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By paigebradford

The very first Christmas markets in France were held in Strasbourg in 1570. Historically a German tradition, the Christmas markets in Strasbourg include many German characteristics such as German food and drinks. On a day trip to the city two weeks ago I had the opportunity to stroll through the Christmas chalets dotted about the city. When I first arrived, I was immediately impressed with the city’s architectural beauty.

Walking through Strasbourg was like walking in the past, for the narrow streets and rainbow colored houses had designs like the ones often seen in Germany giving the city a vintage persona. The city was also filled with Christmas lights and decorations, making it was hard not to look around in awe.

One of the major must-sees of the city is the so called Petite France, or ‘Little France’. It is an area in the southern part of the city located on the Grand Ile, which a UNESCO world heritage site. The Petite France is made up of narrow and cobbled streets, with houses of old constructions.

...continue reading "Strasbourg Christmas Markets"

By mariacort3s

Hello hello! So this is my last blog! It's been an extraordinary journey being able to share my journey with you all. I hope you have all read it with hopes to study abroad soon. I am finally home and think about my experience nonstop. I haven't given myself the appropriate time to reflect about it all, I think it's because I know it’s a lot of stuff to get through such as information and emotions.

I'm going to be begin my reflection by typing out all my notes. During our courses, I would write my notes by hand so now I'm going to transfer them to my computer to remember what I learned and to have them somewhere where I can easily search for them when needed. I will also continue to be conscious about the conversations I have with people and what I am telling them about Cameroon and my experience in general. Many times people ask me how it was and while I know it is out of kindness and interest, it is mostly used as small talk and I cannot put my experience in a three minute conversation. I'm still trying to figure out what to tell people about my experience to keep the engage and to also transfer some lessons I learned.

Some of those lessons are to critically look at whatever we are learning and if it is biased or not. It is important to allow ourselves to shape our own opinions rather than it be influenced by media or individuals. I ,also, learned the importance of seeing the richness of life in other forms that aren't monetary or materialistic but rather in friendships, family, kindness, and love.

...continue reading "À Bientôt"

By austineliasdejesus

I don't know how, but my time studying abroad is over. My time as a study abroad student isn't technically over since I still have another paper to write, but all my classes are done and I am leaving London in two days.

Last Wednesday I met up with a GW friend studying at LSE to get a final dinner before we said goodbye. We're both seniors and she's staying for another semester, so the next time I see her will literally be at commencement. Before we went out separate ways, we talked about how crazy it is that it's all ending. Both of us could remember in March when we saw each other at Colonial Crossroads and tried to calm one another down about getting into the schools we wanted and getting all our visa and financial stuff in order. Last April wasn't that long ago, but it feels like it.

I've been walking around alone a lot this last week because all of my friends have left for home. So I've been ticking stuff off my London bucket list. And I'm happy to say that I managed to do the things I wanted. Which is a weird feeling because, in reality, I spent a lot of time in bed watching Netflix while I was here. I don't mean that as a joke--I really did spend a lot of time in my room watching movies and reading books. And I felt really guilty about those days. I felt like I was wasting money and opportunities and I was taking all of this for granted. I thought back to reading random blog posts off Google searches that warned me not to spend time on Netflix and to go out all the time and travel and explore and squeeze every ounce of joy I could out of this experience. Now that I'm at the end, I feel like I genuinely didn't do that, but I still had a lot of fun, and I saw so many things, and I feel like I got the most out of this.

...continue reading "If You’re Considering Whether to Study Abroad, Here Are 5 Things To Calm You Down"

By czhangangel

When people go to study abroad, the first identity that is assumed is a student; and the following is a traveler. We should not be too unfamiliar with being a student, but for many people, being a traveler is.

This wasn’t my first rodeo being out of my home country for a long period of time, but it was my first time going alone. While there was some nervousness, I was more excited and eager than anything. I knew what resources that I had, and I felt that I had the energy to tackle any forthcoming challenges. Upon reflection of my duration studying abroad in Hong Kong, I felt prepared for the experience but also learned a lot from it. Here some things to expect while you study abroad and how to have the best travel experience.

What’s Ahead

As with anything, there are good and bad sides. The good side of studying abroad is that you are going to meet a lot of people, make new friends, eat good food, travel to new places, and maybe learn a new language. You will seldom find a time where there is nothing to do with time spent exploring new places with new people and building relationships that will extend beyond study abroad, while not studying. The bad side includes not feeling that you totally fit in the institution, finding thing inconvenient, and/or feeling torn between your old life at home and your new life at your study abroad location. How one experiences any of these study abroad experiences depend on your support at home and abroad.

...continue reading "A Reflection: Attitude is Key"

The Scottish National Museum, like many museums in the UK benefits greatly from the UK's colonial history. They are filled with items from across the globe, procured in many different ways, ranging from purchase to "discovery" to looting. As far as looting goes, regimental museums are among the worst culprits. As the regiments scattered across the globe to grow and steady the empire they found curios and souvenirs to bring home with them. Some were stolen, some were taken from the battlefield, and of course, some were purchased fairly. Most of these objects are relatively small or minor so returning them would be difficult or impossible because they aren't really traceable or not notable enough to be missed. The wrongs that happened in the past are still wrong but not currently able to be redressed. From what I have heard the worst offender is the British Museum which holds large quantities of objects of immeasurable cultural value. These objects, taken by explorers, archaeologists, or purchased by rich collectors are highly controversial. Yes, they are displayed prominently for all to see in their current home but many people for whom they are culturally significant or whose nation's wealth they represented are unable to visit.

