Tales from the Big Apple…


As I blog from a beach on Long Island, New York I know I made the best decision of my life – to study abroad.

My name is Hayley Parr and I am a multimedia journalism student at GCU. I have been on Exchange at Stony Brook University, The State University of New York for around three weeks now.

I will be blogging to you every week from the big Apple for the duration of my stay, which will be until the end of this December.

I have never been outside Europe before so this was always set out to be a big adventure for me and since I got the acceptance email I have been in denial that I’d actually be living in the state I have always dreamt of visiting.

There is a lot to catch up on…where do I start?!

The realisation of being in New York didn’t hit me when I boarded the plane, nor when I landed at JFK airport and saw the famous skyline of Manhattan, not when the taxi driver shouted “WELCOME TO NEAW YOOOARRRRK”, it didn’t hit me when I spent my first night in dorms with no bed sheets – but finally when I stepped on to Times Square.

The overwhelming lights, flashing moving advertisements, people, shops, noise, smells of food all hit me and I gave out a little cry of shock, excitement, amazement, whatever you want to call it! –  N.B there has been many of these un-cool moments during my stay here!

In the short space of time that I have been here I have done a lot. I have been to Manhattan twice – toured NBC studios, took the elevator to the top of the Rockefeller Plaza which had a fantastic view of Central Park, The Empire State Building and the rest of New York. I have eaten the famous Magnolia Bakery cupcakes on Central Park and in Grand Central Terminal, visited Saks department store, and photographed the famous and rich at New York Fashion Week. I have visited the freaky but wonderful Coney Island home to one of the oldest fairgrounds in the world – I took a ride on the Wonder Wheel which was scarily built in 1918!



I have also seen my first baseball game – which was a little boring but had a fantastic atmosphere and first American football match at my university which again was very surreal to be there, which brings me on to my next point – everything you see in American movies and TV shows is exactly a true picture of what it is like here. From the food, to the clothes to the phrases it’s scarily real how alike it is.



Speaking of food – I am on a meal plan which allows me to eat in any of the six diners across the campus – which is dangerous due to the large portions but fantastic as I don’t have to cook a thing! Favourite food so far is the pizza slices on campus and blueberry pancakes from a true American diner in Manhattan.

‘pancakes from a true American Diner’


I haven’t really spoken about classes and the university yet…I will cover this in my next post along with the events of homecoming! After all I am here to study as well!

‘everything you see in American movies and TV shows is exactly a true picture of what it is like here’

You can also visit my personal blog on http://big-city-lights-ny.tumblr.com/ for more New York updates.

Hayley Parr


One thought on “Tales from the Big Apple…

  1. Have fun in New York! Although I am not an exchange student, I did come to London to do a degree. First couple of months are the best, and a culture shock of some sort is very common.

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