Friday, May 29, 2015

What a Great Lifetime Experience!

Before leaving for London we were often told to try and fit in with the locals while being in London. At first I didn’t really understand why it mattered so much that we needed to fit in. Of course, after being there it remains really clear as to why we needed to try and fit in as much as possible. There were so many people in London that everywhere you went there was always a huge crowd. The underground was usually busy especially first thing in the morning, lunchtime, and early evening. Since there are so many people it is a lot easier for pickpocketing to happen. We usually traveled in a group but sometimes we had to split up in order to all get on the underground to travel to a different part of the city. Being in a group decreased our possibility of being pickpocketed. Thankfully, no one was pickpocketed during our stay because we were all aware of the possibility and kept our belongings close to us.

Here in America pickpocketing is not very common. In fact, we often think of if we were to drop a twenty or a dollar that someone would pick it up and say “Miss you dropped some money.” In London, this would not happen because all the people had places to go and things to do and were always in a hurry. This is a huge difference in culture because we are not used to that. We learned quickly to figure out our route on the underground so we could fit in and not be targeted as tourists. This was important because if you fit in then you wouldn’t be targeted as much and shared the mentality of having places to go and things to do. The underground was a means of transportation not a means of conversation. For the most part the underground was quiet and often our group was the only one that would speak. This relates to the common saying that Americans are loud. I noticed that we really are loud compared to people in London.

The means of transportation and people’s mentality in London really helped me to become a more globalized citizen. I’m so glad I was able to experience the differences in culture while in London. Being able to see these differences while abroad made me realize that when you live somewhere you get so used to the customs and practices of everyday life and that it may be hard to understand a different countries way of life. Then, when you go to a different country you think that their way of living is wrong. It is not wrong it’s just different and sometimes different is hard to get accustomed to. Experiencing different cultures allows you to become globally aware of your surroundings and that is what I got to do while studying abroad in London.

I had a great time on the trip, but it sure is good to be home and drive my own vehicle on the “right side of the road.” I want to thank everybody that made this trip possible and all the people that organized the trip. It truly couldn’t have been as amazing without all of you!

Being Back Home

It is so easy to visit places and just enjoy the scenery while you are vacationing. This study abroad trip has really opened up my mind and enabled me to become more of a global citizen. While in London, I was able to look outside of the box and really take in the differences of the way we live here in America versus in England.

The biggest difference to me was the price of living and eating while abroad. The eating prices in London were more expensive than what we would pay in America. The food was always amazing, but almost every day it was hard to order what you really wanted to get because of the expensive price. Here in America people are constantly stating how expensive everything is and always complain about not having enough money. While being abroad I realized just how great we have it here at home. Our food is really not that expensive and the cost of living is really affordable especially with how much we make. In London, lots of really nice houses that had more space and bigger yards than most were a couple hundred thousand pounds. Just that price tag alone makes me cringe. Plus, living on a salary of a police officer there would make your cost of living higher than what you actually would be making. I think here in America we are able to afford pretty much what we need and mostly what we want without having to worry too much. This really made me realize that in different countries everything really is different and sometimes it takes you experiencing their culture to really realize that.

To me, I feel that I am a more global citizen because of this study abroad experience because I was able to notice all the differences of the cultures in England compared to the United States. I really enjoyed my two weeks in London, but it sure is great to be back home. It is also great go out to supper with my husband and only spend $16 for supper instead of about 35 pounds. Being able to understand and see the differences in the cost of food and living enables me to be a more global citizen.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Oxford University, Stratford and Warwick Castle

Today we took another trip out of London on the Coach. We started our journey out in Oxford. Here, we got to see the place where students who are accepted from Oxford go to be interviewed to find out which College is right for them. Oxford University is composed of 38 different colleges. We got to tour one of the colleges named Brasenose. We got to see the dining hall and chapel which is included in every college of Oxford University. The architecture in Oxford was amazing! I got to take lots of pictures of all the great architecture. I also got a sweatshirt that says Oxford University and already tonight I have gotten lots of looks as if I am intelligent because I go to Oxford.

