It’s hard to believe that I’ve been in Europe in for nearly a month; it’s surreal to think that I get to go to school in on of the most beautiful cities in Italy!

Traveling from Houston all the way to Venice was much easier than expected and I arrived with no problems! Arriving in Venice and having to figure out how to get to our apartment was a challenge especially because public transportation is so different here. After all, there are no cars in Venice and the vaporetto (water buses) are often as slow as walking. It was no easy task trying to navigate through crowded, narrow, walkways with two suitcases pulling them over stairs and bridges. Our apartment has no elevator so once we arrived we once again had too pull all our luggage up three flights of stairs! However, once we were settled, it was easier to appreciate Venice and the uniqueness that comes with living in a floating city.

One of the amazing things about studying in Europe is how easy it is to travel to other countries. Before class started, my roommates and I took a trip to Greece and several of the Islands, which was an incredible experience!

We arrived back in Venice ready to start classes. At Ca’ Foscari, the semester is split into two terms which means I am only taking two classes at a time! Campus is about 30 minutes from our apartment which means we get our exercise in every day. Not having the convenience of cars and easy transportation means that we walk everywhere. It’s great being in city filled with art and museums and concerts, I can wander down the street and stumble on new exhibits or old churches with amazing architecture just 5 minutes from my apartment. I’m looking forward to finding authentic restaurants, learning the history of Venice, and learning more about art in this city

through museums and exhibits!

Categories: 2019, Italy, Reciprocal Exchange

One should never disregard an opportunity presented for an adventure. After all, you never know where it might take you until after you’re at the end!

It is a challenge to put into words the exact feeling which stirs in oneself and pushes those certain individuals to travel. Certainly, it is not present in everyone. Nor would this make sense for it to be: for this would encroach on the individuality of a human. But nevertheless, it is just this desire which has drawn me away to explore a new country and embrace a new culture in an environment which I would have never before imagined finding myself in.

Before my departure, people who heard of my activities for this upcoming year were so impressed by the exact place I was going. While I have no desire to take away from the grandeur of starting completely fresh in another place with a brand new culture, I think it is key to note that what has impressed itself most upon me in the short time I have been away from the States are the people whom I have encountered.

I believe that in my mind I am only now beginning to grasp the realization that my subconscious has been hinting at this entire time: studying abroad is not so much about the place or exactly what you do or where you go; it’s about the experience and what makes it for you.

I have now been in Vienna, Austria for just shy of a full week. This is following a week-long venture along the South and East coasts of Iceland en route to my Fall destination. In a city such as this [Vienna], it takes less than a day for one to come to the realization that they cannot possibly soak in all this city has to offer in a mere semester; or a year; or perhaps even a lifetime.

This place is one of culture and history. But perhaps the most enchanting part of it all is, even tracing back through the lineages of rulers and battles, the history is not stagnant but is, in fact, taking place on these very grounds which have served as the setting for conflict and compromise for hundreds of years before us.

Austria is a place which celebrates its rich history while embracing the onset of the future. Walking through the streets of the city center, it is impossible not to stop for a few moments and stare in awe at the brilliantly patterned roof of Stephan’s Cathedral, the millions of books stored in the Austrian National Library—some of which date back to the 1500’s!—or the unique combination of Baroque and Gothic era architecture which line the city streets.

Vienna is a grand place: but it doesn’t rely on a single strength to carry itself—it gives you a full sampling and then asks you what you would like more of. Whether it be food, culture, or simply a good place to get some work done, Vienna has something for everyone.

Contributing to what makes this city consistently one of the most liveable in the world is its vast amount of green space (over 51%!). Unlike… certain places (cough, A&M), during the warm summer months leading up to cold, white winters, locals and tourists alike can be found laid out on bright green park grass all over Vienna soaking in the day and the atmosphere. This is just what a couple of friends and myself indulged ourselves in during our first weekend here.

Life here is enriching. With an open mind, nothing seems out of reach.

The majority of people here live ordered lives. However, one should never count a Viennesian out when planning an adventure….

The easily accessible countryside makes day hiking (or, in German, ‘wandern’) incredibly accessible and popular. What better way to clear one’s mind than to take a train ride to the Austrian Alps and spend a day traversing the winding trails! Even if one does not wish to or have the time to travel to one of the nearby villages, there are also plenty of opportunities within the city itself such as visits to the Tiergarten Schönbrunn—the oldest zoo in the world—, wandering around the Schönbrunn Palace Gardens, or even a quick visit to Prater Park (which is conveniently located less than 5 minutes walking from my flat!).

