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Study Abroad Ireland: A Tour of The Emerald Isle

After traveling through the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, etc., it was refreshingly nice to spend a week in the English-speaking isles. (However I can’t complain too much; most everyone knows an adequate amount of English in the former countries listed…) We spent five total days in Scotland, four in Edinburgh and one in close-by St. Andrews (you can read about Scotland in my last post), two days in Ireland, and two days in London. While Scotland was my personal favorite, which could have been significantly biased by staying with two close friends, Dublin and the small towns in west … [Read more...]

Study Abroad Europe: Edinburgh

“For that is the mark of the Scots of all classes: that he stands in an attitude towards the past unthinkable to Englishmen, and remembers and cherishes the memory of his forebears, good or bad; and there burns alive in him a sense of identity with the dead even to the twentieth generation.” - Robert Louis Stevenson   The identity of the Scots flows deep through the rolling green hills and jagged skyline of Edinburgh, in the pubs and in the Murrayfield stadium where the Scotland rugby team fought the #1 team in the world: the New Zealand All Blacks. They have good … [Read more...]

Study Abroad Europe: Vacation in Amsterdam

After a long week of exams, five of us took a day-trip to Amsterdam, only three hours north of us by train. It’s easy to get the mentality of trying to step foot in every country, without simply getting to know the incredible places only a couple hours away from Maastricht. I had to remind myself people studying abroad in Switzerland or Italy would love the chance to trek up to Maastricht and Amsterdam.  The world influence of Dutch people in a country smaller than Texas tucked in the upper corner of Europe has surprised me on many occasions, and their culture is even more … [Read more...]

Group Travel Europe: The Final Week

Finally Home! This is my last blog post for this year, and I’m writing in at the airport in Houston (!), waiting to board my flight back to Dallas. This is the final step in a long journey that has taken months. After countless almost-missed trains, sleepless nights, hours spent wandering European cities, I am finally back on American soil. I’d never thought I would be ready to leave Europe—I love it so much over there and had so much fun—but I am glad that our time in Europe has come to an end. In the last week of independent travel, we went to Lisbon, Madrid, and Barcelona. The Iberian … [Read more...]

Group Travel Germany: Cologne, or Koln?

Cologne, or Koln? Did you know that the first colognes actually originated in a city in Germany called Cologne? And that this same city is home to the largest cathedral in all of Northern Europe? Well neither did I until we took a day trip there while studying abroad! It was a pretty spontaneous trip, and we didn’t really know going into it what exactly there was to do in the city. There is something extremely interesting and exciting about travelling to a new place without any expectations or preconceived notions about what to do there. Sometimes, your expectations can get in the way and … [Read more...]

Group Travel Netherlands: Hallo Mijn Familie!

Hallo Mijn Familie! This was probably the weekend that I was most excited about so far. Why? Because I finally got to see my family! No, it wasn’t my immediate family, but I have some cousins who live in Holland, up in The Hague, that I have been meaning to visit since I got here. We have been so busy here in the last couple of weeks with the group trip and all of our tests and projects that I haven’t gotten a chance to see them even though we live so close to each other. So this weekend, partly because I was so tired of travelling from the group trip and was craving some comforts of home, … [Read more...]

Group Travel Italy: I Lost My Heart in Porto Venere

When it comes to Italy I am not sure where to begin. The quest from Venice to Rome and all the stops in between had with it many expectations, which to say the least were fully met. One place in particular, however, filled me with awe unlike any other place in the world. We pulled up to the train station that took us from La Spezia to the first of the five cities of Cinque Terre, called Monterosso. Although slightly less vibrant than the pictures, the red, yellow, and green box buildings were tucked into the hilly coast of Italy, randomly stacked around and on top of each other. We took the … [Read more...]

Group Travel: Italy

Ciao Bella!This week marks both the end and beginning of something. After this week, we only have two more months of our stay in Europe, and after this week we start midterm exams. Thankfully, we have a week of group travel in Italy to make us feel a little bit better!   Group travel in Italy is all that I imagined and more! We have only seen Padua and Venice so far, but I am extremely impressed. Venice is like nothing I've ever seen before: it is literally a city on water. There are no cars, no buses, and even bikes are nowhere to be seen. The streets are narrow and winding and … [Read more...]

Group Travel Europe: B is for Brussels

This weekend we decided to take it easy and only go on a day trip. Brussels, Belgium is about two hours away from Maastricht, where we are studying abroad, so we thought it would be the perfect place to visit just for a day and then hit the books. The theme of the Maastricht Pre-Med study abroad trip—or what I have gathered so far—is “work hard, play hard.” This week we had a ton of studying to do, so it was good to stay at home and chill. It’s funny how readily I call Maastricht “home” now. After only three weeks, I find comfort in the familiarity of the city and the warm, kind Dutch … [Read more...]

Group Travel Europe: All About Metros!

Our trip to Brussels was a short one, because we had two study abroad midterms the following week (gross, I know.) The day started off pretty badly, considering that we missed 4 trains AND I got hit by a bus while riding my bike (I wasn't injured thankfully). So after all of those shenanigans we finally made it into the city around 2-3PM. We checked into the hostels and set off for the Cantillon brewery, which is, according to a beer fanatic that we met on the tour, one of the best breweries in the world. After that we walked around the city, eating waffles and Belgian chocolate every chance … [Read more...]

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