Cape Town, South Africa- Julie Lihosit #ILLINOISabroad #ACESabroad


 My name is Julie Lihosit and I am going to be a senior studying Animal Science in the College of ACES at the University of Illinois. I recently got home from the ACES HDFS Summer Study Tour to South Africa: Children and Families Service Learning in Cape Town study abroad program and I enjoyed every second while there. The trip was 3 weeks long and it entailed many tourist attractions as well as getting the opportunity to volunteer at the Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha, one of the largest townships of Cape Town, South Africa, so I was able to get a new experience learning from the veterinarians in a different country.

The first few days in Cape Town were very exciting. On the first day, we got a tour of the Observatory, which is a small part of Cape Town where our house we stayed in was located and where we generally ate our meals at. We also went to Llandudno Beach which was absolutely breathtaking as we got to see the beautiful scenery of the beach and we did some rock climbing as well as we observed some more.

 The second day, we got to go on a tour of Robben Island, which contains the site of an old prison where Nelson Mandela was held for 18 years of his 27 year prison sentence. It was truly remarkable to be standing in a building where so many prisoners have been in before and it helped broaden my knowledge about some of the other prisoners as well. We then went to the V&A Waterfront where we got to shop in the markets and explore some of the restaurants.

The third day, we began our day by getting brunch in the Hout Bay Market where we enjoyed some treats and explored some more markets. It was exciting to browse at the items being sold since many were various arts and crafts of South Africa heritage. Next on the agenda was hiking up to Cape Point where there was a lighthouse and we got to see the beautiful coastline of Cape Town. We finished our trip by traveling to the Cape of Good Hope, which is the southwestern tip of the continent of Africa. We did encounter a few ostriches on the way there which was very entertaining.Image


This is a picture of me (Julie Lihosit) sitting on a rock at the Llandudno Beach in Cape Town, South Africa. I really enjoyed

the scenic views that this beautiful country has to offer.



The picture above is my classmates and I outside of the house we stayed at in the Observatory of Cape Town, South Africa.

The picture below is during our hike to the top of Cape Point. I had an amazing time bonding with my classmates as we hiked up

as we took in the lovely landscape.






Queenstown & Milford Sound

I had my first final on Thursday and then my friend Gina and I were off to the airport that night to pick up her family! They had been in Sydney for a few days and were coming over to join us for about 4 days. It wasn’t a lot of time but I was super excited that they were going to see some of the most scenic parts of New Zealand.

We made our way to Queenstown, stopping to take pictures and enjoy the beauty of Lake Tekapo and Mt. Cook. I had seen both of these places before but since it is winter here, the view was spectacular with snow covering the mountains. I had been to the Rockies in the summer but I rarely see mountains, let alone mountains covered in snow! It was gorgeous. Only the tallest peaks here are covered though, and the smaller ones and rolling hills are still covered in green grass and fall colored trees. It is an amazing combination, one my friend and her family were very surprised to see.

We made it to Queenstown that night and walked the 10 minutes to the downtown to eat. The downtown is really nice with lots of shops and just a neat, vibrant energy.

The next day we headed to Coronet Ski Field for some skiing! I was super excited for this because I had never been skiing. Gina and her family go out to Colorado to ski every winter so they were more than happy to ski in a new country and to help me learn. It was rough at first but I finally got the pizza technique down and pretty much stuck to that for the 4 times I went down the hill. My arms were definitely tired from having to get up after falling so many times. Everyone enjoyed themselves even though the snow quality wasn’t very good and the field had just opened a few days before so not many lifts were running.

That night we headed to the famous Ferg Burger for supper! For those who don’t know, Ferg Burger was named the world’s best burger recently and I have to say that I completely agree. I am not much of a burger person but this one was delicious and easily went down despite its large size.

The next morning we started off early to make the 5 hour drive to our cruise in the Milford Sound. It is in the Fiordland National Park and is actually a fiord, which was carved by glaciers and filled with seawater but they call it a sound. Although it was a long drive, the view was breathtaking. It was foggy and misty and there were easily over a hundred waterfalls along the way. The mountains extended really high above us and just made us feel so small. The cruise was an hour and 45 minutes. We saw even more waterfalls, much larger ones, seals, and dolphins! It is definitely worth the trip out there!

