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The Cities That Made Me Speechless

I sat down three times to write a blog about Prague, but for some reason, I couldn’t think of anything to say. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy my time there, I definitely did. And it wasn’t that the city didn’t leave an impression on me. But I felt like I didn’t have any coherent thoughts or words about my experience there.

But soon after, it was time for me to go to Rome, and I had the idea to just write a blog about both cities, that way I had more to say. Then I came home from Rome and my writers/thought block was almost worst. I didn’t understand what was happening.

See the reason I couldn’t write about Prague, and now how it’s even harder to write about Rome was I didn’t know how to write about a beauty you just have to see with your own eyes.

I couldn’t explain the magical feeling I got walking through the winding cobble-stoned streets of Prague, like I had been transported to a fairy-tale land. I couldn’t put into words the emotions that overcame me looking up at the ceilings of the Sistine Chapel, the ceilings I heard about every day of my childhood (thank you Catholic school education).

It’s that feeling of being lost in history that people are chasing when they come to Europe. But it’s not kind of history that has a face and name, like when you see a Berlin square that the Nazi’s rallied in. It the 100’s of years of people that weren’t written in the history books. The merchants who all met in a small square in Prague that you, thousands of years later, are eating dinner in. It’s the streets that the first Christian’s walked on, and you have to wonder about what life they were living. The history that swallows you up, and you are just a small fraction, a blimp in the city’s eyes.

In Prague and Rome, when you see artifacts and buildings that were built in the 1700s, you are unimpressed because the 1700s? That’s new for these cities. With buildings built 2,000 years ago still standing, 300 years is modern. But then I kept thinking about how stuff in the 1700’s is older than my own country. With the U.S. not being founded until 1776, most of the stuff around me has been there before everything I’ve ever known at home was even thought of. Some of these buildings were worked on before anyone knew America even existed.

My expectations going into Prague were actually pretty low. I remember both of my sisters saying Prague was a “must-see” but I didn’t really know why. Prague’s history was (and is) confusing to me, I didn’t understand how the city was important in history, I don’t remember ever learning about it in history books. All I knew was that it was old and currently in the Czech Republic, but previously in Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, under Nazi rule, AND in the Austria-Hungary Empire. I couldn’t wrap my head around an old and beautiful city that experienced that many regimes in current history. But that experience made Prague what it is, a must-see. It has pretty much every era of world history to show, from ancient to Baroque to the communist era.

As for going to Rome, I was anxious. From loving ancient history, to learning about Rome so much in school, I was worried my expectations were going to be too high. But from St. Peter’s Basilica, to the Colosseum, to the food, Rome did not disappoint.

But my favorite part of both Prague and Rome weren’t the grandiose structures of ancient times, it was the quiet beauty that just existed as part of daily life. The cobblestone streets and the beautiful trees and the random statues on every corner. It’s probably the stuff you get used to living in Prague or Rome, but when used to seeing a Walgreens (no disrespect to Walgreens, I love you) on every corner, it is a bit overwhelming.

All in all, amazing doesn’t cut it. So again, I find myself at a loss for words.


Emily Reid is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City double majoring in Journalism and Political Science. She is spending the semester in Berlin, Germany through the ISA Berlin Program

Disclaimer:  Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Berlin the Bountiful

I’m halfway through my time in Berlin, so here is a list of all my favorite things about this city so far.