After this we went to Stratford. This is where Shakespeare was born and where he died. We also got to eat at a awesome little place that had the most amazing cheesecake I have ever eaten! I got caramel cheesecake because I love caramel. Most cheesecake is too rich that you can't eat the whole thing. However, this cheesecake was the right amount of sweetness so you could eat the whole thing and not have a belly ache! Yahoo!

Our last stop was Warwick Castle. Here, we got to tour the castle and it even had Kind Henry VIII and his six wives made out of wax. They were so realistic it was a little creepy! We also got to climb up the towers of the castle and peer out at the countryside. The view way up high was absolutely amazing! My favorite part though, was the live bird show outside. We got to see a bald eagle named Sydney, a juvenile bald eagle Molly, a white vulture named frank, an owl named Andy and an Andean Condore in flight. These birds literally flew inches above our heads! The owl was only six months old and wasn't very well trained yet but he was sure pretty. The Condore is the largest bird ever and can reach a wing span over 10 feet. I was absolutely amazed!

Tomorrow we have our last free day before we leave fore the States on Sunday! I'm sad to leave, but anxious to be home!

Last Metropolitan Police Visit

Thursday morning we were accompanied by Constable Watson and Constable Kole. These two gentleman were so full of knowledge and made the day really enjoyable. They took us to Downing Street and we got to walk inside. This street is a gated area and is protected because it is where The Lord of Treasure lives. This tiltle is also known as the prime minister but the more prestige name is preferred. We all got to take pictures in front of 10 Downing Street. The door was never shit for too long as many people come and go. So, it was a bit tricky to catch the door closed in time for a picture to get taken!

After this, we got to go to to Buckingham Palace to watch the Changing of the Gaurds. However, we did one better! We got the chance in a lifetime to go inside the front gates at Buckingham palace and stand against the palace while watching the Changkng of the Guards. We were literally in arms reach of the Guards at times. Again, we got to hear the bands of two different regimens play: the old regimen being relieved and the new regimen going on guard. My favorite part was watching "all the poor people", as Constable Watson would say, press their heads against the gates and stare at us. They were all taking pictures of us as if we were famous. So in a way I suppose we got to be famous for a day because we got to stand where Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman stood previously. Then, when we left and exited a whole bunch more people took a ton of pictures of us so I'm sure we can be found on Google!

Then, we went back to New Scotland Yard and were joined by students from UNO to listen to a couple presentations by several Constables from the Metropolitan Police. We learned a lot more about the policing tactics used in the London Olympics in 2012. We also learned just what Constable Watson thought policemen in the states do on a daily basis: eat donuts, lots and lots of donuts. He had quite the presentation it made us all laugh. Although, one student from UNO was a police officer so I don't think he appreciated it as much as we did. (:

Free Day!

Wednesday we had a free day! We chose to spend this day going to the Tower of London. Here we got to see lots of history. The first thing we learned about was the making of coins back in the day. They shop had a computer program that was set up in a game type fashion. The program walked us through the process of making coins in the mint. It is quite the process. From weighing the old coins so you know how much the new ones need to weigh from melting the metal and chipping away the pestol from the final result. They even had a bag full to show how heavy they were back then just for a little bag of them.

The next thing we saw was the animal tower where there used to be a bunch of animals around the tower. There were lions, monkeys, alligators, Ravens and even a Polar bear. The only animals still there today are the Ravens which they keep there and we got to see them. The raven we saw actually got a piece of food out of the plastic from the trash can and ate it. It was truly a sight to see.

The most exciting part about the Tower of London was seeing the real Crowned Jewels. All of the jewels were so beautiful! The one diamond was over 3,100 Karats and was originally from South Africa. It was so sparkly and humongous! I can't even imagine how much it weighs! There were also rings and Queen Elizabeth's crowning video was playing. I can't imagine how much all the items in the vault cost.

