Lebanon Valley College Study Abroad

Bleed Me Dry

Wellington is a city trying very hard to be San Francisco. Between the art deco buildings and the cable car, it’s a wonder that they didn’t import a scale model of the Golden Gate Bridge. Las Vegas certainly doesn’t have the same qualms about monument theft.

What was notable, at least for me, about my arrival to Wellington was my newfound conservancy when it came to spending money. I believe I’ve mentioned before how I’ve been blithely burning through my money on trips and such with the mindset that, as a visitor to a country on the other side of the world, it would be a very, very long time before I returned, if at all. However, the cavalier attitude that I’ve taken towards currency had put me in a bind, and suddenly, the desire to see and do as much as possible was replaced with a vague, gnawing dread that everyone was out to get into the sweet, leather folds of my wallet.

Paid wifi? Yeah, right. City parking? Not likely. Vending machines? What utterly despicable leeches. No, I didn’t care how compelling they were, candy bars hanging seductively against their plastic housing, ladies of the night wrapped in crinkly cellophane.

Fortunately, Wellington offers a number of attractions that are mercifully free, allowing me the chance to hoard my money a little bit longer until I could pull an Ebeneezer Scrooge years in the future.

My ghost of Christmas past was more riddled with alcohol than I remember.

My ghost of Christmas past was more riddled with alcohol than I remember.

Economics aside, I really, sincerely, for real this time, recommend the Wellington museum for its sheer size and sheer lack of required payment. Much of the week had, given the cold and rain, been a slog through a multitude of museums and art galleries, all eager to give you your daily suppository of New Zealand knowledge.

That said, Wellington did something right, in the way it conveyed a subtle mood with its exhibits, through organization, music, and yes, the occasional Lord of the Rings prop, a staple of New Zealand attractions. I may have come dangerously close to learning in that museum, because when we left, I realized that the breeding habits of New Zealand birds had stuck in my mind. You think I’m joking. I’m not.

Trust me, you really don't want to know.

Trust me, you really don’t want to know.

But, for every Wellington, saturated with culture and hipsters, there was a tourist attraction that was slightly under par, trumped up for the sake of the locals with little regard to whether it would be an actual desirable place to visit.

For instance, when we attempted to visit the coveted hill elevator of a sleepy coastal town, we found a deserted concrete tunnel, complete with a single downtrodden bench and an ancient elevator that may very well have been the understudy for the Tower of Terror.

"They say I'll get my own Disney ride in a few years!"

“They say I’ll get my own Disney ride in a few years!”

Although there was an attendant to give us a ride and our guts remained mercifully knife-free, the opportunity to clank on up to a hilltop view of the town that could be accessed by road was pretty overrated.

Once we got even further away from Wellington, into New Zealand’s scenic swathes of farmland, towns didn’t even bother trying to distinguish themselves with a tourist trap, becoming simply, “that town with the one lane bridge” or similar. We had become well acquainted with the country’s rural areas, but hadn’t quite anticipated the desolation of some of these areas, often a few houses with a beaten up sign signaling a nearby school. These were the sleepy little country towns that seemed just remote enough to harbor some kind of dark, Lovecraftian secret.

So come on down to Innsmouth, and meet some friends of mine!

So come on down to Innsmouth, and meet some friends of mine!

But soon, the quality of the buildings and genetic diversity of the people improved, and then immediately took a dive as we arrived in Hamilton. But it was home, and we were exhausted. With only a few loose ends to wrap up, this was our last great expedition through the sheep infested ranges of New Zealand.

Willkommen in Würzburg

I arrived in Würzburg, Germany five days ago and I can already say that this city has stolen my heart. Würzburg is a small city located in Bavaria, Germany in the Franconia region. I will be staying in Würzburg for the entire month of July while I take a German course at the University of Würzburg. During my time in Germany I am staying in a single room in a dorm at the University.

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The past few days have been so busy that we haven’t had much down time. On our first night here we got settled in our rooms and then took the bus downtown to eat as a group in a restaurant that is 700 years old. Many of us did not know each other because the group consists of only one other LVC student, besides myself, one professor from LVC, and eight students and two professors from Hillsdale College in Michigan, so we used this time to get to know each other. We enjoyed a traditional German style meal with Franconia wine, and of course amazing desserts.

