Be A Billiken Blog
What's life really like for college students? Brinda, Camilo, Colleen, Luke, Mike, Natalie, Nicole and Scott have the inside look at college classes, dorms, college sports and campus activities at Saint Louis University. Check in with them here, or follow them on Tumblr.
The “West Pine Effect”
It’s always around this time of year that I run into a prospective student who will ask me “what my favorite thing about SLU is.” Through all four years here my response has remained the same, though my appreciation has continuously grown more fervent.
My favorite thing about SLU? Easy: "The West Pine Effect."
West Pine is the street transversing the heart of campus. Many years ago it was a public street with cars zooming every which way, but today West Pine is the paved, private pedestrian pathway that connects Saint Louis University’s campus. It’s the “main drag,” your central route to every residence hall, department building, food court, and student hang-out destination.
Thus, students are always strolling along West Pine. Always. And every time I’m walking down West Pine I will always see people I know, and will always see people I’ve not yet met. Every time. Even after four years, each trek across campus is a unique experience sprinkled with familiar faces and novel encounters.
SLU is the perfect size. It’s small enough to where you will always see someone you know along West Pine, yet it’s large enough to where you’ll never know everyone. New adventures always await just beyond the horizon. (Or just beyond the slight hill peeking at Starbucks and the Quad!)
And yet no matter how familiar or unknown your West Pine passerbys are, the encounter is always friendly.
West Pine is SLU’s crossroads for community.
Old friends exchange hugs, classmates cheerful waves, secret crushes bashful glances, and strangers—yes, even strangers—warm smiles.
This is the West Pine Effect.
This is SLU.
- Luke -
Saint Louis University offers more than 40 study abroad programs around the world! I asked some of my friends who studied abroad about their experiences and here is what they have to say!
- Where did you go to study abroad and why did you choose to go there?
- What was a unique cultural experience you had while abroad?
- What was your favorite food you ate while abroad?
Sarah - Galway, Ireland
1. I studied in Galway, a coastal town on the west side of Ireland. The main reasons I chose Galway were practical- I wanted to study somewhere where I could speak the language (though I cannot speak Irish), and the National University of Ireland, Galway offered math classes I needed to take. However looking back, I think Galway was a really good fit for me in many regards. I was able to make friends with Irish students since I lived on campus, and most places in Galway were within walking distance from my apartment so I felt like I got to explore the city in-depth. I am very glad I chose to study there!
2. One of my favorite things to do in Galway was to go to traditional music sessions at the local pubs. At one pub, The Crane, all sorts of different musicians (strings, percussion, flute, guitar, accordion, harmonica…) would sit around a table. I think one person would lead with a melody and everyone else jumped in. I loved listening to the music, and going to trad nights were a great way to meet locals.
3. I particularly like Irish stew, since my parents coincidentally make a very similar recipe at home. Irish stew usually consists of beef or lamb with potatoes and carrots. Sometimes Guinness is added for flavor. In general, many Irish dishes could be considered ‘comfort food’ and were perfect after long days of exploring, especially once the weather turned rainy! I also grew addicted to tea while in Ireland- there’s nothing like chatting with friends or puzzling over homework problems with a mug of tea!
Meg and Shannon - Madrid, Spain
1. M: I chose to study in Madrid, Spain. I’m a huge history nerd, and it was pretty humbling and transformative to experience the rich history and culture in Europe for the first time. I got to tour Berlin with a woman who experienced the fall of the Berlin Wall and learn about the art and culture of Spain from a professor who had lived there her whole life. History was really able to come to life for me through the people I met and experiences I had.
S: I chose Madrid for a couple of reasons. First, I took Spanish all throughout high school and during my time so far at SLU, so I thought it would be great opportunity to practice my Spanish. Second, since it was technically Saint Louis University, I didn’t have to worry about transferring credits or getting course approval and it was by far the cheapest option.