The last part of the Tower we visited was White Tower. This tower had a ton of stairs and was quite the workout to get in and out of! In this area were the means of armour,  weapons and torture. We got to see the armour that evolved throughout history which was really neat. We also got to see lots of neat guns and muskets. My favorite part was seeing the executioner's mask and the executioner's sword which looked like an axe on steroids.

At night we got to go to Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre. I have to say this was by far my favorite thing I did while in London! Lion King was my favorite childhood movie and seeing it in the theatre was quite special. We sat next to the aisle where many animals ran past is up to the stage. The sound and lighting design were spectacular! The whole thing was so realistic and almost exactly like the movie. It truly was an amazing experience I will remember forever!

Legal Walk and Supreme Court Visit

Tuesday morning we participated in a London Legal walk. We got to walk around the part of London that is the place where solicitors and barristers are trained and become members of an Inn of Court. Every person that wants to become a solicitor here has to go through three years of school and become a member of an Inn of Court. Here, they have to come to the Inn of Court 12 times in the fourth year. This year is kind of like what we would call an internship where you put your knowledge into your work and do some hands on practicals. There are four Inns of Courts: Grays Inn, Lincoln's Inn, Inner Temple Inn and Middle Temple Inn.

We also got to sit in some cases at the Royal Courts of Appeal. This was really interesting because I have never gotten to sit in and listen to a case at the appeals level. Here, all courts allow the public to sit in and listen, even the Supreme Court. Back in the United States the public is not allowed in the Supreme Court so I found this really interesting. The tour guide at the Supreme Court we visited was astonished that the public is not allowed at our Supreme Court back in the States. We also got to act like justices and he gave us facts on a couple cases and we voiced our opinions. This activity was really quite fun.

After our school activities were done we went to the Wellcome Collection and looked at the Forensic Exhibit they had. This exhibit was really neat and I found out just how much of the things there I have learned while taking Criminal Justices Classes at Chadron State College. The exhibit was split into five rooms. The first room set the scene by explaining what evidence is and how to collect maintain it. The second room was about the morgue and how they do autopsies. There was even a recording of an autopsy you could listen to and was quite graphic. The third room held a bunch of documents explaining the role of history in forensics. Amongst these documents was a letter from Edmond Locard to August Vollmer. It was even signed and had a golden seal! I was so excited about this! The fourth room talked about the use of reconstruction of skulls to help solve crimes. There was even a refrigerator simulator that was really neat and extremely cold! The final room had stories about wrongful convictions. Of course the Criminal Justice System is not perfect and does make mistakes. One guy served 18 years in prison before being exonerated from a wrongful conviction by the Innocence Project. This exhibit was one of my favorite activities I have done while being in London!

Trooping of the Colour

Monday morning we were lucky enough to join Constable Watson for a practice of Trooping of the Colour. This is where the five regimens of the military March down in preparation for the Queens birthday celebration that will be taking place in a month.. The Queens real birthday is in April, but they wait to celebrate it in June. This was really interesting to see because each regimen has their own band that plays and they all march to it. The regimens have had different practice schedules so we only got to see 3 of the 5 regimens practice.

The weather was quite cold and rainy. We all got to use our umbrellas which made us feel like true "Brits" because everyone carries them around and uses them quite often. Each of the regimens have different colored feathers in their black bear fur hat. They also have a different number of buttons on their uniforms which makes it so you can tell each regimen apart. This activity took about an hour and a half and was really cool. My favorite thing about it was watching them March. Every time they stop they end with a high step and they really plant their foot. It made me laugh every time!

