Thursday, December 2, 2010

No!!! It can't be almost over!!!

I'm in denial that I have to leave next Friday. I have not started packing, though its the earliest I have ever finished final papers. We are living it up right now! It has been snowing for 3 days straight, which for southern England is a ton of snow! We have a snow day today so all last night we were sledding and having snow ball fights. We then proceded to have some nice wine and watch Disney movies. We are supposed to go Ice skating at the Royal Pavilion Saturday, and then Monday we may venture back to London one last time. For the most part these last couple weeks have been filled with final papers, parties, and travel. We are trying to enjoy as much as we can and also forget that we are soon leaving.

Two weekends ago I went to Dublin Ireland with a couple friends and it was amazing. So green and interesting. We went to the Guinness Factory, Dublin castle, and St. Patricks Cathedral. I have also never met nicer people then the Irish. Everyone was so nice, friendly and willing to help. We said in a old small hotel that was beautiful. We went down to the pub and watched some football in true Irish fashion.

For thanksgiving all the Americans made a huge feast. It was so funny to see all of our British, German, Danish, and Dutch friends look at the food and be amazed. We thought it was a pretty light Thanksgiving dinner but they thought it was way too much food.

I know I've said it before but anyone reading this please go to Uni. Sussex if you get the chance! The Uni and Brighton are amazing places that I can't really describe properly in writing. If you do go I may however sneak in your suitcase =).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I cannot believe it is week 7 of 10 for the autumn semester. So much has happened but there is so much more that I want to do. Lewes Bonfire night was the scariest and greatest night ever. It is defiantly my new favorite holiday. Sadly no where in America would that much fire be allowed. Ireland this weekend! I'm so excited to go, as a little kid I always wanted to move to Ireland.

The past couple of weeks have been great. I've started two of my final papers which is almost an odd feeling. I am a person who always waits til the last min but with 3 papers and a composition to complete it would be difficult to wait. Any time I have down time I try to complete work, I don't want to miss a single opportunity to go out in Brighton, London or anywhere else. I don't want to leave. All of us here have joked about purposefully missing our flights back. Coming here has changed a lot of what of thought about doing with my life. I always wanted to stay in NY for school but coming here for grad school is now one of my top options. It's also given me a different perspective on America. I thought coming over here that people hated Americans but that really isn't the case, they almost paint a caricature of us that makes you really think what do we put out to the world, and how could we even begin to change it. Its even odd going to the clubs hearing mainly America music that they all know but then hearing British music that we in America never hear. Being here has also taught me to take risk and go for as many opportunities as you can. Never before has the phrase you only live once been more appropriate.

To sum up this whole post this is the best place I have ever been lol. If you are reading this and have the chance study at University of Sussex!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

So busy, but in the best way.

I realized today that I haven't updated in while. It didn't seem so long with everything going on. Societies started up. I'm currently in show choir which is just amazing. We are performing almost all broadway numbers and it makes me wish we had that club at Stony Brook. Societies here also have weekly socials. Last week we went to Pav Tav (the pavilion tavern) then to nine room karaoke one of many karaoke bars here that have student nights where a private room is free for a couple hours. Tomorrow we are going to one of the many clubs along the beach front called Collation where the Sussex big band is playing. Classes have been pretty good. They don't really take midterms or finals here we just have our final essays due the second week in December so, so far the work load has been light which is good for enjoying England.

Brighton is just amazing. Oct. 30th for halloween the city held a Zombie parade and then there was a Zombie flash mob that a couple friends and I participated in. The at night they had this event called white night. White night is a celebration of the clocks turning back (a week earlier then in America) which involves art exhibitions, interactive shows, shopping, movies, and clubs that all go til 7am. It seemed like the whole city was out and in fancy dress (the British term for in costume). I feel like I have finally fully adjusted to their terms, money, and odd food and know that I'm going to miss it when I back in America.

I can't believe I only have a little over a month left. Friday the 5th is the British holiday Guy Fawkes night and the biggest place to celebrate is in Lewis for bonfire night, which happens to be a 5 min train ride away. Since it's a very local event and involves a great deal of fire our guides from the September program offered to take us to make sure we don't get loss. Then Nov 20-21 a friend and I are traveling to Dublin and the next weekend to Edinburgh. I'm excited for this month and looking forward to seeing my friends at home, but I could defiantly stay longer if I had the time.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Autumn term is finally here!

