Five

Believe it or not, this semester is coming to a close and we are in the midst of the last week of classes. It feels like yesterday I was unpacking my stuff in Denbigh, scrambling to register for all of my classes – and this semester was different: I decided to take not three, not four, but five classes. It’s an experience I’ve never had prior to this, but I have to say there are pros… and cons.

Why? Why would you choose to take on an extra class? The workload here at Bryn Mawr is anything but light. Especially as a History major, I feel like all I do is read. Read, read, read. However, I felt like I wanted to challenge myself after a fairly relaxing semester abroad, and adding an extra class seemed like the best way to challenge myself to focus and get back in shape.

Time-Management. Organize, Organize, Organize! The biggest challenge about taking five classes is time management. You do not want to waste a single day, especially depending on how your schedule pans out. Luckily, my schedule allowed me a three-day weekend, but that too needed to be scheduled accordingly so that I would not fall behind with readings/assignments, etc. Five classes is possible, but it’ll challenge you to become a more organized individual, and will help you keep on track with your work, because you’ll need to do so in order to keep up!

Diversity. Never in my right mind would I take five humanities classes. I’m willing to bet there are some people who are capable of achieving great things while doing this, but I am just not one of those people. I think one of the main reasons why I decided to take five classes is because the extra class was Probability and Statistics – a mathematics course. There was no reading for the class, and as long as I attended and wrote good notes during lecture, I felt caught up. I think a major part of succeeding with a five class schedule is diversity. Make sure you aren’t piling up classes in only one department – you’ll want a break from your classes and the subject, and you’ll find yourself stuck. Mixing it up makes it that much easier to handle all of the work!

Would I do it again? Yes! This semester was a trial and error sort of semester in alot of ways – including trying out a five class schedule. If you find yourself on the edge about taking five classes, and you consider yourself very organized, I would recommend that you try. And if you aren’t feeling it, you can always drop in the given time range the school gives you. This semester didn’t feel as hectic or crazy as I expected it to be – and I think that’s because I tried really hard to keep an organized schedule and didn’t take on too much in other parts of my school life. I have a lighter workload for my senior year (eek!) because I took on a heavier course load this semester, and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Mawrter Profile: SGA President, Syona Arora ’15I

After being here for awhile, I’ve realize that there’s one, out of many things, that makes Bryn Mawr really special: the people. College is such an important chapter in life; it’s when you’re surrounded by people, women, who are striving for the same thing as you – to be enlightened, challenged and educated about our increasingly globalized society… how we can have a voice, and have it heard.

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Syona Arora, SGA President ’14-’15

This belief has inspired me to take some time to get to know some of these amazing women i’m surrounded by – individuals that are younger, older or in my very own year. And so, I got the chance to ask our SGA president, Syona Arora, ’15 some questions – about herself, Mawr, and whether or not she had any pieces of advice for her fellow Mawrters (current and future!)

Other than Bryn Mawr, where do you consider “home”? What’s your best memory about it?
I moved around a lot during grade school - 11 houses in 18 years. Because of the constant change in location, it’s hard to pin down a “home”. I was born in Boston, but I live in India now. In that case, home to me is my extended family, people in places all over the world. My favorite memories always consist of gigantic family reunions at my grandmother’s house in New Delhi. All of these various affairs have blended together in my mind. But seeing my cousins and aunts and uncles whom I see so rarely make for the best memories.

 2. Do you remember the moment you received your admissions packet from Bryn Mawr?
Since I live abroad, I did not actually receive the admissions packet – at least, that’s not how I found out that I got in! I received an e-mail notification that the results were posted online. It was six in the morning at home and I had lost my password, so I frantically made an international call to the Help Desk. I remember screaming into the phone at whoever was on the other end that I had gotten in!

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May Day!

It took me a few weeks to decide, but the initial excitement was a huge part of my decision. It was the one school i was really interested in attending, not only because of the academics, but also because people I communicated with said that the community was beyond compare, which, given my moving around so much early on in life, was what I was really looking for. I chose Bryn Mawr because I knew that it could be a place where I could settle down and that is exactly what happened.

3. How did you get involved with SGA? For those who don’t know what it is, what do you think makes it so special?
I did not know about Self-Governance until I stepped foot on campus. It was pretty simple – I attended the SGA event during Customs week, then attended SGA 101, and realized that self-governance is incredibly unique to Bryn Mawr. I say this constantly – it is so important that a women’s college was the first to institute self-governance because it shows that a generation of Mawrters were interested in collaboration. They took action and made a space for themselves on campus and where their voices could be heard and where they could make a change in the community, completely empowering them. This has translated over the decades. Students continue to use self-governance, and it is always changing to meet the needs of a changing student body.

