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1st Day in London

By London

Today, the 14th of December 2014, was one of the best days of my life. Thanks to my parents, I had the chance to travel to Paris and London:  two of my favorite cities. It was my 1st time boarding on an 8 hour flight. During the flight to Paris, there was lots of turbulence, but other than that, everything went smoothly.

When landed in Paris, I was so excited to touch the ground of France. I felt the difference between America and Europe. Even though I didn’t have the opportunity to go visit the actual city, I was satisfied with all the people speaking French around me. The walk to our terminal in Paris was pretty long, but I actually enjoyed it. Thanks to the long walk, I had to the chance to explore the airport more. Seeing all the  the beautiful European stores like Prada, Channel, Rolex, and Dior at the airport was amazing. It made me realize how beautiful France may be outside of the airport. My first experience visiting a European country was fascinating.

Our second flight to London was delayed for at least 3 hours. The excitement for London was even more exaggerated. In Paris, the weather was not so great. It was pretty foggy outside with a temperature of 0 degrees Celsius. The airplane also had a technical problem. During the delay, I had the opportunity to talk to my fellow classmates. I speak French and I was so happy to translate for them anytime the pilot made an announcement about the time we were actually going to take off, the weather, or the technical problems. This also reminds me how important it is to know languages. I am a big fan of learning languages. I learned a few Japanese phrases today which was pretty fun. One of my fellow classmates, Mo, taught me.

When we finally got to London, words could not express my happiness. It’s one of my favorite cities in the world because of the structure and antiquity of the buildings. Christmas is my favorite time of the year and being here in the spirit of Christmas is like a dream come true. The decorations on the streets and buildings were beyond beautiful. It was like being in a movie. I taught that I would sleep on the bus because I was so tired but the beautiful view of London was not something to miss.

Arriving at the hotel, we had few minutes to change and hit the streets of London. Walking on the streets of London was breathtaking. We were on our way to the Giraffe restaurant. First we got on the tube, and after, we walked to the restaurant. I expected London to be colder but I am totally in love with the temperature — it felt great!  Walking on the streets, I saw a McDonald’s, which reminds me of the USA.  I didn’t miss it for a bit, except for friends and family.

Giraffe restaurant is like a typical American restaurant. The environment was similar and the foods as well. Even though the ordering of the food didn’t go as well as we planned, I was satisfied with the service. In life, everything happens for a reason. With the misunderstanding of the orders, we had to share food at the table. As we shared food at the table, my classmates and I shared a couple of laughs together, and bonded as a family.

On my way back to the hotel, I came to the realization how lucky I am. I’m an international student from Haiti and this trip is a privilege. A lot of students want to get the opportunity to visit London, and I am actually living the experience. This also enhances my global citizenship as an international student. The hospitality and tourism industry is all about exploring the world. Today, I got the chance to compare the industries in two different countries. Even though there wasn’t much of a difference, this will enable me to become a more successful industry professional with different perspectives of the world. This is one of the most amazing adventures I have been on in my life, and I am very thankful. Today has been a long journey, but it’s all worth it at the end.

Arriving in London!

By London

We are finally in London after a smooth ride from Miami to Paris and a three hour delay from Paris to here. We haven’t seen a whole lot yet, but it’s amazing already. Upon our arrival, we met our tour guide, Flo, hopped on our bus and drove about an hour on the left side of the road to our hotel. There was a good amount of traffic on the roads for it being a Sunday evening. After such a long day of traveling, it was so nice to arrive at the hotel and be able to freshen up before we headed out for dinner. All we wanted to do by that point was at least wash our faces and brush our teeth.

We met back in the lobby shortly after, and from there had our first tube experience. I love the idea of using the tube to travel around the city, but Flo did point out that we were using it at more quiet hours, and it’s not always that calm and unpopulated. As we got off and walked the rest of the way to the restaurant, it was nice to see some of the shops and restaurants around us and get a feel for what the city is like.

Dinner was a fun experience. We all shared plates and were able to try a little bit of everything from shrimp, to chicken skewers, to duck. But I must say, the desserts were the best part. We had chocolate mousse, raspberry cheesecake, and key lime pie. Deeeelicious!

We dodged the rain while we were at dinner, thankfully, and took the same route back to the hotel. My roommate and I are finally all settled into our room and couldn’t be more excited for what’s to come on this trip. London, I love you already!


Pre-departure to London!!!

By London

Wow, the day is finally here!! The countdown is over, and I am ready for a new adventure! I must say this last couple of days between packing and finals were a little stressful, but I couldn’t be happier to be going to London.

Now, where should I start? I should probably start off by telling you that my itinerary is different than the rest of the group because I am going to China in Spring 2015 for FIU’s Marriott Tianjin China Program and, when it is time to leave for China, I will be staying with my sister in Spain.  So, as you can probably imagine, I had to pack for months instead of days! I could barely see the floor of my room with all the clothes and other stuff I am taking! I ended up packing 3 bags!! Well, I hope I use everything I am taking, but for now, only time will tell.

I’ll tell you a little about my trip and how I prepared for everything. Since London is really cold I have been checking the temperatures and weather for several days in order to have a more clear idea of what I should take. Obviously, due to the cold, thermal clothes as well as gloves, scarves and hats where the first thing I considered, but after that I wasn’t sure of what type of clothes I should bring with me apart from my business attire for two site visits… Honestly, it was a huge help that Dawn and Professor Kitterlin sent us a detailed plan of activities, for it gave me a clear idea of what clothes to take. Now, getting my bag ready was really stressful.  I am terrible at packing, and I had to check my bag constantly, for I kept thinking that I was leaving something behind.  It was also hard since I kept mixing the clothes for both trips, and I will NOT take all these bags to London — I am not that crazy!  🙂

This brings me to talk to you about my travel plans. As I am writing this blog, I am currently in Spain. I left on the 12th for Madrid where I plan on leaving my bags with my sister while I go to London. So, my trips for the next couple of months will be  Miami-Madrid, Madrid- London, London-Madrid, and so on until I leave for China and go back home. I feel like I will be spending a really long time in airports and airplanes; I can already feel the stress of having to go through security and the long flight hours piling up. Oh well, at least I know it will be worth it.  After all, we will have the  opportunity to visit so many places and learn so much about both the culture in London as well as the hospitality industry — it is an experience I just can’t miss.

My trip from Miami to Madrid was very emotional for me since I won’t be seeing my parents for many months.  Saying goodbye to my mom at the airport almost had me in tears.  Apart from the sadness you always experience when saying goodbye to someone, I couldn’t help but feel excited.  After all, I kept thinking that I was not only going to be able to see my sister, but after 10 long years I am finally going back to London.  Now add to that the obvious stress of having to fly so many hours, and you can picture the emotional roller coaster this day has been for me.

Later on today I will be taking a flight to meet up with the rest of the group. London here I go! Let the adventure begin!!

59 days until we leave for London!

By London

This blog will be dedicated to the adventures of the FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management students who are participating in a 10-day study abroad program with Dr. Miranda Kitterlin to London this Winter 2014 session. The students will be taking part in various tourist activities and conducting site visits in different aspects of the hospitality management industry. See our tentative itinerary at We leave December 13, so stay tuned for updates from our students…

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