travel stories

The weekend started by getting on the bus in Istanbul at 9pm. There were about 50 of us and we were mainly exchange students who went to various universities in Istanbul. Our first stop was Salt Lake. This place is very unique because it is the second largest lake in Turkey, and much of the salt used in Turkey is taken from this lake. The place we went to on Salt Lake actually had no water, and we could walk out far from “shore.” It was quite cold, but it was very cool to walk on the ground which was basically solid salt. I even tasted some of the salt!

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About two weeks ago, I went on a day trip to the Swiss Alps. We were supposed to hike up a mountain in a place called Engelberg, but had to reorganize our trip due to a festival in a small Swiss town where cows were descending from their mountainside pastures, thus closing off the road. (Seriously, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.) So instead of hiking, we ended up making our ascent up a different mountain via gondola – a first for me!

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Small talk is not a huge thing in Germany, but if you strike up a conversation with a German, you can bet that it will continue for a long time. Our talks with Freiburg locals have resulted in wonderful food, drink, and travel recommendations. What better way to get to know a city than to speak with those that love it most?

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In class our professor told us about "spazieren gehen," which means to take a walk without a real destination. There's not an English phrase quite as concise with the same meaning, but it's somewhere around to stroll or to wander. She tells us this is a very German idea, but she is wrong.

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Kelsey Frisk’s adventures in Sweden started with studying abroad and ended with researching reindeer herding communities. UI students can learn about study abroad opportunities at the annual fair Tuesday, Sept. 16.

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My event planning class worked towards putting on one event at the end of the month to put into action some of the skills and practices we learned throughout the semester. We targeted other Lorenzo de’ Medici students and their friends studying for the summer and learned how to make focaccia while watching a documentary about how a small town in Italy worked to beat out McDonald’s by providing quality, delicious focaccia and other local favorites.

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Though English is dubbed the main language of commerce here in South Africa, there are still times (and by that I mean most times) that I find myself wondering what the heck was just said to me. The accent and slang used by the natives here makes things a bit confusing for both of us. I have accepted the fact that my coworkers think I have a hearing problem due the insane amount of times I ask “what?” when they speak to me. Though I have gotten used to it, I sometimes still find myself getting tripped up by the slang they use.

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As I mentioned last week, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Interlaken, Switzerland last weekend, and it was truly the most beautiful place I have ever seen. I don’t know how anything will ever top the views of the mountains, bright blue lakes, and of course views of the town from the top of a mountain!

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Since I have been living and working in the city it has been easy to overlook the fact that I’m living in a nation that is still very much developing. I can see implications of poverty by the amount of homeless around the city but still not enough to make me really understand the destitution many face living here today. It wasn't until this past weekend when I visited a township called Langa that I really got it.

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I have never felt as though I belonged in Iowa — there was always a part of me that felt I needed to be elsewhere, be someone else. Last month, my dream of studying abroad came true in Madrid, Spain. Sangria, siestas, and sunshine were on the horizon.

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