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Staceson "Frequent Flyer" Myles

In addition to being a Senior majoring in Supply Chain Managment at Howard University, Staceson Myles, was one of our See the World, BE the Future scholarship recipients for the 2017 Spring semester.

 

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Please enjoy this single blog post in which Staceson recounts his time at the American International University in London amongst his other adventures abroad:


India

Mumbai, Bangalore, New Delhi

 

My study abroad travels started off with a two-week class trip to India. While in India, I visited Mumbai, Bangalore, New Delhi, as well as areas surrounding those cities. It was truly an exceptional experience to be in a place where the culture was like nothing I was used to.

While in Mumbai I visited Elephanta Island where you could see sculptures and statues of Indian deities such as Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.

 

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This is Elephanta Island where part of the stairs led up to the statues. The covered walkway is lined with stalls and vendors. The sun’s rays beamed through the tarp, giving the path a special ambiance.

 

The opportunity also came for me to visit the Dharavi slums. This is where I had my eyes opened to an entirely different lifestyle. I was deeply humbled to see the large amount of people living in impoverished conditions, while also being awed by their ability to work together in making the slums a thriving market place.

While in Bangalore we made the most use of the rickshaw drivers and explored the city, visiting several temples including the ISKCON and Bull temples. We happened to be in India during a cow worshipping festival, and it was interesting seeing cows tread the streets causing public delays, but being completely left alone. There was also an amusement/water park combo that seemed a bit sketchy at first but ended up being the utmost fun. It was definitely one of the more memorable moments of the trip.

The last cities I visited while in India were Delhi and Agra, because do you really go to India and not see the Taj Mahal? While in the northern reaches of India, my group and I gave presentations and did some shopping. At this point of the trip, I was tired and needed a refresher, which came in the form of a rooftop party. It was a sort of a last hoorah that included a D.J., Bollywood dance instructor, and lots of curry. After all that, I caught the travel bug, because less than a month later I was taking to the skies again, headed to London.

 

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Me in front of the Taj Mahal. We spent well over an hour walking around and capturing the best angles in front of the white marble mausoleum. I would argue that it was well worth it.

 


England

London

 

London was only supposed to be home base for all of the countries I planned on visiting in the coming months, but it turned out to be so much more. I landed on January 9th, and within the first weeks of being in London, I managed to take in a good portion of touristy outings: Big Ben; Buckingham Palace; St. Paul’s Cathedral. And I enjoyed the Boat Party on the Thames—all were exciting events to start my semester.

I lived in the Richmond borough of London, which turned out to be a really good decision on my part. In walking distance from my campus was a trail lined with benches, overlooking one of the many bends in the Thames River. Additionally, there was Richmond Park where I could actually experience a piece of England’s countryside and meet plenty of deer and cows that were most friendly to a general passerby.

 

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Me taking a typical red phone booth photo in London because it needed to be done.

 

Exploring London was one of my favorite past times while in the city. I ventured out to several boroughs in search of fun and adventure. Camden, with its open markets and wide selection of novelty food items, was one of my first excursions in the city. This borough held a motley assortment of vendors, almost like a medieval swap meet—but with better food.

 

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One of the massive robots stationed outside of Cyberdog, a store in Camden market.

 

When night fell on London, I often found myself in Shoreditch, which is located in the historic East End, or I ventured in other parts, partaking in pub-crawls, and just in general, enjoying the life.

There was also one weekend that included a trip to Cambridge to visit the illustrious Cambridge University. It was truly awe-inspiring to see buildings and statues older than the United States. To walk around the different colleges and just see the mingling of past and present filled me with a sense of wonderment and the urge to see even more. Because of the weekend in Cambridge, I was incited to visit Copenhagen.

 


 

Denmark

Copenhagen

 

Copenhagen was truly a hidden gem. I had never heard of the city before and I barely knew anything of Denmark, but in Europe, it is far easier (and cheaper) to fly to other countries, so I figured it would be worth it for me to venture out. One thing that caught me off guard was how expensive everything was (I later learned that all Nordic countries are expensive). I was spending fifteen to twenty dollars at McDonald’s for regular meals! Granted, I quickly got over that and decided to look into an area called Christiania within the city.

