May Term Abroad
Vienna & Budapest
Over the three weeks we were in Vienna and Budapest, we toured so many amazing museums and magnificent monuments. There was almost too much history in these two cities, which made it difficult to fit all of these historical sites into the schedule.
In Vienna, we saw two incredibly appealing palaces in the Hofburg Palace and the Schloss Shonbrunn with its beautiful gardens. For museums, we toured the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum of Military History, the Wien Museum Karlsplatz of Vienna’s history, and the Jüdisches Museum Wien of Jewish history, life and religion in Austria.
In Budapest, we saw many more museums. We toured the Hadtorteneti Museum of Military History, Buda Castle for the history of Budapest, and the House of Terror and Holocaust Memorial Center which exhibit the tragedies of World War 2 and the Holocaust. On our last day in Budapest we hiked up Gellert Hill to see the Freedom Statue as well as the amazing view. Lastly, we were able to go inside the Hungarian National Assembly that was possibly the coolest and most beautiful place I saw on the entire trip.
In our free time, we visited the Tiergarten Schönbrunn (The Vienna Zoo) which is one of the best in the entire world. In Vienna, we also visited the Seegrotte Hinterbruhl which is a large underground lake and cave system on the outskirts of the city that offers underground boat tours. In the early twentieth century, the cave was used for mining expeditions and there are currently many memorials in the cave dedicated to the Hungarian miners.
May Term Abroad
Vienna, Austria & Budapest, Hungary
When we first arrived to Vienna, we started in a suburban town on the outskirts of the city that looked very similar to Virginia. Then, we traveled by bus to our hotel in the middle of the city and we immediately witnessed the grand architectural structures and monuments that made Vienna so beautiful. This major urban area had numerous restaurants, bars, and cafes we would later venture to after class. Budapest offered much of the same, but often times we had to take the metro as our hotel was not in the center of the city.
For class in Vienna, we only had to go a few floors down in the hotel where we had a conference room set up for lectures from Dr. Frusetta and Dr. Glont. Before class, we were given complimentary breakfast in the hotel with a traditional European breakfast consisting of sausages, deli meats, and many different kinds of croissants. In Budapest, we needed to take the metro one stop away to a separate building for class.
Both our hotels in Vienna and Budapest were very nice with employees who were also kind and helping. I would say that the biggest difference between living at home and abroad is the lack of air conditioning. During our may term, it was regular 90 degrees or more so we had to get used to the heat. I should have packed more shorts and sun screen.
There was excellent food in both cities. Schnitzel was easily the best meal I had in both cities, and the food stands in Vienna along the Danube river were cheap and delicious. Also, during our class excursions all over the Vienna, we would often stop to get a quick snack at the many tasty pastry shops that served some of the best croissants and donuts I have ever eaten.
May Term Abroad
Ireland has been an amazing experience, with so many new places to visit and people to meet from across the world! Summer at University College of Dublin has been an amazing opportunity. I love learning about conducting business in international settings while meeting people from all around the world!
Since we arrived, life on UCD’s campus has been interesting. I woke up at 9:00 everyday and got ready, then I would walk to Centra, a small market, to pick up a pastry and coffee on my way to class. I would be with a group of friends from time to time, but I tended to walk by myself and explore the campus before class. I would always see people eating with their friends outside of the Centra or walking to class while looking around and admiring the campus. The business center was not far away from where we were living, and from 10:00am to 1:00pm I would be in class.
Afterwards, most of us in the program would get lunch together. The cafeteria was conveniently next door to the business center, and we would sit down and eat really, good food that we normally would not experience at any other college cafeteria.
After lunch, we normally took naps before either going out or doing homework, unless we had an early excursion into Dublin. We lived in a chain of apartments buildings called the Glenomena Student Residencies, which had three apartments per floor. I lived on the second floor (or first in Europe) and had a nice room with a bathroom, desk, and wardrobe; six of us shared a common area fitted with couches, refrigerators, and a stove. The apartments were very clean and pristine and didn’t seem very old at all. Most of UCD is still expanding at a fast rate with new halls! I personally found my room to be smaller than a Hampden-Sydney room-smaller than the Carpenter rooms-but the bathroom was definitely a plus. As time progressed, I found that I had less space to put things away, just because I bought so much! There were some books, hygiene products, and some clothes that I wish I could’ve left home; I packed a little more than I needed to, but I had everything I needed!
