Looking Back by Joshua Siniscal

It was exactly one month ago (May 16th) that I arrived back home in America. The greatest adventure so far of my life had come to an end. Being home has been great, but I often miss England. I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my experience studying abroad. This may not apply to everyone, but it is my personal experience and things I did and learned.

(Thanks Missy for the photo)

(Thanks Missy for the photo)

Prior to studying abroad at Wroxton, I had never left the country. Then, after 15 weeks abroad, I ended up visiting six countries: England, Scotland, Spain, Italy, France, and Wales. (Some of my friends visited as many as 10 countries!) In addition to the many countries I visited, I saw many cities in England including Manchester, London, Brighton, Bath, Liverpool, Cambridge, Oxford, Portsmouth, and Stratford to name a few. I went from a guy who hardly left New Jersey to an adventurer traveling all around Britain! My point is that anyone can travel as long as they have a heart for adventure and are not afraid of being surrounded by new environments.

Before I left to England, I had only ridden on an airplane twice! Fast forward a little and here I am on Spring break taking 4 airplanes in 9 days. By the way, airlines over there are super cheap! For example, my friends and I took an airplane from Bergamo, Italy to London for £14 ($20) It is not always that cheap, but sometimes you catch some really great deals, especially when flying with Ryanair. 

My time spent abroad helped me to realize that I could do so much more than I ever thought I was capable of. (Like doing my own laundry!) Being with your friends off on your own, exploring cities that you’ve never been to, forces you to become more independent and responsible. You have to find your own transportation, book where you want to stay, find somewhere to eat, or decide to buy groceries and actually cook your meals.

When I arrived at Wroxton, I literally did not know anyone that well at all. 41 students who stepped off the plane and barely knew anyone’s name. Yet, by the end of the semester, we left as a family. Many formed friendships that will, no doubt, last a lifetime.

So now, after being home for a month, I realize the many things I miss. I miss being able to walk outside of my room and knock on someone’s door to see what they are up to, or just hang out. I miss being able to find people to go outside and play frisbee, volleyball, or soccer out on the lawn. I miss traveling every week to new places, and photographing beautiful European architecture. I miss exploring castles that are hundreds of years old. I miss playing guitar at the bonfires and singing with my friends. I miss having tea time twice a day and eating those delicious pastries/cookies. I miss my professors and the amazing staff there, as well as their awesome British accents! And I can’t forget the obnoxiously loud maids who woke us up in the morning to change our towels and garbage. I miss the nights dancing with my friends. I miss trying new foods, and going to pubs. (Not to get drunk)

But it’s alright, because I got to do those things! I did not watch them in a movie or see it on the internet, I actually got to climb the Eiffel tower, visit Stonehenge, and see Venice. One quote that I love says: “Don’t cry that it’s over, smile because it happened” and that’s exactly what I’m doing. England will always have a special place in my heart. These will be the stories that I tell my kids one day. The times I spent studying abroad.

I also have a new appreciation for the everyday things I took for granted. As beautiful as the Eiffel Tower was at night, or exploring the city of Madrid was, New Jersey has always been my home, and no city can ever replace the amazing family and friends I have back home.

I thank you all for taking the time to follow my journeys and reliving them through my photos.

I leave you all with this, a video I made that shows some of the amazing places I got to travel to and my incredible experience abroad.

 

Week 12, Cambridge, BBC, Broughton Castle by Joshua Siniscal

Hello everyone, yes it is true that I've been home for over a week already, but I did not forget about my last weekend of trips. So, even though it's several weeks late, I wanted to finish these blog posts appropriately. It was not my intention to end them so abruptly. 

Therefore, here are some photos from our week 12 trips which were the last set of trips that we went on.

By this point in the semester I guess everyone had had enough of the trips, or were too focused on finishing papers, which I understand, so there were only 7 of us that went to Cambridge. Of course I was 1 of the 7 because I wanted to go on all the trips. Cambridge and Oxford are the two major college cities in England. I'm sure most people are aware of the many famous minds that have come out of these colleges in Cambridge. There are actually around 30 colleges in the city which I thought was fascinating! 

The famous mathematical bridge. I t is composed entirely of straight timbers. The bridge connects the two parts of Queen's College

The famous mathematical bridge. It is composed entirely of straight timbers. The bridge connects the two parts of Queen's College

King's College

King's College

King's College Chapel built in the late 1400s.

King's College Chapel built in the late 1400s.

Inside the chapel

Inside the chapel

It almost felt like I was in Venice again because of all the boat rides

It almost felt like I was in Venice again because of all the boat rides

The grounds are just beautiful 

The grounds are just beautiful 

Anyone down for a boat ride?

Anyone down for a boat ride?

There are tons of people who bike in this city and they go fast! If you ever visit, be careful because they whip around the corners and zip through the streets. With that being said though, I did find this nice bike with flowers which I liked. 