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Hell Week ’14

 4. What is at the top of SGAs agenda and campaign for 2014-2015?
It is really important to me to have SGA function as a platform for collaboration this term. Some parts of Bryn Mawr are disjointed, and as self-governance is a part of everybody’s experience here, it is a productive way for different parts of campus to come together.
Students feel underrepresented in SGA for a variety of reasons, and as a student who has had SGA as a part of her experience since the beginning, I sometimes find it difficult to move forward with this matter. However, I have continued to grow over the past three years and have come to a greater understanding of the student body as a whole and personally hope to be able to effectively function as a true representative for the entire student body.

5. On a lighter note, in your opinion, if there are 3 things a Mawrter has to do before graduating, what would those be?
1. Skinny Dip!
2. Try all of the different ice cream flavors in Erdman.
3. Go to Plenary.

6. What’s your favorite tradition and why? Any fun memories in particular?
I love, love, love Parade Night. It is the first tradition of the year and all the upperclassmen are so excited to welcome the first-years to Bryn Mawr. It is always the best weather for step sing, and it is so wonderful to see first-years stay ’til the end. My favorite memory, as 2015 Songs Mistress will always be leading out class through the struggle that is “You’ve Got A Friend In Me”

 Until Next Time!

It’s Already That Time of Year – Room Draw

Yesterday, Room Draw priority numbers were posted on the Residential Life website. It’s been barely 24 hours and everywhere I go, I hear conversations consisting of “What’s your number?” “You’re so lucky!” or that all too familiar “I’m going to live in a box next year”. As a rising senior, I consider myself fortunate, even with the number 274. The positive side of me keeps reminding myself, “Hey, at least you’re 274 out of the entire school!”. In the last two previous years, The Room Draw Gods have been more than merciful and I was lucky enough to never be above 30… Freshman year, my roommate and I won “Project Dormroom”, which helped alot (got #10!). The entire process will already be in motion next week, and I just cannot believe that it’s already time to start thinking about where i’ll be living during my last year at Bryn Mawr.

There are so many rooms in all of the Bryn Mawr dorms that are precious gems – one just needs to be proactive and look for them. For instance, the room that I have in Denbigh this year, I was assigned to after spending my Fall term abroad in Copenhagen. I remember getting the email a week before Spring term started, and immediately looked at the floorplan online. It looked tiny! But lo and behold, it actually ended being enormous (especially the closet!). I encourage everyone to take at least one night this weekend to go around and look at dorm rooms that you’re interested in. The floorplans are a decent reference, but sometimes, you just need to see the real deal.

May the odds ever be in your favor!

Until Next Time!

Being Appreciated (#GCCNation)

Hello Hello! It’s been a whirlwind first 6 weeks of school, with all of the snow, cancelled class and power shortages! However I have to take a moment and say that my school is awesome and that it takes more than a couple of crazy winter storms to keep Mawrters from trudging on. Although there has been alot of things going on, such as midterms, job interviews (oy vey), and events, I have to say that this semester has been great in the fact that I got to re-connect with the lovely girls of my family group for my church, Grace Covenant Church, GCC. It’s great having a group of people that can totally relate with what’s going on at Bryn Mawr, while also understanding about my goals when it comes to my faith and keeping up with it while at school.

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Grace Covenant Church’s Sisters – Class of ’15!

Every Spring, there’s an event for all of the girls in the college fellowship group called Sisters Appreciation. It’s one night where the guys in the fellowship make a fabulous dinner and banquet sort of thing in order to show that we are appreciated in the church. Pretty cool in my opinion. I had never gone to one of these Sisters Appreciation banquets before, just because it never really worked out in my schedule, or I had been away at the time. It was held at Villanova, and all of us got dressed up and were served tasty food and enjoyed stage performances and videos that the guys prepared for us. We were even given roses at the end, how sweet! It made me thankful for such a great group of friends, as well as GCC.

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Bryn Mawr GCC Family Group!

As someone who went to a Christian school in high school, I never really had to go out of my way to find resources when it came to my faith – since things like that were literally all around me. Coming to Bryn Mawr, it was initially hard to find a church and a group of girls I could plug into and share my story. But Bryn Mawr made it really easy for me to locate all of the Christian fellowships on campus – I still remember going to Cambrian Row as a clueless freshman and meeting representative students from various churches, and of course, GCC. I can honestly say that I feel refreshed and thankful that Bryn Mawr made if pretty easy for me to find my fellowship group.

More Information about GCC:
Sunday worship starts at 9:45 AM, Baldwin School
Bryn Mawr GCC Bible Study is on Wednesdays at 7 PM, Erdman Pit!

What I learned while abroad!

I am back at Bryn Mawr! and it’s almost scary how quickly I’ve re-adjusted to everything. Yes, of course I miss living in Copenhagen, and riding my bike, as well as traveling during the breaks… but I am going to be a positive penny and say that coming back has it’s perks too… like this snow day!

