Study Abroad | UCL | Episode One: January

I made a thing! It's legitimately a full episode though πŸ˜³πŸ™ˆ  But officially one month today arriving in London Town πŸ˜πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§  

And a big month it has been!

Till next time, 

They're all linked so you should just be able to click on them! :)

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I've moved to London! (...For six months :P)

So it's been more than a little while :P
Hi guys! ☺️

This is a post I had hoped I would get to write for forever and I was supposed to straight after I got the news - but life from the middle of 2016 was just a lot, in a lot of ways.

But here we are in 2017, here I am in London, and something I had been hoping/working for for the past 3 years has come to life.

I remember imagining that one day I would be able to write the blogpost title you're looking at above.

It's a bit insane.

So, backstory: Since I started uni I wanted to do an exchange and very quickly after looking into all the possibilities my heart got set on University College London.

Very few people knew about it because:

a. It was a competitive uni to get into and I kept thinking what happened if the year I was applying happened to be a year where all the other people applying for UCL were better than me :P

b. The process for applying for exchange (and waiting for confirmation) was sooo gruelling/intense/drawn out

c. I am very much the person who likes to keep things to themselves until it's all confirmed.

And then this happened...

And now, I'm in London.

Why London?

UCL is an amazing, reputable institution and especially great for what I'm studying - I wanted the experience of attending this uni.

London, living in London, I don't think I need to say more about that - I feel very grateful.

Can someone say weekend trips to Paris (and so many places in Europe?) :P SO. EXCITED.

The process for getting here was a lot. I was so, so, so anxious waiting to hear SOMETHING from them. I just wanted to know. I was so worried it wouldn't happen and as much as I'm a believer in everything happening for a reason, this thing, this thing was something I just really, really wanted, wanted so bad.

One morning I woke up, grabbed my phone, refreshed my email as I had anxiously been doing every single day for a while back then, and UCL's name popped up in my list - the email title was:

Offer to study at UCL

It was real and now that I'm here, I can confirm it's 100% real. 
Sometimes I am walking down the streets here and I still can't believe it.

If only 18 year old Raashi knew that it would have all worked out :P

There was a lot happening in the lead up to me coming here and so it was hard at times that I was leaving home but I was also so, SO excited to do something for me. 

Everyone told me I would get homesick and sad initially when I got here for the first few days, but I had been anticipating this for so long and I know what I usually am like with new experiences, I just didn't think it would be the case, I was just so excited.

The final few days before leaving I was super emotional. At times I was even thinking why I was doing this to myself, haha. But at the same time I always still had that excitement about everything I had been waiting for to be coming my way.

I have been here for officially one month today and that is crazy to me, I don't know whether time has gone fast or slow, but luckily I am so enjoying it and I always knew I would. I had been feeling like this was the right time for me to do something like this for a while now. And I'm doing it!

I have been so out of the blogging world for a bunch of different reasons but this experience is so special to me, I do want to have my record of it on here ☺️

 I decided a little while before coming that I would do a video for every month that I am here and you'll be seeing January's Video Recap tomorrow! ☺️

I hope I get more into blogging again and get to read all of your lovely posts from time to time - in between all the exploring...and even some studying, hahaha.

So I guess this is it for now...? Haha, just a good ol' hello from little me in London Town! (So crazy!!!)
They're all linked so you should just be able to click on them! :)

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The Good News: August, 2016's been more than just a minute!
Haha. How are you all!
Man, the second half of this year has taken me by storm.

So, so, so much has been going the last 2-3 months I have felt like my mind was being pulled in all some really good ways and in some more interesting ways.

To say things are settling down wouldn't be quite right, haha.
Still got loooots of things coming up...but that's for another post!

What a better way to enter back after my little hiatus than with some good news!

I know we are almost at the end of September now (craziness!) but there's still so much good news to come in the last week of September (hopefully! ☺️) - so, before we jump ahead to the end of September, I want to do a quick recap of August!


The lowdown:

I have always been all for being positive and optimistic
(read about my take on The Importance of Positivity ☺️).
A long time back, I had the idea of doing a blogpost series called 'The Good News'.

The news and current affairs of our world is so important, it is crucial we keep updated on what is happening around us.

A lot of that tends to focus on what is going wrong.

And, although it is necessary to think about what is wrong in order to right it,
I think we could stand to gain a lot from appreciating what is already right, or getting good, as well!

