For Incoming International Students

Author: Olivia Dausch

Location: Japan

Pronouns: They/Them

I had a lot of ideas for my final blog post. I decided on listing things I think would be beneficial for incoming international students. Some of these are things I wish I knew, and others are things I learned.

– Get a Speaking Partner

I was reluctant to get one at first, but having a speaking partner is definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made here. I was able to practice speaking Japanese regularly and I eventually got more confident in what I knew.

– Sign up for an Experience Japan event

Another fortunate decision I made early on was signing up for one of these events. The events might be different in the spring semester, but they should also be very enjoyable. You get to meet local and international students and have a fun day with them.

– Budget appropriately

One thing that definitely would have helped in the long run was budgeting my money. Since Valpo has an agreement with Kansai Gaidai, you are given around $2,000. Set aside whatever money you think you need for your whole trip and commit to using it only for groceries. That will still leave a lot for doing any travelling you would need. A lot of my friends were able to take trips to Tokyo and are still fine money-wise.

Also, one thing to be aware of is ATMs. If you want to take money out of your American bank account, unless you go to Aeon Mall, you will have to take out your money in $100 increments. At Aeon, it’s only $10 increments. Also, if you have Chase, there is a $5 fee for using a non-Chase ATM, as well as a conversion rate fee, which is usually less than a dollar. I don’t know if this applies for other banks but be careful.

– Carry cash

Japan is primarily a cash-based society. There are a lot of places that flat-out don’t accept card. Make it a habit to carry cash and you’ll be fine. Coins are substantial here, too. It will be a bit difficult to adjust, since America’s largest common coin is a quarter. The largest coin here is equivalent to $5, and the first bill starts at $10. Try to avoid spending bills first.

– Dress appropriately

Not only is there a different social standard for dress, as would be expected, but the weather is considerably warmer than at Valpo. It is the middle of December now and it has only gone below 40 degrees once or twice. Don’t hesitate to go shopping for clothes while you’re here, too. Be mindful of sizes, but most places have fitting rooms so you can see what works best for you. Generally, avoid low- cut shirts and dresses and you’ll be fine.

A lot of people here wear layers, regardless of the weather. Seeing someone, regardless of gender, wearing a cardigan, long sleeve shirt, beanie, and jeans is incredibly common, especially now that it’s colder. Keep an eye out for clothes you like. It’s hard to find something similar in America.

– Try new things

You’re in another country, so try to take it in as much as you can. You wouldn’t go to Italy for burgers and fries, right? Japan has a lot of foods that America simply doesn’t, so indulge in it. I was hesitant to try the different kinds of onigiri, and I usually picked either salmon or beef, which are on the more expensive side. I tried tuna mayonnaise on a whim, and it was honestly a surprisingly good choice. Mayonnaise is different here in Japan, so give it a try.

Also, convenience store food is definitely the best choice when you’re in a rush. Nothing is more than $5, and it’s usually not hard to find a favorite. It’s easy to pick up onigiri or bread up before class but be careful not to walk and eat. It’s generally frowned upon here.

– Lunch Break

Lunch break here is like Chapel Break at Valpo. The only difference is that everyone is free for an hour, so trying to get food is going to take a lot longer than usual no matter where you go. Avoid the cafeterias on both campuses, since everything is extremely crowded, and you might have to eat outside. Try getting your food before or after break or cook in the kitchen in the dorm.

– Go to class

I think this should be obvious but go to class. Kansai Gaidai has a lot of different classes than Valpo and it’s definitely worth it to see what they have in store. Classes here are 90 minutes long, but it goes fast if you’re interested in the topic. There are a lot of fun classes here, so it’s a bit hard to completely be bored.

Also, all Japanese classes are held in first period(9:00am) or second period (10:45) three days out of the week. I’m in 4a now, so my class is at 9:00 on Mondays and Fridays and at 10:45 on Tuesdays. Usually, none of the other classes are held during those times, but there are exceptions.

Classes are generally a lot easier here. I’m taking four classes (around 14 credits) and I only regularly have homework in one. For two, I write a response to whatever we read or watch, and the other is just readings. If you’re going to stay for two semesters, grades are especially important. If you fail a class, you won’t be able to stay for the second semester.

– Learn what you want

When learning a foreign language, one of the best ways to learn is to find something you want to say and learn how to say it. You will learn vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure while doing it, and you’re able to say what you want. There’s almost no downside and it works for any language.