But let’s get back to studying abroad. It was always in my plans to study abroad – since high school. There are a lot of things that I didn’t expect, as well as some moments that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside because I had accomplished a dream. With study abroad applications due this semester for juniors, I thought I’d share some things I learned… while abroad!

1. Explore every option – Destination, that is!
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would study abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. The only thing I knew about Denmark was that in Korea, there was a milk and yogurt brand called “Denmark Milk” and “Denmark Yogurt” (hah!). Initially, I wanted to study in London. However, after learning about the DIS (Danish Institute for Study Abroad) program, as well as comparing it with the one I wanted to apply for in London, I realized that Denmark sounded pretty great. The point is, you may have that one dream city that you’ve been wanting to go to for years – but it’s great to take a step back and think about whether or not you just want to go there for vacation, or if you’d be happy there for 4 months+. Looking back, I would choose Copenhagen all over again, and the program was a perfect fit for me and my goals (travel, lifestyle, semester schedule, etc.)!

2. What to study… What to study… What to study…
I had declared my History major during the same semester that I applied for study abroad. So of course, it’d be logical for me to choose a Humanities program, or a History program, right? Well, this is where I’d like to say that you have a choice! Study abroad is a chance to go to a different city, with a different culture… so why not study something new? Or something you’ve always wanted to study but didn’t have the chance to? I’ve always been interested in PR and Communications, but there isn’t a program for that at Bryn Mawr. However, Copenhagen offered a Strategic Communications core program (that traveled to London, woohoo!), so I took the opportunity! It didn’t mean that I threw away History – I had two really interesting European History classes that were (out of this world) interesting and fun (definitely great to study European history from a European professor). So don’t feel like you have a binding contract with your major (unless you actually do… haha). Do what’s best for you and what you feel like will keep you interested for an entire semester… because trust me, you’ll be so absorbed with everything else study abroad has to offer!

3. Record, Snapchat, Instagram, Take pictures! For the memories!
I will openly admit that I am a social media junkie – and that also includes taking an insane amount of pictures wherever I’m traveling. It might seem like a huge chore in the moment, but later on, you’ll thank yourself that you took the effort! I have thousands of pictures from my entire study abroad experience – from Copenhagen, Munich, Barcelona, Paris, London, Stockholm, Oslo… I went through a bunch of them the other day (choosing pictures for my wall), and I was smiling the entire time. It’s the memories you keep that you’ll remember in the long run – and sometimes, it just doesn’t get any better than that random video you took while out on the town, or the pictures that are frozen in time. But make sure you enjoy the experience in itself! Don’t be too obsessed with preserving memories… or you won’t make any!

4. Take on every challenge & opportunity – study abroad only happens once!
This is probably one of the most important things I had to constantly remind myself to do. I’m painfully shy whenever I meet new people or try new things. But if you stop and think to realize that you’re probably never going to do something again, or not be able to in a long while, almost anything is possible. For instance, I am deathly scared of heights. I become a little baby whenever I think of doing anything more than a couple feet off the ground. In Barcelona, I climbed the Sagrada Familia – one of Gaudi’s most iconic buildings in the city. And boy, I’m glad I did. The view was stunning: to be able to see the city in it’s entirety next to the Mediterranean sea… an image I won’t soon forget. Walking around Copenhagen by myself was also a new thing for me. Another tip – don’t ever feel shy about exploring your new home alone. Especially if you’re in Europe – it’s a common practice and don’t worry…no one is going to be weirdly staring at you!

So yes, four simple yet important points I’ve learned about study abroad. It was such an amazing experience that I cannot even begin to justly describe. Europe was my dream for so long… and I have fallen in love with it even more after experiencing it in reality. I’m super thankful and grateful to my parents for giving me the chance to study and travel for four months… it’s really something you will never forget – something I will cherish forever! It’s one of those things you wish you could record in it’s entirety just so you can precisely remember every moment, every city, every feeling… It was a dream experience. I could go on forever, but let me say this – I’ll be back soon, Europe!

Until Next Time!

The Noma Experience

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity of a lifetime – to eat at Noma, which has been ranked the #1 restaurant in the world for three consecutive years! (They’re #2 this year, losing out to a restaurant in Spain). The dinner was a spur of the moment kind of thing, and I had no idea what to expect. Prior to this, I had not eaten any traditional Nordic cuisine. The experience that I came away with is one that I will never forget – and one my wallet will never forget either!

