6 Things No One Ever Tells You About Living Abroad

Yes, Yes, Yes. A year abroad is worth every bit of stress, every penny, every moment.

Thought Catalog

My senior year of college, I decided I wasn’t ready to “grow up”, “settle down”, or take part in the “real world.” I wanted to see what else the world had to offer before I settled into a 9-5 routine and became a boring old adult. At the ripe age of 21, bachelor degree in hand, I moved from suburban Connecticut to Ireland to work as an au pair for a year. It’s been six months now since I took that leap, and I’ve learned more than I could ever condense into one article. Moving to another country alone allows you to see new parts of this amazing planet, meet interesting people from all over, immerse yourself in new cultures, try new things, gain new skills, and overall better yourself as a human being. You know that, though, because there are approximately eight million online articles outlining the benefits of…

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Busy bee

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It feels like this happened ages ago, as we’ve been up to so many things since. But i’ve only been in Portugal for about 2 months. Is that it?! It feels like I’ve been here for half a year (in a good way)

Firstly, I want to apologise for not writing a new post in a very long time. I’ve been quite distracted with life here, which i suppose shows you that i’m settling in well here and that there’s always something to do. So long as that something is,  of course, eating or having coffee with someone. Portugal claim to be in an economic crisis*, but how can it be so with the rate of people eating out?!

* I was very dubious too at first, but after living here a while and chatting to people about it, you start to see the effects of the crisis. Being in an economic crisis seems to be a very european thing.

Just to prepare you, and to make up for lost time here’s a brief update of what I’ve done so far and will be writing about soon:

– Trip to the beach at Figueirra de Foz,
– Kayaking and visiting family friends,
– Doing the Colour Run in Porto,
– Seeing new musicians/ DJs such as Cyberpunkers,
– Going to a proper portuguese party,
– Seeing a Football match,
– Watching the Serenata leading to the…
– …Latada
-…, which ended with the Cortejo,
– and a day trip to Lisboa.

I’m already looking into trips to see friends in France, Copenhagen and Spain. As well as looking into another adventure to Lisbon, bungee jumping, a photography course and skiing in Serra de Estrela. But we will see how things go. First, I have to pass my exams this weekend. Wish me luck!

20131028_174908I’ll leave you with a photo of the beautiful autumn sunset from last week.

Beijinhos (kisses)
xxx

So what’s life like in Portugal?

Aside

A lot of partying? …Maybe.
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…A lot of eating? Just a little.
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..Time at the beach? On the occasion.
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…Weekend trips? Now and then, I guess.
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Porto: port wine cellar, Berlengas

But the daily grind? 

Well there’s uni to go to, studying to be done, shopping at the markets and taxiing to the bigger supermarkets, spending ages getting copies and scans of documents and worksheets from the copy room (apparently in Coimbra the libraries don’t offer an equivalent self-service and you have to get everything done by other people. It’s more a hassle than help.)

It’s taken about a month to get over the initial ‘holiday mode’. Too be honest, I’m not quite sure if I’ve truly gotten over it yet!

Can you blame me when it’s October and it’s still warm enough to wear shorts, vest tops and flip-flops?

I have tried to dress ‘portuguese’ , which involves wearing jeans and a t-shirt in 30 degree heat… Lit. couldn’t do it! I could have collapsed from the heat. It’s like portuguese people just don’t sweat. Or if they do, their sweat is invisible.

As in Germany, all the british found each other very quickly as if we had some 7th sense. We’ve developed into a lovely huge group of all nationalities, but the majority of us are either english, or more likely italian. I never knew portugal was so popular with italians!

I live with:
3 Italians,
1 welshman (student turned resident DJ / friend from uni – for those of you studying Spanish/ Portuguese at Leeds, it’s Adam),
1 French (Our house like to call her the Japanese tourist, because she loves taking photos),
1 Greek,
and 2 coloiros/ freshers (one girl and one guy).

