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My Adventures Four Weeks In--Jackson Oakley, 2022

Posted March 28, 2022

I wanted to start this post with this beautiful picture in Scotland. This is one of Scotland's many castles! This was the one I wanted to see the most. It's Eilean Donan Castle, it sits on an island at the entrance of Loch Duich. You can tour these castles but unfortunately, we only had an hour at this place and then we were on the road again. 


This picture below is kind of self-explanatory haha. Keezeng, Kamaura, Landon and I all in front of the Edinburgh Castle! Again, with this we had to leave at like 7:00AM and we could only see it at night. But this was seriously cool. One thing to point out, there was no security, just cameras. Really ominous and weird.
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OH! We all thought of ourselves like the Avengers on this trip. Landon and I had some homestay issues the second week we were here. But they worked out fine: all our friends had our back and said, "we'll show up to the AIFS like the Avengers and fix this"

And speaking of Marvel's Avengers (I love Marvel so much), the Edinburgh station in Scotland we arrived at is where they filmed the scene in Avengers Infinity War when Scarlet Witch and Vision were fighting and then Captain America appears when the train passes. If you search Captain America scene in Scotland it should pop up 🙂 It's so cool!

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 This trip is going by so fast! I was looking thru my photo album and all the photos I've taken. It's amazing how much we've actually done here! I am definitely going to be sad when it's over.

London 2022--A Professor's Perspective

Posted March 20, 2022

​One of our two DMACC professors in London for our 2022 program keeps a regular blog. Click on the link below to read all about her experiences.

Police: UK vs US

Posted May 11, 2020

​One of the first things I noticed is that there is a big difference between the view of police in the UK and our view here in America. Obviously there has been a problem with our society's relationship with law enforcement. The general public doesn't think very highly of our local peace officers. This stems from decades of the misconduct and behavior associated with cops across the country. I am not here to bash police or anything, I just want to address that there is a problem and it seems very difficult to solve. However this greatly contrasts what I observed oversees. There is an overall higher amount of respect from the public towards police. One of the bigger differnces between us and them that I believe to be contributing to this is the gun policy. PEOPLE DO NOT OWN GUNS. They are absolutely no civilians that own guns and getting caught with one results in very serious consequences. Not only civilians, cops don't have guns either. Firearms are reserved for their version of S.W.A.T. in extreme mergencies. This, I believe automaticaly lowers tension with the public. No shootings, no cops killing civilians for arguably unlawful reasons. From what I gathered, if a cop tells you to do something, you respect their authority and cooperate. And in return for their cooperation, the police tend to act very appropriatly in the situations they are involved in. With most encounters being solved by a civil conversation or a stern yelling with a ticket.

Life Changing Experience

Posted April 27, 2020

            Back in 2018, freshman year of college, second semester and there was a spring fair in building five on the Ankeny campus of DMACC. I remember seeing a table with a bunch of London supplies and I had to go check it out, that table had changed my life forever, I know a bit excessive for just a table, but it wasn't JUST any table. It was a spectacular opportunity to study abroad in London for a whopping eight weeks! I gathered all the information I needed, attended the meetings and brought home all the information pamphlets to show my mom. Two years later, I'm in class with twenty plus students, my roommate and my two wonderful professors, getting ready to fly out of Iowa to London, England in just a couple weeks! Going from a tiny little table, to a huge class of students and not just one, but two professors that are beyond excited to share this opportunity with us.

            We have arrived! With our bags in hand, ready to meet our host family and to take a nap, we made it to London, a whole new different country that I have always dreamt of visiting is finally here! Still in shock of how I got here but I am living for it and I'm only twenty years old, walking and riding the bus and tube to get to class. Being able to adjust and figuring out the transportation was a wild experience for me and my roommate because back in Iowa, we drove almost everywhere. From seeing pictures, to real life and with the DMACC study abroad organizer, Lauren Rice by our sides and with Bethany Sweeney, they have taught me so much and how to become accustom to these new situations. I will always remember this moment forever.

            March rolls around, rumors of coronavirus have come to light and all of us are starting to worry about our trip being canceled. Sure enough, on March 16th, we have a meeting as a family and Bethany and Lauren share the bad news of getting sent home early. Hard for us to hear but it was expected, and we can't control the uncontrolled. We go home the next day (unfortunately way to soon) and be quarantined for two whole weeks. Not only does it get worse but on April 5th, we were hit with even worse news. Our dear professor, friend, coordinator, daughter, Lauren Rice was killed by a hit and run along with her poor dog. We had heard the news with Bethany, and she was deeply saddened it had to be in this time and if it weren't for coronavirus, we would still be in London with her. But like I said before, we can't control the uncontrolled.

