Europe

Joined April 2017
  • Day17

    Okay, guys...

    May 21, 2017 in France

    I don't even know where to start. I think I've been putting this off because I know I won't remember everything I have to say.

    First of all...Amsterdam is amazing. It's a beautiful, clean, and eco-friendly city with a lot of character. The canals and architecture combine for an amazing background. Bikes...millions and millions of bikes. They are everywhere. They take their bikes and bike lanes very seriously. Bike lanes are just as legitimate as car lanes. As part of our class, we are learning about substance use as a global problem. We've gotten to visit an addiction treatment center and the international criminal court. We've been on an "underground tour" by a former addict who took us around the city a bit, telling us about his life when he was homeless and addicted to drugs (and his life since then). We've also had guest lecturers talk to us about drug policies and mentalities. Most of the points for our actual class are coming from daily reflection papers and quizzes.

    There has obviously been a lot of sightseeing too. We've taken a boat tour in the canals, we've been to the Van Gogh museum, the Rijksmuseum, the flower market, Madurodam (a miniature version of Amsterdam), and much more.

    This weekend was our free weekend, so we were welcome to travel somewhere nearby on our own. Two friends and I decided to spend the weekend in Paris. Today was so long and my legs and feet are SO tired, but we did so much. We got up this morning and walked around, awe-struck. We went to the Louvre, the catacombs, and the Eiffel Tower, and each one was amazing. Seeing things in person that you've only ever seen in pictures and movies is so much fun. It never does quite feel real - even now I feel like I could wake up and be at home, in the middle of finals week or something! We ate at a French restaurant and I tried escargot for the first time (not quite as bad as I was expecting...the texture was strange but they had a nice pesto sauce or butter on it that made the taste pretty good).

    Everything has still been amazing so far. It feels completely unreal, in the most wonderful way. :) This website won't let me add very many pictures to each post, so I'll do a few over the next day with some of the pictures I have!
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  • Day5

    Generator Hostels Amsterdam

    May 9, 2017 in the Netherlands

    Made it to the hostel I'll be staying at for the next few weeks and I'm with my study abroad group now. This hostel is so luxurious! I'm in a room with 3 other girls, all from our group, so it actually feels more like a hotel. It is right by Oosterpark, which is just beautiful.

  • Day5

    Quick update

    May 9, 2017 in the Netherlands

    Things have been good so far! The most confusing thing so far was trying to get from the airport to the hostel the other day. The process of going from a place that only writes and speaks in English to a place where they speak English but other translations are given (New York) to a place where it's mostly another language and English translations are usually given (flights over here) and finally to a place where they barely ever translate to English (once you leave the airport) is an intimidating one! You get there and all of the signs become meaningless jumbles of letters! Luckily most people here speak English as a second language, so you just have to work up the courage to ask questions, even if you know they'll make you look like an idiot! I'm working on that. It makes you wish that we were all taught to become fluent (or mostly fluent) in other languages at home. Anyway, figuring out public transportation has been a bit of a struggle, but I'm starting to get used to it already. All of the little cultural differences are so interesting to see and figure out.

    I've been trying to mainly just relax this weekend because starting tomorrow, my class starts and things will be pretty busy for the next few weeks! The hostel I'm at right now is by the beach, a little outside of Amsterdam.

    I had added the international plan to my phone before leaving, but it barely gives you any data and I quickly went through most of it just trying to get around, so today I bought a European SIM card that gives me almost as much data as I would have at home. It was a surprisingly simple and cheap process, and it includes a decent amount of international texts and minutes (which should be free for people at home to receive, but they probably just shouldn't send messages unless it's through the internet.).

    It's pretty late here so I'm going to try and get some sleep!
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  • Day1

    Ready to go!

    May 5, 2017 in the United States

    I'm sitting on the floor in the airport, just waiting for them to let us start boarding. My big pink plane is ready! I let myself admit that I am just a TEENSY bit nervous to be navigating so many new situations on my own, but the excitement outweighs the fear!

  • Day0

    "The things I carried..."

    May 4, 2017 in the United States

    I have everything packed and ready to go! (I've had most of it ready for weeks!) We're heading to the Cincinnati airport in only a few hours!!

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