After the Trooping of the Colour we finally were able to get a nap in and it was wonderful. After our time of much needed rest we went and got dinner. We chose to eat at a chinese restaurant that was next to our hotel. In case anyone is wondering after I wake up for a nap I'm not too ambitious. The Chinese restaurant was close which want it wasn't far to walk. Plus, it was huge portions for a very reasonable price. This was a great place to eat! They even had a carrot that they carved a rose into on my plate of chow mein. It was awesome!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Stonehenge and the Roman Baths

Sunday, we got to ride two hours on a bus to Stonehenge. It was quite different to travel in a vehicle above ground, rather than using the underground like we have been the past week. The countryside of the country was very beautiful. We saw many sheep and lambs along with pigs, horses and dairy cows. The country is so green because of their amounts of moisture.

Stonehenge was really amazing to see in person. Just thinking about how long it would take to drag the huge stones to the location that they are in is amazing. The “Blue Stones” came from mountains in Wales, about 150 from Stonehenge. This is quite a distance especially back then. They moved them by using tree logs and rolling them. There were also mounds around that were burial sites for people. Small mounds were for just one person, the larger and longer ones were made for several people. It was explained that the building of Stonehenge was no coincidence. The summer solstice creates the sunrise on Stonehenge just right because it is the longest day of the year. Then, the winter solstice creates the opposite effect because of the days getting longer. There were also 56 holes found around the site that marks the 56 weeks in a year. They originally thought that these holes were occupied by other stones but now they say they held bodies of humans. There are many theories as to why Stonehenge was built. I tend to agree with the theory of Stonehenge being a place for healing and sacrifice because of all the bodies found around the site including a child of about age 4 with their head bashed in. This would symbolize sacrifice because it was such a young child and the bashing of the head was a quicker way to die. However, the true reason of why Stonehenge was built remains unknown.

Then, we got to go to the Roman Baths. We saw the spring that bubbles up from the ground. The Romans built a spa over one of the three springs and it was magnificent. There were also many different sculptures and parts of the architecture design from the original spa that they had in a museum which were really interesting to see. The rich used to come to Bath to waste time and the poor used to come in hopes to meet someone to marry. The middle class didn’t really partake in the spa of bath. The actual big bath that is outside is all green because of algae, but at the end there was a fountain that had clear warm water that you could try. It tasted so bad, almost like a bunch of pennies that had been soaking in water and then you drank it. You could literally taste the different minerals in it. Our tour guide even said that ladies would go there in hopes of becoming more fertile and to help her conceive if she drank the water. Then of course, she warned Bryson and I about this and we both blushed. All in all it was a great Sunday in England.

Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey

Saturday, we got to visit the Houses of Parliament. It was really neat to see all the rooms where the Queen moves through and sits when she opens the Parliament every year. This year this event will take place on May 27th. The chair where the Queen sits is truly amazing with all of its gold color.

The Houses of Parliament are split into two: The House of Lords and the House of Commons.  The House of Lords is pretty much what the name says, they are all royalty in some way that are there because of who they are. The House of Commons are more so voted in like we vote in our senate and congress. All the seats where the members of parliament sit are special. This means that no one else can sit in them except for them.  At the end of the tour I was really upset this was a rule because I was so tired of walking and only wanted to sit in the comfy crimson red chairs in the Houses of Lords and green comfy chairs of the House of Commons.

It was really neat to see the Houses of Parliament and compare it to the Capital Building of ours in Lincoln, Nebraska. I wish pictures could have been allowed because all the walls, ceilings, and statues were truly amazing to the eye, although, pictures wouldn’t have done them justice.

After touring the Houses of Parliament we got to tour Westminster Abbey. Before arriving, I really didn’t know what was in store for me at Westminster Abbey. Come to find out this is where the Royal Wedding was held. The altar inside the church was so beautiful! Of course, no pictures were allowed inside so I can’t even show you how truly beautiful it was. Every hour there are a few moments of silence and prayer and there is a place where one can light candles.

