Monthly Archives: June 2014

Trip of a Lifetime

By Lauren Myles — GCU Student

This trip to Europe was a once and a lifetime opportunity and as soon as I heard about it I knew I had to go. I went in 2012 with Dr. Bruess and Christine to Ireland, Whales, England and France. I knew that this was a great opportunity to grow and have fun. I was excited to see so many countries, and I was glad for the opportunity for my friends Kait and Cristina to see them with me!

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I had so much fun on this trip of a lifetime! I went with two girls from my home town who I have been friends with for years and we all had learning experiences together as well as making other friends, making memories as well as learning about ourselves individually.

I enjoyed many of the amazing experiences that have changed my life. In Amsterdam the Anne Frank House. This is the house where the Franks were in hiding from the Nazis for two years. They were found and taken to Auschwitz and everyone that was in hiding was killed except Otto Frank, Anne’s father. It was bone chilling to walk through the room in which they were hiding and could barely move for fear of being found out, and being captured by the Nazi soldiers. The Diamond Museum in Amsterdam was amazing to see the Diamond Capital of the world, and to get the chance to try on these fabulous diamonds. We also saw amazing Windmills and how they worked. We saw where the Dutch make clogs and cheese.

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In Germany we went to many of the phenomenal sights such as Dom Cathedral in Kolon, it was beautiful. Heidelberg was a beautiful town with an amazing castle it was truly remarkable. We went to the straw hat festival in Heidelberg. It was so much fun to see how another country celebrates. It was to hear the bands playing a lot of American Music, we learned about the culture and dancing. Munich was an amazing city where there are still scares from World War II, it is a historic City. We Saw the Palace that the royal family had lived for years, and how each generation had built more on. The BMW Factory was a very cool place to see. We learned that the people would take a test drive inside the factory if they were interested in buying the car, amazing. The Olympic Games Stadium of Munich was very cool to see as well. It is very impressive that they continue to maintain and still use parts of it today.

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Austria was breath-taking. I wish we had more time there. We saw live music in the city square. Austria is where Mozart is from and it was fun to be in a musically historic area which was so beautiful with amazing views. We received friendship bracelets in Innsbruck as well.

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Italy was extremely warm and the town of lido de Jesolo. We arrived in time for a look at the beach, and the Adriatic Sea. I was so excited to put my feet in the Adriatic Sea. We went to Murano to watch a glassblowing demonstration. It was amazing to watch the people demonstrate the making of glass as well as the great souvenir shopping experience. We then took another boat to Venice, it was a great day filled with a tour of the Venetian Palace and the exploring of the city itself and how it is a bunch of little islands that are connected by bridges. We took a gondola ride that was relaxing and a great way to see the city. We traveled to the city of Verona, to see the beautiful arena and the House of Juliette, eating fabulous fruit.

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Switzerland was amazing! We saw bunnies that were the largest rabbits that I have ever seen. Lucerne was awesome with amazing sights. There was the beautiful and moving Lion Monument where we took a group photo and then walked around the lake and over the Kappelbrucke, or Chapel Bridge, Lucernes most historical landmark. We went up Mount Pilatus. In order to get to Mount Pilatus we took a cruise across Lake Lucerne and then the worlds steepest cog railway to the summit, and a cable car back down to Lucerne, about half way down, a few of us took advantage of the summer toboggan track. It was so much fun, then we took the gondola down into Lucerne. The summer toboggan was on my bucket list of things to do in my life and I am glad that I had the opportunity to have this thrilling adventure. Geneva was a great day even though it was raining, the city where so many treaties have been signed was beautiful, we also found that the chocolate was fabulous.

France was fun, Dejon the home of Mustard was a wonderful town, we saw a beautiful carousel, and an arch de triumph. Stopping in Auxerre, for lunch we had an amazing view and saw some school children eating lunch in the park. We then drove on to Paris were we see the Eiffel Tower, Arch De Triumph for Napoleon Bonaparte, Notre dame Cathedral, and The Palace of Versailles, it was so much fun to see these places with a great group of new friends. Had amazing pizza in Paris with Cristina.

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We then took the Eurostar Chunnel to London. We had fun on the train and got to take some silly pictures. In London we made the most of our last couple of days together trying to see as much as possible as well as making memories to last a lifetime. Some seeing the Book of Mormon to looking around at Piccadilly Circus, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, parliament and also The Harry Potter 9 ¾ Platform to Hogwarts.

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We  had a sad day of goodbyes at the airport, but they are not true goodbyes because they are I will see you laters.

