Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

My Posts

{photos, text, video}

Did I Just Meet Leslie Knope? Sandra’s Day in Parliament

Time October 28th, 2014 in First Generation Scholars | No Comments by


What sticks out first when you walk out of Westminster Underground Station is the iconic ticking of Big Ben looming far over your head. You’re frozen in disbelief that a clock tower could be so golden and beautiful and in your admiration you walk into a business man. The street is swarmed by tourists with fancy cameras and men and women in suits carrying their take away food alongside their briefcases. Sounds are coming from everywhere and down the street you can equally see the busy River Thames filled with people crossing the bridge. All this overshadows the true center of power on the street: the Palace of Westminster, home of the Houses of Parliament.

Read More »

The Differences Between a British and American Concert

Time October 2nd, 2014 in First Generation Scholars | No Comments by


     Some people are obsessed with fashion and others will cry for days if their favorite sports team loses a game, but my favorite way to spend my time is going to concerts and music festivals. As a seasoned concert goer, I wanted to make an effort to see some of my favorite British musicians during my time abroad. Through the help of Craigslist, I lucked out and purchased face value tickets from a fellow fan to witness the sold out performance of Alt-J at London’s Alexandra Palace. The English indie quartet did not disappoint, incorporating songs from both their first album and their newly released sophomore album, This is All Yours. The songs blended seamlessly all while the band showered their fans with appreciation and thanks for supporting them at their home base. Although Alt-J’s performance was of course the highlight of the night, I was also amazed by the different mannerisms and customs that happened during the concert. There are three things that really stuck out to me that the English do a lot better than the United States when it comes to providing a fantastic overall concert experience.

Read More »


To New Beginnings

Time September 15th, 2014 in First Generation Scholars | No Comments by

To give you a better understanding of who I am, my name is Sandra. I am a senior majoring in Political Science, and I attend The George Washington University in Washington D.C.. I am originally from Oakland, California and to clear up the rumors, yes the slow, “chill”, and carefree California pace exists, and yes, people are very environmentally conscious about saving the Earth. And to dispel any misconceptions about Washington D.C., yes it does feels like living in a “House of Cards” episode with all the surrounding power from politicians, interns, and monuments except there is no real Frank Underwood (I hope) and no Freddy’s BBQ joint. It sometimes feels like a conundrum to me, that I can relax and soak in life one moment and in a split second be swarmed with determination and urgency to complete a goal at an exceptional standard. I think the main reason why I juggle between the carefree California pace and the powerhouse Washington D.C. pace is because I come from a family of immigrants, making me a first generation college student. I am an individual filled with gratitude for my surroundings and with an appreciation for the little things, while still setting high goals for my future and not letting anything get in my way.

I am proud to be a first generation college student: I wear it like a badge of honor. I am happy to say that being a first generation college student has never hindered my college experience. It has only made me a more persistent individual, giving me the strength to overcome any challenges that come my way. I also like to think that being the oldest sibling of three brothers has made me a determined individual. I want set a good example for them, and I hope someday they will follow in my footsteps and go to great colleges as well. I want to show them–and everyone else–that anything is possible if you work hard and have a positive attitude. I have always tried to use my circumstances as motivation rather than an excuse to give up. With the opportunities I have been given via scholarships, grants, internships, and school trips, I have been able to experience a variety of events that I know many will never get the opportunity to have. I try my best to stay humble and be appreciative on a day to day basis, but I also know when to take credit and be proud of my accomplishments. Studying abroad is one of my proudest accomplishments yet.

As a senior, I know that I will appreciate this experience a lot more than if I were going at a younger age. Although it is crazy to think that I will not be spending my last fall semester at my university with my roommate, friends, professors, and others, I know that I am about to embark on a monumental milestone in my life by studying in another country. It is crazy to think how different I was two or even a year ago. I was in a different state of mind than where I am now, and I know that I have matured and see the value in things a lot more than in the past. I am ready to take this journey to London for all it’s worth and experience all the emotions it will bring. I will also try to take this journey with a grain of salt and not set up too many expectations, as I probably would have done if I were a sophomore or junior, so that I won’t later be disappointed with my unrealistic expectations most likely influenced by television shows. That way I will never take the good things for granted, and the bad things won’t seem quite so bad. I am ready for the good, the bad, and the crazy because I believe in the saying “everything happens for a reason”. I am ready to smile, laugh, cry, scream, panic, and embarrass myself along the way and I look forward to sharing some of these anecdotes with you. So welcome everyone to my blog and, as the British would say, cheers!

Sandra Loyola