Also in Westminster Abbey are the tombs of many past Kings, Queens and other famous people. There is even a place for an unknown warrior that is surrounded by red flowers. For the Royal Wedding Kate even walked around this unknown warrior’s resting place in order to walk up and down the aisle. The body of this unknown warrior soldier was brought from the battlefields of World War I and buried here in 1920. The grave commemorates all who have lost their lives in war. The tombs differ in architectural and sculptural styles. These range from French Gothic of the nave to the complexity of Henry VII’s Tudor chapel. This was really something to see.

The other thing that was neat about Westminster Abbey was the Poet’s Corner. In this space there are many famous poets’ that have been laid to rest. Among these poets are Shakespeare and Dickens. They all had great memorials.

The Coronation Chair was at the end of the tour. This chair was constructed in 1301 and it has been used at every coronation since 1308. The abbey has been the setting for all royal coronations since 1066. The last occupant of the Coronation Chair was the present monarch, Elizabeth II. She was crowned in 1953 in the first televised coronation. This year, in September, she will be the longest reigning Queen.

Magistrate's Court Visit in Westminster

I mentioned in one of my pre-departure blog posts about the differences of the courts from the United States and London. On Friday, we got the opportunity to visit the Westminster Magistrate’s Court and we got to sit in on a few different cases. One important thing I learned was that lawyers here are called solicitors. To me this was very strange as I always thought of a solicitor selling something and usually something you wouldn’t want to buy. However, here a solicitor is someone who helps you in court and is equivalent to our lawyers.
As I mentioned before, Magistrates court involves a panel of usually three civilians that sit up front where our judge would sit and are the triers of fact and triers of law. The court room itself is quite a bit different than those in the United States. The defendant is locked behind a glass section on the right hand side of the room whether they have been remanded in jail or have been out on bail. The prosecutor and defense solicitor sit beside each other on the right side of the room, but just left to the glass divider where the defendant sits. Just in front of the solicitors is a legal advisor which is a person that gives legal advice to the three magistrates making sure the decisions they make are legal. On the left hand side of the room is a probation officer. In the back there is a section that is also blocked off by glass for the public to sit. The glass has slits in it so you can hear what is going on. It is really important to be super quiet because the rooms are so small that everyone can hear absolutely everything.

We got the opportunity to listen to three different cases. The first was a gentleman that was remanded in jail and he had over 90 offenses on his record. We missed the beginning, so I never figured out what he had done. The gentleman only received four weeks imprisonment for what he had done. Keep in mind he had over 90 offenses before this one. In the United States his sentence would have been much longer than four weeks.

The next case was another gentleman that was accused of stealing a 5c IPhone off of a train. He plead not guilty. The Magistrates court is the lowest court here which is equivalent to our District Court. The magistrates here can decide whether or not they feel they are qualified to hear the case in the Magistrates Court or whether they should refer it to the Royal Court. This is the next court up. The magistrates said they could handle the case but the defendant gets to choose whether to keep their case at the Magistrates Court or bump it up. He chose to bump it up.

The last case was really interesting. It dealt with a girl that was 24 and she was accused of assaulting 5 police officers in the same day. She scratched one, spit at two officers, punched another, and head-butted the fifth officer.  This girl was a teeny tiny girl and it was hard to picture her being able to do all of this. The girl actually was sitting back in the back with us at one point and was happy and giggly. Then she was called to go to the glass box and her demeanor changed. She even started crying during the hearing and they gave her some water and tissues. The girl plead guilty on all accounts. Come to find out, she was suffering from Bulimia, Anorexia, and a mental disorder. She had a period of four weeks where a report would be filed with the probation officer to find out what punishment would be suitable for her. They left it open so she could get imprisonment, community work, or as little as a fine.

We also got to see a case that the defendant didn’t show up and the Judge extended the trial. We didn’t get to see much because the defendant wasn’t here. I did notice that the Judge was way more efficient that the three magistrates because he is legally trained and knows more about the law.

The differences in the Magistrates Court from our courts were amazing. It was really great to see the differences in person rather than just learning about them and not being able to actually see it happening.