            I just want to say thank you to Lauren because if it weren't for that small table in building five back in 2018, I would have never experienced this amazing trip. ​

-Grace Carlson

London and Lauren

Posted April 17, 2020

Being able to go to London was a very great and unforgettable experience. Going there I was so excited to do all the fun trips planned for classes, as well as learning about a new culture, and meeting new friends. Sadly those things got cut short. While I was there I was able to make many new friends, go on some of the trips including Scotland, and get accustomed to the culture. I learned so many things from living away from my parents for the first time, to getting around a major city by public transit, to being  able to experience and observe so many art forms. Although my trip got cut short, I am happy to be back home with everything going on. 

As some know, after we got back Lauren was  in a serious accident leading to her death. Lauren was such an amazing teacher and person. With everything going on, Lauren and Bethany fought for us to stay and made each class so memorable, I will forever be grateful. Going to London, I was a little nervous, with all that pressure and anxious thoughts Lauren made you feel at home, whether that was making tik toks with us, or teaching us about the paintings we had just seen. She worked hard and made her students her priority, she  really just wanted us all to experience life differently than what we did in the states. I am so grateful for being able to go on this journey with her, and I will never forget her.

Lauren Rice

Posted April 17, 2020

​Even though the study abroad trip was cut short due to Covid-19, the trip was still an unforgettable experience.  And that could not have happened without our wonderful professors who worked extremely hard to make the most of the trip, even during the concerns of the Coronavirus.  Unfortunately, Lauren Rice passed away recently during a hit-and-run incident, breaking the hearts of everyone who knew her, including her students.  Even though we did not know Lauren for a very long time, she treated every single one of us like family, and in the short time the group spent together, we all connected like family.  Covid-19 made our group unique compared to every other group that had traveled to London in the past.  But in the midst of the turmoil and stress, Lauren and Bethany showed just how much they really cared for the students in the program, fighting for us every step of the way and working tirelessly in an effort to gain new information as soon as it came out to keep us informed.  We truly felt like one big family that was going to share our unforgettable memories forever.  While the situation is indeed ​sad, we will use it as an opportuny to reflect on how much Lauren meant to us, and to celebrate her life and her heart for her students.

The shadier parts of London

Posted April 17, 2020

​London is a beatiful city bursting with different people and diverse atmospheres. Fun fact: London has over 8 million trees! They must cast a lot of shade but that isn't what this post is about. No, my desperate attempt at a play on words is refrering to the overall sketchiness you might be exposed to if you visit. Don't get me wrong, you should totally go. Just go prepared. From my experience, if you stand long enough outside any off license convience store in Picadilly Circus past midnight, someone will offer to sell you drugs. There is also a bit of a homeless seen. There is nothing inherently bad about homless people but from what I observed, circumstace can make people... ​disorderly. People in general can be distasteful, you are bound to see some colorful characters roaming, or rather stumbling through the streets. So in conclusion, great city, must visit, travel in groups and don't be afraid to ignore people or politely ask them to bugger off.

Lauren's Influence

Posted April 17, 2020

​The best city in the world with one of the best English professors in the world. London can teach so much about inner character, strength and capabilities, while also gaining perspective on how much of the world is outside the fields of Iowa and the U.S. However, the chances of gaining all this knowledge and experience is not as easily obtained in a simple week vacation. In order to get the best from London you should have taken the DMACC study abroad trip with Lauren Rice and Bethany Sweeny.


Professor Lauren Rice, was all about making sure that the people around her, enjoyed everything the area around them, had to offer. On the first full day in London we took a tour of the city. Lauren made sure that we got an opportunity to hear cool historical background tidbits, point out easily missed sights but most importantly she made sure that all of us made it on time. She was a bit cheeky and told us to be ready at the tour site by 1 p.m. (don't fact check that time.) Just as she predicted, a lot of us, myself included, were about a half hour or more late. Luckily, the real start time wasn't until 2 p.m.! 


Moral of this story, is that Lauren did love her students and her job, as well as wanting everyone to get the best experience possible.

I admire Lauren for her devotion to what she loved, what she valued and the people around her. Personally, I had a lot more to learn from her and I am upset I will never get those opportunities, and neither will anyone else. For that reason, I am forever grateful for the amazing trip to London I had with Lauren and Bethany as well as my classmates.



Posted April 16, 2020

Over the past year of Lauren helping me get into the study abroad program, to being one of her students and then getting to travel to London with her, there was always memorable things to remember. One of my favorites was getting lunch with her at The Royal Mile after class before our departure to London. She ordered food that was similar to what we would eat in London, and she was so excited to share all her favorite cultural things we would experience. She was always all about the cultural experiences, and was eager for me and the rest of the class to go to London and learn for ourselves.

I really enjoyed having her as my encounters instructor because it was fun to go to museums with her as she was very knowledgeable on those places. She knew how you to make you really think about the over meaning of a painting, and she helped me understand the arts better. 

