netherlands, travel

IBIP goes to the Netherlands

For the next leg of the IBIP tour we traveled Leiden, Netherlands, a small town about a 45 minute drive from Amsterdam. As soon as we arrived we were greeted by our Dutch guide, Neik.  Neik informed us that this tiny country (only 320 by 170 kilometers) has the 16th largest economy in the world and one of the highest standards of living. We were surprised to learn that the term ‘Holland’ only referred to two of the twelve provinces of the Netherlands, and that the Netherlands is home to both Dutch and English speaking citizens. Also, that Dutch people are the tallest in the world on average. I was also amazed by the environmentally minded culture. There were bikers and bike lanes everywhere, a windmill on every corner, the cleanest streets and public facilities I’ve ever seen, and recycling everywhere there was a garbage can.

IMG_7215 IMG_7197

The next day the whole group departed for a day out in Amsterdam. We received a walking tour all over the city and hear about the unique history of the city, and gaze at the breathtaking architecture. For lunch, we dined at a restaurant with a canal view. Since 2/3 of the Netherlands is below sea level, many of the cities feature canals similar to Amsterdam. These thousands of kilometers of dykes are have the same distance as the Great Wall of China! After the lunch, we took a boat tour of the city and were able to admire the architecture from up close. We saw the smallest house in all of Amsterdam, it was only as wide as a window! Our guide referred to the owners as the “happiest couple in Amsterdam” since they both lived on separate floors! On our free time during the day some of the group decided to take a tour of the Van Gough museum, however I decided that this was out of my price range and happily walked around the city for the rest of the day.

IMG_7233

Regards,

Maggie Benson

#IBIP2015 #ACESabroad

Advertisements
Standard
Uncategorized

Hello there! My name is Maggie Benson and I am from a small neighborhood on the northwest side of Chicago. I am a rising junior in ACE with a concentration in Financial Planning, I am particularly interested in developing international economies. I decided to participate in the 2015 International Business Immersion Program because I wanted a chance to see how international countries participate in trade with each other and compare it to the US. I also would wanted a chance to see Europe since I plan to study abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina in the spring of 2016.

The first leg of IBIP was in Thessaloniki, Greece.  We were housed at the American Farm School, a 4 year university for Greek students seeking to enter into the agricultural industry. What was interesting about the School was that it also doubled as an elementary school and we often saw children touring the farm facilities throughout our stay. On our first day we wasted no time in jumping right into it: we received a walking tour of the Farm School campus, visited a poultry unit, received a lecture on Greek food traditions, and to the delight of everyone in our program, a cooking lesson on feta and cheese pies. By the end of the day we were all exhausted! But that did not stop our group from getting acquainted with some of the Greek students that were also residing in our dorm. We ended up staying up well past our suggested bedtimes, but we were able to get a feel for what life was like as a Greek student (well worth the hours of lost sleep).

IMG_7026 IMG_7037

The next day was the highlight of the Greek leg of our journey (in my humble opinion). Mount Olympus! The famed home of Zeus, Hercules, Hades, and every other character you can recall from Disney’s Hercules, and more! We were told that the hike we would be participating in a ‘very light hiking tour lasting no more than 3 hours’. However, this was not the case. We ended up walking over 20,000 steps that day and hiking for over 6 hours in total. But the breathtaking views that we witnessed were well worth the toil. At the end of our trek we settled into a small lodge and enjoyed some ice cold Stella Artois. IMG_7084 IMG_7083 IMG_7059

Stay tuned for the next leg of #IBIP2015

Warm regards,

Maggie Benson

#ACESabroad

Standard
Uncategorized

One of our first days in South Africa!

May 23, 2015

Waking up bright and early, the group had the opportunity to share breakfast together with each other at a market. At this market there were many small places to indulge in food. Each person had the choice to decide where we wanted to eat. While many of us had one of the best omelets we’ve ever tasted, some had crepes, tacos, and even 100% fresh fruit smoothies. Once breakfast concluded we were all given some time to walk around and visit the different places to shop in the fish market if we wanted to do so.

Upon leaving the market, as a group we then traveled to Cape Point South Africa for a hike. While hiking Cape Point was a run for some like Andrew, Briana, and Megan, many of us took it slow. Although it was slightly breathtaking, it was yet a nice exercise to burn those calories from breakfast :). After exploring our way to the top of Cape Point, we got to see one of the most AMAZING views of the Atlantic Ocean and take pictures while enjoying the calming sight and refreshing smell of the ocean. As the hike back down Cape Point required less effort and energy, we spotted Aloe plants, and some of us took a piece for ourselves. As we know, Aloe plants are harmless and actually used for different health purposes, so the plants were completely fine to touch and break off. The opportunity to hike a longer trail of Cape Point was possible, but the rain prevented that additional hike, so instead we drove down and took a group photo.