Whenever we went out, I noticed that many people don’t wear shorts, except for Americans. Everyone seems to wear khakis with either a t-shirt, polo, or button up. By the end of our first week, I could already tell who was American and who wasn’t just by clothing styles. However, there were other ways of telling if someone was American. As said by someone back home: “we walk around like we own the place.” I didn’t think it was true until I came to UCD. I usually wore khakis (occasionally jeans) with a button up, which is normally my style in the United States. I would say that I fit in to the point that Irish speakers would come up to me at a museum and ask me questions, as if I knew Irish! It must have been the red hair.
During the trip, I also noticed how the Irish have a different perception of time than we do. The sun sets later than in the United States, around 10:00pm, so the towns are always full of actively late into the night. People seem more active due to the increased amount of daylight throughout the day. It wasn’t terribly hard to adjust to eating dinner at 9:00pm, but it certainly felt off. Normally I eat at 5:00pm, so going an extra few hours is always weird, but well worth the wait. The food in Ireland fills you up fast because it’s so hearty and thick! My two favorite meals were Beef and Guinness stew-namely the one found on the fifth floor of the Guinness Storehouse-and seafood chowder with soda bread. Lamb was also popular at all restaurants that we went to, and I can say lamb is definitely a new favorite as well. Overall, the nightlife proved to be fun. Since people were always up late, it was always interesting to see what people were doing throughout the day: working and shopping followed by dinner at a pub or going out to a club to dance. There was always something going on.
May Term Abroad
Alcalá de Henares, Spain
Given the fact that I have never traveled and hadn’t done much research on Spain, I didn’t have a lot of expectations coming into the trip. I will say that the trip has been an amazing opportunity for me. Again, since I had not ever traveled or spoken a foreign language for a month, I had no clue what to expect. From the very beginning, this trip took me out of my comfort zone. I was ill-prepared for the language, culture, travel, etc. Because of that, I learned so much more than Spanish on this trip. I learned a lot about myself. Not only did my abilities in Spanish grow, but I also learned a lot about myself. I have gained a lot of confidence from overcoming challenges that I had never expected. I also gained experiences of travel that I had not yet had the opportunity to have. Therefore, I am extremely thankful for the time that I have spent in Spain.
When I leave Spain, I will most definitely miss my host family most. I have discussed them a little bit in my blogs, but they have been very supportive and kind during my time here. I am extremely thankful that they were kind enough to take my roommate and I in for an entire month, feed us, wash our clothes, and most importantly help us advance our knowledge in Spanish. I have grown close with both my host mother and brother. I will not forget the transformation I have gone through during this trip. Now, I wish that I had talked to my host parents more during the first couple days because I will most definitely miss them.
Again, I recommend that any student should study abroad if they are given the opportunity. I have learned so much more by immersing myself in the language of Spanish, than I would have studying at Hampden-Sydney. On top of that, I enjoyed the entire experience of travel. If you are a student that enjoys leaving your comfort zone and travel, then study abroad will undoubtedly be an unforgettable experience for you. Moreover, I suggest that if you are a student interested in studying abroad, make sure to research the area that you are going because I didn’t, and I believe that I made a mistake. As I said in an earlier blog, I experienced a little culture shock when I landed in Spain and I think that had I researched the area more, then I would have known what to expect. A little bit of research will help you to hit the ground running when you get to the area that you are studying. This will allow you to maximize your experience in your respective country.
Overall, I am ready to return to the United States to see my family and friends and return to Hampden-Sydney College. On the other hand, I will not forget the month I spent in Spain or the memories that I have made. I plan to come back to Spain in the future, as well as travel more after my time at H-SC. For every student that reads this, you should study abroad. It’ll be some of the best credits that you earn during your time on the Hill.
May Term Abroad
Visiting State Parliament
“Nearing the end of my trip here in Münster I can honestly say that it has been a blast. Individually I have met many unique and friendly people around the city. As a group we have recently been able to meet with a Parliament representative for North Rhein – Westphalia and see how the laws are made for the state we are staying in. I found it very interesting to see the State Parliament where laws could be made to impact the family of my favorite local döner shop, or the school that we study at in the city. We often think that just because something is foreign that it is beyond comprehension, when in reality it is closer to home than we were led to believe.
scenic church view
Our final day of class is Wednesday and we leave for our final destination of Berlin Thursday before departure. Saying goodbye to my host family will be close to saying goodbye to my own family. The program has selected amazing people to host us and make us feel welcomed for our stay here in Münster. I will probably miss the day to day living the most. I will miss stopping at the same bakery every morning before class to grab a small snack before class. I will miss seeing the husband and wife that own the local döner shop and having conversations about the soccer game from the previous evening. Most of all I will miss family dinner time where everyday my house family and I would sit down to a homemade meal and recollect on our day and laugh over small jokes.