I do not know what the remainder of my semester here will hold: but I am looking forwards to a great many more adventures.

From walking through streets laced with history and music, to laying in a park on a warm sunny day, or exploring a neighboring town to hike through vineyards and taste the local wine, Vienna has no shortage of places to fill ones heart, mind, and stomach.

My words cannot possibly paint a nice enough picture for the mind and my ramblings cannot come close to capturing the essence of the adventures I have had here in such a short span of time; but one can be sure that even when caught in the midst of those times which may seem overwhelming, a bit of a desire for adventure and a willingness to step out into the unknown can sweep one away on an unforgettable and completely worthwhile experience.

Wherever a person finds themselves, there will inevitably be challenges which will rise up to face them. These obstacles may be big, they may even seem insurmountable at times.

However, it is at such times as these that the words of Tom Hanks seem most prevalent: “If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.” -A League of Their Own

No one promised an easy ride and no one is promising a smooth one—but it’s the bumps in the road and the perseverance through them that are what make memories. It’s the hint of sour that brings out the sweetness in life.

Any major change in a person’s life—an exchange semester most certainly included—will certainly come with its challenges.  This presents an incredible opportunity to overcome.

My journey abroad still has quite a ways to go. It has already had its own portion of challenges and triumphs. But wherever the road takes me, I will do my best to live in the moment, to love the life I’m living, and to look forwards to the next opportunity—whatever it may be. Don’t sell yourself short when your greatest adventure may be the one waiting just over the next hill!

The Gloriette at Schönbrunn Palace

 

A Quaint Church in the middle of a Vineyard hike

 

Castle in Leobendorf

 

I guess there’s this too…. (St. Stephen’s Cathedral)

 

A shot from our bird show near Leobendorf

Categories: 2019, Austria, Reciprocal Exchange

My name is Madison Feldman, and I’m studying in Madrid this semester! It has been a little under a month since I moved to Madrid for the semester. When I first got to airport in Dallas, I was a bundle of nerves because studying abroad and living halfway around the world was no longer just an idea; it was about to become my reality.

 

After a nine-hour plane ride, I was surprised by how easy it was to get through customs and grab my bags from baggage claim. After finding my bags, I needed to wait for an hour for an arranged driver to pick me up. I felt quite calm given how smoothly things had gone so far. After the hour of waiting, I started walking around looking for a driver holding up a sign with my name on it. After 30 minutes of walking around, I called my student housing apartment who had set up my ride. After talking to them for 30 minutes, they were able to find a new driver who could come and pick me up. Finally, after waiting an hour and half at the airport I was in a car on the way to my apartment. The driver dropped me off and trekked a few blocks with my suitcases on the sidewalks of Chamberi, a quiet neighborhood of Madrid. After a long morning, I was finally at the place I would call home for the next four months. Despite the mishap with the driver, things had gone pretty smoothly.

 

After getting adjusted to the time change, I started exploring Madrid and getting a feel for the city. I had heard from others that Madrid is like the New York City of Spain. This saying is incredibly accurate. One of the first things that makes the city feel like NYC is the Metro. The metro is just one big subway system. There are countless lines that could take you all over Madrid. I’ve found that this form of transportation is the fastest, easiest, and cheapest way to get around Madrid, especially if you get the student metro card. With the Metro card, you only pay 20 euros per month for unlimited rides on the Metro, buses, and trains. This is most valuable when classes start since UC3M is technically outside of Madrid. Madrid has so many different areas that can fit anyone’s needs. There’s Sol which is the center of Madrid. From Sol, you could walk to just about anywhere, and it’s a central place to meet up with friends. If you love shopping or need a wardrobe change, Gran Via is the street to go. It has tons of shops lining the street where you can find just about anything you’re looking for. This area is most like Times Square with the flashing lights and advertisements. If you take the Metro past Sol, you can go to El Retiro. This is a huge park in the city with a little lake in the middle where you can rent paddle boats. This park is free and so expansive it would take multiple trips to see all of it. If you’re looking for a nice place to relax Retiro is the place to go. My roommates and I had a picnic there in our first week and then went to the Prado Museum afterwards. I’ve found that many of the museums in Madrid are free from 6 to 8 pm, so this makes it easy to visit places without breaking the bank. Even though I’ve been here for a month, I feel like there is so much more to see in Madrid, and I’m looking forward to getting to the know the city better.

