Janelle the Berber Woman

Posted by LIM College on Mon, Mar 09, 2015 @ 11:23 AM

by Janelle Commerford

Traveling to Marrakech, Morocco during my time abroad was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The trip opened my eyes to a completely different culture, religion, and way of life. Marrakech is like no other place I’ve ever been before. It was the very first time I ever experienced culture shock, but I made lifelong friends, and I scored some awesome souvenirs in the souk.

Throughout my adventures abroad I have gained so much knowledge of the world itself, but Morocco was like no other country I have ever visited. Marrakech is by far the most adventurous and different city I’ve ever been to.


Instead of coffee shops there are fresh squeezed orange juice huts. Instead of people trying to sell you selfie-sticks, people are encouraging you to henna your hands. Instead of people wrapped up like mummies on sidewalks, people are charming python snakes. Everywhere I went I was in amazement.


I traveled to Marrakech with a student travel company, so all of the other individuals on my trip were study abroad students. My schedule was jam packed with activities. I rode a camel into the Sahara Desert, hiked the Atlas Mountains, enjoyed tea in a Berber House, haggled in the Souk, and tasted some of the most amazing food ever.


Before my trip to Marrakech my parents were hoping that I would cancel, and I can see why. I was traveling to Africa during one of the deadliest epidemics in history. However, I am so happy that I did not obey their requests. But truthfully, I was a little bit nervous about traveling to a third world country.

rome_030915So many aspects of the city pleasantly surprised me. The people were so incredibly kind and helpful, and shopping in the souk is an experience all on its own. The souk is Marrakech’s market and it is pretty much an Anthropologie, but everything is handmade and 80% off. You can bargain all you want and roam around until you find exactly what you want. After negotiating a price you and a shop owner agree upon, the shop owner invites you to have mint tea with him/her.

When I made my first purchase (Moroccan pashminas) in the souk, the clerk invited me to have tea with him in the room above his shop. I automatically thought, “No way am I going to have tea with this man in a secluded room in his shop.” Scenes from the film Taken were running through my head as I politely declined. Later that night while eating chicken pastilla (a traditional Moroccan dish) in Jemma el-Fnaa, which is Marrakech’s main square, I told the group about how the man had invited me for tea. Our leader, a local, told me that the gesture was normal and a custom that all locals accepted while shopping in the souk.

One time I was haggling with a clerk over a Moroccan Wedding Blanket, which is a beautiful white blanket with rose water-dyed fringe, mirror sequins, and embroidered with silver thread. It is traditional for a woman to wear one of these blankets over her shoulders in Morocco during her wedding. Anyway, the shop owner and I were bargaining with each other for about 10 minutes before agreeing on 900 dirhams, which is about 90 US dollars, and a total steal. The clerk said that I bargained harder than his grandma and that I was a Berber woman! (Berber is a tribe that still exists in Northern Africa whose women apparently come into the city and bargain very well). 


My trip to Marrakech was by far my favorite during my time abroad. It opened my eyes to so many different aspects of life and ways of living. I know that Morocco isn’t exactly a very popular journey that study abroad students embark on, but I would totally recommend it to students abroad and anyone that has the itch to travel to an amazing destination.


Topics: study abroad, fashion, Janelle Commerford, global, Morocco

Janelle the Student Athlete

Posted by LIM College on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 @ 09:30 AM

By: Janelle Commerford

            While studying abroad in Rome I have observed that there are three things that all Italians are extremely passionate about: food, family, and soccer. Like the Italians, I am passionate about family, even more passionate about food, but not so keen on the latter. So when soccer sign ups were announced, I gave it as much thought as I do to getting gelato on the way home. Of course, I'm getting gelato on the way home. And, no, I'm not joining the soccer team.

