Elon Study Abroad

Crawley Family Vacation / Tschüss Deutschland

A few weeks ago my family arrived in Berlin. I had the opportunity to show them around my home for the past 5 months and introduce them to my coworkers. After my last day at MODOMOTO and moving out of my apartment, we set off on our tour of Germany. Instead of my normal way of traveling by planes, trains, and buses, we chose to ride in style. My dad of course wanted to rent an Audi and drive at high speeds on the Autobahn.

After leaving Berlin, we visited Wittenberg where Martin Luther lived and nailed the 95 Theses. Then, we traveled to the former capital of Saxony Dresden and took a tour of VW’s Transparent Factory. Next, we visited Nürnberg for an overview of Nazi history and to have lunch with my friend Alex Göldner and her mom. Then, we drove to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a beautifully well-preserved medieval town. The city’s gates and wall were so well in tact that you could walk around the perimeter of the city on them. Afterwards, we drove down the Romantic Road to Füssen for the stunning Schloss Neuschwanstein. Our trip concluded in Munich. Here, we toured Dachau Concentration Camp, which American forces liberated at the end of WWII. We also visited Allianz Arena where the Bayern München soccer club plays and ate at the Hofbräuhaus with a couple of my friends from Elon. The next day we flew back to Cleveland.

So that’s a wrap! I’m back and grateful for all of the wonderful memories I made during my year in Germany. But, I am also grateful for the challenges, too. It taught me about independence and perseverance and gave me a greater appreciation for the German culture. In addition to the many German cities I visited, I had the opportunity to travel to 10 other European countries. Although I won’t be finishing the dual-degree program at ESB Reutlingen next year, I am looking forward to returning to Elon in the fall to complete my bachelors. Though this adventure has come to an end, I know that I still have many more to come. Thank you all for sharing this year with me.

Unfortunately, I have exceeded my storage limit for uploading photos on this blog so I couldn’t upload all of the pictures from our trip. I will post the pictures on Facebook instead. (Just my luck on my last post!)

My family arrived safely to the Berlin Tegel airport! These stones commemorate where the Berlin Wall stood and trace the former border between east and west Berlin. This map shows the four occupied zone of Berlin until reunification. Spencer under a piece of the wall at the Checkpoint Charlie memorial. One of the former watchtowers for the wall. Spencer, Mom, and I at the Holocaust Memorial. IMG_3152 These kids were crazy jumping from block to block which were at least 20 feet high. My family in front of the Brandenburg Gate. Still jet lagged, Spencer and Dad took a snooze on my bed while I finished packing. Mom and Spencer at Alexanderplatz in front of the Berliner Dom IMG_3166 IMG_3167 IMG_3175 IMG_3177 IMG_3178 IMG_3192 IMG_3188 Spencer trying to escape over the wall! Oh no! IMG_3184 IMG_7432 I felt like this memorial was a great way to describe my year with a blend of German and American. Mauerpark driving on the Autobahn at 200 kmh which is about 125 mph the door where Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses IMG_0584 Dresden Frauenkirche Zwinger IMG_7487 King Richard We took a tour of the VW Phaeton plant in Dresden. Here they assemble the luxury car by hand and only produce about 8 cars per day. The basic Phaeton starts at 75 000 EUR. Hersch Großer Garten skyline of Dresden Rothenburg ob der Tauber IMG_7508
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16 Days Interrailing: Bratislava & Budapest

After arriving in Bratislava and finding our hostel, we set off to explore the city and to make the most of our 24 hours there. We started off right with a delicious traditional Slovakian meal before heading out to take a free walking tour of the city…that we ended up missing by a few minutes. We ended up walking around ourselves to see the old town part of the city and took a little train tour up to the Bratislava castle, where we were greeted with fantastic views.

Bratislava 1

Bratislava 2    IMG_20150611_161758

Afterwards we wandered around trying to get to the cathedral in the center of town, only to find that it was closing for the day. So, we decided to head back to our hostel to drop off some bags and figure out what we wanted to do that evening. Our wanderings took us right by the Grand Cru Wine Club. We were debating going inside when a Scotsman who was sitting outside started talking to us, convincing us that it was worth the stop. We were definitely not disappointed. The shop only serves local wines and owner, Martin, gave us great recommendation.