  1. I could argue Berlin is the most international city in the world. For one, let’s take into account that one city was controlled by four different nations for a number of years. Want to go a British pub? 20 minutes away in Charlottenburg. Hungry for some French food? Visit the neighborhood of Wedding, a former French district. And there’s nothing like an American burger… I can find one down my block in Zehlendorf. I had known the city of Berlin was split into four of course, but I had only really thought of East Berlin changing, and had never realized the brief control by other nations would actually have a lasting effect on West Berlin.
  2. Flower shops are everywhere. There are three flower stores I walk past every day on my 3 block walk to the S-Bahn platform.
  3. Their determination to keep the memory of The Holocaust and and the atrocities in World War II alive, but at the same time to prevent it from happening again is tremendous. In the museums I’ve been to so far, they have these plaques up, that say “No photos of Nazi symbols,” which prevent tourists and attendees from focusing on the Nazis and Hitler. Along with that, the site of Hitler’s bunker was kept secret until 2006. The German government refused to put up a sign or open the bunker to the public to prevent neo-nazis and worshippers from making it a pilgrimage. Today, the bunker remains sealed and looks like an ordinary parking lot a part from a small sign at the corner.
  4. It is true, the German’s are incredibly environmentally conscious. Some of the ways are obvious and a little incumbent to the typical American, the 3 different bins at every trash can and the lack of dryers in houses. But most of the ways are subtle yet so easy it has me wondering why we don’t do them in America. For example, train and bus doors don’t open unless you push a button, most public lights, like in schools or apartment hallways are motion sensor so they are not on permanently. But my personal favorite is that it is a common habit for Berliners to leave glass bottles outside of trash cans. Besides the abundant cigarette butts, these glass bottles are the only litter you will see. But it’s not really litter because people, mostly homeless, will go around collecting these bottles to make money. And since drinking in public is legal here, those beer bottles stack up on the weekend.
  5. Doner Kebab. For those of you who are unlucky enough to never had tried this delicious, heaven sent, marvel of food, I pity you. In a crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, perfectly cooked piece of bread, slathered in garlic sauce, spicy sauce, hummus, anything you can dream of, then filled with seasoned meat and topped with lettuce, and then sprinkled with cheese. Doner is amazing and I eat it every day. You will catch me coming home 40 pounds heavier and still smiling because that’s how amazing doner is.
  6. Stuff! To Do! Every! Day!: This could also be filed under things I don’t like about Berlin because wow is this overwhelming. And the guilt I feel when I’m laying in bed not doing anything. 100 new galleries opening every day, new exhibitions at every museum, all the bookstores and coffee shops, concerts and a walk in every park, restaurants to try….phew.
  7. Public transportation. Yeah, commuting sucks but being on a train and not worrying about driving gives me time to read and work on homework. Public transportation is specifically great in Berlin because Germans love punctuality which means buses and trains are always on time.
  8. Art scene. The city of street art means you’re walking through an art museum 24/7. Everyone here is so creative, you can’t help when it rubs off on you. From the people sketching on the bus, to work shopping screen plays in coffee shops, everywhere you turn is an artist working on their next masterpiece.
  9. All the parks and green areas. This is something I will appreciate much more when it gets warm out, but Berlin is more park than city I swear.
  10. Berlin is Berlin. You are you. Unlike any other major city, one gets more stares in public for dressing too nice than too sloppy. It’s a city where it’s cool to look unkempt. At the same time, a 86 year old man can walk onto a bus in a wedding dress and I don’t think anyone would look up from their newspapers. Fashion is no fashion, wear whatever you want, no one has any expectations or rules. This applies for bars and clubs too, there isn’t a dress code apart from don’t try hard. As a girl who takes approximately 7 minutes to get ready in the morning, I am at home here.
  11. Bread and cheese all day every day. I could go days only eating some variation of bread and cheese. And since these two things happen to be my favorite food groups, let’s just say I am doing well.
  12. Mauerpark Flohmarkt, and any other flea market. Sundays are the best days in Berlin! Everywhere you turn there is a market, like elves come in over night and transform the city. Mauerpark is the best, with rows of stands, live music, karaoke when it’s nice out and the occasional dance show.
  13. Spatkaufs. Late shops open on almost every street corner. Go in and buy beer or snacks for really cheap, and when it’s nice outside people will just hang out on the street drinking and eating.