 

After a week in Madrid, classes started at UC3M. The first big thing I had to do for the university was register for classes. Registration took place on an online portal like at A&M. You are given a registration time and can pick from the classes with spots available. My main priority was getting the classes I needed that would transfer to A&M along with trying to get a schedule with no Friday classes. Compared to my roommates, I had a very late registration time and was not able to get into my first-choice classes with the best times. I was able to sign up for the finance and supply chain class I needed, however, the times of my classes were late into the evening and I had a Friday class. While this wasn’t the end of the world, I was the only one with Friday classes, which would’ve made traveling on weekends a little harder.

 

On the first day of class, my roommates and I had to take the Metro to Sol and then a train to the university. This commute seemed pretty easy, however, we found ourselves going the wrong way. I was sort of freaking out because I had intended on going to the supply chain class I originally wanted so I could speak to the professor to see if she would allow me to be in her class. My roommate and I got to the class 5 minutes late, but she wasn’t there. While we were waiting on the professor, I went onto the class registration portal and saw that there was a spot open in the supply chain class and was able to nab the spot. Because I could get into that class, I checked on the rest of my classes and was able to get into all of the classes I originally wanted. I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of movement occurring in all of the classes. With that being said, I found that this was similar to A&M regarding the adding and dropping of classes; like A&M, your schedule is not set in stone until after the add/drop period closes.

 

I really like UC3M as a whole. The Getafe campus is beautiful and looks like it’s right out of a movie. There are many signs that show the building layout making it easier to find classes as well. Many of the classes are very laid-back compared to A&M and the workload isn’t nearly as much. With the way my schedule is laid out, I have plenty of time to do work after classes and still explore Madrid on the weekdays.

 

After only a month in Madrid, I feel like time is flying by and wish it would slow down. I’ve made myself a promise that I explore at least one new area of Madrid each week. I’m excited to see what the rest of this semester has in store and see where this fall takes me.

Ciao for now!

The Royal Palace of Madrid

Categories: 2019, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain

Hi, I’m Rebecca Davidson! I am a junior Management major in Mays Business School. I am currently studying at Copenhagen Business School in Copenhagen, Denmark.

I have been here in Copenhagen, Denmark for 5 weeks! It has already been such a life-changing, transformative experience for me. Denmark is a small country and Copenhagen, the capital, is home to over 602,000 of them. Adjusting to life in another country is much easier in a city with the size and excitement of Copenhagen. In Copenhagen, there are many neighborhoods with different vibes and attractions. The main city center has luxury shopping, historic castles, and the famous Nyhavn. Nørrebro and the Meatpacking District are the younger, more diverse neighborhoods with beautiful parks and hip restaurants. My university has buildings spread across the Fredriksberg, a residential neighborhood. The city is divided by canals and is extremely bike-friendly; It is said that there are more bikes than people here. Though it was intimidating at first, I now love biking around with no place more than a 30 minute bike ride. Copenhagen also has an efficient metro system that runs 24hrs a day and is incredibly clean and reliable.

My favorite thing about Denmark is the people. I soon learned that Danes are polite, giving, warm and silly. They love to use the term hygge, have impeccable English, and love their beer. I live in a dorm with mainly Danish students and have found it to be the biggest blessing of the semester so far; I get to live alongside Danes and experience their culture firsthand. Danes are known for their Scandinavian style featuring cozy layers, minimalist pieces, sneakers, and lots of black. Denmark is governed by a sort of unspoken law called Janteloven or Jante’s Law. The main aspect of this law is, “You are not to think you are anything special.” Though this sounds dark, it is actually a beautiful aspect of Danish life. The best example is how you will see a CEO biking to work just like everyone else. It promotes generosity and humility like nothing I’ve ever seen.

My university in Denmark has really impressed me! Copenhagen Business School is one of the most prestigious business schools in Europe and is very globally-focused. Before I arrived, I had my classes and schedule already laid out. My only complaint is that my class schedule varies in time and location by week. I am enrolled in 4 classes, 2 in Quarter 1, 1 in Quarter 2 and 1 for the full semester. My classes are engaging and taught from a different perspective. My professors are experts in their field and are from all over the world from London to Singapore. I don’t have many assignments, but lots of textbook reading and case studies.