2. M: I had the opportunity to spend the night in the Sahara Desert. I had never seen so many stars and the sunrise was absolutely incredible (that’s what the picture is from!) S: A unique cultural experience I had while I was abroad was on my trip to Morocco. I went on the trip organized by the University and it was amazing. It was much more than just a touristy visit-we actually got to interact with people and learn more about the culture. We got to spend two nights with a host family in the capital city, I rode a camel on the beach and we talked to students our age about perceptions and stereotypes of different cultures.
3. M: My host mother’s tortilla de patatas. SO GOOD. S: That’s hard, there was so much good food. It’s probably a tie between Paella and then this asparagus soup I had in Germany.
Barbara - Rome, Italy
1. I studied abroad in Rome, Italy through the John Felice Rome Center. I chose Rome due to the rich history and art: around every corner and within every church is something to see.
2. While I was abroad I took a traditional Roman cooking class where we learned how to make a Roman style meal.
3. My favorite food besides gelato was cacio e pepe. Cacio e Pepe is a cheese and pepper pasta dish that is made with only black pepper, Pecorino Romano cheese, and pasta. Simple and delicious.
Abbie - Manila, Philippines
1. I studied with a program called Casa Bayanihan in Manila, Philippines. I knew I wanted a unique study abroad experience where I would be able to live with a host family part time and a group of college students from all over the country for the rest of the time. The trip was cultural, fun, and left me with a deep sense of belonging to something that could never be repeated.
2. The most unique cultural experience I had while I was abroad was getting to shadow a street food vendor for a day. I woke up at 5 am and we went around selling a breakfast drink for about 6 hours. I got to see a lot of the nooks and crannies of the city and learned a lot of wonderful and difficult things about the lives of street vendors.
3. I wouldn’t call this my FAVORITE food, but while I was abroad I ate something called Balut. After a goose egg has been fertilized Balut makers boil the egg with the baby goose inside of it. Everyone in the program bought one one evening, cracked the egg opened, drank the soup, and a took a bite! It was crazy and icky but is something I’ll never forget.
Seek Education. Find Adventure. Study Abroad.
Last week was full of really exciting moments as a Billiken:
1. I participated in SLU Dance Marathon as one of the Morale Captains. It was a 12 hours event on November 22nd in which we culminated a year of working toward our fundraising goal for Children Miracle Network hospital in Saint Louis area (St. Louis Children’s Hospital and SSM Cardinal Glennon Medical Center). It was a night full of joy, laughs, hope, and passion. Always For The Kids!
2. I was able to go to Spain during Thanksgiving break with a fellow Nicaraguan Billiken to visit some of our friends that are studying abroad in SLU’s campus in Madrid. It was a great time and an amazing experience to be able to go to another country and reconnect with incredible friends that I have not seen during this semester. I was able to explore the city of Madrid, learn a lot about their culture and history, and get some a glimpse of the Study Abroad experience a lot SLU students choose to have every semester.
I cannot wait to see what else is to come in my journey at SLU.
SLU Dance Marathon was November 22nd and it was an absolute BLAST! My year as a board member culminated in the 12 event which celebrated a year’s worth of fundraising efforts for St. Louis Children’s Hospital and SSM Cardinal Glennon Medical Center. $221,524.04 miracles made, and a night that made me proud as always to be a Billiken.
Be here For The Kids! Be you. Be a Billiken.
St. Louis doesn’t usually see snowfall until mid-December, but, then again, Midwest weather is always unpredictable! Yesterday just under two inches of snow fell on campus, and within an hour every inch of SLU was trampled in footprints from students playing in the winter wonderland. Snow always, always brings out the inner child in college students!
Snowball fights, snow angles, and, of course, snowmen quickly appeared in the quad. Even though we didn’t get much accumulation, some students were determined enough to build a snowman beside the statue of St. Ignatius. They made sure to give Igantius’ new companion a walking stick for his pilgrim journey alongside the Jesuit’s founder.
SLU is even more beautiful under a fresh blanket of snow!
- Luke -
My best friends and I went to Lafayette Square for a quick study break last weekend. Lafayette Square is a beautiful historic Victorian neighborhood in St. Louis close to campus… and it’s home to some of our favorite restaurants!