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Next, we went back to the hostel to drop off our things and befriended a Brazilian guy who was staying the room next to us. After a delicious pizza dinner, we headed back to Martin’s for another glass of wine, before calling it a night. The following morning, we grabbed breakfast and wandered around a bit more before it was time to catch our next train, destination Budapest.

Budapest was the city that we had the most time in, giving us time to rest and relax partway through our world wind trip. And rest and relax we did. The first afternoon there, we got a map and headed to the river…and ended up sitting and talking outside the Parlement building for 1.5 hours. Unknowingly to us, they take the flag outside the Parlement down everyday at 6:30pm, which was an interesting event to watch.

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IMG_20150612_184706    IMG_20150612_183203

The next day, we thought that we should see a bit more of the city than what’s right by the riverside, so we visited the castle on the island, the Vajdahunyad Castle, that looks like it’s straight out of a fairytale. Next up was a free walking tour of the city which helped us learn more about the history of Budapest and how the cities Buda and Pest merged to create the city we know today. A delicious ice cream, dinner, a spilled beer, and a taste of pálinka later, we called our day a success and turned in for the night.

IMG_20150613_103545   IMG_20150613_103639

Budapest 1

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Our last full day in the city started with a trip to Starbucks and another walking tour, this time one of the Jewish quarter.  A trip to Budapest cannot be complete without visiting the traditional Turkish baths, so we spent an afternoon in the city relaxing in the one of the largest bath houses in the city. We finished off our full day with an evening river cruise along the Danube River, which gave us an new perspective of the city.

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With a few hours to kill in the morning before our “direct” train to Zagreb, we grabbed coffee at The Little Melbourne coffee shop. Our hostel recommended this coffee shop and I have to say, the recommendation was spot on. It was the best coffee I’ve ever had. Coffee was followed by a visit to the Roman Catholic church and another amazing view of the city from the church towers. After stopping for a quick bit to eat, it was time to say goodbye to Budapest and the European Union and make our way to Croatia.

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IMG_20150615_115620    IMG_20150615_121706

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Memories from MODOMOTO

Elias proud of his Sky Blue ice cream with extra sprinkles Michael taking an afternoon snooze Matt excited to open his MODOMOTO box sitting on the riverbank with some beer and good friends Esther Sneha shared her favorite Indian restaurant with us. Michael, Stefanie, and Elias Esther My plate from our international food night: everything from Spanish ham to an Indian vegan dish to Orville Redenbacher's microwave popcorn My favorite coffee shop next to our warehouse with the best hazelnut macchiatos In my last few weeks at MODOMOTO, I had the opportunity to help with a photo shoot so I snuck a few shots for myself. Modomoto Portraits9740 Modomoto Portraits9739 Modomoto Portraits9745 Michael and Elias: I'll miss playing foosball with my team Steffi and Esther Esther, Michael, Steffi, and Elias: one last night together
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Dreams Set Sail 2015-07-08 17:27:38

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Test button

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16 Days Interrailing: Zurich & Vienna

After 2 fun days in Paris, we headed to Zurich to spend 9 hours in Switzerland. It was a very short stop – we got in around lunchtime and were leaving on a night train that evening – but we managed to pack a lot into our time there. We had a great time at exploring the city, eating Swiss chocolate, and taking a boat cruise around Lake Zurich. We were lucky that we had great weather in Zurich – it was nice and sunny and didn’t snow. 

   
 Our first, and only night train of the trip was definitely an interesting experience. The sleeper cars were fully booked so we had normal train seats for the night. So, it wasn’t the best sleep we’ve ever had, but did the trick and we pulled into Vienna the next morning. 

Our hostel in Vienna was a bit outside of the city, but came with an amazing view. After dropping our bags off at the hostel, we set out to see the city. First stop: St. Stephen’s cathedral. After finding 3 euro pizza for lunch, we went to see Mozart’s house. Since all of us are band kids, we had a blast! It was amazing to learn more about his life while walking around his old apartment where he wrote the Marriage of Figaro. 

