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Europe

A Pence For Your Thoughts

Days have been long  and nights even longer, but I have never been happier. I still wake up every morning and smile just knowing that I am living my dream of traveling and exploring the world. The hectic life of a poor traveling college student is a life I would never give up for the world! Since the last time I posted I have traveled to Hungary, Ireland, Italy and Denmark…. I know, it’s a lot. While all my travels have been memorable and amazing in their own way, the […]

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Wohin ist das Wasser gegangen?

There are no water fountains here.   Seriously, the last time I saw one was in the Amsterdam airport. They’re not on the street, they’re not in the university, they’re not near bathrooms… and it’s not like German tap water is unsafe to drink or anything. It even tastes great. So what gives? In Freiburg they’ve literally diverted the Dreisam river into little canals, called Bächle, that run along half the streets in the Altstadt but it’s impossible to get a simple drink of water. Carrying a water bottle is […]

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Heidelberg: wie ein Märchen

On Sunday, a group of fellow international students and I decided to take a day trip to Heidelberg, a German city a ways north of Freiburg. We actually had the opportunity to go as part of a field trip through Uni Freiburg, but it was cheaper to buy our own bus tickets and go on our own (€20.50 round-trip; not bad at all!). We were very glad we did it that way, as it ended up being less restrictive.   Heidelberg is the city I visited the last time I […]

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Being a Dirty Street Creature – A memoir by Jonathan Tvedt

Now that I’ve finished looking through all the South Padre snap stories, I figured I would write this quick post before I took a shower and deleted all of my social media forever (kidding, mostly). I got back last week from a trip to Italy. I flew in on Sunday to stay in Florence with Lana (longtime friend from the U) and her roommates in Florence, and their flat with 20 foot ceilings and a view of a nice (slightly noisy) club across the narrow Florence street. It’s interesting to […]

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Perceptions Abroad

I’ve been thinking a lot about the abroad experience lately, and learning about the Development of Intercultural Sensitivity has really impacted the way I view my situation. It is comforting to have a chart to make sense of my feelings and insure me I’m not the only one who has been there before. By analyzing Daisy Miller and Italian Journey, I found comfort in the fact that fictional and non-fictional characters both have such realistic experiences with their new cultures. Without further ado, here is my full analysis: The Intercultural Development […]

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Studium und Sprache

For our program, we actually arrived 6 weeks before the start of the German summer semester. The first 3 weeks are taken up by an intensive pre-session language course, then we have a 3-week break, then the semester begins. After an online placement test, we were sorted into small classes based on our proficiency level. It’s all very approximate, but higher-numbered classes are supposed to be higher-level. I’m in Deutsch 11, and have colleagues who are as low as 7 (though he really should be higher, from the sound of […]

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Stages of Traveling Alone:

1. Not thinking about it  Plane? Booked. Ticket? Booked. Googling pretty pictures of your destination and getting hyped up? Done and done. 2. Oh crap Here’s where it gets tough: your trip is no longer a far-off fantasy. It’s real and it’s coming quick. Whether this hits as you pack like a panic-ridden person hours before or as you’re sipping tea before bed a week before, it’ll hit. Traveling alone means figuring out public transportation on your own. It means that if you get lost in Germany, you have to […]

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Die schönste Stadt

 The European aesthetic has always captivated me; cobblestone streets, tiny hole-in-the-wall shops that have been family-owned for generations, and centuries-old castles and cathedrals literally across the street from super-modern monoliths of glass and steel. There is simply nothing like this in America. You almost get whiplash just by crossing the street, like you’re suddenly traveling in time. The main shopping streets in the Altstadt are incredible to me. There aren’t many cars (and in some streets no cars), so people walk all over the street, but tram lines crisscross the […]

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Das Abenteuer fängt an!

The adventure begins! After a slow start at MSP Airport my travels went without a hitch or delay. The 8-hour transatlantic flight was actually rather pleasant, all things considered. One of the complementary movies one could watch on the plane was Mad Max: Fury Road, which I saw for the first time and enjoyed heartily. They were also very diligent with supplying us with food and drink, the former of which was surprisingly tasty and filling. The worst part by far was having to sit down without being able to […]

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Scotland was Worth Every Pound (Lol Currency Puns)

Since I was a little girl, I’ve dreamed of the medieval times. Of palaces and crowns. All of it became real in Scotland. From learning about my favorite historical character–Mary Queen of Scots–to hiking the highlands, I feel like I discovered part of myself. That is so corny but so, so true. Scotland is truly the most amazing, impressive place I’ve ever been. If I’m rich one day, I’m taking everyone I love there. And I’m not letting them leave until they love it as much as I do. Mwahaha. […]

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I suck at traveling, and other fun things in Europe

I think the last time I posted I was going to Finland soon. Well Finland was rad. We landed Friday night to a pretty wild central station. Finland, right away, seemed a lot edgier than I had thought. It wasn’t what I had been expecting after coming from Oslo, but it was cool change up. The city itself had a lot more Russian influence than the previous cities we visited. It was easy to tell that right away. Finland didn’t feel like Scandinavia, it had it’s own feel. The architecture, […]

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Sunday, 19 February: Wowed by Waffles, Enchanted by Chocolate, Surrounded by Speculoos

Hey, everyone! After delays in posting on this blog, I’m trying to catch up a bit. Thankfully, we just ended midterms here at the Fund, so I have some free time to write and – hopefully – enjoy the Carnavál festivities this weekend. Descriptions of those will have to wait until the next post, of course! In my last post, I left you all with a bit of a cliffhanger: after a fantastic weekend in Florence, I was in for un día de retos (a day of challenges). I left the […]

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Semana 6: ¡Ya está!

¡Ya está! does not have a direct translation, but it is muy sencillo or “very simple” to explain. It is the perfect phrase to use when you put the cherry on the top of an ice cream sundae or in my case start your internship and finish three midterms in the same week. I love my internship! It is exhilarating to maneuver the language barrier to discuss food science topics. I am learning poco a poco or “little by little.” My supervisor let me complete a moisture analysis assay by […]

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Pre-Departure

Well, this certainly came up quickly. I was accepted to the University Study in Freiburg study abroad program in August 2016, and had been gathering materials for the application since May or June. And now I leave for Germany on Sunday the 26th. The reading materiel I’ve been given for class posits that the study abroad experience actually begins before you arrive, while preparing, so I thought I might jot down some of my thoughts. This won’t be terribly eloquent, I’m afraid; I’m too frazzled to write that way right […]

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Sunday, 12 February: Grazie, Firenze!

Salve, tutti! You’ve reached the blog of Alex Gruber, self-professed bibliophile, Catholic fanboy, and St. Norbert College student studying abroad in Toledo, Spain, for the spring semester of 2017. For those of you who already know this information, mi dispiace (sorry)! Let’s get on with the actual blog. You may have noticed that I used Italian instead of Spanish in the title and first paragraph. That’s because I was lucky enough to travel to the incredible Italian peninsula and spend the past weekend in Firenze, or Florence as it’s known to us […]

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