Florence – A Box of Chocolates

As a recovering Yelp addict, I used to always want to know where the best spots were, what was trending, what people enjoyed. In San Diego, I visited new restaurants, museums, installations, photo spots. I compared my experiences to those I found on Instagram, Pinterest, Yelp, Facebook. Then I realized I always went in with higher expectations than I should. If the place lived up to the hype, I was happy, but not overjoyed. If it didn’t, I was annoyed at the business’s lack of what I considered follow-through.

We visited Florence with no previous research and (history buffs cover your ears) simply walked towards the tallest pointy things. Was our experience any less because we didn’t see the real David or climb the inside of the Duomo? In my opinion, no.

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Weihnachtsmärkte in Deutschland (Christmas Markets in Germany)

My first actual winter, what a cool experience! (see what I did there? 😉 )

Christmas is just around the corner and it is getting cold here with snow falling pretty often. But throughout the country of Germany, there are many towns that host a Christmas Market (Weihnachtsmarkt). They are unlike anything I’ve seen in the U.S.

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A Quick Jaunt to the Tombs

When studying abroad, it is nice that there is time given to explore other locations and sites. While participating in the study abroad program at the University of Haifa in Israel, students are encouraged to do a little bit of exploring, and given time to do so. Classes are held Monday through Thursday so my weekends last from Thursday evening until Sunday evening. Recently I decided to take this opportunity to, as many friends here suggested, go on a quick jaunt to the island of Cyprus.

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My Italian Thanksgiving

One drawback of studying abroad is not being able to be with family during the holiday season, which makes it a little more difficult not to miss home this time of year. Unfortunately I was not able to go home and celebrate with any of my family this year. It honestly made me sad to think that my family was all together (one of the two holidays where this is the case) and I missed out on the occasion.

But, luckily, something happened the weekend before that made up for it every single bit.

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Feelin’ 22

Ever wonder what it’s like to spend your birthday in another country on a different continent?

This past weekend I celebrated my 22nd birthday in Barcelona, Spain and it was absolutely amazing. There’s something about traveling to different places that makes you a little bit more whole. This weekend I’ve realized many things but, most importantly, I think I grew up a little more.

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Berlin: A Capital and More

Last weekend, the California State University students who are in Germany took a trip from our cozy region of Baden-Württemberg to the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany, Berlin. Berlin is quite different from the wooded southwest that I am studying in. The city motto “Poor, but sexy” is well deserved. The city is still rebuilding after the unification of Germany, thus old and new are juxtaposed.

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The ‘Studying’ Part of Being Abroad

Being abroad is a constant adventure. Every day, I learn or experience something new about European culture.

One of the biggest cultural differences I’m experiencing is school. I often get asked what school is like in America. People ask me loads (look at me using some British vocab) of questions about my experiences in high school. Did you have a prom king and queen? What were football games like? How was your class schedule?

I really had no idea how different school was in Europe.

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Studying Abroad: Travel Edition

What are weekends for? When you’re in Europe, the best way to spend a weekend is in another country! This past weekend we took a flight to Italy and visited the city of Florence. It was an absolutely incredible experience and worth every minute. For the next four weekends I will be packing my bags and visiting a different country each weekend. With that in mind I thought I’d share some insights and tips I have gained to help anyone who is planning on studying abroad.

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No, I Don’t Mean Australia … I mean Austria!

Over the weekend, I traveled to arguably one of my favorite places in Europe: Vienna, Austria. Austria is a German speaking country in central Europe that is known for its lovely café culture, being the center of many art movements, and being home to classical music and picturesque mountain ranges. However, as a newcomer to this land of mountains, I had no idea what really set it apart from Germany, which is also home to some of these things. Turns out, Austria is more than the Canada to Germany’s United States.

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