Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Updating the blog

Sorry I haven't updated the blog recently. I've gotten sick, my laptop hard drive went out on me and I have been working on essays for the past few weeks. Needless to say this blog has been neglected, so I thought I would update it.

Thus far being abroad has been an incredible experience. When I had came to college I hadn't planned on going abroad like this, and really never considered it a possibility. I'm glad it has worked out the way it has, as this may be one of the most satisfying experiences thus far in my life.

There is something about meeting new people, seeing different cultures and traveling to a different place that is really mentally satisfying. If anyone reading this is considering spending a semester abroad, I would highly recommend it. This has, without a doubt, been one of the best decisions I have made thus far.

It has started to warm up quite a bit here, and living on the beach is just lovely. It is really an enchanting place to be when the sun comes out and the temperature rises up a bit. Families and college students alike venture down to the beach. The ice cream stand opens up, and the smell of bbq is usually in the air! It is quite nice to get out of class and sit on the beach with my friends for a while. If any of you ever get a chance to try Mr. Whippy's ice cream I would highly suggest it, as it has a more whip cream, fluffy taste to it.

I have met some really great people this semester, and have made some great memories. I'm beginning to appreciate all the small stuff. It is awesome to go and see things like the big ben etc, but it is the simple things here that I really appreciate. The movie nights with the friends, or going out in a big group and laughing about all the stupid things that happened the night before.

I've really enjoyed seeing some of the cultural differences. In an odd way it is fun going to a grocery store and have difficulty finding things because they are named different, or going and trying a new types of food.

Classes here are quite a bit different from Purdue, and I enjoy them a lot more. The focus of the professors here is not so much research, but there primary job is to teach. Classes here seem much more applied, and less useless information. All of the classes I have taken thus far have required a large essay assignment, but it relates to the material that I am being tought, and helps tie many concepts together.

I'm off to the beach now, but I will update this more frequently.


Sunday, 8 March 2009


I visited London last weekend and absolutely loved it. There is so much to do and see in London, it is just a great city to be in. It was interesting to see London after having seen it on tv and in the papers. It was a great weekend, and I wouldn't mind spending another weekend there some time.

I arrived at the train station and took a train to the london bridge. The london bridge really isn't anything special. Its just another bridge. A nice walk along thames led me to the Tower bridge. The tower bridge was a lot smaller than what I had expected it to be. Even though it was about 1/2 of the size I expected it to be I did find it quite beautiful.

The great thing about london is once you get somewhere via underground trains, theres so many smaller things to see around the typical big touristy attractions. The london tower and a neat war time monument lies under the tower bridge. I'll be a nerd and admit that I like castles, history and so naturally I would find the london tower quite fascinating.

I did take one of those cool boat tours down the thames from the London Tower to the Parliment building/Big Ben. It was a well spent couple of bucks. Went under the "wobbly" bridge, and eventually made it to the Parliment building. The Parliment building is one of the most beautiful buildings i've ever seen. The architecture is so detailed its phenomonal.

The next morning I visited Buckingham palace and absolutely adored it. The area around it is beautiful. Its unfortunate that "the changing of the guard" is the only thing they show pictures of in the media, the area around it truly is quite beautiful. Its location is quite nice as well, being situation in James park, close to Hyde park and Kensington gardens.

I spent quite a while in Hyde Park and Kensington gardens. It is such a laid back area with so much stuff to see. Everywhere you walk there is someone walking their dog, a fountain, monument etc. It really is quite a lovely area. The parks alone could make a person fall in love with London, they are just enchanting. There is so much to see in the parks, I quite enjoyed my time in them.

Over the weekend I got to see quite a lot of stuff, and I'm really happy with the experience. London is more beautiful than I had imagined, and its a fascinating place and really offers something for everyone. If you ever get a chance to visit London I would highly recommend it!

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Life here

I haven't updated the blog in a while and figure it is about time I do! A lot of my friends have asked me what it is like here, what are the people like, what is the school like etc. It is hard to describe a place so wonderfully unique as Aber is.

I'm going to dedicate this post to the things that are making my experience at Aber an amazing one. I'm quite fond of this place, hopefully you'll understand why once I'm done. Well here is the list so far, and of course it is evolving!