Metropolitan Police Museum....While Getting a Bit Wet!

Thursday, we went to the Metropolitan Police Museum. There, we got to see many things that are important in the history of the Metropolitan Police. Some of the things we got to see were the changes in woman police uniforms over the years since they have been able to become police officers. It was interesting to see that the many women were not even given a wooden truncheon to protect themselves. If they were given one, they were shorter than the ones that men received. This is quite common amongst the duties of women because they have always been seen as not being equals.

The other cool thing we got to see were copies of the notes from the Jack the Ripper case that happened in London. We were able to see all the copies of the police notes and some pictures of the girls that had their throats slit by the proposed “Jack the Ripper”. We learned that there were rumors that “Jack the Ripper” may have been a woman so was also called “Jill the Ripper”. To me this was really interesting especially since woman were not equal to men in the workplace.  So, one would think that women would not be able to pull off a crime such as those of Jack the Ripper.

We got to see many other things including a bomb that was put on the desk of the police commissioner and the metal casing of the bomb was still intact. Then we also got to see tigers claws that were taken off of a lion that took Commissioner Bradford's arm clean off. He lost his left arm in a tiger attack whilst serving in the army in India in 1863, and thereafter he rode a horse holding the reins in his teeth. The police department kept the claws and has them in a glass case. Another interesting thing we got to see were the medals that many police officers have received.

After leaving the museum, we went to the Natural History Museum. I have to say that London really gives a new definition to a museum. It was huge! The museum had all sorts of animals all the way from dinosaurs to many extinct sloths. A floor of the museum was also all about minerals and had many that one could look at. There was even an escalator that went upstairs and took you through what appeared to be the middle of the earth where the hot lava is made. It was quite cool!

It was a fantastic day, but boy was it cold and wet. It rained the whole day off and on. No wonder they have such green vegetation here, the weather fluctuates and is unpredictable just like back home. Good thing I am used to that!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Day three: Free Day!

Today was our first free day. We enjoyed a hot English breakfast. Here they even have baked beans on the menu in the morning! Then, the Justice studies students; six of us, went to the zoo. This was the first time we all traveled alone without Nobiling to escort us. We found our way in the underground just fine!

Our first stop was the London Zoo. We wondered through Regent's Park on the way there. This is one of the royal parks here in London. We got to see many animals including: live butterflies, baby gorillas, anteaters, giraffes, monkeys, and the reptile building where a scene of Harry Potter was filmed, among many others. We spent a total of about 4 hours at the zoo.

After the zoo, we walked over to another part of town; known as Camden town, where we ate at a Pizza Express. The pizza was thin and crispy, just the way I like it! Bryson and I shared a pizza with chicken, sweet peppers, sweet onions, and Cajun seasoning. It was something different, but it was delicious!

Then, we went to the Westminster area of town by the Houses of Parliament. We went to the London Dungeons which is an activity where you hear about the history of London and the crime that used to happen here. The characters there acted out different times in history such as Jack the Ripper and the implementation of courts. At the end of the ride we dropped about 10 feet on a roller coaster type thing. At the beginning of the tour we road boats and even got a little wet. It was a lot of fun!

To end our free day we went on the London Eye. We got to see views of the city from way up high! We spotted St. Paul's Cathedral, the Shard and the Houses of Parliament. We got to see many other sights while in the air as well. All in all, it was a great day with lots of memories to cherish forever.

After we returned from our day, Bryson and I went out for dinner to the Great Burger Kitchen also known as GBK Burgers. I had an amazing cheeseburger with bacon, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles and bbq sauce with an order of cheese fries! It was so amazing and well worth the money spent! Can't wait to continue my great experiences here in London tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Lambeth Headquarters

Today, we got to visit what they call Lambuth Headquarters. This is where the special operations room is located and where they can see the cameras that are active all around the city. This was quite interesting because they have several pods set up with four computers in each pod. All information for a certain event is shared between the different pods instead of people shouting out that they need this information to pod 6. This makes for a quiet work environment and allows the workers to focus more on the information they are reading and logging.