“Je voo dray un chocolat cake”

By Elise Nowak — GCU Student

If one ever has the time in his/her life to travel abroad to Europe, he/she should definitely take the opportunity. I was fortunate enough to take part in the experience two weeks after I finished my sophomore year at Georgian Court University with a group of 19 women. It was a very unique experience that I am very happy to have taken part in.

Our group’s first stop in Europe was Amsterdam, Netherlands. When we arrived at the airport in Amsterdam after a eight hour flight, we met our tour director Jamie, who works with Explorica Travel Tours, and a group of 21 students from California who would join us on our two week excursion.

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Our European adventure was from Monday, May 26, 2014 to Monday, June 9, 2014. On May 26 when we were to arrive in Europe, everyone in our group at GCU had to meet on campus by 2:30pm that afternoon in order to early for our 8pm flight at JFK. The flight to Amsterdam flew by with the help of a delicious dinner and a plethora of movies and tv shows to choose from. The flight touched down in Amsterdam at 9:55am their time and everyone in our group was super jet-lagged because of the time difference of the two countries. Once our group first met at the airport, all 41 of us got on the bus and went right over to our hotel we would be staying, put all of our bags in a hotel room and got back on the bus to start the first day of our tour. We took a walk in the city center of Amsterdam.

This two week, 15 day tour consisted of going to seven countries all across Europe every two or three days. We had a planned itinerary for each day to see historic landmarks each country is known for, such as Heidelberg Castle in Heidelberg, Germany and then to take guided walking sightseeing tours in each country. The only free time we did have was for lunch and every night, after dinner as a group. I explored the nightlife of the different countries with my new friends.The food in Europe was very different from what everyone in our group was used to in America. For example, in Europe, sodas and other sugary drinks are made with natural sugar, which is different from how Americans are used to them being made with corn syrup. Each night for dinner, our trip included an authentic home cooked meal from each country, and I found each meal to be good, one-time meals for experience (in Munich, Germany we had Bavarian Bratwurst), but I much rather prefer American food.

From our first day in Amsterdam, everyone as a group took the Metro train to get from place to place on our sightseeing tour. I made great friends in both groups of travelers, from Georgian Court and California, which made adventuring around each country during our free time much more fun and enjoyable. I moved around and hung out with various small groups of people on our tour so I was able to better know everyone. Everyone was so nice! Here at home I had never really taken public transportation very much, so since I had to get around to explore Europe, once I used it the first few times, it was a breeze.

In the mornings, before our group would enter into each new country by bus, driven by our faithful and loyal driver, Haust, our tour director Jamie would give us lessons of simple native phrases to use whenever we would be conversing with shop-keepers or other locals. For example, in France, my friends and I went into a little patisserie to buy some pastries and I said to the storeowner, “Je voo dray un chocolat cake,” which means “I would like a chocolate cake.” In that moment, as I asked for the little chocolate cake I could not help but smile and think to myself that my French grandmother would be so happy to hear me speak French if she were alive today. My favorite countries to visit on our tour were Italy, France, and England. I also loved visiting Italy and France because now I am finally able to say that I have visited where my ancestors are from!

I personally really loved visiting all of the historical landmarks and neat sites in these three countries such as the Murano Glass factory in Murano, Italy, the Basilica in Venice, taking a gondola ride in Venice; being so up close to the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France; and Big Ben, The London Eye and Buckingham Palace in London, England. I found it really neat to be so close to these iconic places that before, I had only dreamed about! Now I will always be able to proudly say that I have visited these places! I’ll forever have the pictures and memories to prove I was there. I bought many souvenirs from these three favorite countries I visited, for myself and each member of my family that I know we all will cherish forever.

In conclusion, some days when I really think about it, I really cannot believe that it has been two weeks since I have come home from Amsterdam, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, France, and England. I will be forever grateful to have had this wonderful opportunity to travel abroad and to have made life-long friends. I encourage that whenever one has the opportunity to travel abroad, that he/she should take the trip. I loved the experience!

 

It Still Amazes Me

By Cristina Russo — GCU Student

[In Europe] I learned so many different things about myself and other people. I also gained more knowledge about different cultures, lifestyles, languages and currencies used around the world. The trip broadened my horizons in more ways than one.

It still amazes me that we could go such a short distance and still have to convert money from country to country! I encountered so many different people in such a short amount of time as well. Most of all, I will be sure to take with me what I have learned and share it with others along my professional journey.

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More Stamps in My Passport

By Jahnise M. Clements — GCU Student

This European tour trip was such a good learning experience. It was my very first time leaving the country and to visit many countries in a short amount of time. Also, I am the first one in my family to travel the world at such a young age. It made me realize there is so much of the world for me to visit and understand.