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Caroline, Me, Andrea, Francesco, Adam, Konstantina

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Caroline, Me, Konstantina, Simona

We’re a lovely bunch. We often make dinner and eat with each other. The only downfall with this is that at any given time none of us will have the right amount of cutlery or crockery. For example, at the moment I only have 1 fork, the other 3 have gone awol and nobody seems to have any spare. #firstworldproblems

I recommend everyone to live with an Italian (or two) in their lifetime, because since living here in Coimbra, I’ve learnt a lot about cooking and how to appreciate ‘good’ and ‘proper’ food. All the Italians i’ve met seem to have this innate knowledge of how to make the best pasta, ragù (a.k.a. bolognese sauce, apparently only non-italians call it ‘bolognese sauce’) and coffee.
The stuff that only my mum and grandmas seem to know about.

969638_10201918786557131_1691692692_n“You’ll always find him in the kitchen at parties”

So, family back in England: Don’t worry about me! I’m eating fine! If anything, I’m probably going to roll back to England at this rate.

I’m not going to lie, this  year abroad is currently revolving heavily around food and drink, and i don’t just mean alcohol.

My timetable here is pretty easy. I have tuesdays off and most days I only start at 2pm. Not bad, hey?

But Monday’s, are a killer for 2 reasons:
1- Classes are 2 hours long.
I found it difficult enough in Germany to hold my concentration for 1hour and a half. 2 hours is close to impossible.

2- My last lesson is at 6pm-8pm.
The time where, in England, I’d usually be having dinner.

So, in my attempt to become more portuguese, I’ve followed in their footsteps to deal with these 1st world problems.

I drink lots & lots & lots of coffee.

I’m a fan of coffee, don’t get me wrong. Always have been, it’s in my blood. So I’m feeling pretty at home here. But seriously, in portugal, they drink this stuff like it’s water that’s running out quickly.

A coffee here a.k.a. um café or uma bica (you only hear this in the south. Many times the waiters have just stared at me blankly when i’ve asked for ‘uma bica’. Very annoying). It’s very much an expresso, but stronger. Some may beg to differ so I’ll say that perhaps a different type of coffee is used. Either way, in comparison to an expresso in England, the coffee here makes you feel like you’ve practically injected caffeine into your system.

No amount of coffee can help me understand what is being said 60% of the time in my lectures though. It’s been a rough month of not understanding a thing, misinterpreting people, getting used to the varying portuguese & brazilian accents and wishing that I paid more attention to the grammar classes back in Leeds.

With the encouragement and moral support of the people I’ve met here I’m slowly trying to immerse myself into the portuguese student culture, by joining the Orfeon* – a choir, which turned out to be way more than just your average choir, and Adventure Riders- the surf/ ski society here (Ok! ok! I haven’t actually gotten round to going surfing or kayaking yet, but I will do soon! Watch this space!)

* I’ll tell you more about this society another day. It’s pretty impressive.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, we do study and work sometimes too!
That’s all for now líndos!

If there’s anything you’d like me to write about specifically, write a comment!

A minha casa nova

Aside

It’s been about a month since I arrived and boy, do i have a lot to tell you guys about! This post will just be an intro to Coimbra and #unilife

FUN FACTS!

Geography lesson
So Coimbra is pretty much equidistant from Lisbon and Porto. ( The light green section in map below)

portugal-map

 My uni, Universidade de Coimbra, is a world heritage sight.
The interior of my faculty (faculdade de letras) seems to be  somewhat unchanged since the 70’s, but the history of this university goes back further.
Established in 1209, it’s one of the oldest university’s in the world. ( I will probably do another blog just with pictures of the architecture, it’s truely beautiful.) Unsurprisingly, there are many old traditions that are still upheld today, which I’ll get to later…

FUN FACT/ STORY
The first King of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, made Coimbra his capital city. He was a young teenager, who came from a royal lineage. He became King, well, gave himself the title of King. He had a bad relationship with his mum, as he had opposing opinions to his mum ( like most teenagers) and his mum just didn’t get him, you know? So he casually raised an army and exiled her, whilst also saving  the south of Portugal from being taken over by the Moors. Teenagers those days!

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The pace… of life…. is …. somewhat…. relaxed.
The pace of administration and organisation here is no exception. It’s slow. No, not slow, painstakingly relaxed. Don’t expect anything to be done within a week and you’ll be happy. But in compensation the buildings are beautiful and old, and the people are lovely.