There are tons of people who bike in this city and they go fast! If you ever visit, be careful because they whip around the corners and zip through the streets. With that being said though, I did find this nice bike with flowers which I liked. 

After visiting King's College, I headed to the Fitzwilliam museum. The grand entrance was breathtaking. 

The next day we toured the BBC headquarters in London for Communications class. I did not bring my camera, so these are just some photos I took on my iPod.

We got to see what it was like to do a broadcast

We got to see what it was like to do a broadcast

The center of the building has a small stage where many famous artists have come and performed small shows that were broadcasted on BBC.

The center of the building has a small stage where many famous artists have come and performed small shows that were broadcasted on BBC.

Afterwards we just walked around London for a little while.

Trafalgar square

Trafalgar square

Then on Sunday we visited a local castle in the same town as our college, Banbury. Again, there were only about 8 of us there. The name of the castle is Broughton Castle and actually looks a lot like our Abbey in many ways. 

Broughton Castle

Broughton Castle

The inside. 

The inside. 

We got to go on the roof. The castle is surrounded by a moat, and acres and acres of land filled with sheep. 

We got to go on the roof. The castle is surrounded by a moat, and acres and acres of land filled with sheep. 

The backyard garden

The backyard garden

Entering the yard

Entering the yard

I just want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read these blogs over the past months. I hope you all enjoyed tagging along with me on these journeys and reliving the moments through my photos!

I do intend on posting one more blog that I'll talk in detail a little more about my overall experience and my time at Wroxton. 
 

-Josh

Week 11 Update, Warwick Castle, Manchester, London by Joshua Siniscal

Hello everyone!

It's time to do some catching up. I've been busy these past two weeks but am happy to report that I am officially done with all my papers here at Wroxton! Now I have to prepare for our final exams beginning on Friday of next week. (The exams are 3 hours!)

Anyway, two weeks ago we headed to London, Manchester, and Warwick Castle, here are those photos.

Friday's trip to London was for the art students, which included me, so I did not bring my camera as we went inside of some galleries, but I did snap a few on my phone.

Not really sure what building this is, but thought it looked nice

Not really sure what building this is, but thought it looked nice

For art class, we went to the Queen's gallery which is a part of Buckingham Palace. Afterwards, we watched the guards for a little. They march around funny.

We also went to the Tate Museum which has many famous artworks. In addition to the art I really enjoyed the center staircase.

Proof that you can still take nice photos on your phone, or in this case, iPod. It's not the camera that matters, but rather the one holding it.

Proof that you can still take nice photos on your phone, or in this case, iPod. It's not the camera that matters, but rather the one holding it.

Then on Saturday one of the English classes had to go into Manchester to see a play. My friend and I tagged along just to explore the city. It is more modern than many of the cities we've been in, but with a mix of the old architecture.

We found the site of the original settlement where a Roman fort was. There wasn't a lot to see, but I guess you can't expect much from something that was constructed in AD 79.

Mancunium , was a fort in the Roman Province of Britannia. Built AD 79

Mancunium, was a fort in the Roman Province of Britannia. Built AD 79

We ended up going inside the Manchester Museum Of Science and Industry for a while. To anyone who is familiar the Liberty Science Center, it was kind of like that with interactive things to do. Also,

They also had working cotton machines that showed what it would have looked like to work in a cotton factory back in the early 1900s. It always amazes me to think that children worked in these factories too, going in between the sharp objects, to unjam the machine.

These were working cotton machines.

These were working cotton machines.

We found a park with rows and rows of daffodils which were really pretty. While I was taking some photos, this little boy came prancing through all the flowers. His mother watched and could care less about him stepping all over the flowers, which I thought was pretty funny. She also didn't mind me taking pictures, so I snapped this one.

Evening sunset as seen from inside of the bus.

Evening sunset as seen from inside of the bus.

Finally on Sunday we headed to Warwick Castle. I've seen many castles over these past three months, yet, they still continue to amuse me.

Construction of this castle began in 914. For more on the history of the castle, here is a link to a timeline. https://www.warwick-castle.com/explore/history-and-restoration.aspx

Panorama of the inside

Panorama of the inside

It felt like one of those Medieval festivals because they have some people walking around in costumes and put on small shows.

I did some archery.

I did some archery.

We had to climb a very long, narrow, winding staircase to reach the highest part of the castle, but it was definitely worth it.

We had to climb a very long, narrow, winding staircase to reach the highest part of the castle, but it was definitely worth it.

They also reconstructed a working Trebuchet which is a huge catapult that they would use in war. They actually lit a ball on fire and launched it!

Hope you all enjoyed reading this.

I still have one final weekend set of travel photos to post, so keep an eye out for that.

I can't believe that I'll be back home in just another 17 days... but I'm excited. :)

Signing out,

-Josh

Week 9 Update, Waddesdon Manor, Portsmouth, Harry Potter Studio by Joshua Siniscal

Hello everyone!

