Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Final Blog !

1.     How have you changed as a person after studying abroad?
I am way more understanding of how difficult it is moving from a place where you’re so familiar with everything to somewhere where pretty much everything is new to you. I respect the fact that many foreigners come to America and adapt to the American culture very well. I’ve become more aware of my surroundings just because being in Rome for 4+ months made me that way. I was constantly checking around myself to make sure I had everything and that something suspicious wasn’t going on around me. I’ve always been open minded to learning about new cultures but this just made me want to travel everywhere and not just learn about the culture but to understand their way of living and why they do certain things.
2.     What self-discovery surprised you?
The self-discovery that surprised me was that I love my personal space. I am not the only child so the only personal space I’ve ever had was my own room everything else was shared with my older sister. Being away for four months and having the share a room with someone who I didn’t completely know at the time made me miss being at home being able to blast my music in my room anytime I wanted to, leave the light on as long as I want. Just the small things such as those made me realize how much I missed personal space. Another thing that made me realize how much I love having personal space is how the Italians didn’t have a sense of personal space. I would be on the tram and there would be plenty of room for someone to get by but as he/she walks by they bump me but do not say sorry. I was so used to being in America where if someone accidentally bumps you they automatically say “excuse me” or “I’m sorry”. But over in Rome, incidents like that really aren’t worth apologizing because that is what they are used to. It is not considered rude to them, as it would be to majority of us in the United States.
3.     If you took courses in your major; how has studying abroad impacted your understanding of your major?
I did take a Managerial Accounting course while studying abroad. It really did not have an impact on the understanding of my major because it was international things that we had already been taught by Carlow.
4.     Single greatest benefit of studying abroad?
Being able to experience several new cultures alone. Well not necessarily alone but without my family. Everything is always done with my family and for me to get an opportunity to travel the world independently just shows me how much I have grown over the years in College. I am extremely thankful for being able to learn about different cultures throughout Europe at a cheaper cost because traveling wasn’t as expensive as it was in America.
5.     How did your life goals change?
My life goals changed because now I want to travel everywhere. I want to hit a different country every year and have the ability to adapt to a new culture each time I step foot into a new country. I also plan on sometime moving out of America into a European country because it is a different world than being in the United States and living in Rome made me realize that.
6.     What was your favorite experience?
My favorite experience was traveling throughout Greece for Spring Break. We booked a trip with Bus2Alps where they took us to many different locations in Greece within 9 days. I enjoyed every stop that we made but I loved Santorini the most. The place was beautiful and every building on the island was white. It just gave the town a sense of peace to me. It was indeed a very peaceful place to be and the people were very nice and happy to see us tourists.
7.     Any advice for future participants?
My advice is to do a lot of traveling while you are abroad in Europe. It is affordable traveling and worth it. Also learn the countries language before you are abroad there. It will help you get a better/easier experience because you wont be so focused on learning their language while you’re there. One last thing is DO NOT spend all of your money while abroad partying. I understand partying in a different culture is fun but do other things such as the movies or going to a local show to keep you entertained as well.
8.     Would you study abroad again?   Why?
Yes I would because it was the best experience that I’ve had. I loved being independent and living in another country and managing. I also loved being able to study at a different university and seeing how they do things differently than they do at Carlow. I would probably go to a more exotic place so I could always have fresh seafood(one of my favorites). Also as I said before I love experiencing new cultures and studying abroad would give me another chance to do so.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania vs. Rome, Italy

Of course there are plenty of differences between the two cities, so I've decided to write about the differences 

Pittsburgh : 
1. Stores stay open til around 10-12 pm on a daily basis (beside Sunday) 
2. There are many different fast food restaurants & regular ones for you to eat at. 
3. When using public transportation you have to show the bus/trolly driver your bus pass/ticket. 
4. There are no quiet hours in your home made by the law. 
5. I have service EVERYWHERE ! 
6. The people know that there is a thing called "personal space". 
7. Majority of the licensed drivers will not ride your bumper the whole time they are behind you. In other words, we can drive. 
8. Majority of the places you eat or shop at have the option for you to pay with credit. & with food places you can split the tab. 
9.  Public transportation buses get filled to capacity & don't let anyone else on until there is room. 
10. We have dryers !!!! We can dry our clothes that we washed in a dryer, not on a line outside. 