I have to climb 125 steps every day.
My legs and bum are going to look fly after this year. No pain, no gain.
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The streets are run by cats.
If my contract didn’t explicitly forbid us from having dogs and cats or any other animal that might be messy in the building, I would have knicked one by now.
Also, if you like hills and narrow streets, you’ll like Coimbra. No need to join the gym here. If you want to go through the Baixa ( the old part of town, where the cats roam), then forget your car and as long as you’re wearing comfortable shoes (i.e. no heels. All streets here are cobbled here), you’ll be fine.
wall cat

Traditions & Students
Nearly all 2nd year students and above wear a suit and cape, like this:

20130909_113059Hogwarts: A common sight in Coimbra

These are your ‘dotoures’ (Doctors). The Freshers (freshmen) are called Coloiros/ Coloiras.

There is also something called a Praxe (initiation), which involves a lot of shouting of orders from os dotoures to the coloiros, drinking, chanting, shouting and walking like this:

praxe

In order to get to wear the suit and cape, you have to do a Praxe. Sometimes, they look quite fun,  funny or harmless like:

– running in circles around trees wishing it to grow big and strong, like a hippies on LSD.
– declaring your undying love for somebody (a very awkward moment when the coloiro I live with was instructed to do this to me)

Others make you wish you could steal the poor freshers away and rock them gently, telling them “It’s ok. It doesn’t have to be like this!”. For example:

-Jogging on-the-spot of each of the 125 steps, singing a song about going up the steps whilst counting them ( like 10 green bottles standing on the wall kinda thing.) If you get the number wrong, you have to do it all over again.
– or seeing them being shouted at, spit covering their faces and they must stand there without flinching and just take it.

To the Motherland!

“Darling, Sweetie… Where’s our yacht?”

girls on tour

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Me and my life companion. She came along for moral support.

After a lovely relaxing holiday with the Fam. I’ve finally set up base in Coimbra, but it hasn’t been easy!

Since deciding that I wanted to pursue languages I’ve been so looking forward to my year abroad at uni. When the time came round to pack my bags, I suddenly felt no way near ready for it at All.  Suddenly, there were 1001 things I needed to do the week running up to my departure, which should have seemingly been done weeks ago, if not months.

But here I am in one piece, after lots of ups and downs* in my new humble abode.

20130904_134610Home Sweet Home

A little ‘cosy’ I suppose you could call it…

Kiddddiinnggg! This is my new home ( top floor, right window)

20130903_143254The mini Coop is unfortunately not mine 😦

I love my new crib.

It’s by a Praça da Republica, which probably means nothing to you. But basically, I feel like I’m living down les champs Elysee, if a little less grand.

It’s still early days and not even a quarter of the students have arrived here, but from the large groups of students heading towards my area of town, it seems to be that i’ve chosen the location where all the clubs + bars are.

Great for partying, but not so great for sleeping.

It’s less than 10 mins from the uni, 10 mins from the centre of town and the landlord is such a babe. The sweetest, kindest, elderly gentleman I’ve ever met. I want him to adopt me as his granddaughter.

Everything is new and everything has been provided; knives, forks, pots and pans, plates… everything apart from towels and bed sheets. What a QT.

I only came across this gem because I saw a ‘for rent’ sign on the door with the door wide open. Being the curious creatures my family are, we all popped our heads in to have a look around.

Call it luck, call it fate, I’m just so bloody happy that we found this place.

Click the photo just there  to see a lil view of my place (Warning: This video may be of awful quality)           ➷➷➷

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Tchau!! x

* This is my attempt at a joke about Coimbra. I’ll explain: It’s a very hilly place, and there’s a lot of walking up and down hills involved when it comes to looking for accommodation. To find accommodation in Portugal you have to look out for home made, A3 sized adverts on lampposts, walls and windows like this:

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It’s the worst system ever.

Berlin Baby!

I have to admit I’ve never understood the hype about Berlin, until i visited it and FELL HEAD OVER HEELS IN LOVE WITH IT.

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Would I say it’s my favourite city? I couldn’t say.It’s a toss up between London and Berlin.

I went to Berlin with my friend Jamie, whom I met whilst studying in Mainz. Everything started well, we missed our 1st coach. It wasn’t our fault though… well… The bus stop where our bus was leaving from wasn’t that clear, and in frankfurt, they like to keep you on your toes and so hardly have any signs. So what did we do? After a confusing, half understood phone conversation with the staff of meinfernbus.de we had to book a new coach for later that day. luckily meinfernbus.com were lovely and gave us a discount for being clueless tourists.