 


Emily Reid is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City double majoring in Journalism and Political Science. She is spending the semester in Berlin, Germany through the ISA Berlin Program

Disclaimer:  Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Berlin Bound

Berlin, Germany

Since the moment I learned what studying abroad was, I think maybe in 6th grade, I immediately knew it was something I wanted. For 9 years, I waited and I dreamt and waited some more. I narrowed my choices down and set my heart and eyes on Berlin. This has definitely been a long time coming, filled with anticipation and excitement. And now it’s here.

With a major in journalism and a long time love of writing, it only makes sense to blog my travels, daily life, and experiences while in Berlin.

When I decided to study abroad, I wasn’t immediately sure where I wanted to go. There wasn’t one place that had always called to me, I didn’t have some strong familial connection to a country besides the knowledge that my great great (great?) grandpa was buried somewhere in Ireland. And besides two unbeneficial years of high school Spanish, from which I took away only the knowledge of a Soy that wasn’t a sauce, I didn’t speak a language. So, in making my decision on which country I wanted to live in, I made a list of what I wanted from my experience. Then I narrowed down from there.

When I tell people I’m spending 4 months in Berlin, many ask why I chose it. So I figured giving my long-winded answer of “Why” is the first step to this whole blog abroad thing.

  1.      I wanted to go to Europe. When studying abroad, most people know which region of the world they want to explore. For me, Europe was an obvious choice. I love European history, I love how so many diverse cultures are existing in such a small area of the world, I love how I can knock off like 20 cities in 4 months. For me, there was nowhere but Europe to study abroad.
  2.      I wanted to be immersed in a culture different from mine. England and Ireland are both amazing countries, but I wanted something further from my American experience.
  3.      I wanted to learn a new language, I was never dedicated enough in high school to learn Spanish, but I do love words, and learning languages has always been a dream of mine.   
  4.      I wanted to live in a country with a rich history. Of course, when we think of Germany our minds jump to World War II and Nazis, and when it comes to Berlin one can’t help but mention the Berlin Wall. And these were definitely contributing factors to my decision, being a bit of a history nerd. But beyond that, Germany has such a long and fascinating history of being one of the greatest nations in the world. And considering our European History classes in America tend to focus on Great Britain and Rome, there is so much I have yet to learn.
  5.      I wanted a big, trendy city. Not only is Berlin the 6th largest city in Europe (by population), it is up and coming, relatively inexpensive, boasts an amazing art scene and of course renowned for being just a fun place to live. The culture, the community, and of course the clubs all contribute to Berlin being a great place for young people.

So there you have it. My reasons why. Of course, this doesn’t even delve into the whole “Why I want to travel” discussion, which has a lot to do with reading and little to do with a natural curiosity. But I have 16 weeks and 16 blogs to touch on that.

So welcome, now let’s have some fun.


Emily Reid is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City double majoring in Journalism and Political Science. She is spending the semester in Berlin, Germany through the ISA Berlin Program.

Disclaimer:  Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Run, Run, as Fast as You Can

Picture it: A 180-year-old church; the palace of Frederick the Great; the cutesy charm of local European markets. And it almost didn’t happen – well, at least for me.

Do you know which city I’m talking about? If you guessed Potsdam, Germany, you probably paid too much attention in history class. But hey, you’d also be correct!

Universität Leipzig has a group for international students called WILMA, which stands for “Willkommens Initiative für in Leipzig Mitstudierende AusländerInnen.” I know that’s a lot, so please don’t hit the escape button.

Every so often, WILMA will take weekend day-trips to the surrounding cities of Leipzig, giving students the opportunity to explore said cities for a couple hours. Students are given an unofficial tour of the city on foot, then are set free to scare the locals (may or may not happen each time).

This was my first trip with the group, and of course I was excited because I was finally getting the chance to see a little bit of Europe without it costing an arm and a leg. Plus, I knew it would be a great chance to meet/hang out with people I’ve come to know over the past couple months.

