International food

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Best food comes from the insiders.

I am a strong believer in the fact that we don’t truly know a culture if we never interact with its people. This statement went a bit further for me and it moved to a more advance type of love that I have, food.

Now, we all love food, and if you live in a town or city is most likely you have been to at least one that had “foreign” food. However, there is nothing like the original.

Coming back to the previous post I wrote, here is another good thing that an exchange experience bring, food cooked by locals. And by that, I mean students who are excited to show their cooking skill, which makes it twice as fun to put everything together as friends. There is a special something in the sushi a Japanese or in a chocolate cake made by a French girl.Even food that I have never though I’ll come in contact while in England,  the Singaporean one for instance.

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Some might actually resemble a ton to yours, but with a different name or ingredients.

My point is: food is a part of the culture, and there is no better knowledge of it than the source directly. If you really want to know a place, find a person who lived there and it will give you a better insight than any touristic place. After all, those are made to look good and attract people.

Hope you are having a happy Easter! 

Valuable lessons whilst studying abroad

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I could probably write tons of list on top of other list about it, but instead I’m posting just a few.

Let us first begging by becoming a bit personal shall we? And by ‘personal’, I mean going back to a fourteen year old me who has just started high-school and was already thinking of going to Uni in the UK. Loved everything about it… or at least the idea of it. However, reality hits the eighteen year old one, who realizes the sacrifices that not only her, but everyone she depends on, has to make. But the desire and ambition stayed and two year later I have applied for a scholarship. I admit that I was scared to not have my dreams crushed again, so England was my second option. But…fate, or luck, or karma, or whatever and whomever, aligned everything in such a way for me to make it. And I did, and I felt more accomplished  than ever.

But enough about that, or maybe… Now that I think about it, ever since I have never excluded the idea of impossible and went for everything that I wanted even if it seemed unlikely. So here’s a bonus lesson that I’ve learned.

Recently I was asked by one of my friends at home to help him with some advises and opinions about how it is/feel to study abroad. And whilst writing him a response, I have discovered some things that have changed at the twenty one years old me thanks to this.

  1. It gives you more courage to socialize. Here me out, even if you are the most extroverted person, in the beginning the culture will hit you, and if you are a non native speaker as I am, the impact of the language. I’m not going to pass again through how much the English I have learnt and the one from here marked me, but you can find it here. (smooth!)  All jokes aside, I was, still am but not that much, a combination between an extrovert and introvert. As I grew older I became more extroverted is true. However, here I forced myself to know people, to learn about them, after all I have dreamed for five years to have this. And it was way easier than I thought, because everyone else wants to find out more about you and where you’re coming from.
  2. It gives you independence. As a lonely child, I know what a brat, I could get almost every time what I wanted. Then I was brought into thinking that because I am on my own I have to solve things by myself. There was no big brother that could protect me, nor a little sister whom I could blame. Therefore, I had to handle it in my own manner. But I was never the one who every time (get ready for it): did the groceries, the washing up, the laundry, the cooking, the cleaning, the… everything else that prepared me for moving on my own. And I love it! The satisfaction of having done thing all by yourself is…after all the crises done during the chores…amazing.
  3. Lean more that you think you would. As an international student you are told this since the very first day. That you will not only study subjects from a different point of view, but learn about a different culture at the same time. You will learn about more than one. You will not be the only international student, chances are that the university you’re applying for offers opportunities around the world. So prepare yourself to travel while being in the same place, by listening to all the nationalities, telling about yours, celebrating their customs and eating a large variety of food.
  4. Somehow you are the ambassador of your country. I believe that there is no other way of truly knowing a culture, without  knowing its people. Media and internet may give a wrong idea sometimes (let us think about all the unfortunate events that are happening in Europe) so by only talking to people you will learn the true. No pressure on you know, but the way you behave, the way you treat others say a lot about the way you were raised and you’re a sample of your country. I love when people from countries that are shown in the media as ones that dislike each other, are here friends and over those stereotypes. It all about the humans!

That is all for me now. Apologies for the long post, but if you’re reading this at one point in life that it is similar in any type, shape or form, I am more that happy to read about it.

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Cheers! 😉

 

A day at the beach- Brighton

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I have always had a thing for beaches.

As a person who was born in the summer, who is in her element during the summer, it  is almost impossible to not love the sea side. I am for sure one of those people who distresses while listening to the sound of waves. Mainly because in my mind associates it with peace, love, friends and ice cream. And who doesn’t loves ice cream? Now, I don’t claim to not love the mountains equally, as a matter of fact I have made plans regarding them, but my old friend the sea and I share a lot of memories.

That is why when I got to Brighton, not too long ago, I got out of the car  and just sat there for a while, just starring. It was not much to see, to be quite honest, that because it was 10 in the morning and England was foggy. Nonetheless, that did not stopped me. I took my backpack, my friends and all my emotions and landed on the rocks. It marked my first time on a beach that was not a classic one. Meaning, I was not on my usually sand beach and so, I could wear my shoes without a problem.

For a moment everything and everyone went off. My friend’s voice was replace by the sound of weaves and all my thought were drown (get it?!) in old memories at the sea side, the laugh of a little version of what I am today and lots and lots of smiles.

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I had to come back and embrace the now sunny and warm Brighton. Laid down on the rocks simply because I wanted to have that feeling with me, then went to the Pier. If you’re in Brighton, you have obviously spent time to the Pier. Is one amazing place with fun and entertaining games, food and as not most places are, it has thing for all ages. The Pier itself looks like is comes from a pin up era.

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On another note,  the Pavilion is the place to be during lunch time. Especially if the sun shows up, a blanket and a book will make your day. And of course, I will not deny that the lanes and the shopping centre will attract each one of us, and … spend a little.

But at the end of the day, in my case the next morning, we realize that it was perfect, and that we most certainly needed vitamin sea.

 

Town of bridges

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I thought I could wipe the dust over this blog with a fairly old trip.

Cambridge.

Now, this town is a small one, especially for a girl that comes from a city. However, I am proud to celebrate six months of living in Reading. And it is a town, slightly bigger than Cambridge, but still a big deal for me.

If you want to enjoy a trip down the river, just make sure is not a proper British weather as this may ruin your day. If you’re lucky enough, come during the summer. If not, make sure you check the forecast. From different sources.

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Even so, you can have fun and take great pictures by walking to town and discover amazing architecture, take picture of as many bridges as you can and buy some sweets from the local shop.

Cambridge, just as Oxford, knows that is loved by tourists, so prepare yourself to kindly and politely deny the “amazing” offers you come across and not sped that much money on souvenirs.

It is a small town, but it is worth visiting. Just buy a coffee (the local Costa has an amazing one) and prepare to walk trough all the colleges, the university yards, the bridges and tiny old streets.

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For me it looked like I was  having a role in “The Tudors” (hopefully none of the king’s wises)  and I was just drinking my afternoon tea in the royal garden. Or that I belonged to a Victorian era and I was about to have a meeting with a mysterious stranger on a grey alley.

 

Feel free to make your own movie.

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