I’m really excited for the next 3 months of living here and I’m so glad I chose Copenhagen to study for the semester!

Categories: 2019, Denmark, Reciprocal Exchange

“If his destiny be strange, it is also sublime.” Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

There are many things to be said about emerging oneself in a culture abroad. New, wondrous experiences emerge as striking and surreal all at once. Upon my arrival in Milano a mere four weeks ago, I found myself in the unreal state of the weary traveler. Alone, I was an unrefined American in a metropolis devoted to luxury style. There I stood, at the Piazza del Duomo, surrounded by metropolitan men clad in suits and suspenders, and women boasting Gucci, Prada, and Bottega Veneta. I helplessly hassled three duffel bags, desperately directing myself towards the Universita Bocconi Residence, a whole five miles south of the city center. Throughout this ever-mesmerizing experience of wonder and confusion, I found myself to be completely lost. Lost in direction, lost in translation, and somewhat lost in mind. It what could be considered the longest (and heaviest) two hours of my life, I eventually found my way to the place I would soon call home. However, upon arrival at the Residence, my luck began to change, and my disastrous delirium would soon began fade away.

When I arrived at the student residency, I began to feel the same sense of angst and dread I first felt when having checked in to my freshman-year dorm a whole two years ago. While that sense of unease didn’t dissipate all at once, I slowly began to find that everyone else was in the same boat. As general introductions went around, the evening grew more and more lively. Before midnight, the air was filled with auras of food, fellowship, and a fond excitement for the months to come. If there is anything to be said for the international student community, is that it is a social one. Where once I felt like a strange at the table, I am now almost always greeted with open arms and a smile amongst the Bocconi International crowd. Ironically enough, despite having come to Italy, it appears that most of my companions are from the Netherlands. The Dutch students have welcomed me into their circle, with a hearty European embrace. I look forward to building upon these friendships, and developing new ones. So that one day, when I found myself in Europe once more, I will be able to share a meal with the colleagues and companions I have grown to love here.

Though I do enjoy the social scene here at Bocconi, it would not be proper to leave the education portion out of this entry. Universita Bocconi is an excellent institution, which I have found to not only provide an excellent business curriculum, but a distinct, rich cultural education. Through courses such as Management of Fashion Companies, and Competitive Strategies for Creative Industries, I am able to integrate business frameworks and mindsets into the creative, colorful endeavors. It also helps that Milan is a cultural capital of fashion, design, luxury, and art. That being said, I can think of no better place to fully immerse oneself in creative industries. Just this week, Milan Fashion Week held a runway show on campus, which drew the attention of fashion-forward students from all corners of Bocconi. In addition to creative company management, I am able to get my art fix as well. Through Philosophy of Art and Critical Approaches to the Art, I have gained insight into what truly constitutes art, and how I can better myself as an artist and aesthete. If there is any advice to be given to those reading this and thinking about spending a semester abroad: definitely save your international and general electives for the REEP exchange. It is definitely worthwhile.

One would certainly not be able to talk about Europe without mentioning travel. In the words of famed rapper Logic, “I never knew that living out a dream, meant living outta suitcase.” This statement holds true in more ways than one, and I wholeheartedly feel that a European education would be incomplete without taking a train to an unknown land. In the short time I have been in Italy, I have sunbathed on the shores of Lake Como, climbed the mountains of Corgnilia, and taken in the sunset while writing poetry in Manarola. When studying in Milan, these exotic destinations are never more than two hours away, and weekly escapes to the unknown are certainly not uncommon. However, these desirable destinations are incomplete without a fruitful fellowship to share it with. So I strongly urge those who study abroad to travel far and wide, to the corners of the earth they most desire, because true beauty lies just beyond the boundaries of one’s comfort.

In many ways than one I do still feel like the weary traveler. Like a sailor, tossed by the tides yet softened by the sands, I ride this journey into the opportunities and treasures it may unfold. I am thankful for a cultural education, for experiencing art in action and exposing me to new truths I may find along the way. However, more than anything, I am thankful for the good people, and true citizens of the world that have welcomed this stranger at their table, to dine with hearth and comradery, for new adventure on the Mediterranean horizon.

