How an Erasmus experience increases the urge to travel

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Open-minded.

As said in my previous post, the Erasmus experienced is over, however, not entirely. Because, as any other experience, leaves an amazing aftertaste and many stories to be told.

Now I am going to focus more on something that an ‘abroad’ study marks people with. That is the desire to travel, to know more, to live new adventures. Some do it only to not be faced with the realization that the fun is over, myself included, and just live in another context what they left behind.

This is because once you are an international student, most certainty you are not the only one, therefore, you meet people from all over the world. And from what I know, in the first month or so everyone deals with home sickness, which makes us describe the beauty of our countries, the history it has and all the fun stuff that it offers. Which makes others put it on their bucket list, if it wasn’t there already.

That’s one way to begin, the other one is sharing the travel stories than some have lived in countries in which you’ve never been before. And so the adventures start. Either you travel with the friends you have made, maybe is their home country, or with the so missed family and old friends, you have the urge to do it.

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I found myself in both situations and went to Rome because I have some friends that spoke about it so nice, even though I have others that told me there are so many other cities in Italy that deserve way more attention. Well, I went there first and put the others on my bucket list.

The second situation had me save money for a ticket to Prague. Yes, I let myself influenced by so many stories a Polish friend of mine told me that I could not ignore it.

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That is exactly what a study abroad experience does to you, it opens your mind, makes you love the memories others share so much that you want to make your own. And then telling them further on in hopes that some one will listen/ read and see how beautiful the world is on their own.

The stories are soon to be told! What’s yours?

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Life after Erasmus

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Sat down in my old chair.

Been back home for a while now. Actually, been home then left again. I am sure that many people whom have experienced a study abroad program or even an internship away from home, have then felt such a urge to travel and discover more. That’s “hunger for travel”.

However, just wanted to write here, as it is supposed to be a documentation of my year abroad life yet missed writing a part of it, how my after Erasmus life went/goes.

My story begins a week before the actual departure starts. When we had our final party and everyone, more in the dizziness of the mojitos, was crying and hugging one another in the hopes that we will get to see each other in this life time apart from the Skype calls. And that last week was like a speed play of everything we planned to do in our year and thought we still had time. We didn’t.

Nonetheless, in just one week we managed to meet, have picnics and share our opinions about all that happened. And in that right moment we thought we will be indivisible, the crew is going to stand straight through all. One week after I left, another friend received an internship in Japan, some others have returned to the so missed friends and families, and others like me have planned to travel more. (Soon to be up)

And so, in my first week home I refused to go out and meet my friends, as I have myself read all over the internet that the “after life” is nice and dandy in the beginning but you get bored after and start comparing with the old one. Trying  to avoid that, even if I have missed them so much, I focused on my travels and the places where I was going.

But as I was starting to lose my hope, a friend of ours that lives in Britain payed a visit and I was so thrilled to take the turn in showing him places in my own town and being me the one that teaches him little secrets about my country.

By that I understood that it takes time, just like everything else, and the real friendships made were indeed a blessing and are going to last, it just not going to happen immediately.That we all are trying to move on and grow, but that doesn’t mean that in time we are not going to meet and now, speaking for myself, I was lucky enough to not know the people from my on country that were there with me, which means extra friends back home, with the same Erasmus memories as myself.

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International food

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Best food comes from the insiders.

I am a strong believer in the fact that we don’t truly know a culture if we never interact with its people. This statement went a bit further for me and it moved to a more advance type of love that I have, food.

Now, we all love food, and if you live in a town or city is most likely you have been to at least one that had “foreign” food. However, there is nothing like the original.

Coming back to the previous post I wrote, here is another good thing that an exchange experience bring, food cooked by locals. And by that, I mean students who are excited to show their cooking skill, which makes it twice as fun to put everything together as friends. There is a special something in the sushi a Japanese or in a chocolate cake made by a French girl.Even food that I have never though I’ll come in contact while in England,  the Singaporean one for instance.

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Some might actually resemble a ton to yours, but with a different name or ingredients.

My point is: food is a part of the culture, and there is no better knowledge of it than the source directly. If you really want to know a place, find a person who lived there and it will give you a better insight than any touristic place. After all, those are made to look good and attract people.

Hope you are having a happy Easter! 

Valuable lessons whilst studying abroad

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I could probably write tons of list on top of other list about it, but instead I’m posting just a few.

Let us first begging by becoming a bit personal shall we? And by ‘personal’, I mean going back to a fourteen year old me who has just started high-school and was already thinking of going to Uni in the UK. Loved everything about it… or at least the idea of it. However, reality hits the eighteen year old one, who realizes the sacrifices that not only her, but everyone she depends on, has to make. But the desire and ambition stayed and two year later I have applied for a scholarship. I admit that I was scared to not have my dreams crushed again, so England was my second option. But…fate, or luck, or karma, or whatever and whomever, aligned everything in such a way for me to make it. And I did, and I felt more accomplished  than ever.

But enough about that, or maybe… Now that I think about it, ever since I have never excluded the idea of impossible and went for everything that I wanted even if it seemed unlikely. So here’s a bonus lesson that I’ve learned.