I know it's been a while since my last update, but as mentioned in my last post, I had a lot of papers to get done by the 14th. I'm thankful to report that I am done with those papers, and only have 3 more over the next two weeks.

For sake of staying in order, this post is from our adventures two weeks ago. The Paris post will be coming soon.

So, for art class we went to Waddesdon Manor which has many paintings hanging inside, as well as beautiful grounds and architecture.

The front of the Waddesdon Manor

The front of the Waddesdon Manor

An absolutely beautiful garden in the back

An absolutely beautiful garden in the back

There are currently so many daffodils out! There was a field of them.

There are currently so many daffodils out! There was a field of them.

A fancy staircase inside

A fancy staircase inside

Just one of the elegant room inside

Just one of the elegant room inside

Afterwards, we went to another gallery at the Upton House. It wasn't as fancy, but here is a shot of the building.

Then on Saturday we headed to Portsmouth which is located on the southern tip of England along the ocean.

There were several boats that you could go on and walk around.

There were several boats that you could go on and walk around.

All hands on deck!

All hands on deck!

Models of the cannons they had on the ship

Models of the cannons they had on the ship

Another ship that we checked out

Another ship that we checked out

This pub had a nice £5 lunch deal which was really good.

This pub had a nice £5 lunch deal which was really good.

We then headed to Spinnaker Tower

We then headed to Spinnaker Tower

Inches of glass between me and a 300ft drop

Inches of glass between me and a 300ft drop

Felipe and I at the top

Felipe and I at the top

Lastly, on Sunday we went to Harry Potter Studios where they filmed most of the movies at! Now, I have to admit, and am slightly embarrassed to say that I have never actually seen any of the movies. I know, shocking, especially as a film major! Haha, but being a film major, I really enjoyed seeing the whole studio. It was amazing to think of all the people who worked on the production of all the movies and just how much work went into them!

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Now I won't be able to caption a lot of these photos as I did not really know everything I was looking at, but I'm sure most of you will recognize the pictures. As for this one, I think it was Harry's bedroom when he was little.

Now I won't be able to caption a lot of these photos as I did not really know everything I was looking at, but I'm sure most of you will recognize the pictures. As for this one, I think it was Harry's bedroom when he was little.

The living room in Hogwarts

The living room in Hogwarts

Platform 9 3/4

Platform 9 3/4

I believe these were the last outfits that the actors wore in their final scene.

I believe these were the last outfits that the actors wore in their final scene.

In my opinion, this is the crown and jewel of the entire place. It's a small scale, yet very large Hogwarts castle.

In my opinion, this is the crown and jewel of the entire place. It's a small scale, yet very large Hogwarts castle.

They filmed this on a blue screen and did CGI effects over it to make it look like a real castle. This way they were able to get realistic shots of the entire castle.

They filmed this on a blue screen and did CGI effects over it to make it look like a real castle. This way they were able to get realistic shots of the entire castle.

They also show what the castle looks like at night, with hundreds of real working lights wired inside.

They also show what the castle looks like at night, with hundreds of real working lights wired inside.

Stay tuned for the Paris post which I'll be getting to hopefully soon.

-Josh

Travel Break, Week 8 Update by Joshua Siniscal

Hello everyone! I know it's been a while, but I am alive and have survived travel break.

I have 7 papers that are due by April 14th, so I don't have much time to write a lengthy post, but still wanted to update everyone. In short, travel break was a lot of fun going to so many places, but also quite stressful planning everything and trying to figure out where we were going to eat next, or even sleep at night. We went to Barcelona, Madrid, Milan, and Venice. Here are some photos from those places.

Friday morning at 7:30 was the beginning of our adventures!

Barcelona arc de Triomf

Barcelona arc de Triomf

We traveled by train quite a bit.

We traveled by train quite a bit.

Parc de la Ciutadella

Parc de la Ciutadella

Parc de la Ciutadella was probably one of the most beautiful parks I've ever walked around. Check out these trees! Oh, and me jumping.

Parc de la Ciutadella was probably one of the most beautiful parks I've ever walked around. Check out these trees! Oh, and me jumping.

The city of Barcelona is massive! As our cab driver put it, it's the "NYC of Spain." Although I was there for two full days, there was still plenty that I did not get to see. Definitely a place to consider coming back to.

The coastline of Barcelona

The coastline of Barcelona

Monday morning we headed off to our next destination, Madrid!

Madrid Square

Madrid Square

Royal Palace of Madrid

Royal Palace of Madrid

The colorful streets

The colorful streets

Temple of Debod

Temple of Debod

Plaza de Cibeles

Plaza de Cibeles

Buen Retiro Park. This was also another really beautiful park.

Buen Retiro Park. This was also another really beautiful park.

