Hallo from Bregenz, Austria! These past 24 hours have been a complete whirlwind and a rush but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way! From the very second I took a step into the airport on Wednesday morning I haven’t wiped a smile off of my face, well maybe only a couple of times! Maybe why I was smiling was because my luggage came in under 50 pounds, which is a miracle in and of itself. As I said my last goodbye to my mom things started to become even more real, the tears only lasted a short time before we were being herded into security. Once we finally sat down and relaxed for a little bit we were informed our flight to Philadelphia had been delayed from 1:30 now to 3:20 and we had to be ready to board the plane to Zurich by 5:45 pm in Philadelphia. Luckily, our flight out of CVG was a quick one and we were in Philadelphia with plenty of time to spare – I even had enough time to buy my last 3 American made Diet Cokes until I return! As we started boarding the plane to Zurich I started to get a little anxious but then my excitement kicked in because I was about to embark on one of the most amazing trips and experiences of my lifetime. After waiting on the runway for 45 minutes we finally departed for Zurich and I couldn’t wait to get there! After starting to watch the movie, we were served dinner and it was pretty good for airplane food but shortly after eating I passed out because I was exhausted. The next thing I can remember is one of my peers tapping me on the shoulder to say that they were serving breakfast and drinks – I had slept through almost the whole flight! But, FINALLY, I was in Zurich, Switzerland!! As we all collected our items from baggage claim, we were met by our excited directors – who had gotten more sleep last night then we had had in two nights! They were full of energy but it helped make the exhausted feeling go away a little bit. Next, we boarded the bus to head to our destination of Bregenz, Austria. This place is GORGEOUS?! The lake, the old historic buildings, the shops, the people, it all took my breath away. After arrival they rushed us quickly to drop off our things at our new homes – Frau Monika – is who I am staying with and she was impressed that I could pick my own heavy suitcase up! The next stop was to begin the scavenger hunt, which would take us to some of the most important places in the city – the Lake, the train station, the Bank and most importantly the Studienzentrum which is where I will be taking my classes. After the scavenger hunt, we made it to our first actual meal in Austria – pasta – which I don’t think is very German but it was delicious! After dinner, my roommate and I both decided it was for the best to head back home so we could get a good nights rest because we have a busy day tomorrow! Anyways, my host Mom just came in to check on me and when I wanted breakfast to be ready in the morning, life is good here in Bregenz and I can’t wait to see what is all going to happen during the next 32 days! Guten nacht (Goodnight) from Austria, I will check in with you all again soon!
I arrived in Torino one week ago and the experience is already flying by. The culture here is very different than back in the States, and I’m still trying to adjust. The biggest challenge so far has been the language barrier; Torino isn’t much of a tourist town so many people don’t speak English. Luckily, this has really helped me jump head first into the culture and really begin to learn the language, with the help of a few locals. There seems to be no concept of time here, with shops closing for the afternoons, dinners starting well into the night, three hour meals, and no one seems to be in a hurry. It’s also taken some time to learn how to navigate public transportation and assimilate to other cultural norms.
I have had a week of classes at Scuola di Amministrazione Aziendale and the course sizes are great! I have ten students in my management class, and only three in my Italian class! The one-on-one attention and discussions in class are really interesting and I’m enjoying it–even with the homework.
We have taken two tours already throughout the city and to Alba in the Piedmont region and it’s beautiful! There is so much history to see in the historic churches and castles–it’s nothing like I have ever experienced.
One of the best perks of being in Italy are all the different cities to visit: Rome, Venice, Milan, Cinque Terre, Florence, Naples, Bologna, Sicily, Tuscany. There are so many places to visit and so little time! The trips to Venice and Rome are already planned, but now I have to figure out the best weekends for the others!
One piece of advice I have is to budget your money (I guess that’s the accounting major in me talking). I always forget how much the euro is inflated compared to the dollar… and then I look at my bank account. The trips add up quickly, but when you’re abroad it all seems to be worth it!
I can’t wait to see what’s in store for these next nine weeks!
One of the greatest benefits of studying abroad in an entirely new continent is the opportunity to travel to countries I’ve always dreamed of. While I’ve had my fair share of seeing new cities and sights this semester, my favorite would have to be a trip I took earlier this month to Italy! My mother’s entire side of the family is from Italy so it was only fitting to finally be going back to my roots. However what made it even more special was the fact that my mother, sister, and brother flew over from the states to meet me for a 10 day adventure!
