Studying abroad in college is an experience unlike any other. To be able to drop everything and leave your “normal” college behind for an extended period of time is not only totally awesome, but also enriching for you life and can help build character. One Pitt student opted to not study abroad once, but twice — in Rome, Italy her Spring 2013 semester, and again this Spring 2014 semester in London, England. Meet Hope Perri: blogger, fashion lover, food enthusiast, and our Campus Celeb of the Week!
Name: Hope Perri
Major: Marketing and International Business with Italian Minor
HC: So, London!? How amazing is it?
Hope Perri: So far London has been…crazy. I arrived a little over three weeks ago and am now just feeling like I am finally settling in. Everything here is busy, busy, busy and it is strange to suddenly have to juggle classes, an internship, and getting to know a new city and new friends.
I have done something new every single day since I arrived. Whether it be seeing a new part of the city, walking down a new street, or even just buying a new type of chocolate bar in Tesco…every day in London is unique and unforgettable.
HC: Studying abroad in Rome last year, and now London this year, you have to be drawing some comparisons, no doubt, right?
HP: I have found myself comparing London to Rome almost everyday. It is strange to think they are both countries in Europe when they are opposite in a lot of ways. In Rome no one is ever in a rush. They will talk and eat and drink wine until you force them to stop…that sounds like a cliché but from my experience, it is just the culture there. London is the complete opposite! Walking into a tube station and not knowing which platform you want to go on is a complete nightmare. People are always power-walking, emailing on their mobile phones, and avoiding eye contact. I found that to be very jarring my first few days. Personally, because I grew up in Pittsburgh where people tend to be in the middle or more towards the Rome side, I didn’t quite know how to handle being in a rush all the time. One day I had nothing to do so I went to spend the day in Regents Park and as I got off the tube I found myself power walking up the stairs and it wasn’t until I got out of the station that I realized I had no where to be and could just stroll. It felt so weird.
That being said, my favourite part of London are the parks (as well as in Rome)! You can just get lost in them! Regents Park is my favourite because it is always full of life but also gives you a secluded feel from the bustling city.
HC: A really popular theme in your blog, Lovely Travels, is your review of food from different cultures — which are incredibly mouthwatering. Do you find a stark difference in carb-laden Italian food to the food in London?
HP: A lot of people warned me about how I would be disappointed with British food since I had spent four months eating pasta carbonara, lasagna, and mozzarella in Rome; however, so far I have loved everything! Fish and chips, bangers and mash, meat pies…it is all so hearty and delicious!
HC: Your blog seemed to take off once you were abroad. Why, or even how, do you think you achieved such success in what seemed like such a short period of time?
HP: While in Rome I updated my travel blog about three times a week! At first I just made it to keep my friends and family updated with my travels but then I began to get more and more traffic! The first month I was in Rome I got a few thousands views and it has been going up ever since!
The reason I think my blog has been becoming more and more popular is because I try to give my tips and advice on what to do when studying abroad. I give people a view into the good, the bad, and the ugly. Some sites/blogs only tell you what it is like to be abroad but forget to talk about how to get there. Or they tell you how they went on a day trip but don’t tell you how they got from point a to point b. These are the types of things I have been trying to include in my blog. I want to give students my perspective of where I am living and studying and how I achieved it.
HC: You’ve recently partnered with the student-oriented website, Study Abroad. Can you share what you’re doing with them?
HP: To share my experiences with an even wider audience, I have become a student blogger for studyabroad.com. I have been coming up with original posts just for their site and post about my time in London as a student.
HC: So, why “lovely”?
HP: I chose the name the Lovely Travels for my blog because I wanted to be able to have this blog forever. I know that I won’t be happy in my future unless I am traveling and seeing new places. After graduation, I plan to either go to grad school on the West Coast or apply to teach English in South Korea. No matter where my life takes me, I want to share it with my readers on my blog.
Photo credit goes to Hope Perri.