Education First Annual International Day March 8, 2019.
I arrived on Thursday morning at 10 am in the financial district. I reunited with my best friend from Belgium and it was kind of an emotional moment. To catch up and start slowly, we ate brunch in a Starbucks, which was really nice and chill. After dropping my stuff at her house, we went straight into the center of the city where we walked around a little bit and in the evening we went to the cinema and saw The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. We came back home quite early because we needed to have a lot of energy for the next day which was Black Friday!
Black Friday was a really hectic, but super fun, day. We woke up at 5 am so we could start our shopping at 6 am. Our first stop was Urban Outfitters where we found matching Champion sweaters for a really good price. After that, came Sephora where we spent 75$ for an initial value of 240$ ! Then came Westfield which is one of the biggest malls in San Francisco. We went a little crazy and got really good deals at Pacsun, Hollister and Footlocker ! Forever 21 was also a success and overall we managed our time and money really well. We stuck to our plan and it was one of the most successful shopping-sprees. At 7 pm there was the tree-lightning on Union Square which was like a winter wonderland…
We decided that Saturday would be tourist-day! First thing we did when we woke up was take a little walk in the neighborhood because it was really vintage-looking and quiet. After that we visited famous places like : The Painted Ladies, Golden Gate Bridge, Ghirardelli Square, Fishermans Wharf. That took the whole day and in the evening we went back to Union Square and did a really festive activity : ice skating! This was the most magical moment of the whole trip and the whole place really looked like a winter wonderland. After that we went up to Macy’s rooftop because that is where the Cheesecake Factory is located. We ate the most delicious cheesecake, one was tiramisu-flavored and the other one was raspberry-lemon. We called it a day and went back home for a good night sleep.
For our last day together, we really wanted to enjoy each other’s company so we just did what made us happy. In the morning we went to the Golden Gate Park where we had coffee. We saw amazing buildings and the weather was great, too. For lunch we tried a typical Frisco-dish which was soup in a bread-bowl. Because we are both vegetarians we ordered a tomato soup and it was delicious! The best place to eat this is on Fishermans Wharf at the pier and it is called Boudin Bakery. For desert we tasted a holiday doughnut from Krispy Kreme Doughnut and it was the best doughnut I have ever had … This day passed by quite quickly and it was now time for me to come back to Santa Barbara.
It was really hard to say goodbye again, but I had the best time with my favorite person in this world. Even though I miss her like crazy I know we will see each other again soon!.Thank you, Lou !
Thanksgiving is a public holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. It has been celebrated as a federal holiday every year since 1863, when, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. Together with Christmas and the New Year, Thanksgiving is a part of the broader fall/winter holiday season in the U.S. This year I’m going to celebrate Thanksgiving in San Francisco, so let’s see what activities I could do during this little trip!
Arriving on Wednesday evening, the best thing to do first is to check into the Airbnb : cheaper option than a hotel. A nice and free evening activity in San Francisco is walking to the Golden Gate Bridge and see it completely lit up with a beautiful sunset. Enjoy the breathtaking view with a nice hot chocolate or coffee to take away from Philz Coffee!
Thanksgiving is already here! To make the most out of this celebration you need to make sure to wake up a little early. This way you can enjoy the city when it’s calm and empty. In the morning you can visit the Japanese Tea Garden which is a really peaceful environment. For lunch, enjoy a nice picnic in the park in front of the Painted Ladies. In the afternoon a nice and not too pricey activity is the cinema ! This year, Disney made a movie based on the Nutcracker story and this certainly is a must see during the wintertime. If you’re not into musicals you can always go see another movie in the winter sphere. Ice skating is also something on your To Do list especially in front of the Macy’s Christmas tree, it’s a magical sphere.
BLACK FRIDAY! This is a day you want to wake up super early to be in front of the stores cause this happens only once a year. Black Friday is an informal name for the day following Thanks Giving in the unites states, which has been regarded as the beginning of the country’s Christmas shopping season since 1952. Essentially, it’s a huge event where all the stores open early, close really late and have a lot of sales and deals. If you don’t feel like being in a really crowded mall they also have plenty of deals and sales on their websites. There have been some scary stories in the past from people fighting about products and especially electronics but I still think it’s something you need to experience when you’re in the USA.
