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The Complete Picture of Adventure

Adventure. We all seek it in our own ways. For some it looks like roughing it in a tent for a weekend, for some sky-diving, and for some trying mysterious foods. Basically, anything involving both adrenaline and the outdoors falls into this category automatically. Adventure is a really attractive concept. Without it, wouldn’t life be pretty bland? The less shiny side of the coin, however, are the mishaps that come with the territory of adventure. The night spent sleeping on the airport floor in Dublin (personal experience) might not have been ideal at the time, but it is a night I’ll never … [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...]

Brussels: The Perfect Mix of Ancient and Modern

When we first planned a trip to Belgium, I was not the most excited. It was our first weekend of free travel, and after plans fell through for a visit to Copenhagen and a forecast of rain and clouds for the entirety of the weekend, Belgium was not topping the list of places I was optimistic to see. Arriving in Brussels at 8:30 in the morning on a Friday covered by a slight drizzle, our prospects seemed grey, literally and figuratively. I am so thankful that that is not what they turned out to be. Brussels was certainly not what I had expected in the slightest. I’ll admit, I bought into the … [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...]

Destination Spotlight: Dover, Kent, England

Dover, Kent, England. In my entire life, I never imagined I would have the opportunity to travel to Dover.  But there I was, early one Thursday morning, packing to travel across the English Channel to visit the famous town. After class, my best friend and I made our way to Maastricht station, in order to board a train to Brussels, where we’d be taking the Chunnel under the English Channel. I had coffee in my system and food in my tummy, I was set. The train ride to Brussels went flawlessly, it was as easy as all our other train rides and we made it with enough time to get through … [Read more...]

Finding Home While Studying Abroad

As I walked down the cobblestone streets of Maastricht, a city in the south of the Netherlands, I would have never expected to end up where I was today. I almost knew every nook and cranny of this city, just from the five spectacular weeks I’ve spent here. My walk to class was on auto-pilot, every step was a step closer to one of the last days of class. Sixteen days of class went by as fast as my trips on the weekends. When I left the United States, I would tell my friends and family that I was “visiting Maastricht,” and that I would be spending five weeks there. Little did I know that … [Read more...]

Study Abroad Tips: Navigating the Differences Between the United States and Europe

On my flight to Amsterdam last week, I tried to dream up how different Europe would be from the United States. I was surprised to find its VERY different. From the landscape, the houses, the people, the mannerisms, even the way they travel, the differences are everywhere. When my advisors said "watch out for culture shock," I never have anticipated that I would be that one student who is shocked wherever she goes. Some differences in culture: There is no Air Conditioning in Europe, maybe you'll find a hotel or hostel with it, but there is none in academic buildings and none in my room. … [Read more...]

Study Abroad: What I’ve Learned Through Experience

When I began to think about applying for a study abroad program, the first step I took was reading all the pamphlets and brochures. While these can be very helpful with the general, practical information, there is so much about a program that just can’t be conveyed until you experience it yourself. Here are a few of the things I have learned so far. You don’t have to have every second of every day planned out before you get here. In fact, I encourage you to arrive to your program with an open mind and minimal expectations. You will meet so many new friends when you arrive so it is best … [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...]

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