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We started class the next day, which goes from 8:30 to 12:30 Monday through Friday. In order to get to class we have to take one of the bus lines downtown, which is about a 10 minute ride from our dorm building. After classes we ate lunch in the main lunch hall of the university, where we will be eating lunch most days. On Thursday afternoon we did a citywide scavenger hunt that took three hours. We learned so much about the culture of the city and how to navigate through it. It is a beautiful city that has a fun, positive vibe.

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My favorite place in the city is the Alte Mainbrücke (Old Main Bridge) which is a foot bridge that goes across the Main River. It has several statutes on it that are historical people of the city. During the day it is a beautiful place to relax and read a book or do homework by the river, and at night it is a fun place to hang out with friends. At night the fortress that is visible from the bridge and the length of the bridge itself are lit up, and there is music and lots of people drinking wine.
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On Friday after classes we visited the Marienberg Fortress that overlooks the entire city and the Alte Mainbücke. We explored the museum inside the fortress as well.
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On Friday night the Kiliani-Volksfest began. Kiliani-Volksfest is a huge festival in Würzburg that honors Saint Kilian and is celebrated for about two weeks. To start off the festivities, the major of Würzburg tapped the first keg that came from the Würzburg Hofbräu, the only brewery in the city. Later in the night there were fireworks for the Festival as well.
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During the day on Saturday there was a huge parade that was for the Kiliani-Volksfest that went through the center of the city that featured tons of German traditions. After the parade, we went to the Juliusspital Winery to go on a tour and taste their wines. Würzburg is known for their wine, especially their white wines, since it is located in a huge wine region in Germany with three huge wineries. While we were at the winery we saw their wooden barrels that they age wine in, some of them were decorated for specific things. There was one where you could climb in it to see how big it was and a few of us went into it.

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At first it was hard to become adjusted to speaking German all the time but it is getting easier now. It is very rewarding to be able to understand and communicate with another person in a language that you have spent so much time studying. There are a lot of small cultural changes in Germany that most people wouldn’t realize unless they visited. For example, stores are not open on Sunday and close early at night, and most places do not take credit cards for payment. The past couple of days have been extremely hot and it is very rare for buildings to have air conditioning in Europe. Our classroom and dorms do not have AC either, and since the weather has been over 90 degrees the past few days it has been very difficult to adapt without AC. It is also something we are getting used to. Hopefully it will start to cool down soon too!

 

Bis später,

Emily

International Criminal Court

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Hello everyone,

Yesterday I experienced the most challenging and difficult time during my abroad experience. I attended the status hearing of suspected Congolese war criminal Bosco Ntaganda at the International Criminal Court in The Hague (Den Haag). Bosco Ntaganda is facing charges of 13 counts of war crime that include: murder, attempted murder; attacking civilians, rape; sexual slavery of civilians; pillaging; displacement of civilians; attacking protected objects; destroying the enemy’s property; and rape, sexual slavery, enlistment and conscription of child soldiers under the age of fifteen years (and using them to participate actively in hostilities) and 5 counts of crimes against humanity.

Bosco Ntagada

Bosco Ntagada

Before going to the actual status hearing we went through security, watched a film and presentation. After asking questions we went to the status hearing where we sat in front of the entire court. I was not expecting to be sitting across from a man who has committed these heartless crimes. The judges sat directly across from us, below them the legal chambers were present, to the right of us were the legal representatives of victims and the prosecution, and to the left of us were the defense, registry, and Bosco.

At one point in time he finally lifted his head during the status hearing and I looked into his eyes. His eyes were empty. I saw no one behind his eyes. Therefore, no matter what happens, found guilty or not guilty, no punishment will ever live up to the crimes he committed. There will never be an amount of time or revenge that will serve justice to the victims and their families. This is what made the court case difficult for me because I could not stop thinking about the people who have been affected by his actions. Toward the end one legal representative of the victims read quotes from the victims and their families, in which I was saw no emotional reaction from Bosco. During the reading my heart pounded and ached for the victims and their families. I am not sure what causes so much hatred or reasoning that justifies his courses of action. In the end his court case is pushed back an additional week upon prosecution’s request due to the need for additional translations. This court case definitely made me rethink what justice truly means.