In San Francisco the best places to go shopping are:
- Union Square
- Union Street
- Market Street
- Stonestown Galleria
- Pier 39
- Embarcadero Center
- Ghirardelli Square
Take a day off! Try to make this day as chill and cozy as possible. Wayfare Tavern is one of the cutest restaurants that is really going to put you in the winter sphere. It has a beautiful fireplace and delicious winter food. You can also just enjoy the city and visit the most popular places like the Alcatraz prison, the Coit Tower, Fisherman’s Wharf and travel around the city with the cable cars.
Every Sunday morning at 10am, you can catch the two-hour Champagne and Mimosa cruise around the SF Bay. This relaxing ride offers amazing views of the SF Bay including the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and Sausalito. You will also ride past the Palace of Fine Arts, Angel Island and Fort Point National Historic Site.
Farmer’s Markets are an important start to Sunday in San Francisco. Each week, you will find several throughout the city. Here are the details on the largest and most popular (all are year around unless noted):
- Heart of the City in the UN Plaza in Civic Center: 7 am to 5 pm
- Divisadero’s Farmer’s Market on Grove at Divisadero: 10 am to 2 pm
- Fort Mason Center Farmer’s Market: 9:30 am to 1:30 pm
- Inner Sunset Farmer’s Market in the parking lot between 8th and 9th Avenue south of Irving Street: 9 am to 1 pm
- Glen Park in the parking lot of the Glen Park BART Station: 10 am to 2 pm; Late March though late November
If you love live music, then you are in luck! Every Sunday night, you will find at least four of five live shows in San Francisco. Larger shows are at venues such as The Warfield, The Fillmore and The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. However, you will also find smaller shows at The Independent, Slim’s and The Great American Music Hall.
If you are planning on living this experience, which I highly recommend, enjoy it as much as you can whit your love ones. And be thankful !
Francesca Vinciguerra, Italy
“One’s destination is never a place, but always a new way of seeing things,” said Henry Miller, an American writer. My destination was not Santa Barbara, but was seeing a different culture. I came here to improve my English and to become more fluent in speaking, but now that I am almost at the end of my trip, I can say I had learnt much more.
I understood that, wherever you go, you will find a new home where you feel yourself. Home is not just a pretty building, but also an ensemble of friends and people that take care of you. I have been living in Carpinteria for a month with other four lovable multicultural girls, Anna from Germany, Solene from France, Didem from Turkey, Hikari from Japan, and with a big family composed by Michael, Lucy, their daughter, her husband and their three grandsons.
Before coming here, I was afraid of leaving my family and my country completely alone. I was longing for years to come to America, but I have never thought my dream would be concretely realized. America is the many European students’ big dream because someone says that here every dream could come true. My dream is to reach my personal success: becoming a biotechnologist and helping the research to find new solutions for diseases such as Alzheimer Disease, Obesity or Infertility.
Why right in California and not in Italy? I love Italy, but no sooner had I entered in University than I had understood that I would have to move abroad to practice my lab skills.
In just one month, I have recognized that I fit well with the way of living and working. People here are open-minded, out-going and like talking with foreigners. The weather is warm and you can go hiking and tanning at the same time because there are both mountains and seaside. The only flaw is food. People here love fast food and rarely sit down to eat. In Italy, we are used to sitting down around a table for lunch and dinner and the mealtime is a sacred moment. I enjoy high-quality cookery and sharing the mealtime with friends and with my family. I prefer simple and not too spicy food where you can distinguish each different flavor and tastes rather than a mix of a hundred ingredients. Except for food, in Santa Barbara I feel at home. I suppose that the reason why nobody makes me feel as a stranger or a tourist is that in California there is a mix of people coming from all over the world, accustomed to live and work together.
I hope to come back soon to be part of this “big American team”.