She was the best person to go and do things with, as she was always excited like it was her first time. She knew how to make the people around her feel special. And she loved watching us explore London and hear about our weekend adventures. I loved getting to chat with her each day, she made you feel like you were important to her, and that whatever you were telling her was the best news she heard all day. 

Lauren truly was the person that made our experience abroad an extraordinary one. And I am so glad that she was able to go with us.

The quote that gets me through sudden losses like these is “The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.” -Lao Tzu. Lauren said that our experience abroad would change us forever, and she was not wrong. Just from being there for a month, and knowing Lauren for the short time that we did, I have learned so much and I wouldn’t change the experience for anything. ​

Remembering Lauren and London

Posted April 15, 2020

I decided to go on the London study abroad trip because a few of my friends invited me. At the time I didn't think much of it, but the more I thought about it the more intrigued i became. Finally I decided to apply for a few scholarships and luckily was able to get some. The first few weeks we took classes at DMACC in Ankeny. It was within the first few days that I knew I was going to really enjoy the classes I was taking. Lauren made me excited to come to her composition class, which was one of my least favori​te classes the previous semester. Once we got to London we were able to do a little exploring on our own. I had no idea what to expect when I first got there and was very nervous. Luckily everyone in London is actually as nice as people say they are. If I needed help with something there was always somebody happy to guide me somewhere. I also enjoyed the change in transportation. Riding the Tube in a highly populated area is a big change from driving everywhere in small towns in Des Moines. A few weeks into the trip we met up at a cafe for class. Lauren and I got there first and were able to talk about the adventures we had been on in the last few weeks. Lauren was a very outgoing person who loved to explore. She inspired me to try a lot of new things while I was there. Because of Lauren I can say that even though we were sent home a little early, the trip to London changed my life for the better.

Memory of Lauren and London

Posted April 15, 2020

One of the reasons I decided to go to DMACC was to participate in the study abroad program in the spring in London. I had compared different schools and it was much more reasonable to go through DMACC. I had sort of explored the program on the website but after the first meeting I had with Lauren, she had me hooked. You could tell she had a great passion for the program and for the students. I am very thankful for both Lauren and Bethany for taking us on the adventure. Yes they are teachers but they were also exploring this new place with us. They had the best intentions of teaching us and helping us succeed in the classroom but also explore as much as we could outside of classes. They were able to make most classes into field trips to physically see what we were learning about and also learn more about London. They were understanding on homework and knowing that we would want to spend as much time as possible out exploring the city. They were always available to talk and help with whatever we needed and checked in often to make sure homestays were ok and we were adjusting well. 

I was so excited to move to London for two months(ended up being one month). I love traveling and was ready to make new memories and just explore more on my own. I found it very easy to move in and get adjusted to life in the city. My homestay family was so sweet and helpful with showing us around town the first day and giving many recommendations and answering questions whenever we had them. I liked the aspect of being able to stay with a family because we were able to see more of a day to day lifestyle and how they really live.

Living in a city is very different than in a small town because you’re able to walk most places or just take public transportation. The tube was easy to figure out after the first couple days of getting confused and ending up in the wrong place. Walking around the city was also a fun way just to see everything in the city and explore the shops and restaurants. 

Without Lauren and everyone who helped plan our semester I would have never had the wonderful experience I did. I am so sorry that her time was cut short, especially the tragic way it did. But Lauren for sure left a legacy behind at DMACC and with the study abroad program. She has had such a positive impact on so many students and will never be forgotten!!

Thank you, Lauren

Posted April 13, 2020

I remember when I first decided that I was going to study abroad in London. Lauren was giving a seminar/mini info party at the campus, and although there were only two of us who attended, she made it her goal to try and give as much information as she could, as well as making it fun. She even got the culinary classes to make scones for the event, which were pretty delicious. I struggled with convincing my family to let me go, as they were very against me leaving. As the oldest, it was hard for my parents to realize that I needed to spread my wings and explore. I understood their fears, but I felt like they were trying to hold me back. I explained my situation to Lauren and she actually called my mother, and managed to calm her down as well as convincing her to let me leave. I will be forever grateful to Lauren for doing that, because if she hadn’t, I might have gotten into a rather ugly fight with my parents and that was something I was trying really hard to avoid. Lauren had always appeared calm and collected, and in turn became someone who set an example of being in control. She pretty much knew what was up, and was an intelligent woman along with being a great professor. I am glad that she was able to come to London with us, even though it got cut short, she was able to have an amazing time. Thank you, Lauren for experiencing this wonderful opportunity with us.