So, without further ado,


August, 2016


Donor Deference


A family's fifteen year old boy passed away recently, but before that their boy had made the decision to be an organ donor - giving someone else a second chance at life. The boy's brother shared a letter from the man who received his brother's donation. It read:

Dear Donor Family,

I'd like to express my sympathy for the death of your loved one. I also want to thank you for the special gift they donated. Without this donation, I would not be healing from a successful surgery right now, and I wouldn't have another chance at a healthy, pain-free life.

I needed a tissue transplant in order to fully repair my posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), which I tore due to a nasty fall off a bike this past September. It seems like such a dumb way to sustain a major injury, but it's certainly a lesson in how quickly like can change! Now, because I could have surgery with the tissue transplant, I have the opportunity to work toward a full, 100% recovery. Moreover, repairing my PCL lessens long term risks such as early, onset arthritis.

This is all quite a blessing to me. I'm a 21-year-old finishing up my last semester of college. My favorite hobbies are playing music (saxophone and piano), playing team sports, and getting out in nature. I try to be very active. I've taken many trips to the Boundary Waters, and I’ve run a marathon (and hope to complete another before too long!). As I mentioned before, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to once again use my body's full potential without the gift of your loved one. Thank you for honoring your loved one's wishes at a very difficult time. I am humbled by your generosity and kindness.



A call to the police and a home cooked meal

After a report of someone crying and shouting in an apartment complex, police in Rome arrived to the small home of an elderly couple, 84 year old wife, Jole, and 94 year old husband, Michele. Michele began crying when she asked her husband why there was so much hate in the news today?

After a conversation with the couple who said it had been forever since someone had visited them and were feeling lonely, and noticing that there were few signs of them having eaten a proper meal, the policemen knew exactly what to do.

One officer cooked some pasta, the other officers sat down for a conversation with the couple. When sharing the story on their Facebook page they said they realised there was no crime to report or forms to fill, but a much harder task at hand: 
To reassure a couple who needed help and some warmth.


Olympic Spirit Shines Through

Source: ABC

When USA's Abbey D'Agostino took a heavy fall during the Olympics 5000m semi-final New Zealand's Nikki Hamblin showed exactly what sportsmanship means. Nikki offered injured Abbey her hand and said "Get up. We have to finish this."

Finishing the race as the last competitors on the track, the crowd roared for them. In post-race interviews, Abbey said,

"That girl is the Olympic spirit right there. I've never met her before, and isn't that just so amazing. Such an amazing woman…I’m never going to forget that moment…When someone asks me what happened in Rio in 20 years' time, that's my story ... That girl shaking my shoulder, (saying) 'come on, get up'."


Helping the Homeless with a Guitar in Hand

His name is Chris Leamy and one day he walked out of the subway with his guitar case, as usual. It was then that a homeless woman pointed to him and his guitar, exclaiming how much easier it would be if she had one of those!

And so began, #HePlaysForMe, Chris thought what if the homeless on the side of the street couldn't afford instruments? So, for around two years now he has sat beside them, playing for them.

Another smart setup of Chris'?
Every time he helps a homeless person get $15, he matches it giving $15 to the Bowery Mission Homeless Shelter and urging his followers to do the same.

One of the best cases to come out of this is Miguel's story. After being spotted with Chris in a video, a donation page was set up for Miguel with the goal of:

$500, for
- Clothes from Goodwill
- Food
- A Savings Account
- Two Months of Apartment Rent
- Any spare money would go towards buying meals for the Homeless Shelter

The results?
- Miguel got back on his feet and even landed himself a job at the Dairy Queen
- They were able to buy 1257 meals for the shelter
- And Chris has been signed for a record deal by he continues to play for the homeless


Family Heirloom Preserved

Source: CBS DFW

North Texas Jeweller was confronted by a customer trying to sell her mother's gold necklace and just couldn't take it from her.

Noah spoke with CBSDFW about the incident.
“It seemed like she was sad and there was tears in her eyes,” said Noah. He said the woman told him she needed money for bills and was broke. “I let her tell me how much she wanted to sell it and I gave her exactly what money she wanted,” said Noah. The jewellery store worker not only dug into his own pockets, but after handing over a significant amount of money he gave back the necklace. The moment was captured on security cameras. “I didn’t think about it, I just grabbed the money. I grabbed the money and gave it to her.” said Noah.

518 Litres of Helpful

Source: Demi Lyn Frandsen

Demi Frandsen, Omaha mother, donated over 500 litres of breast milk to her local hospital, honouring her late son who was just 10 months old.  Her son, Leo, was born two months premature with a defect known as gastroschisis (a permanent opening in his abdonminal wall) - which meant he couldn't be breastfed.

