I looove street music. Traveling around some of the big European cities, I’m always excited to see what sorts of music the street musicians play. Accordions in Italy, violins in Stockholm, and all the different kinds in Paris – they’re all so cool!
But some of my fave street music is from Copenhagen, Denmark….
When Lizzie over at Lucky Enough blog asked me to guest post a while back, I jumped at the chance! She writes a great blog about her study abroad adventures in Galway, Ireland, and other trips in Europe. I’m a fan of her blog and excited to take part in it : )
Click here to read the post answering the what, why, and wherefore of my choice to study abroad. And here’s a quick except:
As a kid, I grew up in a very, very small town in Alabama. I loved traveling and seeing new things, but I always daydreamed, when I was little, of really far-off, magical places like the stuff of my favorite childhood movies – Mary Poppins’ London, The Sound of Music’s Austria, or even Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood. In other words, the stage was always set for wanderlust.
This has been one of the most amazing times, and greatest of opportunities, of my life. I have absolutely loved my time spent abroad studying Germany and the European Union.
I had the great fortune to be able to travel to lots of different cities and countries this semester – sometimes with my study program and sometimes on my own. I spent so much time making all these great memories and the rest of my time cramming for school…. And sometimes, I didn’t get the chance to blog about it all.
SO! My plan for after I get to the US of A: finish blogging and fill in the gaps. There’s still a lot about study abroad and my experiences that I can’t wait to share with you guys! Stay tuned for….
It’s been finals week here in Freiburg, and I officially finished my last one today! It feels great to be done with all the exams, but my study abroad program still has one more big academic event….
The Model European Union Summit, 2011.
This weekend, all the students on my program are suiting up and stepping into character to represent EU member states in a simulation summit. We’re divided into two groups: Heads of Government and Foreign Ministers. And we’re all discussing hot topics facing Europe today, just like in the real EU.
I’m the foreign minister for Lithuania…
…and I’ll be talking about European Neighborhood Policy, European Enlargement, the new European External Action Service (EEAS), and Common Asylum/Refugee Policy.
Most of my time will be spent in this room:
It’ll be around 13 to 14 hours of debate, discussion, and compromise. The goal is to draft some legislation addressing those EU topics, but mostly we’re here to learn about the involved, complicated, and difficult process of meeting the needs of all European states.
Recycling in Germany can be precise. It took a while for me to get the hang of it, during which time I started collecting recyclables in my room….
The situation soon got desperate, and it was time to figure out German recycling. It’s especially important here in Freiburg, known for being one of the prominent ‘green’ European cities.
There’s lots of recycling bins outside the dorm. You’ve got your white glass, your brown glass, your green glass, and on the left is the bin for clothes/shoes/fabrics….
Then there’s another set of bins for your paper (Grüne Tonne, or “green bin”), plastics/metals (Gelber Sack, or “yellow bag”), and a catch-all for organic wastes and things that don’t fit in the other bins (Restmülltonne, or “waste bin”).
But the coolest thing about recycling in Germany: returning your bottles where you buy them. Turn your empty bottles back in to the cafes/markets/cafeteria where you bought them, and you’ll get your deposit back! (It’s been around .15-.25 euro cents everywhere I’ve gone).
I get a lot of bottles from the Penny-Markt near my dorm, and they have return machines to scan them….
…and you get a receipt in return to pay towards your next purchase!
The German recycling system is pretty complicated, but all the sorting and the deposit method for bottles really encourages the green initiative – Germany has one of the highest recycling rates in Europe and the world (Eurostat).
The weather is so nice this week in Freiburg! It’s inspiring me to take more walks. Although I usually hop on the tram in the mornings, I like to do the 30 minute walk back to my dorm after classes. I love the sights and smells of springtime Germany in the evening. : )
I’ve talked before about getting around Germany, where the train is definitely my go-to mode of transport. But sometimes I also get the chance to take buses on the autobahn, or German highway.
The interesting thing about the autobahn in the area where I live: no official, federal speed limit! Generally, the advice is to stay under 75 or 80 mph, but it’s a funny feeling never seeing a speed limit sign on the interstate.
Cool fact I learned: Germany has the third longest interstate in the world.
I love riding through the German countryside. And here in Baden-Württemberg, there are always mountains along the horizon in the distance. J’adore. : )