Then, we learned about their structure of organization here. They call their orders gold, silver and bronze. The gold are the supervisors that make the decisions and tell the silver what they want. The silver are the people that carry out what the gold wants done. The bronze are many people that carry out certain tasks that the silver assigns them.

Last, we got to learn more about the Metropolitan Police from our guest Constable Watson. He is pretty sarcastic, but really funny! He showed us the different weapons they have used over the years. He also showed us the hand cuffs they use here which are "quick cuffs". They are pretty neat! Bryson volunteered to be handcuffs and I think at the end he was wishing he wouldn't have. He had marks on his hands from them. I was even lucky enough to try on the police armor and hat. Plus, Constable Watson said he guessed he would take a picture with me. I felt so lucky!

After the Lambuth Headquarters we toured some of London. We found the London Eye, Big Ben, and the Sherlock Holmes Pub. I enjoyed some strawberry like cider and boy was it delicious. Finished the night off with eating at the Italian Restaurant where I had Italian pizza with a cream sauce and mushrooms! It was mighty delicious! It was a great day! However, I'm so exhausted im ready for bed. I'll sure sleep like a baby!


Arriving in London

Arrived in London yesterday after battling a foot of snow in Chadron before we left. Our flight out of Rapid City was delayed but we finally departed and caught our connecting flight. When we arrived yesterday we got to tour Windsor Castle. The castle was very beautiful, but I wish we would have had more than an hour to spend there. We got to see the different rooms in the castle that included the Kings and Queens dressing rooms and the queens doll house. Many of the rooms prohibited the use of cameras so I didn't get many photos but it was beautiful.

After the tour of the castle we changed some dollars to pounds. This process was really interesting because 1 pound was equivalent to 1.624 dollars. We exchanged $100 and we got 57.57 pounds back. Next, we decided to go to the phone store and bough a cheap phone here so we could call home. The phone ended up costing 99 pence which would be equivalent to our 99 cents except the exchange rate would make it a little more. We called home and no one answered because they didn't know the number haha. In order for us to dial out of the country we have to use the code 001 then the area code and the number. It was a pretty interesting thing to do for the first time. It took a few time to dial the right number!

Then we went to the hotel and toured the surrounding area. We learned where the underground stop was, which is the main transportation here. We also saw many different places to eat. Finally, we finished the night by eating at the area pub called Friends at Hand. The burger I had was great and they make their own bbq sauce with ale. Then, went back and crashed after getting two hours of sleep in about 36 hours!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Getting Closer!

Well, today was a bitter sweet day. Today was my last Monday of college classes.... ever! Normally, I hate Mondays...but today...I loved that it was my last Monday of school. I have reflected back throughout my education and I have so many fond memories throughout my life in school...kindergarten....grade school....middle school....high school and now college. I only have four more days of classes and one final next week that is separating me from graduation. I will receive my Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Criminal Justice Administration. Wow! Through out life... it seems like school takes forever and will never end...but now I realize that it didn't take that long at all. Graduation is in 11 days! YIKES! I am lucky that I have met some great friends along the way and I am also blessed with a great family that will be here to celebrate my great achievement with me. I really began to see the light at the end of the tunnel today when I picked up my cap, gown, and tassel. I have almost reached the finish line!

The more exciting thing about graduation being in 11 days....that means... leaving for London is in 12 days! That is right.....less than two weeks till I get to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity. While in London, Bryson and I will be attending The Lion King in one of the many Theatres. I am so excited to see one of my favorite childhood movies performed in the theatre setting. It will almost be like completing the circle of life; from watching the movie on VHS when I was little to watching it in a different atmosphere as an adult. It is amazing to think how your perspectives can change so much in a matter of fifteen years.

Photo credit to: Wikipedia found on Google.