Goodbye Lauren

Posted April 11, 2020

               It was the fall semester of 2018. I was starting my first year of college at DMACC's Ankeny campus. It was weird, only having about 2-3 classes a day, but I got used to it pretty fast. I hadn't planned on studying abroad at first, to be honest. But my dad mentioned that I should be on the lookout for extracurricular activities I would be interested in. I saw a poster in the hallway of building 2 advertising a spring Study Abroad trip to London over the Spring semester. I was curious, so I took a picture of it. I went to the meeting on the date the poster said, and I walked out of it set in my decision to travel to London. Of course, I wouldn't be able to go on the trip the following spring, as I had to save up quite a bit of money to afford the travel expenses.

               From that week on, I set aside a little bit of cash every week from my paycheck to pay for the trip. I even took an extra summer job and took out a student loan to make sure I was covered. One year later, in October of 2019, I submitted my application. Upon hearing that I was accepted into the program, I was ecstatic. I had been given the opportunity to study some of my favorite subjects in a faraway country full of culture and rich history. The trip hadn't even begun yet, and I already knew it would be one I would enjoy thoroughly.

               And I was right. The trip was amazing. Unfortunately, due to the recent health crisis, our trip, unfortunately, was tragically cut short. While I was sad about this, it made me realize just how grateful I am for the experiences I was given. I got to experience one of the most cultured cities in the world firsthand, witnessed some beautiful sights in Scotland, and met some amazing people I am glad to call my friends. One of these people was Lauren Rice. As tragic as it is for me to say, Lauren is no longer with us. I still have a hard time believing this fact myself sometimes. It really doesn't seem real. Maybe I'm in shock, or maybe it's denial, but it's a fact I have to accept.

This may sound a bit harsh, but I don't really feel sad about Lauren's passing. I don't mean that to be rude or insensitive to Lauren or her family, but it's the truth. I don't cry when I think about her, nor do I feel angry at the world for taking her away. All I really feel is this sense of emptiness. Like there's something that was taken away and I don't feel right because of it. These last few days have felt weird because of this. I've tried thinking about the better parts of the last few months to get my mind off it. Like this one time where Seth and I bumped into Brittany and Lauren in a pub at Oxford. Or the last night at London when Lauren joined us at a karaoke bar and just went off on the machine, rocking out to Jefferson Airplane. Honestly, I think that's the best I can do. I miss Lauren, obviously, but I know she wouldn't want me to mope around about it. She'd want me to get out there and do the most with my life and what I've been given. I'm trying Lauren, I'm really trying​

C. S. Lewis Feild Trip

Posted April 10, 2020

​In British Writers, we had to do a field trip over a British author of our choosing. I did mine over C. S. Lewis, author of the Chronicles of Narnia. Unfortunately, our class discussion went on a little too long, so we didn't get to go anywhere. We all did have a good discussion about Lewis and his inspirations. If we did get to travel, we would've gone to St. Jude's Church in the area of Golders' Green. This church was one of significance for Lewis, as he performed some sermons here in his heyday. That's right, something you may not know about Lewis is that in addition to being devoutly catholic, he also preached over seven sermons in his life. A few of these sermons were preached at the St. Jude on the Hill Church. He was also a close friend to another famous British writer, J. R. R. Tolkien. They were close friends at Oxford and even had a writing club they called the Inklings.

C. S. Lewis is most well-known for his children's book series, the Chronicles of Narnia, or more specifically, the first book, “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe". This fantasy series about a family of four siblings going on adventures in the land of Narnia has touched the hearts of many children in its 70+ years of publication, myself included. It's themes of good vs evil, courage in the face of adversity, betrayal and forgiveness simultaneously speak to people and reflect Lewis' catholic background. While it's true that Lewis was a devout catholic and integrated many themes and imagery from Catholicism into his story, the book and it's sequels can still be enjoyed by anyone. Lewis' writing has become a hallmark of British Literature. It has left an unmistakable impact on the fantasy genre and will no doubt be enjoyed by audiences for decades to come

In Loving Memory of Lauren & London

Posted April 10, 2020

From the first day I met Lauren she had a smile on her face. At the first meeting for this study abroad trip at DMACC Ankeny, when there was only one other girl and I in attendance, she had so much hope and excitement for our journey to London. I’m so glad she got to experience the city once more before she left us, and I’m honored to have gotten to study under her. Lauren was a tough professor. Not in a bad way, but she pushed her students to check their work once over and then twice, like Santa Claus and his list. She encouraged us to be our best selves and to not only work hard in school, but to play hard as well. She was so fun, in the teaching environment and outside of it. I’d like to share some of my fun memories with Lauren and some of my favorite things about her. 

 Starting with her in the educational setting, she was so quirky and unique, but also so intelligent. Almost every class I had with her, we as a class would get into a deep discussion over the topic at hand and she would do this thing where she makes this jokingly, smarty-pants face and push her glasses up on her nose and sort of shrug her shoulders to say, “Well, nerdy teacher moment” and laugh along with herself as she proceeded to tell us fun facts about things ordinary people would know nothing about. I loved when she did that, I found it so fun and interesting. She was so smart and full of knowledge. She once did this about different types of coffee, like the difference between an Americano and a Cappuccino and exactly how coffee works. It was amazing and surprising how much she knew about anything you brought up. If she was ever on jeopardy, she would've won, without a doubt. 