Okay. So. Wake up super early on a Saturday? Check (worst part). Arrive at the main train station to meet WILMA? Check. Board local train with WILMA to Potsdam? Check. Okay, everything seems to be going well.

The weather’s kinda bad. Wait. The weather is actually really bad – raining, cold, lots of wind. The only thing missing is..ope, no, I said it’s raining, we’re good.

Aside from the weather, everything is going..wait. The train has just stopped, and we’re waiting.

And waiting.

And…waiting.

And…you get the picture. But why have we stopped? Turns out, we were waiting for another train to use the track we were on, but of course didn’t know when that train was coming. So, we wait for over an hour.

Not a problem. Our plans are now altered a little, but that’s okay. Train is movi…okay, NOW what?? The train stops again, but this time, the conductor comes barreling out of his cabin and heads straight for the bathroom.

Look, I get it; when you gotta go. No, THIS time, someone was SMOKING in the bathroom, which is a big no-no. Now I’m thinking we’ll never get to Potsdam. Little did I know..

So, with all these unexpected interruptions, naturally some rearranging has to happen. We’ve already missed the other train we were supposed to catch to Potsdam, so the only thing to do is wait for another one to come.

We end up having a “layover” in the city of Magdeburg, and we’re told that we will have an hour before our next train comes. Great! This will be a good opportunity to eat/restroom/explore.

Magdeburg!

One thing about trains: It doesn’t matter where you’re going. What matters is deciding to get on.

Just kidding, that’s a quote from “The Polar Express” film. But the thing about trains is, if you’re late, they don’t care. That statement almost became a reality for me. Almost.

So, I decide to go off with two people I had met earlier that day to see what we could get ourselves into. We pass some shops (*looks at phone for the time). We pass some historic-looking architecture (*okay, getting closer to having to leave). Oh, look the Elbe River! (*very-nervously thinking we need to get back to the station)

^Oh, look the Elbe River!

Our train leaves in seven minutes, and the bridge we are on taking pictures of the Elbe in the rain is definitely more than seven minutes away from the train station. Meanwhile, WILMA does not take a head count and will not politely ask the train conductor to wait.

The question now is not “if” we miss the train, but “when” we miss the train, WHAT WILL WE DO? We subconsciously agree that the only thing we CAN do is (insert my least-favorite three-letter-word here).

I kid you not, I am running so fast and so hard that I am having horrific flashbacks to middle school. It was like running the mile all over again, only this time, I had a backpack on and it was raining. Remember the awesome weather I mentioned above?

We are RUNNING through crowds of people, RUNNING through the busy train station, RUNNING up flights of stairs. My body has never felt more like jello than it does right now. At this point, I don’t even care if the train leaves, so long as I can catch my breath.

But by the grace of all that his holy, our train, for whatever reason, hasn’t left. We quickly get on board, and in all honesty, we don’t even know if it’s our train. All we know is that it’s better than nothing. (It was our train.)

We collect ourselves, catch our breath, and drink some water. The trip is still a go! And aside from that incident, the terrible weather, and the long delay, Potsdam proved to be enjoyable, not so much because of the sites (come back in the spring/summer when everything’s in bloom!), but because of the people I got to spend time with.

Check out some of the photos I took below when I wasn’t trying to cough up a lung!

 

Tschüss!

A look inside the 180-year-old rebuilt St. Nikolaikirche
Looking out from St. Nikolaikirche
Sanssouci, the summer palace of Frederick the Great (also wishing it was summer in this picture)

Vince Woods received his Bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. He is currently a sophomore at UMKC, pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in Education with the intention of teaching German. Vince is spending the semester abroad with the MAUI-Utrecht Exchange Program in Leipzig, Germany.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

It’s Christmas Time in the City

Ring-a-ling! That’s right, it’s that time of year again when the streets are a little busier, the atmosphere becomes a little more joyous (depending on who you ask), and on every street corner you hear…

It’s Christmas! And the Germans do not disappoint when it comes to this holiday.

