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.
Hey everyone! Sorry it has been so long since I’ve posted, but I HAVE to tell you about my Spring Break trip! Instead of doing the typical Panama City or Daytona Beach Spring Break, I decided to take an impromptu trip to none other than TEXAS!! It was a blast!! I stayed in Houston, Dallas and Austin. In Houston I visited NASA and Mission control, as well as the Science center (pic with Dinos). In Dallas I saw the skyline from the Reunion Tower, saw Lebron James play the Mavericks and even saw where President Kennedy was killed (it was actually kind of eerie). Finally I visited Austin and had a blast at U of Texas and all the awesome things Austin has to offer! Spring Break is YOUR time as a student so try and do something fun, out of the ordinary and most importantly… out of your comfort zone! It was the trip of a lifetime and I hope you guys enjoyed your spring vacation as much as I did! Enjoy the pics! Peace! :)
Hi prospective & fellow Billikens from SLU Madrid! Surprised I’m in Europe in the middle of the school year? Well’ one of SLU’s strengths is the extensive opportunity for students to study abroad, especially at our own SLU campus in Spain. I’m currently studying here with almost 60 other nursing majors, and over 300 of us SLU sophomores in total. And believe me, I would not trade this semester experience for anything-even Ted Drewes (which I crave about 10 times a day).
Madrid itself has really turned out to be the perfect city to study in. It definitely has that big international city environment with that there is always something to do with a surplus of museums, tapas bars, shopping areas, and places to eat/drink. Yet with such an advanced metro system, it is the city is easy to navigate. While yes, I’ve tripped on approximately 109 stairs in Metro stations since arriving in January, I’ve definitely become accustomed to channeling my inner urban school girl. Language wise, it’s the best of both worlds. As an international city, it is common for people to know some English for when you get stuck or are struggling to order at a restaurant. But being in Madrid and living with a host family has also helped me to build upon my Spanish as I pursue a minor.
Now let me take you through my travel agenda thus far. I started off with day trips to Toledo and Segovia, both in Spain. This was a good decision, as it allowed me to further my understanding of the history of Spain, my new home for the next 4 months. Plus the uphill placement of both cities helped me to start building some endurance for those pesky metro stairs (do you see a recurring theme here?). The aqueducts, cathedrals, architecture, and terrain were nothing short of stunning, giving me a glimpse of what this whole “see the world” semester was going to be like.
Next up was a weekend in Lisbon, Portugal, where I was blessed with the best January weather I have ever experienced. Our 9 hour tour was led by a Lisbon native, Marcos, who lived for a laugh and stopped the white tour bus every time he saw an expensive looking German car (you’d be surprised at how often this happened). The ocean view was beautiful, filled with sun, and windy enough to make my hair look like Medusa bought permanent residence on my head. With a great flight, hostel, dinner, tour, and location, Lisbon proved to be an easy and relieving first big trip.
February brought a long weekend trip to Munich with 2 fellow nursing majors, and wow was that a blast. After devouring a whole gluten free pizza to myself Friday night, Saturday started with a guided tour of the Dachau Concentration Camp. After a lifetime of Catholic and now Jesuit education, the combination of stories of cruelty and inspiration were moving and thought provoking, and an experience I’ve always wanted. Sunday was an all day tour to Salzburg, Austria, which allowed me to live out my childhood fantasy of singing “Do-Re-Mi” from the Sound of Music on the sites where filming took place. That night consisted of meat and drinks at Hofbrauhaus, followed by visiting the Munich Olympic site the next morning.
The following weekend was a trip to Zurich, Switzerland, which turned out to be a surprising hidden gem in Europe. The river front had a London-like feel, with bridges that looked like downtown Amsterdam, and with the Alps in the background, beauty was afloat in all corners.
Next came a trip 20 years in the making: Ireland. Ready to tell anyone who listened my Irish sounding name, I soaked up the beautiful green of Galway like a kid seeing color for the first time. The classic pub humor kept me rather entertained, and if I could listen to anything all day I would choose Irish accents in a heartbeat. The upbeat nature of Dublin and seeing a friend studying abroad in Ireland left me leaving Ireland knowing I had just been to the place where dreams are made of.
Almost done, I swear. The following weekend was the SLU Madrid Loyola Retreat in the Basque country of northern Spain. To spend a weekend reflecting while exploring the house and worship places of St. Ignatius was humbling and surreal for a Billiken like myself. To see where the foundations of my beloved university began gave me that “I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now in my life” feeling. And as a 20 year old college student, I don’t expect to have that feeling for another 20 years, making me feel incredibly blessed in that moment.
Next up: Barcelona with Mom, London, and some more exploring in Spain.
So be in St. Louis. Be in Madrid. Be a Billiken.
Fountain Day 2015
Today is the happiest day of the year at Saint Louis University; It’s Fountain Day! The grounds crew has finished repainting the fountains across campus that have been empty since chiller weather arrived in November, and water is finally gushing forth again as a joy-filled reminder that spring is officially here.
Fountain Day has long been my favorite “SLU holiday” and is always marked by hundreds of students flocking to the grassy study areas near the rejuvenated fountains to bask in the sun.
- Luke -
The sunset over Saint Louis University this evening is a bitter-sweet reminder of my graduation being exactly two months away from today.
As dusk falls upon my final days at SLU, I am still caught up in the beauty of this university.
- Luke -
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.