Prague vs. Berlin by Savannah Welnetz

One of the greatest gifts in life is when things don’t go as planned. This was definitely the case for my study abroad trip to Berlin and Prague. I originally signed up in order to finally get to see the infamous German capital. The idea of Prague was just a pleasant bonus. I wasn’t even sure where it was until I started the classes. But, boy, did I discover a gem.
I fully expected to spend my time in Prague looking forward to Berlin. And in some ways I did. But in others, I never wanted to leave. One such moment was anytime I could stand and gazing up at the Prague Castle. I will never forget the image so long as I live.
The St. Vitus Cathedral peaks out from behind the lengthy castle, confusing tourists who don’t know any better. The castle itself stretches out almost the entire length of the hill it sits upon. The orange titled roof blends in with the similarly painted roofs of the other buildings and homes beneath it, again stumping the unknowledgeable tourist. What struck me the most about this postcard perfect view is the fact that no matter where I went in Prague, no matter how much of a glimpse I caught of the fortress, it was still beautiful. There was never a time in which it looked ugly or off. Even the view from our hostel made it shine.

 

swblog.jpg

In addition to the fact that the castle and cathedral looks epic from any angle, the dynamic duo looks just as breath taking at all times of the day. In our exploration of Prague, every time we cross the Charles Bridge I made sure to capture at least one or two quick shots of the castle in the hopes of capturing just how gorgeous the view really was.

I never did manage to capture a picture that fully communicated to the viewer the sheer beauty of the castle. And I often felt guilty for failing to be able to share this hidden gem to my friends and family back home. However, what I ended up doing was capturing a series of shots that showed the castle at different times of the day. Each picture makes the castle look like almost a different location.

Prague Castle during the day…

swblog1.jpg

 

Prague Castle at dusk…

swblog2.jpg

 

And finally, Prague Castle at night…

swblog3.jpg

 

Obviously to the harder to impress, it is the same location. And the not-so-stereotypical looking castle can be written off as something not so astounding. But as someone who grew up with Disney princesses and dreams of fairy tale places, Prague and its castle view really gave the feel that I was standing in the middle of said dream. Standing on the bridge or looking up from our hostel, I felt like I was looking up at a marvel of mankind. Often times I would be just ogling and committing the picture to memory when I would think, “People get to live in this ancient city and look up at this same castle I am everyday”. It’s hard to wrap my mind around that.

For all of our modern technology, I’m not sure there will ever be a camera that could capture the near angelic image of Prague Castle to my satisfaction.

 

For more information on the castle:

 

Brexit: Implications Home and Abroad

Is the European Union Falling Apart?

After World War II, European states realized the need for an alliance in Europe to ensure that another war was not an option. In order to do this, European states began to not only unite but also intertwined their economies. This resulted in the creation of the European Union (EU). The EU brings together 28 different countries, but its foundation is shaking. And, on June 23rd, 2016, the votes came pouring in on whether Britain was to exit (British Exit; or ‘Brexit‘ for short) or remain in the EU.

Each political side had their advantages and their disadvantages. Anti-establishment members, or “Pro-Brexit” voters, called on Britain to leave the EU. They believed Brexit was necessary in order to protect what was left of the country’s culture which would benefit their economy by not having to follow EU business regulations. By leaving the EU, Pro-Brexit voters believed Britain would be able to regain its control over its independence. With the EU’s preset regulations on immigration, Britain did not get much of a say in the handling of the country’s labor migration. Many argued that immigrants would work in Britain for fewer benefits and lower wages. With jobs of British citizens being threatened, many individuals began seeing Britain’s role in the EU as a negative for Britain’s working class citizens.

