Friday, March 30, 2012

A brief school update before Extravelganza!

Well I know those of you that are keeping up with this are thinking, "Does that girl even go to classes??" While I am doing a lot of traveling here, I have been given that opportunity because of school. And let me just say, it's kicking my  butt. We have only been in class for four weeks, but it has been really demanding. I also have a 7 page paper due in the middle of Easter break and another shorter one due the first day back, which is a downer. (I need to make sure I do those before I head out tomorrow.) I am taking what equals out to be around 20 hours of school work in the US, even though I won't receive that much credit it for it when I return, it is just an unfortunate way that credit transfer works between the European Union's "ECTS' credit system and the "hours" system in the states. I am enrolled in: German as a foreign language, industrial psychology, current issues in international management, international business, international market entry, management of international market entry strategy, and cross cultural management. Lots of papers, lots of group work.It is all worth it just to be here though.
One of my professors is from Istanbul, Turkey. She actually said she would love to have myself and some other classmates come visit her in Istanbul sometime. While I'm not sure if it will actually ever happen or not it is cool that professors just talk like that here. I have the benefit of having really gracious professors with UHON back home, but I don't know of many professors that would send an open invitation for something like that. Also, a good number of people here seem to think my name is Charlotte because my last name is listed with my first name on all official school papers. I understand that that doesn't relate to anything at all important, It is just a small note about happenings in class.
Tomorrow morning I leave for what I am calling my Extravelganza. 14 Days, 5 countries, and 7 cities. You probably won't see too many posts in here in the next two weeks since I will not be bringing a computer with me. If I happen to stop by somewhere with a computer perhaps I can give you all a quick update about my journey. Until then, happy living, and enjoy the pictures of some of my adventures from around Linz!

Emilia, Jean, Me, Ari, Giame, a random guy, and Johnny (in the Skirt) celebrating Carneval, AKA Fat Tuesday

This is how Erasmus works, you go to take a picture of about 5 people, everyone in a 10 foot radius jumps in the picture.
This is another picture from our Carneval party.

In Hauptplatz, our main city square.
Tori (Alaska/Colorado), Me, and Michael (Canada)

A  nice view of Linz

Of View of the side of Linz that I live on from right by the Danube. The odd building on the left is the Ars Electronica Museum, it is really cool. Some friends and I visited it a few weeks ago.

(LtoR) Michael, Tara, Tori, Miro, Nina, Zac, Jovan, Nick, Evelyn, Patty, Vito, Veronika, LP, Darcy, Elizabeth, and Marc.
We all took advantage of half off outdoor ice skating our second week here, so much fun!
Countries represented: Canada, United States, South Africa, Slovakia, Mexico, France, Australia, and Croatia.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Nassfeld Ski Trip

Hey everyone!
In my typical late fashion here is a quick write-up about the trip I took to the Alps. I went to Nassfeld, a ski and snowboard resort right on the border of Austria and Italy. It was a 5 hour bus ride without stops, so I was pretty excited to actually hurry up and get there. This trip was not just with people from my school, but also with students from Vienna and Graz. The program I am here with is called ISEP, and we are grouped with another program called Erasmus. Erasmus is a larger program that has smaller programs branched off of it throughout Europe. This trip was arranged by ESN (Erasmus Student Network), which is why students from other campuses were there too. I mostly talked to some people from the Graz campus. Who knows, maybe I'll go visit them in the near future. Erasmus is notorious for parties, so of course we had a party both nights we were there. The first evening was fairy tale themed. The second night was green themed since it was actually on St. Patrick's Day.
 Due to my previous crappy experience with skiing, I decided to try snowboarding. Both days were actually pretty bad skiing/boarding conditions(slushy on day #1, SUPER foggy and windy on day #2), but I still had a great time. I spent a lot of time falling, and I came back with a decent number of bruises and aches. That being said, I came back with a greater sense of accomplishment. I learned how to snowboard in the Alps, I don't know too many other people who can say something like that. Pretty cool in my opinion. There isn't too much to talk about from this trip since I can't bring you up to date on history and all that stuff that I have been able to do with other places. Since I cant bore you with history I'll just give you all some pretty pictures to check out.

