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Looking Up

One of my favorite jokes to repeat while I’m traveling is, “I really like this ceiling. It’s not my favorite, but it’s definitely up there.” I loved it because the joke is cheesy and awkward, but mostly because it served as a reminder to actually look up and look around. Traveling to 12+ countries provides me the unique opportunity to not only experience art and history that I never thought I would have the chance to, but to understand and study people that I have never encountered. Far too often I would see tourists surrounded by the works of Michelangelo or van Eych, encompassed by some of … [Read more...]

Group Dynamics Within Travel

It is no secret that people can make or break a place. No matter if you are in the most beautiful city you’ve ever seen, if you don’t enjoy your travel companions, it won’t be the wonderful experience you want it to be. Traveling brings out the best and the worst part of people’s personalities like no other. So, choose your travel buddies wisely. Naturally, taking a trip to an unfamiliar place gives rise to leadership. Beforehand, planning has to get done. It is unwise to enter into a new country or even city without any prior knowledge of what there is to do and how to get around. The more … [Read more...]

Paris Express: What to See in a Short Trip

Without a doubt, Paris was our most ambitious trip to date. We went with a group of seven who wanted to see a variety of different things, and instead of compromising, we thought, “Why not do them all?” which is (almost) exactly what we did. Our days were spent on the go, dashing from one site to the next, hitting every tourist attraction except for Moulin Rouge, the Catacombs, and the Sacred Heart, walking in total around 45/50 miles over the course of three days. So, take it from me, when you’re planning a short trip to Paris, you must pick and choose; and, because I didn’t do this, below … [Read more...]

An American’s Guide to European Street Food

If you were to ask our study abroad group what was the one thing we were most excited about experiencing in Europe, without hesitation the answer would be food. I had heard the stereotype that American food was saturated with fats and tasted of plastic, but growing up knowing nothing else, I was skeptical of the difference that I would notice. Well, I noticed it. On weekend trips I have essentially been living off street food and take-aways, and have now developed a special relationship with each of them. Below, you’ll see some of my as well as my group’s favorite snacks (meals?) that’ll be … [Read more...]

America the Imperfectly Beautiful

This past weekend I traveled to Salzburg, Austria, which was a dream. The timing worked out perfectly enough for me to get to meet up with one of my friends who is doing a study abroad graduate program in Milan. Natalie is living in Italy this semester, I am living in the Netherlands, and we got to see each other in Austria…ah, the magic of Europe. She was talking about how her passport never actually gets checked for validity, because once people see “United States of America” written on it they’re like, “She’s good. We can trust her.” That got me thinking, my passport has not really been … [Read more...]

Brugge: A Quintessential Dream

If Brussels was not what I was expecting, Brugge was everything that I was in the best way possible. Our second stop in Belgium, we arrived on a Saturday morning, the sun just peeking through the clouds as we made our way to the Air Bnb. Once we had our things settled in, we took off on the town to explore. A walk through the town boasted canals and corridors, cathedrals and cobblestones lining every side of the street. The many city squares we saw displayed classic architecture and colorful flowers, doors and windows giving each building its own individual personality. Every corner … [Read more...]

Cologne: Nice to Smell, Better to Visit

I took German classes for five years, so to say I was excited about finally getting to go to Cologne (Germany’s fourth largest city) for a day is an understatement. I was stoked to get to witness the greatness of the Cologne Cathedral I had seen so many PowerPoint slides of, walk on the “Love Lock Bridge”, and test out my rusty German skills. The train ride was only 2.5 hours, making a day trip viable. As soon as I stepped out of the train station upon arrival, I was floored by the behemoth structure that is the Kölner Dom. I knew it was near the train station, but I did not expect to be … [Read more...]

Hurricane Harvey and Unexpected Friends: Creating Friendships While Facing Adversity

Texas is known for quite a few things – cowboys, horses, barbecue, accents, and an endless sky, to name a few. But, ask any native Texan, and they will tell you the top two factors that describe Texas are its friendly atmosphere and its ever-changing, unpredictable weather. So, when a group of us students started preparing for our flight out of Houston with Millennium Tours to get to The Netherlands, it was no surprise to hear of a potential hurricane. The surprise came once we escaped the hurricane. Our group of 18 had all planned on meeting in one of Texas’s largest cities to fly out on … [Read more...]

10 Lessons Learned from My First Week Abroad

This semester I am fortunate enough to be studying abroad in Maastricht, the Netherlands. It is a quaint city in the southern part of the country. Although unfamiliar to me now, I am confident that it will feel like home by the end of this adventure. I have only been in the Netherlands for a week, but have already learned several important lessons; it doesn’t take long to spot the differences between America and Europe. I got to travel throughout the Netherlands for our group trip, specifically to The Hague, Delft, Amsterdam, and Zaandam, which was an incredible experience, thanks to … [Read more...]

Study Abroad Tips: Using Technology to Help You Travel

Traveling in a foreign country can be difficult, especially when you are studying at the same time. Navigating is hard and the language barrier can make something as simple as ordering dinner a huge ordeal. However, the technology we have these days can be life saving! Here are a few tips and tricks to help you navigate study abroad. The art of the screenshot. Screenshots on your phone just might be your new best friend. Most students don’t have cell service all the time while they are abroad, but if you look things up in advance and screenshot them then you will always have them! For … [Read more...]

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