 

LVC Students at the International Criminal Court

LVC Students at the International Criminal Court

Thank you for reading,

 

Corby Myers

The Flying Dutch Experience

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Hello everyone,

This past weekend was one of my favorite weekends of being here! We traveled by train to Eindhoven. We met up with some of our friends who live in Eindhoven. We went out for dinner at a place called Vapiano’s! The company was developed from previous McDonalds managers who were not happy where they were at and wanted to develop and work under a different vision of serving people. The restaurant has very nice inside interior that allows people to have their own private table and waiters who serve drinks. The only part that is similar to McDonalds is the ordering food process. In order to purchase your meal you get in line, choose your meal/pasta of your choosing, order it, watch the chef cook your food, and swipe your own card that is given to you for the time spent there. You can add food or other beverages to the card throughout your stay at the restaurant. Needless to say we enjoyed our time here and the food was delicious!

 

Vaptianos!

Vapiano’s!

 

Our Cooks!

Our Cooks!

 

The blob!

The small blob! Take notice to the name!

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Inside the actual blob!

Beach Volleyball in Eindhoven!

Beach Volleyball in Eindhoven!

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1 euro vending machine that actually slides your food to you

Eindhoven at night

 

The main reason we came to Eindhoven our final weekend was to attend THE FLYING DUTCH MUSIC FESTIVAL!!! This music festival had the top DJS in the world play music here. We had an absolute blast here! We arrived at the music festival around 2 pm and never stopped dancing until 11 pm. This music festival was not only a great time with the music, but also learning, talking, and building relationships with the local people who live in Eindhoven was a cultural experience!

The DJS who were here!

The DJS who were here!

The stage! This stage also shot out streamers and confetti during the day and fireworks and fire throughout the night.

The stage! This stage also shot out streamers and confetti during the day and fireworks and fire throughout the night.

Sun is setting and the entire place was packed

Sun is setting and the entire place was packed

My temporary free souviner from the Flying Dutch. We thought we were just going to get a star stamped on our wrist, but got toilet instead (please going to the bathroom here is not a privilege and you have to pay to use the bathroom).

My temporary free souviner from the Flying Dutch. We thought we were just going to get a star stamped on our wrist, but got toilet instead (please going to the bathroom here is not a privilege and you have to pay to use the bathroom).

 

During the music festival

During the music festival

You can never go wrong with ending a night with these kind of fries!

You can never go wrong with ending a night with these kind of fries!

 

Thank you for reading,

 

Corby Myers

Places Beyond Belief: Belgium, Germany and Eindhoven

Hello everyone,

On Friday our class had a field trip to Brussels in Belgium! Brussels felt like a “larger” town then Maastricht. At first I felt overwhelmed seeing military police walking around with larger guns. I never saw military police forced in a public setting. I was not sure if I should feel safe or scared. After driving through town we finally arrived at the European Union Parliament building for a tour. I was amazed! I believe we tend to concentrate on the negative aspects of the world so I was amazed that over 751 members who speak 24 different languages come together as a whole and discuss, plan, contain order, and administrate protection, laws, and regulate the countries. Within the European Union there has not been a war within the members of the union since World War II. One negative aspect of the European Union is the language barrier. Our tour guide noted as a joke that if one member is speaking and telling a joke that the interpreter does not know how to translate they will tell their member when to laugh at the joke. Although we can laugh at this example, I cannot imagine how many mistakes are made during these meetings and the loss of value with words spoken that will be missed through translation.

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LVC Crew

LVC Crew

 

 

The next part of our day was participating in a walking tour throughout Brussels and the highlight of the tour was during our walking tour and seeing the “peeing man” statue. I was expecting to see a bigger presence and for the statue to be in the center of the city, but the statue was extremely small and was located down an alley in a corner of a building.  The next picture below you will see a building. It used to operate like New York’s Wall Street, but now the plans are to have the building serve as a beer temple.

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After Brussels I took a train to Bruges! We had to ask a man when to get off because we did not know how to read or communicate in French or Flemish Dutch. He was kind enough to let us know when to get off on our connecting train and which platform to go to next to catch the next train. After arriving in Bruges we had walking and bus directions to our hotel, but we did not realize how open Bruges was going to be. There were no street signs at the train station so we were not sure which direction to go. We started to walk and saw a bus stop and were lucky enough to gain WIFI access.