So to pass the time as we were waiting for our next bus, we drank the time away and happily got very merry in a seedy, smoky internet café in the depths of frankfurt’s train station. We continued to get very merry on the bus to Berlin as it was going to be a long 7 hour journey.

20130721_232403Partay Bus

By the time we arrived at our hotel, it was about 2am. Walking through  dimly lit streets in Berlin trying to find our hostel definitely got the heart rate going! The night was a warm one and when we finally arrived at the hostel we came across some of the guests chilling out in the court yard. We met a Kiwi, Chris and half German, half Mancunian girl whose name escapes me, and proceeded to spend the night chatting with them. One regret of mine was that we didn’t get to meet up with them again, but unfortunately that wasn’t to be.

We spent the rest of our time with Jamie’s friend Falk who lives in Berlin and he showed us the student side of Berlin, which was sick.

Naturally, we did all the touristy bits.. well most of them. We couldn’t find Checkpoint Charlie. It turned out that on our attempt to find it we’d actually travelled the complete opposite direction and instead came across this memorial to those who tried and failed to make it over the wall. It was really touching, as we walked passed a statue which played a list of these peoples names on repeat.

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Berlin 7 Berlin 8 

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WARNING: Those men who you can get a photo with at the Brandenburger Tor charge you money. This was a wonderful surprise to me as you can tell in this picture which was taken seconds after he demanded €2. Out of spite, i short changed him. HA!
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We spent the rest of our time mostly in and around Kreuzberg and Görlitzer Park. It’s pretty much the student/ hipster central, but without the pretentiousness.

20130722_210102Görlitzer Park: Subtle

Falk took us to an abandoned Eis Fabrik (Ice-cream factory) which was adorned, top to bottom, with graffiti and appeared to be the place to be for the local homeless to hang out.

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Along our way, we encountered lots of  these camps. Some were gypsy camps, some hippy communes and one in particular was an anarchist camp, where those who were fed up of capitalist life decided to give it up.

Good Guy Germany: The German government were going to evict those living in these kinds of camps and demolish the area, but because it’s such a key part to the culture in Berlin they decided not to.

Recommendations
To eat these were my favourites (click the names to see the webpage)

1) Nil
You MUST try the Tamiya Halloumi. It will blow your taste buds away.
Who knew that falaffel, halloumi cheese and a peanut sauce went so well together?

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2)Berlin Burger International
Best burgers in town. Are about half the size of your face.

To drink

1)( Not too sure how to spell this one) Spelunker/ Spielunke

Not really a place to eat, but  rather to drink cheap beers.
You know the regulars at your local pub? The red nosed, slightly dirty, creepy looking ones? Well Germany has a pub specifically for them and it’s surprisingly amicable.

To party…

Well I have nothing to report here i’m afraid as the 1st night, I got rejected from a club for being underage… (It was +21)
And the second night ( at the same club) it was because I was with too many guys…

I felt like a 17 year old with a fake ID.

But that of course wouldn’t stop us from having our own fun.

Jamie and I had met up with his friend Katie and her boyfriend, as well as some of their french friends who, were also in Berlin at the time.

 Berlin27 Berlin25Berlin 4 Berlin 1Berlin24

We spent one night chilling in, and the second night making a bonfire and having some drinks in Görlitzer Park with some strangers, whom we had met in the queue to a club. We ended up being a very international group that included, Brits, a German, an American (who said, I quote, “everyone carries a gun in America, like everyone carries a knife in the UK”… I think not),  French, and a second Kiwi (who was also called Chris. It must be a popular name in New Zealand)
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We stayed up until 6am and saw the sunrise, then made our way back to Falks, only stopping to get some freshly baked goods from a bakery near his. Bliss.

20130725_053258 20130725_052424Our time in Berlin was only brief, but we got there at the best time.
Whilst in Germany, I didn’t have enough time to see all my friends in Germany, but I was lucky to meet up with a friend from college who moved there the previous year and got to have a lovely little catch up.