The restaurant itself is located in Christianshavn, right on the water of the river that goes through Copenhagen. There are mounds of moss in front of the restaurant and the lighting is very intimate – “hygge”, which is Danish term that closely signifies “comfort” or “intimacy”, can be felt all around. It is a two Michelin star restaurant that is run by world famous chef, René Redzepi, a Danish chef. The name “Noma” comes from the crossing of the words “Nordisk” (Nordic) and “Mad” (Food in Danish). Built inside an old warehouse, the restaurant focuses on using natural decor, as well as earthy tones. Redzepi is known to have re-vamped the Scandinavian cuisine culture, and for introducing it to the rest of the world.

We started out with appetizers, which consisted of a Nordic Coconut and fried Reindeer Moss. The 20 dish course focuses on using alot of nordic vegetation as well as using insects, such as ants, to include a citrus-y burst of flavor. Unfortunately I did not count myself bold enough to eat the insects, so some of the seasoning was replaced with citrus salts instead. The main courses consisted of fried cauliflower, as well as duck (which was absolutely delicious). The meat melted in my mouth and it still makes my mouth water even just thinking about it! The desserts consisted of fried pork skin as well as plum and vanilla ice cream, which was so rich in taste. I also decided to try the juice menu, which was freshly squeezed. Some of the flavors were seaweed, nordic fruit, as well as cucumber (think of the juices you would drink for a cleanse, except much fancier…).

My experience at Noma is definitely one that I will never forget. However, I think that it’s one that a lot of people can live without. Afterall, the bill was enough to give my wallet a slight heart attack! But it was definitely worth the money that I paid. The chefs, who each present the dish that they make, were all so kind and knowledgeable; There are people from all over the world working at Noma – we met a guy from Seattle, Washington, and Australia! The waiters were all very kind and took the time to explain what each juice or dish was made out of, and also added in small interesting tidbits about the restaurant’s history and food culture. If you ever find yourself in Copenhagen, or wishing to go, make sure to make a reservation for this place beforehand – it takes at least 3 months in advance to secure a place! I thank all the waiters, chefs and staff for my unique Nordic cuisine experience at Noma. Hopefully I will be back there some day!

Until Next Time!

Across the Pond, London!

The second study tour that I had was different than the first – It was my academic study tour, which meant that I would be traveling with my core program, Strategic Communications. We went to London, UK and I loved every moment of it! London is such a lively city and I can very much imagine myself living there one day… The week consisted of a lot of academic visits and tours, but I learned a lot and got to do tourist-y things afterwards, since I stayed for a bit longer with friends (from Bryn Mawr!).

Trafalgar Square!

Trafalgar Square!

We left Copenhagen around 8 AM (had to get to the airport by 6!) and landed at Gatwick Airport. It was Sunday, and our first stop was Trafalgar Square. A professor from DIS met up with us and gave us a walking tour, around the Trafalgar as well as Parliament Square. We got to see the royal guard at the Cavalry House and also got to see The National Gallery. We experienced London weather (a sudden downpour of rain!) but still got to go on the London Eye and see a great view of the city.

Strategic Comm class on the London Eye!

Strategic Comm class on the London Eye!

We ended the day at a lovely Indian restaurant, where we got to eat curry and nan. London is known for it’s variety of ethnic food – It was a good change from eating sandwiches everyday (I missed the taste of spicy food so much!). We were staying in Kensington, which is a very nice area right near Kensington Palace, the home of Queen Victoria and now home to Prince William and Princess Kate and Prince George. The hotel was super nice, and we were excited to start our week in London!

The Churchill War Rooms

The Churchill War Rooms

The next day started out with a tour of the Winston Churchill War Rooms, near Parliament. It was so interesting to see that all of the underground rooms had been preserved, frozen in time. As a History major, I was dancing with joy (on the inside) as I got to walk through and see the war cabinet and the museum. Winston Churchill was a great communicator, and I think that was the main reason why our professor took us to see the rooms. Afterwards, we went all the way to Wimbledon for a tour of the famous tennis courts. Prior to the tour, I knew very little about Wimbledon, except for the fact that is was a tennis match in London and that every player had to wear white.

Thank you to our wonderful (and extremely tall) Wimbledon tour guide, Ben!

Thank you to our wonderful (and extremely tall) Wimbledon tour guide, Ben!

Our tour guide, Ben, explained to us that Wimbledon isn’t only a tennis competition, but is a globally recognized brand. Wimbledon is associated with the values of high-quality, tradition and elegance. It was amazing to learn that the courts are re-built every year! Grass is super important to Wimbledon: no one, and I mean no one is allowed to step on the grass… It made all of us dream about being able to attend a Wimbledon match in the future!

Wimbledon!

Wimbledon!

Tuesday started out with a visit to a London PR firm, Modus Publicity. They are located in a chic area near Picadilly Circus and mainly focus on high-class brands, such as Calvin Klein and Dom Perignon Champagne. It was interesting to learn about the workings of such a place, with a show room and constant visits from designers and fashion model agencies.

Modus Publicity showroom!

