Highs & Lows Series: Pros On My London Study Abroad

Highs & Lows Series: Pros On My London Study Abroad

The upside of living in the UK for a semester

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Last week I shared some of the downsides to my London semester abroad. Now, the sunshine to London's cloudy skies. Here is a short list of some of the wonderful things I've experienced from living in London.


1. The world is your Oyster Card

I don't have a car at my university, so I am used to struggling to get around. However, I don't have to worry about getting around in London. The London Underground and bus system is an amazing resource for exploring London. My study abroad program has paid off my Oyster Card for central London zones one and two, so I can go everywhere in central town for free. At home, the idea of going to a coffee shop across down to study would have been an expensive Lyft ride. I hope on-and-off the Tube all day in London, and I feel safe taking the Night Tube 24 hour lines home on the weekends. Public transportation has opened my word up and made London a little smaller.

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2. Catch me in the pub - pint full of cider

So, that doesn't sound as catchy as the song lyrics, but the London pub culture has changed my life. I prefer to catch up with friends over a pint instead of partying at a club late into the night. Pub culture here has changed my perspective on drinking alcohol and allowed me to see it as a social activity. I've also had the opportunity to explore more ciders and wines from the slower pace of drinking. Hopefully, I'll be able to find a pub-like bar back in Florida.

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3. Large doses of dogs at local parks

On days I am missing home, I like to venture a few blocks away from my flat to a large green park for a walk. It's refreshing to see kids playing around and dogs chasing after balls. Owners can walk their dogs without leashes in the park. Dozens of dogs dart through the patches of trees and over pathways. I'll have an English bulldog come up to say hello before running off to some hound dogs nearby. I am sitting in a coffee shop off of Hyde Park writing this article, and a few minutes ago a toasted golden retriever walked in with her owner in tow. The dog walked right up to me at a table near the till and said hello.


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4. Everything is on the menu

London is an incredibly diverse and vibrant city. The food scene magically reflects the variety of cultures living together in the UK capital. Every day I pick between French pastries or Portuguese tarts and ramen bowls for lunch or Greek salads. Dinner could be an endless debate over where to dine, but I always order from the heart: Indian food. I have sampled every Indian place within walking distance from my flat. My favorite is Memories of India, which is open late and available for takeaway.


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5. I might have trouble returning home

If you're a clever reader, you'll remember that this was also on my con list last week. I think there are some advantages to not wanting to return home. This experience has opened my life up, and I am grateful I have outgrown my life at home. I will be making adjustments to my life once returning to the United States because of my experiences in London. As I wrote before, I intend to bring my new sense of fearlessness in my carry-on on the flight home.


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Thank you for reading a short list of some of my favorite things in London.

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11 Things To Do In Buckfield, Maine

They say there's not a lot to do in small town, but I can prove you wrong!
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What's Buckfield? Where is it? This small town is one you've probably never heard of, but it is still a great place to visit! This small town is where former "Grey's Anatomy" star Patrick Dempsy grew up. Like any other small town, it's claimed there's nothing to do there. After living in a town for so many years, you forget about all the great things it really has to offer. Here are just a few of Buckfield's most attributable places and activities.

1. Visit the tavern.

A small town favorite! Stop by Captain Bly's Tavern for drinks, delicious food, live music, karaoke nights and an all around fun environment.

2. See the garden.

Visit the community garden located behind Buckfield High School. A cool project originally started by Annette Caldwell, Gretchen Kimball and other teachers and community members, this garden gives students hands on working experience and a fun chance to learn to play, grow, build things and spend time outdoors (even in the summer time). Buckfield's community garden is one of the biggest community gardens in the state of Maine.

3. Swim at the Bennett Quarry and Orchard Pit.

With permission, you can visit these lovely and fun adventure spots. The Bennet Quarries (first picture) are known for having some great gem finds, and the Orchard Pit (second picture) is, as well, but it is more known as a great swim spot!

4. Go to the biggest mall in town.

Well, the only mall in town! Much to your surprise (I'm sure), it's not the mall where you can buy all your clothes, shoes and perfumes! Though you can buy a few "Maine" shirts and hats, you can also fill up your gas tank and get a wonderful Italian or pizza at the Buckfield Mall.


5. Travel the Railroad Bed.

Nearly a five-mile stretch going from Hebron to Sumner (with Buckfield in the middle), this is the perfect place to go four-wheeling, biking, walking, running, horseback riding and in the winter, snowmobiling!

6. Hike the Packard Trail.

A two-mile-long, five-foot-wide loop trail located off of the railroad bed. This trail is rated to be a moderately difficult hike, but it's well worth the views you see along the way.

7. Play at the "Rec field."

A small park between two baseball fields, this is the perfect kid place with slides, swings, merry-go-round and more. You can also watch a local baseball or softball game during the summer!

8. Travel the Nezinscot.

Take a canoe or kayak down the Nezinscot River for a peaceful, scenic river, stretching through several small Maine towns.

9. See the Zadoc Long Free Library.

Located in the heart of Buckfield is the public library. The Zadoc Long Library has several rows of books for all ages. It also holds weekly book clubs, children's books readings and other fun groups. Also, in front of the library is a memorial to honor veterans.

10. Visit Basin Falls

A trip to Basin falls is a great idea in the summer (probably not so child friendly) and leads to a shady, rocky falls and small pools of water for a dip on hot days!

11. Visit Roundabout Farm.

Visit the Roundabout Farm and take a mini horse carriage ride down one of their travels, or visit the various farm animals.

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6 Reasons Traveling Is Good For Your Mind, Body, And Soul

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.

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Have you ever traveled to a new destination and felt your mood instantly improve? Are you like me and feel happiest when you're on vacation? This is because traveling is a way for you to renew your soul and step out of your comfort zone. It keeps you happy and allows you to experience new things.

Visiting new destinations can open your mind to experiences you didn't even know were possible. You can meet new people, fall in love, try new foods, and see remarkable sites all while traveling. There are no limits to the places you can visit, and the things you can see. Currently, I am on a mini weekend trip to Arizona, and being here has opened my eyes and made me realize how impactful traveling really is on your mind, body, and soul. Traveling should be something you do as often as possible and whenever you get the chance. Here's why:

1. Traveling makes your heart happy 

Traveling is something that most people enjoy. It keeps the heart young and childlike. Traveling brings people joy because they get to experience new things that they love with the people they love.

2. It teaches you to embrace every moment 

Traveling can be unpredictable, especially because you are experiencing new things. Although it can be challenging, we learn best from these unpredictable moments. When we travel we learn to embrace every situation that is thrown at us.

3. Traveling relieves stress and improves mental health 

Traveling reduces stress and allows you to relax. More often than not, you take off work when you go on vacation and you focus on renewing your self. You get away from all the crazy things going on in your life, and you can just relax and focus on your own happiness.

4. It broadens your horizons 

Traveling lets you branch out and experience different cultures. You can try new foods, new activities, and meet all different types of people. You learn diversity, and you learn respect for other people and their culture's. Traveling helps you learn other perspectives around the world and lets your mind think in ways it never has before.

5. It keeps you healthy 

Traveling actually plays a big part in your physical health as well. During vacations, you often walk a lot to destinations and participate in calorie burning activities like hiking and swimming. Activities like these are often why you still are able to get your workout in while on vacation.

6. Traveling reminds you what is important 

Most importantly, traveling reminds you of the important things in life. We live day by day forgetting that every moment is remarkable. Sometimes, we get stuck in the same old boring routine and take for granted the life we have been given. Traveling reminds us that memories are valuable and that our lives should be cherished.

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