Summer had hit Berlin and it was It was boiiliiinng hot the whole time we were there. We hardly saw any of Berlin in retrospect, however the part that we did see was sick. I’ve decided that i will be moving there shortly after i finish my bachelor in leeds, maybe to do a masters, internship, or just get a job there. I don’t mind what i do, I just need an excuse to move there.

The Berlin i visited had such a chilled out, young, free-spirited atmosphere to it. I’d recommend everyone to go there because it is truly the most unique city. There is no other place like it!

…And that was Berlin, Baby!

Hey, Day Dreamer!

A good friend of mine once said to me “Tash, life just happens to you, doesn’t it?” (Ross, J. 2012). This couldn’t have been more correct than the time I took a mini break to Prague, when I was living in Germany.

So, why was I in Prague?

Why the hell not?! I’ve always wanted to go! I’ve heard so many wonderful things about the place and I really wanted to see ‘The Lovers’ Bridge’. I’m not sure whether that’s it’s real name or not, but it was the first story I was told about Prague.

The story is as follows…
There’s an old bridge in this stunning city, and if you attach a lock with yours and your partner’s name on it and throw away the key into the river, then your love will be forever true.
How cute is that!

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Being a bit of a romanic, I wanted to do this for my boyfriend and myself. So, as part of his birthday present, I vowed to get him a lock (which he ended up paying for. I will pay him back… one day) and take it to this bridge as a gesture of my love for him…
Oh God, how sickly sweet. Pass us the bucket and excuse me whilst I vomit into it.

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Anyway, a college friend of mine, Joe, had been studying there for the whole year and I hadn’t seen him since we’d left so I thought “Why not?”. I’d get to catch up with him, see a city I’d always wanted to see and I’d be able to crash on his sofa, so that’s accommodation sorted!

So, I contacted him and I bought my tickets and everything seemed to be going well, perhaps too well!
…A few weeks later Joe called me up and told me he’d forgotten about a trip to Croatia he’d planned that was on the weekend I was supposed to be in Prague…

…but not to worry, he’d ask his flat mate, Greg, to meet me at the airport and such…

… Then there came the floods in Prague and my friend contacted me again to say that the trip was called off and that he WOULD be able to pick me up after all…

… a few days later, he confirmed that they would after all be going to Croatia.

So, like my friend said before, life just happens to me. I have no control over how things go, apparently.

But despite all this curfuffel, my weekend in Prague was one of the best weekends of my life so far. That’s no exaggeration.

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My friend’s flatmate, Greg, kindly met me at the station, served me a dinner 2 nights in a row, took me for a tour round half of Prague, introduced me to his and Joe’s friends, and along with his other flatmates, Matej and Mai. They introduced me to all their friends who welcomed me warmly and took me out and showed me how they partied in Prague. And they liked to party hard.

20130624_032651Matej, Mai, Greg and Joe.

Before I get onto drunken stories, here are my must sees in Prague:

John Lennon Wall.
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After a bonding session with Greg and discovering we have quite a few mutual friends and live relatively close to each other (It’s such a small world!). Greg showed me this place. It’s one of the ‘must see’ attractions of any non-European on a Euro trip. Although, I don’t think John Lennon ever came to this particular wall, a sketch of him was painted on this wall, which as time went on, turned into a shrine and has now become a place to tag or paint a Beatles/ Lennon related piece of … art, i guess.

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Taking full advantage of the wall’s fame was this place around the corner: John Lennon Pub.

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See, I’m not much of a musician, but even I can spot the mistake here…

We didn’t go in, but I assume this place is filled with replica Beatles memorabilia and over priced drinks.

The Metronome* (*Replacement to the Statue of Stalin’s) & The Shoes
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This metronome replaces the spot that was previously occupied by the largest statue of Stalin there ever was. As you can see, Stalin’s statue is no longer there. It had to be taken down soon after it was unveiled because Stalin had died and people in Prague obvs were against having this reminder of this not-so-missed leader.

The Shoes? I think this is quite a recent thing to have come about, but apparently, for the teenagers in Prague, if you pop your cherry whilst you’re in this city, you then go to this monument and throw the shoes you were wearing the night you lost it, over this wire. God knows why, but it seems like a fun idea. Best not wear your nicest shoes then, hey?

