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The beginning of the end

Hello from Krakow, Poland!

Today is the last day of May, which is a signal that the end is nearing. By the end, I mean the end of my semester abroad. My last final exam is on June 17th. Time is flying by way too fast!

A lot has happened since my last blog post in April. To start out, my mom visited me in Krakow! It was really great seeing a loved one after so many weeks away from home. She was here for a few days and I was her tour guide showing her around the city. We then went together to visit family in Rzeszow, Poland for the Easter holiday. That was really great since I haven’t seen my family in Poland for about nine years. It was really great catching up with all of them and just enjoying our time together. After Easter Sunday, I went back to Krakow alone and my mom flew back to Chicago from Rzeszow. Below is a picture of my mom and I with a traditional Polish Easter basket.

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The following weekend after Easter I went on a study trip with my study abroad program. The trip was about a week long and we traveled via bus to Hungary and Romania. The major place we went to was Budapest, the capital of Hungary. Besides that, we went to a bunch of small towns around Hungary and then in Western Romania. While in Budapest, we had a discussion panel session at the Hungarian Institute of International Affairs. There we talked about the Visegrad countries (Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic) and their relations and policies with each other and the rest of Europe. Budapest was definitely the highlight of the trip. One of the things we did there was spend half a day at the Széchenyi thermal baths. These were so relaxing, I loved it! Below is a picture of the view of Budapest from St. Stephen’s Basilica.

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The week after the study trip, I went to Prague, Czech Republic for the weekend. Prague is a really fun city, it’s very similar to Krakow. In Prague I met up with a few friends who are also studying abroad. We took a tour of the city, saw the castle district, and went bungee jumping! We decided to go bungee jumping because we wanted to do something exhilarating! It was awesome. We jumped off a bridge about an hour away from Prague that was 62 meters high! Below is a picture of me right when I jumped off the bridge. Image

 

The following week after Prague, I stayed in Krakow. That week in Krakow was “Juwenalia” which is a week long student holiday. There are concerts every day, a variety of other events, and a parade to the city center where the students get the symbolic key to the city. It is a very fun and laid back week. It was especially big this year because it was also the 650 year anniversary of Jagiellonian University, where I am studying this semester. Jagiellonian University is the oldest one in Poland and the second oldest in Europe. I went to the burying of the time capsule which will next be opened in 50 years!

Since Juwenalia, I have not been doing much traveling outside of Poland. I have just been enjoying Krakow and studying for final exams. Time will most definitely fly by quickly and it will be the end of my studies for the semester. I am excited to finish school and to keep living life to the fullest in this great city. I will post one more time after my semester is over! Till then!

Best,

Peter Cioch

 

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Just another week

Another weekend spent on campus. Luckily, I will be traveling the next 3 weekends. Friday night I was on a team for a quiz night hosted by the soil society. For $5, we got a bunch of food and got to enjoy trivia for the night. It was really fun and they had really good prizes, mostly food vouchers. Unfortunately, we did not win but I learned a lot!

Saturday was another gorgeous day here. I had to go to a field trip to a dairy from for about 3 hours in the afternoon so I couldn’t really utilize the beautiful day. I spent the time I did have outside though and it really got me excited to go home to our summer!

Sunday night my Norwegian roommate decided to make one of her favorite dishes. It was meatballs in gravy and vegetables. Super yummy! We also had rice cream, which is a Scandinavian dessert and I made brownies. It was a nice night relaxing with friends and food. We are all realizing how quickly time is flying by and just trying to enjoy our last weeks here.

All assignments are finished and heading to Dunedin this weekend!

Cheers,

Taylor

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Norwegian Constitution Day

We had an exciting Saturday here at Lincoln. It was Norwegian Constitution Day! I live with a Norwegian girl and am friends with many of them (8 in all). It is a big day in their country and many people celebrate all day. For the event here, they decided to have a traditional Norwegian breakfast and then just hangout and have a barbecue all day. The traditional breakfast consisted of taking buns and putting smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on it. You could add cheese or cucumbers if you wanted. It was delicious. They also had waffles and you put jam on those. They don’t normally eat sweet things like that for breakfast. It is considered more of a dessert so they had both. I definitely ate until I was full. They also had champagne for everyone and I learned that skal is cheers in Norwegian. They handed out the lyrics to both their national anthem and their children’s song and everybody attempted to sing along. There was about 40 of us, mostly international students. As you can expect, the singing didn’t go too well but it was fun to listen to their songs. I also found it neat that the Norwegian expression to greet each other on this day is like happy birthday.