Anna Irlbacher, Germany
California State Route 1
The California State Route 1 (CA1), even called Highway 1, is a state route which crosses the US State of California from the north to the south. The highway winds it way along the California coast and passes by famous cities, like San Francisco and Los Angeles.
It runs 655 Milles (1.055 km) and is the longest north-south road in the States. The PCH starts on the Interstate 5 south of San Juan Capistrano, passes Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Malibu, Santa Barbara, Monterey and Santa Cruz.
After passing the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and following the coast, the road ends at US 101 in Leggett in Mendocino Country.
The construction on the Highway One began in 1919. Initial estimates came in at 1.5 million dollars. Federal funds were appropriated and in 1921 voters approved additional State funds and had finished the road in 1937. The San Quentin Prison set up tree temporary prison camps to provide the labor for the road. The inmates were paid 35 cents per day and the prison sentences were reduced in return for their hard work.
What is your favorite food? –> My favorite food is French food.
Do you have any pets? –> No, I do not have any pets. But I like cats and dogs.
What is probably the biggest cliché in your country? –> That we eat bread every day.
What do you like the most about Santa Barbara? –> The beach is my favorite spot.
Why are you here? –> I am here in Santa Barbara to study and to have fun.
By Stella Rippe, Germany
By Maria Antonia Lopes, Brazil Rafaela Reblin, Brazil Laura Franco, Brazil
What is Carnival?
The Carnival is celebrated in Brazil every year, 46 days before the Easter festival. The word “Carnival’ is derived from “carnelevare,”which means the removal of meat. The roots of the festival are believed to be in tradition of Roman Catholics when they abstained from meat and alcohol on certain days as a method to drive away bad things from their lives. Back then, followers of the Roman Catholic Church would indulge in a last day of dance, fun, alcohol and sex just before the start of the abstinence period of alcohol and other sins.
Although Carnival is celebrated in other cities throughout Brazil and other Catholic countries, Rio de Janeiro is considered the Carnival’s capital city. One of the best-known parties in the world, Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is also the largest carnival celebration in the world. It’s filled with music, parades, drinking and people having fun. The carnival, a national holiday in Brazil, runs from Friday night to noon of the following Wednesday. That’s the official length, but many Brazilians turn it into a 10-day holiday. It brings
in about half a million foreign tourists each year.
Carnival in Rio de Janeiro
The festival is organized by various samba schools in Brazil which are sometimes involved in community services as well. A major parade is made with beautifully dressed samba dancers on the top of decorated moving vehicles that go around the Sambadrome stadium. Often wearing masks and colorful costumes, they dance to the beats of drums and music, Samba is the main form of dancing there. Also, there’s a competition held in the end of the festival, when the crowd has to vote for the best costume, the best vehicle and the best samba school.
Each neighborhood in Rio has its own Carnival Street Party. There are around 300 of them in Rio every year. The street parties are also called “blocos”, and the atmosphere is just full of life, and everybody who parties is dancing in the streets, singing out loud, and making sure they have a really good time. Anyone is allowed to participate in streets a festival, that’s why it’s so special. There’s no segregation, literally, the whole world is invited.
Carnival in Salvador
Salvador is a city in the northeast of Brazil that has a lot of beautiful beaches and every February the Carnival happens. The Salvador carnival is the most fun one. If in Rio, you are a spectator of the parade, in the Salvador Carnival you are the show.
The event lasts officially for six full days: it starts on a Thursday, then follows the usual five days of carnival ( from Friday to Wednesday at noon).
The parties have a special name, “Bloco”, and it happens behind the “Trio eletrico” that is basically a big truck moving really slowly loaded with sound equipment’s and with a famous band or a famous singer singing on the top. The Salvador Carnival has some tradition singers like: Ivete Sangalo, Daniela Mercury and Preta Gil. Contrary to what most people think, carnival is not only about samba, it has funk too and at the moment, the most famous singers of funk are: Anitta and Pablo Vittar.
Each Bloco sells a different T-shirt called “Abada”. This T-shirt is your entrance ticket and allows you to get inside the rope area. If you enter the V.I.P area of the event, you can see a lot of famous people with the “Abada” totally stylized.