The place where we stayed was located right in the heart of Madrid so getting around to see places was really easy! I really loved this city.

Inside Almudena Cathedral

Inside Almudena Cathedral

Probably the highlight to my visit here was going on the rooftop overlooking the city. Unfortunately we had just missed sunset, but seeing the city at night was just as cool.

Thursday we flew to Bergamo, Italy. Unfortunately we could not get transportation into Venice on this day, so we decided to spend the day in Milan. It was worth it to me though because the Cathedral there was spectacular!

Milan Cathedral

Milan Cathedral

This was the shopping center, believe it or not, right next to the Cathedral. Duomo shopping center.

This was the shopping center, believe it or not, right next to the Cathedral. Duomo shopping center.

Jumping in front of the cathedral in style

Jumping in front of the cathedral in style

We also checked out a local castle there at night.

We trekked our way around the city, luggage and all. We ended up sleeping at the airport because we were taking a cab at 9 am the following morning. We used a car service called "bla bla car." I know, it doesn't sound reliable but it was actually really nice and affordable! Two hours later and we arrived in Venice on Friday morning!

It was everything that I dreamed it would look like

It was everything that I dreamed it would look like

Picture perfect

Picture perfect

The canal at night

The canal at night

We were only in Venice for 30 hours, and it was packed with tourists, but it was still wonderful. Late Saturday afternoon we hopped on a 4 hour train ride back to Bergamo Italy, and slept once again in the airport there. Easter Sunday we finally made it back to Wroxton College. What an adventure! I have left out quite a bit of details, but that was the summary of my trip!

Time to get back to work.

-Josh

Week 7, Black Country Living Museum, Liverpool, Cardiff by Joshua Siniscal

Hello everyone!  

This post will probably be shorter than my past because we just made it to Barcelona and I am writing this on my iPod, rather than from my computer.  

Last Friday we went to Black Country Living Museum which is an old mine. The place got its name because of all the coal they mined there and the black smoke it would put out.  I don't have many pictures on me from there, but here is one of us waiting at the bus stop 

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There were old carnival rides on site which were really fun to explore. 

 

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We took the tour of the underground mine which was super dark and had short ceilings. I hit my head several times because I could barely see. They gave us hard hats and flashlights that reflected the actual light of a candle, so it was really dim. It was a lot of fun though. 

Saturday we went to Liverpool! Hometown of the Beatles! We went to the Beatles Story Museum. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

 

The entrance

The entrance

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I got a guitar pick for a souvenir!  

one of my highlights from it was walking through the "Yellow Submarine" -classic. 

We also walked around and explored the city.  

 

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And then Sunday we went to Cardiff, Whales! The city was a more relaxed city, in my opinion. It didn't have as many touristy areas but it was nice to just walk around. We went to the bay which had lots of stores and places to eat. 

 

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The Welsh language was hilarious to read on all the signs. It literally looked like gibberish. 

 

Apparently this is how you spell school

Apparently this is how you spell school

It was a relaxing afternoon. We heard about a church cathedral so we figured we would go check it out real quick. Little did I know that we would time it perfectly and get the sun coming in right through the window! 

 

This photo is straight out of the camera, unedited. Incredible moment shining down on the pulpit! 

This photo is straight out of the camera, unedited. Incredible moment shining down on the pulpit! 

This was probably the photo of the day. My friend standing at the pulpit.  

This was probably the photo of the day. My friend standing at the pulpit.  

So those last photos alone made the day totally worth it. 

Moving on, we are officially on Speing Break which means we are half way through the semester! We currently are in Barcelona, and will be going to Madrid, and Venice. 

There may be a delay on my next post because we'll be traveling for the next week!  

Until next time. 

-Josh

Week 6 Update, Brighton, & Blenheim Palace by Joshua Siniscal

Hello everyone!

I can't believe it's week 6 and NEXT week we will be going on travel break!  That means I am almost halfway through the semester! Wow how time flies here! There is always something to get done for homework, somewhere to go and visit, and someone to hang out with. Between those three things, the days, weeks, and now even month, have flown by! Anyway, concerning travel break, I'll be heading to Barcelona, Madrid, and Venice, with a small time in Milan, all within 10 days. I'll be with a group of people so we will all be splitting the costs of transportation and places to stay.

I miss my 1994 Camry (oldie but goodie), and having the freedom to just go out whenever I want, and not having to pay for transportation. Also, just driving alone and listening to music.

But enough rambling, here's what I did this past weekend.

On Friday, since I am an art student, we had to go into Oxford and visit two museums. One at Christ Church, and the other at the Ashmolean which is supposedly the oldest museum in Britain. (1683)

We then came back on the bus (about a 45 minute ride) and had dinner back at school. Later, we traveled back into Oxford to see a show there called "Blood Brothers." I've seen a fair amount of plays in my life, but this one had to be right around the top. Technically speaking, the show was done almost to perfection with great lighting, music, sound, and quick set changes. It was incredible. And the play itself with the story was really good. It was actually a musical, but had lots of funny parts, as well as a serious ending. I'm not going to lie, I teared up at the end. Sorry I don't have any photos from the play or museums.

