Post 6

For my 6th post I’d like to start to write a HEC how-to guide that I wish I had before coming here. There are about of things about HEC itself that I wish I knew earlier. The first thing is that HEC Paris is actually 1.5 hrs away from Paris by train and about 30 min by car. The cheapest way to get to the city is by the Savac shuttle (HEC only), but the hours can be weird. Next cheapest is the RER trains, uber pool is good if you are going with a friend, or uber x for bigger groups. There is also a HEC Facebook group, where you can request a ride, or respond to an offer for a few euros. Also, if you plan on traveling in Europe, don’t book a flight with Ryanair because it only leaves Paris from Beauvais, which is SUPER expensive and time-consuming to get to.

Final Post

My return home has not been as uncomfortable as I thought it would be. I have only been home 9 days but it feels like forever. I thought it would feel really weird to be home but it honestly has not. Besides being a bit bored, I’m not sure I have really processed the fact that I lived in Copenhagen for four months and now I am home. I think I am still experiencing the initial excitement of being home and seeing everyone I missed.

Copenhagen Blog 10

Having re-read my initial letter to myself, I look back contently on the semester, knowing that I mostly fulfilled the goals which I set out for myself prior to leaving. With the exception of wishing I had met more Danes, I think I surpassed most of my own expectations going in to the semester. Firstly, I challenged myself to meet new people with an open mind, not sticking to myself, but rather constantly searching for a new adventure or activity with different people. I was worried I would only remain friends with other UVa students, but I instead forged incredible bonds with other DIS students, going on trips all over Europe with them. Furthermore, I am glad knowing that these friendships won’t end with the end of the semester, as I already have plans to visit of few of these friends at Vanderbilt next semester.

Copehagen: Scratch that, New York City

My experience abroad has certainly changed me as a person. As I have outlined in my previous blogs, this experience has taught me to be more independent and has made me more adept at handling stressful/challenging situations. It has also made me more worldly. This comes not just as the result of having seen many countries, but because of the people and cultures therein. I recall my favorite trip to Morocco, where the most beautiful 3-climate zone vistas were contrasted by stark poverty. If you had asked me prior to going on this trip whether the people of that country were wealthy, I would have been able to tell you that they weren’t. However, there is something to actually seeing for yourself the conditions in which the rest of the world lives. In this way, my abroad experience has not so much changed my perspective on the world as it has developed it. Relaxing here in the U.S.A., I have a renewed sense of the blessing that I have been given.

Final Blog

Being back in the states I have already begun to miss my previous home for the past 4 months. I miss wandering around Malasana looking for a new restaurant. I miss hearing Spanish on the streets and conversing with people from a totally different culture. I miss going to a sports bar filled with passionate soccer fans knowledgeable about the team and the sport. Thinking about these things along with countless other make me nostalgic about my time abroad. At the same time being home has been amazing. I’ve been able to spend time with my family lounging on the couch watching stupid TV shows, cooking with my mom, and playing tennis with my dad. The familiarity of life back in Arlington is comforting and very relaxing and it really didn’t take much time at all to adjust.

Blog 9

As my time abroad came to an end I spent some time reflecting on my experience in Madrid.  I remember just a few weeks before my flight I had second thoughts about my decision to study abroad. Staying in Charlottesville would’ve been the easy way out. I already have a group of friends, I’ll only be two hours away from home, and I’m already familiar with with how things work around campus. Deciding to go abroad was a huge leap of faith for me. Countless people it would be the time of my life but I still had some concerns. I had never been away from my family for this long, I didn’t know anyone going in, and Madrid seemed so foreign to me. I remember even a week or so before leaving talking with my parents about bailing and just staying at UVA for the semester. Looking back I totally get where I was coming from but I’m also so glad I made the choice to step out of my comfort zone and try something that made me nervous. Although every day abroad wasn’t the coolest thing ever, as a whole my experience was completely amazing. I saw some amazing places, met some awesome people and lived in a city all on my own. I don’t want to get too philosophical and   pretend like my trip completely changed me, but there are a few lessons that I learned through my experience that will stick with me long after leaving Madrid.

Copenhagen Blog 9

I am now just two days away from going home, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. About a week ago, I thought I was ready to return to America, as I had spent long enough here to get everything out of the experience that I had wanted coming in. And though I still believe that for the most part, and I am still more excited than ever to see my friends and family, I’m starting to reconsider how “ready” I am to leave. First off, some people have already left, and I don’t think it fully hit me that I was actually leaving until a few close friends left and I realized that I may never see them again. Obviously I will stay in touch with them, but we will never spend an entire semester together again as we did this semester. I’ve shared incredible memories with those friends, and it’s odd having to say goodbye. I initially thought of my friends and family as only in America, but I now realize I also am a part of a community here in Denmark, and I’m not ready to say goodbye. Furthermore, a tragic accident happened a few days ago on a boat, the same boat that I had been on just a day before, and it really shook the community here, including myself. However, it also made me all the more aware of how great this community is and how close we’ve become, as we mourned the losses of two fellow students. I had friends who I had never met prior to this semester, and I was now having deep conversations with them, turning to them during that hard time, again making me realize how close I had become with them. We’ve already planned trips to visit one another, but it won’t be the same as spending a semester together in this place we now call home, a bond we will forever share and will be hard to replicate again.

Secondly, during this final week, I’ve tried to revisit everything I’ve loved about this city before I leave, and I know I’ll miss it… From the cinnamon rolls at Skt. Peder’s Bakery on Wednesdays to Tivoli, the amusement park in the center of town. I’ll even miss my commute to class everyday and the super efficient metro system. Once I get back to Memphis, I’m sure I’ll even miss the cold that I’ve become accustomed to, as I bake in the humid Memphis summer that will most certainly top 100 degrees. With that being said, I can count on one hand the number of days that I’ve had here where the weather has reached just 60. Those glimpses of beautiful weather, however, male me wonder what this amazing place would be like in the summer, and I now undoubtedly think I will return to Copenhagen at some point again in my life, hopefully during the summer this time. It’s been an absolutely life changing semester, and I cannot imagine having done anything differently than spend a semester here, and for that I’m an incredibly thankful.

Barcelona: Andrew Siegal Blog Post 10

After reading my letter, pretty much everything that I thought would happen did end up happening. I learned a lot about entrepreneurship and corporate impact strategies in school, I didn’t pick up that much Spanish, I saw a lot of people pronouncing their “S’s” like “C’s”, and I traveled a lot. One of the things that did surprise me is something I wrote about in my last blog post, which is that Spain and other European countries are not as unified as they seem. A thing that I and my parents are still shocked about is the immense amount of money that I spent on this trip. One thing I will say is that if I could do this whole thing again, I would definitely budget my money a little better.

Last blog post

Even after the last blog post and after my plane landed in the United States, it is still hard to believe that I have left Spain. The fact that I am still in disbelief that I have left my host country relates to my biggest surprise over the course of the experience. For you see, the biggest surprise I encountered did not immediately sink in until I had arrived in the United States. I did not at all expect how easy I would fit in the Spanish culture, even coming from a Latin American background. Now that I have returned to the U.S., this experience makes me excited about my next opportunity to be back in Spain.