Well, I suppose that is enough sappiness for now. I need to prepare for one of my graduation celebrations tomorrow that will be hosted by the Justice Studies Professors. (Side-note: I sure am glad I changed my major to Criminal Justice...The Professors are awesome plus I am able to go on this educational trip! The professors are so helpful and make learning lots of fun. I am extremely appreciative of all the knowledge every one of them has taught me in my college education. OKAY emotional rant over!)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Are there differences in the courts of the U.K. and U.S.?

The trip to London is focused towards Criminal Justice and is my major in college, so lets discuss some differences between the courts in the United States and the United Kingdom. The courts in the United States are quite similar but a little different than those in the United Kingdom because minor criminal offenses and small civil disputes are handled by special magistrate courts in the United Kingdom. In the U.S. these cases are held in state courts almost exclusively.

There are about 430 Magistrates Courts in the United Kingdom. There is one in almost every town. The cases are heard by magistrates who might be unqualified law justices or qualified District judges. Each court also has a legally qualified clerk present to assist the magistrates. The magistrates in the United Kingdom may be just regular citizens who volunteer or can be District judges.

In the United States there are about 517 full-time and 42 part-time authorized magistrate judgeships as of March 2009. Magistrate judges are appointed by a majority vote of the federal district judges of a particular district. They serve terms of eight years if they are full-time and terms of four years if they are part-time. The magistrates may also be reappointed. Occasionally Presidents nominate magistrate judges for district judge vacancies.

In the U.S., at the federal level, criminal cases and civil cases are not heard by separate courts. At the state level, many states do have separate court systems for these two types of cases. Cases begin in lower courts (Crown Court in the U.K. and District Court in the U.S.) then move on to Courts of Appeals and are finally resolved in Supreme Court if necessary.

The U.S. does not have a "Tribunal System" like the U.K. does for certain disputes. However, there are niche courts for certain types of cases. One example is bankruptcy court is a separate type of federal court. In the U.S. parties can agree to submit to binding arbitration or mediation as a means of alternative dispute resolution in some cases. This is a less costly way to end conflicts and is less adversarial as well.

I am anxious to see the magistrate court in action while in London. I will be able to use my knowledge about the differences in the courts and apply it to a real life example while on the trip.

Dressing for London...What is appropriate?

This semester there has been a lot of discussion about people in London being more proper and dressing more formally. Some of the places we will visit we will have to wear professional clothes. One of our professors told us not to look like "tourists" with the way we dress because the way we speak will be enough for them to know we are Americans. It is important that we blend in so that we are not "targets" for pickpocketing. Since there are no guns allowed in London, pickpocketing is a common crime. Our shirts should not have any logos or writing because that is too casual and will scream "Americans". I am anxious to see while we are in London whether being an American will be a bad thing or whether all the precautions are just to prepare us. Sometimes it is better to assume the worst in hopes of having a better outcome.

If right was right, would left be right?

Over the last fourteen weeks we have learned about London and what we can expect while on our visit. One week we got to talk to Constable Watson via Skype and he was discussing how they drive on the "right side of the road". However, to us they would drive on the left side of road instead of the right side of the road. He seemed to have thought that their way of driving on the left side of the road was the "right way". I will be interested to see how their "right side of the road" will be while in London. Of course, it will be different looking to the opposite side of the road to cross streets. Ill report back later as to whether their way is the "right way" or whether our way is the "right way" after learning more in person.

Hello! Let's get this party started!

Hello, it has come that time of year where my trip to London is almost here. This blog is one of my conditions in order to receive college credit for the trip. Throughout my journey in the next month and a half or so, I will be checking in about different global and cultural issues. My first few posts will be about the global issues and differences from London and the United States. Then, while I am in London for two weeks, I will post about expanding my world view. Once I return, I will post about being a global citizen. These are the three topics I must cover, but I will post other fun blogs about what I am doing and will be sure to post lots of pictures so you can experience what I am! Sit back, relax, and explore my journey to London with me!!