I’d like to the think the Germans go all out for Christmas because they haven’t had a holiday in a long time. (Think about it: Columbus didn’t discover Germany)

That means the Germans are waiting with bated breath to whip out the trees, the holly and, of course, the world-famous Christmas markets.

Let me tell you, I was getting a little tired of walking through town everyday in the grey and cold weather. But once I was exposed to the Leipzig Christmas market, it was as if someone handed me my missing pair of rose-colored glasses and slapped them on my face.

Most major cities in Germany have their own Christmas markets. Each market is relatively the same, with some minor attractions or booths that make each market individual.

Leipzig has a particularly large Christmas market, which makes the possibilities of food, Glühwein, and crafts nearly endless.

There are also many attractions for families and children, such as a giant ferris wheel and a Märchenland (lit. fairyland), which is an area that displays classic scenes from fairy tales.

These markets can become very crowded, but fortunately for you, the markets open in the afternoon and run through the evening.

So many smells, so many sights. A favorite food of mine that I always enjoyed at the market was this roll/bread-like-thing (great English) that was stuffed with cheese and bits of ham, garnisheed with a dollop of sour cream and diced yellow and red peppers.

^If anyone knows the actual name of this food, please shoot me a text (and help me find a better word for “bread-like-thing”)

Another favorite, and this goes without saying, were the waffles. I could eat waffles literally everyday, and the German waffles at the market certainly helped fulfill that need.

Waffle goodness

Each waffle is customizable, in that you can get it “stuffed’ with certain things. For example, I had my waffle filled with a type of cream, but you could also have it filled with Nutella, among other things.

If you ever do come to Germany during the holidays, I would suggest packing light; you’ll definitely want to fill that extra space with all the crafts, trinkets, and Glühwein mugs you bought!

Over the Christmas season, I had the chance to visit four different markets in four different cities. And I must say, each city was successfully able to bring out the Christmas spirit in me. Or…was it the Glühwein?

Check out these sights that I captured from Leipzig’s Christmas market!

Tschüss!

For more on “Feuerzangenbowle,” copy + paste: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feuerzangenbowle (Hope you aren’t afraid of fire, or the credibility of Wikipedia)

Happiness comes from here
Entrance to Leipzig’s Christmas market

Vince Woods received his Bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. He is currently a sophomore at UMKC, pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in Education with the intention of teaching German. Vince is spending the semester abroad with the MAUI-Utrecht Exchange Program in Leipzig, Germany.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Fire, Fire, Everywhere

Normally when there is a large fire of sorts, people aren’t whipping out their phones and taking pictures of it (unless you’re under 19, in which case you’ve probably already thought about what Instagram filter will complement the flames best; X-Pro II, anyone?)

If you find yourself at Leipzig’s “Lichtfest” (“Festival of Lights”) this year though, you likely have a very good reason to be snapping photos of the fire on display.

That’s because every year since 2009, the people of Leipzig have gathered in the city center with candles to commemorate the peaceful protests that occurred in the fall of 1989 against the East German government. And as history would have it, these protests were one of many contributing factors to the fall of the Berlin Wall later that year.

But this night is all about remembering, and a little bit of celebrating. People have gathered in the city center, just as they did 28 years before, this time to place their tea light candles in the shape of the number “89.”

The night is crisp with a little hint of fall in the air. If you look around, the streets are quiet with no running trams hustling by. The only lights on are those of surrounding businesses, the candles in people’s hands, and the number “89” illuminated by lights inside Leipzig’s Panorama Tower. 

Leipzig’s Panorama Tower in the distance

It’s a great night to be outside, and I don’t want to miss a second of it. I make my way near the stage so that I can catch a glimpse of everything. But wait! How can you participate in “Lichtfest” without even having a candle?

