Hey! So it has been about two months almost to the date of my return, and so much has changed since coming back from the beautiful place of Belize. I saw some friends from the study abroad trip in some of my classes and it was so strange to see them anywhere else but in the sweltering heat and surrounded by friendly bugs. As I begin to adjust to a new semester full of new classes and experiences, I am saddened that I can’t enjoy the same learning methods we got used to in Belize. I adored getting my hands dirty and learning through observation and doing rather than sitting in a classroom all day and writing or typing the day away. I feel as though I had a wealth of new knowledge after only a month of learning and there isn’t a day that goes by without reflecting and being grateful I got to experience such an opportunity. If it were up to me, I would spend the rest of my days learning in Belize under the supervision of Dr. T and Professor Kneeland. They were such amazing role models, who I love catching up with on Facebook lol, and are encyclopedias essentially! They are both unique but with this willingness to teach, a sincere acknowledgment of their students’ needs and an overall excitement for their profession! People who know me, know that I am a very excited person when I am passionate and I loved seeing that passion in my teachers. It makes me feel confident that this is a profession that I will one day be happy in. Most people after coming home from study abroad miss the place and the culture of where they were, and while I loved Belize, the people, and the hot sauce (i’m ordering some on Amazon in the future), I did get homesick towards the end and couldn’t wait to return. That is why I loved this program. It was long enough for me to gain a worldly perspective and thoroughly appreciate a lifestyle different from my own, one where I’m trying to take the simplicity and appreciation from, but also short enough that I got to return home and see the people that I love. I will definitely try to return to the great country of Belize one day for research or just to explore the depths of the place, but not for much longer than a month. Without the support of my loved ones, I would not have been able to go to Belize with such a positive attitude, and survive the four weeks away from home in an unfamiliar place. I want to thank a bunch of people for amplifying my experience. Thank you first and foremost to my family for helping me fund the trip, for facetiming and talking to me often and always being in support of my dreams. Thank you to my other loved ones, who may not be related, but still supported me and were excited for me before, during and after the trip. And thanks for not getting annoyed every time I told a story about Belize lol. Thank you to SEBS International Programs for the scholarship, which without I wouldn’t have been able to go. And thank you to all my classmates, teachers, and program coordinators in Belize that made sure the experience went as smoothly as it possibly could. It was an experience of a lifetime and I wouldn’t have changed a second of it!
Archives for September 2018
I would count down the hours like “in 24 hours american time I will be home”. The last few days of my study abroad all I could think about was Filipino food and bbq. I texted my mom if we could have BBQ and lumpia when I came home. Lo and behold I was greeted with this wonderful surprise waiting for me at home! I missed home so much.
Studying abroad taught me how to cherish my home and broadened my perspectives about the environment and the quality of life. The way Germans handle the nature greatly differs from the American mindset. Neither are 100% wrong or right. But rather they value different parts of the environment and choose to develop based on those wants.
I feel developed as a designer. I feel like I’ve learned so much and yet I know I still have so much more to discover.
Studying abroad taught me not only the book smarts I need but the street smarts that can make or break your psyche.
I’ll cherish these memories together and I am so thankful for these experiences.
That’s right. My friend Tiffany and I had a 16 hour layover in the Dublin Airport and survived. We first made the trip back from Hamburg to Berlin. Got on the wrong bus going the opposite direction of the Tegal Airport. Realized our mistake and was kindly guided on the right path by a nearby bus driver. Rushed through the terminals and landed into our connecting flight from Berlin to Dublin with time to spare.
And after all that excitement we landed in the Dublin Airport at a 11 pm with our flight being at 4 pm the following day. You may ask why we didn’t find a hotel or explore the city with the time we had. To that I have one simple answer: visas.
Yup. In order to leave the airport I would need a separate visa for Ireland. And with our layover being so late at night we figured why not save $60 from visa fees and just tough it out in the airport! Tiffany was a really good sport about it and I’m so thankful she was my travel buddy.
And you know, our 16 hour layover wasn’t too bad. If you ever have to endure more than 5 hours in an airport let me tell you sleeping really helps time pass by quickly.
That and finding something fun to do to pass the time. For me – it was cataloging every hour of the layover as best I could. And luckily I have some snapchat videos and pictures as payoff!
Cheers to a wonderful journey! Here’s the play by play:
,There were so many amazing memories made on this trip.
If I had to describe my study abroad in Germany and the time I’ve spent getting to know everyone, I would say “life-changing”. Each day was an adventure-there were no boring or off days from the trip because we were in a different country and different setting from home.
I didn’t know what to expect (besides having a set syllabus), and that’s the way I would have preferred it because the month was full of surprises and learning new things about Berlin, Essen, and Hamburg. We collectively as a group saw many examples of landscape architecture being a major part of the culture here, and the subtle nuances of everyday life as well. My favorite city was Essen, and I loved the Unperfeckt Hotel that we stayed in; a definite must-go for anyone visiting there.
Although I missed home frequently during the trip, I would not have traded anything else for this study abroad with my friends, classmates, and professors. Thank you to the Landscape Architecture department for curating this program, and to the Rutgers Global Study Abroad for making this happen.
Truthfully, I’ve never heard about Essen before and didn’t research the place prior to arriving by train. It was about 4 hours away from Berlin and the ride was a smooth, comfortable one. The train had ample space for our luggage and even had a cafe on board.
Arriving in Essen, the sights were breathtaking and felt so similar to New Jersey. It was a very comforting feeling compared to being in Berlin, and I think we all immediately felt closer and instantly attached to the place. A pro was that our stay for the two weeks was this amazing place: “Unperfekt Hotel”, which means imperfect hotel. It was founded by a couple about 5 years ago and they even had a book about the building’s history on the kitchen table. Of course, it was in German, so we couldn’t understand most of it.
Essen is a mix of industrial sites turned into parks, and residential areas surrounding them. Although a lot of contaminated sites/sewer water has been cleaned up over the recent years, there were still a few open sewage waters that smelled quite foul when we walked over the bridge. Luckily, the smell subsided as we got further into the park, but the process of cleaning is to be completed in two years.
It’s a little harder to travel around compared to Berlin- the rides are longer and the destinations further in between distance-wise. So far, we’ve been to the Landschaftpark Duisburg Nord, which is a place that all of the Landscape Architecture students have heard about from our faculty. Seeing it in person was such a treat; the park itself was huge and had neat programming throughout. There was a diving tank, a rock climbing wall, and even a farm with animal pens.
We also visited a castle in Dusseldorf, the Schloss Benrath. It was such a fun experience because of the huge slippers we had to wear inside-to prevent damage of the floors. The castle is also known for its unique, pink color and the lions in front of the entrance.