– Download LINE

LINE is a messenger app that’s really popular here. If people ask for your contact info, they usually ask for Facebook, Instagram, or LINE. It’s not a necessity, but I recommend it.

– Be prepared to walk (or bike) everywhere

In Japan, it’s usually not necessary to own a car. The station is about 15 minutes away walking and Nakamiya is about the same. There are a lot of rules around riding bikes, so I prefer walking. Either one you choose, be prepared to walk a lot.

– Be a little more outgoing

Especially if you’re a more reserved person, step out of your shell a bit. Take the chance to meet international friends. It’s going to be disappointing coming back to America and not being able to talk to anyone you met abroad.

Orientation week is the best time to form a group of friends, so take advantage of it. Once local students start classes and you start attending events, it will definitely be difficult to leave without at least one friend.

– Get an IC card

IC cards are basically train passes. They can be used all over Japan. If you’ve been in Chicago, it’s basically the same as the train passes there. It’s a reloadable card that functions as a train ticket. In Japan, these cards are used for even more as well. Some restaurants take them as payment and even some vending machines take them. They’re incredibly useful.

– Go wherever you can, but be safe

You’re not going to have a lot of fun if you just stick around Hirakata your whole time here. It’s incredibly easy to travel in Japan, so take advantage of it. Through the school alone, I was able to go to Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka. There are so many cool places a train ride away. You can even take a trip to another country. One of my classmates went to Thailand early in the semester.

Whatever you decide to do, be safe about it. Try to travel with someone. Japan may be one of the safest countries in the world, but things can still happen. Even if you just get lost, it’s easier to be lost with someone else. When my friend and I got lost in Osaka trying to find a music store, it was a lot easier to find our way with a barely-functioning Google Maps together than it would have alone. And, if nothing happens, you were able to hang out with a friend.

Going to Japan is going to be an amazing experience for you. Make the most of it and have a great time. Don’t forget to check in sometimes, but don’t worry about doing it constantly. Also, don’t forget to take pictures. There’s no better way to remember all the fun you had.

What the hell is Water?

Author: Liam Bodlak

Location: Reutlingen, Germany

Pronouns: He/Him/His

“There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?” -David Foster Wallace

I’d heard this joke before. David Foster Wallace is one of my favorite writers, and I’d read the speech-given at Kenyon College in 2005-a few times before. However, I read it again about a week ago, and it just stood out to me. This joke, in my opinion, describes what the study abroad experience is all about.

“Water” in this case, is just our daily surroundings. We don’t think of it at all. It’s just where we are. Valpo is Water. Founders is Water. Our classes are Water. And we just keep swimming. I fell into this mindset my sophomore year. I had tunnel vision with my immediate social circle, and with Valpo in general. I didn’t think much about big picture things, I just went to class, went home, did things around campus, and called it a night. All of that was Water to me. I never truly appreciated the good or seriously questioned the bad. I just kept swimming.

Study abroad changed a lot of that for me. I thought more about the world, and our place in it, as Americans, as young people, as human beings. I met people from all walks of life, and every different continent. I was more independent than ever before. I failed-many times-but every time something went wrong it just taught me more. Growth is never easy. Growth doesn’t come from staying inside your comfort zone. It comes from good old fashioned fear. It comes from trying new things and failing miserably. It comes from living in a country for a whole semester without even speaking the language. I grew up a lot this semester. As a student, as a friend, and as a person. Living in a foreign country was difficult, but it’s the best kind of difficult. It gave me perspective. Being able to see Valpo as a small part of a larger whole was extremely eye opening. I figured out what the Water was.

So, in summation, I think this semester went well. I can’t say I have any major regrets, and I honestly think that this semester changed me more than any other semester has. I’m going to miss this place a lot, but I’m eternally grateful for what it’s brought me, and the person that it’s shaped me into. I’m coming back to Valpo as a more well-traveled person who’s better equipped for life at VU and elsewhere. Germany was amazing, and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who’s even considering going. It’s been an amazing time, and I can’t wait to make it back to Europe again sometime in the future. Until next time.