I remember seeing a large table of candles at one end of the event, but think surely there must be another table of them somewhere else. After all, the point of the night ~I thought~ was for everyone to have a candle in their hand.

So, I do some wandering, and I find the two large tables that are in the shape of the “8” and “9” near the stage. The table in the shape of the “8” doesn’t have a lot of candles on it, so I think to myself, “Oh, they’re going fast! Better grab one.”


I grab one, taking it with me for a ride back to my spot near the stage. The event begins to start with a four-piece band and some guest speakers. There are video montages and some live performers doing their thing; it’s going well, and I’m impressed by how organized and professional the whole event is.

But then the thought occurs to me as I look around, “Boy, not a lot of people have candles in their hands.” Maybe we aren’t suppose to be holding the candles from the table?

Performers onstage

The program continues, and in between acts, live video feed of the candle-lit “89” tables are being projected onto the screen behind the stage. Instead of the number of candles on the tables getting smaller, however, the numbers have increased – significantly. So much so that the tables are practically full.

And then it hit me: I had a grabbed someone else’s candle that had already been placed on the table! Without being too obvious, I walk back to the “8” table and nonchalantly put the candle back, as if it were my first time visiting.

To seal the deal, I take another picture of the now-glowing table so it looks like I have never seen the display before. I’m SURE I fooled everyone, especially the old woman who yelled “candle thief” at me in German (that didn’t happen).

A much fuller-looking table

What did happen was an evening I won’t forget. It’s weird to experience the celebration of historical events that you a) did not live through, and b) experienced in a country other than your own. But that’s exactly what happened here, and I have no regrets (other than taking that poor person’s candle).

Tschüss!


Vince Woods received his Bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. He is currently a sophomore at UMKC, pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in Education with the intention of teaching German. Vince is spending the semester abroad with the MAUI-Utrecht Exchange Program in Leipzig, Germany.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

How’s This for a Second-Day Experience?

“Germany, you’re full of surprises!” I thought to myself as the doctor began to sanitize my wounds.

There I was, lying face down on a medical bed with my right pant-leg hiked up; I was becoming a little too comfortable with the German health care system earlier than expected.

Let’s back up a few hours though.

There I was, lying face down… oh, right, because I was asleep. But after that, I was hungry and knew I needed to hunt for food. I had just survived a nine-hour plane ride, a three-hour train ride, another train ride and some walking. It was time to face my fears and go… grocery shopping.

Now, if you’re like me, I find grocery shopping somewhat enjoyable because it means I have nourishment for at least six more days. But grocery shopping in Germany is another thing: It can bite you. (Note to readers: The Aldi supermarket I went to did not bite me and give me the aforementioned wounds.)

It’s what lurked outside that did.

But wait! Don’t you want to hear about my experience inside? Of course you do!

The Germans are very smart when it comes to eco-friendliness and efficiency. Word of the wise: bring your own reusable shopping bag and some sort of coinage to the supermarket.

Bringing a reusable shopping bag eliminates the paper and/or plastic element (you knew that, right?), while the coin-accessible shopping carts, linked together in front of the store, keeps them from loitering out in the lot and rubbing shoulders with your car.

So, I’m walking through the motions, trying to play it cool like I’ve done this before. I grab what I think I need inside, put my items on the belt, and wait for the madness to ensue. Faster than you can say this sentence, all my items are checked out, and it’s time to pay while simultaneously filling up my reusable bag.

Then a yogurt container hit me and I needed stitches. (No!)

I proceeded to walk outside Aldi with my head held high, knowing what I just did took guts. But I wasn’t the only one feeling gutsy that day. Outside the store, I spot a large dog tied to a tree (you see where this is going?). I glance at the dog, the dog glances at me, and that’s all.

But not for the dog.

That dog must’ve thought my groceries looked pretty good, and possibly me. Before I knew it, the back of my leg became a nice piece of meat for a dog who must have been hungrier than I was.