We were able to connect to google maps, which enabled us to find our hotel. The walk was around 30 minutes long, but felt much longer due to wondering if we were going in the right direction. Once we gained access to our hotel room at Hotel Europ we decided to stay in for the night. The hotel room was not in the worst condition, but we only had one electric outlet and the light bulbs were burnt out. However, the hotel appeared to be clean and was centrally located. The breakfast was also delicious and the view from our room was absolutely perfect because it overlooked a canal.

Our first day in Bruges was fantastic. We saw two weddings, windmills, took a canal tour, went to the 2be beer wall that stored over 1,000 beers, toured an art gallery, went shopping, and finished our night with a carriage ride.

2be beer wall

2be beer wall

Swans were everywhere! It was magical. We also saw two swan nests!

Swans were everywhere! It was magical. We also saw two swan nests!

Part of the contemporary art we viewed

Part of the contemporary art we viewed

During our canal tour the tour guide noted that we were lucky to see this dog relaxing by the window.

During our canal tour the tour guide noted that we were lucky to see this dog relaxing by the window.

Our horse who gave us our tour of the city

Our horse who gave us our tour of the city

Beautiful windmill

Beautiful windmill

After our relaxing and fun time in Bruges it was time to go back home to Maastricht….well that was the plan, but instead we were trapped in the train station due to none of our credit cards working at the train station and no one working at the train station’s information center. These machines do not take cash either. With no WIFI and limited resources we started to ask people to buy our tickets for us and tell them that we would pay them immediately. After being turned down three times finally a nice United Kingdom person bought our tickets for us with their Europe credit card. We were so thankful! We paid them back and sprinted for our train. We made it on the train and caught our next train back to Maastricht!

My next adventure was to Aachen, Germany! Due to it being a holiday and a Sunday all shops were closed, but I had a delicious traditional German meal and toured the town hall! The seats that are located in the meeting room are worth over 2,000 euro each. I learned this from a local and was relieved at the same time I could not sit on a chair that was worth that much!

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Due to the holiday we had an extra day off so I decided to check out Eindhoven in the Netherlands! I did not explore too much due to limited time, but I took a quick tour of the city and my next weekend’s plans are to return to Eindhoven for a music festival that will have the world’s top DJs traveling by helicopter from Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Eindhoven! Needless to say I am excited and cannot wait to share next weekend’s adventure with you!

Shopping mall

The blob!

Bowling art

Bowling art

Football (soccer) dome

Football (soccer) dome

Where next weekend's music festival will be held!

Where next weekend’s music festival will be held!

 

Church

Church

 

As always it is like a fairy tale returning back to Maastricht!

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Thank you for reading,

Corby Myers

“Children” of Italy

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One might think that they are about to read an article about the young culture in Italy, but one must not take the title “Children of Italy” at face-value. Throughout my experiences in Italy thus far, I continually find illustrations of an analogy made in class. This analogy compared philosophical thinking to the perspective of a new born infant entering the world (which would be an unfamiliar place). The infant may wander about and explore its surroundings while being completely subjective. While we, as new study abroad students, curiously wander in the same way, but with subjectivity due to our past experiences. How can we justify this analogy and how can we use philosophical thinking to preserve the authenticity that the rich Italian culture has to offer us?

Throughout my experiences not just in Italy, but in life, I find that each event that occurs adds a certain skill or a certain bit of knowledge to my tool kit. But in order to be a part of these events, one must constantly question, wonder about, observe, and explore surroundings, behaviors, and unfamiliarities just as a baby will walk up to an object they have never seen before and put it in their mouth or throw it. This analogous situation can be related to foreigners visiting a country. In a way, we as study abroad students are “children of Italy.” Just as the newborn, we must not be subjective in order to be completely immersed in this unfamiliar place. We are seeing everything with fresh eyes and are constantly questioning our own behavior due to our new surroundings. Generally, we are approaching Italian culture including etiquette, cuisine, and language just as the newborn infant is approaching an unfamiliar item; with curious and questioning minds, but also with the motivation to pick the item up, observe it, and explore it in a way that will ultimately open up our minds to the aspects of the world that have been unknown to us in the past.