We started our journey in the iconic city of Venice and it was absolutely breathtaking! The pictures I had always seen on line didn’t do the city justice at all! Everywhere I looked there was another quaint house or tiny boat along a peaceful canal. I still can’t wrap my mind around how they basically built a city on top of water. Practically wise it just doesn’t make sense to me but I’m not complaining, I loved every second of being there!
Next we took the train from Venice to Florence which was hands down my favorite city! There is just so much history and beauty everywhere you look there! We did a crazy amount of walking all over this historic city and even climbed over 300 steps to the top of the Duomo! It definitely deserved a large serving of gelato afterwards. Speaking of gelato, I legitimately ate it every single day, sometimes even twice! I even had very intriguing flavors such as lavender- it was one of my favorites! While in Florence we also saw the iconic David, bartered in the leather district, and experienced the midnight events of the “White Night” holiday that was going on! Not to mention everywhere we ate in Florence was phenomenal! Italians really do know what they’re doing in the kitchen!
After five days in Florence we ventured over to Rome which was by far the most humbling of all the cities. To see such ancient ruins everywhere I looked is just mind blowing! It was crazy to think I walked through the ruins of where people lived over 2000 years ago. Or the fact that I walked the Coliseum levels of where thousands of audience members watched gladiators slay each other to death! All the episodes of Spartacus I had watched in the past instantly became so real while in that setting! We also had the pleasure of touring the Vatican and seeing the Sistine Chapel. After seeing so many pictures of the iconic artwork my whole life and studying it in art class, it just didn’t seem real that I was seeing it in person! It was definitely worth the three hour line to get in.
I had such a phenomenal time touring Italy with my family that I wish I hadn’t had to leave! Even writing about the experience, it doesn’t seem real that I had the opportunity to witness sites that I dreamed my whole life of seeing! It is opportunities like this that make studying abroad even more amazing and I’m grateful for the experience!
Junior, Marketing Major
Since the start of my college career at the University of Louisville, I have always wanted to study abroad. It’s been a goal or a dream perhaps. Due to different life events I didn’t think it was possible, at least not for me. Yet, I am writing this very post from Bordeaux, France!
The start of my trip had it’s ups and downs, but this has been the best decision I have made in my college career. Before I left the states, I believed this was going to be a trip of a lifetime. It’s not. I say this because I hope this is just the start of many trips to come. Traveling abroad to a country where I don’t speak any of the language has given me the courage and the knowledge to feel as though I can go anywhere and do anything. My world is not limited to the confines of Louisville, KY or the US for that matter.
Enough about me, I want to share a few traveling tips to anyone going abroad for their first time.
- If you are going to a country that speaks another language that you have not studied, bring a pocket dictionary. I know it sounds like common sense, but I didn’t because I just forgot.
- Download the app Viber! Also, have your close friends or relatives download it as well. Viber is the best thing anyone could have told me about before I left the states. Its a free app that allows you to talk to people via texts, phone calls, and video chat (if it is on your desktop). Trying to download it abroad may cost money as you need a verification text.
- Explore! Explore, but be smart about it. Also, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.The more you step out of your comfort zone, the more things you become comfortable with. This whole trip should be about expanding your comfort zone! (I didn’t pick this up until about day 5 of the rip)
- Lastly, try it! Whatever it is try it. If you never try it, how will you know you don’t like it?
As I continue on this three week adventure, I’m sure I still have so much to learn. Study abroad is a lesson inside and outside the classroom through everything you experience. I’m grateful to have had this opportunity and I look forward to traveling abroad in the future!
-Erica L. Lee
Senior, Marketing Major
I want to share with you my journey in Sevilla, Spain thus far. This place is absolutely amazing! I wish I could post all my pictures on here, but that could get obnoxious. I just got here 3 days ago and started class 2 days ago. I am taking International Finance and Advanced Spanish Culture and Civilization. My new friends and professors are so nice and down-to-earth. I also decided to join a volunteer program where I will spend time with the elderly at the nursing home next door to my school. I am starting to get a grasp on where everything is. I live downtown in Sevilla, 5 minutes away from the 3rd largest cathedral in the world. Today we went on a tour there and it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The architecture in Sevilla is filled with curves and arches. There is not one boring building. There is so much color here. My suggestions to go to any of you ever wanting to go to Sevilla are Plaza de España, Las Setas, Plato de sabado, Universidad de Sevilla, Parque de Prado, and the cathedral. When I see more of the city, I will let you know what else there is to see. I can’t explain to you how amazing this experience has been so far. I am so thankful for all of you who have helped me along the way. You truly are making my dreams come true. I am glad I can say I studied abroad because of the University of Louisville’s College of Business, my friends, and family. Your support means the world to me! I will keep you updated on my new experiences and excursions throughout these next two months!