Oh boy, was I surprised! Never in my life had I been bitten by a dog. And here I was, a newborn in a foreign country who already had their first boo-boo. (Note to readers: My injuries were not life or death, but were still worth seeking medical advice over.)

Unsure of what to do, I contact my Airbnb host. Very generously (and intelligently), she and a friend offer to take me to the “Notaufnahme” (German for “emergency room”). How can this be happening to me? I haven’t even gotten the chance to say “Guten Tag” yet.

Also word of the wise: know your bank account information (account number, wire transfer routing number, your bank’s SWIFT Code, and an address for the bank), whether it’s connected to your credit or debit card. This will come in handy because, as I understand it, the value of your stay/treatment at the hospital (depending on your treatment) won’t total up to be the amount you initially pay. That’s right, they’re giving you that money back, but only if you know that information.

Don’t be me, however, because I wasn’t the person who knew that information. Please be the person who knows that information.

I’m quickly released from the hospital, with a tear in my eye, a newly-sterilized thigh and a prescription that needs to be filled.

And this was only the second day.

If you get a chance, say a prayer for me. Actually, say a prayer for that dog, so that he might get something a little tastier than the back of my leg.

Tschüss!


Vince Woods received his Bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. He is currently a sophomore at UMKC, pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in Education with the intention of teaching German. Vince is spending the semester abroad with the MAUI-Utrecht Exchange Program in Leipzig, Germany.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

2017 #RoosAbroad Photo Contest Finalists

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the photographs UMKC students brought back from studying abroad during the 2016-2017 academic year speaks volumes about their life-changing experiences. First and second place finalists were selected by a panel of judges in each of the four categories; Landscapes, Portraits, Cross-Cultural Moments, and Roo Pride. First place finalists won a $75 Amazon gift card and second place finalists won a $25 Amazon gift card. See the full contest guidelines for details.

Browse all photo contest submissions on the 2017 Roos Abroad Photo Contest Pinterest board. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Landscapes

 

First Place: Erica Prado

This photograph was taken at Eilean Donan Castle in the Scottish Highlands. My study abroad group and I, stopped here during our road trip throughout Scotland during our last week in the country. The medieval castle founded in the thirteenth century, is considered one of Scotland’s most cherished historical sites. Its original name Eilean Donan derives from Gaelic, and means “Island of Donnan”.

 

Second Place: Christopher Shinn

Taken in Germany while participating in the UMKC Kempten semester exchange program

 

Portraits

 

First Place: Gabrielle Rucker

Photo taken in Shanghai, China while participating in the Alliance Shanghai semester program

 

Second Place: Alyssa Dinberg

This photo depicts a local resident walking his dog on a cloudy day in Lisbon. I really like the juxtaposition between the traditional cobblestone sidewalks and architecture and the modern yet relaxed vibe he gives off.

 

Cross-Cultural Moments

 

First Place: Jessica Sliger

Her First Dental Appointment taken in Falmouth, Trelawny, Jamaica

 

Second Place: Bayley Cawthon

Taken in Paris, France while participating in the Missouri-London semester Program at the University of Roehampton

 

Roo Pride

 

First Place: Kelista McGraw

Representing UMKC on an Elephant in Jaipur, India. Painting elephants is a tradition upheld by Indians for years. Decorating the elephants with bright colors during festival seasons is one of the ways to celebrate the Hindu deity Ganesha.

 

Second Place: Emily McIntyre

Enjoying the view at the top of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh.

My Little Travel Extravaganza

Well it has been quite a while since I’ve posted up here, but I swear it’s because I’ve been traveling all over Central Europe and loving every second of it! These past 10 days I traveled to Berlin, Amsterdam, and Brussels.

My program in the Czech Republic is designed so we arrive early and are introduced to Prague, Czech culture, and the Czech Language for about three weeks, then we were given a full week off to do whatever we wanted before our real classes started up. In a surprisingly quick decision and little discussion, 3 other members of my program and I decided on this extravaganza. The only stipulations were somewhere in Germany, and Amsterdam.