Our next stop was to see the penguins! We watched the nesting style, mating ways/habits, and even saw how protective they were of their babies and mates. We learned that once penguins mate, they have that one mate for their lifespan.

We also got the chance, before returning home for that day, to stop and engage in conversation with the shark watchers. It is the job of these people to sit and be on the lookout/spot sharks coming towards the beach from the ocean and if they did to inform everyone to take proper precaution. They were so generous to explain the process of how they have special glasses and radios, which is how they communicate with their colleagues while they sit up in the mountains in search for the sharks.

Before having dinner at Forex, on the drive home back through the mountains, we got the privilege to drive right next to a mountain and see up close the result of the fire breakout that happened and lasted fro over a week which began to spread across the Cape Peninsula. Hearing about the fire prior to coming was one thing, but getting to see and feel the results of it was a completely different experience.

#ACESabroad

IMG_3106

-Dej Shaw

Standard
Uncategorized

Rachel Richardson Afternoon in Paris: IBIP 2015

11169975_933485016710345_4846674272892826955_n

On the third to last day of our trip the group was able to travel to Paris, France. We left on a double decker bus with another group of international students at about 7:00am from Leuven, Belgium. The bus ride was about 3 hours there. When we arrived we had a lecture at the SKEMA Business School of Paris. After about an hour of discussion and learning we had the afternoon free! We grabbed lunch in the school’s cafeteria. A great mix of chicken and fries. After lunch we boarded the bus again to be driven into the city center. The bus dropped us off at the Eiffel Tower and everyone went their separate ways. Several of us were able to go up the tower to look out onto the city, others took pictures and walked around the city. A group of us were able to go to The Lourve. There we saw the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, two remarkable works of art. Then we headed over to the bridge of locks, which we found out this was the last week the bridges would have locks on them. We felt pretty lucky and put our own locks on the bridge; even though we knew they would be taken down it’s the thought that counts, right? Once we finished taking pictures and admiring the Seine we headed off to the Champs-Elysees. This famous street is made up of many ritzy shops and at the end hold the Arc de Triumph. It was amazing being able to get a taste of Parisian culture (and baguettes). Around 7:00 we headed back to the Eiffel Tower to catch the bus back to Leuven. There we met up with our peers and got to hear what all they were able to do in Paris. Several groups did similar activities and others trekked to different sights including Notre Dame. As we rode back home we all reflected on our days and were thankful for the amazing experience. Paris I will be back!

#ACESabroad #imagineACES

Standard
Uncategorized

Rachel Richardson Mt. Olympus: IBIP 2015

11392940_933488880043292_3840611429427750650_n

From May 16th to the 31st I was lucky enough to participate in the International Business Immersion program. The second day of our trip, and perhaps my favorite day, was when the group hiked the lower trail of Mount Olympus. Around 10:00am we arrived by bus to the base of the mountain. It took us about 20 minutes and a nauseating ride to reach base camp. From here we set out on our hike to go down and out of the gorge. The hike was beautiful and there were many sights to see along the way. Our first stop was a prayer circle. This prayer circle was made of a ring of rocks on the ground. Were were told by our guide that this represented the balance of the universe; a yin and yang. It was also found that those who still believe in the Greek gods still frequent this prayer circle. She then had us walk around the circle and make a wish. This meadow was very calming; a great break for the long trek that awaited us. Next stop was the twin falls. These were two small water falls, one after another, that had a magical sort of feeling. We took lots of pictures and headed on our way to our lunch spot.

For lunch, we sat next to the creek. It was so clean and clear that we could see clear to the bottom and drink it straight. Many of the other students ventured down stream to see another small waterfall; several of us even took of our shoes and waded in the water. Once we were finished with lunch we headed to The Holy Spring of St. Dionysios. In the corner of two rocks there was a white hut. This contained a small prayer space and a door to the spring. Several of us ventured into the dark crevasse where the spring came out. It was very wet and slippery, but once our eye’s adjusted there was a beautiful small stream of holy water.

