Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Is It Too Soon?

So it hasn't been a month and I am already feeling a sense of homesickness. Don't get me wrong: I don't regret coming here and I have learned to like the school and the Worcester city environment, but I just get into these spells where I wish I was in my house in my bed watching "Criminal Minds" in one of my boyfriend's T-Shirts. Is it too soon for me to feel the need to go home? It hasn't even been a month and I'm already thinking about the things that I am going to do when I get home. However, it hasn't caused me too slack in any of my classes and I have yet to cry about the situation so I don't think it's that out of control. On the other hand, everything else seems to be going alright; classes are fairly simple, I've made a couple of friends, and traveling in Europe is SO CHEAP so I have a chance to get somethings off of my bucket list before returning home. Who can complain about that?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

First time for everything -_-

So it's been exactly ONE WEEK since I stepped foot in not only a different country, but a different culture. To say it has been easy is an understatement, but I have learned to manage traveling alone in a foreign city (i.e. bus routes and trains). However, food has become one of my biggest struggles. Don't get me wrong; I like bread, cheese, rice, and beans as well as the next person, but I am not a fan of it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It does make me feel some type of way when I have to travel off campus to get a burger, a steak, or even a good fettuccine Alfredo. However, I have experiences with some off-the-wall cafeterias (i.e. Pearsons Hall) so I was more than prepared to do what I had to do. Overall, I would mark my first week as a success (check mark)!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

23 hours in; 5 more months to go

Although I am not officially at the University of Worcester yet, I am currently in Paris for a layover and, to be honest, it's close enough to Worcester for me. The last couple of days have been a whrilwind of emotions for myself as well as my family. You know how you think that the people that's closest to you won't take it hard because you think they understand why you're doing this? Well, that's what I convinced myself to think these last couple of weeks. However, this experience means the world to me so I can't mess this up so I need to suck it up and continue to try and provide the best life for my family as well as myself.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Maryville College Cultural Ambassadors

There is no doubt that you will be kept busy while attending Maryville College. Through the cultural ambassador programming and possibly joining GCO, you will have a lot of exposure to activities. Sometimes you will want to be able to do fun activities with friends that you may not have to plan. And that’s where CIE comes in!
A group of MC international students at the Blue plate concert in Knoxville
A group of students at the Blue Plate Concert in Knoxville. 

The CIE plans fun activities for all students – ESL students, international students and U.S. students.
On the one hand, we offer events for you to learn about the USA. On the other, we have supported students in their efforts to set up international dance parties on campus and to coordinate fashion shows in order to teach us all about their cultures. These events are fun and allow you to teach friends about where you come from.

Other times, we offer the opportunity to learn about local Tennessee culture specifically!  We explore the Great Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg. I-House has also taken students hiking in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Some years there have been weekend trips to Nashville, Atlanta or other cities. These events are organized by I-House and students can sign up for a reasonable fee.

If there are any activities that you and your friends are interested in, you can tell the staff at I-House. Whether the idea is for an on-campus program or off-campus excursion, we can work together to see if the activity is a good fit for I-House programming. If it is a good fit, we can work together to plan the event for students to enjoy.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

France - Departure

Sunday, January 7th, 2018 -

Its crazy how just 6 month ago I was finalizing my plans to study abroad and beginning to take my pre-depature class to become better prepared when I arrive. as I write this post, I am in Los Angeles about 2 hours before I leave for LAX and I feel prepared but scared at the same time. months of preparation and time that goes into being able to take part in this experience has been a life changing experience. Being nervous is normal but being nervous is what makes this experience even more special. As the sun sets and the time for me to actually leave the country comes closer, i begin to think about everyone who got me to this point. from my parents and professors, to my study abroad advisor and my friends I am blessed and thankful to have this opportunity. I can't wait to arrive and begin this new adventure while keeping everyone I know (including this blog) up to date.

- Justis owens

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Welcome to Incoming 2018 Students

As you’re beginning to prepare for your time at Maryville College, you may be wondering how to find out a little bit more about what’s on campus and the surrounding area.

Maryville College is known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience, all while building a community of students, staff and faculty that will help you along the way.
picture of Barlett Hall atrium with international flags hanging
Bartlett Hall with flags representing all of the students on campus
Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation in partnership with others. Founded in 1819, Maryville is the 12th oldest college in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Maryville College has about 1,200 students, representing approximately 40 states, the District of Columbia and 30 other countries. To take a virtual tour of campus before you arrive, go here and click on the “Tours” tab. You’ll be able to watch videos about the campus and do small photo tours for some buildings.