Modus Publicity showroom!

 

It really made me think about the possibilities of a career in Public Relations and Communications: Needless to say, I did get a business card afterwards! We then went to the Museum of London which has been tirelessly re-branding itself as a modern, educational and fun museum.

The Museum of London

The Museum of London

Their campaign embraced a “Look Again, London” campaign, where the museum focused on the fact that people want to know the details about the city after maybe experiencing all of the obvious tourist sites. It was different from Modus or Wimbledon in that it is a non-profit, government-owned institution, so they rely heavily on donations from patrons and guests of the museum.

Stonehenge! Thank God for such great weather!

Stonehenge! Thank God for such great weather!

Wednesday was completely different in that we left London and headed for the city of Bath! Now, as a History major, this was indeed epic… we got to see the STONEHENGE. A wonder of the world! I couldn’t keep in my amazement. Never did I think that I would see the Stonehenge in real life. And the weather was absolutely stunning. I will never forget the way the sunlight hit the stones.

sitting and relaxing at the Roman Baths in Bath!

sitting and relaxing at the Roman Baths in Bath!

Afterwards we arrived in Bath, where we got to experience the famous Roman Baths. It is very well preserved and it was very interesting to see; I even got to drink some of the water that comes from the natural baths! The waters are believed to have a healing essence – thus people traveled from far away in order to experience a relaxing weekend at Bath.

Thursday started off with a small group meeting with RLM Finsbury, which is a London-U.S. PR firm that mainly focuses on financial public relations. We got to learn the tricks and tips about what it takes to keep investors and executives happy – Financial PR is mainly business to business (B2B), which means that the main audience for the PR firm is usually those from an executive board or investor background. It was great because B2B PR is what I have always been interested in.

The U.S. embassy - couldn't take any pictures inside :o

The U.S. embassy – couldn’t take any pictures inside :o

Afterwards, we were given the chance to visit the United States embassy, which practiced a different sort of PR. All of the places that we visited prior to the embassy focused on privatized companies or non-profit, educational institutions. The U.S. embassy is the voice of the U.S. overseas, in the United Kingdom. It was nice to learn about how foreign service officers had to learn to be cautious about what they posted, and how they constantly had to remember that they were representing the opinions of the U.S. government, regardless of their own personal opinion.

high tea at the Chesterfield Mayfair hotel!

high tea at the Chesterfield Mayfair hotel!

Afterwards, we experienced high tea in the Mayfair area of London. I have to say this was one of my favorite experiences. I absolutely love high tea. It may be a very outdated tradition, pompous even. But it was absolutely extravagant and lovely (cucumber sandwiches and all!).

hogwarts!... can I get my letter now?

hogwarts!… can I get my letter now?

Afterwards, three friends and I made our way to the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio for a tour of a lifetime. It took us 3 whole hours to experience the entire thing (I would go again and again if I could!) and I exited the building a little poorer than I had been when I entered (souvenirs…). It was a great trip down memory lane. I still cannot believe that it has been more than 10 years since Harry Potter first entered my life. Still waiting on that letter to Hogwarts…

The Tower Bridge with Reina '15

The Tower Bridge with Reina Qu ’15

Friday marked the end of my academic study tour. I parted ways with my class, and met up with Michelle ’15 and made my way to King’s Cross, where a fellow Mawrtyr is currently staying during her fall semester abroad. Reina Qu ’15, graciously took me and Michelle in for the rest of the week, so that we could be real tourists and see the sites. The next day, we walked all around the city, setting sights on the Tower of London, The Monument, Tower Bridge, London Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Needless to say, we were absolutely exhausted, yet content! We had checked off everything on our list… for Saturday. We ended the night with dinner in Chinatown, where we had dim sum. It was nice to visit a Chinatown – surprisingly Copenhagen doesn’t have one (to dispel the belief that every city has a chinatown).

Changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace!

Changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace!

Sunday was a blur. We started out at Abbey Road, where we, along with several other eager tourists and Beatles fans, attempted to re-enact the famous Beatles album cover. Afterwards, we made our way to Buckingham Palace, where we got to see the changing of the guards. I didn’t know that there were specific days chosen for the entire thing – we were lucky that we were there on one of the days it was being done! The square was completely filled with people. After a quick lunch at High Street Kensington station, we made our way to the last tourist site on our list – Kensington Palace.

Queen Victoria and Kensington Palace, hello!

Queen Victoria and Kensington Palace, hello!