Sincerely,

William Bodlak
Valpo Class of 2020
Reutlingen Study Abroad Class of Fall 2018

Christmas Markets

Author: Liam Bodlak

Location: Germany

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Fröhliche Weihnachten! It’s still a little bit (about two weeks as of my writing this) before Christmas, but the Christmas spirit is in full swing here in Germany. Christmas Markets are in just about every town here. They feature people selling food, drinks, and just general gift items. One of the more popular drinks here is gluhwein. It’s mulled wine that everyone in Germany drinks a lot of during the holidays, and it’s amazing. Hot wine tastes a little odd at first, but once you’re used to it it’s amazing.The overall vibe of Christmas in Germany is like nothing else. Hearing the music, seeing all of the people milling about, it’s something that never fails to amaze no matter how old you are. Some Christmas markets have different features. For example, Reutlingen’s has an ice skating rink, that I skated on for a bit and somehow managed not to fall. It’s a wholesome, fun experience that reminds us about how special the Christmas season really is. It reminded me of when my family would go see the living Nativity sets when me and my sister were younger. Something about the cold air, hot drinks, and the Christmas spirit just creates an incomparable vibe. That is 100% the corniest thing I’ve ever written, and it’s 100% true. Merry Christmas!

A picture I took at a Christmas Market in Prague

Living in Hirakata

Author: Olivia Dausch

Location: Hirakata, Japan

Pronouns: They/Them

In my first blog post, I said I wanted to explore more of Hirakata to see everything it has in store. I can definitely say that I learned a lot about this little city. It has a lot to offer, even though it doesn’t seem like much at first.

Hirakata has a lot of train stations, the largest one being Hirakata Station. It mostly gets express trains during the day, and local trains closer to midnight. Closer to campus, there is Gotenyama Station. It’s smaller and only has local trains, but it will get you where you need to go. Halfway between campus and Hirakata Station is Makino Station. It’s also a smaller station. All three are on the Keihan line, which can get you just about anywhere in the Kansai Region. If you transfer to a different line, getting anywhere in Japan is possible, but also very expensive.

My favorite route to travel is from Hirakata Station to Kyobashi, the connecting stop for the Osaka Loop Line. The loop can get you to a lot of amazing places in Osaka, like Osaka Castle, Tsuruhashi, and even Tennoji.

As for things to do in Hirakata, there are a lot of cool stores to go to. Just past Lawson, there is a road branching to the right, leading to an entrance to a grocery store. That street has a few cool stores, but my favorite is down an alley to the left. There is a tiny secondhand store selling really cool items for almost pennies. I was able to get a pack of Pokemon cards for my nephew for less than $1.50. There is a lot of cool things in that store, I recommend checking it out at least once.

The second store I’d recommend is Aeon Mall. It’s where my friend and I do most of out grocery shopping, especially since there is an ATM that allows us to take out money from our international accounts in less than $100 increments. There’s also an arcade on the 4th floor, as well as a dollar store that has a lot of cool stuff. There are clothing stores, grocery stores, and art stores in this mall. If you head down to the station, it’s definitely worth finding Aeon Mall.

Finally, for really cheap groceries in bulk, there’s a grocery store on the way to the station called Gyomu Super (業務スーパー). It sells a lot of groceries in bulk, including things that are generally difficult to find in Japan, like cheese.

If you want to eat out, there are quite a few options. On the way to Hirakata Station, there’s a fork in the road. Right before Gyomu Super, there’s a little curry shop. I haven’t been in it yet, but it always smells amazing when I pass it.

Similarly, there’s CoCo Ichibanya. If you turn left at the light on the way to the station, it’s on the left. I talked about it in my last post, so there’s not much else to say about it. The price varies greatly, but it will most often be less than $10.

Finally, there’s a little Ramen shop next to Lawson called Ramen Kurawanka that’s amazing. I’ve been there a couple times and I was always satisfied. If you show your student ID, you can get a size up for free. The average price there is about $8. I definitely recommend getting the Aji-tama (seasoned soft-boiled egg) with it. It makes any ramen dish so much better.

Last Hurrahs

Author: Emma Hecht

Location: Oslo, Norway; Venice, Italy

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Over the past week, I’ve been to two more countries (trying to cram as many in as I can in my last days here in Europe). First was Oslo, Norway. For this trip, I splurged and stayed in one of the airport hotels. I ate dinner in the hotel restaurant and then went to my room to watch Law & Order. In the morning I got up and took the bus back to the airport where I took a train (probably the nicest train I’ve ever been on) to the city center. I had planned absolutely nothing for the trip, so I decided to walk around and see what I saw.