In Maryville, there are many things to do within walking distance. If you’re a coffee lover, you may want to visit Vienna Coffeehouse for a cup of Joe or to see one of their many live music performances. There are also many restaurants, cafes and shops downtown and beyond. In the early Fall and late Spring, Maryville hosts a small Farmers Market on Saturday mornings where you can explore local produce, baked goods and other delicacies. If you like being active and outdoors, you’ll love Maryville’s Greenway, a system of biking and walking paths around Maryville and Alcoa. A short drive away there is also Foothills Mall, a small mall with shops, department stores, and a movie theater. In neighboring Alcoa, there are many shops, restaurants and supermarkets that are easily accessible by car.
Maryville Downtown
Maryville Downtown and Greenway

Outside of Maryville, there are many fun and interesting places to visit close by. Knoxville is just a 30-minute drive from Maryville and has many fun things to do. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is an excellent way to reconnect with nature and is a short drive away.

Get ready to explore this coming year because eastern Tennessee has a lot to offer!

Foreground: Anderson Hall (the oldest building on campus!)
Background: Great Smoky Mountains

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

All About Kimono

Marlena Madden

When people see kimono, they often immediately think about Japan. Kimono are probably one of the most recognizable piece of clothing from Japanese culture. They have a long history, but are now pretty much only worn for special events or festivals.

While I stay with a host family, there are no children in my homestay family. But, some of my friends in JSP Program at TIU have went to Shichi-go-san ceremonies with their host families. The ceremony is for when children turn 7, 5, or 3. Usually during the fall, the children dress in formal kimono and go to the local shrine to celebrate. The whole family tends to dress up for the occasion as well to take pictures. There are also many other events were people wear kimono including festivals, weddings, and celebrations when people turn 20.

Because I live near Koedo in Kawagoe, a popular tourist destination because of the old-fashioned buildings, I often see many young women who dress in Kimono and walk through the streets taking pictures. I also got to do this experience along with my fellow JSP students as a field trip. Because kimono are very expensive and difficult to wear, we went to a rental shop. There we got to choose our kimono before being quickly dressed by the women who work in the shop. It seems impossible to be able to put on a kimono by yourself, but I've heard that there are people who can do it. I've also heard from other JSP students, that some of their host families even go to special classes wear they learn more information about kimono.

Altogether, it was a fun experience to dress up and walk around shopping in the streets of Koedo!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Dark TImes

Before coming to Norway I understood that the sun would be very scarce during the winter. I don't think I knew quite how hard it would be! It started slowly, the day getting shorter all the time. Then all of the sudden it is dark. No evening sun, just dark. They call it the dark times when it is translated. It is so shocking to me to see people living here when it is so dark so long. I didn't really think it would feel different but it really does! I try to go out enjoy the sun a little bit everyday!  I am really enjoying having the chance to experience this but I'm not sure if I would want to experience it everyday! Luckily they have some activities to combat this weather. Tons of people knit here! It's amazing to see how many people are knitting. People also do a lot of outdoor sports. I haven't tried the outdoor sports yet, unless trying to walk counts. I have tried the knitting though and love it! I will definitely be bringing that back! 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

BELLA: The only meatball in MILAN

Written in October of 2017 = I had this post in edit-mode for literal months 'cause I'm flawed. = Sorry Kirsten and Sponsors of my Scholarship!!

GET READY, dudes and dudettes. I, Isabella Crockett, Bella, Ol' Beller, a glorious yam, have flown across mother earth and have been living in MILAN ITALY for four weeks so far!!! There is a LIFETIME of details and advice and radical adventures I want to share, but I should preface that every study-abroad experience is what you make it. "Your vibe attracts your tribe"
For any student reading this who is stewing with that pre-travel anxiety and envisioning all the ways things could go wrong, you're not as unprepared as you think and things will work out, ya' paranoid lil' critter! (I was a nervous wreck, too. Tears were shed, y'all.)
I know you're all quaking in your loafers with anticipation, so...Now about me and my fabulous life and my glorious friends and all my travels and my feelings!!!

I got ridiculously lucky in getting a ride-share with my school from the airport to my apartment. When I landed I had no cell service, atms weren't accepting my debit card so I had no cash (all better now btw), and I am from the wilderness with no knowledge of navigating subways/cities.

So I scored killer-cool roommates and it feels like I've known these muchachas for years. (We eat family meals together most nights like we're in a frickin' coming-of-age novel. It rocks.) They all pitched in and gave me the most majestic 22nd birthday of 8am champagne-popping off our balcony, homemade pancakes, an extravagant dinner, a special-ordered CAKE, and delish cocktails! Good lord, I love the heck out of them. We have already planned a ton of trips to take together across Europe. I'll get back to you on our trips to Sorrento, Florence, Naples, Pompeii, Pisa, the whole of UK, Barcelona, Amsterdam, and Paris.
^^ Me and my babe-liscious roommates got our bunz into the freezing Lake Como.