It was ironic that I hadn’t been able to visit the palace up until the last day, especially since I had stayed in a hotel that was literally 15 minutes away from it for most of my trip. The palace was going under major reconstruction of it’s tour program. There were 4 parts to it, and thankfully we got through all of them. Of these four was a special exhibit about the Queen’s fashion, as well as her sister’s and the late Princess Diana. It was breathtaking to see the dresses worn by the three royals, and they were all kept in pristine condition. We ended our stay in London with a very appropriate high tea – something I was glad to experience twice! Our trip in London had come to an end, and I was not even the least excited to leave.

last but not least, afternoon tea with Reina '15 and Michelle '15 (taking picture)

last but not least, afternoon tea with Reina Qu ’15 and Michelle ’15 (taking picture)

London is one of those cities that people always say they would like to visit. London had been one of the top two places on my list of cities to visit (along with Paris, which I will be flying to on Wednesday!), and I have to say that I was not in the least disappointed. It is so vibrant, with so much history weaved within the modernly chic city walls. I do hope that I get another chance to visit soon (a possible destination for a summer internship perhaps!), because London definitely stole my heart. Next stop, the city of love, Paris!

Until Next Time!

Kulturnatten i København

So there’s something called “Culture Night” (Kulturnatten in Danish) once a year, all around Copenhagen. Every year, Culture Night gives people the opportunity to explore their city and what it has to offer, from art galleries to special events at Tivoli Amusement Park.

My Danish class offered a special dinner that introduced us to the concept of Kulturnatten, which also included a Smørrebrød dinner (open sandwiches! they’re a speciality in Scandinavia). After that, I met up with a group of friends for a free tour of the Carlsberg Brewery (which usually has an entrance fee, but yay!). The Carlsberg Brewery is famous in Denmark. Of course, Carlsberg is the most famous Danish beer known around the world, and it was very interesting to learn the history of the place. Did you know that Carlsberg also was the one who funded and wanted the “Little Mermaid” statue created? It was a gift for his wife. There was also a gallery where you could see all of the different bottle designs Carlsberg created for all of their beers and ales. It was literally a room full of bottles, collecting dust… yet they were beautiful and artsy!

pumpkin carving

Pumpkin carving at the DIS station!

Afterwards, we went towards city centre and stopped by our school’s event area: DIS wanted to bring American culture to Copenhagen so… the events were all based on Halloween! Halloween isn’t a big thing here in Denmark, so things that seem so common to us, such as dressing up, carving pumpkins and candy, are seen as something very interesting! We carved our pumpkins and went through the haunted house, which was being run by student volunteers. It was really funny to see the Danes going through the house, screaming and laughing at the dressed up students. A bunch of my friends volunteered, so it was even funnier to see them being all scary and spooky (i’m so used to seeing them in class!).

models

fabulous models!

Our final stop for Kulturnatten was a transgender fashion show. It was my first time going to a transgender fashion show and I have to say – these girls have spice! The show was split into 4 parts based on the outfits the models were wearing – daytime, business, evening and high fashion. The models were all so great and it was such an exhilarating atmosphere. Everyone there was yelling and clapping; I couldn’t help but smile throughout the entire event because I was having so much fun! Copenhagen is such an open-minded city – The second week I was here, they had their Gay Pride parade and it was absolutely amazing – it’s a great inspiration for other cities in that it accepts everybody so openly.

For the past week that I’ve been in Copenhagen, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking (probably because our wifi was shut down due to the hurricane…) and really have to say that I absolutely am in love with Europe. Europe had always been an unreachable dream for me; There was never a reason for me to visit. That’s why I knew that Copenhagen and DIS was a great opportunity. The three travel breaks that we have are such blessings and unforgettable experiences, I can’t believe that i’m already half way through the semester… I know that all of my experiences here will be ones that I will cherish forever, and I know that I will come back whenever I can – to Copenhagen and Europe in general.

Until Next Time!

Prost, München, Deutschland!

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Oktoberfest 2013! with Claire and Lisa

It’s been more than a week since I was lucky enough to visit Munich, but it’s still so vivid in my mind. My trip to Munich was different in that I was not just visiting a new city and country – I was visiting an old friend. A friend of mine from Seoul (high school) is now living in Munich attending university. I was so excited to see a familiar face – a piece of home – especially since it would be in a completely new environment.

I got back from Barcelona to Copenhagen on Wednesday around 12 AM. after a short, yet very expensive (common word used while in Europe) cab ride back to Tåsingegade, I quickly packed for my next journey and caught some shut eye until I had to very unwillingly get up around 6 AM. after yet another short, yet expensive cab ride back to Kastrup Airport, I checked in and prepared for my hour and a half flight to Munich. SAS airlines turned out to be my favorite European airline so far – along with Air Berlin (which I took to get across the pond in August). They served complimentary tea or coffee, along with biscuits and allowed for one free baggage check. I don’t remember much of anything else – The flight was my chance to catch up on some much needed sleep.