The first place I found was the Nobel Peace Prize Museum, which I had heard good things about from my program director, so I went in. The first floor consisted of groups of photos from current peace movements around the world. The second floor of the museum contained the history of all of the Nobel Peace Prize winners since the award began. Each little screen had the Prize winner of a particular year with a little synopsis of their work. (Here I felt extremely ignorant because I didn’t know that Barack Obama had won a Nobel Peace Prize.)

My next stop was the Akershus fortress. I didn’t go in, but there was a stellar view of the harbor from outside of it.

I walked through town a bit more and visited the Christmas market (a very big thing around this time of the year in Europe). I stumbled upon this castle as I was wandering around.

My next trip was to Venice, Italy with my friend Claire. I had three priorities: pasta, pizza, gelato. We had pizza twice, pasta twice, and gelato four times. It was all amazing. We mostly just walked around and went in little shops. There has been a lot of flooding in Venice recently. One morning the square in front of St. Michael’s Basilica was one big puddle.

Our view of the Grand Canal:

We also got on a boat and went to one of Venice’s neighboring islands, Burano. It’s a tiny place, made of colorful fisherman’s houses.

My study abroad experience has been amazing. I’m so glad that I was able to come—even after switching my major twice and I can still graduate on time. It’s unique to be able to live and be independent in another country and to take weekend trips to a completely different country. It’s bittersweet to think that I’m heading home in two days. But, the fun isn’t over yet. I have a day layover in Iceland and the airport is fifteen minutes away from the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa. Is it worth the $85/hour? We’ll find out.

Luxembourg City

Author: Liam Bodlak

Location: Luxembourg City

Pronouns: He/Him/His

I had one more travel weekend before finals, and I was struggling to come up with somewhere to go. I’d already been most places in Germany, and I wanted to go somewhere really worthwhile. However, one night after talking to my mom about my Luxembourgish heritage, I decided to look up how close Luxembourg City was. Surprisingly enough, it was close enough for a day trip. So, one Saturday, I decided to travel by myself to Luxembourg City for a day.

Luxembourg City, and the entire country in general, is interesting because of its history, and what its history shaped it into. It’s been colonized and ruled by many different countries, and shared borders with many more, thus making it somewhat of a combination of different cultures. I heard people speaking French, German, English, and Luxembourgish, and a tour guide told us that a substantial amount of people that work in Luxembourg City don’t even live in the country. This leads to a multicultural society of people that all share the same love for the city. There are beautiful views, a downtown area with lots to do, and friendly people wherever you go.

The people were what intrigued me the most about the trip. Two in particular. One was a US Air Force serviceman I met while taking a tour of the city. We wound up grabbing drinks and dinner and hanging out for a bit and talking about life back in the US and our travel experiences. It was the type of experience I could only have traveling alone, and it’s one that I was extremely grateful for. Then, on the way back, I sat next to a South Korean man who was living in a small German town. We had a long talk about Germany, travel, and what it really meant to call somewhere home. As with the previous encounter I had, I was extremely grateful to meet him. The day trip was relaxing, fun, and let me discover a part of my heritage that I hadn’t previously been that in touch with. I’d highly recommend Luxembourg City to anyone who finds themselves in Europe.

Thanksgiving

Author: Liam Bodlak

Location: Germany

Pronouns: He/Him/His

I’ll admit to not knowing Germans didn’t celebrate thanksgiving until around mid September. It’s so ingrained in our culture, I figured everyone celebrated it in some facet, no matter how US centric it is. However, we didn’t get the day off for Thanksgiving, and most people I met here either knew about it but didn’t celebrate it, or had never even really heard about it. We did, however, have a Thanksgiving celebration put on by our university. It was interesting. All of the staple thanksgiving foods were there (turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes), and the international students that came seemed very intrigued at this foreign (to them, at least) tradition.

One thing that caught my attention was the way the Thanksgiving story was told. We were treated to a presentation by some American students about Thanksgiving, and it was the standard story that every American is used to hearing, with the good feelings between pilgrims and natives. I was wondering whether or not a more critical version of the story would be told, as recently the colonialism of the holiday has been called into question, and many find it distasteful to celebrate a holiday started by heinous actions like this. None of this controversy was mentioned in the speech, however, and we went on with the meal. It was a good time with better people. I missed my family for sure, but I really enjoyed getting to enjoy the meal with people who I’ve become extremely close to recently. It’s well past Thanksgiving, but to everyone reading this, I hope you and yours had a great Thanksgiving, whether you’re in America or elsewhere.