 

Categories: 2019, Italy, Reciprocal Exchange

Well it has been about three weeks since arriving here in Madrid, and I have already learned and experienced so much in that short time. It took quite a bit of adjustment at the beginning to get used to the different lifestyle here in Spain. For example, I figured that I would easily be able to acclimate to the laid back, relaxed Spanish lifestyle, however, it was easier said than done when I was trying to locate my lost luggage and make sure I would be able to register for classes and the Spanish approach to communication is very different from America in that they take their time to respond. Yet at the same time it is very refreshing to live in a place where there isn’t much sense of rush or urgency because it allows you to really be present in the moment and enjoy time with friends, which is something I especially value while studying abroad because we have such a limited amount of time here.

As for Madrid, it’s very cool because it is so diverse. Each neighborhood and area of the city is different and has its own character.  Chamberi is a quieter more urban feel but take the metro to somewhere like Sol or Gran Via and then you’re surrounded by old timey architecture and restaurants and shops galore! Speaking of the metro, it’s great because it keeps the city very connected and is very easy to navigate, however, sometimes it’s disorienting because after taking the metro you just pop out of the ground somewhere and so I am never able to get my general geographic bearings in relation to the rest of the city. It’s fun to just walk around though also because you could turn a corner and feel like you’re in a completely different city because the architecture is different or the quiet cobblestone street you were walking on has turned in to a bustling city center. I wasn’t expecting Madrid to feel so modern but it is a really cool mix between contemporary city life and old town Europe.

My favorite part of Madrid by far though, definitely has to be the fashion! The young people are so stylish and make it look so casual and effortless all the time. I love how they wear sneakers with everything from boyfriend jeans and an over sized sweater to a beautiful long sundress and that everything is platform: sandals, converse, even Birkenstocks! Both trends are such fun ways to spice up an outfit but still be comfortable. Not only are their clothing choices effortlessly chic but their hair and makeup are as well, the style here is all very natural looking. Most young women here wear their very long hair down and in its natural style and pair it with very simple demure makeup if any.

After a week and a half of spending our days exploring Madrid and adjusting to the Spanish lifestyle school finally started. At UC3M international exchange students don’t register for their classes until they get there so two days before classes officially started we used an online registration system to sign up for our classes and the nice part is Non Eu exchange students can sign up for pretty much any course regardless of major or year, the tricky part was making your schedule because the classes are not blocked like A&M where they have Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes and Tuesday-Thursday classes, here one class might be Monday-Tuesday and another Tuesday-Friday. However, after a week of trying out different courses and adding and dropping I finally figured out a schedule that I liked. Another thing we had to figure out in regards to school was our commute. My roommates and I live in the center of Madrid and UC3M is located in Getafe which is technically a city on the outskirts of Madrid so it takes a 15 minute metro ride and a 30 minute train to get to the campus and the first time we tried to get there we took the train the wrong direction and had to call an uber in order to make it to our class on time. Now I have come to enjoy my morning and afternoon commutes as I often spend it listening to music or reading a book. I also really like the UC3M campus in Getafe! For our orientation we had to go the UC3M Leganes campus and though it was nice it was tiny and the Getafe campus is not large by any means especially compared to A&M but it is very pretty with red roofed buildings and numerous courtyards covered by trees where there are always students hanging out passing the time between classes.

In closing, Madrid has been full of surprises and I can’t wait to see what else this city and this country have in store for us we continue to explore and experience its rich culture throughout the rest of the semester.

 

 

The Royal Palace of Madrid

Categories: 2019, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain

Moving half-way across the world should be a piece of cake right? Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. Howdy, my name is Ashley Jones I am a Junior Marketing major at Mays and I’m currently participating in the BEM academic year-long exchange with EM-Strasbourg Business school in Strasbourg France.

“You’re studying abroad for a whole year?! Like, two semesters?!?”

That was probably the most common response I got when I told people I was going abroad. The concept of an academic year-long exchange seems daunting (because who would dare miss an Aggie football season) but it’s already proved to be such a blessing. There’s so much work and preparation that goes into a long-term exchange, both physical and mental. There’s countless stacks of paperwork required to get here, and even more, once you arrive; The class schedules are different and confusing to get used to, and on top of it all, everyone around you speaks a different language. Culture shock is a real thing and can take its toll if you aren’t ready for it. The fact that I moved to France for a year, knowing absolutely no french, was probably a crazy idea on my part. This doesn’t sound like a transition that anyone would willingly walk into, but the reward is so worth it. Even though it’s only been a month, I feel like I’ve lived here for so much longer because this beautiful and welcoming city has become so familiar.