The Franz Josef Strauss Airport in Munich was also pleasant – there was coffee and tea, and the airport was very much conveniently attached to the “S-Bahn”, which is a train line that takes anyone into the city centre. My friend Claire had class so she provided detailed yet simple directions on how to find my way to Marienplatz. The train ride was relaxing and I could see farmland for miles on end. I finally met up with Claire, and we explored the city centre – as well as searched for the perfect dirndl, which is the traditional Bavarian dress women and girls wear. Now, why would I be searching for a Dirndl? – because it just so happened that the last week of Oktoberfest, or Die Wiesn in German, was in full swing during my stay! I was more than excited for the experience with Claire, who is half German. Not only would I be experiencing Oktoberfest, I would be doing so the real way – the German way!

We rode the S-bahn to Claire’s house, dropped off our stuff and made our way on over to a local Bavarian restaurant in Claire’s neighborhood. It was my first time eating Bavarian food – and honestly, I was pretty nervous about it. We started out with Jägerschnitzel and a Pork dish with gravy with mushrooms – the name escapes me. However, the best was saved for last, and we had a bavarian dish called Kaiserschmarrn! It looked like a waffle cut up into little bits, but the dough was much chewier and the taste was much sweeter. I can honestly say that Bavarian food is not bad – in fact, it’s delicious!

The next morning, we set off for Oktoberfest, but first, we met up with Michelle ’15 who is also studying in Copenhagen with me this semester. She flew in from Istanbul, Turkey, where she experienced her study tour with her core program. It would be the first out of the two days we would go to the fest, and I have to say I have never experienced anything like it. Everyone was dressed in the traditional attire – dirndls for women and girls, and lederhosen for men and boys. There are several tents set up at Oktoberfest – each is owned by a different brewery and they all have different reputations. We went inside one that was set up by “Paulaner”. There are all types of people at Oktoberfest from all around the world. Age doesn’t matter – there were many families, parents, children, the elderly and of course, tourists and college students. We met people from Australia (their flights were around 24 hours long!), The United States, Romania, Berlin, Italy, France, and… Denmark as well! My favorite part of the fest was most definitely the songs. People spend the entire day singing these traditional Bavarian songs and of course end with a “Prost!” at the end (Prost means ‘Cheers’). There are amusement park rides such as a roller coaster, ferris wheel and lots of festival games for those who just want to enjoy the fresh air and take a break from the tent atmosphere. I loved every moment of it, and I have to say, if time and scheduling allows, I hope to go back some day.

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getting ready to go to Marienplatz and explore Munich!

We finally got to sleep in (We had been waking up around 6-7 in the morning; You need to get to the fest early if you want to find seats at a table in a good tent!) on Saturday. Claire took us around Marienplatz and the city centre which was a nice experience. We went and visited Frauenkirche, which is a church in the city centre. We came across a very interesting thing in Frauenkirche – The Devil’s foot step! There are several legends to the footstep – one consists of the devil agreeing to fund the construction of the church as long as it had no windows. The builder agreed but tricked the devil by creating columns that would hide the window from the foyer. Thus the devil was enraged and stomped so hard that his footprint was left in the foyer area and he stormed out, leaving a perpetual wind around the church, which actually exists! Spooky! We went back to Claire’s house, ate, and got ready for the last adventure – an MGMT concert! They played at a venue called Kesselhaus, and they were amazing. I didn’t know what to expect since I had never seen them perform live. They’re in Europe promoting their new album, so I was very happy to have caught them in Munich (the tickets also were much cheaper!). After the concert, we went back to the house and spent the entire night reminiscing about our days together in Seoul, and expressed how glad we were to have been able to spend some time together again.

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Riding the S-Bahn with Claire! Missed my friend.

Munich as a city was very interesting – I don’t know why, but German culture and history has always sparked my interests. It was amazing to have the opportunity to actually spend some time in the country (I had a layover in Dusseldorf for about 2 hours before arriving in Copenhagen, but I’d like to think that doesn’t really count). I’m really glad to have had a chance to meet my friend Claire as well – That’s the thing about being an international school student – you have friends situated all over the world, but you  never really know when you’ll get to see any of them again (sad!). But nonetheless it was a great reunion in Munich, and I hope to go back soon! Prost Deutschland!

Until Next Time!

Artsy Barcelona, España

I’ll start out by saying this – I am SO blessed to have been able to visit not one, but two countries in the last 10 days. At DIS (Danish Institute for Study Abroad), we are given three separate weeks throughout the semester where we either travel on our own, or have a pre-planned trip to somewhere in Europe with our core course. Last week was the first travel break, and I decided to fly on over to Barcelona, Spain (and then Munich afterwards!). It was my first time in Spain, and simply put, it absolutely blew me away!