Carnival in Olinda
The old colonial town of Olinda, a few miles from Recife, became a popular carnival spot in 1977, where every street corner has a band following their own routes. Children, parents, and grandparents all party together. Political and social causes are common themes that are well presented through costumes and music.
One of the main attractions of the carnival in Olinda is the giant puppets made from papier-mâché. The “Homem da Meia-Noite” or “Man of Midnight” is the most famous puppet that officially opens the carnival in Olinda every year; a tradition since 1932.
For most people here, Carnival is this magical time when it’s totally ok to dress up weirdly, fill your hair and face with glitter, become friends with total strangers and start deep love affairs that last the time of two “frevo” verses.
If you like partying and want to immerse yourself in this rich culture, you should definitely spend Carnival in Olinda. You’ll hardly find a similar event somewhere else, with all the joy and excitement that takes hold of anyone that’s part of it. But truth be told, it takes a good deal of strategy to enjoy everything this party has to offer. So here are some tips for those who will go for the first time:
– Wear comfortable clothes and closed-toe, comfortable and not too beloved shoes – after all, it’s likely they will be destroyed by the end of Carnival.
– Eat well before leaving home, since drinking on an empty stomach is not advisable, but try to avoid heavy foods.
– Take an old cell phone with you instead of your “real one”, if possible.
– Avoid walking against the flow of the “blocos”. It’s easier to wait for them to pass, or to simply follow them.
– Avoid going alone, it’s more fun and safer to go with friends or family.
By Paolo Giordano, Italy
I want to start this article with a phrase that I think is so cute “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” Yes, that’s true. When you travel, when you leave your country to search for new adventures, vibes and emotions, you have the opportunity to escape from your daily life and land in another world. All the things that you see change and you have the possibility to discover new lifestyles, customs and traditions, especially when you go in a country with a lot of artifacts.
It doesn’t matter if you’re travelling for job or a normal vacation, when you come back home you will feel better, wiser, rested and with a different vision of life. Yes, because your life will change, and your intention is to continue to travel, save money and planning the future trips.
I want to spend now a few words to talking about my experience in EF. I arrived here in Santa Barbara on August the 6th, and I am going to stay here for four weeks, one month.
I think that Santa Barbara is a beautiful place, such as all of California. It is a little city, not like Los Angeles which is bigger, and the thing that I noticed is the elevated number of restaurants that there are here. There is a wide variety of food, from Mexican to Japanese, Italian and obviously American!
But my trip here in California doesn’t stop only in Santa Barbara. EF organizes other trips in the USA. So I had the opportunity to visit Las Vegas in Nevada. I think that Las Vegas is an amazing city, and there is no possibility to be bored there. Pubs, discos, nightclubs and obviously casinos are the major attractions of the city, and the only way to have fun! In the same Las Vegas trip, there was the opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon reserve and I grabbed the chance and I decided to go there. It was the right decision: one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen! Red rocks, the Colorado River, and unfortunately, the weather was not very good…cloudy and after 45 minutes that we were visiting the Canyon it started to rain! Fortunately, we had the time to take a few photos and enjoy the view.
The second trip that I have made, in the second weekend available, was in San Francisco. I decided to not go with EF just because the city is big, and because of the long bus journey. The time wouldn’t have been enough to visit the city as well as possible. So I went by car with a few friends and we had more time to go around the city and enjoy it. We got on a boat and sailed into the bay and saw the Golden Gate, symbol of the city, up close. It was massive, high and breathtaking. A great experience! I enjoyed it so much, but San Francisco is not only the Golden Gate Bridge. The city is full of fantastic places such as Lombard Street, the Financial Center, Union Square, Golden Gate Park, Alcatraz, Cable Cars, Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf where I ate a very tasty Crab!
The last trip: Los Angeles!
