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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 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