Our flight was on Friday night, so my friends and I decided to take the train and metro to Kastrup Airport from our dorm, which was super convenient (public transportation in Copenhagen is amazing!). We took Vueling Airlines – it was my first time flying via a Spanish airline and I have to say, it was more than good enough for me: The flight was around 2 and a half hours, most of which was spent catching up on sleep (I had a midterm that day, so the night before was a struggle). We got in around midnight and we headed on over to our home for our short stay in Barcelona.

A friend and I used Airbnb to find a suitable, yet affordable place to stay. We ended up selecting Merxe, who is an adorable Spanish woman living in a cozy, yet vibrant apartment with her feisty kitty cat. The apartment was more than good enough for us and it ended up being that we were only 10-15 minutes away from La Rambla, which is the main street in Barcelona, lined with restaurants, souvenir shops and clothing stores. We unpacked, washed up and prepared for our first official day in Barcelona.

Simply put – we woke up around 9 AM (everyday) and walked almost everywhere! My feet were always sore and probably hated me by the end of the day. The first day, we explored the city and looked around the flea markets that open only on Sundays. The jewelry that was sold was interestingly very eco-friendly: many of the pieces were made out of recycled material, such as plastic or forks and spoons! The most extensive market was right around Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia and another in Plaza Reial. From the beginning, I could tell that this city was so alive and full of culture and art. The people seemed so relaxed and of course, there was Siesta, where many of the stores would close mid-day and open up again at night. We ended with Tapas, which were simply delicious. My sister has been complaining that all I seemed to be doing in Europe is eat, but then again, food is culture in my opinion!

The second day was scenic – we took a zipline cable car from the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean to the top of Castillo de Montjuïc. I’m so scared of heights, but honestly I thought to myself, when am I ever going to be able to see Barcelona from a cable car unless I see it now?! Afterwards, we walked on over back to the harbor and went aboard a mini sunset cruise. The freshness of the sea and the wind in my hair – it all seemed like a dream! The sun was so pretty as it touched the skyline of Barcelona. The cruise was simply therapeutic. Afterwards, we went back to the hostel and rested up (my friends went out for paella but I simply didn’t have the energy to… sadface).

Monday was a major tourist-y day. We started off by visiting La Sagrada Familia, which is an unfinished church in the heart of Barcelona, designed by Antoni Gaudí (he designed many of the buildings and structures in the city). The inside portion of the basilica took my breath away. I hadn’t seen anything like it before – honestly, it is one of the most beautiful things i’ve seen in my life. We took an elevator to the top of one of the towers (Torre Naixement) and again, I was scared out of my mind. BUT! The view was absolutely amazing and the detail put into the church’s architecture was worth it. Afterwards we walked on over to Park Güell, which is another creation of Gaudi’s. I didn’t know that it was an actual park! There are trails that you can walk along and there are musicians at every turn – there were people playing the cello, chinese flute, acoustic guitar and of course, singers. The famous mosaic tiled bench was great, and of course, I had to take a picture of the lizard you are welcomed into the park by. We ate lunch at a nearby cafe (where I finally tried Paella!) and went home, exhausted but satisfied!

Tuesday started out a bit differently – my flight was scheduled for 8 PM that night, but there were still so many things I wanted to see! My friends were due to leave the day after, so I said my goodbyes and went off to see La Casa Milá (La Pedrera) and La Illa de Discórdia, on the luxurious and chic street, Passeig de Grácia (Both, you guessed it, masterpieces by Gaudí). Afterwards, I headed on over the La Palau de Música Catalana for a 1 PM tour I had reserved earlier that morning. The concert hall was absolutely amazing. It was designed and created by Lluís Doménech i Montaner. The concert hall was created as a successor of the Opera House, which was solely used for classical operas and orchestral performances (usually only available to the upper classes), whereas La Palau housed performers that were more contemporary and relatable to the general public. Afterwards, I walked on over back to Merxe’s house, said my goodbyes, and headed – not to the airport! There was one last place I wanted to go to…

Camp Nou! Home of the glorious football team, FC Barcelona – aka Messi, Messi, Messi! In high school, I played for my school’s varsity football team and part of the reason why I had chosen the number 10 was because of Lionel Messi. The stadium was gigantic – I love their slogan “Mes Que Un Club”, which means “More than a club”. It was really great to see the history of the team and how it had it’s ups and downs. Of course, they displayed their four euro cup trophies and Messi’s individual awards. After about 2 hours of being awestruck – I headed to the airport, fully satisfied with my short, but amazing stay in Barcelona.

Before going, I didn’t have much expectations for my trip to Spain – mainly because I had never been there, and had only learned about it via textbooks in Spanish class (But my spanish did come in handy!). I was completely swept off my feet by the culture and passion that I experienced while in Barcelona; the city is so alive, no matter what time it is. I know that if I ever have the chance to, I’d love to go back, especially with a group of close friends or with my family. iGracias Barna! iTe amo muchísimo!

Until Next Time!