The next day, Saturday, we headed to Brighton which is at the southern tip of England. It's a beach town, and reminded me a little of Seaside Heights, or some of the other beach towns in Jersey.

There was a Ferris wheel, big pier with rides, food, and arcade games. The beach however, is not made of sand. It's really just a bunch of small, round stones. So, on a summer's day, I'm not sure I'd be running around barefoot, but in shoes it was alright.

Brighton Pier

Brighton Pier

Me and the ferris wheel

Me and the ferris wheel

One of the streets

One of the streets

Myself and three friends bought burgers for lunch and went on the beach and ate there. It was one of the most enjoyable lunches I've ever had. Sitting on the beach, with your friends, eating good food, in a foreign country, while looking out at the sea on a sunny day. Not a bad combination.

I took this minutes before we left. I only wish I could have stayed for the full sunset.

I took this minutes before we left. I only wish I could have stayed for the full sunset.

We also toured the Royal Pavilion which was a massive home that looked like the taj mahal. Unfortunately I was not allowed to take pictures inside, but I did take a few of the outside.

Basically King George IV liked to show off his home to everyone. Every room was decorated differently and the dining hall had gold and silver utensils along with lots of other expensive things.

My favorite shot of the day.

My favorite shot of the day.

Lastly, on Sunday we took an afternoon trip to Blenheim Palace which is where Winston Churchill was born.

The palace and the grounds surrounding it, where absolutely beautiful.

The fountains in the garden

The fountains in the garden

It was a bit of a walk, but there was a nice waterfall outback.

A group of us on the bridge.

A group of us on the bridge.

Yours truly

Yours truly

Felipe and I then walked across the bridge on the other side of the grounds which was nice because there was a lake, and also sheep roaming around.

Another perspective.

Another perspective.

I wish we had a little more time here, as there was plenty to see and walk around.

This weekend we'll be heading to Liverpool and Whales! Stay tuned for that post.

Signing out,

-Josh

Week 5 Update, Edinburgh, Scotland! by Joshua Siniscal

Last Thursday morning, we headed north to Edinburgh, Scotland! It was about a 7 1/2 hour bus ride, with a 45 minute lunch break. Oh, and that lunch break, yeah it was the most beautiful rest stop I've ever seen.

The view at lunch

The view at lunch

The bus ride didn't feel so bad though, I guess traveling with a bunch of other people makes it slightly more entertaining.  FDU put us all up in a nice hotel for 3 nights. What a fascinating city!

The first night there, me and a friend went out to explore the city. This was my favorite shot from the night.

The first night there, me and a friend went out to explore the city. This was my favorite shot from the night.

The photo above was taken on Thursday night. My initial impression was that this city was very dead and had no night life, but that quickly changed once Friday night came, the whole city came alive!

Of course the Scottish people are known for drinking, so you can imagine how many bars were open. And yes, almost every one was packed!

Anyway, on Friday we went exploring at Edinburgh castle! What a place this was!

The castle sits overlooking most of the city. At 1pm they even did a reenactment of the cannon in action by firing a blank shell. It was really loud and you could hear the echo pass throughout the city.

The 1pm firing of the cannon

The 1pm firing of the cannon

You did have to pay about $23 to go inside the castle, but it was more than worth it! There was plenty to see.

Some of the views from the castle

Some of the views from the castle

Some of the outside wall

Some of the outside wall

The view of a church while walking out of the entrance from the castle.

The view of a church while walking out of the entrance from the castle.

The next day, Saturday, me and 6 others woke up early to hike Arthur's Seat, and catch the sunrise! What an adventure this was. The mountain was about a 25 minute walk from our hotel to the bottom of the mountain. It then took us another 25-30 min to hike. My friend Alex and I actually never found the proper foot path to the top, instead, we made our own through some thorns and other bushes, and ended up taking an extremely steep, and difficult route. But hey, it just added to the adventure! We made it up to the top some 20 minutes before sunrise. Unfortunately it was cloudy, so the sunrise wasn't that great, but the experience and view was still incredible.

Victory!

Victory!

The sunrise, risers.

The sunrise, risers.

It was really cold at the top, but as usual, I didn't care so much because I just wanted to take pictures. Which I did.

The hike back down.

The hike back down.

After hiking, we came back and ate breakfast at the hotel, and then I took a nap. That afternoon we took a tour bus for an hour and saw more of the city. I really felt like a tourist at this point.

A shot taken from the top of the tour bus, looking out at the castle on the hill.

A shot taken from the top of the tour bus, looking out at the castle on the hill.