Well, I had a fantastic trip in California, but I would have felt incomplete if I hadn’t visited Los Angeles! I went there for just two days, but they were enough to visit all the most important things of the city. First of all I went in Beverly Hills, and then I spent a major part of the day having fun at Universal Studios. It was amazing but the ticket was very expensive! In the evening of the same day, I went to Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood Sign, and to see the view of Los Angeles city. The sign with the light at sunset was something beautiful…I really enjoyed it! The second day, I spent my time visiting the Walk of Fame and the beaches: Venice Beach, Santa Monica and Malibu! I rented a bike with my friends and cycled, and unfortunately when I went to Venice beach it was cloudy so I didn’t enjoyed it as well as I wanted. In Santa Monica, I had a ride over the roller coaster on the pier and then I went to the beach in Malibu by car, just to sunbathe because the ocean was very cold!
By Diane de Molinari (Belgium)
My video about the life at EF Santa Barbara
I made a video about the life here, at EF Santa Barbara, to show you, future EF students or parents, how SB is a real paradise.
I have been here for 3 weeks and I am leaving this beautiful place on Saturday, to go to Miami for one month more.
I think one month is the perfect duration to stay here. As you can see in my video, you can do a lot of things here and you never get bored.
I stayed in the residence and I can tell you that the environment there is very good. Everything is very organized and always clean. I have a lot of friends who are in host families, like you saw in my video, and I think that it is very different than the residence, but that is also good for your learning and to discover the Californian culture.
During the weekends, and sometimes in the week, there are different activities. You can do activities with or without EF. Personally, I went to Camarillo, which is a big outlet with a lot of brands, and I also went Jet Skiing. It was very beautiful and so fun to do it. There are a lot of different aquatic animals in Santa Barbara!
The meals at the residence’s restaurant are always very different and delicious, both breakfasts and dinners.
In the residence like in host families there are some rules like that you have to be in your room at 10pm but it is not really boring because you do so much things during the day so you are very tired in the evening that you want to sleep!
The EF teachers are very cool. It is not like your teacher at your school, there are so cool here and sometimes they just ask you what you want to do, like more grammar or more vocabulary and they understand you so that is really great.
I think that to go away from your family and friends for 2 months is a beautiful experience which teaches you a lot of things. This is the kind of experience which grows you up and which teaches you to be independent.
So if you are hesitating to book a trip with EF, just do it, you will not regret it.
Diane de Molinari, in Santa Barbara since the 30th July until the 26th August 2017.
Evie de Graaff, the Netherlands
It was 50 years before the Common Era (BCE) when the Romans decided to build a fort called Traiectum. This was the moment the city Utrecht was born. Now, more than 2017 years later Utrecht is one of the famous cities in whole Europe. And I am so glad the Romans build that fort because otherwise I would never have grown up in such a great and beautiful city.
History of Utrecht
Around 50 years BCE the Romans built the fort Traiectum. They built this fort as a border for the Roman Empire. Around 270 years CE the Romans abandoned the city. After that, several nations where located in Utrecht. Around 1122 the city got their official documents and Utrecht was officially born. In the 16th and the 17th century, Utrecht was important for the art development. A few famous painters are Jan van Scorol, Cornelis van Poelenburch and Jan Both. In the 17th century the famous University of Utrecht was created. Today more than 30,152 (2014) are joining this fantastic university. According to Shanghai Jiaotong University’s university ranking in 2014 it is the 57th best university in the world.
Geography of Utrecht
Utrecht is located in center of the Netherlands. Utrecht is the capitol and most popular city from the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands with a population of 338,949 and counting. Utrecht is famous for her old history, her beautiful channels, the dom tower and of course Miffy. It’s the city where I live. The city Utrecht is a part of the ‘Randstad’ which is part is of the area with the most important cities where most of the money is generated.
The most important train station of the Netherlands is located in Utrecht: Utrecht Central station, because it is located so central, every train to almost every location depart from the train station of Utrecht.
The city of Utrecht is divided into 10 city quarters:
- City center
- Leidsche rijn
- North- East
- South – West
- North- West
- Vleuten- de Meern
Utrecht is a very popular city for tourists. Most of the tourists are coming from Japan, China, Germany, Spain and the U.S. There are beautiful places where you can discover the beauty of Utrecht. Here is a list from the most famous highlights of Utrecht:
- The Dom tower: The Dom tower is the symbol for the city of Utrecht. The tower is 112,5 meter tall and has a beautiful history.