Recently I was asked by one of my friends at home to help him with some advises and opinions about how it is/feel to study abroad. And whilst writing him a response, I have discovered some things that have changed at the twenty one years old me thanks to this.

  1. It gives you more courage to socialize. Here me out, even if you are the most extroverted person, in the beginning the culture will hit you, and if you are a non native speaker as I am, the impact of the language. I’m not going to pass again through how much the English I have learnt and the one from here marked me, but you can find it here. (smooth!)  All jokes aside, I was, still am but not that much, a combination between an extrovert and introvert. As I grew older I became more extroverted is true. However, here I forced myself to know people, to learn about them, after all I have dreamed for five years to have this. And it was way easier than I thought, because everyone else wants to find out more about you and where you’re coming from.
  2. It gives you independence. As a lonely child, I know what a brat, I could get almost every time what I wanted. Then I was brought into thinking that because I am on my own I have to solve things by myself. There was no big brother that could protect me, nor a little sister whom I could blame. Therefore, I had to handle it in my own manner. But I was never the one who every time (get ready for it): did the groceries, the washing up, the laundry, the cooking, the cleaning, the… everything else that prepared me for moving on my own. And I love it! The satisfaction of having done thing all by yourself is…after all the crises done during the chores…amazing.
  3. Lean more that you think you would. As an international student you are told this since the very first day. That you will not only study subjects from a different point of view, but learn about a different culture at the same time. You will learn about more than one. You will not be the only international student, chances are that the university you’re applying for offers opportunities around the world. So prepare yourself to travel while being in the same place, by listening to all the nationalities, telling about yours, celebrating their customs and eating a large variety of food.
  4. Somehow you are the ambassador of your country. I believe that there is no other way of truly knowing a culture, without  knowing its people. Media and internet may give a wrong idea sometimes (let us think about all the unfortunate events that are happening in Europe) so by only talking to people you will learn the true. No pressure on you know, but the way you behave, the way you treat others say a lot about the way you were raised and you’re a sample of your country. I love when people from countries that are shown in the media as ones that dislike each other, are here friends and over those stereotypes. It all about the humans!

That is all for me now. Apologies for the long post, but if you’re reading this at one point in life that it is similar in any type, shape or form, I am more that happy to read about it.

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Cheers! 😉

 

5 things to see in Reading, England

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I will not take full credit for this post, because I have been quite obsessed with this blog called 5 Things To Do Today. So I got inspired, thanks, guys! And because I can’t afford to go to London almost every weekend I’ve thought that is about time to learn more about the town I currently live in. Reading is one of the historical towns in England and is about 45 minutes away from London, but very close to Windsor.

There are many things to be seen in this wonderful town, also is centered near great locations. Today I’ve got about five of them because I saw them in only a day. So without further ado, here are five things to see in Reading, Berkshire.
1. The Oracle.
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It’s one of the first places I have been to in my first day here and I just keep on going there in my free time. So if you fancy a drink or want to shop, there you go.

2. Museum of Reading.
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Who would have thought that a small town hides such a big history. And also biscuits importance. You’ll find out why there are so many brick buildings. More about it another time.

3. Forbury Gardens.
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A quiet place in the centre of everything.

4. Whiteknights campus.
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Now, I might be subjective with this one. But apart from the university of Reading itself, this campus is one peaceful and green place. It’s just to lovely to walk pass the lake, that it can’t be ignored.

5. Reading train station.
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If you come by train do not, I repeat, do not miss the opportunity to watch the wonderful view from the building. It just a moment to catch from above whole the fuzz and atmosphere.

London on foot

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As I have previously said, London is not the ‘a city in a day’ type of thing. However, walking in London is better, in my opinion, than taking the Tube.

Why you may ask?

Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the little things in life. By taking the tube you will not only face a mass of people punching you involuntarily, stepping your new shoes that were supposed to look perfect in the picture and spend money on the ticket, but you’ll also miss the little shops, the small beauties of the streets.
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I was captured by the touristic attraction, obviously, because they are the most advertised, yet I fell in love with the streets full of small family business and how much effort is put so they can show the British culture from the locals perspective.

Taking the famous big red bus? Maybe, but then again there are many things that will remain unseen. The full history of it, the roman trace left in hidden places and the legacy of great dynasties.

From my point of view is tremendously gorgeous to let yourself get lost a little bit in a new city. Get to find your way out by asking people, learning to read the map and just taking all in. And the stories that come after are hysterical.

Chocolate evening

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I know for sure that my friends are going to throw some little curses at me after this post. I’m joking, they already did.

Nonetheless, I will dedicate it to my number one source of joy. Also, as I write this I do tons of other stuff as well, because the sugar rush is keeping my on a Speedy Gonzales level.

This evening was dedicated completely to chocolate. How? Easy. People from around the world got together and did a quiz about chocolate. No one knows who the winner was because by the time it was announced balls of melted sweet heaven came into the room and you could almost hear angels singing on the background.

You couldn’t, that would be weird. What I’m trying to emphasize is the idea of making people come together by giving them what is universal loved in regards to sweets. And once again making them feel like there are no big difference after all, that we’re all human beings who love the same things.
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I would also like to apologize to any person that sees this post in a time when they decided to start a diet. But there’s no limits except the ones we make, just saying…