She had so many hopes and dreams for us while in London and worked her hardest to get us to be able to stay there. There was still so much for us to see and do before our time was cut short, but one of my favorite places I was able to visit in London, Lauren took me to. She found this bookstore that was inside of a boat on the water. For creative writing, my favorite class, she took us there. I absolutely fell in love with this shop on a ship and it was all thanks to Lauren. I stayed there for 30 more minutes after the rest of the class had left just reading and ended up buying a bookI'm sure I'm not the only student who fell in love with something or somewhere Lauren put them on to. 

I will miss our conversations about essential oils and crystals on the tube and our relatable curly-hair talk. She was an inspiration to me as I am going to school for creative writing. She was my first college professor in the subject of my profession and that will always mean so much to me. She supported my writing and always gave me great feedback while affirming my writing and making me feel like my work was truly something special. She was someone special and she will be missed. Thank you for everything, Lauren. 



Samira Sayeed 

A Thank You to Our Professors

Posted April 10, 2020

Traveling is one of the most exciting, wonderful, and rewarding things a person can do. However, it can also be one of the most stressful and draining things. For us who were part of the London study abroad program in the spring of 2020, we had the additional stress of schoolworklearning to not only visit but live in a different country, and​ were in the midst of a global crisis as the Covid-19 virus was starting to spreadDuring this crazy time, we students could not have had better people supporting us than our professors Lauren Rice and Bethany Sweeney. Throughout our month in London they were the kind and level-headed people that we needed. I will always remember and be grateful to them for everything they did for us during us our time studying abroad.  

In light of Professor Rice’s recent passing, I want to take an opportunity say what an incredible person she was to have as a teacher, fellow traveler, and friendduring the study abroad program. First and foremost, she cared about us students more than anything. Before the program even started, she was always there to encourage us to go on this life changing trip​ and answer any questions or concerns we had. Once classes started, she made sure to check in on us and ask how we were doing. Often the first fifteen minutes of class consisted of us students telling her our frustrations about life in Londonor funny story about what happened to us over the weekend. Lauren was always there to listen, to laugh with us, to comfort us, or to give us advice. Lauren wanted us to get the most out of our education. She always did her best to find ways to make strong connections between the students and the course material.  I’ll never forget all the incredible field trips we went on in our classes. From walking around Bloomsbury in the cold, to meeting at a pub to discuss poetry over a bowl of chips. Lauren’s kindness, sense of humor, and inquisitive mind will always serve as a model for me as I continue to mature and develop my own character. I’m truly going to miss our conversations, such as discussing which Jane Austen novel is our favorite over a cup of coffee and a millionaire shortbread (her favorite) at the British Museum after class.  

While the decisions were being made about returning home due to the virus. Both Professor Lauren and Bethany were constantly trying to make the best decisions they could for our group. They spoke on our behalf and kept us students informed about what was happening. They continually remained calm and optimisticSo, I would again like to say thank you to our professors for being incredible in so many ways. We could not have had the amazing experience that we did without them. ​

Finals Thoughts...

Posted April 9, 2020

​​I think it would be sufficient to say that the Spring 2020 semester is not going according to plan. At the beginning of 2020, I was excited to start my semester abroad in London, England. I couldn’t wait to experience all that London had to offer, from the fish and chips to afternoon tea I was overflowing with excitement and anticipation. Although COVID-19 was around before we left, I didn’t even think to be worried about it; I was determined to enjoy all eight weeks of my time abroad.   

​​When we first stepped onto English soil it was around 5:00 am, I was jetlagged and exhausted but above all, I was in disbelief that I was in another country and 4,168 miles away from home. This disbelief quickly turned to excitement as we made our way to AIFS’s headquarters, also knowns as the Taylor House. We quickly dropped off our luggage and walked around Kensington before our taxi picked us up to take us to our homestay. We explored every nook and cranny of what would soon become our second home in the next eight weeks.   

Around 11:00 am my roommate and I was on our way to our homestay. We were quickly introduced to the loveliest homestay hosts in a beautiful home in Muswell Hill. Before leaving for London I had felt nervous about living in someone else’s house, but as soon as I was settled in Muswell Hill began to feel like a home away from home.   

Within two weeks of being in London, the international city was quickly turning into my favorite place in the world. I had mastered navigating the underground and buses and had no problem getting around London. My roommate and I already had our favorite grocery store and routine lunch spot after Wednesday lectures, any thoughts of COVID-19 were far from my mind.   