            I hadn't played soccer since third grade nor have I played any contact sport at all throughout high school or in college. My athletic abilities consist of cheerleading and dance. It wasn't until I was having an aperitivo (a pre-dinner drink) in a café and an AS Roma match was on the TV that I realized what an extremely soccer passionate city Rome is. The Romans were yelling and clapping and cheering louder than Americans at a Buffalo Wild Wings for the Super Bowl. So, I thought to myself, "Do as the Romans do" and "When in Rome…" 


           Then I also considered all the pizza, pasta, and gelato I eat and how fun joining the soccer team could potentially be. I was easily convinced by the team captain who assured me that the “warm up” was only two laps around the field. (Whew!)

            Joining the soccer team has been a blast. In addition to being a fun way to work off that ‘mere” bit of pasta I consume, being on the team has provided countless laughs, new friends, and a unique and extremely different experience. I haven’t played soccer in over 10 years and my coach doesn’t speak any English, so I have also been improving my Italian. 

            Being part of the soccer team also totally pushed me out of my comfort zone, and being out of my comfort zone is where I find myself more and more during my time here. I have been finding that my leaving my comfort zone coincides with making the most of my time abroad. Doing new things, making new friends, continuously keeping an open mind, and saying "yes" has made all the difference during my study abroad experience. 

            Playing soccer for the past three months has been a life changing experience. Although we pretty much lost almost all of the games we've played, the incredible friends and experiences that I have gained far outweighs our team record.

Topics: study abroad, Rome, Janelle Commerford, student athlete, soccer

Janelle the Roman

Posted by LIM College on Mon, Nov 24, 2014 @ 10:01 AM

By: Janelle Commerford

When I entered college, studying abroad was a very foreign and uncomfortable thought. I have always been a homebody and cherish time spent with my family and greatly enjoy being in my comfort zone. Studying abroad was an idea that was not completely out of the question, but highly unlikely for me.


I disagreed with the statement that studying abroad is a “once in a life time opportunity.” I thought that maybe when I have a job I could be relocated to somewhere in Europe for a few years or perhaps I would spend a few months there after I graduate. Also, I’m a strong believer that life is completely nuts and will throw crazy opportunities at you whenever it feels like it.  


Although the above instances are possible, after spending the past few months studying abroad in Rome, Italy, I now completely agree that studying abroad is absolutely “once in a lifetime” and should not be missed by any student with an appetite for adventure and an itch to travel.

After some of my family members, friends and my boyfriend studied abroad, I considered pursuing the experience, and I am so glad that I did. Never again will I be able to drop everything I have going on in my life and move to a completely foreign country to live for four months while in school.  I will never again be able to take an Italian Food and Culture class that involves being able to correctly pair certain foods with certain wines and get credit for it. I will never again be able to take a “siesta” on a daily basis. I will never again be able to country hop throughout Europe every weekend. My biggest problem will never again be having to decide which country I want to visit on the next weekend.


While these thoughts of “never again” make me sad, thinking about how I have already completed half of my study abroad experience, I am so proud of myself and ecstatic that I have taken advantage of this completely once in a lifetime opportunity. It has been an amazing adventure.

I decided to study abroad in Rome, Italy because I find Italian culture to be very fascinating. Italians are extremely passionate about all aspects of life. Whether it is crossing the street or their family, Italians never do anything halfway.


Rome is also one of my favorite cities in the world. I had been here before while visiting my boyfriend who had also studied in Rome. I found it to be such an incredible city. Everything is so old and there is so much history. At times I feel ignorant walking around and not knowing what buildings are what or what happened at some locations. Rome is the city of the Roman Empire, where gladiators were torn apart by lions and where Romans marched under arches after conquering most of Europe, and where Brutus murdered Caesar. I have yet to find a city as intriguing as Rome. Choosing to study abroad has been one of the most life changing decisions I have made and I will be forever grateful for this opportunity. 

Topics: LIM College, study abroad, Rome, culture, Italian, Janelle Commerford

Our Room in Rome

Posted by LIM College on Tue, May 01, 2012 @ 11:00 AM

This is my room that I share with Emani. Whenever we’re not out and about on the streets of Rome, you can always find us in here. It is a very spacious and cozy room. We do our homework, watch movies and have long conversations about everything. staff Staff Profiles Desktops & Documents mfinnin My Documents My Pictures Website images study abroad blogs almonte 050112 resized 600
Unfortunately, this was one of the times that we were doing homework, hence the papers on the bed.