Rome :
1. If you're ever craving pizza you will not have a problem finding a pizzeria. 
2. You can get your ears pierced in the farmacia. 
3. There is no school on Fridays ! 
4. There a night buses that you can catch that run past 12 am. 
5. It is very hard to find tequila in any liquor store or bar. 
6. VIP's pizza , a pizzeria where I go after I go out at night. They have some of the best Italian pizza that I have ever tasted. 
7. Piazza Venezia. A big white building that was built for the soldiers in Rome. It's beautiful, Pittsburgh has nothing like it. 
8. The shopping center in rome is one big strip. Majority of the stores are in the same area. 
9. Their apartments are like their houses. They spend thousands on an apartment like how we would on a house in Pittsburgh. 
10. Suppli , it's an Italian snack that they have come up with. It has rice, cheese , & pasta sauce in a deep fried ball. It's delicious. 

Those are just 10 differences between Rome & Pittsburgh. I'm pretty sure there are many other differences but these are the ones that came up in my head. But, there is a similarity between the two cities .. I will forever call both of these places my home. 

-Erin Hager

4 things I did in Amsterdam

1. Red Light District 
This is an area in amsterdam that it is famous for. During the day it is a nice place to shop & stop through the different kind of adult stores that they have in the area. The area comes alive at night time when the prostitutes come to work in their windows & the whole place is lit up red , hence RED light district. I was fascinated by the whole place because it was so bright and exciting. 
2. Heineken Experience 
This is a museum-like place where you can learn the history of Heineken & it's creators. You also get to see how the Heineken beer is made , get 3 free glasses of beer , & do a virtual ride where you are the beer & you get to go through the whole process of making and shipping the beer. What was really nice about this experience was that I got to make my own Heineken bottle with my name on the bottom of it. They had a very nice gift shop with many different things with the Heineken logo on it for you to buy. If you like beer or just are interested in knowing the history & how it is made then this is the place to be.  It costs €15 if you buy your ticket with the "hop on hop off bus tour" or €17 inside of the building 
3. Hop on Hop off Bus Tour
You get to do exactly what the name says , hop on and hop off. This bus takes you around amsterdam to about 11 different attractions & history spots. You can chose to stay on or hop off at the attraction that you want to see and then hop back on the next bus that comes around. This is good to do because it tells you the city's history , and also gives you transportation to some of the hottest attractions in Amsterdam. The price is around €18 for a 2 day pass which is a good price. This tour guides on the bus give you a map & head phones. With the map there are different coupons that you can use at some of the places in amsterdam. 
4. The infamous coffee shops 
Even if you do not smoke you should still stop at the various coffee shops in the red light district. You get to see the many different kinds that there are and their level of "stoned" that they can take you to. One thing bad about the coffee shops is that they're filled with smoke , and if you have asthma you probably won't do good in any coffee shop. 

Overall my trip to Amsterdam was great ! I would love to go back and hit all the attractions that I didn't get to see (Anne franks house due to the long line) and just to visit again. It was such a diverse city & reminded me of being back in the United States. Amsterdam is a really high tech & up to date city which was even better for me. It felt just like home. 

(OLD POST) Spring Break is Over

wrote on March 26, 2012

Sad to say that but my long 10 days of spring break is finally over. It feels like it went by so fast while traveling through Greece. I am happy to be back home (Rome) because I was tired of living out of my suit case everyday , it got old.

Anyways .. Let me tell you about the rest of my spring break that I already didn't mention on here ... After 2 days in Athens we left for Santorini. We had to catch a 8 hour ferry which felt like it took forever ! Of course we tried to keep ourselves occupied with a game of UNO. We we finally got to Santorini all I saw was mountains on top of mountains & a ton of white and blue beautiful buildings. Our hotel was a quick walk from where our buses let us off & was the best accommodation that we had on that trip. The shower was kind of small but it was better than the shower we had in Athens at the "easy access" hostel.
 Our first day we got there so late in the evening that all we got to do was eat and then we had to get dressed and go out. We ate at a small nice restaurant.. We only ate there because the man outside promoting the restaurant promised us a free glass of wine which was very good. After we ate we headed to a bar for happy hour called Murphy's. The DJ was very good, as well as the drinks.