Come late afternoon, there were more friends who didn't wake up in time for the sunrise, but still wanted to hike the mountain. So, I said I would do it again. And that's exactly what I did. Yes, I hiked the same mountain twice in the same day, both for sunrise, and then sunset. It was great! By the time we made it to the top, the sun was going down, but the city lights came on, and it was incredible.

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We took lots of photos at the top, including this one dedicated to all our Wroxton friends!

Yes, that's me with the messed up letter "n" but oh well, it was cold.

Yes, that's me with the messed up letter "n" but oh well, it was cold.

We then hiked down with our phone flashlights as our only source of light. This made it more of an adventure!

Sunday morning, we left and made it back to the Abbey some 8 hours later! Definitely my favorite city yet! I saw plenty of kilts too, and bought myself a scarf. I also enjoyed the many street musicians, including the bagpipe players, and of course, the Scottish accents.

-Josh

Week 4 Update, Bath, Stonehenge, Salisbury by Joshua Siniscal

I'm currently writing this post while in my hotel room in Edinburgh, Scotland! But, you'll have to wait for photos from here. Backtrack one week ago, we visited Bath, Stonehenge, and Salisbury.

Bath was a really cool experience. I ended up touring the Roman baths for nearly 2 hours!

Roman Baths

Roman Baths

To be honest, I didn't read a lot of the plaques and things there as usual, but went taking pictures. So, here are some of those.

The drain from the hot springs

The drain from the hot springs

Me looking out the cave window at the hot springs

Me looking out the cave window at the hot springs

After exploring the Roman baths, we walked around the city which was really nice. Once again, lots of old buildings and beautiful architecture.

We found a wonderful church too which served tea inside! Yes, they advertised a café inside of a church. I guess Jesus enjoys tea time also.

The next day we headed to Stonehenge and Salisbury! Stonehenge was one of the trips that I was most excited for! Unfortunately it was a cloudy, and slightly rainy day, but I tried to still get some decent pictures.

Yes, it literally is a bunch of huge stones, out in the middle of NOWHERE! We had to park and then take a separate bus just to see them. They look like they are just on someone's farm, surrounded by grass lands and hills filled with sheep. I think Aliens built it man. But how should I know.

Some of us at Stonehenge

Some of us at Stonehenge

We also just explored on the surrounding hills and took some fun photos.

Afterwards, we headed to Salisbury which was a town close by. We found lunch and walked around. We ended up at the Salisbury Cathedral which is by far, the most beautiful church I have ever seen both inside and out. It was massive!

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral

They had lots of interesting sculptures on the lawn surrounding the cathedral too which was interesting. Inside they had a huge courtyard and high ceilings, with the signature stain glass windows all around.

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There was a pool of water in the center of the aisle in the church. My friend pointed it out to me and actually showed me the picture. Once I realized what he saw, my heart leaped a little because I realized how cool of a shot it could be. Bingo, this was the final product!

One of my favorite photos so far.

One of my favorite photos so far.

I've been sending my photos to the librarian here who is actually the one who manages FDU Wroxton's social media accounts so don't be surprised if you see some photos posted that were taken by me! :)

Other thoughts, it has been hard to keep up with homework because we've been so busy. I also have two papers due this coming week, but I'm trying not to stress about them because I want to enjoy Edinburgh. Yes, I am currently in Scotland at the moment. Today we explored the castle here which was unbelievable! I have quickly fallen in love with this city! We are going to try and go hike up the mountain here in the morning to catch the sunrise tomorrow. Hopefully I'll get some amazing photos, but we'll see because it's often cloudy here.

Signing out.

-Joshua

 

Week 3, Stratford, Kenilworth Castle, and Futbol Match by Joshua Siniscal

I just got done reading about China for my Cross Cultural Perspectives Core class. Who would have thought that I'd be reading that? Yeah well I guess that's what college does to you. Suddenly I'm interested in politics and what's going on in the world, well a little more interested.

I final got around to taking a panorama of my room so here is one picture of it. Don't worry mom, it's usually clean.

We recently got our copies of our class photo. Here is our class photo of 41 students along with professors.

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This past Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I went on a few day trips. Friday we went to Stratford Upon Avon, the town where William Shakespeare was born, lived for many years of his life, and is buried. 

Shakespeare's home.

Shakespeare's home.

The town was such a neat little place. Nice streets, with old looking buildings, a nice park along the river, and boats on the water.

Outside of Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare is buried.

Outside of Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare is buried.

Inside of Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare is buried.

Inside of Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare is buried.

We also ate lunch at the oldest pub in the area, dating back to the 1400s.

Saturday we went to Kenilworth Castle. Kenilworth, yes that is a town only 5 minutes from me but no, this is not that Kenilworth. This was a castle that was built in the 1100s. It originally was surrounded by water and was a huge castle. I believe it was attacked and had major sections of the walls blown up, what remains though is really cool.