Topics: LIM College, study abroad, Rome

A Day at the Beach in Barcelona

Posted by LIM College on Mon, Apr 30, 2012 @ 11:24 AM

This photo is from the weekend that Emani and I met up with NyAsia and Evelyn in Barcelona. The trip was awesome and Barcelona was beautiful. We wanted to go to the beach because our hostel was just a few minutes away, but the weather wasn’t as warm as we hoped it would be. staff Staff Profiles Desktops & Documents mfinnin My Documents My Pictures Website images study abroad blogs almonte 043012 resized 600
Although we weren’t able to get in the water, we took a stroll on the beach and had a photo shoot! It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get to experience the water, but the sight of it was an experience of its own.

Topics: LIM College, study abroad, Rome

Studying in the Garden

Posted by LIM College on Tue, Apr 17, 2012 @ 12:41 PM

As soon as you walk through the gated doors of our school, you enter the garden. This is where students come to have their lunch, talk amongst one another, and tan when the weather allows them to! On this day, I decided to take advantage of the great day outside after a stormy weekend and do some Italian homework. staff Staff Profiles Desktops & Documents lola.rephann My Documents website BLOGS Hubspot Blogs Study Abroad RomeGarden

Topics: LIM College, study abroad, fashion

Visiting Corfu Over Easter Weekend

Posted by LIM College on Thu, Apr 12, 2012 @ 04:15 PM

My friend and I went to Corfu, Greece for Easter weekend. This was one of the many views that we were fortunate enough to see and visible from our room balcony. Corfu was full of beautiful views just like this one and it was one of the most marvelous places that I have ever been to. I cannot wait to get back to this island! staff Staff Profiles Desktops & Documents lola.rephann My Documents website BLOGS Hubspot Blogs Study Abroad Corfu

Topics: LIM College, study abroad, Rome

Wine Under the Eiffel Tower

Posted by LIM College on Tue, Apr 03, 2012 @ 11:47 AM

Emani and I decided to go to London and Paris for spring break. While in Paris, we stayed with NyAsia who is also from LIM College studying abroad in Paris for the semester. This was our last night in Paris so we wanted to do something memorable! We had wine under the Eiffel Tower after dinner and we talked for a couple of hours before getting some dessert. staff Staff Profiles Desktops & Documents mfinnin My Documents My Pictures Website images study abroad blogs almonte 040312 resized 600

The best part about sitting under the Eiffel Tower? It sparkles for about 5 minutes, every hour, beginning at 7pm! It was a great night!

Topics: LIM College, study abroad, Paris, Rome

Girl's Night Out

Posted by LIM College on Mon, Mar 26, 2012 @ 03:27 PM staff Staff Profiles Desktops & Documents lola.rephann My Documents website images blogs GirlsNightOutThe nightlife in Italy is definitely different than in the states because bars are more common than night clubs. People are more likely to go bar hopping everytime they go out as opposed to staying at one club the entire night. We have acclimated very well to the Italian way. On this night, we went to a bar called On The Rox. It was a great time and we really got to use our Italian because a lot of locals come to this bar.











Topics: LIM College, city life, study abroad, Rome, nightlife

Dinner Time!

Posted by LIM College on Mon, Mar 26, 2012 @ 03:24 PM staff Staff Profiles Desktops & Documents lola.rephann My Documents website images blogs DinnerTimeThe best part of the day is always dinner time whether we go out to a restuarant or stay home (there are usually more people present at the dinner table but this night was a quite one). On this night, Emani and I decided to have dinner at home in our kitchen. We are fortunate to have a spacious apartment because it gives everyone the opportunity to be in the kitchen at the same time and talk. We usually tell one another about our day, good or bad. We find ourselves talking at the dinner table for hours at a time and its nice because it is somewhat of a stress reliever when one of us has had a bad day.

Topics: LIM College, eating on a budget, study abroad, Rome, eating out