Known as “the Arab capital of Israel,” Nazareth is the largest city located within the country’s Northern District. However, Nazareth is also one of the most historic places for those who focus in biblical history. It is that biblical history that I, along with a couple of friends from the University of Haifa International School, went to explore during the Christmas holiday season.
We began this journey to Thailand as a group of very different individuals; while we were all under the same cultural umbrella of SDSU, each of us came from a separate walk of life that was unique from the rest of the group. The beauty of study abroad is that it unites people who are unlikely to make an effort to hang out with one another outside of the trip, and pushes them to get to know each other.
And it is for this reason that we developed such a tight bond.
This year I was not able to go home for the holiday season, and wanted to do something extra special because of it. Therefore, at the last minute, I decided to book an excursion to Scandinavia that included a cruise to four cities: Helsinki, Finland; Saint Petersburg Russia (visa free!); Tallinn, Estonia; and Stockholm Sweden. This was a student trip led by an organization in Germany, so I got a steal for what I did!
I also went to Prague for New Year’s to visit a few SDSU friends who were also studying abroad. What an experience to celebrate New Year’s in the second most popular European city to visit for the occasion.
Below are a bunch of pictures from my travels, as well as descriptions to give you a little bit of background.
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.
Happy New Year! At SDSU Be International, a new year means welcoming a new group of study abroad participants and international students to the blog. Before you follow them on their journeys of discovery — both around the world and here in San Diego — let’s get to know a little bit about them!
Here we are: last week of school and last article of my journey writing for SDSU Be International. It has gone by so fast!
I am leaving full of memories, to give space for new international students that will come next semester. So, in order to sum up my journey here in this last article, I will give them a hint of what they should look forward in their semester abroad, from super legit to incongruous:
As I write this on my final flight back to the U.K. from Berlin, I can’t help but reflect on all the experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met these past few months of being abroad. I’m blessed to have a group of women here who share the same love for knowledge, adventure and (most importantly) incredible food as me. I now have friends from the U.K., the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark and Australia. I only hope they’ve grown from me half as much as I’ve grown from them.
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.
I cannot thank you enough for making this one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself. You’ve welcomed me with open arms and an open heart. You’ve allowed me to explore who I am and what I want in life.
You’ve taught me that I’m stronger than I think (physically, mentally and emotionally) by putting me to the test hiking Mt. Afajato, challenging me with unexpected blackouts or rainstorms and even bargaining in the markets or with taxi drivers.
You’ve taught me to live in the moment and appreciate every given day, which should be lived to its fullest.