Favorite Memories

Author: Olivia Dausch

Location: Osaka, Japan

Pronouns: They/them

Being anywhere for a few months is bound to make a person form amazing memories, especially in a foreign country. Even if they’re small, I’m going to treasure them

  1. Incheon Airport/The flight to Japan

My trip to Japan marks the first time I’ve been in a plane since I was a baby. I was proud of myself for being able to find my way around an airport on my own, especially with the threat of a typhoon on the other end of the trip.

Landing in Korea was stressful. Since there was a chance the flight from Incheon to Kansai would be cancelled, O’Hare only gave me the ticket to Korea. Fortunately, there were others heading to Kansai Gaidai in the same boat, so we were all able to get our tickets and relax.

We walked through the airport together, as we waited for our delayed flight.

I was fortunate enough to get a window seat, so I was able to see the ocean and Japan eventually coming into view. The second flight was much more enjoyable than the first, which was at midnight. While the flight into Japan was early, it was still easier to get through. While looking out the window, the thought hit me that some people saw the view over the ocean so often, it lost its wonder. It made me a bit sad, but I knew I would never forget how I felt that entire flight.

       2. Opening Ceremony

One of the last events of orientation week was the Opening Ceremony. All of the international students met in the library on Nakamiya Campus, where we were welcomed by the faculty of the Asian Studies Program. I was surprised by how emotional I felt. It came almost out of nowhere and for no reason. Seeing everyone’s flags on the wall and the realization that I was actually there really struck me in that moment.



3. Typhoon Jebi

The second day of classes, Typhoon Jebi struck Japan. Classes were cancelled, and we were all told to stay in the dorm. Since the area around the hallways was completely glass, I was a bit worried, especially because the trees in the courtyard were bending. The power went out a few times, but it turned out mostly alright. None of the buildings on campus had any damage, but there were some trees that fell. Fortunately, that was the extent of the damage on either campus. There were some buildings around the city that needed repairs, but they were fixed quickly.

       4. Tsuruhashi and CoCo Ichibanya

One of my favorite places to go in Osaka was one my friend showed me. Tsuruhashi, known as Korea Town, is a very interesting place. Once you step out of the station, you are thrown into an alley full of shops, some selling clothes, others selling food. It’s like a maze. Once you get out, the main street is lined with restaurants. My friend and I always went to a more remote part of the area. It was still just as crowded, since the stores on that side of town sold K-Pop merchandise, usually a bit cheaper than they can be found in other places.

Our first time there, once we were done, we went to a restaurant that quickly became our favorite. About halfway between the shops and the station, there was a little restaurant called CoCo Ichibanya. It’s a mildly famous curry restaurant that’s wildly customizable. You control the level of spice, the amount of rice, the toppings, and anything extra you put on it. Usually, I get curry with the standard amount of rice, regular spice, and topped with fried fish. My friend always got the standard amount of rice, mild spice, with chicken on top.

Once we found out there was one in Hirakata, we had to fight to keep from going there on our limited budgets.

There are a lot more memories I’d like to talk about, but some of them are too long to explain, or I’ve talked about in previous posts, like Osaka Castle, Arashiyama, and Nara. I would like to stay a bit longer (if only to find more places to make memories) but I’m satisfied with what memories I have.

 

Florence/Rome/Venice, Italy; Reutlingen, Germany; Amsterdam, Netherlands

Author: Shannon Ilg

Location: Florence/Rome/Venice, Italy; Reutlingen, Germany; Amsterdam, Netherlands

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

October 28, 2018

During Fall Break, we continued to travel across Europe. After we left Paris, we went to Florence. Upon arrival I see this magnificent building and am reminded how very, very much I love Italy. I mean, I think mountains are beautiful, but I think that Italian cities have been the most interesting to me.

October 29, 2018

It was a little bit rainy the first full day we were in Florence, but it was just so beautiful! We were staying in the city, but took a bit of a hike just outside the city and were able to see these stunning views.

October 30, 2018

Here is the view from our rooftop Airbnb. It felt like we were in an action movie and could just go run and jump across all the rooftops. I couldn’t get enough. Did I mention how much I love Italy?

October 31, 2018

Next stop? It’s where all roads lead. It’s where you do what the other people do, it’s Rome! The first full day we were there we got to… roam… around quite a bit. We saw the Vatican and all of the ruins, and everything was breathtaking. I really appreciated that anywhere you turned, another building you had seen a million pictures of was right there in front of you, and it’s then that you realize how little pictures actually capture. You can’t tell how beautiful or massive or intricate these places are without visiting them. It’s times like that where I really am just thrilled that I chose to study abroad. I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.