One advantage that we as “children of Italy” have over newborns is comparison. As a foreigner, I am constantly comparing everything that I see in Italy to my homeland. This can be helpful but also destructive. I am now attempting to reject comparisons to the United States because it does not fully allow me to experience the authenticity of this country. Authenticity is something that does not exist to most Americans because as Americans, we are used to preconceived views of certain cuisines and cultures. If we were to experience Italian culture authentically, we would have to erase these preconceptions to experience the full potential and take in the very essence of the food and the behavior. Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to reject these conceptions due to our familiarities with certain foods which we relate to names and titles. For example, we know what pizza “should” taste like because someone in America decided to prepare it a certain way. In this way, and in some senses, subjective experience destroys true authenticity.

Americanization is a powerful development within society that challenges what we can understand as being truly authentic. Once we enter a different country, we begin to try to understand the differences between the actual culture in that place and the American version of this culture. This realization can be stressful and frustrating to us because it is uncomfortable and unsettling. When we are not used to our surroundings this stress will persist until we accept the reality that it is how people live every day. It is hard to remove ourselves from the idea that we are not in America anymore. I have heard the phrase “I can’t believe I’m here” countless times since I have been around other Americans in Italy. This disbelief is related to the fact that it is difficult for us to understand why a certain culture is different from our own. It is hard for one to believe that an entire population has spent their entire life span living a different way than our population has. We must move past this to understand that cultures are not based off of a comparison to our own. Italian culture should be analyzed for what it is, not what it is not. Although we have the tendency to analyze our own culture in this way, I believe that all cultures should be analyzed without comparison. We must not let these comparisons distract us from the fact that certain cultures are not built off of one model, but were simply invented through time, place, and development of a specific identity.

As a child, new to Italy, I will continue to question and explore everything in addition to attempting to reject preconceptions that have been instilled in my American mind since birth. As my new experiences persist, I will attempt to resist familiarities to truly live through the native Italians around me. By immersing myself in a distinct culture, I will continuously add to my palette of tastes and tools, but also will open up curiosities and questions that have never been explored before.

I AMsterdam!

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Hello everyone,

This past weekend was a blast in Amsterdam! Unfortunately we waited too long to book a hotel so we made two trips back to Amsterdam; however, it ended up being cheaper in the long run! Our first day to Amsterdam we took two busses to get to Keukenhof for the tulip tour. This tour was absolutely beautiful! I like flowers, but I never thought I would spend hours in flower fields. I was honestly amazed! This is the only time to see and tour the tulips so we were very fortunate to be here at this time!

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Our next adventure was walking through the Red Light district. This was definitely the most emotion I have felt during this trip. I felt sad because most of the women who are working the Red Light district do this involuntary. They are promised professional dance professions, not to work in the Red Light district. Having prior knowledge about the Red Light district was learned from  research, which helped me prepare for this experience.

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This experience gave me more of appreciation for our lives at home that have security, safety, and stability.

The next day we returned to Amsterdam by train. We went to the Heineken experience tour, which was a new experience for me. It almost reminded me of Hershey’s Chocolate tour, but more intricate. The Heineken experience tour took you through the brewing information. After we walked through each step we went on Brew You Ride. You stood up and grabbed on the railing in front of you. The floor moved and shifted as well as different liquid substances squirted out toward us while we were being transformed into beer. After the process was completed we were poured into the bottles and then transported into a box. After being transported into the bottles we were put into a box and transported to a “party”.

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Bubbles were being blown at us during this part of the ride.

Bubbles were being blown at us during this part of the ride.

 

After the Heineken experience tour we went on a canal tour. This tour was very nice because the tour guide pointed out the historical part of Amsterdam. It was very nice to be seated and relaxed during this time. We felt like Amsterdam was almost like New York before going on the canal tour. The appreciation of this city was gained through the history knowledge and learning experiences with the tour. For an example without the long line for the Anne Frank house we would have never found the house without the canal tour. The picture below shows the longest channels of canals in Amsterdam.

