Category Archives: Study abroad

European Club Music, Spring 2009

I realized also, that lists are very helpful in organizing my thoughts. And I would assume they are easier and thus more fun to read…so here is a list of the most popular European songs of 2009 Spring Semester:
1. Infinity 2008 (Guru Josh Project)
2. Calle Ocho/I know you want me (Pit bull)
3. Love, sex, American express (Cristian Marchi ft. Dr.Feelx)
4. Show me love (Robyn/House 2008)

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Guess Who’s Backkkkkkk!!

Ok, so I have been waaaaaay overdue for another post on this baby. The thing is, after Spain – things moved so quickly, I didn’t even realize that my time in Europe is coming to an end! And not to mention, I haven’t had the time to document my adventures here!!!
Well, I have my work cut out for me, as I am as determined as ever to get my stories out there. Names may be modified, to protect the namees, but the stories will get told!!!!!!!!
So just to catch up, I left Salamanca onto Paris!!! And after an amazing 5 weeks there (although I can’t say they weren’t a challenging 5!), I flew to Rome, to meet up with other groups of people, and make many new acquaintances and friends! I had 2 visitors, 1 in each country, and everyone else was envious!! Hahahahah…no, it was really nice, and I can’t wait to write in detail about my experiences!!!!!!!!!
From here on, each post will go in chronological order.
But before I do, I realized a few things about this trip. Here is a list of just some of them:
1. This was a great dorming experience for me, since I commute to college back home rather than live on campus. I got to meet so many new people this way, and got the “real college experience.”
2. It is so convenient to roll out of bed and have class right downstairs in the same building, as I did in Paris and Rome.
3. When you live with people, or when you are just in close contact, you pick up their habits and sayings, for good or for bad. For example, ever since my friend pointed it out, I realized the group of us uses the same phrases over and over. These are: “I feel like…(the less assertive hint that you want to do something, but don’t know how to break it to the rest of the group; the sneaky way to introduce a new idea; used when one is unsure about his/her feelings…really, I feel like a variety of uses can be pinned on this phrase…no pun intended =])”; “Really? (used when you are sarcastically/rhetorically asking your partner in conversation about the fact that something really did just happen. and you can’t get over it.)”; “I’ve got/she’s got/he’s got (maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never heard these phrases used as much as kids here use it…usually I hear ‘I have, she has’..etc..but like I said it could just be me..)”…
Then you have the list of phrases from each country:
Spain:
“Hola” “Hasta luego!” –Hello, and See you later!! Never goodbye, always later!!
France:
“Bon jour” “Sil vous plait” “Merci!” –Hello, please and thank you – a must in the very polite conversation the French expect.
Italy:
“Ciao (both hi and bye)”; “Ciao, bella! (Pickup line/ regular greeting)”; “Pronto (when answering the phone)”…
Yes you pick up a lot when in a dorm, and especially when in foreign countries!!!

Flying over Italy
Flying over Italy

4. Some things never change. Instead of studying for my huge final in A&P (Anatomy and Physiology) that is tomorrow (!!!!!), I have chosen this moment to finally catch up on my blog. Way to be productive. I am leaving Rome in less than 5 days, and I spent the last 2 days inside, NOT studying. FML. Oh, and that’s another favorite phrase of study abroad, to top my list off (Check out FML =])..Ciao!!!

Hello BCN!

Yesterday was hilarious; the Spanish had a carnaval/feast, where everyone goes out n dresses up; kind of like our Halloween. So the university kids gave us a real show. a group of guys dressed up like ALI G, put on matchin yellow pants+ shirt, wrote WESTSIDE and RESPECT on the shirts, and decorated it wit other phrases like that…put on tight hats n sunglasses, and drew beards like him!!!!!!!! And a group of girls also dressed up in matching outfits, wearing black shorts and tights, and butterfly antennas & wings. It was really cute. They all went out together, while my roommate and I watched from the balcony because we had to get up early for our test the next day :(…

Well back to Barcelona, it was really nice! We caught great weather there, went to the Picasso museum, walked along the main street La Rambla, which was amazing, and shopped for souveneirs and had icecream and hot chocolate, and ate paella both days. It finally satisfied my authentic paella craving, having it both days for lunch . It was so filling we didn’t even have dinner. Then we stayed at a hostel, for the first time, called Hello BCN!. The rooms had 2 bunkbeds each, and the bathrooms were clean. The downstairs had a lounge feel, some comp wit internet access in one corner, a bar in another corner, and a whole section wit couches chairs n low tables, to chill and/or eat. They had vending machines and a foldout table tennis also. There was a kitchen in the back where you can store things in the fridge or cook for yourself; tea was free and breakfast was included. La Rambla view by the portThe second day we went to this amazing park – parque de Guelle, and checked out the beach, and walked around. the magic fountain was unfortunately closed (we found out the hard way lol)…but we still made the best of 2 days there, and took overnight trains there and back. That was an adventure, but we had good company n no one complained, even when we were getting lost and hungry..after food our mood always lifted =]]]