The very first stop on this trip was Amsterdam.  Even though there was no time to get rest from the time we got off the plane until the time we got in the hotel room at night, I enjoyed every bit of it. It was a great feeling to go backin history like going to Anne Frank house. Even though I had learned about her horrific last days of life, it was a different experience actually visiting where she was hiding and learning how she survived during that time.

My first night in Germany I got to go to a Straw Hat Festival that included good food, fun, and lots of people. It was more like a big concert that filled the streets. Germany was lots of fun and so different from what I am used to at home. In Europe so many people are on bikes and walking around, and that is something I am just not used to because places are so far from each other where I live.

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Then we went to Italy, where I hated the hotel/motel we stayed in because it reminded me of the slums meaning it was run down and just not up to my standards. Yes, I had a bad hotel experience, but I still enjoyed the country because the weather was great and the cities were beautiful. For example, Venice was a lovely city where a man showed us how to make glass art that was unbelievable. He even let volunteers come up and help him sculpt the glass.

Next we ended up in the lovely country of Switzerland where the dinner every night was great. This was the first time on the trip where I was excited to have dinner.

Our next steeping stone for the trip was France. My first thought of France was that I was not going to like their food because I had heard they are known for eating snails and a whole bunch of weird stuff. Surprisingly I enjoyed dinner.  I was so excited to see the Eifel Tower. It was something I always knew about, so to finally see it was a big deal.

The last but certainly not the least stop of the trip was England. I really enjoyed being in London because it reminded me of New York, but much cleaner. I like how it was so diverse; it seemed just like home. I  liked London because they spoke English and I knew exactly what they were talking about.

I look forward to being apart of another trip that is offered and to get more stamps in my passport.

Europe Opened My Mind

By Michelle Paltin — GCU Accounting Major

This summer I was privileged enough to travel to some amazing places in Europe, and along the way I have learned so much and have met so many amazing people. From May 26th to June 9th, I visited several countries with some very amazing people that I still keep in touch with. Those two weeks have been some of the best yet exhausting days of my life. While this was a fun experience, it greatly expanded on my knowledge of other cultures, it helped me become a more social person and also made me realize that one has to be open minded in order to appreciate different cultures.

Over the course of these two weeks I visited the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France and the United Kingdom. As an accounting student, I was very intrigued by the different currencies in these countries since sometimes we are stuck in a bubble and forget that other countries do not use the US dollar bills. I remember that at first I would actually dismiss the coins until I noticed that they were one or two euros. Dealing with different currencies for me was extremely helpful since in my future career I will be dealing with money. The first time I got money out of the ATM in Amsterdam, I took out 150 Euros only to check my bank statement and notice it was over 200 USD. This quickly made me realize how much more euros were worth and made me be smarter with my spending.

While the currencies were certainly a big change, the everyday culture of the different countries was eye opening. The United States is a more modern country and sometimes people may forgot how young America is compared to the world. Some buildings in Europe were actually older than the United States. The buildings in America are more modern and looking at the different cities in the different countries was refreshing to see some beautiful architecture. My first days in Europe I found myself constantly taking pictures of the streets and buildings. Not only was the architecture different but just the way people were was different than America. In Amsterdam I was astonished by the amounts of bikes I saw and in many of the hotels they talked about being green, so it appears that in some countries in Europe they are more environmentally conscious. I also remember seeing several buses in Switzerland that were covered in quotes of people who have been hurt by domestic violence. Such raw social consciousness is admirable because in the USA it seems that only advertisements appear on our buses.

Not only did I expand my learning on different cultures but I also found myself growing as a person through this experience. I am a commuter student at Georgian Court and have never had any roommates, so learning that during the trip I would have two other roommates was very exciting for me. I actually went on this trip without knowing anyone that was going on it and during the meetings I did not really find myself trying to make friends. On the airplane and on the first day I found myself staying with my roommates, but by the second day I socialized more with other people even with students not even from Georgian Court. I feel like I went from knowing a couple of people’s names to by the end of trip having at least one conversation with everyone who went. I never expected to meet such amazing people that made this trip so enjoyable and I did not expect that I would be tearing up at the airport saying good bye to my new friends.

Traveling to Europe was one of the best experiences of my life and has made me realize that there is so much more out there that I need to go out and see. The different cultures was astounding and has definitely impacted me. It made me feel more grateful for small things such as my bed and actually knowing the language of the area.

This trip made me get out of my comfort zone and for that I am also very grateful. I cannot wait to revisit some of these places and visit new countries. I already want to go back!

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