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Our last adventure was the Amsterdam Icebar! This tour is for people of all ages. There were small children with their parents for this experience. We walked into a rather large bar in order to gain entrance into the actual icebar. We were given special warm coats and gloves to keep us warm during our time there. There were sculptures and objects that were frozen into the actual icebar. Music was played and disco balls shined throughout. It was a nice way to end the evening and our time in Amsterdam!

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Our last adventure of the weekend was going to the highest peak of the Netherlands and being in three countries at one time. The three countries included the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. There are borders that separate the countries from one another, but the structures and buildings allow you to observe the differences.

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Thank you for reading! Stay tuned for my next adventure to Brussels, Bruges, and Ghent!

Thank you again,

Corby Myers

Music: Universal Yet Unfamiliar

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Perugia, Italy is a culturally rich utopia. I spotted this street performer while walking around the shops in the main Piazza and could not help but be intrigued. After listening to his beautiful music on this hammered dulcimer, I threw a Euro in his basket and walked off to reflect on what I had just seen. I reflected on the incredible reality of where I was and how the contrasts in my surroundings reminded me of how strikingly different this country is to my homeland. Although this culture shock can be grueling and frustrating at times, I have learned to appreciate it through an open and wondrous mind.

A new home away from home!

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Hello everyone,

 

WOW! I cannot explain for exciting this experience has been for me for the last three days! On Monday we had a tour of center city, called Vrijthof. This is where the river is that has many boats traveling to and from different locations around other countries. During the tour we were also introduced to the train station, restaurants, student life, and observed a carnival that was occurring this week. During the evening we returned back to Vrijthof for dinner and to explore. Most of the shops close around 6 pm so we did not get a chance to shop yet, but we did have interaction with the locals, had dinner, and rode one ride at the carnival. Most of the locals here are very nice! So it is very nice interacting with them. We had dinner at Catanaba, an Italian restaurant. I had vegetarian lasagna that was delicious! The food here is very fresh and I think it actually tastes better and has more flavor then in the states. However, while eating out our server took a very long time to take away our dishes and give us our check. This is typical. We are usually in a rush for time, so it was nice to relax and not be rushed. Next, we went to Pinky’s which is a waffle and gelato shop! I had mango gelato that very refreshing! We decided to venture off to the carnival and experience an European rollercoaster. The ride we went on reminded me of the Claw at Hershey Park. It was probably the best 3 Euro I ever spent so far!

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The next day we had a history tour of the city. I learned so much from the infrastructure to wealth of the city. I did not realize how valuable limestone is here that costs around 500 Euro per cubic centimeter. Another interesting fact that I learned was that each piece of a window square used to taxed. Last, I learned how the city was built up from it’s own history. Any hill that was created either was created on top of a cemetery or other structures since existence. Each middle path in the cobblestone was designed for horses and now bikes. Last, each corner was built for protection and for the military participants to catch their breath from running.

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My next adventure was to an American War cemetery. This adventure was extremely touching. This cemetery honors those who fought from 1944 to 1945. There is a wall in honor of those whose bodies have not been found. If they have been found they are honored with marker by their name. Each person who has been identified are honored through a burrier sight.

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My last adventure on Tuesday was to the city of Jezuitenberg to tour the caves. The caves are made from limestone and the bottom floors are made from limestone and remains from sea creatures. Many students would come every Wednesday, due to the cleaning staff cleaning the schools. These students were not artists and many of these sculptures were made within a couple days up to a couple of weeks. The pictures below resembles Romeo and Juliet, Egyptians, and Cinderella. The last picture is artwork that resembles the landing on the moon!

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Today was my first day of class! This class is an intercultural communication course. The professor is from Belgium and is very nice! I think I will learn a lot from her and she will challenge us to think from different perspectives as well as become aware of other cultures and norms. Our weekend starts tomorrow! We are in the process of planning to see the tulips, go on a canal tour, and explore Amsterdam! Needless to say I am enjoying my time in the Netherlands!

 

Thank you for reading,

 

Corby Myers

 

 

 

 

My 24-Hour Finding of the European Culture

After being in Maastricht for more than 24 hours, I have learned a lot about the European culture. For some of this it would be qualified as hard core stereotyping, but this is what I’ve noticed so far.