I have been in Europe for exactly two weeks as of today. So far my experience has been pretty amazing. When we first arrived in Bordeaux, Evie and I had pretty terrible luck in everything we did, from finding the school to figuring out how the tram worked. It was definitely a rough start but once we got into a routine, things began to get better. We also discovered that we were actually taking an MBA class, so that was kind of terrifying too.
During our first week we toured Bordeaux, went wine tasting, tried out some cool restaurants, shopped (a lot), went to the beach and started our class. Needless to say we have been very busy.
We took a train to visit the Dune du Pilat, the tallest sand dune in Europe. The hike to the top was challenging but the view was worth it.
This past weekend Evie, Megan and myself went to Barcelona, Spain. It was absolutely amazing. The city is so cool and has so much to offer. The architecture was probably my favorite part though. Sagrada Família was under construction so we couldn’t see it fully, but it was still an amazing sight. I could not believe how giant it was.
I am excited to see what the rest of my trip has in store!
I’m currently in my second week in France. It’s been really great, but I just wanted to share a few tips I’ve picked up:
1. Sometime ago (I’m not sure when), the European outlets must’ve changed. Don’t bring your mother’s/aunt’s/cousin’s converter unless you’re SURE it’ll work over there (or maybe bring it as your backup).
2. Don’t count on having WiFi ANYWHERE. You hear that McDonald’s and Starbucks are WiFi heaven for travelers but that’s not always the case.
3. Carry change with you at all times because you never know when you’ll have to pee. That’s right.. Nothing in Europe is free, not even the luxury of relieving yourself.
4. Regardless of what you THINK the weather is going to be like or what you’ve been told, make sure you bring clothes for the opposite. I came to France expecting warmth and sunshine; it’s been mostly cold and rainy for the past two weeks (with a few nice days here and there). This wouldn’t have been a problem if I had packed a sweater or two.
5. Be open-minded about everything. If you’re taking a class, be open to what is sure to be a very different classroom experience than the one you’ve had for the past 15 years or so.
6. Pack light! You’ll want to buy everything once you get over there.
7. If you’re going to France, you better hope you like pasta and bread (which I do, so that’s good).
That’s all I can think of for now.
So au revoir!
Bonjour from France!
This summer I am spending 3 and a half weeks in Bordeaux, France, along with some traveling in between. I am on my second week at KEDGE business school after spending a long weekend in Barcelona, but I will get to that later. Studying abroad has been such an eye opening experience. It is nothing like the classes at home. We are fitting a whole three hour credit class into two and a half weeks. It’s intense but I have discovered that I actually love it that way! It is nice to focus on a single class and to work with students from different countries. A lot of the days we are in class from 830 am until 430 or 6 pm so it is all day, but they actually go by fast! the first half of the day is listening to a lecture while the second half is doing a group work/problems on what we learned. It makes the day go by fast and the group work creates relationships with my fellow students. I wish this is how school was back in the states!
Bordeaux is a great city! It is not very touristy so it isn’t super crowded and half the city is more modern while the center of the city still has it’s ancient architecture (as you can see above). I have also discovered how great public transportation is here! The have trams going throughout the city and I am able to get to school without having to deal with traffic and parking. Our “apart hotel” as they call it, is located right next to the center of the city and conveniently enough a supermarket is located right next door. It is a really great location and is only a tram ride away from school!
Our first weekend in Bordeaux we explored the city and found a lot of great parks and shops. That sunday we took a train ride to Arcachon where we climbed the highest sand dunes in Europe at La Dune Du Pilat! It was an exhausting hike but worth the view from the top.
We had a day off the following Thursday and did a wine and cheese tasting! That was probably one of my favorite experiences so far. Bordeaux is known for their wine and many chateaus. I never knew there was such a science to tasting wine! It was very interesting to learn about. After tasting one wine they led us down to this cheese cellar where we could cut off little pieces of cheeses and try as many as we wanted, it was awesome! I was only expecting a few cheeses but there were many to choose from.