At this point we had two options, to keep going toward town or to head back to base camp and take the bus back out. Naturally, everyone was eager to keep going, so we chose hike all the way out of the gorge. This was a fruitful mistake. We climbed for several hours up and down, up and down, over and over again. The climb was never ending. Often the group got split up and people started complaining; everyone was tired, but we trekked on. After about 2 and a half hours we reached our look out point and it was gorgeous. The picture above can not even compare to how gorgeous it was in person. On once side of this small peak you could see clear to the ocean and on the other up to the peak of Mt. Olympus. We spent perhaps 30 minutes there catching our breath and taking in the view. Sadly, we had to leave our gorgeous view. From their our climb was much easier. Mainly downhill, we were able to get out in 30 minutes. Once at the base there was a cafe. We all sat, rehydrated, and recalled our treacherous journey down the side of Mt. Olympus. That night everyone was exhausted and slept great. This hike was one none of us will ever forget!

#ACESabroad #ILLINOISabroad

Standard
Uncategorized

LaSalle Beauvais: So Long, Farewell….

I said goodbye to LaSalle Beauvais this week 😦

My last two weeks in France were wonderful and friend-filled.

My last weekend in France was spent hanging out with two of my friends from school in Paris for the holiday weekend (May 1st is a holiday in France). We went shopping, saw a movie, went on a boat on the Seine, visited the Eiffel Tower, sampled some boeuf bourguignon and over all had a fabulous time.

My last full week was spent on a study tour in the regions of Champagne and Burgundy/Bourgogne, tasting, sampling, and learning about organic agriculture practices. We went to many wineries, champagne makers, and farms to taste wine, champagne, and cheese! We stayed in a big cabin-like house for the week. It was like a giant slumber party! We had pretty decent weather for the whole trip and spent a lot of time viewing the French country side from the bus. Toward the end of the trip, we got to do more historical site visits with our wine tasting. On Thursday, we said goodbye in Paris as me and Rachel (Canada) headed out on Friday. Thursday night, a few of us went out to dinner together and then to the Eiffel Tower to watch the sparkle. It was a magical send off, and the past four months few by. There were times when I didn’t want to be there and didn’t think I could do it, but I did it. Now that I’m home, all I want is to go back and see my friends. They were my family, through good times and bad, through tough assignments and not so appetizing meals, through vending machine cafe vanilles and dance parties in the kitchen. Those people shaped my time in France and I’ll never forget them. I can’t wait to go back and maybe pop into another country to see my international friends and where they live!

Eiffel Tower from the Seine (boat)-Last weekend

Eiffel Tower from the Seine (boat)-Last weekend

New favorite snack: Paprika Pringles!

New favorite snack: Paprika Pringles!

Organic dairy farm in Burgundy

Organic dairy farm in Burgundy

Our host at the smaller champagne company we visited.

Our host at the smaller champagne company we visited.

Cheers-ing with Kristen (Canada)!

Cheers-ing with Kristen (Canada)!

My last view of the Eiffel Tower

My last view of the Eiffel Tower

These look familiar ....(impulse purchase in a super market during our trip)

These look familiar ….(impulse purchase in a super market during our trip)

Standard
Uncategorized

From Ireland to England

The past few weeks have been filled with more adventures. I took a couple day trips across Ireland to see as much as I can before having to come back home. The first trip I took was to County Kerry. It was a day filled with beautiful sites and walking through the garden of a mansion. The landscape in Kerry is amazing, rolling hills and mountains. We also paid a visit to a small beach toward the end of the journey, traveling to the tip of a peninsula and reaching the farthest western point in Ireland and Europe.IMG_3164

The second day trip took me to Cork with a visit to the Blarney Castle, and of course kissing the Blarney Stone. One of the more interesting things I found while on the castle grounds was a poison garden; all of the plants were poisonous with warning signs all around. In city center, there was a fantastic market indoors called the English Market which contained countless stalls selling tasty foods and fresh fish.IMG_3231

Most recently I decided to visit Liverpool and London. I am a huge Beatles fan and knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. The two highlights of Liverpool were the Beatles Story museum and of course the Cavern Club. One tour I was on took me through the childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney..

IMG_3400While in London, a visit to Abbey Road was necessary as well. A crosswalk may not seem spectacular, but it was one of my favorite things to see knowing the history there. The other major highlight in London was Stonehenge. Going to Stonehenge was something I knew I couldn’t pass up on while studying abroad.

It seems like I’ve seen so IMG_3508much this semester, but yet hardly anything at the same time. There are so many countries and cities I wish I could have gone, but just not enough weekends to fit them in. But with only 2 weeks left, I will spend my hours roaming Dublin. Time is going fast and I have to make every day count

Josh Warren

Standard