The most important thing studying in Germany taught me is that there is no better time to travel then the present. I was perfectly situated in the heart of Europe to be able to go anywhere I wanted. I took a roadtrip through central Europe and visited Prague, Auschwitz, Cracow, Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna. Each city was like a little bite out of another world. It felt like a slideshow, where everyplace had it’s own food, culture, clothes, architecture and style. I had never met so many fascinating and different people in my life. One woman told me about her life in the Jewish quarters during WWII and another man about how he made a living selling gluhwein on the streets during the winter. It really opened up my eyes to how life really could go any which way. When you leave the Willamette bubble you shouldn’t limit your future to what you think is expected. There are so many options out there waiting for you that you couldn’t possible imagine now. When I got back from the trip I realized for the first time how constricted my thinking was. I used every last weekend of my time then in Germany to go out and see new places and meet new people. I suddenly knew that this way of living would always be something I desired.
I have wanted to study abroad in London for what feels like forever. People kept telling not to get my hopes up, but the experience met and exceeded my expectations. And it wasn’t even the big things that were the most memorable or the most rewarding, it was sitting on the tube for 3 hours a day, it was talking to my host mom on a lazy Saturday morning, and it was going to the grocery store down the block to get orange juice with ‘juicy bits’.
Going abroad taught me how to appreciate the little things as well as the big adventures. It also taught me that if you work hard and are extremely lucky, sometimes things turn out exactly how you want them to
My semester abroad in France was probably one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. It was my first time in Europe and so getting to see classic sights like the Eiffel Tower, the London Eye, and the Roman Colosseum was surreal for me. All of the traveling I did was amazing, but really just living in Angers (a small city about 2.5 hours south of Paris) and experiencing the French way of life was one of the best parts of the semester. I loved immersing myself into the french language and culture and would go back in a heartbeat.
(The picture is me at the Maison Carrée in Nîmes, France)
My favorite part of being abroad in Scotland was exploring the great outdoors. Through this exploration of Scotland I was able to not only see unforgettable views that I will never forget, but I was also able to make life long friends through our shared interest in hiking/climbing. Many of my best memories involve the views seen and moments spent in the rolling hills of Scotland. This picture is over looking Old Man Of Storr, a popular hike in the Isle of Skye.
I saw this beautiful castle every day while abroad. The Edinburgh castle, built hundreds of years ago, is the center of the beautiful city. The castle sits on top of a huge hill on top of the Royal Mile, a famous, old street in the heart of Edinburgh old town. Princes street is a popular shopping street in the heart of Edinburgh new town. Wherever you walk on this huge street, you can see the Princes street gardens where the castle sits on top of. I took this picture the first week because I thought the castle looked so beautiful, but now it represents Edinburgh as a whole. This image encompasses the beauty of the old and the new in Edinburgh.
Ladies and gentlemen, I can now say that I have eaten escargot in its country of origin. I remember the time that my host mom asked me if I wanted to eat escargot before I left. I blurted out “oui!” before I thought through what eating escargot actually entailed. After seeing my host mom’s face light up with delight, there was no way that I could go back on my word. Overall, I’m not really a picky person when it comes to food, but for some reason, I was nervous to eat the snails. I think it was simply because. . . .well, I was going to eat snails. Finally the day came. I walked into the house and the smell of garlic and butter filled my nostrils, and my host mom was ecstatic. “Tu est prête ma fille?”, and I responded back in French, “Ready as I’ll ever be.” The escargot was absolutely delicious, and I finished the entire plate while my Japanese housemate squirmed in her chair as she watched me eat every single one. That dinner was a good way to start the goodbye process, and I will never forget it.
This photo was taken are a local pub on campus on our last night together. I meet these ladies while abroad and could not have asked for better friends. We traveled, had movie nights, studied, and had dinner gathers together. Our little friend group was made up of all internationals from Germany, Czech Republic, Finland, Canada, Australia and United States. These ladies made my study abroad experience amazing and I am so happy that I had the opportunity to meet them!
This was taken from the top of the mountain at Zell am See-Kaprun ski resort. Other exchange students and I spent a weekend skiing here. We got lucky with the weather and the view was beautiful. One of the reasons I chose to go to Austria was to see the Alps. I was able to go on several excursions and hikes in the area. I loved being reminded of how grand the earth really is. Being abroad allowed me to explore even more of it.
This is the beginning of the Routeburn track in the Fiordlands of the South Island. It was the first time I had gone ‘tramping’ (backpacking) outside of the States. This was one of the highlights of my study abroad experience, not only because of the sense of accomplishment, closeness with nature, or the fact that I forgot my sleeping bag (the nights were very cold), but the bonds of friendship I was able to foster throughout the excursion. I learned that nothing brings you closer to someone than having to carry a 20kg backpack through a damp NZ national park, and talking about how excited you are a fourth night of pasta.