Three hundred and thirty-six days: That is how much time I spent away from home this year. Well, that is how much time I spent away from my San Diego home. Eleven months: That is how much time I spent exploring the world. Seeing things I never dreamed of seeing. For years, I dreamed about how my time abroad would be. The anticipation killed me for so long. Now it is all over.
When I got the email declaring that I will be studying abroad at the University of Mannheim in Germany, I was beyond excited! However, from the point where I learned that I will be coming to Germany to the day I boarded the flight, it still didn’t seem real to me.
Before arriving in Germany, one of the biggest concerns for me was winter. Living all my life in Southern California, I didn’t really have a proper experience with temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, and I most definitely did not have the proper attire for such conditions.
Last semester, registering for classes was intense. It was my first time learning how the system works in Germany and learning about the registration deadlines. But now in my second semester it was better because I’ve already been through it once. At the University of Mannheim, registering for classes is very different than registering for classes at SDSU.
Because much of the abroad experience is spent traveling and bouncing around from country to country, you don’t always seize the opportunity to get to know your host city and country. Upon the arrival of the New Year, I decided that this term I wanted to truly get to know Rotterdam for all it’s quirks, traditions and locals only spots.
As a San Diegan living in the Netherlands, I realized this study abroad experience is my first encounter with a real winter. I’ve been in the snow, but this would be my first time in it for the long haul. So, like the sun lover I am, I pounced on the idea of warmer weather and booked my New Year’s Eve trip to Lisbon, Portugal with a group of friends. According to lonely planet, Lisbon is the No. 2 spot in Europe to celebrate the New Year.
There’s a common scene in movies were children wake up, look outside their window and see snow. They get joyful and excited looks on their faces, and they run off to go outside and play. That scenario has always kind of stuck with me. I have gone to the mountains where there is snow, but it has never been fresh snow; it was usually melted, or just chunks of very dirty snow. One of my very first questions when I arrived in Mannheim, Germany was if it snowed here. It does!
As we ring in a new year, we’re excited to welcome a new crop of study abroad bloggers for Winter Break and Spring Semester 2017! Before you start to follow them on their exciting adventures around the globe, let them tell you a little about themselves.
One of the best things about studying at University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) was the 10-week semester. While all my friends in San Diego still were still studying for finals, I was finished with my semester and ready to travel home. At this point I had a few options, I could go home a few months early and twiddle my thumbs or I could take a detour and travel through Vietnam. I picked the latter.
After being in Korea for more than three months it is safe to say that I have noticed some things I am not particularly fond of. These are things that not everyone does, but I have noticed them more often than not. Also, there are a bunch of things that you won’t find in America that I would gladly accept if they migrated across the Pacific.