Some of the castle ruins.

Some of the castle ruins.

There were plaques and stuff to read and learn about the place but I became distracted and just kept taking pictures of the architecture. I'm sure it was valuable information, honest, but I just had to physically explore it.

The back of the castle

The back of the castle

There were so many cool spots to explore! Most of the group finished touring the castle within an hour or so, but that was not the case for me. Me, and two other friends explored it for about 2 hours. I guess I walk slow while taking pictures, or I was just trying to take it all in and not miss a thing.

Typical me moment, "Wait! Guys, go stand in between those pillars! This is going to look sweet!" Boom, epic photo of my friends, or so I like to think.

Typical me moment, "Wait! Guys, go stand in between those pillars! This is going to look sweet!" Boom, epic photo of my friends, or so I like to think.

Down a narrow spiraling stone staircase, something out of Rapunzel or some other movie, and this is where I ended up. Something about stone rooms, with a single window that get to me. Well, this would be the first time but still.

A picture of me actually in front of the camera.

A picture of me actually in front of the camera.

Last but not least, on Sunday we attended a soccer match (futbol) Aston Villa vs Liverpool. We were supposed to cheer on Aston Villa but it was pretty hard to because they were just flat out terrible. Liverpool completely dominated with the final score being 6-0.

This was the Liverpool fan section. The only section that was actually celebrating. Oh, and those people in the orange and bright lime green shirts are security, because things get pretty crazy when a team scores a goal.

This was the Liverpool fan section. The only section that was actually celebrating. Oh, and those people in the orange and bright lime green shirts are security, because things get pretty crazy when a team scores a goal.

I'll be adventuring once again this weekend, I believe I'll be heading to London again and Stonehenge! I swear, I do actually do schoolwork and college related things here, it's not all traveling. :D

-Josh

Week 2, London Trip! by Joshua Siniscal

The Abbey backyard at Sunset

The Abbey backyard at Sunset

Alright, so I'm not really sure where to begin, but I've settled in here and am really enjoying it. So far, the food has been good, I'm getting along with everyone here, and keeping busy with school and hanging out. The sinks here are lower than in America, yet many people here are taller. Also, many places here are narrow, and have less leg room. I think it's because they really try to encourage people to stay fit and healthy.

I got a guitar! Yes, believe it or not, I went to the front desk here and asked by any chance, if they had a guitar somewhere and bingo! They had two right behind the desk! The strings are a little old, but overall, it sounds pretty good! I already was jamming out in the basement with others singing some songs.

My classes have been pretty good so far. I'm just having some trouble understanding questions because they use a lot of big words and I'm not very literature. I know, I should read more books, but I don't. We meet with our professors every other week, and do whatever assignment they give. So far those assignments require a lot of work, reading, and thinking. It's not simple questions that you have to answer, it is more rigorous.

This past weekend my and 9 other friends rented an apartment in Camden town, in London. It had 2 floors, a kitchen, 3 beds with a futon, table, but only 1 bathroom. Camden town is where Amy Winehouse grew up so there were lots of pictures of her and art.

The town was really interesting!

The town was really interesting!

 

We also ran into Nicholas Hoult in the market from Warm Bodies, Jack the Giant Killer, and the new X-men movie coming out. I shook his hand and took the picture below of my friends.

Nicholas Hoult. (His eyes really were super blue)

Nicholas Hoult. (His eyes really were super blue)

We stayed in our apartment for 2 nights, and the total cost came out to be about 35 pounds per person. (About $50) Unfortunately I ended up spending a lot more money that weekend. It's hard when you have to buy every meal and pay for the train. On Saturday we went into the center of London to explore the big tourist areas such as The London Eye, Big Ben, and Buckingham Palace.

Big Ben

Big Ben

The crew. (Minus Connie)

The crew. (Minus Connie)

We ate dinner at a place near the London Eye. While we were there, a lady gave us 4 free tickets to ride the London Eye. (These tickets were like $30-$40 each) So, we took that as a sign and went and road it at night. Yes, London Eye, overlooking London at night, it was quite beautiful.

I literally just snapped this photo of this couple while walking by, and I really like it. I have no idea who they are.

I literally just snapped this photo of this couple while walking by, and I really like it. I have no idea who they are.

This was the coolest and strangest store I have ever been in.

This was the coolest and strangest store I have ever been in.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Of course I have tons of other photos to upload, but I am not able to edit much here because my laptop is not very powerful. I really miss my custom built pc at home. I also don't have a lot of time to edit. Something that I often do while relaxing.

Alright, I have to get back to reading for Core class otherwise my 78 year old professor with a leather fly swatter, and binoculars might get mad at me.

-Josh



I Made it to England! by Joshua Siniscal

Well, in case no one knows by this point, I made it to England safely! I arrived at Wroxton College at noon on Friday (29th). The college is absolutely beautiful! 

