7 Major Reasons To Visit England

7 Major Reasons To Visit England

Maybe you'll meet Harry Potter – seriously!

In February 2015, I fulfilled a life dream of mine to travel to Europe. Obviously, the whole reason I suffered through AP European History sophomore year of high school was to go on the Europe trip! Thankfully, during my senior year, my high school was going to England which worked out perfectly since I have been obsessed with British culture ever since I read the Harry Potter books. They even decided to visit an extra country, Amsterdam.

When we transferred from England to Amsterdam we also made a stop in Brussels, Belgium. Actually experiencing a foreign way of life for yourself is so much different than just reading a book or watching a movie about it. It took some adjusting at first, but by the time I left England to travel to Amsterdam, I had just gotten comfortable there. Seven huge reasons why you should experience English life are listed below:

1. You get to step inside a real red telephone booth (not the ones in Disney World).

Unfortunately, the one I stepped in did not double as a time machine like on Doctor Who, but it did work for a nice photoshoot, After all, if you go to London and do not take a picture with a telephone booth, did you really go to London?

2. Big Ben

I would assume everyone around the world knows what this is. This clock serves as a symbol of the continuing function of British government. It would be hard to travel to the capital of England without taking a selfie (I mean, look).

3. Bath

Truthfully, I never even heard of Bath until I went on this trip. Somerset, South West England, is apparently known for the baths the Romans built. It was actually a spa around A.D. 60, and became a World Heritage Site in 1987. (Yes, I almost fell in the water and embarrassed myself, and yes, one of my teachers willingly posed like this. Isn't it a classic?)

4. Evening Theatre

London has over eighty mainstream theaters, and there is a plethora of shows to choose from. They range from timeless classics to modern day. I was lucky enough to see "The Woman In Black" when I was there. I already saw the movie version that came out in 2012 with Daniel Radcliffe and loved it, so obviously the whole time I was watching it in London I was picking out differences between the movie and the performance in my brain. (I did not want to say them out loud and annoy my only friend that I had to spend the next week with).

5. Stonehenge

The bus ride here took us through the most beautiful areas of England; I could not believe how rural it was. The open country looked like it would never end. The Stonehenge itself is actually quite eerie; there is no explanation as to why it is there. The creepiest part was when I looked up and saw birds gathered on top of it. And, just as quickly as they came, they flew away..very odd.

6. Windsor Castle

This castle is actually where the Queen usually spends the weekend. The architecture was breathtaking!

7. Going to King's Cross Station and seeing Platform 9 3/4.

In Harry Potter, all the wizards have to leave for Hogwarts each September 1st at King's Cross Station on Platform 9 3/4 (obviously a fictional platform). They have to confidently run into the wall that separates platforms 9 and 10. London had the decency to actually hang a sign that specifically states Platform 9 3/4 for crazed fans like me to take pictures with.

The reasons to visit could go on and on. If I could relive this trip, I would do so in a heartbeat. If I convinced even one person reading this to visit, I have done my job!

Cover Image Credit: http://www.noellefloyd.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/city-of-London.jpg

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.

When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...


"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"


Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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