Classes still haven’t officially started (so I’ve basically had the longest summer break ever but I’m not upset about it), and yet I’ve learned so much already. I was able to meet people through the orientation process that have instantly become some of the greatest friends. Through simple conversations about our lives at home compared to life here, I’ve been exposed to alternative mindsets based on cultural upbringing that has influenced my perspective on societal differences. All these people coming from different places and families have now been put in one melting pot together, and just talking about how different life is for them has taught me that there is more out there than what we think we know. My cultural mindset has already been expanded to be a broader mindset, and that alone has been one of the best lessons study abroad could teach me.

Europe has such a different way of life. It’s been much more laid back than what I’m used to in The States, but it’s been a healthy adjustment for me. Learning to be more “go with the flow” and having comfort in a flexible schedule is an important trait to bring into any future career. Whether it’s traveling across country borders or figuring out the local public transportation, Europe has already been such a positive influence by broadening what I knew to be normal. I hope that with continued exposure to this way of life, I can bring that new appreciation back to my American everyday life.

Strasbourg is a beautiful picturesque city that I am so blessed to live in. France is a wonderful country full of so much history and culture that I fall more in love with it every day. When I first started college I was encouraged by a peer to make time to step back and reflect on life every now and then, and I’m so glad they taught me how to do so. No matter where you reside, personal reflection is the best way to accomplish intentional growth. While I am abroad in this amazing place, I hope to continue reflecting on all of these experiences so that I can continue to grow into the best version of myself.

If I’ve already learned this much in a month, I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year holds.

Categories: 2019, France, Reciprocal Exchange

Howdy!!

My name is Sophie Blaskovich! I’m currently in the BEM reciprocal exchange program at EM Strasbourg Business School, in Strasbourg, France. I’ve been living in France for nearly a month now, and it has been nothing less than an adventure!! I was very apprehensive before departing the United States. Not necessarily because of the culture change, but because of how long I would be away for. My program duration is two semesters, meaning I would be away for basically an entire year. Luckily, my friend from A&M was doing the exchange along with me, but I still felt as though I was completely starting over with my relationships. However, it amazes me how quickly my mindset has changed. Strasbourg already feels like home.

Upon arriving, I was amazed at the beauty of this city!! Everything here is so picturesque, the buildings with their beautiful colors, the river, the bridges, and all the gorgeous churches! I chose to live in an apartment right by the business school. There were housing options through my school, but I chose to use a website called Appartager.com to find my apartment. Personally, I love my place. I live with my friend Ashley, as well as two other random roommates. One of them is from Germany while the other is from Ireland!! We have our own rooms, a shared bathroom, a full kitchen, and an outside patio!! However, if you’re looking for a cheaper option, I know there are some good options for the school housing. Also, there’s an Ikea in town, so don’t worry if you can’t squeeze everything into your suitcase!!

As soon as the orientation week started, Ashley and I were able to meet tons of people! In fact, we met most of our close friends, on the first day of orientation. But my favorite part about orientation was simply being surrounded by students from all over the world. Everyone comes from different cultures and backgrounds, so it’s been so enjoyable interacting with them and discovering what we have in common as well as the differences between us! The common language among the international students is English, but still try and work on your French! It will help you out around town a bunch. The international organization at EM makes it very easy for you to meet people. They always host events; you just need to join the Facebook group to find out about them.

My classes haven’t started yet, but from what I can tell, the school system here is very different to A&M. Overall, the lifestyle in France is a lot more laid back, so the university just seems less structured and organized than what we’re used to. Class schedules can change weekly. My classes typically meet once a week for three hours each, but the time and room the class is held in varies. The exams are rarely multiple-choice, rather they are written argument exams. Everything is graded on a 0-20 scale. Receiving a 10 is passing, but a 14 is apparently an excellent job. The international office explained this by saying “No argument is perfect. We value good arguments but acknowledge that there’s always room for improvement.” Therefore, receiving an 18-20 is practically unheard of.

