharmacist for advice and recommendations for mediation when they become ill. They are usually more readily available than a general practitioner. Also, almost every medication here is about 5 pounds due to the universal healthcare. That is something I learned in my internships class this week when we talked about the UK vs. US differences.

Well, I am off to rest and get better quick so I can keep exploring!

Have a great spring break back in MN!

Homestay Hangout!


So tonight all of the homestay students got together and had dinner, made dessert, and watched a movie at my house!

Since there are only 6 homestay students out of about 350 CAPA program students, we really became friends quickly at the beginning of the program.

My house mother also prepared a lot of food for us and made it really easy for me to have guests in her home. It was really surprising that she opened up her home to my guests and she even left the house for the evening so that we could almost have the house to ourselves!

We made the most amazing Nutella brownies! They were only three ingredients too! Here is a link to the recipe:

So if you are having doubts about a homestay, look no further! It really is amazing how quickly groups of students can come together on a study abroad trip!


Dementia Training Day


Even though I had a break week this week, I decided to pop into work anyways because there was a special training day for dementia awareness. I have been working with one of the coordinators and she thought that it would be really interesting for me to attend so I decided to go!

It was only a half day, but it was very interactive and interesting. I did not know much about dementia or what the UK has in place for dementia training and awareness so it was really interesting to see what they are doing to improve their hospitals!

I was able to work with the nurses who were taking the training back to their wards. We learned how to treat patients with dementia and how at times it is very simple to make their time in a hospital easier. I know that this was very beneficial information for working with patients who have dementia, but much of the training can be extended to other patients in the hospital as well. If some of the skills are utilized within everyone's routine, I think that many of the patients will have better outcomes!


A Day South of the River

So if you remember, my break week has been this past week and oh has it been lovely!

I have been able to see all of the places that I felt I didn't have time for before. It is really difficult to squeeze a city into a semester! Especially one as big as London!

So I have been travelling to destinations that are widely known, such as museums and also some unique places recommended to me by the school I am studying at.

On Wednesday, I travelled south of the River Thames. When you arrive in London, you begin calling areas by their tube stop name and I got off at Southwark. This was an area that I had not yet been to so it is really helpful that London has maps on the streets which point out major attractions in the area.

I first went to the Tate Modern museum which has a variety of displays and exhibitions. It was really interesting to learn about the artwork and the artists. I also saw a few Picasso's! Then I went to the Globe theatre where there is a recreation of the one that stood during Shakespeare's times. It was beautifully restored and right by the river! I then walked through Borough Market which is a large outdoor market with food vendors! After that I went to the National Gallery which houses various artwork and got to see Van Gogh's Sunflower paintings and they were so amazing in person! Also in that gallery there were many Monet paintings and other Van Gogh's. It was really beautiful to see. My last stop of the day was a café that I was informed of by my school. I was told that I had to order the hot chocolate, and boy am I glad that I did!

It was basically hot pudding and oh so good! I have a picture of it and the inside of the café (which is inspired by vespas!). It was amazing and the atmosphere was so welcoming. Not something that I have seen in London yet!


Spring Break in London

Hello All,

Sadly I am not getting on a plane and going to some warm place for spring break this week. I chose to spend more time in London! This is a city of 8 million people, you cannot even imagine the span of the whole city! It would be difficult to even see everything if I were here for a few years!

There are many benefits of spending your weekends and breaks in your study abroad location rather than leaving to visit other countries. From my experience going to Paris last weekend, I discovered that you get so exhausted after trying to explore another city in a weekend. Mainly because you are trying to accomplish all of the sightseeing you possibly can and that means minimal sleep!

I chose to spend my break week traveling around the neighborhoods of London and getting a little bit of shopping accomplished! Since I am taking a full course load and have a 20 hour a week internship (which is going amazing, more to come later) I do not get much time to get out and explore when there is still daylight.

Some of the places I plan to visit include: Tate Modern, the National Gallery, Regents Park, Hyde Park, the Science Museum, Kensington Palace, the Globe Theatre, Borough Market and the Royal Observatory.
Stay tuned for my adventures during the week!


A Weekend in Paris

This post is about the benefits of going on travel programs through your study abroad institution. This past weekend I went to Paris with a group from my program and it was wonderful!

I did not know how I was going to fit Paris into just one weekend, but I seemed to manage and in part that is because we had great guides and included tours! Programs such as the one that I went on typically have a set price for a weekend and include many different activities for you to do while you are there such as bus and walking tours, museum tickets, and even major attraction tickets. There is typically travel to and from the destination included as well. Not to worry though, they even include some free time for you to explore on your own.

My trip included a round trip ticket to Paris from London by train. Then we received a bus tour of the major attractions in Paris and were taken to our hotel before going to the Louvre museum for the evening. We were given metro passes and allowed to go wherever we wanted in the city and there were no restrictions on coming back at a certain time. The second day, we had walking tours and went on a river boat cruise before being given free time for the rest of the day. On the last day in Paris, we were given tickets to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower and then also had the option of going on a bike tour of the city before returning home by train.

So if you are ever abroad, take advantage of these opportunities! They are easy and fun trips which also make you feel safe!

Make sure to check out my pictures of the trip now on Photobucket!


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