But, COVID-19 was not as far away as I thought. Things quickly started to go downhill. First, it was concerts getting canceled, next it was the schools in the U.S. shut down and before I knew it my trip to Paris was canceled because we were no longer allowed to leave the UK. I was devasted since going to Paris was the number one thing I wanted to do while in Europe, but I didn’t want this ruin my weekend. My friends and I quickly decided to take a day trip to Bath. Even though the thought of possibly being sent home early was looming over us, we tried to enjoy the day as best as we could. Suddenly, while sitting in a coffee shop in Bath drinking giant white-hot chocolate, we got an email from Lauren announcing that we would be staying in London!  

At that moment I could have cried tears of joy, I was trying to not jump up and down and freak out in the middle of this coffee shop. I couldn’t believe it, we were staying, everything was going to be ok! I remember feeling so grateful towards Lauren and Bethany at the time, they had been fighting so hard to get us to stay and we really were!  


Unfortunately, the joy did not last long. After getting back from Bath we heard that other schools that were here with us were getting sent home on Friday. I kept praying that DMACC would hold on, to not send us home. Alas, Monday afternoon Lauren and Bethany gathered all of us and announced that we would be getting sent home though they weren’t sure when they suspected that we only have two more days left in London. Two hours later we get an email from AIFS, our flight to Chicago leaves Tuesday afternoon. We had less than 24 hours left in London, my roommate and I quickly got dinner at our favorite restaurant, Seoul Bakery, one last time. We had our last Monday night karaoke, bought some souvenirs and chocolate and tried to make the best of the little time we had left. What was supposed to be four more weeks suddenly turned into 18 hours.   

As I was sitting on the plane ride back to the U.S. I couldn’t stop thinking about all the things I would no longer be able to do once I arrived back home. I would no longer be able to get bubble tea at The Alley, ride the underground or double decker buses, or decide last minute to go see a musical because why not? While my head was spinning with all these last time thoughts, I never thought that this would be the last time I saw any of the people with me on this trip.   

Hearing the news about Lauren put my head through a whirlwind of emotions. I was in shock and disbelief. In a world where everyone is worried about COVID-19 and making sure everyone is healthy and safe, it never occurred to me that Lauren would pass away in such a tragic accident. It just seemed so surreal and totally unfair; we weren’t even supposed to be home yet.   

Lauren Rice was one of the most interesting and passionate professors I had ever had. The first week of my Encounters in Humanities class I remember being in awe of how she took something that looked so mundane and found art in it. She always pushed me to think deeper and find meaning in everyday things like architecture and music. In the little time that I knew her, I always felt her passion for everything she did. Every time she talked to us her eyes were sparkling with excitement. You couldn’t help but smile when she talked like this, the way she described things made you want to listen. It’s what made her such an amazing professor, you could tell that she loved what she did as soon as you walked into the classroom.   

Lauren is someone I will never forget. She was the first professor I made a true connection with while in college. Thanks to the study abroad program I was able to form a connection with both Bethany and Lauren that I will cherish forever. Lauren Rice will always be the one who pushed me to actually think about art in a way that I never have before.    


Thank you, Lauren, for showing me what it’s like to be truly passionate and for teaching me how to find beauty where others do not. I will always miss our little chats we had during field trips for Encounters and bonding with you over our love for books and dogs. In the future, I hope that I can radiate that same kind of energy and passion to others just like you did to me. May you rest in peace.   


Madeline Buys.  

Remembering Lauren & Our Time In London

Posted April 8, 2020

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​​​I can't believe that i am able to say that i got to live in London for a month. Although it should have been two and our trip was cut short due to this pandemic. I will forever be eternally grateful to Professor Lauren Rice for helping me get that month. I can't express enough all that she has given me in the short time that i have known her. From the very beginning when i first reached out telling her that i was interested in the program, she was welcoming. 

We talked a lot over those first few months in 2019 when she was trying to recruit students. She helped me with everything and when she couldn't, she sent me to someone who could. She encouraged and helped me every step of the way and answered every question i had. I have been dreaming of living in London since i was a child. When i seen the poster at the Urban Campus i knew i had to make it happen. 

At the time i had no idea how i was going to pull it off financially, but i took the leap anyway. Like i said, Lauren encouraged me every step of the way helping me find solutions. This semester i got to spend a lot of time with Lauren while in London because all of my classes were with her. She was always so uplifting and eager to explore with us students. She is just an all around cool person to be around and very wise. 

I also admired the fact that we are both a lover of words. She would sometimes work a long with us on our assignments for Creative Writing. I've never had a professor or any teacher do that before. I loved getting to know more about her through her writing. She has helped me a lot with improving my writing skills with her indepth feedbacks. In the moment i remember just constantly thinking, 'Ugh i know school is apart of this trip but i am in London! I don't want to do all of this work'. 