  1. You have to pay to use the restrooms in public, no matter if you are a paying customer or not. Which blows my mind!
  2. Everyone demonstrates their own fashion. Men, women and children all look nice. I really enjoy to seeing the men in nice suits with some nice shoes on. I really hope America adopts this norm soon! I idea of even getting groceries in athletic clothes is unheard of. Although the idea of working out in a whole other story
  3. America’s idea of working out is not even remotely close to Europe’s mental model. Today we just walked around the city for a tour and we were almost at 9 miles!! That is seriously so crazy, but it makes sense that Europeans don’t really “go to the gym” just biking and walking around is plenty of exercise for one day! After today, I don’t even know if I had the energy to do a 30 minute workout.
  4. Watch out for bikes. The idea of “yield to pedestrians” does not exist in Europe. You have to pay attention because they fly down the streets and will knock you over in a heartbeat. We were the typical American’s trying to cross the road, swaying back and forth like can we make it or should we wait… It will be interesting to see how running will be!
  5. Cobble streets are beautiful. The scenery around the city is beautiful. Check out my Facebook to keep up with my pictures and weekend adventures.DSCN0020
  6. The houses/apartment are really tiny but so adorable. Just from walking around, we have seen a bunch of different “houses”. They are super tiny like a total of three rooms and they are all just lined up right next to each other. But I think this goes to show the European lifestyle. They want quality not quantity. Also from walking around and just window shopping today, I noticed how the price was a little more expensive but the quality was 3 times better than US clothes. I will be looking more into how Marketing differs in the US and Europe later in the month once I do a little more shopping and learn a little bit more about European business.
  7. Finding a hostel to travel to different locations is SOOO difficult when there is a holiday. With a four day weekend coming up, we are most likely traveling to Cologne, Germany. But with a two-day holiday coming up right before the weekend, it feels like everyone in Europe is traveling.
  8. Everyone in Europe speaks at least 2, if not 3, languages. Just from being in the culture for a short amount of time, it is easy to see how Americans are not as culturally educated as other cultures. I believe it is due to the fact that Europe, is full of different cultures and countries in such a small area so Europeans are almost forced to learn different languages in order to effectively function.
  9. I’m almost certain, no one in Maastricht actually works. From walking around the city all day we got to see more of the people that live here. It seemed like everyone was out and about and no one actually had to work. Couples were hand in hand walking around or sitting down eating at a local café. There were also a decent amount of people just walking around enjoying the beautiful weather.
  10. No one is in a rush. In the states, everyone is rushing around to be somewhere. But here in Maastricht I’ve noticed people are very free spirited and have the motto of “when I get there, I will get there.”  To me this is unbelievable, I hate being late so I feel like every couple minutes I need to be checking my phone to make sure I’m on time. For example, they gave us an HOUR AND A HALF for lunch. We couldn’t believe it, it school you would get 30 minutes to eat lunch and catch up with friends. This is one aspect of the culture that I could probably get used to.

DSCN0022 Today, we took a small tour around Maastricht and tried to learn common knowledge of how to get around the city. It is soooo hard to navigate around cobble stone streets which are not based on a block system. It is almost like being in a “fun house” at a carnival. Most of the time, our group just tries to direct ourselves based on what looks familiar. We hope by next week we will be a little more familiar with our surrounding. DSCN0024 We also made a second trip to the market to get a couple more odd and end things that we don’t have. For example, plastic wrap for leftover food and a hand towel to dry off dishes. Tonight, we decided to sit down and try to book everything for this weekend. However this could be classified as a disaster. Our plan is to go see the Tulip Field’s on Thursday since it’s their last week in bloom. Then go to Cologne Germany from Friday-Sunday and then possible go to Dusseldorf, Germany Sunday before returning to school. When trying to book the tickets for the tulip fields, you needed a Dutch bank account to book train tickers online, and we found an awesome deal for a train, bus and ticket into the garden. So we need to go to the train station to get a gift card to use online. Not only did we have problems with booking a train ticket, we also cannot find a reasonable hostel for this weekend in Germany. Without a hostel booked/planned we have nowhere to stay within the city. So we are hoping to find something for the 3 nights that we will be there. On the bright side, these are the only challenges that we have ran into. So far I’ve had a blast and cannot wait to see what the rest of the trip has in store. I absolutely love the European culture and looking at the architecture around the city. DSCN0015