March 2017, a month filled with travels and all of my favorite people.
Well I’ll first begin with classes. How the courses work here is that the semester is broken down into two parts: Jan-March, where you take two courses, and March-June, where you take your other two courses. This means your projects/finals are in March. Luckily, one of my classes had no final and the other was on the last day of the week of finals which gave me ample time to travel! It was a little hectic to plan in advance since JIBS has a quirky way of handling the finals schedule. We have a very structured way of handling courses back home, usually you get the schedule for the semester the first week of classes but at JIBS its very different. First I had to register for my final (which was on a Saturday at 8 am !!) and I didn’t find out the date until a month before the final. So as I said, an obstacle when planning, but in the end it all works out. I also found out the Swedish have a much more relaxed way of approaching school, as there are re-examinations here. At first I thought it was a bit strange since we are so used to getting the grade you get, but I realized it is a great way to hand more control to the students. For example, many students approach the first half of the semester more leisurely and instead focus on other things, such as work, and then plan to shift their focus toward their classes the second half or vice versa. As for me, I focused on my courses first semester and fit in some traveling and plan to do the same the second half of the semester. Although it was very strange watching all my friends back home enjoy spring break while I studied for finals! It was also so weird to be done with my courses one day and two days later start right back up.
WARNING: This was a month full of photographs and memories. Shameless plug for all of the places I visited.
I got to visit Maddie, my best friend who is also on exchange, in Norway! It was so nice to see a familiar face from back home and I truly had a blast. I got to explore the beautiful nature that Norway has, as well as visit the Viking Ship Museum, and see one of my favorite artists, Drake, with fellow friends from Jönköping. It amazing how fast I felt right at home in Oslo, I even joked about being a local once I figured out the layout of the city, which I had down by the second day. On my first day I got to meet several of Maddie’s new exchange friends and we even went out to the Ice Bar that night (which is as cold as it looks). This was definitely a highlight in my month, but after returning to Jönköping I had my final presentation for my Project Management class which reminded me of the study part of being abroad.
Spain: The Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla, and Toledo Edition
My favorite people in the world made the trip across the Atlantic! My godparents are from Spain and they took my parents and I to all the tourist hotspots plus gave us the local tour. One thing to note about Spain is that they love to sit in restaurant patios and drink cañas. So we did as the locals do! I swear Gaudí singlehandedly made Barcelona one of my favorite places, his architecture is like no other. Sweden is so reserved, and more specifically Jönköping is such a small town that the city vibe of Madrid and Barcelona were much welcomed (also the sunshine).
Spain is beautiful but it is incredible how different the hustle and bustle of the major cities differs from cities a bit further south. Toledo was hands down my favorite of the places we went, specifically the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes. Sevilla is a close second with the Alcázar of Seville, although we waited an hour to enter it was an amazing experience. My favorite part of these cities was that they were cities impacted by so many cultures that you see all of the different influences everywhere. You could have Christian influences in a mosque and Islam influence in a synagogue, within a couple hundred feet of each other. Spain was definitely one for the books, and definitely one my favorite experiences while abroad because its something my parents would have never done if I wasn’t studying in Europe.
As I said, March was a month filled with travel so naturally I ended the month in another country. The Netherlands was a country that wasn’t high on my list until I came to Jönköping and met all of the amazing Dutch. I got to meet up with Maddie again and we had an unforgettable time. While being known as a strange city, Amsterdam still has the incredible quaintness of the Netherlands. Visiting the Van Gogh Museum, Rembrandt House Museum, Anne Frank House, and the Cheese Museum we got a taste of the incredible culture in Amsterdam. Bonus points if you find me in the Iamsterdam sign.