Even though i wasn't a fan of the amount of work she had us doing... I admired her for her passion and work ethic. I could tell that she spends time trying to help us students improve. I wish so much to hear her laugh or smile again. It breaks my heart to know that no one else will get to experience all that is Lauren. But i am so grateful that i atleast got too. 

London of course had it's moments, but overall it was a FANTASTIC experience. I will never forget the joy i felt while being in that city. It was the happiest i have ever been and i can't wait to experience that feeling again someday. Thank you Professor Bethany as well for being awesome. I appreciate you both dearly for all you have done for me. Lauren we all miss you, and our memories of you will live on forever. 


Talissa Vegas 


Posted April 7, 2020

Whether you are a broke college student, or just trying to save some money, Wetherspoons is for you. Known as one the best pub chains in England, Wetherspoons offers a reliable menu, fast service, an app and best of all cheap meals under $10 (yes $.)

Majority of Wetherspoons offer the same menu at each location, making finding what to eat easy and reliable. I really recommend the pizza or hamburger because both are very quick, have good combo deals and taste amazing!


One unique thing about Wetherspoons that is uncommon from US restaurants, is the lack of wait staff. When ready to order, find the table number and either order at the bar or use the app. Because there is less interaction with wait staff, food arrives quickly. Even in a busy Wetherspoons, I don't think I waited more than 15 minutes for each meal. However, for that unbeatable price and quality, I would be willing to wait much longer! "Spoons" as it is locally known, is a great go to for a quick and cheap bite in London!​

Impacts of London and Lauren

Posted April 7, 2020

I’ve done a lot of travel in my life that a lot of 19 year olds can’t say they have or ever will be able to experience. I am grateful that I have been fortunate enough to do these things. I think London has been my favorite location so far though. I don’t know if that’s because I was there for the longest out of all my trips, I was with other people my age, or if it’s just because that city is truly exciting. I always had something to do that not only kept me busy, but was fun and interesting at the same time. Anywhere I went while I was abroad, there was at least one thing in that area that was a part of history. Somedays I would just go out to walk around and I managed to stumble across something that is significant in one way or another every time. 

Someone who always had a recommendation of somewhere to go or something to do was one of the instructors that was with our group this spring, Lauren Rice. This was her second time going on this trip and she could talk your ear off going on about places people should visit. I didn’t have any classes with her besides British Life and Culture, but I still was lucky enough to get to know her a little. My favorite memory of her is the night before we got sent home, Monday March 16th. Students from our DMACC group had been doing karaoke nights during the couple weeks while we were there, her and Bethany joined us for our last night. Lauren and I sang a few songs together; Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd and Come on Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners. I don’t have any pictures of or with Lauren to share from that night, but I have my mental memories that I will be able to look back on to remember and cherish. 

What happened to her is not fair. All she wanted was for other people to be happy and to live life to the fullest. I’m happy that she was able to go with us to London this semester. She spent her last few months doing what anyone could tell she loved, traveling. Our spring program was cut short and I could tell she might have been the person most torn up about it. Heck if we were still there, she might still be with us. But we can’t dwell on the what ifs. I’m sad to see her go, like all of us, but I know she would want us to keep moving forward. Rest in peace Lauren, thank you for the influence you had on my life the little time I got to know you.

Looking back at London

Posted April 7, 2020

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to study abroad. I really wasn’t sure how I would make it happen, but it was always a goal for me. 

When I came to DMACC a few years ago, I never dreamed that studying abroad would be possible. Thanks to Lauren Rice and Bethany Sweeney, an opportunity to achieve a dream was realized. 

I would like to thank them for everything that they’ve done for all of us that were fortunate enough to be in London with them. Unfortunately, we went during a pandemic. This was scary for a lot of us, but their bravery and persistence to keep us in London was something that I feel calmed a lot of us down amidst some unforeseen times in the world’s history. 

Unfortunately, we were sent home one month early. While this was hard for a lot of us, I cannot thank DMACC, Bethany, and Lauren enough for making this the best month of my life. In the short time I was in London, I experienced so much, met so many amazing people, and grew so much as a person. 

On Sunday, April 5, Lauren was taken from us too early. I will always remember her for her kindness, her smile and her enthusiasm towards learning. Lauren, I’ll miss you dearly. Thank you for helping all of us get out of our comfort zones, and thank you for making this semester in London the greatest adventure of my life. I can’t wait to go back!

Lauren & London

Posted April 7, 2020

During my senior year of high school my mother convinced me to go on a college visit to DMACC since I was still undecided. My mom and I were walking around Ankeny campus with a guide, which is when I locked eyes with a poster, “STUDY ABROAD IN LONDON.” I remember looking at my mom and pointing at the poster and saying “I’m going here.”