On the other hand, “Remain” supporters proposed that it would, in fact, be better for Britain’s economy to stay in the EU. Those who voted to remain believed that the consequences of leaving the European Union were even more harmful to Britain. Remain voters believed Brexit’s potential would not be worth its risk to the country’s economy. Fearing the break would cause major economic problems, Remain voters saw the EU as a security blanket and hoped to keep things in Britain the same. However, in the early morning of June 24th, 2016, the votes had been counted. Winning by 51.9%, Pro-Brexit voters beat the Remain supporters, who came up short with only 48.1% of the total vote.

The result in numbers

In order for Britain to completely withdraw from the European Union, many deals and treaties still have to be met. But since the vote, changes throughout the country have already begun. These changes not only affect European natives, but also Americans. Well, at least those with European stocks or those who plan to travel to England and other European hotspots soon.

What does that mean for the 2017 London/Edinburgh trip?

The Currency Conversion:

Both England and Scotland use pound sterling as their form of currency. The pound sterling is commonly referred to as ‘pounds’ and it uses the ‘£’ symbol. Before the Brexit (06/23/16), you would need $1.49 (USD) to purchase £1. But since Brexit, (as of 07/14/16), £1 is equal to $1.32 (USD). Right now, the gap between the pound sterling and the US dollar is shrinking, which is great news for Americans who are planning to travel to European countries such as England and Scotland.

IU South Bend’s London/Edinburgh trip is not scheduled until Spring of 2017. With this is mind, a lot could change between now and the trip. There is still plenty of time for the pound’s worth to continue its decline, stagnate, or quite possibly, rebound completely. As of right now, very few predictions can be made about the future of Britain’s economy. But for the time being, Americans currently traveling to Europe can expect their dollars to travel further as well.

For more information about IUSB’s International Program, classes, or study abroad opportunities visit our website!

Also check out our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Blog post written by: Margaret Belt

 

 

Getting a taste of the adventurous side of the London and Edinburgh trip with Student Traveler: Taylor Silveus

Hello, good day to you, friends! In England students can see Stonehenge, Abbey Road, and Westminster Abbey on the London and Edinburgh study abroad trip! As an intern for the International Programs at IU South Bend, I conducted an interview with Silveus about her experiences to give students an inside look at studying abroad.

2

This image was taken at Abbey Road, which is where the Beatles took their famous picture.

Students on the trip will get submersed in a foreign culture. Opportunities like this gives students a truly unique and enriching experience they will carry with them the rest of their lives.

  1. Describe your experience with locals. It was so fun meeting locals because their accents are fantastic, which is pretty cliché but still true. My favorite encounter was with a barista at Starbucks in London. I asked if they sold s’mores frappes and he could not figure out what I meant. It was hilarious trying to explain it to him and he even said to bring him a s’more the next time I came in!
  2. What was your favorite new food you tried there and what was it like? I bought gelato in Greenwich, England at this cute little market that sold handmade food and items. I went right for the salted caramel which I get whenever it’s an option for any kind of food. I’m a huge fan of ice cream, but the gelato was creamier and something I had never experienced in the US.

We practically guarantee that students will have memorable experiences and exciting adventures to tell their friends and family when they return. They will also have an experience that will impact them the rest of their lives.

  1. What were the most fun activities you experienced? My favorite places were Stonehenge, Westminster Abbey and visiting the pub from Kingsman: The Secret Service. Stonehenge was the most surreal place I have ever been. My nerdy side loves the mystery behind it too. It was awesome to learn about all of the evidence and theories of Stonehenge.

I loved going to the pub because Kingsman was one of my favorite movies that came out last year. It makes it better when I watch the movie now because I am able to say, “I’ve sat in that booth right there.”

I love Westminster more than the other two places I mentioned because I love everything about the royals. This is where William and Kate got married, Princess Diana’s funeral was held, and where the Queen still attends mass every Sunday. But besides that, the number of historical figures buried inside Westminster is humbling. The walls are lined with beautiful tombstones and statues representing people like Shakespeare, previous Kings and Queens, and Charles Dickens.

4

Stonehenge, just outside of London.