- Oude gracht: The Oude gracht is the most famous street in Utrecht. It is located in the center of Utrecht with beautiful channels and bridges. This is also the biggest shopping street in Utrecht.
- Botanic Garden: The Botanic Garden is located next to the main building of the University of Utrecht. Is has beautiful unique flowers, plants and my absolute favorite, the butterflies.
- Tivoli Vredenburg: Tivoli Vredenburg is a very famous music building in Utrecht. A lot of famous artists and bands have played here.
- Soccer team FC Utrecht stadium: This is the stadium of the national soccer team of Utrech: FC Utrecht. There is capacity for 23.750 spectators.
- Gerrit Rietveld museum: This museum shows the art of famous designer and architect.
- Nijntje museum (Miffy Museum): I believe Miffy is the most famous creature of Utrecht. The little bunny is a creation of painter Dick Bruna who has lived all his live in Utrecht. Especially the tourists from Japan and China love Miffy.
- Aboriginal Art museum : Located at the Oude gracht this museum has a small exhibit of Australian Aboriginal Art.
- Railroad museum : This museum shows the history of the Dutch railroads.
The Dom Tower
The Dom tower of Utrecht is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands. The tower is 112,5 meter tall. The Gothic-style tower is the symbol of the city. The tower was part of the Cathedral of Saint Martin of Utrecht, also known as the Dom church. The tower was built between 1321 and 1328. However the cathedral was never finished because there was not enough money. Unfortunately a part of the cathedral was collapsed in a heavy storm in 1674. From that moment the tower became a free standing tower. It is very popular to climb the tower and enjoy the beautiful sight of the city. If you want to do this you have to be able to climb 465 stairs, but I can tell you that it’s totally worth it.
In 2015, the 102th edition of the Tour de France started in Utrecht. The first game of the teams was in the center of Utrecht. All the members of the teams biked next to the dom tower, it was so much fun!
Miffy (in Dutch: Nijntje) is a female little bunny in a famous series of books for children created by Dick Bruna. Miffy was created in 1955 by Dick Bruna after he told his son bedtime stories. What I find so special and funny is because the drawings of Miffy are so easy but it tells so much. When I was a little child I had a stuffed animal from Miffy and it was really a part of my childhood. Bruna has made more than 124 stories about Miffy. The books of Miffy are translated in more than 50 languages, and over 85 million books have been sold all over the world. Dick Bruna has won many awards for his creations about Miffy. In 2005 Miffy celebrated her 50th birthday. In 2006 the museum about Miffy was opened, called the Dick Bruna House or ‘Het Nijntje museum’. It’s located in the center of Utrecht.
Unfortunately on the 16th of February this year Dick Bruna passed away at the beautiful age of 89, but I know for sure Miffy will always be popular.
Famous people in Utrecht
Because Utrecht is a very popular city in the Netherlands with a lot of great opportunities it is almost logic that there are famous people who live in this amazing city ;). Also in the past, a lot of great and important people lived in Utecht. Hopefully, in a couple of years I will also be on this list!
- Pope Adrian VI (1459–1523) – head of the Catholic Church
- Louis Andriessen (1939) – composer
- Marco van Basten (1964) – football player
- Dick Bruna (1927-2017) – writer, illustrator (Miffy)
- H.D. Buys Ballot (1817–1890) – meteorologist
- Theo van Doesburg (1883–1931) – painter, artist (De Stijl movement)
- Paul Fentener van Vlissingen (1941–2006) – businessman and philanthropist
- Anton Geesink (1934–2010) – judoka, first non-Japanese worldchampion Judo
- Gerrit Rietveld (1888–1964) – designer, architect (De Stijl movement)
- Dafne Schippers (1992) – sprinter/heptathlon Olympian
Fun fact: The King of The Netherlands, Willem- Alexander der Nederlander was born in Utrecht in 1967 in the same hospital I was born!