Ok my second and third (and soon to be fourth) weeks living in a second world country. First important thing to mention the dorms have built character. In my last blog I mentioned the dorms, and as many universities share the same dorms I figured they were ran by a third party entity and that my universities administration must know nothing about them. I have been proven wrong many times, as whenever I meet a new faculty member in our office their second question is always “How are the dorms?” followed by “They are worse than all right but they build character”. And honestly they are totally survivable.
At my internship I am currently researching universities for our school (Comenius) to partner with. In Europe there is this really amazing Erasmus+ program that allows students to study abroad through cooperation and simple credit transfer system. And for the last two weeks I feel like I have been applying for college all over again; googling “journalism BA” and “where to study in Italy”. All in all it is kinda frustrating because even after you find a couple of good universities, the next question is do they have programs in English and then do they have enough compatible classes that our students could transfer credits with. My frustration has been thus far taken out on the coffee machine.
Slovakia is a beautiful country! I have learned much about the politics (being a political science major who is currently employed by someone with a political science Ph.D). My boss also invited me to sit in with the political science faculty (people who are much smarter than I am) for a workshop on Slovakian political parties. When she told me about it I thought it would be something for students and when we got there I was surrounded by professors and Ph.D holders who were way above my political science knowledge. But the workshop was really cool and pretty insightful into how Slovakia fits into Europe (western and eastern) politics. It was even held by a professor from Wayne State who gave me a nod for being from the UofM which made me internally laugh because again I was probably the most ignorant person in the room.
Now onto the “Emily’s travels” section of today’s reading. I had the chance to go with my boss and her husband into wine country. And I got to pretend to know how to wine last (sniff sniff… mm wine) and I got to see a castle where right across the river (or as I would rather call a natural moat) you can be in Austria! evidently this was very problematic in communist occupied Slovakia because many people died trying to swim the river (not drowning might I add) but now it is a scenic tourist destination.
I was also able to take a day trip into Vienna, just an hour by train. This is where I was able to purchase myself some beloved Mozart Balls! I have been to Vienna one time before but this time I was completely by myself. There are some pros to traveling alone. One, you don’t have to deal with what other people want to do. You think kids are bad when they don’t want to do something? Just think about adults who have their heart set on doing something different than what you are doing. Two, people don’t realize you are a tourist (unless you are in an obvious tourist hub). You have the privilege of walking down side streets with out anyone giving you the side eye, and I even had some people ask me directions. There are some cons too; no one to talk with, no one to laugh at the comments you want to make about the baroque art (see below), and no one to run with you through the streets when it starts to rain (This was personally my least favorite). But Vienna is still a beautiful city and I am excited to see more of it.
As I am writing this I am on a train (a very new train might I add with wifi and English translations) to salzburg. For those of you who don’t know, salzburg is where Mozart was born and also the city where the Sound of Music was filmed and where the real life people lived. That’s right. I am about to stand where Julia Andrews has stood. I am checking it off my bucket list as we speak.
Photo from the Belvedere. Imagine a room full of these busts, and surrounded by people in silence.