  1. Recount your favorite memory from studying abroad. My favorite memory from the trip was deciding to explore London with three other students. We were on our way to the London Eye and got lost, very lost. We got off at the wrong Tube station, so while we were walking the rest of the way, we stumbled upon this outstanding and strange graffiti tunnel. It was around half a mile long, and it was one of the coolest things I saw while abroad.
  2. Why did you go on the trip? Even throughout high school, I had planned to study abroad in college. I chose this trip because I am fascinated with England.
  3. Do you want to study abroad again? Yes, I want to study abroad again so badly. It was such an awesome experience meeting new people, both from the UK and the other students that went along. I plan to travel the rest of my life! I know visiting places like this after college won’t be as cheap as it is through the school, so I want to take advantage of that while I can.

To learn more about studying abroad, visit our website and Facebook page.

Blog post written by: Chrissy Bohlmann

Getting a taste of the academic side of the London and Edinburgh trip with Student Traveler: Taylor Silveus

Hello, good day to you, friends! In England students can learn about the history behind this incredible country on the London and Edinburgh study abroad trip!

2

This image was taken at Abbey Road, which is where the Beatles took their famous picture.

“I want to study abroad again so badly. It was such an awesome experience meeting new people, both from the UK and the other students that went along!” – Taylor Silveus commenting on her 2015 London trip. As an intern for the International Programs at IU South Bend, I conducted an interview with Silveus about her experiences to give students an inside look at studying abroad.

  1. What is your major? I’m majoring in Marketing and Advertising at IUSB.
  2. Which cities did you visit? I went to London, England and Edinburgh, Scotland when I studied abroad.

Being immersed in a sea of foreign people and experiences enables students to have ample academic and social growth.

  1. What was the coolest thing you learned? It was cool to learn the history behind the royal family. I learned about that while on a double decker tour I took on one of my free days.
  2. Tell me about what you learned in regards to the shift in tourism in London. Tourism undertook a drastic change in Britain during the 18thcentury, shifting the focus from the historical artifacts to the beauty of the country. I believe that the development of the print market is the number one reason for this change. It became immensely easier for people to learn what other countries have to offer in terms of the landscape and natural landmarks.

This shift became even more apparent during the recent technology burst. Images again took center stage as daily news and photographs from places around the world were flashed on Twitter and social media.

This directly affected me, being a key factor when making my decision to study abroad. I cannot imagine traveling through the Highlands of Scotland having never seen a picture of the landscape and maybe only ever hearing about it through word of mouth. The print market has improved tourism by leaps and bounds

  1. How has this affected you academically overall? Seeing a different culture and experiencing foreign places around the globe will enhance a student’s college life.
  2. What was something you did not expect to learn on the trip? I think an important part of studying abroad is learning quickly that it is not uncommon for things to go awry. An important skill for anyone to possess is knowing how to handle those kinds of situations. Not all parts of studying abroad are smiles, but it adds to the story you have to tell later on.
  3. What was your biggest obstacle on the trip? The biggest obstacle was actually just getting to London itself. We had trouble on our way to the airport in Chicago because we were delayed behind a fatal accident on the highway. It took hours to clear the road again so we missed our flight. In result, many of us lost tickets we purchased to use on a free day in London. Despite the unfortunate circumstance, our professors and the students dealt with it exceptionally well. To me now it’s just a funny story to tell people.
  4. Once you were on the trip, was there anything you wished you would have done before you left for the trip? I spent all spring planning what I wanted to do when I was in London. I think I got a little over excited for that city and neglected planning for Edinburgh. I wish I had taken the time to research more things to do in my free time there.

Because English is the primary language for Scotland and England, students may assume that these countries are fairly similar to the United States. However, students who went on the study abroad trip know that there are endless fascinating cultural differences that make everything an adventure all its own.

  1. Describe the environments, rooms, and people that you lived with on the trip. I had more space and privacy while I stayed in London. I had an individual dorm room at the University of London with a bed, desk, and sink. The window had a lovely view of a park across the street. I used community bathrooms and showers down the hall from my room though. I was surprised at how nice everything was in my room.