Since it was also Father’s Day that day, we let Gina’s dad pick where to eat. Ferg Burger again! I was more than happy to put another burger and fries down! The next morning we took some pictures by the Shotover Jet canyon and headed back to Christchurch. It was about a 6 hour drive and we made stops along the way for more pictures. I finally got to see a lake that was so clear you could see the reflection of the mountains in it perfectly. Only took me 4 months!

It was sad to say goodbye but Gina and her family were headed back to Australia for 2 weeks. I would see them when they got home though. I am back at school until I leave in a week and a half, studying for my last two final exams. It is coming to a close quickly!

I will post my farewell blog from New Zealand next week. Cannot believe it is almost finished.




Lasalle Beauvais in France: 3 Weeks of Instructional Kitchen Classes Recap

Hello from France!

There’s three of us here from the U of I doing the Lasalle Beauvais program in France and we’ve been in France since May 17th. I guess we’re the guinea pigs of this program but it’s really too bad that more of from the university aren’t here because at least for me, I have found it to be a great experience so far. We spent the first three weeks in a cooking lab class with Dr. Philippe Poulliart, a professor at Lasalle Polytechnical Institute who works research and innovation of cooking techniques for cancer patients. When I signed up for the program, I was not excited to fly straight from my final exams straight to more classes, but I had so much fun. On the days we stayed at the kitchen, we would be given really awesome recipes based on the day’s learning objectives: Desserts for Diabetic Patients, French Paradox, Fusion Cuisine, Cancer Patients. For example, the first day of cooking was the French Paradox. We learned nutrition information on why French people seemed to eat lots of fatty, carbohydrate filled foods and still maintain wellness and health. In the kitchen, we cooked foie gras, fruit skewers with sabayon sauce (a creamy concoction with champagne), stuffed cabbage with duck, and choux pastry. What we cooked, we gathered together for lunch and ate it all together as a class. On every other day, each team of 3-4 people (we had 4 teams) would cook up different recipes and we would gather together for lunch. It was like a buffet everyday with lots of delicious foods! I only wish every class I had was like that. Ha!

On the days that we weren’t cooking, we went on excursions to an old school fish farm, a 12th century abbey where we picked herbs and flowers from its huge garden and cooked with it. On a long weekend, we took a field trip to Champagne/Lorraine/Reims and did a lot of champagne tasting, touring around a medieval festival, and going to an organic beer brewery. Fun stuff.

At the end of the 3 weeks, our classmates and I each paired off to go to our respective restaurant internships around France. If any of you are in France and land in Beauvais (an hour north of Paris), come to Les Vents d’Anges! 🙂

Connie Lam
Food Science and Human Nutrition


Abel Tasman

Another busy week has passed and classes are over! We had a mystery pub crawl on Wednesday night for the two sets of flats and a dorm. Most of the international students live in these and we wanted to have one big get-together before finals and everyone starts leaving. The double decker bus for it sold out and the night was a blast. I am so happy to have met all of the people I did and it is awesome to have a night where we can all let loose and have fun.

The next night was the hall’s ball. It is a big event put on by the school. Everybody gets dressed up really nice and they have a band. It turned out to be a lot of intoxicated first years so it was a little disappointing, but I still had fun getting dolled up with my friends. They had a professional photographer too so we got really nice group pictures. I had to leave early to pick up my best friend/roommate from home. She is studying abroad in Sydney for the semester and flew in to visit for 10 days. I was super excited to see her!

Unfortunately, that night I also had to say my first goodbye to a friend who was leaving. It definitely hit me that these goodbyes are going to become very normal and I am not sure if I am prepared for that.

We had an early start the next morning because my friend (Gina) and my roommate and neighbor flatmate were headed to the top of the South Island! We took the coastal route and made scenic stops along the way. The highlight for everyone was one where my friend Kyle had said his parents stopped at. It was a 10 minute hike to a waterfall and in it were so many seals! We had one that came right up to us and touched our hands. Definitely an awesome experience. They come up through the stream, both moms and pups, to grow. They were just swimming around happily and the background was gorgeous. It is random places like these in NZ where the wildlife is so close that I have enjoyed the most. I never thought I would be that close to wild seals. After an exhausting day of traveling and one that was really rough for me because I became very sick, we finally made it to our hostel in Motueka.

The next morning we began our two day hike through the coastal track of the Abel Tasman National Park. It is the second most popular national park in New Zealand and most people go there to do the walk, which is one of the great walks of NZ. We started off by taking a water taxi to our starting point and then walked that day to our hut.