Well gotta get back to class! I will let you all know later how the trip to Barcelona went!
Today marks the beginning of our fourth week in Europe, and what an experience it has been! I am currently in Bordeaux, France in the middle of our study program, but I really want to talk about all of our travel adventures beforehand.
Beginning in Berlin, Germany, three of us got to spend a couple days in a city that we all fell in love with! Of course, this being our first time in Europe, we were a bit confused and struggled with the adjustments of the food and mainly the transportation system, but we adjusted in no time! We got to see the Berlin Wall, Hitlers Bunker, which is now just a car park, the Parliament, and so many more sites and attractions. We got the opportunity to take a free tour with NewEurope who offer free tours throughout many cities in Europe and work solely off of tips, but the tours are very good (we’ve gone on 4 with them in 3 different cities so far).
Our next stop was Munich, Germany which we quickly fell in love with. Everything is so clean and people are so nice and helpful. We got to spend a day at Dachau Concentration Camp on another NewEurope Tour, but we paid for this one and it was a very sobering experience. If you’re at all interested in the Nazi Party and Hitler, I would highly recommend you pay for a tour here to learn all the history. We also saw the surfers in the English Garden and ate at the famous Hofbrauhaus along with many other things!
A tip for Germany would have to be, bring your water bottle! Water is more expensive than beer here and thus everyone drinks beer instead of water. We found ourselves filling our waters in bathroom sinks, I know it’s kinda gross, but desperate times call for desperate measures, right!
We also made stops in Florence, Cinque Terre, and Rome, Italy. My favorite of all of them would easily be Cinque Terre, especially because I am partial to the ocean, the beach and the beautiful warm weather. We stayed right outside of the 5 villages of Cinque Terre in Levanto and there is no possible way to describe how beautiful everything is here. We hiked up a mountain for 3 hours and got views better than any picture I’ve ever seen. There’s honestly no words to describe how amazing this town is, you’ll just have to go see it for yourself! Maybe you could say it’s like the Seaside, FL of America, but better with bright colors and flowers around every corner and locals roaming the streets, it’s perfect! I truly don’t understand how a place so beautiful could be so unheard of, this is definitely an up and coming place!
I think that’s all for now, but I’ll be sure to let y’all know how Bordeaux is, the place we’re studying for 3 weeks in a few days!
Until next time,
This summer I am spending 3 weeks studying abroad in Bordeaux, France. The course I’m taking is Wine Marketing and I couldn’t imagine a better environment to take this class in! The KEDGE School of Business is located right outside the city center of Bordeaux and the building itself was just finished and opened in January of this year. It’s very modern and completely different from most of the buildings on Louisville’s campus!
For about 2 weeks prior to classes, 3 other students from U of L and I backpacked through Germany and Italy visiting Berlin, Munich, Florence, Cinque Terre and Rome. Every single one of these cities was completely unique and amazing to experience. I took so much away from just the short time and did so many once in a lifetime things. Some of my favorites were visiting Dachau Concentration camp in Munich, hiking up a mountain in Cinque Terre, and seeing the Pope in Rome! Looking back I can’t believe how much we packed into less than 2 weeks. It was an exhausting experience but definitely worth it!
After a crazy 2 weeks I was so excited to arrive in Bordeaux and settle into my new home for the next 3 weeks. We spent our first weekend exploring this beautiful city. Bordeaux has a long and interesting history, but also is filled with young people and has a modern vibe to it, thanks to several universities located in and around the city. Bordeaux has so much to offer, I already know I won’t want to leave come June!
I just completed my first week of classes here at KEDGE, and to say it is different than my typical U of L classes would be an understatement. On our first day we took a field trip to do a wine tasting! This week we had class for 4 days from 8:30 in the morning to 5:00 in the afternoon, which took some getting used to! We have 3 different professors teaching one course, but they all have their own expertise and life experiences to bring to lecture, so the long days have gone by pretty fast! Our classes themselves consist only of lecture, but we have 2 group projects to complete outside of class, one paper and one presentation. Normally I don’t really enjoy group projects, but it should be interesting to work with some students from other countries and get some completely different perspectives on the projects!
I’m definitely enjoying my time here in Europe and at KEDGE and I can’t wait to see what else this city and course have to offer!