Magical Alcazar

Ooh, before I forget. I wanted to put in this beautiful, almost magical piece of history in my blog. Last week we travelled all the way to Segovia, about 3 hours from here, by bus. My roommate and I had to run and catch the bus, because we are always late, but that’s another story.
Anyway, this town Segovia is the home of the castle, which inspired the castles is the Walt Disney cartoons! Alcazar de SegoviaWe got a whole tour of it, and it was just amazing to be there. The ceilings are so much better in real life than on pictures; the space is enormous, the view is gorgeous. It was a little chilly, even inside; and the way to the top of the castle was LONG, on a winding twisted staircase – but it was so worth going. The view at the top was breathtaking, though windy =]
Stained glass window

25 things…and more

Hey, guys. Thanks for the comments by the way. I’m glad someone finds these things interesting…Anyway I haven’t been writing because I was in Barcelona for the weekend!!!!!!!!!! It was soo amazing! As soon as my internet gets a little speedier, I will write all about it and post pics. Until then, I will be unwinding from the drama of being a student far away from home, traveling all over, and having to deal with other people’s drama (mainly other students’, and yes, for the first time, having a roommate)..
Anyway, there’s this note thing going around of Facebook. Since I finally got around to writing mine, I figure I’ll just post it here..Enjoy, if you’re interested….
1. Well I guess I should write one of these too, since I’ve been tagged in a bunch of these, and have enjoyed reading them =]…I choose to write this now b/c it is better than studying for biochem..
2. Currently I am in my dorm room in Salamanca, Spain, where I am studying abroad for the semester.
3. I am beginning to realize that it is difficult to manage your time and satisfy your desires, no matter where you are in the world. I thought I would have more time to focus on school and art, and myself, but I am constantly being pulled in every direction…and the last thing I want to do is study, on this study abroad in Europe trip..
4. This leads to my indecisiveness. I’ve noticed that my idea of happiness comes from pleasing the people around me; therefore maybe I don’t really know what happiness is for me. I have trouble making decisions such as what my outfit of the day will be, let alone big decisions like going abroad.
5. But here I am, and now that I’m here I’m missing my life back home. 6. I’m glad to hear that my world can go on without me, since technically I’m the one who left it there; but I am secretly jealous that I’m not there to share all that is happening there. People are having birthdays, parties, celebrations, and even the not so pleasant experiences of drama and pain…but I can’t be there as an active participant or a shoulder to lean on.
7. Hence, I wish I can be in two places at once.
8. I also wish that I could go back in time…but I don’t know if I would want to change anything. I think “The Butterfly Effect” is real, and I wouldn’t want to mess with the way things have folded out.
9. Besides, one of my strongest beliefs is that everything happens for a reason. I guess this saying fulfills the role that religion plays. If you believe this, you can get through anything. And you can look at your past not as a series of mistakes, but as a series of lessons.
10. The important thing is to actually learn from these lessons. I would not be the person I am today without making mistakes and being hurt, but also forgiving myself and moving on.
11. I just realized that this list is turning into a long life novel about abstract concepts that I have contemplated about my own life. I guess I’m just not a concise writer, nor am I an open book. Although after this note you will learn quite a lot about me….
12. My parents are my proof that true love exists, and I’m so happy that they have found each other, and am amazed in how compatible they are (knock on wood)..and that they can still stand each other, at times ❤
13. My sister is the one person who will always understand me no matter what, and whom I trust with anything… it’s what big sisters are for, and she taught me so much.
14. What first attracted me to a certain playa-playa  is his total disregard for socially accepted behavior, and his ability to make me laugh, anytime. This is also why he gets away with so much, because I just can’t stay mad.
15. Dance is my release for the emotions I can’t express, and it can always make me feel better.
16. I love my dance group and my dance teacher…and in the end, I secretly enjoy all the crappy concerts I complain about, looking back at them later.
17. Time heals all wounds.
18. Music is the answer to everything; it is a universal language; it is inspired by love and inspires love; and is the absolutely necessary component to dance.
19. I don’t want to ever forget people and events in my life, and try to keep in touch with anyone who wants to do the same. It’s difficult to keep people in your life, but it’s possible if you put in the effort.
20. I’m happy I chose St. John’s.
21. When I get back, I want all the car gossip that I missed out on.
22. Some people don’t seem to get what they deserve; then again, some people try to judge what they can’t.
23. People ALWAYS want what they CAN’T have though, that’s for sure.
24. I don’t really know which culture to associate myself with, but I’m happy that due to my background I can see things from a lot of perspectives.
25. It’s not where you go, it’s who you go with. Yes, I am one to talk, right…but better to learn now than never. I wish everyone can find someone to walk their path with them, yet who would be understanding of your individuality.