In Christiania lies a sort of hippie camp that prospered post WWII. Compared to the gloomy aura surrounding the city, Christiania felt completely different compared to the rest of the city. Murals adorned the sides of buildings and sculptures could be found littering the community. Overall, I would have to say, I’m glad I decided to go to Denmark.

 


 

Italy

Milan

 

Milan was the first place I met up with friends and fellow students from Howard University. They were studying in Barcelona, and I, in London. So, Italy seemed like the perfect meet spot. We all linked up at the Duomo in the city center and feasted on authentic Italian cuisine—spaghetti. While in Milan, I shopped in the city center and luckily it was sale season, so all sorts of fashion was on sale throughout the city.

I also visited Sempione Park, which held a castle that led into the most magnificent park with grand sculptures and landmarks. At the time of my visit, the park just happened to have one of Michelangelo's original sculptures on display inside the castle. After leaving the park, the rest of my time was spent eating, shopping, and enjoying the city.

 


 

The Netherlands

Amsterdam

 

Amsterdam was like Vegas—or, at least what I think Vegas is like. On second thought, Amsterdam is probably nothing like Vegas. Amsterdam was a perfect mix of country and city for me. On one hand, you have the red light district, carnivals, all sorts of museums and novelty shops, and of course, coffee shops. On the other hand, there were lots of bridges and canals as well as some of the most beautiful parks to be found. This is kind of unrelated, but Amsterdam had some of the cleanest tap water in the world, and I can attest that. When I drank the water, it felt like my body was being reborn.

One of my classmates that I met up with in Milan also met me in Amsterdam. We toured the city, taking in the unique ambiance that blanketed each street.

 


 

Spain

Barcelona

 

When spring break arrived, my first stop was Barcelona. While visiting, I felt as if I could live there one day in the future. It held a magic in the air that I attributed to the shinning sun, whereas, I had been deprived of the sun in all of the other countries. The magic could also be attributed to the fact that I met up with more friends from Howard while in Barcelona than I did in any other country as well (we global).

The city was full of exciting things to see, so much so, that I wasn’t able to see everything I wanted. I started with a walk down to the Sagrada Família, and then on down to the Arc de Triomf. Both structures immediately drew the eye and spoke to the rich history and grandeur of the city. More breathtaking than anything else was the Cascada Monumental, a fountain inside of Parc de la Ciutadella. The fountain overlooked tourists from a corner in the park, casting its gaze over those who walked beneath it.

 

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Me in front of Cascada Monumental in Barcelona. Once again, just breathtaking… I’m talking about myself.

 

Off to the side was the Gothic Quarter. It was a neighborhood where the roads turned narrow and all the buildings hovered over the street ominously. There was also Bunker del Carmel, which rested on a hill and overlooked the entire city. The view was simply amazing. In addition to all the sites, it seemed as though I was eating seafood paella and going to the beach at least once a day while I was there. After Barcelona, I hopped onto a plane to Morocco.

 


 

Morocco

Casablanca

 

I really just wanted to go somewhere sunny over my spring break and Casablanca came through. The funniest thing that happened to me while in Morocco was that everyone thought I was Moroccan and spoke to me in Arabic. Even though Casablanca wasn’t as developed as I thought it would be, I must say, that the experience was quite enjoyable. The biggest concerns I faced going into Morocco was the lack of infrastructural amenities like public transportation and my phone not working while in the country.

I stayed in an Airbnb with a native Moroccan and her two sisters. While there my new friends, and hosts, were like my tour guides, showing me to the beaches, bars, and some local cuisine, as well. I also visited a few mosques, which was interesting due to the sheer number of mosques that populated the city.

 

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The Hassan ll Mosque in Casablanca, the biggest mosque I have ever seen. To get this picture, I offered to take a struggling stranger’s photo and he did the same in return.

 

On my last day my hosts took me to a meat market where the food was chosen and cooked once we ordered it. There were also these wraps that I became addicted to while in Casablanca, but for the life of me, I can’t remember the name.

I almost ended up stuck in Morocco due to my plane leaving very early in the morning, which put a damper on my trip, but I wouldn’t let anything get me down. After Casablanca, I figured it was time to settle, so I put up my hat and coat, journeyed back to London, and spent the rest of my time there.

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