Prague Castle
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Check out Prague Castle to see the most intimidating, menacing, aggressive statues at its gates. These are ridiculous! They’re so scary! It just screams: “Don’t mess with the Czechs.”
Also, if you’ve ever visited London as a tourist, you may very well have gone to Buckingham Palace and had a photo taken with the Queen’s guards. In full tourist spirit, I got one with one of the Czech guards. I must be honest, I prefer the colour of their suits to the Queen’s guards’

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King Charles Bridge & the Saint of great sex

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Want to have a great sex life for the rest of your life? Then rub this Saint’s foot.
Not sure which foot I’m talking about? Look for the gold patch. For once being touchy feely leads to a clean, rather than a dirty outcome. He must be a Saint!

Old Town

Panorama

Greg gave me the best tip before I went wondering around the old time and that was: To look up.
I must admit, I didn’t appreciate architecture much before I went to Prague, but seriously, when you look up, that’s when you see the beauty of Prague.

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Astrological Clock
One of my favourite tourist attractions is it the Astrological Clock. I quite like astrology, but admittedly, i know next to nothing. If anyone knows how to read this clock, please let me know, I’d love to know!

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TIPS:
Wear comfy shoes and walk, walk, walk. You’ll find the most amazing views the higher you get and the most beautiful parks.

Try some Czech delicacies
20130622_160253Goulash works wonders as a Hangover cure (left). Probably all of the  ‘traditionally Czech’ restaurants in Prague will sell this dish. There are loads of them, so don’t think you’ll miss out. Also, they’re quite reasonably priced. 20130621_131023

If you see any market stalls, try all the food that they have to offer. I tried this lush sweet, pudding (right). I don’t know what It’s called, but it kind of tastes like a an apple strudel, without the apple inside and a crunchier pastry.

Learn a phrase or two in Czech.
Out of politeness! Break the British stereotype of only speaking English!
I’m not saying you should learn Czech before you go. It’s a bloody hard language to learn! But at least phrases like “Dobrý den ” (Hello) and “Děkuji” (Thank you). It’s the least you can do seeing as most places do speak english.

Write down the Czech name of tourist attractions as well as the English names.
Had i’d not had Greg, I wouldn’t have known where the hell I was going and would have just stared gaumlessly at my free map of Prague I received on my flight.

Do a bit of research.
Make a list of the places you want to visit and find out a little about them. Heck, by a guide book or rent one from your library, it makes the attractions more interesting!

Check the exchange rate and the prices of things.
Ask around. I did and it helped me decide how much money I was going to take with me. For 3/ 4 days I took about €100 which in hindsight was just a bit too little.  I had to skimp a bit towards the end of my time there. #studentlife

Learn to love Beer.
It is very cheap.

A huge thanks to everyone I met in Prague. You made me feel so welcome and it was great to meet you all! 20130624_005548I felt very privileged to have witnessed the end of a year that had brought new friendships amongst such an eclectic group of people. The weekend I was in Prague, coincided  with Greg’s last weekend there. He was the first to leave from his friendship group, so as you can imagine, it was a party fuelled weekend. Naturally, a lot of alcohol was consumed, the nights didn’t end until 8am, and towards the end of the weekend, things got quite  nostalgic and emotional.

20130623_221543Greg’s last meal. Port, Pasta and Ketchup.

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Greg and Chloe being totally sober.

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Everyone

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Heading home at in the early hours of the morning

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Mine and Mai’s beauty session before going to bed. Who wouldn’t want to wake up next to these faces?

Mad about Mainz.

So, I spent 4 months in Mainz and didn’t keep a blog during that time. So now my challenge is to summarise those 4 months in one (or 2) posts.  I promise not make this one too long.

blog mainz


Basic info about Mainz:

  • It’s near Frankfurt.

Map of Germany

  • It is one of the many towns that sits next to the river Rhein in the region of Rheinland-Pfalz.
  • It used to be a French town. Hence, the french/ early baroque style buildings. (Which are beautiful btw)
  • The 4 main Schools are Johannes Gutenberg- Univerität Mainz (the one I went to),Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg- Univerität Mainz, Kunsthochschule, Fachhochshule

SDC15227 Johannes Gutenberg  logo For the correct history/ any important deets, just click on ‘Mainz’ in the first sentence. On to the fun stuff…

The Recommendations:

  • Go to Pengland

By day it (sometimes) holds art exhibitions, by night, it’s the IT place to be. The name’s brilliant in itself and the nights there are even better. FREE ENTRY and PAY WHAT YOU WANT for drinks. That’s all that needs to be said.