The other Alps didn't actually have snow on them..
(LtoR) Me, Barbara, Nina, Gunther [our instructor], Girl I Never Talked To,  and Andy
Barbara and Me
I tried to load a video of me busting it for your viewing enjoyment, but after 4 hours it still hadn't loaded. So I guess that is just something everyone will have to do without for a bit.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Budapes(h)t

(L to R) Me, Jovan, Mitchell, and Victoria at Dudbest
  March 2nd-4th I took a trip to Budapest, Hungary. (Yes I know this post is two weeks overdue, but School started up the day after we returned, and I have been absolutely slammed with schoolwork!) Rather than planning this trip on my own I tagged along with a group trip that was planned by the student organization in charge of mingling with us foreign folk to make us feel welcomed. It takes about 5 hours to get to Budapest from Linz via bus, so we left at 7am on Friday morning. Once we got there we split into two groups, those who wanted to go to the "Spa" and those who didn't. The spa was really some of the thermal baths that Budapest is apparently rather famous for.  I had never heard of such wondrous pools, so I didn't much care to go. I was later told by spa goers that you could also purchase a massage for 13 Euro (less than 20 USD), I wish I had gotten in on that in retrospect. Regardless, I instead used that time to roam around the city with my friends Jovan (Canada), Victoria (USA), and Mitchell(USA).  We decided we were all starved for a late lunch, so we stopped in at this restaurant called Dudabest. Yes, we went to Dudabest in Budapest. It was really delicious, and really affordable. All four of us ate pizza, fries, and soda for less than $20. Afterwards we roamed back to the Hostel and took advantage of having some downtime.

Traditional Hungarian Meal
     After a few hours of waiting we finally load the bus to go eat dinner. We had a two course, traditional Hungarian meal. For my picky eating self, I feel like I did really well eating the food placed in front of me( then again, I wasn't aware  that fires were traditional Hungarian Cuisine, those were pretty easy to eat.) Also included in dinner: 3 rounds of Palinka. Needless to say it is not my favorite, but hey. If the Hungarians like to drink rubbing alcohol they can go ahead and do that. In addition to dinner and Palinka, there was traditional Hungarian dancing and singing. They also performed some gypsy songs and dances, the performances were really fun to watch.

The crazy loud Hungarian club
 Afterwards we went out to a club, which was of course filled with creepy drunk people and lots of dancing. All of our first day there was great, but the real story from Friday happened after the club. A group of us decided to leave around 1 AM because we were set to have a really long day Saturday. The organization that we came with provided us with bus tickets and directions to get back to our hostel. we confidently got on and off at the listed stops, only to find we didn't recognize any of our surroundings. Luckily, a Budapestian who happened to speak some English was nearby. After showing her the maps and directions that we had been given, she informed us that where we were was literally off of the map we had. Budapest is actually two parts, Buda and Pest. They are divided by the river Danube (or Donau for German speaking countries). Our hostel was located on the opposite side of the river from where we were. With her help as well as the assistance of a very kind bus driver we were able to find our way back home.... more than 2 hours after we first left the club. Did I mention that is was also very very cold and I had forgotten my jacket? Luckily one of the boys let me borrow his, but then he was freezing the whole time. I felt pretty bad. Regardless, the good thing is that found our way back safely.

At Heroes Square


Me, Mitchell, Victoria, and Nick at Heroes Square
        Saturday we went on a city tour for about 5 hours, and then we had about 3 hours of free time. I loved getting so go around the city and be told about the history. Our first stop was at a place called heroes square. It was built in 1896 to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the city. They actually had a really big fair that lasted all year right behind it, and this square was meant to be the entry into the fair/festival. We went a number of other places around the city, too many to really write about each one specifically. I will say though, that they have the most beautiful Parliament building I have ever seen.


Parliament building (photo from destinations360.com)
The view of Pest (including the Parliament Building) from the Castle on Buda

The Church
We also went to the area of the Buda side that used to be the castle for the royal family. The buildings themselves were beautiful (especially the church) and the view was breathtaking. We spent about 1 hour there, which was not nearly long enough. Afterwards we headed to our final stop: the Citadel. While I did not find the citadel to be quite so impressive as the castle, it still had a breathtaking view. From there we were left to go around the city on our own until dinner. About 15 of us stayed at the citadel for a bit, and then walked down to the river to get some photos of the chain bridge (one of many bridges connecting Buda and Pest.) We grabbed lunch at a really delicious restaurant called Szatyor, and then roamed back to the hostel to get ready for dinner


Barbara, Jovan, Tori, and me with obnoxiously girly cocktails
Dinner was a little bit ridiculous on Saturday night. From the time we arrived to the time we actually left 4 hours had elapsed. Overall I had a good time though. My table decided we were all required to order girly cocktails, so I ordered my first ever obnoxiously girly drink. It even came with a sparkly confetti type toothpick in it. I don't know what the technical name for it is, so sparkly confetti type thinggy will have to work. Some people went out to a club afterwards, but I went back to the hostel with the team leaders to ensure that a repeat of the night before didn't happen. We left at 10 am the next morning to drive back to Linz. I enjoyed my time in Budapest, but I was definitely glad to be back home in Linz. Next Journey: snowboarding in the Alps!