Tag Archives: rachel mihulka

Leave the Muggle World Behind: Real Life Harry Potter Places

I’ve accepted my fate. I’m a muggle. For years I’ve waited for my letter to come flying through the door announcing my acceptance to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. However, that day will never come. Never will I get the chance to dine in the Great Hall, compete in a Quidditch match, or stroll through Diagon Alley. Luckily for me, the muggle world has 5 real places to fulfill my Hogwarts dreams.


  1. Alnwick Castle, Alnwick—This old brick castle’s original use was to house the Duke of Northumberland. However, it grew even more famous when it became J.K. Rowling’s inspiration and a filming location for the world’s greatest school—Hogwarts.Platform 9 3_4
  2. Platform 9 ¾, London—Right in the center of King’s Cross Station lies Platform 9 ¾. Here you and Hedwig can try your luck in entering the wizarding world. Note: Yes, this is actually me in the photo. As you can see from the scarf, Pottermore told me I’m a Gryffindor. (Obviously.)australiahouse
  3. Australia House, London—The filming location of Gringott’s Wizarding Bank, minus the dragons and goblins. Although the building isn’t open to the public, you can still sneak a peek at the stunning marble inside.London Zoo
  4. London Zoo, London—In the Sorcerer’s Stone, the Dursleys’ visit to the Reptile House gave us the first glimpse of Harry’s ability as a Parseltongue. However, when you visit, please try to keep all venomous snakes behind the glass. Thank you.Christ's Church
  5. Christ’s Church, Oxford—An important central location of the HP series is the Great Hall. It’s where everyone dines each day, students first get sorted into their houses, and Dumbledore welcomes in each school year. Christ’s Church is the inspiration behind this coveted magical landmark and is a must-see for any real Potter fan.


I hope you get to discover all these attractions, and maybe you can even find a little magic in the muggle world.  

How to Plan for Your Fall Semester Abroad

By Rachel Mihulka

1. Notify your bank: The last thing you want to do is get to Europe and not have access to your own money. Make sure your debit/credit cards are activated internationally, and keep an extra credit card handy for emergencies.

Make it rain

2. Make a packing list: Packing for a semester abroad is difficult. Unfortunately, you aren’t able to bring your entire closet, so packing smart is important! Plan to dress in layers, and only bring the essentials. Heads up: if you haven’t worn something multiple times in the last year, it’s not essential.

Flippy Floppies

3. Read up on the cultures and customs of your host country: I can’t reiterate this enough! Did you know tipping a server can be considered rude in Italy? Or how about that eating any food without utensils is considered sloppy in France? Knowing these little facts will help you blend in like a local and make your transition into foreign life as smooth as possible.


4. Create a communication plan: Keeping in touch with your friends and family back home is really important. Before you go, talk to them about your communication plan. Will you keep in contact through Skype, Facebook, or something else? Also, creating a blog to document your day-to-day activities can be really fun for everyone. That way, people back home can keep up with you without having to talk every day!

brent rambo

5. Start getting acquainted with the language: Speaking of communication… Whether you’re going to a country that speaks a foreign language or even one that speaks English, it is so important to learn how to speak before you go. Learn the most important words, phrases, and slang native to your country. Besides, you never know when you’ll be wandering through the streets of Florence and DESPERATELY need a restroom.

Mi Scusi

6. Make an abroad bucket list: I know your list is long, and you think about it constantly, but start writing down the things you want to see, do, taste, and experience while you’re abroad. Do you want to ride on the back of a Vespa through Rome, dance with a Spaniard in Barcelona, sip on a stein of beer at Oktoberfest, or go skydiving in the Swiss Alps? Write it down, and make a plan on how to check each of these things off your bucket list!


7. Prepare yourself: Get ready for the most exciting, scary, thrilling, and adventurous time of your life. Take advantage of every moment while you’re abroad, because the memories you’ll take away will be some of the best of your life!

oh boy