Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Week 4

I survived a week in Spain! Before I start to talk about my trip I just want to say the 3 best things about Spain is the FOOD, sangria, and hospitality. My friend Andy and I took a week long trip and spent time in Madrid and Toledo. I was so excited to get out of Denmark to go somewhere with warmer weather. After our plane landed and I stepped off into the airport in Madrid I experienced culture shock all over again. Luckily Andy speaks fluent Spanish, well what us Americans would consider fairly fluent Spanish. I on the other hand can only speak the basics. Spanish is definitely easier to read and try to comprehend compared to the Danish language. I also like to call it Spainish in Spain and then there is Spanish which is spoken in Mexico. This trip was extremely a go with the flow trip. No transportation methods booked and we had only booked a hostel for the first two nights. We took a cab from the airport to our hostel. The cab driver did not speak any English therefore Andy's Spanish was put to the test. We arrived at our hostel around midnight and we were starving! We dropped our bags off and headed to find something to eat. There was a pizza shop within 30 seconds walking distance that had large slices of pizza for only 2 euros! We ate as much as we could then went back to the hostel to try and get some sleep. As we walked back to the hostel we were harassed by people begging for money and club promoters.


In the morning we participated in a free walking tour of Madrid. Our tour guide was awesome! He took us to see several historical buildings and monuments without making it your average boring historical tour. We of course started out taking a shot at a local bar. The shot came in a chocolate waffle type shot glass. Take the shot and then eat it too! We got to visit the oldest restaurant in the world! Sobrino de Botin was founded in 1725 and is still open for business. Inside the restaurant there was room filled with pigs that were being prepared to cook. It was definitely a sight some may not want to see but I found it extremely interesting. We also visited the Almudena Cathedral which was amazing! This cathedral is a place that is hard to describe with words. The prettiest part of the building was the ceiling! The Palacio Real de Madrid is the residence of the Spanish Royal Family. The building has 3,400 rooms! The next day we visited the Botanical Gardens. Being in the garden and seeing so much green life and flowers and the warmth of the sun on my skin was just what I needed after being in Copenhagen for a month of wet, windy, and cold weather.

The night life in Madrid is wild! The hostels we stayed in had pub crawls each night for around 15 euros. These pub crawls included free shots, discounted drinks, and entrance into all bars and nightclubs. The pub crawls were fun besides the fact that people in Spain do not go out until around midnight and then stay out till past 5 AM. I did not like the fact that people stay up so late.

After a few late nights in Madrid it was time to head to Toledo. We made the decision to go to Toledo on our second day in Madrid. We used an app called BlaBlaCar which is similar to Uber but much cheaper. It cost us only 10 euros from Madrid to Toledo. Toledo is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. It was nice to have a break from so much city life and to see more scenic views. Hospitality, food, and sangria were still the best parts of Toledo. Toledo is a small city so it is easy to see everything within a day or two.

Of course the morning of the day we needed to get back to the Madrid airport to come home to Copenhagen, I got extremely sick. Our BlaBlaCar driver was on his way to pick us up when I got sick in the middle of the street. Luckily I started to feel much better after getting sick and was able to tough through the car ride to the airport. Flight home went smoothly. Crazy to think that while I was in Spain I got homesick. This homesick wasn't for my home in the US but for my new home in Copenhagen.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Week 3

Week 3 was filled with going out with my new friends but more importantly school started. I am only taking once course for the first 8 weeks of the semester called Organic Food Systems. The class only has about 14 students and around 12 of us show up for every class. School here is much different compared to back home. My class is full of open discussion and quick presentations about our thoughts towards certain issues regarding "organics." The class is also filled with a long 3 hour lecture which can be difficult to want to sit through. It does feel nice to have somewhat of a routine schedule now. I have Mondays and Fridays off from class so I will utilize this time to get some traveling in! I am definitely much more adjusted than I was in week 1 and 2. I want to share several photos in this post because I spent a lot of time out with friends and seeing some of the beautiful parts of Copenhagen. Oh and before I forget, the weather is pretty dreadful here most days. Its always cold, windy, and wet. Therefore, I will be leaving for Spain on Wednesday the 17th! My next post will be about my time in Spain.

This group of pictures are just some street views from walking in the city centre and to class.

Yes, I can cook for myself.
Starbucks will never spell your name right no matter where you are in the world.
Carlsberg is a great Copenhagen beer.
Coffee is still a need not a want.
These are my friends Alica from Germany, Scotty from Australia, and Sam from North Carolina


Katerina- Australia               Me                    Sam- Alaska

Week 2

Week 2 for me in Copenhagen was from January 28th to February 4th. I know I am writing days later but I will try to post week 2 and 3 today and week 4 by Thursday, then I will be all caught up! Week 2 definitely was a better week compared to week 1. I took a trip to the Copenhagen Aquarium which was not as good as I was expecting but I still got to see some cool creatures. I also participated in a MeetUp group event. This is where people go to meet other people with similar interests. Everyone knows back home that I would never go to something like this by myself, but I was dying to meet some new people and hopefully make some new friends. Coming here is like starting school for the very first time. You have to put yourself out there and step out of your comfort zone to be able to find out who you truly are and to make sure you don't miss out on any opportunities. This MeetUp event was a cocktail workshop so of course I was interested. I was extremely nervous showing up but ended up having SO much fun and met some really nice people from other parts of the world. It seems to me that one thing everyone around the world has in common would be the use of alcohol at social gatherings! As we all know, it definitely can help make things less awkward. This was also the week of orientation and when all the other international students were moving into my dorm! At orientation I met many people also studying at the Faculty of Science and found out that many of them were living in the same dorm as me! I now have a big group of friends living in my building that I have started to grow very close to. I started a Facebook page for my dorm so we could all keep in touch and communicate quickly with each other. The Facebook group has been a success, we have all been able to go out together, eat together, and help when we lock ourselves out of our rooms!
Frederiksberg Campus
Copenhagen Aquarium

photo 1-1 photo 1-2

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Week 1

My fist week in Copenhagen was beyond overwhelming. I can not describe the feeling of stepping off the plane into a foreign country thousands of miles away from home and familiarity. My first challenge in this new country came very quickly. My housing was not available until February 1st. I had arrived on January 21st. Therefore I was now a homeless American in a foreign country. Luckily I was able to room with a fellow student from Purdue for the first night. The next day I was able to move into a spare room in my dorm building. The first few days were lonely and cold. I wanted nothing more but to be able to hug my mom and be able to understand what the people around me were saying. When we talk about culture shock in study abroad meetings it has no comparison to actually experiencing it. You can not prepare yourself for this but to just try and keep an open mind and consistently remind yourself that everything will be okay. I spent my first few nights trying to experience Copenhagen nightlife with my two fellow Purdue students. It was interesting to try new beverages and food. Pizza will still remain my favorite food no matter where I am in the world! Grocery shopping and cooking for myself have become a daily routine that I am still getting used to.