Frandsen then made the beautiful decision to give her breastmilk to others, as reported by local broadcaster ABC 6.
They reported:
Ms Frandsen said her total donations would have been enough to occupy a “dairy aisle, basically”. Leo unexpectedly passed away on October 2 last year. Ms Frandsen said she’s still dealing with his passing. "We're still trying to figure out how to have a life without such a big part of it...a little piece of our soul," she said. “It's not even day to day. It's moment to moment.”
Children’s Milk Depot Lactation Consultant Tammi Martin has praised Demi for her selfless act. "With all that was going on in her life, she (still) found it in her heart to give to other babies," Ms Martin said.

A Princess, Always

The beautiful Andrea Sierra Salazar didn't let Stage Two Lymphoma and Chemotherapy stop her from pursuing her lifelong dreams of modelling.
Using the time she had to take off of school to her advantage, she began modelling for agencies and shoots. In that time she experimented with wigs, but she had a realisation and went for something different. 
She posed for photographer Gerardo Garmendia without hair or wigs and the result was magical. Andrea took to Twitter with the powerful caption, "Cancer doesn’t stop me from being a princess”.
Salazar is proud that she's inspiring other girls to be confident (and be the princesses they are) regardless of disabilities of any kind - regardless of their shape and size, they're beautiful, she says.
How stunning of a soul is Andrea!!!

Stop and smell flower shirt!

10 year old Cami Skouson has autism and adores this specific pink flowery shirt she got from Target 5 years ago - but after constant wear it got too tattered to be used again. 

So, mum Deborah took to Facebook and made a post explaining the situation, a post that has been shared over 40,000 times!

Today reported:
"My count is up to 178," Deborah Skouson told TODAY about the number of shirts she was expecting. She's already received about 50 in the mail. "We got one on Friday from Germany!"

“I don’t know how much she understands, but when she first saw multiples of the shirt, she was a little confused, because she’s only ever had one at a time,” Deborah told TODAY. “She likes to pick up each one of them, and she rubs them against her face and smells them, and just gets a big smile on her face.”

8000 Hats (And Counting) for the Homeless From His Hospital Bed
91 and ill in hospital, and Moorie Boogart still keeps himself busy by knitting hats for the homeless - and he's been doing it for over 15 years now!

He kept count till 8000 hats and since then he's just kept knitting.
Boogart spoke to Fox 17 West Michigan, who reported:

"You keep going around like that, one at a time and pull it over that peg," explains Boogart. "Keep it going all the way around. I do it awfully slow, it maybe takes me two days to make a hat." He spends his days in hospice care at Cambridge Manor in Grandville, slowly wrapping yarn around the pegs of the loom one by one. "The only time I'm not doing it is if I fall asleep," confesses Boogart.
There are boxes of hats ready to be delivered to shelters throughout Grand Rapids and bags of yarn waiting to be knit. "The hats have a rim around the edge to cover their ears and keep them nice and warm," said Boogart. Boogart doesn't know how much time he has left, but he's making that time count. "Why do I do it? It just makes me feel good," said Boogart. 
For now, he's working on getting more hats ready to be delivered in October, with a photo of his wife who has passed on, Donna Mae, to his left and a box of yarn to his right. "It's not so much of a story, but it means a lot to me," said Boogart.
I have to disagree with Boogart on one matter, what a story!

A Helping Hand to a Grandma Scared of Escalators

People are wonderful. Simple gestures, so much meaning to someone else.


Everything is A-OK/Mint with this baby's birth!

Source: Imgur/Paymaker

Newborn British Baby took Imgur by storm when he was shown making an A-ok/Mint sign minutes after being born, raking in over seven million views!

You know what? With all this good news, I feel like we are all A-ok ☺️

And that was some of The Good News for August! ☺️

What were you surprised to hear about? Do you have a favourite?
Do you like listening to some Good News? ☺️

Or follow me below at - 
They're all linked so you should just be able to click on them! :)

Until next time,


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The Good News: July, 2016

I am back!
I feel like for the next month I'll be throwing out my usual scheduled post days and just trying to pop up weekly posts whenever I can - please bear with me D: haha.


We have all been bombarded with some less than ideal news this month, and my heart goes out to all those affected. For some reason, this past month's news really hit me hard. So, it is most definitely time to get really happy again and read some Good News from this past month!
I have gathered LOTS of stories this month because the world needs to hear and recognise all the good things happening and the good people that exist!