To say this was hastily planned would be an understatement. We didn’t even know what we wanted to do in each place until we got there. This little vacation has taught me a lot about my position as a traveler. I was in no way the navigator, but I would like to think I helped in making the trip fun and something worth looking forward to. If there was any way to describe it, I was the Yes Man.
-“Should we go to the Anne Frank House and wait in line for and hour and a half in the cold?”
-“Why not? We’ll only be here once!” (Yes, we waited for and hour and a half, and yes, it was worth it.)

Of course after awhile, this gets exhausting. We were running nonstop for probably 7 days before we really decided to stop, stay in, and get some sleep. But I can happily say I do not regret seeing as much as we did. I only regret not seeing more and having more time in each city. That being said, I probably wouldn’t be very functional if we had had a longer vacation.

Three cities in 10 days was exhausting. My first night in Brussels was hard. I felt so homesick, and all I wanted was to be back in Prague and finally on a normal schedule. This all changed in the morning when I finally saw the whole city, and suddenly my desire to explore and experience all I could was back.

This experience was amazing. Each city had its own personality and its pros and cons. The mere fact that I can say I was in three other countries just a week ago is so exhilarating! I honestly didn’t know if I’d ever be able to say that. Not to mention I’ve now seen the Berlin Wall, the Ishtar Gate, and some of the largest collections of the works of Van Gogh and Magritte! The last week was certainly a week of slashing items off my bucket list.

Naturally, now that I’m back in Prague, it’s time to get to work. This is my first week of University classes. It will be quite a change, but I’m looking forward to a regular schedule, and being a little more productive. Not to mention I still have affairs to deal with at home in Kansas City that I have happily ignored until this point. I suppose it’s time to be a student again, but I certainly enjoyed being a world traveler while I could!

Here are some of the best pictures of this trip. If you are still curious, I have more pictures posted on my Facebook from this trip!

Until next time!

-Emma

At the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany. It also happened to be the coldest day of the entire trip and the one day we spent outside the entire time.
On the ferry to our hostel in Amsterdam. This was such a cool experience for me because I’ve lived in land locked places all my life. People would get on the ferry with their bicycles and their motorcycles, filling the ferry every time. I’m pretty sure pedestrians are a minority in Amsterdam with how many people ride their bikes.
Brussels was a seriously beautiful city. I was endlessly impressed by its quirks, probably because I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I went. It was also the best weather I’ve had in Europe thus far.

The Völkerschlachtdenkmal

Ok, if you have no idea what that word in the title means, don’t worry. It is in German, after all, and means “the monument to the Battle of the Nations.” The Battle of the Nations was decisive victory over Napoleon, who had invaded Russia in 1812. The battle itself involved over 600,000 soldiers and was the largest battle in Europe until World War 1. Needless to say, this was a very big deal. The monument itself is probably one of the coolest things that I’ve seen here in Germany so far. I’ve visited it twice now, once in the day time and once at night, and it really is amazing. I feel like pictures will say a lot more than words when it comes to this, so I have several here for your viewing pleasure.

The first picture is the walk up to the monument, with my friends walking up to it.20160403_145445

Next is a group shot of everyone in front of the reflection pool. The pool had live fish in it, which I thought was definitely interesting. I’ve been to Washington, D.C. before and the reflection pool in front of the Washington Monument did not have fish…Volkerschlachtdenkmal

Here are some closeup shots of the monument, with the middle one getting photobombed by my friend Gabriel’s forehead. Thanks, man.

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And here is a picture of the reflection pool and the city from the top of the stairs. This thing has at least four different “levels,” with this being taken at the lowest one. The next one is taken inside of the chamber, when we went the second time. Apparently they do concerts within the monument, and that night we were lucky enough to see it! Neat.

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Finally, here’s a shot of the monument at night, in all of its glory.

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