Wroxton Abbey

Wroxton Abbey

Today we took a tour of the lands and inside and to put it in simple words, we pretty much live in a museum. The history on our own living grounds is incredible!

I barely slept on the plane, just pretty much took little naps. Getting onto the plane was funny because the flight attendants were all British women dressed in red with their hair up in a bun. It was pretty fancy. The flight was especially fast that night, and took about 6 hours total.

 

Our first full day here we went to the city of Oxford. Every street was full of old historical buildings, churches, and stores. We walked around the grounds of Christ Church.

Christ Church

Christ Church

There actually were some blue skies! I'm just going to show you some more photos.

My new group of friends!

My new group of friends!


Group of us at Eagle and Child

Group of us at Eagle and Child

The photo above was taken at the Eagle and Child in Oxford. Some famous guy name C. S. Lewis ate here. Pretty cool right?!

I haven't taken photos of my room yet but it's pretty small. The pro to this though is that it stays warm. I also have a nice skylight in my bathroom. It's a cozy little room.

Today we had our first classes which was long. Tomorrow begins our kind of normal class schedule. I say "Kind of normal schedule" because every week is a little different. By the way, they pronounce the word "Schedule" like "Shedule".

This weekend we are going to London but need to make our own reservations. So, a group of us are trying to figure out plans tonight.

Signing out,

- Josh.

I'm Leaving Today! by Joshua Siniscal

In the words of the great Frank Sinatra, "Start spreading the news, I am leaving today" Well, actually tonight, as my flight will leave at 9:10pm! I wanted to write a blog before I left, mainly to express my appreciation of my friends and family and how blessed I am to have them all in my life. 

As this day has drawn near, everything I have been doing has become extra special and the times I have been spending with friends and family have been treasured a little more than normal because I know I won't be seeing them again until the middle of May. 

 

My surprise going away party. -Photo by my pastor, Carlos Cedeno. (Thanks homie)

My surprise going away party. -Photo by my pastor, Carlos Cedeno. (Thanks homie)

After Bridge (our youth group) on Friday, I was blindfolded and brought to the Torres house. Upon arrival, they took off my blindfold and "Surprise" a room packed with so many loving people that are all special to me in my heart. As they sat me down on the "hot seat," I was overwhelmed with all the kind, loving words, and great stories that were shared. (I may or may not have cried a little) I had forgotten about some of the stories that were mentioned but was pleasantly reminded of those special times. I looked around and realized how many wonderful people God has placed in my life. I didn't feel deserving to have all these friends show up to a party just for me.  

But those were only some of them. Within the past two weeks, I have been getting together with different friends to hang out one last time before I leave. I got to hang out with my friend Luis from FDU, where we went on a photo hike in the woods. After, we saw a truck stuck in the mud in the parking lot. We helped push the truck out, getting super muddy, but oddly enough, enjoying it. And after, going out to Chili's with him, my sister, and Erick. What a fun day.

I was able to get coffee with Joao, and talk about and pray for my upcoming trip.   I was able to play in one last worship night at church with my fellow worship band members.  I was able to record a cover to "Dirty Paws" with some of my incredibly musically talented friends. I was able to hang out with my friend Phil, from FDU and play rock band at his house. I was able to get Chick-fil-a with Marc, as he treated me to lunch. I was able to go to Applebee's with many friends after a worship night. I was able to attend a small prayer night with Josh, Luciano, and Mariano, and they prayed for me and my upcoming trip. I have been able to spend time with my Asian brother Ian! ;) Thanks for the pen, dude!  I was snowed in with my family for 3 days and was able to spend devotions together, and shovel 27 inches of snow together! And after the storm, a bunch of us went sledding/snowboarding at a nearby golf course hill. That was quite the adventure. And of course building that awesome igloo with a fire inside of it was fun!

Jesse and my brother Jon, keeping warm inside of the igloo we built.

Jesse and my brother Jon, keeping warm inside of the igloo we built.

And just last night, spending some good time with Brian. I was able to talk with both of my Uncles, and Grandparents, all wishing me safe travels. And the list goes on. 

I am also thankful for the people who have given me money toward my trip when I didn't even ask for it! I feel so undeserving but am very grateful.

All that has happened within the past two weeks. I'm sorry if I missed anyone, but all I'm saying is that I am so thankful for ALL of these people. I'm not trying to brag and make my life sound perfect, I am just saying that I am truly blessed.

A card from my Bridge family.

A card from my Bridge family.

A card and gift, from my Guerrilla family.

A card and gift, from my Guerrilla family.

I will be arriving in London England at 9 am UK time, so about 4 am EST.

Feel free to text me, as I will still be able to receive texts just the same as if I were here in the US. Follow my adventures on Sapchat! @joshquash. Also, be sure to subscribe to my blog posts through e-mail!

I'll try to post again after I settle in at the mansion.

-Josh

 

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