Filming for MCTV, CNN and The Compiled List of ‘The Weird and The Wonderful’

Yesterday was a surreal day, I had an 8am first thing which I was dead on time for (what?!)and after class, I got chatting to my favourite Professor to get some help with my homework assignment. Basically, we have to think of a topic for a speech and I was a bit stuck as to what to write. My Professor asked me how I was finding things being over here, and in the end we chatted for so long she invited me to hang out in her office with her, she asked about my blog and I told her about the list I’d been compiling over the last 4 weeks of all the weird and wonderful things I’d discovered since being here. She couldn’t believe some of the examples I was giving her, especially the difference between classes here and back in the UK and she suddenly jumped up, clapped her hands in the air (she’s is literally so enthusiastic I love her) and decided that THAT would make an incredible topic for my speech in class: “College life differences between the UK and the USA by an English Girl living in New York,” so low and behold I got my subject for my speech (Winning.)

So in true nerdish prep for my homework (i’m such a dork at the moment), I thought it was about time I shared with you some of the weird and wonderful things I have found since living here:

The List

  • Ok, firstly, nobody can comprehend how small England is. “like omg you can drive to other side in like under 9 hours??
  • Red, green, orange and yellow peppers are referred to as ‘Bell Peppers’ (and you can get packs of just yellow, orange and red!!)
  • The drinking age and the education system actually make a big, big difference between 18 years old’s here and 18 year old’s in the UK (I’ll be writing a post on that in a few weeks)
  • Nobody has ever heard of a Gilet – it’s a ‘Vest’
  • Posh trousers are referred to as ‘Slacks’
  • Very few people have heard of the country, Wales
  • Even fewer people have heard of Cornwall
  • ..and Cornish Pasties
  • ..or Yorkshire Puddings (“It’s kinda like custard” was one description I heard, and she is now called ‘custard for the foreseeable future)
  • Everyone has watched Skinz
  • Downton Abbey is also a fave
  • Edinburgh is pronounced ‘Eden-Burger’
  • ‘Twat’ is an unknown insult
  • ‘Ta’ is an unknown thank you
  • Texting and calling whilst driving is considered ok
  • So is borrowing your friends car to drive home, after a night out
  • Aluminium is pronounced – ‘Illu-min-um’
  • Clingfilm is – ‘Cling-wrap’ or ‘Saran-wrap’
  • The first 3 digits of a cell phone in the USA is actually the area code (917 is NY)
  • Candy refers to anything that consists of sweets or chocolate
  • Poptarts are incredible
  • ‘Hay girl’ is a genuine greeting
  • Zipcodes are confusing
  • Nobody can understand an English accent over the phone
  • ‘Whats up?’ is another term for ‘How are you?’
  • They have actual plug sockets in the bathroom
  • People skateboard and scooter to class (yes scooter!!)
  • Headbands are also still fashionable
  • No matter how many times I tell someone where I’m from in the UK, they still think I’m from London
  • Putting on an American accent and switching back to an English accent on nights out to confuse people is more fun than I ever imagined
  • … and an English person doing an American accent in general is apparently hilarious
  • Instagram is Online Dating for College Kids
  • McFly were once really big in Hawaii
  • Spending Dollars is like spending Monopoly money

So what else happened in my bizarre day?

After lunch I ended up wandering past the ‘Flag Stall’ that was on campus, I’d meant to bring a Union Jack flag with me over here, and I asked the guy running the stall if he had any, he spun round and asked me in THE broadest Irish accent ever “Aye! and where might YOU be from!?” I laughed and replied “Birmingham” and he lit up and shouted “AH! Buuuuur-minghum!!” Turns out he lived there for a few years before emigrating over to Boston with his now American Wife. Small world! and so nice to actually hear that hideous impression again haha. I ended up buying a giant flag and he gave me a free Union Jack sticker to go with it (yay.)

Anyway, as I started to walk off I noticed the MCTV film crew filming the stall and I decided to walk over and say hello, I started chatting to them and said I was still really interested in getting involved but hadn’t heard anything from them (i’d met a few members a few weeks ago). Turns out they’d got the wrong number, so I swapped numbers with one of the girls and she said she’s contact me with the next meeting time.

That evening at 6:15pm, I got a text asking “Could I please be at the Theatre in the Student Centre to help cover and film a launch by CNN senior analyst Jeffrey Toobin at 7pm?”

So that evening I was at the Marist College 2013 Autumn Lecture Series Launch helping to set up the cameras and film a live talk given by Jeffrey Toobin (CNN’s senior legal analyst/reporter and a staff writer at The New Yorker!!) who was discussing his latest book ‘The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court’ and his inside account of the ideological war between John Robert’s Supreme Court and the Obama Administration.

I got to have a go at some filming, play around with the cameras, go to the front and help film question and answers, listen to some very interesting debates on American Politics and I even got to personally meet Jeffrey Toobin at the end of the talk when the film crew interviewed him.

