Thursday, May 7, 2009


How can you start to sum up 3 months of traveling in Europe when you've done so much। There's many lessons, experiences, and aspects that have made up this trip, and it's easiest to categorize my reflections।

I woke up in Rindge, New Hampshire for 5 semesters to go to the same buildings and sometimes have the same professors। The biggest change is what I'm doing after class। I'm still in class here but when I get free time, I can wander Europe। Besides the class trips to Salzburg, Innsbruck, Munich, Bavaria, Paris, and Prague, I managed to go to Venice, Rome, Semmering, Budapest, Amsterdam, Berlin, Dresden, Krakow, Auschwitz, Zilina, and many other little places along the way। It's been amazing to see the world. I loved traveling on my own at points because I can do what I want. I've heard from others that they didn't have a good time at places because they were held back by friends and their desire to do other things. When alone, I can do what I want to do and not feel like I was held back.

I am a mass communication major and I love that this trip was all about mass communication। I have watched so many European films that I never would have seen in America because we don't really get them। This trip has opened my eyes to the rest of the world and see what is beyond the American borders that doesn't get imported in। I know many people that can't stand subtitled movies because they can't get over the fact that they have to read the translation the whole movie. Honestly, I really haven't watched an English spoken movie in 3 months so when I go back to the states it will feel like something is missing. I feel that once you get into the movie, the subtitles aren't even thought about. You almost forget that it's a foreign film because you get so used to it. I'm glad I've watched so many foreign films.

I don't know how somethings happen sometimes, but I've noticed someone is always looking after me। I seem to get into situations that could end badly, but something always makes them swing in my favor. There are so many examples that I feel it's honestly its own category. I'm in Slovakia in a Eurail Pass deadzone, meaning my ticket is invalid. I was confronted by train authorities and they told me I had to pay a fine for fraud ($160), then the actual ticket ($100). After explaining my situation to them for 10-15 minutes, he just smiled and said, "Sit anywhere you want. Don't worry about it." It could have been bad, but it worked out for me. Another time is just recently... I overdrew my bank account and they charged me $117 in overdraft fees. After calling up the bank and explaining my situation, they told me many times that they can't do anything about it because it wasn't a bank error. I got a little personal with the representative and the supervisor and then the manager... I explained I took complete responsibility for my mistake, but I was asking them a favor and eventually they rebated me the overdraft fees. So many stories like this have happened here, and I know I'm alone a lot of the times, but sometimes I feel someone or something is always looking over me. I guess Karma is working for me.

Missing Home:
This is the longest I've ever been away from home। Yes, I'm in college I'm 1 1/2 hours from home... but I can always go back home on the weekends or when I want. This is 3 months without my mom, dad, sister, other relatives, and my girlfriend. I'm so grateful that my girlfriend stayed by me even though I left for Europe. She has always been supportive. I respect that so much and it honestly has built our relationship more because we met new people and never once wanted someone else. We know how strong our relationship is and how in love we are, and we waited for each other and that showed me a lot about how strong our love is. We webcam everyday, talk on the phone when I'm on excursions, but nothing is the same as being able to touch or see her right in front of me. Less than 1 week left and I can't wait to actually be able to hold her in my arms again.

Final exams are coming up and the end of the semester abroad. It has been an amazing time and I recommend this trip to anyone. It is the best time of your life because you experience the way people live in a land far from yours. I am so glad I came. I learned so much.

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