Now, most importantly, I thought I’d share some information on traveling!! Since arriving I’ve already been able to visit Lyon, France; Heidelberg, Germany; Basel, Switzerland; and Prague, Czechoslovakia! I’ve found that the easiest/cheapest way to get around is using Flixbus. But also check Omio to compare bus, train, and flight prices. There are endless travel opportunities here, take advantage of them!! But don’t forget to discover your own city. Strasbourg is a large city and can be confusing to navigate at first, but it holds countless treasures. There are boulangeries and cafés at every corner! I recommend getting a bus/tram pass, but walking is still very popular.

I’ve only been in Strasbourg a month, but I’ve already seen so much change in myself. This experience has been rewarding, pushing me out of my comfort zone, and allowing me to discover new levels of independence. It is key to make friends on your time abroad to prevent you from feeling lonely. The best advice I can give you, is to say yes! Go out with people, take trips, form relationships! Remember everyone is in your same situation.

Thank you for reading my blog and sharing in this experience with me! If you’re going abroad, I hope I was able to help you out some! I’m greatly looking forward to the rest of my time here!! Feel free to contact me if you ever have any questions about Strasbourg!

Bonne journée,

Sophie Blaskovich

sophiablaskovich@tamu.edu

Categories: 2019, France, Reciprocal Exchange

Throughout these past six months abroad, I have learned and experienced so much. Despite the cold in the early months of the year, I loved everything about the area of Copenhagen, Denmark. I do not think I could have made a better choice in location for this exchange semester. The atmosphere of Copenhagen is that of a city however lacks all the negatives of chaos and crowding due to its small population. Danes tend to mind their own business and keep to themselves yet, when approached, they are still friendly and easy to interact with. This is especially true because most, if not all the younger generations, speak fluent English along with their native language. Overall, 10/10 would recommend studying abroad in Copenhagen.

Abroad I took 4 classes, 12 credit hours: principles of international marketing, consumer behavior and qualitative methods, global supply chain management, and operations management – enhancing competitiveness through operational effectiveness. With these courses I learned the very basics of marketing strategies used in an international/ global setting, how to collect and interpret qualitative data as opposed to quantitative data, and the basics of supply chains and what it takes to manage them.

One thing I learned about business in Denmark, specifically, is that importing products is critical to Danish businesses and almost unavoidable in most cases. That being said, it is easy to understand the high tax rates I encountered even when shopping for common items like groceries and other living essentials. As well, relating to the classes I took, I learned how absolutely important logistics managers are in Denmark businesses. They have to coordinate the movements of all parts and products in the supply chain which is even more complex when trade rates and laws get involved. However, a positive for Danish businesses is that the rest of Europe is lucrative and very close in proximity so trading is not as much of a nuisance as it could be.

In the end, I probably would not enjoy doing business in Denmark but it is definitely a cool place to learn about and I work recommend anyone to study abroad there. Below I have attached a couple pictures from the end of my trip:

Categories: 2019, Denmark, Reciprocal Exchange

“Tudo bem” is a standard greeting here in Brazil. It means “Is everything good?” In the couple of weeks since I landed in Brazil, for the second time, everything is good. I was lucky enough to see Brazil for the first time during a Texas A&M lead travel abroad and I instantly fell in love with the people, the culture, and the scenery in Brazil. I knew before boarding that flight back home to Texas that I would be back.

Traveling abroad and studying abroad for an exchange program have been completely different experiences for me. Finding housing, learning transportation, and adapting to a new “normal” are a unique part of this experience. Due to choosing a university that does not have on-campus living, finding housing was perhaps the most stressful part of my exchange. Being open and engaging with other students from around the world made the difference and I was easily able to find a place that I felt really was a home. My new “normal” involves taking the subway to class four days a week to a classroom where teachers ask you about your weekend and how you are doing before they will start the lesson. Brazil is a very open country, and everyone you meet is instantly a friend. It reminds me of the hospitality of Texas. Even with the language barrier, many are patient as I try to speak Portuguese and often help me learn. Another new “normal” for me is weekend adventures with friends to beaches, restaurants, and other cities close by. We have also planned trips to surrounding countries and are able to stay with friends we have met along the way.

While I miss hearing “Howdy,” life here in Brazil “tudo bem!”

Categories: 2019, Brazil, Reciprocal Exchange