Ooh, I almost forgot! This night, we all decided that we wanted to make dinner and mac and cheese was what we came up with. So, we bought three random cheeses, and tried it out. It was by far the weirdest but most delicious mac and cheese I have had. This is because apparently those cheeses were not meant to melt into noodles. Instead it was a cheese block with noodles, but oh man was that cheese block good.

November 1, 2018

The second day in Rome was much less eventful. It was very rainy pretty much the whole day and within the ten or twenty minutes we were actually outside, we decided just to head back with a fresh pineapple and enjoy a day inside. I had to catch up on some homework and lecture videos that I had fallen behind on the previous several days. That and we watched Monty Python’s Life of Brian (What did the Romans ever do for us??). Despite being indoors, it was a great day. It was nice to just relax and also be productive, finishing some homework.

November 2, 2018

This is one of the coolest doors that I have seen abroad. I mean, mostly because of the artistic lighting and dense shadows, but it really caught my eye and I just had to share!

This was on the way back from Rome when we stopped in Venice. Which was beautiful. Originally, we had an Airbnb here for the night, but Venice had just been badly flooded, so we thought it would be best not to stay so we canceled our booking. Instead of finding another train, we kept our reservations and spent a couple hours in Venice anyway. For the record, there was no more flooding, and we totally could have stayed there. But in all honesty, it was nice to sleep in Reutlingen for free in my own bed for a night. (Not this night though.. this night we spent on an awesome overnight train where the seats stretched out into a bed that we somehow managed to fit 6 people on…)

November 3, 2018

Back in Reutlingen, I caught up on homework yet again and relaxed for the day. This was the fall view from a late afternoon walk.

November 4, 2018

Reutlingen with the fall colors truly is beautiful. I just love being able to look out the window and see mountains. It’s wonderful.

November 5, 2018

This is the last leg of our journey for Reutlingen’s fall break. Amsterdam was quite an interesting city to spend a couple days in. Here you see a street performer who used audience volunteers to tie him up in a straitjacket with chains wrapped all around him, and then proceeded to escape. It was quite the show! He was very funny and in general very engaging to his crowd.

November 6, 2018

Amsterdam has quite the collection of museums to choose from! I didn’t end up going into the Van Gogh museum, but I went into two pretty weird museums. One was a torture museum, where they have the history of Medieval torture devices and at the end, a very meaningful message that questions the reader about what we have in society today that is really just other means of torture.

The second museum was that which you see above. It’s from the only microbe museum in the world. It brought you through the history of, well, the world, on a molecular and biological level. It was very interactive, allowing you to look through various microscopes at different stages of growth for all sorts of microbes. All together a very engaging museum, and the coolest bit was the fact that they have a lab in the back of the museum where they grow all of the different organisms.

November 7, 2018

This was our last goodbye look on Amsterdam. Just one of the many pretty canals throughout the city.

Here I also say goodbye to the Valpo Voyager. As you can see by the date of the last photo, I still had over a month to the end of the semester, and I continued to take pictures every day. But by now, you have seen much of the wonders I explored throughout Europe, as well as the boredom of schoolwork, and the nuance of being in a new place. I hope you have enjoyed reading about my journey and that perhaps it has inspired you to make your own adventures.

Liechenstein, Slovenia

Author: Mark Young

Location: Liechenstein, Slovenia

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Two friends and I went to Liechtenstein.

We hiked up a mountain and might have accidentally crossed into Switzerland for a short time.

 

We passed many beautiful vistas such as this one.

 

The entire country is surrounded by mountains providing for good views in every direction.

 

This is Vaduz Castle where the Prince of Lichtenstein lives. Overall, Lichtenstein was, while being very small, one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever seen.

The following weekend I went to Slovenia. I started out by arriving at Lake Bled at 4am. It was pitch black when I arrived and I began walking around the lake. The boats take you to the island in the middle of the lake, which is home to a church that dates back to before the 15th century.

 

This is the church with the beautiful mountainous backdrop.

 

Here is the view of the entire city. Definitely one my of favorite views I’ve had while studying abroad.

 

This is another, and main, type of boat they use to go between the island and the surrounding land. It is called a pletna and its design dates back to the 16th century.

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