After the breakfast we did a sort of parade to the library to take pictures and then to the flats where the barbecue would be held. Later in the afternoon we played some games. We did a potato sack race, held the potato on a spoon, and spun around 3 times and had to walk in a straight line. It was nice to play games that I played when I was younger at events. The rest of the day was filled with talking and just enjoying the gorgeous weather we had. I am so glad that I got to experience this day with everyone. I came here to learn new cultures and I really am doing that.

Tuesday night was Kiwi night! About 20 of us signed up to learn how to make pavlovas. It is a popular dessert here made out of meringue. We made a whole bunch of them and also got to decorate them with cream, fruit, and chocolate. They were not really sweet when we made them so the egg taste was really bad. Other than that it was really fun. They gave us fish and chips to eat which is very traditional and we learned how to make the Maori poi. It is a ball of stuffing inside a plastic bag that is attached to a braided string. It is used to make music. The women traditionally use it in ceremonies and when many are using it at the same time, the music they make is amazing.

There are 3 weeks left of lecture so it is really winding down. I am busy with large projects and planning my end of the semester trips.

Cheers, Taylor

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Beer and Belgium

This week one of my classes at the University of Copenhagen took a field to the Lejre Municipality. Lejre is about 30 minutes away from Copenhagen by bus. The highlight of the trip was a stop at a local brewery that prides itself in being organic. The brewery, called “Herslev Bryghus” grows its own grains and uses organic ingredients from local farmers. They produce 2500 hectoliters of beer every year and are very selective in who they allow to carry their product. They sell about 1/3 of their product locally, 1/3 of their product in Copenhagen and the rest around Denmark (with 5-10% sold in Norway and Sweden). After a quick tour of the brewery itself, we were treated with a tasting of six of their beers. The wildest beer we tried as an asparagus wheat beer. It really tasted like asparagus and our tour guide joked that it actually pairs well with cooked asparagus. I had to pick up a few bottles to share with my beer-head brothers.

Also this week, I took a trip down to Belgium to visit a buddy. I spent a day in Brussels and the other two in Leuven. Leuven is a small university town about 15 minutes outside of Belgium by train. We spent the evenings enjoying Belgian beer and the days sleeping in and exploring Leuven. As it is a pretty small town I had no problem hitting all the sites in two days. Besides drinking beer, I ate tons of french fries. Fun fact: french fries are thought to have originated in Belgium but called french fries because American and British soldiers believed they were in France when they first had them during World War 1. We frequented a kebab shop that had delicious fries with large portions and cheap prices. 

If you would like to read more about my adventures or see some pictures check out my blog: http://adudeindenmark.blogspot.dk/

Thanks for reading!

Tanner

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Lions, Tigers, and Giraffes, Oh My!

It was a pretty eventful day here on Saturday. We decided to get out and go to Orana Wildlife Park just outside of Christchurch. In the admission fee, you could see feedings of almost all the animals and feed a giraffe! We finally got to see kiwis, which are a huge deal and kind of a symbol of New Zealand. The real reason we wanted to go there was to do there lion encounter. You get into a cage that is on the back of a truck. The truck drives through the lion enclosure and two zookeepers inside the cage stick meat through it. The lions get really excited and jump up on the sides of the cage and even get on top of it. It was one of the coolest things I have ever done! I was one foot from a lion with its mouth wide open. One even roared right in front of us. It was such a neat experience to be so close to such massive creatures. I would recommend it to anyone coming to Christchurch.

We had our last international happy hour on Thursday. It is really nice to meet up and talk to all of the international students that I don’t hang out with regularly. Afterwards there was a wine, beer, and cheese tasting event. We got a team together and it was really fun. We got to taste 6 wines, 6 beers, and 9 cheeses. It was a nice break from all the schoolwork I have been doing.