  
  
Since Vienna was a music capital of the world, it was the home to many great composers. In addition to Mozart, we visited Beethoven’s and Haydn’s homes as well. Beethoven’s house was a bit of a bust because the museum only has 2 small rooms and historians aren’t positive that he ever lived in that particular apartment… But, on our way to see the Danube River from the museum, we stumbled upon a bust of Beethoven and I got to take a selfie with him. However, I throughly enjoyed the Haydn apartment – it’s definitely worth taking the time to go see. 

  
Our second day in Vienna, we were wandering around the city and went into a small church. It was a lucky stop because inside was a hidden treasures – one of the most intricate and beautiful organs that I’ve ever seen. We also stopped by the Sigmund Freud museum and learned more about how he influenced the field of Psychology. 

  
Right by St. Stephen’s cathedral, there are a bunch of people selling tickets to classical music concerts around the city. Our last afternoon there, they got us and we bought tickets to a Mozart and Strauss concert. The concert exceeded my expectations. It took place in a beautiful concert hall in the Imperial Palace in downtown Vienna. The music was wonderful and we all had an amazing time. It was the perfect way to end our time in Vienna. 

  
Up next: Bratislava and Budapest. 


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16 Days Interrailing: Paris

Paris is always a blast! I had a great time showing theses two around the city. 😃 

   


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Goodbye

As of today, I've been back in the United States for two weeks and yet I'm just now writing this blog post. I could offer lots of excuses about how I got quite sick immediately upon returning or how I've started my internship and have been very busy, which would be true but not the real reason I haven't written. Writing this final post means that this blog, like my study abroad, is finished which makes me much more sad than I thought it would. 

In any case, I got up quite early the day I left the UK to shower and get some breakfast from the hotel buffet. Then I packed up my things again and caught the shuttle (yes, with my two huge suitcases!) to the airport. I'm immensely grateful to the lovely older Scottish woman who basically held up the rest of the passengers to give me time to get my suitcases off without feeling rushed. Once at the airport, things moved smoothly as I checked my bags and went to hang out in the airport lounge. 

The plane itself was incredibly nice as I was in business class and the flight attendants were lovely. Unfortunately, the TVs weren't working but between eating and reading and watching movies on my laptop, I had plenty to do! 

breakfast was perfect
more breakfast
They eventually found some little tablets for us to watch movies on and I watched a bit of Bonnie and Clyde while eating lunch.


After many many hours on that airport, I got off at JFK...and everything broke down. Customs went very smoothly (much more smoothly than they would've back home, so I'm very glad I got to do them in New York) but then I had to get my suitcases again and bring them to another conveyor belt to be loaded onto my other flight. This was bothersome because 1) I'd been told I wouldn't have to get them until I got home and 2) it took them about 40 minutes before they actually came!

In any case, after that sweaty annoying experience, I got back through security and found my way to the airport lounge where I got a bit of food.

The airplane from JFK to back home was TINY! I think I've been on bigger buses. I was fairly disappointed that I didn't get a view of the city while taking off, but I did listen to Taylor Swift's "Welcome to New York!"


Getting home was such a relief and my family plus my good friend, Nupur, were waiting to meet me! It was so good to see everyone after so long...and it was nice that my dad took care of my suitcases from there on out. My parents even stopped at Taco Bell on the way home from the airport...oh, Mexican food, how I'd missed you.

That Sunday, I was actually awake for 25 hours, so I suppose it's no wonder that I got sick immediately after. While it was exhausting and stressful, I'm very thankful that it went as well as it did.


I have to admit, the culture shock coming back to the US is much worse than it was going over. American money still throws me off and I'm in mourning for my access to UK Starbucks. While I don't miss St Andrews, per se, I definitely miss my friends (I've been talking to Lucy every day, but it's not the same) and being in the United Kingdom. I've talked to some of my JSA friends from St Andrews and people from Elon who were also abroad and we've agreed that coming back is strange because in many ways, it feels as though you never left and yet you feel so different.

Going to St Andrews definitely had a large impact on me, as a person, and my outlook on life. But writing this blog has had an almost equally large impact! I feel as though I've actually improved my writing, my photography, and my ability to tell a story. Thank you so much to those of you who read this and kept me company throughout my journey. To anyone considering St Andrews, or studying abroad in general, feel free to get in touch with me via email (nbackman16@gmail.com) or via Twitter (@nicoleackman16) to ask any questions you have.