I swear the word ‘Surreal’ doesn’t cut it for this place sometimes.

‘Jeffrey Toobin’ about:

Pictures of my new flag, tea and me filming below:

Sam x

Filming Jeffrey Toobin with MCTV
Feeling Patriotic

My First Day of School.

Stressful would not be the word to sum up my day yesterday.

On discovery of my class timetable last week I had ended up with classes which a) I’ve already studied b) have no interest in studying, had been given c) 4 instead of 5 classes and d) no marketing or advertising classes (hello! That’s why I came to study here!) This was due to big mix up mainly on my home university’s end. Still I thought “it’s ok I’ll just swap some about and pick up another class it’ll be fine.”

No no. You see they have this thing here at Marist called “ad/drop” it’s where a certain carnage assumes itself from7:30am Monday morning where students anxiously sit at their laptops (or in my case get to Registrar office at 7:45am because i find out my account wasn’t yet working online) wait to frantically add and drop classes and hope they get the classes they want. Classes are mainly a maximum of 30 people per class so they get full VERY quickly. Very different from my 100+ business classes at home!

So yesterday from 7:45am I spent the whole day running around like a mad women, looking for professors, getting lost every 5 minutes, attempting to swap classes and refreshing the webpage every 20 seconds to see if the full classes i wanted had had a drop out, etc etc..

At about 5pm I left for home, I had managed to luckily swap a couple of my classes, dropped the ones I didn’t want, emailed the professors I couldn’t find, been made to take an “Art” class, as apparently you must always have 4 courses minimum for legal reasons (scary) seen my advisor 3 times and was eventually instructed to go home, wait for email replies and try again tomorrow. On top of all that, as I walked home I got massively rained on. Insult to injury to sum up my first bad day here.

Today, however was a complete turn around (YAY) after several emails last night I was greeted with 2 emails this morning: both to say I could study the 2 advertising courses I wanted to study. (Yes!!)The first Professor also invited me to the 1st class of Principles of Advertising today and so I had my very first class.

First Class: It rocked! My Professor (i love the fact we have to call them Professor!) is from Queens, NY has dreads and for an example of “What is Publicity” brought up the YouTube video of Miley Cyrus’s shocking performance at the VMA awards. Such a dude. There was about 32 of us in the class and it felt alot more personal and more like school compared to University back home, which i really like. We also had to do a “show and tell” and say what are names were, where we were from, interesting fact etc and everyone was of course again amazed that I’m from England (I literally don’t think I’ll ever get bored of that, or of how many people think I may have met Prince Harry. Lol)

I also had a message today to say my 2 friends are currently staying in NYC tonight and asked if I wanted to meet up with them and go out. So, as I don’t have class till 5pm tomorrow I’m now sat on the train on my way to Grand Central station, NYC for my first proper night out in New York City.

Man I love living here.

Sam x

The First Week of College.

It’s been a mad, exciting, surreal, weird and wonderful week.

We’ve had Orientation where I learnt things like; They DO use the grade system of A, A+ B etc (so much more fun than 2.1’s and 1’s!!) Campus “etiquette” i.e. how to be a polite human being around campus, who we need to talk to if we are feeling sad, how to change our classes and how to use the library (28 day loan people!!!)

Our group has expanded and become even more weird and wonderful and we’ve become very close as a group. I have developed the nickname ‘Geordie Shore’ from my lovely Israley/English friend Avi, as I am apparently very outgoing, loud and wear fake tan, lol. He insist it’s a compliment and we have the best team ever at Beer Pong.

The ‘accent.’ There have been mixed reactions about my accent, I had been under the complete pretense that over here everyone would LOVE my accent before I left, only to be greeted with the fact that in the city, nobody gave a crap I was British. Seriously, I could have been walking around with a monocle and top hat and no one would have batted an eyelid. However, College has been a completely different story, everyone is so excited about the fact I am from England!! and many have taken it upon themselves to imitate me (which is absolutely hilarious) “Hello I am from Eng-erl-land, please may I have a cup of tea?” I love it. I also love the fact that so many people in the U.S think that everyone knows everyone in England. “Oh wow! you’re from England! Do you know Caroline Eavestock? She’s also from England!” So funny.

Applebee’s. We’ve had a birthday already for my lovely french friend Alessandra, and we went to Apple Bee’s (eeek) we’ve been shopping and gone to the Mall, rushed to breakfast most mornings, (got up at 7am everyday this week except for today for orientation) and we’ve gone to an American house party and real American Diner.

I have learnt that American guys are on the other end of the scale of outgoing compared to British guys. Seriously, I was walking to meet some of the girls and could vaguely hear someone running shouting “ma’am! ma’am!” So i turned around, only to be greeted by an 18 year old American football freshman running up to me to say hello, insisting on giving me his number and then left me alone when he realised I was 22.. haha. To be honest i’m not actually as depressed about being 22 as I was in England as the drinking age here is of course 21 so I can still happily keep up my wine hobby.

