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By kaandle

"Tschuss" is to Germans what "Ciao" is to Italians.  This word was one of the first I learned (and actually remembered) this semester and three months later it remains among my favorites.  Although my German abilities are far from advanced, being able to throw out a colloquial phrase makes me feel like I can pull of my Berliner status a little bit better.  Even if my German professor hadn't taught us this word early in the semester, it'd be impossible to not pick up this phrase as it's said everywhere from parting with friends to leaving a store.

Pronounced "choo-se" it's a causal way of saying "bye" or "see you later". When leaving a store, it also suffices as a "thank you" and "bye" simultaneously.  If you're more of a "bye-bye" person tschuss can also be pronounced "choo-see", although be warned its mostly 15 year old girls running around with this pronunciation.

As much as I like the word tschuss, I must admit I was disappointed "auf Wiedersehen" wasn't a common phrase. Coming to Germany auf Wiedersehen was my only non-food related German saying - mostly thanks to The Sound of Music - but imagine my surprise when I learned auf Wiedersehen is pretty much only said in very formal situations or Bavaria in southern Germany.  But at the end of the day tschuss is significantly easier for me to pronounce correctly and tends to roll of the tongue.  Of all the German words that have become everyday vocabulary tschuss is more than likely one that will subconsciously follow me back to the United States.

By Ashlyn

The Danish word of the day is hygge.

The definition of the word is ???

If you haven’t been to Denmark then it’s likely that you have never encountered the fascinating concept of “hygge.” Pronounced HOO-geh, hygge is a word that defies description for many Danes. We Americans may approximate its meaning as “cozy,” but there is no real authentic English word that encapsulates all of the subtle nuances that hygge implies.

Hygge, unlike coziness, is not just a state of being but a mindset. It is an emotion of sorts. It is coming in from the cold and warming up next to the fire with a drink and a blanket wrapped around you. It’s a rich homemade dinner with your closest friends, with little candles decorating the table and your favorite mix tape playing in the background. It’s snuggling up on the couch watching Netflix with your boyfriend until you fall asleep.

But hygge does not only exist in wintertime. Eating ice cream in summer with your little sister could be hygge. Or building a sandcastle on the beach and then having a picnic. Or going berry-picking. Or baking a big pie and then sharing a slice with friends. The feeling comes over you and you’re hit with it suddenly (or it creeps up over you before you know what’s happening) and when it does, you know you’ve caught the hygge.

Interestingly, though, the Danes are just as ready to forcefully create a sense of hygge as to allow it to happen naturally. Many cafes, restaurants and bars have signs outside advertising a “hyggelig” (HOO-ga-lee) atmosphere. Whole shop sections are dedicated to objects meant to evoke hygge in the home. Danes string lights, light candles, burn incense, cover areas with plush blankets and cushions – anything to increase the hygge-osity of the space. Hygge is something to continually strive for.

Hygge came upon me for the first time in Denmark exactly one week from the day I touched down in Copenhagen. It had been a long, cold afternoon, with plenty of rain outside. I was buried under about six layers of blankets, slowly working my way through a mound of homework with a few other girls from our dorm. Eventually, someone brought up the idea to make a communal dinner. None of us were too invested in our work, so we put off our readings and papers in favor of raiding our cabinets in search of ingredients.

Eventually we had a pot of chicken stew going on the stove, with fresh biscuits baking away in the oven below. Stir, season, chop, mix – each of us seated with her own task to help the assembly of the meal go smoothly. A suggestion here, a sprinkle of salt there. The meal finished, we lit candles and dimmed the kitchen lights, folded our napkins fancily and laid out the “good” bowls and silverware. “To us!” we cheered, raising our glasses full of lemon water or milk. “Skål!” And then we tucked in to the food – maybe a bit under-seasoned, maybe a bit sloppily presented, but undoubtedly the most filling and satisfying dish I’ve eaten during my time abroad thus far.

Perhaps that was due to the stick and a half of butter we used to make the biscuits. Me, I’d like to think it was the hygge.

By Jess Yacovelle

GW offers a litany of different countries that you can study abroad in on every continent in the world, save for the frozen one. There are literally opportunities to suite any desire that you may have.


So why am I going to London? After all, it's a rather expansive world out there, so what was it about London that intrigued me? There's a myriad of reasons, truth be told, but I won't bore you with them all. In summation, there were two deciding factors: the language and the culture.


I'm not going to lie, the fact that England is an English-speaking country drew me towards it. It's not that I don't want to learn a second language - quite the contrary, actually - I just possess a knack for utterly butchering any foreign language I attempt to speak. French, Spanish, you name it and I can't speak it. No joke, I was literally told by my GW Spanish 4 professor that I write as though I'm in an advanced Spanish class but I speak as though I'm in Spanish 101. I figured I'd best stick to English-speaking countries, lest I accidentally wander into a restricted area because I can't understand what local law enforcement is saying.


The overwhelming reason I chose London, however, has to do with the literary culture. I'm an English major; nothing gets me hotter than curling up with a cup of coffee and reading Thomas Hardy or James Joyce. Though there are some profound American writers that I enjoy, it's the writers from the United Kingdom that truly peak my interest. The world has changed tremendously since Beckett or Dickens last published their work, yet I still feel as though I need to walk in their shoes and experience the progression of their cultures. I want to be able to discern between the cultural differences of those from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. I want the ability to pick out a Yorkshire accent from a UK line-up. I want to learn about the culture and the history of the writers who inspire my own writing.


In truth, my journey to London begins with one part ineptitude, two parts curiosity. Though I don't expect my own failings with enunciating in Spanish to be assuaged anytime soon, I hope this utter chance of a lifetime will somewhat satisfy my curiosity. I doubt it, though; I bet no matter how much of London I see, it will never be enough. But such is life, eh?