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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Elija Juceviciute: Independent travel to the USA

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    10 Dec

    In the summer of 2019, I travelled to the USA and I am grateful for the Gateway Fund and Rosemary Murray Travel Exhibition for supporting this journey, which was packed with lots of interesting experiences and unbelievable blessings!

    During 25 days across the Atlantic Ocean, I had a chance to taste bits of American culture. I stayed with local families, watched famous TV programmes in the evenings and had BBQs with them on the weekends. I’ve tasted different American dishes, desserts and sweets, and ate at world-famous American fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Five Guys, Chick-fil-A, In-N-Out Burger, Wendy’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and Portillo’s.

    Most of the time I stayed in Illinois. I had some great time exploring Down Town of Chicago: walking the Magnificent Mile, being at the beginning of historic Route 66, visiting Lincoln Park Zoo, Millennium Park (seeing the famous Cloud Gate, a.k.a. The Bean), Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park, taking photos of yachts at Navy Pier and listening to some live blues music at the House of Blues.

    I had an amazing evening at Wrigley field watching Chicago CUBS baseball game (vs Oakland Athletics), which, fortunately, was a WIN for a home team. It was one of the biggest highlights of my time there. I would highly recommend everyone at least once go to a baseball game in America just to experience the atmosphere there. 

    I was very lucky to be able to see famous gospel musician Kirk Franklin perform on his tour LONG LIVE LOVE. I was struck by the positive energy there. Being in the audience that felt more like being in the professional choir with everyone singing so beautifully and recognising the songs just from the first chords was more than amazing! At first, I didn’t expect much but it was the best concert I’ve ever been to.

    One of the aims of the journey to the US was to attend the Global Leadership Summit 2019. It was a great opportunity to learn from famous people like DeVon Franklin, Bear Grylls, Chris Voss, Jia Jiang, Bozoma Saint John, and many others. In between sessions, there were beautiful performances of different artists, e.g. Kevin Olusola (beatboxer of the vocal band Pentatonix). To conclude, this two-day event impacted me very much.

    Last but not least, at the Summit I met an amazing couple that bought me a plane ticket to California and invited me to stay with them for a couple of days. That was a huge gift for me, I can’t even express my gratitude to them! I got a chance to explore Sacramento and San Francisco. I saw the Golden Gate bridge, watched the seals relaxing at PIER 39, climbed up to the Coit Tower, treated myself with world-famous hot fudge sundae at Ghirardelli Square, had a ride down the Lombard Street which is famous for a steep, one-block section with eight hairpin turns and enjoyed the view at the Baker’s beach. 

    All in all, this journey was a dream of mine and I am very thankful for the Gateway Fund and Rosemary Murray Travel Exhibition for making it come true.

    Elija Juceviciute