Elon Study Abroad

bELONging

When I decided to embark on this journey and study in the French Dual Degree program, I knew that I wasn’t going to have the typical 4 year college experience. While I have been a student at Elon for the past 4 years, the last classes I took there were during the spring semester of my sophomore year and the last time I was at Elon as a student was for a few days in August, at the beginning of my senior year. I know that I’ve missed out on some of Elon experiences because of my short time there. I never went to a turning 21 dinner, never went fountain hopping, and was never an upperclassman on campus. The campus has changed so much since I moved abroad. There are buildings I’ve never been in, dining halls I’ve never eaten at, and new dorms where I lived freshman year.

But despite all of these things, I have no regrets about doing this program. While there are many things that I didn’t get to experience at Elon, I got to do a lot in my two years there. I went to countless college coffees, joined marching band, volunteered around campus and in the local community, experienced Cram Jam, won prizes at survival bingo, went on numerous late night cookout runs, and made some amazing friends. And while my last two years of college didn’t include all of the typical Elon experiences, I’ve gotten to do so many things that I would have never been able to do if I hadn’t studied in the Dual Degree program. I’ve lived and studied abroad in France for two years, made friends from all over the world, interned in Paris for six months, traveled around Europe, attended a film festival, had afternoon tea in London, played handbells in Paris, ate gelato in Italy, shopped at Strasbourg’s Christmas market, and learned a second language. Even though life abroad has been very challenging at times, I am extremely grateful to have had this amazing opportunity.

Tomorrow, the class of 2015 is graduating from Elon University. CONGRATULATIONS to everyone who will be graduating! Y’all are amazing! And a special thanks to everyone who has helped make my Elon experience so special. Without my SLC, band, and dual degree families, I would not be where I am today. Thanks for your support, encouragement, and laughter these past 4 years. My Elon experience has been so much better because you were in it.

However, instead of walking across the stage and receiving my diploma with the rest of my class tomorrow, I will be 4,000+ miles away in France. I’ve known for a while that I would not be walking with my class at Elon’s graduation. My semester at NEOMA ends later than Elon’s spring semester and I still have a few more days of undergrad left. But, I still wish that could be there under the oaks tomorrow, graduating and celebrating with everyone at Elon. Nevertheless, Anna, Dre, and I don’t want the distance between us and Elon to prevent us from celebrating graduation. We are headed to explore the nearby city of Troyes so that we can celebrate together while making the most of our remaining time in France.

Elon recently asked seniors to describe their Elon experience in 1 word. The word I would use to describe my Elon experience is incredible. The knowledge, memories, and friends I gained during my time at Elon, both on campus and abroad, will stick with me forever. So, congratulations class of 2015! Here’s to all the great opportunities and roads ahead. Long Live Elon!


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I Capture the Castle

As my time at St Andrews is dwindling to a close, I'm rushing to see as many of my friends as possible and do all the things I never got around to doing. Thus, today Lucy and I went to the St Andrews Castle. It was an important site during the Protestant Reformation but today it is mostly ruins. The exhibit before you actually head out to the castle was a bit laughable to be honest...lots of figures of people. 

The castle itself was incredible and the views of the ocean were spectacular. We decided to go down into the mine tunnel....it's a tiny little tunnel that you have to crouch to walk through that eventually leads to a steep ladder that lets you into a big open room underground. Basically, the sort of thing that you'd never be allowed in back in my country. Between Lucy's fear of steep stairs and my claustrophobia, it was a challenge but one that we managed. (At one point I almost had a panic attack from feeling so closed in and had to exit the tunnel; bless Lucy for dealing with it so well.) 


rip lucy 
too tall...a problem i've never had 

dungeon photoshoot 

post tunnel trauma
After, we decided to go to one of St Andrews' most well-known restaurants, North Point. Their pancakes were so delicious! It was so crowded, we had to top the window hightop but it was amusing to see all the tourists taking photos as they walked by.

tea for two 
indulgent pancakes because exams are over!


Lucy had a hen party (translation: bridal shower) to go to, so I ended up spending some final time at my much-beloved Starbucks reading a fantastic book on Anne Boleyn.


Rober Hutchinson was my teacher last summer!
It was half-priced frappes from 3-5pm this past week so I got a venti chocolate cream frappe for under two pounds! I will certainly miss these.


I spent much of the evening hanging out with my friend and flatmate, Michelle. As my time here draws to a close, I'm realizing just how much I will miss everyone and the routine that I'd settled into. But what an incredible day today was! xx

I've included an assortment of photos I took on my fancy camera below. #artsy






















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I Breathe Again

"Freedom is mine. The earth is still. I feel the wind. I breathe again...and the sky clears. The world is waking." 

Basically, finishing exams feels a bit like when Jean Valjean is finally released from prison after 19 years. Today I decided to not do much of anything because I was so physically and emotionally exhausted from exams and my big day with Lucy yesterday.

I watched movies (including Made of Honor, because it's partially set in Scotland!), read a book I'm leaving for Lucy, packed up my suitcase almost all the way, and made a nice dinner.

so relaxing
fancy cooking
baked zucchini and mac & cheese for dinner
help! i can't stop listening to this song 
Now that I'm recovered a bit from all the stress, I'm ready to go out and see people and do things tomorrow! xx
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I Breathe Again

"Freedom is mine. The earth is still. I feel the wind. I breathe again...and the sky clears. The world is waking." 

Basically, finishing exams feels a bit like when Jean Valjean is finally released from prison after 19 years. Today I decided to not do much of anything because I was so physically and emotionally exhausted from exams and my big day with Lucy yesterday.