1) Walking out of Alexandra hall every morning. The view is incredible, it never gets old. The Irish sea is beautiful.
2) Walking up constitution hill, and looking across Aber, its countryside and the Irish sea. When your on top of constitution hill it just hits you how majestic this place is.
3) Walking along sea front watching the waves crash in, people playing with their little kids and dogs running along the beach. It is very simple I know, but I have come to love it.
4) Wetherspoons mocha!!!!!!! It is so wonderful!!!!
5) the flat mates, they are pretty much so awesome! From drunken moments in the morning to all of the kitchen talks, they are a great group of people.
6) Comedy works- Hosted by the student union, its cheap and the comedians are stellar.
7) The poor gals and guys that were humiliated by Tony Lee the hypnotist!
8) Llanbadarn's campus is great, I absolutely love how it has a barn and stables next to the lecture buildings!
9) British Bacon! It is so much better than bacon back at the states.
10) Express - fish and chips- are so amazing. I feel disgusting after eating them, but my God they are great!
11) All the little shops in Aber. Nothing is huge here, everything is small and has its own purpose. It is fun walking around town seeing all the different shops.
12) Rugby on sundays with sunday dinner. Great food, great companionship and a great game... Go Wales!
13) The fires on the beach deserve a spot on here as well.
14) All the trips to Spar. I never thought i'd love a convienent store in the way that I love Spar!
15) How laid back Aber is. The people here are just friendly, fun loving people. It makes for such a remarkable atmosphere!

I'll add onto the list as the semester goes on, and of course i'm going to add post's with more material in them. I figured this would be a quick way at getting a look at some of the many things i'm falling in love with while I'm here!


“Not all those who wander are lost.” - J. R. R. Tolkien

Saturday, 7 February 2009

The first week here

Well this has been quite an eventful week. The more I'm here the more I am coming to love this culture, these people and this school. Aber has it's own charm, it is just quite difficult to explain. A lot of it stems from the location, as well as the fact that 1/3 of the town is students. The school is aimed toward students, and the student body seems more vibrant than what I'm used to.

The first two full days that I was here involved getting registered for classes, orientations about the sport centre as well as getting a library card/NUS card. The main difference in registering for classes is that animal science students here have set modules/classes they take, and they take them in order. So if i"m a first year student then I would be in classes with all first year students. Thus all the classes build off of each other, as compared to US schools where it is a free for all on what classes you take and you just take classes whenever it fits into your schedule.

The NUS card is quite similar to the student ID cards at Purdue. Only slight differences such as having to get your accreditation's or induction to work out at the sports centre, and them charging you per time you work out. They also charge a sporty fee, which is basically an insurance you buy and is added onto your account which permits you do to sports club activities and it cheapens the fee to work out. There doesn't seem like much of a difference really, as Purdue places these fees onto your tuition as Aber enables you to purchase them if you'd like to use the facilities/ sports clubs offered.

During the accreditation you basically just show the trainer a few exercises and that you know what your doing. The other option is to take a induction class where they teach you the basics. After my accreditation I got to work out free, which was quite nice!

I have got registered for classes and have had my first week of classes. I'll post later about them, as this week many of the classes has been canceled, and I had to switch one of my classes. I will say that I adore the far campus, where I have all of my classes. It is a decent bus ride over there, but it has a great view, and has barn facilities next to the teaching facilities.

The night life here is quite awesome. The student union puts on a lot of activities. I went to a "talent" show this weekend. I saw one very untalented comedian, and a couple of very talented musicians. Every other weak the student union has an event called comedy works. Well the first one was the other day, and it was quite a good time. The comedians had quite a crude sense of humor aimed towards college students that reminds me quite a bit of chris rock. It was a good time, and I got quite a few good laughs.

The Pub life here is quite absurd. It seems like every other building is a pub. My favorite thus far is the Academy. It is this old beautiful church turned into Pub. Its got a few pool tables, an upper level and a bunch of comfortable seating. It has been nice going out this past week during the evenings to get to know some of my flat mates better. Going out is quite a bit more common here.

I've decided to try as many different foods as I can while I'm here. I absolutely love Fish and Chips, as well as the coffee from Wetherspoons! Welsh cakes remind me of a biscuit form of corn bread with raisins, they are quite good. I've had some crumpets now and they are really good with butter. A lot of the pastry type goodies compliment tea or coffee.

I have done quite a bit of walking around town checking out all the different shops, and of course visiting the Old college building and castle. The castle construction began 1277 and wasn't finished until 1289. It has erroded over the years, but is still quite a site.


Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Flight over and arriving

Traveling to Aberystwyth was pretty much a night mare. The snow in the greater indy area made the drive to the airport horrendous. I ended up making it to the airport with around an hour of time to spare, but being stuck in a traffic jam trying to get to the airport just about turned me into a nervous wreck. Our flight from Indianapolis to Washington hit a few rough patches, but other than that it was a quick flight.

The flight from Dulles airport to Hethrow in London took forever. This was the first time I've had a flight of any significant length and I am not looking forward to the return home flight. The flight itself was quite comfortable, it was just a really long time sitting on a plane for the long. I can't sleep on planes or any other moving object, and by the 5th hour of the flight I thought I was going to go nuts. Any one that has flown across the pond can attest to how long 8 hours on a plane is. I did manage to read The Road by Cormac McCarthy on the flight over, and I highly recommend it.

We touched down to Hethrow in London and after getting our baggage we made our way to the trains. I've road a train before, but I wasn't quite expecting this. The train stations are really busy, quick moving and not fun to navigate with luggage. The network of trains is quite vast, which translates into large central stations with multiple platforms and tons of people at these platforms.There are a lot of options when trying to navigate to different towns. It is quite an overwhelming experience if it is your first time on a train in a city such as London.

We took a train to Padington, and then to London Euston square. After a little above ground walk to another platform we made our way to Birmingham and then from Birmingham to Aber. There were a couple of hour breaks in between each train. From London Euston to Birmingham it only took an hour and a half or so, but from Birmingham to Aber it ended up taking around 3 hours. In When it was all said and done it ended up taking us 8 hours to get from the Airport to Aber.

In this part of the trip I've noticed quite a few things worth pointing out. Taking a train somewhere is a really comfortable means of transportation, but navigating the platforms with luggage is not a fun experience. Also the people have seem incredibly friendly at this point. We would have never made it to Aber without the help from a lot of strangers.

Eventually I made it to Aber and met Carol at the train station. There were four of us that were headed towards Sea Front (our accommodations) so we all chipped in and hopped into a Taxi. The taxi arrived to the in front of the sea front buildings, I got out and was quite stunned how beautiful of a site it is. All the buildings face the Irish Sea, and the far end of the building (which my flat is located) looks under constitution hill. It is quite a breath taking, a picturesque view. There is a strip of lights that run along the road that skirts the beach, as well as a light that shines up constitution hill. Constitution hill itself looks more like a cliff from the side facing my apartment.

Alexandra hall is one of many resident halls and buildings that face the Irish sea. There is a cobbled side walk and on the opposite side or the road, and a railing that lines the road along the beach. From the rail there is probably a 10-15 foot drop off to the beach itself. It is a remarkable location to spend the semester.

We just caught the guy responsible for giving out keys. After helping a girl carry her luggage up 5 levels to her flat I headed to mine, and got lucky enough to run into a flat mate Alastair. Alastair introduced me to Rob and Emily (my other flat mates). Emily took me around the building and introduced me to Lexi (another flat mate) and a bunch of other people. I must admit, at this point I'm quite excited, it was quite a huge relief to end up having the flat mates that I do. I'll post more about them later, but it was was really nice arriving and feeling quite welcomed. They are all swell people, very friendly and fun to be around.

The thermostat in my room was broke, so it was turned on and wouldn't turned off. It was probably at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit in there, but the maintenance guy was really friendly the next day when I went to report it and had it fixed quite promptly. It is a really nice room, I'm very happy living here. It is quite spacious, clean and has one amazing view of the Irish Sea. It is also relaxing sleeping here, as you can hear the sea through the windows. My room came with a good size bed, desk and plenty of cabinet space.

The flat itself is very nice as well. The best way I can describe it is hallway of rooms similiar to that of a dorm, in which it is sectioned off and the members of the flats have community kitchen and share a few bathrooms, but have their own room to their selves. It is a great set up for me, as I have plenty of personal space but a lot of interaction with other people.

All that being said I fell asleep and was only able to sleep until about 3:00 - 4:00 am U.K. time. I wasn't able to sleep on the plane or the trains, and was quite exhausted by this time. Jet Lag is quite a weird thing to experience. I took a long walk along the shore, had a few laughs at all of the drunks returning (or attempting) to return to their residences, and decided to head back to force myself to sleep.

- Jordon

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” - Jawaharial Nehru