Cheers, Taylor

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Lincoln

Finally things have settled back into school mode and the assignments and projects are piling up in preparation for the end of the school year in 5 weeks! I originally planned to go to the mall on Saturday and explore, but it was gorgeous weather here and has been all week. The temperature has been in the upper 60s and sunny. My friends and I decided we would rather walk around a little stream in Lincoln called the liffey which was neat. Tuesday was a field trip day so no classes. My roommate decided to treat all of us with homemade sausage, biscuits, and gravy for breakfast. It was really nice and a great way to start another beautiful day. Nothing too new going on. Besides homework, I am working on travel plans for June when classes end and before it is finals time. Trying to make sure I get to everything I wanted to before I leave New Zealand. We have been passing the time at night by playing cards and other games. Always fun just being with friends, especially when our time together is short.

Cheers,Taylor

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Golden Week in Hokkaido

From April 29-May 6 it’s the golden week in Japan. It is one of the national holidays of Japan. During this week, school usually hold no classes and thus I get the chance to travel around. Our plan was to travel around Hokkaido where in Japan it’s famous for its Onsen (hot spring). The cities we went to were Sapporo(札幌), Otaru(小樽), Noboribetsu(登别) and Toya Lake(洞爷湖).

April 29-30 Sapporo: At around noon,April 29, we arrived at Sapporo. The very first thing we did in Sapporo is to try the ramen there because it is the most famous thing in Sapporo. We went to a street that called “ramen street” in Sapporo and had our first Ramen there. The flavor I picked was miso flavor. The Ramen comes also with meat, vegetables and tasty soup.It was really great.  After having lunch, me and my friends wandered in the city center. We visited the shopping street in Sapporo. Various things (especially local famous food) were sold there. We also went to the old city ward office and TV towers of sapporo. At night, we tried the most famous lamb barbecue in Sapporo(for which we had to wait in lines in about one hour).

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On April 30, We went to the Jingu(a kind of temple/shrine) in Sapporo called “Hokkaido Jingu”, at which people pray or make wishes for themselves and their families and friends. And since it’s near May, we also saw some special flags hung in front of the Jingu. In Japan there’s a holiday called “Boys Day”. When it’s near that holiday, people in Japan will fly Koinobori (鲤鱼旗 in kanji, and Carp Flag in English) outside of their house/stores/shrines/Jingus etc. Though we were told that there will be a lot of people traveling during golden week in Japan and that cities (especially in Hokkaido) would be really busy, the real situation was not as crowded as I expected. When we visited Sapporo’s famous sightseeings, there weren’t many people.After visited Hokkaido Jingu, we went to the most famous chocolate factory in Hokkaido. We get to visit how they make chocolates and we also get the chance to make our own chocolate cookies. The whole factory was like a huge castle with chocolate flavor. Everything in it looks cute and delicate. Also we got to buy some souvenirs there.

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May 1st Otaru: Otaru is a city that’s not far from Sapporo.It’s famous for its glass making. The reason we chose to go there was because of a Japanese film called 《love letter》(情书in Kanji) During the day, we basically wandered in different shops near Otaru river. At night we went to a mountain nearby to watch the night view of the whole Otaru city.

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May 2 Noboribetsu-Muroran-Toya Lake  : May 2nd was a pretty busy day. At first we went to the hotel we booked in noboribetsu. Then we rushed to Muroran to visit the amazing scene called chikyu misaki(地球岬in kanji and Earth Cape in english). At this place, we got to the the amazing view of blue sky, ocean (pacific ocean) and the light house. The view was stunning!

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After visited the Earth Cape, we then rushed to Toya Lake (coz it’s kind of far). The original reason we chose to go there is because of an anime we watch. But when we got there, we can’t find anything related to it. Despite that, the view was still amazing. In order to see the island in the middle of the lake, we chose to take the boat to do the view. XD Toya lake is a place that can really give me inner peace. I really felt inner peace when I was on the boat. PS: Toya lake is also the place that held G8 conference in Japan.

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At night we tried the Onsen in our hotel. It was really great and relaxing after such a busy day. On the next day, we went to the Hell Valley in Noboribetsu. It is a national park filled with minerals and onsens.. The sceneries were quite different from what we’ve saw in the past days but it is still amazing. In the afternoon of May 3rd, we flew back to Nagoya and finished our journey. 😦ImageYunyun Liu

Nagoya, Japan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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