The lowdown:

I have always been all for being positive and optimistic
(read about my take on The Importance of Positivity ☺️).
A long time back, I had the idea of doing a blogpost series called 'The Good News'.

The news and current affairs of our world is so important, it is crucial we keep updated on what is happening around us.

A lot of that tends to focus on what is going wrong.

And, although it is necessary to think about what is wrong in order to right it,
I think we could stand to gain a lot from appreciating what is already right, or getting good, as well!

So, without further ado,


July, 2016

A union, an understanding: Dallas protesters hug it out


Recently, on the same day a Black Lives Matter rally was being held, some white counter protestors were walking the same streets. Meeting in the middle of the street, representatives from the respective groups began a conversation. Shortly after, the black lives matter rally crossed the road and joined forces with their fellow community members. 

"How're y'all doin?" to crack open any boundaries.
"This is how you kick down a wall!" speaking volumes about the poignant moment taking place.
And a final huddle & prayer in union - and they all went home having fostered a new understanding.

Click here to watch the full video!


One day of gardening, 50 million trees planted

Reforesting their nation, India is pushing forward and venturing into the forest. More than 80,000 men and women from all over the state of Uttar Pradesh came together and set out to plan 50 million trees in one single day - with the goal of improving their environment, the fact that they would break a 2013 world record was a happy perk! 


New hero Umbrella Man!

Source: Deepak Saini

In Louisiana, outside a Target Store, a man made it his mission to escort fellow customers through the downpour with his umbrella. "I noticed this kind gentleman with a big smile on his face, drenched from head to toe, escorting women, mothers and kids to their cars, and helping them unload their groceries. Every time he returned, he said, ‘Who’s next?’ with a big smile on his face", Deepak Saini told TODAY.

James Varnado was the man under the umbrella and he has come out and said how important it is to help, if somebody needs help, you should give it! Especially now, and always, is the perfect time to focus on kindness!


Celebrity chefs, Olympic leftovers and the hungry being fed


The Rio Olympic kitchens serve up to 60,000 meals for the athletes and this year, celebrity chefs will be cooking up a storm after using all the leftovers to feed Rio's poor. Chefs Massimo Bottura and David Hertz will collect an estimated 12 tonnes of food and once being transformed into tasty meals, they will be transported to an already prepared feeding station. 


Flight attendant helps little girl with panic attack

This is beautiful, just beautiful.


Fireman rescue a birthday!

Ahhh, people do such beautiful things! 


On the 'random acts of kindness' route to being the happiest city


Bristol, UK has began their ‘Brilliant Bristol’ project and they are on a mission to make Bristol the UK’s happiest city. In the effort to set the world record for the most random acts of kindness in a single day, we got this GORGEOUS video. Some of the comments mention how “These are the life skills we should be teaching our children” (Chris Gould) and "More schools should do this. It makes the children feel good as well as others” (Shazia Sheikh). Watch the video to see fifth-graders hide inspiring little notes in library books and hand out flowers.


The bird's got moves!

Sure, “Some Nights” by FUN can be called a dance anthem…but I don’t think anyone imagined this scene, haha. Canadian Kurter Barnett rescued the cockatoo six years ago, after he found that it had been abused by its owners and it lost all of its feathers due to the stress. But that does not stop “Gucci” from dancing to his own beat! 


Animal Shelter joins the Pokemon Go craze
Source: Muncie Animal Shelter

Oh, Pokemon Go. It has truly taken over the world. One animal shelter decided to embrace the fact and use it to do good!

Indiana Muncie Animal Shelter came up with the idea of getting Pokemon Go players to become dog walkers, thanks to their Director Phil Peckinpaugh. The call for players/dogwalkers resulted in a group of dozens of volunteers ready to help the shelter's "poke-dogs", giving them the fresh air and exercise that they desperately needed.
Solution: Houses made out of Wasted Plastic? 


Pollution, no more! A group of Colombians have taken plastic waste and the lego building design, and have come up with a solution that could help all the people living without houses.
Conceptos Plasticos wants to reverse the damage caused by plastic on the planet and they have managed to make that reverse process also benefit those in need! A win-win, for sure! 

Architect Oscar Mendez championed the idea for his graduation thesis and designed a modular brick made from plastic. The system is said to work like lego and can suit all terrain and climate types. The model home created by Conceptos Plasticos has 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, living room, dining room and kitchen - and can be built in 5 days by novices. People are so smart, it's a bit crazy sometimes!