I watched movies (including Made of Honor, because it's partially set in Scotland!), read a book I'm leaving for Lucy, packed up my suitcase almost all the way, and made a nice dinner.

so relaxing
fancy cooking
baked zucchini and mac & cheese for dinner
help! i can't stop listening to this song 
Now that I'm recovered a bit from all the stress, I'm ready to go out and see people and do things tomorrow! xx
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The Celinde to My Carrie

I had my last (and second, but still...) exam yesterday! It actually went surprisingly well. I think the first two essays were actually quite good (for exam essays, that is) and the third one wasn't terrible. And in any case, what matters most is that they're over! I'm officially a junior/third-year in university which is absolutely crazy.

Yesterday ended up being such a fantastic day because I spent ten hours with Lucy. I'm honestly not even sure how we managed that. Lucy's been such an important part of being at St Andrews, as you can probably tell from this blog, and I'm going to miss her so much. She's the Celinde Schoenmaker to my Carrie Hope Fletcher. (Video of Carrie and Celinde below so you can see what I'm talking about.)


Because of some errors with the hotel when my family was here in March, I had money to spend at the Best Western so Lucy and I had afternoon tea! The food was so yummy and it was nice because we had the fancy room to ourselves. 




Once we were finished, we were reluctant to part and it was raining so we went and hung out in the Catholic Society building. Then we decided it was time for a "cheeky Nandos." 

i'm going to miss this place

After that, a friend of Lucy's needed her to be in his photography project. He let me be lighting assistant (I've never lit a photo shoot with a lamp before...) and it was so great to work on something creative again. It made me realize just how much I've missed being a communications student....he also told me I have a great eye for lighting, so I was chuffed. 

We decided that the only way to celebrate a good photo shoot was cosmopolitans at a cute bar. We're prepping for life in a big city, clearly. 


We ended up walking up to the cathedral while singing musical theatre songs...and then Lucy had to have her Sound of Music moment. #littlecatholicthings


My Celinde and the Jack to my Davey
Then we went back to Lucy's house to watch a movie and sing some more (we did a stunning performance of "Bop to the Top" from High School Musical). It was basically the perfect end to a very stressful three weeks of studying! xx
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The Celinde to My Carrie

I had my last (and second, but still...) exam yesterday! It actually went surprisingly well. I think the first two essays were actually quite good (for exam essays, that is) and the third one wasn't terrible. And in any case, what matters most is that they're over! I'm officially a junior/third-year in university which is absolutely crazy.

Yesterday ended up being such a fantastic day because I spent ten hours with Lucy. I'm honestly not even sure how we managed that. Lucy's been such an important part of being at St Andrews, as you can probably tell from this blog, and I'm going to miss her so much. She's the Celinde Schoenmaker to my Carrie Hope Fletcher. (Video of Carrie and Celinde below so you can see what I'm talking about.)


Because of some errors with the hotel when my family was here in March, I had money to spend at the Best Western so Lucy and I had afternoon tea! The food was so yummy and it was nice because we had the fancy room to ourselves. 




Once we were finished, we were reluctant to part and it was raining so we went and hung out in the Catholic Society building. Then we decided it was time for a "cheeky Nandos." 

i'm going to miss this place

After that, a friend of Lucy's needed her to be in his photography project. He let me be lighting assistant (I've never lit a photo shoot with a lamp before...) and it was so great to work on something creative again. It made me realize just how much I've missed being a communications student....he also told me I have a great eye for lighting, so I was chuffed. 

We decided that the only way to celebrate a good photo shoot was cosmopolitans at a cute bar. We're prepping for life in a big city, clearly. 


We ended up walking up to the cathedral while singing musical theatre songs...and then Lucy had to have her Sound of Music moment. #littlecatholicthings


My Celinde and the Jack to my Davey
Then we went back to Lucy's house to watch a movie and sing some more (we did a stunning performance of "Bop to the Top" from High School Musical). It was basically the perfect end to a very stressful three weeks of studying! xx
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One Day More

I had my first exam today! It went...not so well, but at least it's over. And only one more day of work and then I'm completely free. xx

sallies quad
indian food for dinner
one last study session

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One Day More

I had my first exam today! It went...not so well, but at least it's over. And only one more day of work and then I'm completely free. xx

sallies quad
indian food for dinner
one last study session

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One Day More

Today was my last day before my exams start. This morning I got up and got ready and took some stuff from my room (pillows, etc.) to Lucy's house. I imagine I was quite a funny sight wheeling my suitcase through town! We ended up going to Sainsbury's together for groceries and then having a cup of tea at her house. It was so good to get to spend some time with her; I'm going to miss her a lot.

I've spent the rest of the day studying but also trying to relax a bit. I figure that after three weeks of studying, I'm not going to learn anything new. My exam is tomorrow afternoon so I can do a bit more cramming in the morning.

I also managed to edit and upload my Primark haul from my journey into Dundee on Friday. xx

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One Day More

Today was my last day before my exams start. This morning I got up and got ready and took some stuff from my room (pillows, etc.) to Lucy's house. I imagine I was quite a funny sight wheeling my suitcase through town! We ended up going to Sainsbury's together for groceries and then having a cup of tea at her house. It was so good to get to spend some time with her; I'm going to miss her a lot.

I've spent the rest of the day studying but also trying to relax a bit. I figure that after three weeks of studying, I'm not going to learn anything new. My exam is tomorrow afternoon so I can do a bit more cramming in the morning.

I also managed to edit and upload my Primark haul from my journey into Dundee on Friday. xx

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