So, finally, goodbye St Andrews. xx
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Goodbye

As of today, I've been back in the United States for two weeks and yet I'm just now writing this blog post. I could offer lots of excuses about how I got quite sick immediately upon returning or how I've started my internship and have been very busy, which would be true but not the real reason I haven't written. Writing this final post means that this blog, like my study abroad, is finished which makes me much more sad than I thought it would. 

In any case, I got up quite early the day I left the UK to shower and get some breakfast from the hotel buffet. Then I packed up my things again and caught the shuttle (yes, with my two huge suitcases!) to the airport. I'm immensely grateful to the lovely older Scottish woman who basically held up the rest of the passengers to give me time to get my suitcases off without feeling rushed. Once at the airport, things moved smoothly as I checked my bags and went to hang out in the airport lounge. 

The plane itself was incredibly nice as I was in business class and the flight attendants were lovely. Unfortunately, the TVs weren't working but between eating and reading and watching movies on my laptop, I had plenty to do! 

breakfast was perfect
more breakfast
They eventually found some little tablets for us to watch movies on and I watched a bit of Bonnie and Clyde while eating lunch.


After many many hours on that airport, I got off at JFK...and everything broke down. Customs went very smoothly (much more smoothly than they would've back home, so I'm very glad I got to do them in New York) but then I had to get my suitcases again and bring them to another conveyor belt to be loaded onto my other flight. This was bothersome because 1) I'd been told I wouldn't have to get them until I got home and 2) it took them about 40 minutes before they actually came!

In any case, after that sweaty annoying experience, I got back through security and found my way to the airport lounge where I got a bit of food.

The airplane from JFK to back home was TINY! I think I've been on bigger buses. I was fairly disappointed that I didn't get a view of the city while taking off, but I did listen to Taylor Swift's "Welcome to New York!"


Getting home was such a relief and my family plus my good friend, Nupur, were waiting to meet me! It was so good to see everyone after so long...and it was nice that my dad took care of my suitcases from there on out. My parents even stopped at Taco Bell on the way home from the airport...oh, Mexican food, how I'd missed you.

That Sunday, I was actually awake for 25 hours, so I suppose it's no wonder that I got sick immediately after. While it was exhausting and stressful, I'm very thankful that it went as well as it did.


I have to admit, the culture shock coming back to the US is much worse than it was going over. American money still throws me off and I'm in mourning for my access to UK Starbucks. While I don't miss St Andrews, per se, I definitely miss my friends (I've been talking to Lucy every day, but it's not the same) and being in the United Kingdom. I've talked to some of my JSA friends from St Andrews and people from Elon who were also abroad and we've agreed that coming back is strange because in many ways, it feels as though you never left and yet you feel so different.

Going to St Andrews definitely had a large impact on me, as a person, and my outlook on life. But writing this blog has had an almost equally large impact! I feel as though I've actually improved my writing, my photography, and my ability to tell a story. Thank you so much to those of you who read this and kept me company throughout my journey. To anyone considering St Andrews, or studying abroad in general, feel free to get in touch with me via email (nbackman16@gmail.com) or via Twitter (@nicoleackman16) to ask any questions you have.

So, finally, goodbye St Andrews. xx
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16 Days Interrailing: Itinerary

Before heading back to the states at the end of this month, I am setting off on my last, and most ambitious, European adventure so far this weekend. It’s an Interrail trip, covering 8 countries in 16 days. I have two friends from the states who are making the journey across the Atlantic to travel with me. Our post-graduation Europe trip looks like this:

  • Days 1 & 2: Paris, France
  • Day 3: Zurich, Switzerland
  • Days 4 & 5: Vienna, Austria
  • Day 6: Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Days 7-9: Budapest, Hungary
  • Days 10 & 11: Zagreb, Croatia
  • Day 12: Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Day 13 & 14: Venice, Italy
  • Day 15: Milan, Italy
  • Day 16: Travel day –> Milan, Italy back to Reims, France

Slide1

I am so excited for this trip and cannot wait for all of the adventures that happen along the way!


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