The walk was gorgeous. It was a mixture of mountains with a view of the coast. The beaches were super nice and I wasn’t expecting that level of golden sand. They were littered with shells so we had fun picking up our favorites. The track is really nice because they keep it well maintained and the day was sunny and at a decent temperature. To shorten the walk, we decided to take advantage of the low tide and cut through the beach. There was some water that we had to cross so that was neat. The water came up to our thighs and we had to hold our bags up to keep them from getting wet. The water was really cold and the sandflies starting biting us but other than that it was neat to have a water crossing on our hike.

The next day was not so nice. It was raining pretty much the whole 3.5 hour walk back to the car. The view was still amazing though and I would recommend the hike to anyone. It really is as gorgeous as everyone talks about.

The next two nights we stayed in Nelson. It rained the whole time again so we couldn’t do much but walk around the downtown and see the shops. On our way back the next day, we stopped at Nelson Lakes National Park and saw the beautiful clear lakes there. Then right outside of Christchurch, we came up to the flooded highway where they were only letting four-wheel drive vehicles through. They told us the detour was worse so we decided to go for it. I was driving and the water went up to the top of our tire. The line to get through on the other side was easily a few miles long. So many people were going through that a wake was created and ended up splashing over the car. Talk about scary. I think we were even floating at one point. We finally made it through safely.

After returning, I just had the next day to study for a final (oops, priorities). It wasn’t too bad though and I will tell you about our next adventure to Queenstown in my next blog!






What an amazing weekend! I have not traveled much of the world yet but I will make the bold statement that Dunedin, New Zealand is my favorite city in the world. Now as to why….

We left around 9am to make the 5 hour drive to Dunedin. We had a Cadbury chocolate factory tour at 3pm. I have been excited for this tour since I had my first Cadbury bar in February. It was a 75 minute tour and the best part was throughout the tour they handed out their chocolate products to sample. My favorite part by far was the melted chocolate shots at the end. They were sooo delicious, rich, and creamy. And I got 2! Afterwards, we headed back to the hostel to hang out for a few hours before the 8:30pm reservation at a Mexican restaurant. It was a friend of ours birthday and there was about 20 of us in town for the weekend.

The next day we headed out to explore the city. The really neat thing about Dunedin is that the city centre is in the shape of an octagon and is called that. All the restaurants, bars, and shops are in that area. We went to two churches, stumbled upon an amazing farmer’s market, and went into some shops. We also visited the Dunedin Railway Station, which is the 2nd most photographed building in the Southern Hemisphere. It is beautiful! In the early afternoon, we decided to head to the Otago Peninsula. It is just outside the city and was so amazing. The goal was to see the penguins come in from the sea at sunset. We drove to the end of the peninsula which was about 30 km to see the albatross. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any but the drive there was breathtaking. The harbor with the city and the sunny day was perfect. After not seeing any albatross, we decided to get to the beach early to see penguins since the boys in our group were going to tour the Speight’s Brewery at 6pm.

At the beach, you park your car and walk about 30 minutes to the actual beach. It was all sand dunes and was the perfect excuse for us to take off our shoes and run through the sand. It was freezing though and my feet were numb in seconds. We went off the path just a bit and found a steep hill of just sand. We had a lot of fun just running down the sandy hill yelling. The water was beautiful and we walked around the beach for at least 45 minutes. While we were walking along, we came across a sleeping sea lion on the beach!! We were all really excited to see one hanging out in the wild. We tried not to disturb it too much but we definitely took pictures near it. It turns out that the sign said it was the rarest sea lion in the world. What a life experience!

That night we ate at Velvet Burger, a popular burger joint only located in Dunedin and Christchurch. We headed to the casino for a bit and then we went out. Dunedin is a college town because it has the University of Otago. The bars were really neat and most of them had fireplaces! That was a cozy feature. It was really fun.

The next day we walked up Baldwin Street, the steepest street at the world, although I am not sure if that is still true. It is extremely steep though! We headed to the botanical gardens afterwards for about an hour. It was a gorgeous day and we fed ducks and checked out their huge aviary with many parrots and native New Zealand birds.

Overall, the weekend was amazing and the weather was perfectly sunny and warm for it as well. If I ever return to New Zealand, Dunedin is the first place I am going. There was so much I did not get to see or enjoy and hope that one day I will be able to!