Anyone considering studying abroad should stop considering and just do it, and those who have not considered it should start to.”
May Term Abroad
Alcalá de Henares, Spain
Since the last time I blogged, I have made a lot of progress with the language. I speak as frequently as possible with my host brother and mother because I learn the most from them. I have gotten to the point where I don’t have to think about what I am going to say before I speak. I find myself responding to them much quicker, without a delay, because I have been exposed to the language for so long. It feels much more natural than in the beginning. Before the trip, I had studied Spanish for only two semesters and I am very proud of how much I have learned.
When I am not speaking Spanish or doing homework, I thoroughly enjoy my free-time in Spain. Typically, I will go down to the Plaza and listen to music or hang out at bars with my friends. There is a small bar called La Panadería that plays rock music and we have made friends with the bartender. In my free-time, I watch a lot of movies with my host brother. We also often watch the World Cup soccer games, especially when Spain is playing.
During my time in Spain, I have also done a lot of traveling to other locations. I have gone to Madrid multiple times, Segovia and Toledo for one day, and Valencia for a weekend. Traveling in Spain has been very different for me. Since I do not have a car, I have taken a train to every location. On the other hand, this is a typical way to travel in Spain because many people do not drive. Madrid was beautiful. We took a tour through the city with one of my professors from the University in Alcala. Segovia was very exciting because they have an aqueduct that runs throughout the city. Valencia is on the coast and my roommate and I went to the beach for a day. We also went to the Museum of Art and Science in Valencia, which I found very interesting because I am a science major at Hampden-Sydney. Overall, I recommend that anyone who studies abroad should try and travel to other locations so that they can see as much as possible.
As my time in Spain is ending in just three short days, I am doing my best to both get my work done and spend time with my host family. In closing, the trip has been very beneficial for me. I have learned a lot about the Spanish culture. Moreover, by traveling out of the country for the first time, I now see how different other countries can be. I believe that this will be an experience I talk about for a long time after college. With the liberal arts mentality of Hampden-Sydney in mind, I highly recommend any student study abroad if the opportunity presents itself.
May Term Abroad
“We cannot really have a study abroad without the study portion. Personally, I am taking a 495 independent study which is a progressive study of the architecture of Münster from it’s earliest beginnings in the Dom Platz, to its more modern architecture with office buildings designed to absorb carbon dioxide from the air. No matter the level of study here in Münster we students find ourselves in situations where we need a bit of help.
Coffee with Dr. Johnson
Coffee with Dr. Martz
Along with help at home from our host families, Dr. Johnson and Dr. Martz frequently set up meetings at the popular Marktcafé in the city center. At this historic cafe near the city center, we can enjoy delicious varieties of pastries and other foods along with a large culmination of lattes, cappuccinos, and other coffee based drinks. Well, enjoying these great amenities while sitting down with our professors and getting one on one feedback and guidance on our assignments. The work based meetings are never strenuous with a fresh strudel and warm cappuccino.”
May Term Abroad
At Dulles Airport with Trip Gilmore
Today is the day that I finally get to leave the country. I have waited for this moment my entire life: to travel somewhere abroad and be immersed in a new culture. I knew Ireland was my best choice from the very beginning, when I saw a poster full of abroad opportunities for business classes in the fall. Ireland was an amazing place from what I had heard, and I knew that going there would yield memories that would last for the rest of my life; being able to walk in the same city my ancestors walked was fascinating knowing how old the city of Dublin. From what I can see sitting in the terminal with other Hampden-Sydney brothers, I know it will be a trip to remember. I look forward to walking around the city and meeting the locals, and I cannot wait to experience trips to the countryside, where I will find myself in an endless sea of green. The first thing of course, is to conquer my fear of flying! I’m not as nervous as I thought I would be, but who knows how long that will last.
Beautiful Irish Countryside, taken right before landing.
Turns out, flying is not that bad. I stayed up on the plane for the entire ride. I couldn’t sleep because I was so fascinated by the passing lights as we flew up the east coast. The night consisted of small bits of closing my eyes then watching movies, and every so often looking out at the sunrise closing in as we moved across the Atlantic. By 8:30am we had landed in Dublin Airport. Through a tedious hour and a half wait, we managed to get through customs and grab our bags. We met with our bus driver and proceeded to head into the city. It was only on the bus ride to University College of Dublin that I realized I was truly in a foreign land: every aspect of my environment, from reversed lanes to the people and buildings, were not recognizable! I truly felt in a different world.