In Edinburgh, I shared a room with three other IUSB students. We stayed above a restaurant, which turned out to be awesome because we spent our nights there and met numerous people from other countries. I did not have as much room in Edinburgh, as the rooms were quite small. We had bunk beds and could barely walk past one another when we were all standing. The toilet was in the shower, which was one of the weirdest things I saw on the trip. The room also became very humid after someone showered because we were without vents.

  1. What was it like to stay in a foreign country that uses the same language we do? Even though they spoke English, the residents’ accents made it seem like a different language at times!
  2. What was the most intriguing thing you learned about the English and Scottish cultures? I learned that public bathrooms are not a common amenity in the United Kingdom. Whenever I was able to find one, it charged me for usage. I found that really odd and I wished I had been aware of it before going on the trip.

3 (2)

This image was captured on top of an extinct volcano, Arthur’s Seat, in Edinburgh.

To learn more about studying abroad, visit our website and Facebook page.

Blog post written by: Chrissy Bohlmann

Getting an inside scoop of the adventure on the Berlin and Prague trip with Student Traveler: Ethan Horvath

Guten Tag, friends! In Germany and the Czech Republic students can not only see Charles Bridge, Wenceslas Square, and Prague Castle, but also immerse themselves in city life on the Berlin and Prague study abroad trip!

  1. What is your major? When I studied abroad it was Political Science and German. Currently I am a MPA Candidate at IU with concentrations in Energy, and Sustainability and Sustainable Practices
  2. What cities and countries did you visit? I traveled to Prague, Czech Republic; Arzberg, Germany; and Berlin, Germany.

When in a foreign country, even day to day activities become an adventure. Talking to locals and indulging in customs is the fastest and richest way to learn about Germany and the Czech Republic.

  1. Tell me about your experience with the locals. Our group of students met with the Mayor of Arzberg, along with many locals who invited us to experience their city, food, and hospitality. These were the friendliest locals I have ever met. They genuinely seemed interested in why we liked Germany, our life experiences, and what our plans were once we graduated.

1535462_10152413655300380_1537885189434801720_n (2)

This image was taken in front of the Prague astronomical clock in Old Town Square.

  1. What was your favorite new food you tried there and what was it like? The Doner kebob was absolutely delicious. Even though it is made with lamb (which I do not enjoy) I still loved the taste because of the way they prepared it. Although it is not a traditional German cuisine, it was prevalent throughout Germany due to the historical and cultural ties shared between Turkey and Germany.

There are plenty of adventures to be had while traveling abroad. Students will return rich with memories, and hopefully a few postcards.

  1. What are the top 3 most fun activities you took part in on the trip? 1) Watching the World Cup with the residents of Arzberg at their tent party 2) Exploring historical sites in Prague (Charles Bridge, Wenceslas Square, Prague Castle) 3) Experiencing local German cuisine
  2. Tell me about your favorite memory from the trip? I was able to connect and learn about not just the countries I visited, but also my fellow classmates. This was especially true while overlooking Prague on Petrin Hill during our night of exploring Prague.

10403919_10152440047280380_1309489720772498818_o (2)

This image of Ethan Horvath was taken in front of the Reichstag.

  1. Do you want to study abroad again? With a German degree and a future degree in Energy and Sustainability, I expect to work in Europe one day. Studying abroad has given me a new outlook on how different countries view energy and sustainable practices. Given that all countries are not the same, I will need to visit additional countries in and around Europe to gain a better understanding of how those practices influence their choices.
  2. Why do you think others should study abroad? Studying abroad gives students a new perspective on the world. It also gives students the realization that the US is not a disconnected, lone country, but must act in accordance with other countries to better the globe.
  3. Once you were on the trip, was there anything you wished you would have done before you went on the trip? I wish I would have learned more about Czech mannerisms and cultural norms. It would have assisted me in daily interactions and wandering about the city.

