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Ramadan Abroad

Amazing view from Christiansborg Palace

As Ramadan knocks on the door, cities worldwide light up and prepare for the month of fasting, but in Copenhagen life goes on as it normally would.  Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar – it’s a time of fasting for Muslims. During this time food and drink are not allowed to be consumed from dawn to sunset. During the fast, we are not allowed to eat or drink anything. For me, during the summer back home, the fasts last for only 14-16 hours, but in Denmark, the sun sets close to 10 pm and rises at 4 am. That’s 20 hours of fasting during the hottest summer Demark has ever experienced.

When I applied for my study abroad program I didn’t really take into account that I was going to be spending Ramadan abroad, on my own, in the land where the sun never sets. I was really nervous about having to walk everywhere in the hot sun and I thought I was going to miss out on a lot of activities because of my lack of energy.

While traveling, it’s easy to become dehydrated when you’re not fasting, and even easier to do so while fasting. I made sure to hydrate plenty during the evening. I also made sure to take things slowly instead of trying to see all of Copenhagen at once. I realized that six weeks was more than enough time to sightsee and I made it a goal of mine to go sight-seeing at least three times out of the week and to do at least a couple of activities throughout the week. This allows me to enjoy my time without feeling drained. Fasting during my study abroad trip has definitely made this experience better.


Ruweida Kulane is a freshman at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance and Entrepreneurship. Ruweida is spending the summer abroad with DIS Study Abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark as a Gilman Scholar.

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.

Solo Travel P. II

Upon arriving in Krakow, I checked my bags and headed into town to make one of two guided tours of the day. The first was of the Jewish Quarter and lasted for nearly three hours. We visited many historic sites, including many locations from the movie Schindler’s List. We ended the tour at the actual factory and were invited to walk through the museum, but because I only had one free day in Krakow, I chose to walk back to the Old Town and start another tour. The Old Town tour I took in the afternoon was interesting and intimate, being only three people and the guide. We walked throughout the Main Market Square and listened to the guide tell us different facts, some of which were about Pope John Paul II. We concluded the trip at Wawel Castle, which is one of the most captivating buildings I’ve seen, architecturally speaking because of the noticeable varied influences and designs throughout the castle. I spent the rest of the evening talking with a group of people staying at the hostel. We all managed to book different trips to Auschwitz the following day.

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My trip to the concentration camp was the only thing I planned for that day, and I could probably write an entire post on that experience alone. This is the second Nazi camp I’ve been to, but Dachau was a work camp as opposed to a death camp. Auschwitz I was our first stop; many of the barracks have been turned into exhibits. After visiting a few, our mini bus took us to Birkenau. The sheer size of the camp was overwhelming and intimidating, with the infamous train tracks leading through the gate. Being in a Nazi camp is like nothing I have ever experienced before and I full-heartedly think everyone should once in their lifetime.

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After an incredible, but exhausting two days in Poland, I left early to catch a flight to Copenhagen. Meandering around the city the first day, my full day was spent on more guided tours. By this point in the trip, my feet had blisters upon blisters and I was sort of tired of traveling alone. But there really isn’t a better place to cheer yourself up than Copenhagen. The people truly are as friendly as they are stereotyped to be. The city is beautiful, so picturesque and vibrant. One thing I suggest anyone who visits is to walk, or enter, Tivoli Gardens at night and experience the magic that prompted Walt Disney to create his empire.

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My final stop was Amsterdam in the Netherlands. I only had one afternoon here before catching a flight back to London. I walked through the canals from the hostel to Museumplein, the art district of Amsterdam. I made my way through the beautiful Rijksmuseum and had lunch in the park before visiting the Van Gogh museum. Afterwards, I walked through a street market, as recommended by the receptionist at the hostel and through the city center, making a stop at Anne Frank’s house before heading in for the night.

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When I started my study abroad experience, I never though I would have traveled on my own. Looking back now, this is the best thing I could have ever done, and is definitely one of the highlights of my whole experience. For anyone considering making a solo-travel trip, I could not suggest it highly enough. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Thank you so much for keeping up with me, and I really hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about my travels as much as I’ve enjoyed reliving them.

Xx Jessica