Actual classes started last week but it hasn't really made a difference in what we do. The most classes any one is taking here is four classes including me. The difference between Uni. Sussex and SBU being that for 4 classes I only have class 7 hours a week. When I saw my timetable I thought maybe they had left off a class but nope. They just encourage more outside of class activity. Also none of my classes have tests for the semester just a final paper or composition for one of my music classes. Class are smaller here and they encourage discussion and input. In most of my classes is seems like they don't believe in wrong answers they just truly want to hear your input. For the American Pluralism DEC I'm taking a class called America Inside and Out and it been very funny to hear some things people around the world believe we do in America. The number one example is that people believe we say the pledge of allegiance all of the time, like every American wakes up and says it. Being here has also taught me how luck we are in America with our upper education system. A much smaller percentage of students go to University after the graduate college(what we call high school).
This Saturday I'm hopefully going to see a musical in London's West End and maybe even making it to Abby Road and the London Beatles Museum. I'm excited to travel more and I'm hopefully going to Paris and Dublin in November. This is a one time chance and my biggest fear is that I'll waste it.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Break Sept 24- Oct 1

Since normal term in England doesn't start til October 4th and our Sussex in September classes ended on September 23rd we had the week off to do what ever we want. On campus the freshman move in on the 25th for a week long party with clubs, fairs and festivals called Freshers week. While it would have been amazing to see freshers week me and 4 other friends I met from the September program went to Spain for six days. We spent Saturday, Sunday, and Monday morning in Madrid and then Monday night, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in Barcelona.

Both cities were amazing. Madrid reminded me of a big city in America but if you made the architecture much older and much prettier. We went on a cable car ride, saw the palace, cathedral, and rose garden, took a row boat out on a pond in the center of a huge park, ate delicious food, and saw a 7 story club. We ended up staying in a apartment that you could rent for individual nights. It was really clean and nice and looked almost like it was right out of a ikea catalogue.

Barcelona was much more Mediterranean and was amazing. We saw a lot in Barcelona but were forced to walk almost everywhere due to a Vaga General (general strike) that left the metro, buses and 90% of stores closed on Wednesday. We saw the 1992 Olympic stadium, the ancient fort on the top of Monjuic mountain, went to a flamenco show, shopped in a huge open air market and street called Las Ramblas, and spent a day on the beach. We stayed in a Hostel but had our own room so it was very nice, it was like a hotel with a shared bathroom. My favorite moment of the whole trip was sitting on the beach with 5 of my friends and realizing I was sitting on a beach in Barcelona, Spain. It was surreal to think that I could be studying for some crazy science test at Stony Brook but I was sitting on a Mediterranean beach.

What I learned from my trip:
-I really want to learn more Spanish.
-Flights can be really cheap if you know where to look making travel easy.
-More people speak English in Barcelona then Madrid.
-You can adjust to a different time table and routine very quickly (the Spanish eat dinner around 9 at night and clubs do not open until about 12:30 and most don't go out til 1 or 2)
-I'm not as quick at coming up with the proper response to a question in Spanish as I thought I was.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How is September almost over!?

I can't believe that September almost over. Soon all of the British students will be moving in and instead of one class twice a week I start four. It seems so odd because even though I've had to a long presentation and essay, I haven't felt like I'm in school yet. It's like a vacation. Because only international students are here in September they have been going on special trips. We've been on a tour of London, including a boat ride on the Thames, visited Stonehenge and the Roman Baths, and even went to the Globe theater to see Henry IV part I. Every Tuesday we go to a pub called the King and Queen in Brighton for karaoke night and Thursdays is trivia.

The main city right here is Brighton and it's amazing. It's right on the beach and there are buses ever 5 mins from campus to get you there. The large Brighton pier has all different ride and arcade games that are open til late at night. The old roller coast was the scariest ride I've ever been on. A couple blocks from the pier are the lanes. The lanes are small back streets with out traffic that have cute and funky shops of all kinds. My two favorites so far are the customizing store where every piece is unique and almost 80's patchwork looking, and the crazy futuristic techno store where all the clothes react to black light.

I'll probably post again later this week but for now its last day of class end of the semester dinner and time to finish my term paper.

Friday, September 3, 2010

In American airports you wait on lines, but in the UK you wait on the queue.

I have never really had to blog before, but I'm going to give it my best shot. I have never left the country either yet here I am now at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK. My name is Laura Ciaccio and I'm a junior at Stony Brook with a health science major and minor in music. I'm hoping to go to school to be a Physicians Assistant and I always thought because of all the sciences I would not be able to go abroad but sure enough it worked out.

This morning in out general orientation I was thinking of how I could describe the crazy past 48hrs with out writing a novel. I figure since I make lists for everything, a list of things I've found out so far would do.

-No matter how many times I've reminded my self cars and traffic patterns are different, I still almost got in on the drivers side of the car.

-Food courts do no exist on campus but there are a ton of grocery shops and kitchens.

-What the students here consider expensive for food seems cheap compared to the US.

-The sussex campus is actually in the shape of a cat.

-Most dorms here are singles which is a far cry from being doubled or tripled (people here have never even fathomed that)

-RA's here are graduate students or older unlike at Stony.

-Many words are spelled differently, said differently or have a new meaning.
Ex: -Color is spelled colour
- A line is a queue (you queue up instead of line up)
- You don't rent items you hire them
- Thanks is cheers
- Antisocial means destructive or disruptive.

-It's actually difficult to understand some people due to their accents.

-The trains and buses are very clean and the announcements are very polite.

-Every where you look everything seems so quant and proper.