To learn more about studying abroad, visit our website and Facebook page.

Blog post written by: Chrissy Bohlmann

 

Getting a taste of the academic side of the Berlin and Prague trip with Student Traveler: Ethan Horvath

Guten Tag, friends! In Germany, students can learn about the history behind this incredible country on the Berlin and Prague study abroad trip!

  1. What is your major? When I studied abroad it was Political Science and German. Currently I am a MPA Candidate at IU with concentrations in Energy, and Sustainability and Sustainable Practices
  2. What cities and countries did you visit? I traveled to Prague, Czech Republic; Artzberg, Germany; and Berlin, Germany.

Students will have opportunities to learn about the rich history inside these cities, while using the city itself as a classroom!

  1. What is the coolest thing you learned on the trip? It is difficult to narrow it down to simply one experience. It was fascinating to learn about the similarities between the German and American cultures. I also loved experiencing the German history and political nature of the 1800’s and 1900’s.

10403919_10152440047280380_1309489720772498818_o (2)

This image of Ethan Horvath was taken in front of the Reichstag.

  1. How has this affected you academically overall? Studying abroad has given me the chance to confirm my career path and has given me the tools I need to succeed in my field of study.
  2. What was your biggest obstacle on the trip? While I was in Prague, I did not understand cultural norms at first. Because of this, I frequently became lost when exploring.

Traveling to foreign countries allows one to experience cultural differences and interact with locals. This will greatly advance students’ German speaking skills and give them knowledge of local customs.

  1. How did visiting the country affect your foreign speaking skills? Being around native German speakers immensely improved my speaking and understanding skills. I was able to pick up on subtle issues in my own speech much more easily when I returned to the US.

10390361_10152434249695380_2356771581080434082_n (2)

This image was taken in the DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) Musuem in Berlin.

  1. What were the environments, rooms, and people like that you lived with on the trip? The people were absolutely amazing and hilarious. They definitely made the trip a great experience! The rooms left something to be desired, but they were manageable.
  2. What is the most interesting thing you learned about the German culture? In the German culture, daily activities are not very different than American daily activities. Both countries are highly developed and industrialized. Perhaps the biggest culture shock was their acceptance of renewable energies and almost pride of it.

To learn more about studying abroad, visit our website and Facebook page.

Blog post written by: Chrissy Bohlmann

Why Choose Mexico 2016?

Last week Mexicanos around the world celebrated Natalicio de Benito Juárez. On March 21, 1805, the former president Benito Juárez was born. Juárez may be best known as the President of Mexico who helped expel the French Empire from trying to colonize and create a puppet state in Mexico (1861-1867). Cinco de Mayo is another holiday that comes from the France’s ill-fated soirée and celebrates the defeat of, what was considered the greatest military force in the world, by a greatly outnumbered Mexican army. Jaurez on Rivera's Mural at the Palacio.jpg

Benito Juárez was born in Oaxaca, Mexico. IU South Bend students can spend 4 weeks this summer living in Oaxaca, learning about the culture and society that produced Mexico’s only indigenous president.

077

This past year I had a chance to go with IU South Bend to Oaxaca. Although not my first experience with a non-Western European culture, it was still an eye-opening experience. Unless you have experienced something like this it is hard to describe beyond a longing to return. Just the other day I was telling my partner, who also went on the Mexico trip with me*

DSC05144

My Host Family

not one week goes by where I do not miss and desire for my host mother’s cooking.” 027

The deadline for the Summer II 2016 Oaxaca, Mexico is tomorrow. Do not miss this truly unforgettable trip.

DSC05091a

*Our Mexico trip allows spouses and children to participate with special permission.

 

Jason Rose is an IU South Bend alumni and current graduate student of History at Ball State University. He did part of his Thesis Research on the 2015 Oaxaca, Mexico Trip.