99% of online study-abroad packing lists just want you to become a minimalist/ pack light so you can buy items abroad, and I may have taken that to the next level. Yo' girl only brought one, I repeat ONE, pair of pants. And a coat? Nahh..... my butt only took a ski jacket from Goodwill. (I'm well aware that I'm a hot mess, but I am still reaping the repercussions from this.) Basically, the amount you pack should be based on how expensive basic things are in the country you travel to. So...Milan is not quite the best place to shop for a connoisseur of thrift stores like myself. Go figure. Pack more, that is all.
^^Yet I thought butterfly wings were a must-bring?? =Me at the top of Cinque Terre.

Milan is something else, man. Italians must know that they are thriving in the gene pool, because DANG are they foxy. It is humbling, to say the least. Hot diggidy dang, the food. These iconic places and ART are legendary for a reason, and did not disappoint.This place is a hub of culture, fashion, and MOSQUITOS. Not a single darn tootin' online source warns you about the evil zanzare (mosquitoes in Italian), but we literally had to buy jungle-grade bug repellent because we couldn't sleep without being eaten alive by Asian Tiger Mosquitoes. Our ceiling and walls are covered in their dead bodies, but smashing them is handy for when you need to take your aggression out on someone/thing. Check me out, finding the silver lining. I used to think, "Oh...every creature is a part of a collective balance in nature and contributes to a complex harmony in the animal kingdom".....NO BRO, not mosquitoes. Kill them with fire. I'll stop now.
< Ammu Cannoli Espressi Siciliani =
The best cannoli in Milan

Surprisingly, a lot of Gelato all around Italy was disappointing EXCEPT for a place called "Massimo Gelato Milano". It's right down the road from my apartment, the gelato is thicker than my thighs (as it should be), and it tastes like a gosh-darn DREAM.

Continuing on...My studly buds and I hiked the entirety of the Cinque Terre! A portion of the "easier" trail was closed due to landslides, so we BEGAN the ~11mile journey 96 flights up the first side of the first mountain. My toenails are purple, my calves feel like they were used as punching bags in fight-club, the thousands of stairs didn't immediately turn my body into J-Lo's, but I feel like a badass with new limits!!! (P.S. Can I say badass in these blogs? P.S.S. I complained a bunch on the hike because I felt like death and I regret it) = PROTIP: Whine less, you are blessed. Also, keep feminine products on you AT ALL TIMES, LADIES [and fellas if you're "woke".]

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention the "study" portion of study-abroad. It' I'm an art major whose unable to take any art classes, which is a bummer. However, that brings me to another tip: don't sacrifice all of your hobbies abroad, because it will be draining emotionally. Being busy with school projects and travelling, I've cut out drawing (which I've learned is my therapy).

                                                          I have become one with the art.

This trip is the most marvelous way to go broke I could've ever asked for! I'M SO FULL OF LIFE AND PIZZA, ADVENTURE IS OUT THERE, THE WORLD IS SO BIG, THERE'S STILL SO MUCH TO LEARN!!! JUST DO ITTT!!!

I'm realizing this has become a novel, so If I ever want someone to read these things, I'll cut it short and save the millions of wicked details for my next posts. It's SO hard to not rant on about all the little beautiful moments and attach a ton of pictures of my new beautiful friends. Concerts in tunnels, morning walks in the Alps, touring castles in flowy dresses, dueling with Death-Eaters in London, LIFE IS GOOD.

Me @ the Uffizi Gallery in Florence; Oriana the Latina Princess @ Cinque Terre; Chrissy the True-Blue @ Pompeii

Thursday, November 9, 2017


My trip to Iceland

One of the most exciting things about studying abroad to me is the traveling possibilities. As a child, my family mainly traveled domestically with a few trips outside of the US. After going to New Zealand over J-term I have been itching to travel to another country! It has been absolutely amazing to get to travel around  Norway. 

My parents have been here to visit me for the past two weeks. I have had such a great time being able to show them this beautiful city that I get to call home for just a little bit longer. It was amazing for them to be able to experience all the things that I have been telling them about throughout my trip. I was most excited to show them the northern lights. Seeing the northern lights is hard to describe. It's as if God is painting in the sky right above you. Colors and light dancing and jumping across the sky. We also were able to see moose, reindeer, and sea eagles. 

While they were here, we made a trip to Reykjavik, Iceland as well. I was extremely excited about this because I haven't been there before. We only had time for two and half days there but they gave us a chance to experience a little bit of Iceland. We decided to go to the blue lagoon, two geysers and two waterfalls. We also explored the old city center. It was very fun to be able to travel with my parents and experience a new country with them!