Monday, June 20, 2016

Day 10: Saying “See You Later” to the UK!

By Jessica Teske, Senior Secondary Mathematics Education Major, and 
Ashley Larson, Senior Social Work Major

Today we began our last full day of the trip by getting on a bus in Wales headed for London. When we got onto the bus, we started by singing “Happy Birthday” to Ashley, who turned 21 today. After that, many people went to sleep while others listened to music or watched movies.

Once we arrived in London, many people went off to do some last minute souvenir shopping. As we get ready to go our separate ways tomorrow, we plan to gather together as a group one last time tonight. The last two weeks have passed very quickly. We have had a lot of great experiences in a short amount of time. For many of us, one of the highlights of our time in London was the London Dungeons Tour. This activity was a great way to kick off our time in the UK. The tour offered a fun mix of theatrics, history, and even two thrill rides. Everyone who did the tour only had great things to say about it!

After we departed from London, we made our way to Wales. For most of our group, Wales ended up being the favorite location. The slow pace and rural farmland was a nice reminder of Iowa. It was especially comforting for those who may have been missing home. Our time in Wales proved to be especially eventful. In the first two days we were there, part of the group climbed Mt. Snowden and our entire group went canyoning. Between mailing postcards from the top of a mountain, and zip lining into cold water at the bottom of the canyon, our time in Wales was full of new experiences.

After our two exciting days in Wales, we got on a ferry and headed towards Ireland. One of the main highlights of Ireland was the Cliffs of Moher. Some took in the beautiful view from a distance, while others were more daring and ventured to the edge of the cliffs. No matter where we stood, however, the view was breathtaking!

After a few more active days in Ireland, we got on a bus to head back to Wales. We spent two days in Swansea. While there, we had the opportunity to visit Swansea University, a partner university of UNI. While at the college, we met with some staff and students who are currently heading up the campus’s sustainability programs. We got to hear all about how Swansea University is working to make their campus more green! After enjoying some tea and Welsh cakes, we headed down to the beach to do some clean up. We picked up trash and snapped a quick picture just before the rain picked up!

Now that we’re back in London, it is with mixed feelings that we get ready to say "see you later" to the UK and to each other. Some of us fly home tomorrow, some are staying in London, and others are heading to other countries in Europe. We’ve had a great two weeks learning about sustainability in other countries, making new friends, and experiencing new things. This trip has been one that none of us are going to forget!