Roomates. I moved into my new apartment and my 2 flatmates and roomate have moved in now too! and they are all wonderful girls. My roomate is from Brooklyn, New York! and the 2 girls next door are from Hawaii, yep HAWAII. I shamelessly asked them if they liked ‘Lilo and Stitch (don’t judge me, you were all wondering too) and they revealed that they love it and like to watch it when they get homesick and I nearly passed out with happiness.

This week. Overall it’s been a pretty awesome week and I am loving it here. The freshman have moved in and the Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors have moved back (i’m classed as a Junior Exchange Student by the way, i.e. 3rd year) and we have the Block Party and Fireworks tonight to celebrate (woo!!) Anyway i’m off to get ready, I can’t believe class starts tomorrow! More on that next week.

Sam x

Image: Hudson River and the Rotunda Building (Student Center)


Becoming an international..

So we have this thing back at my University in England, called the ‘Aston Aunties.’ They are current Aston University students, who volunteer over 2 weeks to help the International students and then normal UK students, arrive on campus and settle in. I have been lucky enough to have been an Aston Auntie greeting new International students straight from the Airport and helping them settle in over the week. I have always felt like I appreciated how nerve wracking it must be to come to a new country, unknown to its ways, words and customs and have always tried to be very welcoming.

It wasn’t until 3 days ago I fully appreciated just how nerve-racking, stressful and scary it really is to move to another country. Even to an English speaking student (I am in awe of those of you who have done placements to non-English speaking countries this year and before.) The moment occurred to me when I went to The Mall with my family to go to a ‘Target’ (USA version of a Wilkinsons) to buy a duvet and some pillows. Honestly, I have never, ever felt like such a foreigner in all my life. After about half an hour of trying to explain to the nice American shop lady that I already had bed sheets and therefore only needed a duvet to put inside the said bed sheets, and she kept running off to bring back different things that in no way represented a duvet. Eventually she pointed to the “Comforters” (which kinda look and feel like a duvet but with a funky pattern on it) and we gave up and brought that.

It was during this increasingly comical conversation that I experienced the sheer “omg, i am a real fish out of water here” moment and I realised just how completely and utterly naive I had been of the whole endeavor of moving to a foreign country for a year. I suppose now looking back, out of all the situations to have that realisation in, attempting to buy a duvet in the middle of a department store is probably on one of the less stressful moments to have that in. But still after leaving the mall, quickly having to say goodbye and drop my family off at the train station (as they were getting the plane back to England the next day)and continue in the taxi to return to campus, I did have a minor meltdown.

However, after only a few hours of being on campus that feeling had completely vanished. The people I have met the last 3 days have turned out to be some of the kindest, funniest and welcoming people I have ever met, not just from America (I would just like to comment on just how amazingly polite and friendly Americans are to complete and total strangers) but from all over the world. There is currently a group of us internationals hanging out before the rest of the campus returns on Saturday and everyone is from everywhere. Australia, Hong Kong, Iran, China, Tanzania, Ghana, France, Abu Dhabi, Russia, India.. you name it.

So what have I got up to the past 3 days?

I’ve been hanging out with the rest of the international students, had orientation (where they tell you things like fire safety, bears on campus and how you shouldn’t have a motorbike in you room), sat outside in the sun and had lunch on the Hudson river, moved out of my temporary accommodation and into my new apartment where I will have an actual roommate (whaaaat), gone to a party, seen some of the local wildlife on campus (they have ground hogs! which kind of look like beavers) learnt about the history of the College, drank out of red cups, played Beer Pong and learnt how to play Flip Cup (i’m pre-warning any of my friends in England that you will be taught this game as soon as I get home) and generally had an amazing time of things so far! The weather here is absolutely gorgeous and the views are amazing.

So I am now about to go and have tea with the other internationals and see what tonight brings. I will leave you with a picture of the Beer Pong, my new house and nice picture of the river.

Sam x


Booked My Flights.

Yep, this morning I finally got round to booking my flights. August 16th, 8:30am from London, Heathrow. I also have some company on the plane! My Mom & lil’ bro will also be flying out with me. (They’ve never been to NY either so it’s the perfect excuse*.) I don’t actually start my “semester,” (love using all these new American words!!) until the 19th, so this will give me a nice day or two being a proper English tourist to do touristy things. Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero, Empire State etc etc..any pointers on places to go would be HUGELY welcomed. 

*This also means I have some extra suitcases to sneakily put more clothes and shoes in when they’re not looking..

Can’t believe how quickly it’s all coming around! Less than 6 weeks. But i’m mentally high fiving myself as I am finally writing in my blog for the first time ever/half sunbathing in the HOTTEST SUMMER ENGLAND HAS HAD SINCE 2006. 

Image: Ticket

Sam x