We eventually arrived at our apartment, and I couldn’t be happier to see my room. I share my apartment with five others and have a beautiful commons room. That same day we attended orientation with Dr. Isaacs and met our tour guide, a student named Liam, who showed us around campus. The campus was stunning, and I felt amazed going into the many halls that made up the University College of Dublin. He told us where to go for local attractions, including the Irish Emigration Museum and the beautiful views from Howth, and told us about the local customs and culture.
Temple Area at 10pm!
Later that night, me and three others went into the town for dinner and to see the night life. It was spectacular! So many people were on the streets having a pint or listening to local musicians play The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” as we passed the Temple Bar. We ate Irish stew at a restaurant called Quay’s; I have never had such a great stew in my life! We continued on and went exploring across the city late into the night (did I mention the sun is still up at 10:00pm?).
I though the first day would be intimidating, but I have never felt more in love with such a city.
May Term Abroad
Alcalá de Henares, Spain
My day to day life in Spain is entirely different from that of my life at home. From Monday through Thursday, I wake up at 7:30 in the morning to get ready for class. I take an extremely short shower because water is not as prevalent here. At home, I rely on a long and warm shower to wake me up for the day. Then I grab breakfast downstairs with my host mom and roommate. We typically eat a piece of toasted bread with olive oil and butter on top. This also took some getting used to as I usually eat a large breakfast of bacon and eggs when I am home.
After breakfast, I start my 20-minute morning walk to the University. On the way, I typically see other students, most in uniform, going to their schools. I see parents walking to work and buses constantly picking up and dropping off people. Almost every morning, people are mowing or weed eating the grass in the Plaza or preparing the stage for an event the upcoming weekend.
After class, I take the same walk back home and eat lunch in the kitchen with my host brother. Our lunch is typically premade from the night before because our host mother works during the day. So far, my favorite food has been the Tortillas de Patatas and my favorite drink is a yogurt drink called Fresa. After lunch, I work on my homework for most of the afternoon. While I am doing homework, my host brother and roommate typically take a siesta, which is common in Spain. They nap for around 3 hours after lunch which I still have not gotten used to. I do not typically take naps and I am often the only one up for that time of the day.
After my homework, we all eat dinner around 9 pm. Again, this took some getting used to. Lunch and dinner here are shifted about three hours later than I am used to back at home. At first, I felt like I was hungry all the time, but I have since adjusted to the schedule. Once we finish dinner, my roommate, host brother, and I watch a movie in the living room. I have also gotten used to watching TV in Spanish and have started to understand what they are saying in the films. Afterwards, I go shower and then into my room to finish last minute studying.
My room is extremely small, especially my bed. The bed is even smaller than those at school. The room is always kept extremely neat by me or my host mom. It took me about a week to get used to the size of the room and bed. Now, it feels like my home.
In conclusion, the most interesting thing for me thus far has been the transformation of my relationship with my host family. My host mother and I make jokes to one another when before I was nervous just to speak. My host brother and I frequently hang out on the weekends and we have gotten very close. I have enjoyed their hospitality and am gracious for the opportunity to study abroad.
May Term Abroad
“Now that I have been here in Münster for two weeks, I have found myself falling into a routine that makes me feel as if I am a true Münster resident. I wake up every morning, to get ready and catch the Diekmannstraße Bus 11 to get to the Johann Schlaun Gymnasium, where our classes are held. As soon as I step of the bus at the Servatiplatz stop, I find myself in front of a bakery with the aroma of heaven. Each morning, I spend less than a euro for a small baked treat to eat for breakfast. I then walk a short distance to our school. After classes, I take the Tannenhof Bus 11 to return home. When I reach my stop to go home I find myself in front my favorite place in all of Münster. This place is a small, neighborhood Döner shop. Döner, is a Turkish sandwich filled with vegetables, tzatziki, and a mixture of chicken, beef, and lamb for the protein. Not only is the sandwich delicious and filling, but you are able to watch the chef shave the meat from a large cone that cooks rotisserie style. I realized my fascination with this restaurant had turned into an addiction, when the chef began to recognize me coming in so often and now knows my order completely. It is the simple things, like befriending the chef at your favorite eatery, that makes the connection to the city and the program even deeper.
As for our entire group, we’ve been very welcomed in the city of Münster. We were given a private tour of the town hall where the Treaty of Westphalia was signed. In addition, we were given another tour of the cities museum of art and culture. There were many fascinating paintings, including an original Andy Warhol.”
Münster Group with Professors Johnson and Martz