My first year at DMACC I remember getting multiple emails and seeing posters about a meeting for study abroad at DMACC West Campus. So I dragged two of my new friends to go with me, we were the only three in the room, this was also where I met Lauren Rice. Lauren talked about everything in study abroad, we would be taking classes at British School in London, we would be living with a family, and the opportunities offered over there. I was really hoping to study abroad in the spring of 2019 but I couldn’t raise the money in time. So I ended up going in the spring of 2020. 

From that first meeting I have exchanged emails and multiple meetings with Lauren. She has helped me get the money to go and she put me in contact with anyone who could help me. She really truly helped me get to fulfill my life long dream of traveling to London for study abroad. Although our time in London was cute short, I will forever cherish the small and big moments I got to experience in the short amount of time in London. Lauren Rice is a truly an inspiration to me, there will never be a day that goes by where I don’t think about her or my time in London. 

When I was notified that Lauren would be coming with us on the trip, I was ecstatic because she has helped me get to that point and I was happy to be able to have her as one of my two professors in the great city of London. Also, the fact that she had been to London multiple other times, she was super helpful when it came to solving problems and figuring out the city. She was also a great professor because she got me out of my comfort zone in a place that was far out of my comfort zone.

Lauren and London will truly be an inspiration to my everyday life, I will live every single day to the fullest and not take anything for granted. 

Josie C.

London Thrifting

Posted April 6, 2020

​Thrifting is similar in England as it is in the US as they both involve buying second-hand items. However, in England, thrift stores are more commonly known as charity-shops. I have found that higher-classed area thrift stores have higher-classed items. So you can imagine my anticipation for thrifting in London! Following the pattern, London's many charity shops were filled with unique and high-valued clothing.


If you want to truly be successful in thrifting, you have to understand the art of it all. As the late professor, Lauren Rice, would say, "everything is an art." Much like cave spelunking, if you want to find diamonds, then you have to go through the rough. Commonly donated apparel include, sports jerseys, clothes a child has grown out of and group tee shirts, which I consider to be the metophorical rough. However, if you are lucky, you can find diamonds like old band tees, estate sale left overs or just miscellaneous discarded apparel.


In a richer area like London, the chances of a good charity shop find is very high. There is so many benefits of putting the effort into finding a second-hand treasure. What you own will most likely be unique, a fraction of the original price and sometimes have that vintage feel that people pay thousands for. In the month I was in London, I managed to buy to find two coats, multiple shirts and even a pair of pants in my size!​​

Beatrix Potter Field Trip

Posted April 6, 2020

Beatrix Potter was born in South Kensington on July 28, 1866.  She grew up in London but spent a lot of time in the Lake District of England. There she developed a love of nature and started to draw and paint the natural world around her. Later in life, Potter started to create stories about her illustrations. In 1902, Potter published her first children's story, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. It was very popular and within three years Potter had published twenty more short stories. Her last story, The Tale of Little Pig Robinson, was published in 1930. To this day the works of Beatrix Potter are treasured by children and adults alike around the world. 

Because Beatrix Potter has such a special place in English literature, I chose to use her as the subject for an assignment in my Major British Writers class. The assignment was to take the class on a field trips to sites related to our chosen author. Sadly, we had to leave London before I could complete my assignment. Below is an outline of what we would have done on the field trip.  

The first stop on our journey was the Victoria & Albert Museum in KensingtonThe Victoria & Albert museum has one of the largest collections of Beatrix Potter's worksincluding photographs, her childhood sketchbooks, paint box, and over 280 of her drawings. Next, we would have walked from the Victoria and Albert Museum to Brompton Cemetery, which is located in South Kensington, the same neighborhood where Beatrix Potter grew up. The cemetery is significant because there are quite a few gravestones that have names similar to the characters in Potter's stories. It is likely that she got inspiration from here as the names include: Peter Rabbett, McGregor, Nutkins, and Jeremiah Fisher. Finally, we would have strolled from the cemetery to the location of Beatrix Potter’s childhood home. The house itself was destroyed during the blitz in 1940, although not while the Potter’s still owned it. After the home was ruinedBousfield primary school was built on the site and a blue plaque has been placed at the school in honor of Beatrix Potter. 

I would encourage anyone who hasn’t already read Beatrix Potter’s works, to take some time to do so. Each story reflects the quaintness of the English. From the quirky and lovable animal characters, to the beautiful watercolors, the stories are a delight. ​ ​

Let the spectacle astound you!

Posted April 5, 2020

​It's no secret that London LOVES the arts. It seems that there are theatre houses on every corner in central London... I knew that I had to take advantage of this whilst in town. 

The Phantom of the Opera has been my favorite performance for as long as I can remember. So, I knew that attending the performance in London was a must. Thankfully, I was able to attend the performance with a bunch of my classmates. 

Not to get into it too much, but it was a bucket list moment, and I'm so grateful to be able to experience it (again) in London. I highly recommend watching the performance at both the Royal Albert Hall as well as Her Majesty's Theatre. You won't regret it!