Our next day in Santorini we took a bus tour around the city. We stopped at the black sand beach & the red sand beach. Both were phenomenal. We got to eat on the black sand beach at a very nice restaurant that our tour guide said in the summer it has at least a hour waiting time to be seated. We also went to a wine tasting place. The wine in Greece is very good, I like it better than Italian wine.

After our trips to the beaches and the winery it was about time to go see the sunset in Santorini. Me, Jenn , & Nathalie were tired so we decided to take a nap instead of going to see the sunset so we could be ready for the night.
That was pretty much our last full day in Santorini the next day we were heading back to Athens for a night then to back to Ancona, Italy .. Then finally back to Rome. Our ferry ride back to Italy was supposed to take 21 hour but it ended up taking us 26 hours. Then once we got back into Italy our bus wasn't there yet so we had to wait a extra 2 hours for our bus. We got back to Rome at 12 am and had to run for a bus to make sure we got home on time to get enough sleep for our class at 9 am.

Overall, my spring break was great. I got to see many different things that I probably wouldn't have saw if I didn't go on the Greece island hopping spring break trip with bus2alps. Now it's back to business & time to get my head back in the books.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Reporting LIVE from Athens, Greece !

YES I SAID ATHENS! Exciting right? Well it's our Spring Break, finally & my roommates & I booked a 10 day trip with Bus2Alp's called "Greece Island Hopping". We hit 3 different island's in a 10 day span. We are currently on island number 2, which is of course... Athens!  We just got here today & there's so much history to see. We took a bus tour around the city to see all the places that we want to visit tomorrow when we are fully rested.

The first place we hit during our Spring Break was called Corfu Island. We stayed in a hostel called the Pink Palace. It was all PINK (my favorite color). The hostel through a Pink Toga party where we had a blast! Here's a picture of me in my toga.

Pink Toga Party !
The next day we had a choice of riding a "Booze Cruise" on a pink ship that took us to a private island and to a bat cave to swim or to ride the ATV's through the island and pretty much sight see. We originally wanted to do the cruise but it was packed already so we rode the ATV's which was extremely fun BUT made me very sore. Here are some pictures from that adventure.
ATV ready.

Beautiful Beach.

That's pretty much my Spring Break for NOW ! I will hopefully update you guys when I get back to Rome with how it ended. Also I'm going to try to post about our trip to Venice & Barcelona.

...with love, 


Friday, February 17, 2012

Sick ...

Overall Rome has been an exciting experience so far! But I have bad news... I am SICK ! I've been sick for about 2 weeks now & I don't know how to get rid of this nasty cough that I have. There are days where the cough isn't as bad as it was before but then it goes right back to being bad the next day. I've been to the farmacia to get something for it but it doesn't seem like it is working !

Okay, enough about my cold! Let's talk about Rome so far. It's pretty much everything that I didn't expect! I was kind of scared to come over here because people were constantly warning me about pick pocketers and making sure you stuff does not get stolen! Now, I know I have to be aware of my surroundings and always make sure my belongings are safe but not once have I felt that I was in a bad place or I was going to get robbed.

The people here are extremely nice, some are aggressive but overall they are nice! There are a lot of people that speak English here so it makes it easier for me and my roommates to communicate and get around the city.

Tomorrow Jen, Nathalie, and I will be going on a day trip to Venice! It's supposed to be freezing I guess I have to put on extra layers. I hope to take a lot of pictures and upload them on this site but it's just hard to keep up with this blog & live in the exciting city of Rome !

TTYL.... from Rome ,
Erin ! <3

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Roma !

I've been here for 3 weeks now ! I love it! I've been meaning to write in my blog for a couple of days now but I always forgot. My roommates are Nathalie , Jennifer , Sarah , and Mary and I love them all. Our second week in Rome we went on a "neighborhood tour" that took us through the center of Rome where we got to see some Ruins, the Coliseum, the place where Caesar died (which is now a pet sanctuary) , and we also got to eat Gelato's. I'm hoping that we get to see more soon but I haven't adjusted to the time change yet.  I will try to post pictures later on this week !

-Erin Hager