Pengland
Common phrases often uttered in reference to Peng: “Best night of my life”, “Is there anything on at Peng this weekend?” and “I love Peng”

http://www.pengland.de/

  • Hang out by the Rhein

Buy a load of Beer/ Wine (these are the 2 cheapest/ most convenient options) Buy a disposable BBQ from ReWe or Aldi, Get some Wurst, Brot, Ketchup, etc. Encourage some people to come with you (this won’t be hard) Chill out until it’s too cold or all the Späties (late night shops)and Kneipen are all shut, forcing you to go home to get that half drunken bottle which you forgot about and left in your fridge.

20130608_145604-1

  • Go to Dicke Lilli, gutes KindAilaike

Quaint, sweet little café. Try their drink called “Ailaike” (Phonetically read in German, it sounds like ‘I like’. How clever.)

https://www.facebook.com/dickelilliguteskind

  • Try German Eis

Thought you had tried the best Italian Ice-cream? Think again. Germans take Italian Ice-cream and present you what ought to be considered proper Italian Ice-cream. My personal favourite is a Kiwi Becher (the middle one). Eisbecher

  • Go to the university’s Sommerfest.

20130705_232044It’s like the summer ball at your uni, but with loads more food & drink stalls, more stages with local bands, artists and DJs. It will most likely be free entry. And the atmosphere is nice and chilled. At our Sommerfest at Johannes Gutenberg, they had a huge disco ball suspended over the area next to the main stage outside and a house/ electro silent disco in this little foresty area in front of the main library, which was actually decent until the the DJs cocked up the change over on the decks. Nice way to start a set.

  • Visit as many places around the area as possible.

My friend went all over the country and managed to get really cheap tickets with bus companies such as Meinfernbus.de and the group tickets with Deutsche Bahn are definitely worth the time and effort to organise.

I didn’t travel as much as she did, but here’s a list of the places I did get to visit:

Saarbrücken,
St. Goar,
Wiesbaden,
Darmstadt,
Frankfurt,
Trier,
Koblenz ( for 30 mins)
Leipzig ( also for 30 mins, at night. Trotzdem, i’m still going to count it)
Köln,
Prague,
and Berlin

Other things I did when I was in Mainz?:
-Made amazing friends from all around the world,
-Went to free salsa classes for a month,
-Learnt that at Parties germans don’t arrive on time or 30 mins early, like we’ve all been told.
-Went to an outdoor swimming pool on one of the hottest days (pure bliss!) -Experienced a German summer (much hotter for longer than an English summer)

…and that’s about it for Mainz. I’ve probably forgotten a few things, but I think these were the most significant things specifically to do with Mainz.

Bis nächstes Mal!

Introduction

Yo, Tash here! Image

The majority of you who’ll be reading this will already know who I am. But for those who’ve somehow stumbled across my lil blog and into my lil world, here’s a little bit about moi.

  • I’m 20.
  • I study Portuguese and German at Leeds University.
  • I’ve just come home from my semester abroad in Mainz, Germany.
  • I will be starting my year abroad in Portugal THIS SEPTEMBER!!! (eek!)

A lot of my friends at Uni are also about to do their year abroad or, for a few, will be coming back from them. This is an exciting and scary time for all of us. The purpose of this blog is mainly so my friends and family can easily keep up to date with what i’m up to, as i’m quite useless at Skyping and e-mailing! I hope my experiences and stories will help you ( if you’re thinking or about to embark on your own lil adventure), amuse you.

If there’s anything you’d like to know more about; from the process undergone in organising my year/ term abroad to recommendations of places in the places i’ve been to anything else you so wish to know related to my being abroad, then please let me know.

In the meantime, check out some blogs from some friends of mine:

Deutschland:
http://abroadlyspeaking.wordpress.com/
http://elizasreise.blogspot.co.uk/
http://daysindortmundd.blogspot.co.uk

Brasil:
http://juliatabor8.wix.com/life-as-a-carioca

France:
http://www.youtube.com/user/Boglarkaszabo?feature=watch

Enjoy!