...continue reading "Museums in the UK"

In the midst of finals season and studying for my last final, I have decided to take a break in order to reflect on the past four months.

I guess I knew my time in Ireland would go by quick, especially given all the fun I've had and new memories I'll be able to keep with me forever. Being in Ireland has not only allowed me to become more independent, but it has demonstrated to me that there is more to life than just work, work, and more work. It has given me a mind set which incorporates hard work and relaxation. In other words, a balance.

In Ireland I was able to make time for making new friends, partaking in different cultures, relaxing on the weekends, all while still managing to take four engineering courses and labs. The work was not easier or less demanding, it was just that having the opportunity to be abroad for four months would not allow me to dwell on the idea of how difficult heat transfer or biomedical signal processing were to understand.

I was able to meet a multitude of different, interesting people, that I hope to stay friends with for the rest of my life. They will forever be a part of a memory which I will never forget. I have seen incredible landscapes and nature, all while learning about so much history my classes back in the states did not teach me. Traveling to Budapest, Prague, and Vienna was not only a fun experience, but one in which I got to learn in as well.

...continue reading "It's A See You Later Not A Goodbye"

I sit writing this entry in Charles de Gaulle airport, waiting for the connection flight that will take me home! In a whirlwind of a week, I submitted and presented my research thesis, packed up the little life I had in Rabat and said goodbye to the beautiful community that I have come to love so dearly in such such a short semester.

Feeling very relieved after submitting my final research paper. 

...continue reading "Heading Home"

By AshleyLe

"Today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.  This is nothing more, or less, than a recognition of reality.  It is also the right thing to do.  It’s something that has to be done."

When President Donald Trump declared these words on December 6, millions of Jerusalem, Palestine, and Arab residents cried out in response. The following 72 hours became the long Days of Rage, with men, women, and children assembled together to mark the beginning of something else, of something more. They were fired up. They were ready to fight. They were not afraid to make their outrage heard.

In the midst of their cries of pain, their calls for justice, and their longing for peace, I witnessed so much more. I knew there was something greater than just what I saw with my eyes, like a magnet that kept pulling me back.

Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ according to Biblical text, was brighter than normal. But instead of the streets decking out in Christmas lights and decorations, it slowly became battle grounds. Bethlehem's main street was covered in fire and tear gas. The roads turned black, the city turned grey, and its people turned red. More than 5 hours after the beginning of the first day of rage, thousands of Palestinians were still on the street. Despite extreme pain caused by tear gas, they knew better than to give up. To many Palestinians, Christians and Muslims alike, there was a need to scream, to demonstrate, and to fight, in order to win back hope.

...continue reading "Our Days of Rage"

By mariekevanhaaren

While Australia has beautiful beaches and interesting animals, they are not necessarily known for their cuisine. However, there are a few foods I tried while down under that seem to be classic Australian. My personal favorite was Tim Tams, a chocolate-coated biscuit that comes in many flavors: traditional chocolate, caramel, mint, white chocolate, etc. One unique way to eat them is by doing a “Tim Tam Slam”, which is biting off opposite corners of the cookie and sipping tea through the inner cream part.

Another very common food is vegemite! Most people outside of Australia hate it, as it’s a very strong, salty spread that you don’t want to eat very much of. I personally grew to like it; spreading a thin layer on toast with butter tastes really good!

Anzac cookies, also popular in Australia, originated in WWI when rations were scarce and biscuits had to be made from just golden syrup and oats. Now they include more typical cookie ingredients, like flour and sugar and butter, but these cookies still taste delicious!

A final Australian food that is fairly mediocre but definitely widespread: the meat pie! These are usually sold at footy or rugby games, similar to how Americans eat their hotdogs at baseball games. They are basically a small, single serve pie with a beef filling, and Aussies usually eat them with ketchup.

...continue reading "Aussie Food"

By mariacort3s

Well I have been done with my study abroad for a while but mentally I am not.

A quick recap on my last week: I was planning on leaving Cameroon on the 10th of December but my flight ended up getting cancelled so I left the 11th. I am downplaying the crazy drama that happened in those 24 hours because I finally got over what happened (Air France provided nothing for my two friends and I) and I cannot stress myself over it again. I was worried because on the 13th I was set to go to Rome so we had to leave the 11th. We did leave the 11th, with a delay, but it happened.

Once we got to Paris from Yaoundé, I had to rush to my connecting flight to Lisbon. If it wasn't for me asking people to let me skip them, I would have never made it. Thankfully, I did make it and was in Lisbon by 10 am, however, my bags did not. Yeah, it has been a very dramatic week for me.

Since I was leaving to Rome the next day, I immediately went to buy some underwear, pants, and socks with my aunt to have some clothing. I wasn't really mad at Air France at this point, I kind of just expected that would have happened. Anyways, the next day ten minutes before boarding for my flight to Rome, I realized I had lost my passport. Yeah, series of unfortunate events in reality. I went around the Lisbon airport searching for my passport with no luck and even if I had found it, the gate had already closed. Many tears later, security found my bag with my IDs, passport, and all my cards. I was grateful but a miserable mess.

...continue reading "to travel is to live"