Where's Waldo arrives at a Hospital thanks to Construction Worker

Labourer, Jason Haney, has brought the game to life while working on a hospital expansion project - bring great amounts of entertainment to all the patients in the children's hospital! He credits an Indiana hospital which built a snowman in the yard during winter for the idea, and got everything ready for his plan. He built an eight foot tall, plywood Wally and all his fellow workers got on board - hiding Wally in different places on the construction site and moving him after he's been spotted by a child.


Just a happy giraffe!

And just some cuteness to round up this month - smiles all around! 



And that was some of The Good News for July! ☺️

What were you surprised to hear about? Do you have a favourite?
Do you like listening to some Good News? ☺️

New post will be up next Wednesday!

Until then, you can: Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Or follow me below at - 
They're all linked so you should just be able to click on them! :)


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A Mini Resort Getaway!

Oh, I'm failing so hard at blogging right now.

And I'm pretty sure you guys will understand this: You know when you're completely lagging behind on something, it feels so far gone, and you almost don't want to do it? 
It feels overwhelming to even start.
This is me right now, haha.
I am so sorry I have been horrible at reading, commenting, replying back. 
I don't think I have ever been as busy as I am right now.
Recently a friend sent me a Buzzfeed article saying read 2 and 10.

Yeahhh, sounds about right. And unfortunately, as you can tell, blogging has slipped to the bottom of urgency :/
Anyways, enough excuses, I'm hoping once these next two weeks pass things will ease up ever so slightly for me.

I started working on July's Good News (cause we really need it given some of the events of the past month) and remembered that I really do love blogging!

So until life settles down a bit, I still want to be posting content and will be trying to get around to catching up on blogs soon!


Before everything got extra crazy, I managed to squeeze in a little weekend getaway with my mum for her birthday and it was so lovely! 

A photo posted by Raashi Agarwal (@raashiagarwal) on

During the weekend we were talking and we realised it's been forever since we have gone on an actual rest and relax sort of holiday, so we definitely made full use of it! I had organised spa treatments for us, we ate some good food, we went on a rainforest walk, went to a gorgeous viewing point overlooking a lake, lounged by the poolside, went to the beach for sunset (and sunrise! Ohhh, that wakeup... :P), did yoga outdoors and finished off the weekend the way I wish everyday could be started - a good ol' breakfast buffet :P

When was the last time you guys had a proper relax?
See you Wednesday with some Good News!

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Or follow me below at - 
They're all linked so you should just be able to click on them! :)

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General Lessons: Goal Setting and Giving Back

You guys.
Life has been busy (as you can tell because this post is two days late :P)
Haha, but life is showing no sign of slowing down right now.
BUT, tomorrow morning I don't start work till a little later ☺️ 
So, my plan is to wake up, sit down with some green tea and my laptop - and catch up! 
(Ahhh, it already sounds so good.)

I have been going full speed ahead this year and because of it, I got chosen for a really cool opportunity!
Yesterday I attended a Women in Media event and got to talk to some of the most influential women in my local media landscape.

When talking to the mentors there were two things that really stuck out to me, and I wanted to share them with you.

[When talking about one of the mentees]: 
"One of the key things her and I did in the beginning was just to do goal setting, and I think often so many people don't do that,  or they have really lofty goals and aspirations and maybe not those medium term goals or those short term goals. And so I think it's really important to have all of those set out, or at least have an idea of where you want to go and how you want to go about doing it. And then each day is how do you go about doing it."Karina Carvahlo

[When talking about why it's important to give back]:
"You go through certain things as a journalist and you get to a point in your career, and sometimes you don't realise how much you've learnt and what those lessons might mean to someone else."
- Kylie Lang

Goal setting and giving back, sounds simple enough right?
Both super important and both can seem overwhelming at times.
But if we truly think about it, we can do both those things on a small or large scale. 

Whether your long term goal is to have a productive week (and has lots of little goals in between).
Or whether your long term goal is to end up with a specific job in a specific country (and has loooooots of little goals in between) :P.

Whether giving back will just be giving your thoughts and advice to someone you know personally who is doing a lot, or struggling with things, or just someone you relate to.
Or whether your version of giving back is throwing yourself into a professional program in your areas of expertise.

Who knows!?!
The options are limitless!

Goal Setting 
Giving Back.

Two lessons from two women in media.

Until next time!

 Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Or follow me below at - 
They're all linked so you should just be able to click on them! :)

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