Pupsik & I

Que pequeno es el Mundo!

How small the world is! (literal translation haha)
So, clearly I’m in Spain now, half across the world from NYC. But even so, the 6 degrees of separation, and all those sorts of theories prove true. I have found out (via Facebook) that my classmate from High School is currently studying abroad in Madrid! And so, when our whole group decided to visit Madrid, 2 hrs 45 mins away from Salamanca by train, I called her up. Who would’ve thought that 2 people who didn’t keep in touch much in their hometown, would bond in a foreign country?
That same day in Madrid, one of the other girls was looking at some local artists’ work outside of Museo del Prado. As she starts looking at this one guy’s paintings, he realizes she talks in English, so they chat for a little bit. She compliments him on his English, which is when he reveals that he is from New York – from Brooklyn, no less, like me! Not to mention, the girl herself grew up in Sheepshead Bay, and apparently, the artist is from Brightom Beach, Bay 2!!! Coincidence? You can say that! Later, when the group of us found a place to eat around the museum (mind you, it was probably the grimiest place we could have chosen, but at least it was cozy…) – in comes the artist, to get a coffee to go!! He commented on how out of all the places, we found this spot, I believed he called it “this hole”! Heh, good times…
Now a little about my living situation. The 38 of us from St. John’s University are living in the dorms with the Spanish students attending the University of Salamanca (one of the 4 oldest Universities in all of Europe! I went on the tour, where we saw the ancient classrooms, from the 16th century!). University facade
Anyway, we are dispersed among the locals, and eat with them in the cafeteria. My roommate and I have actually made a few Spanish friends, one of whom is from Portugal, and speaks English really well. So anyway, we are talking with him, and it turns out that his best friend in Portugal is from Moldova, just like another boy in our study abroad group! When he heard that I’m originally from Ukraine, right next door to Moldova, the Portuguese boy was shocked. “So who is American, then?” he asked..I guess American is a broad interpretation…
Entonces, ves que el mundo es muy pequeno, no?

Por favor, quiero sol y calor!!

Those of you who are Spanish-savvy will entender lo que yo digo. Let there be sun! Let there be warmth!! Yes, when in doubt, talk/write about the weather ladies and gentlemen, because it is a great topic to converse and write about. Mostly, it is a topic to complain about, because it is self-explanatory that the human species is never satisfied, and will always find something more to desire.
But seriously, where is the sun that Spain is so famous for? The one winter that I come to study abroad here, it is the coldest winter they’ve ever had!! All of those people envious of us study-abroaders – be happy, because the weather here is almost as miserable as back home, in NY. It has been rainy, windy, and slushy. It has snowed once, and hailed more times than I’ve seen in a lifetime. Ok, it’s not deathly and not even that big of a deal, but the weather can surely put a damper on one’s mood – no pun intended. Haha. NOT.
Well the point is, it’s February 1st. The 1st of many sunny days to come, I hope. If yesterday, the end of January, was any indicator to how the rest of my time in Spain is going to go, then I would gladly accept!
Yesterday, a group of us – 11 students (10 girls, 1 guy – good odd’s, no?) went to Madrid!! It was soo beautiful there, I fell in love! The park on the way to El Paseo del Prado was muy bonito! The Museo del Prado was also amazing, we didn’t even walk through the whole thing. The weather was gorgeous – sunny, although it was brisk..Well we truly enjoyed it, and with such a big group I’m happy to report that no one got significantly lost or separated from everyone else. So February: you have a lot to compete with. May you be as successful as promised by the way January ended (but not began)..!!!!!!
P.S. El mundo es muy pequeno; voy a explicarlo en mi proximo carta…XOXO
P.P.S. Aqui estan unas fotos mias: Parque
Estatue de caballo y guerrero
Puerta del Sol