Schwetzingen Castle Gardens

With my mom in Europe for a week we set off to see as many Deutsch castles as possible during her few days in Germany before we shifted our focus to Italy. 

With 4 days in Germany we saw 5 castles. 1 was my University itself, Universitat Mannheim.  2 was Heidelburg Castle.  3 & 4 were Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau, both in the town Füssen.  And 5 was Schwetzingen Palace.


Right off the bat, this castle is orange!  It did not resemble many German castles being that Schwetzingen Palace was built in the 17th century as a summer residency.  It was built specifically for two officials in the neighboring towns Heidelburg and Mannheim, and is equidistant to both towns.  


It is best known for its expansive gardens, which house everything from a mosque, to fountains, to orange trees, to a pond, and lots of cherry blossoms.

After 3 hours of getting lost I still felt as though there were parts of this beautiful estate I hadn’t covered, but I made peace quickly when I found myself by a lake surrounded by geese and flowers. 

It was so nice Mama Grady couldn’t help but take a few pictures herself.

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My Real Life Disney Castle Experience

Built in the 1800s, with construction finishing in 1886, this Bavarian castle was Disney’s inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle.
On this foggy day my mom and I ventured to the German town Füssen to check off this royal experience and see this landmark for ourselves.

There were less pastels and sparkles than the Disney rendition of this castle, but beautiful none-the-less.

And not only is the castle a sight to see.  The bridge in the distance was under construction during our visit but normally allows visitors to walk on in order to gain a better view of the castle.  Though we couldn’t walk across it, it was still part of the breathtaking view off the castle’s balcony.

A Rainy Day in Munich

In a day trip to München, with unexpected rain, I spent the day exploring two covered treasures in this great German city.

I took advantage of 1 euro museum entrance fees on Sundays, which brought me to the Architekturmuseum der Technischen.

I’ve been to a lot of museums but this one was unlike any I’ve been to.  It had anything from jewelry to Apple computers, to material saving dinner chairs.

After a long day of museum strolling and ducking from the rain, I taxied across town to the can’t miss Münich beer gardens.  

It was Fruhlingsfest and despite the rain the rides were all operating, but I ran inside the tents.  If you’ve never been in a German beer tent it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen.  It’s big, loud, crowded, with striped ceilings and filled with lots of people in leiderhosens!

But the perfect end to a long day…

Aus-some Sites in Austria

  1. Schönbrunn Castle.  This is listed as #1 because it was hands down the most beautiful attraction in Vienna not to be missed.  You can wander back to see the gardens, and look back and see the whole castle grounds from up high.  (Also if you’re lucky like me and there’s an Easter market going on your pictures might be enhanced by some beautiful potatoes!)
  2. Easter Markets.  I was fortunate to be greeted at Schönnbrunn Castle with an Easter market when visiting.    This meant lots of homemade crafts and authentic homemade Austrian food.  Yum!
  3. St. Stephen’s Cathedral.  Located in the center of Stephansplatz, the view as you walk to top of this cathedral is incredible.  Walk up this narrow winding staircase–try not to get too dizzy–and you won’t regret it.  (My beautiful travel companion that recorded the whole hike up, huffing puffing and all)
  4. Austrian Parliament Building.  Even if you’re not a history buff you can still appreciate the beauty of this building from inside to outside.
  5. Demels.  Upon a friends recommendation I knew to stop into Demel’s, a bakery/sweet shop that served a delicious breakfast, and you didn’t even mind waiting to be seated because there were such intriguing views of cake decorating in action.
  6. Get lost in the city. Many of my favorite moments were experienced wandering around Vienna aimlessly.  One in particular was a candy shop called Die Zuckerlwerkstatt.  Who knows what other sweet treasures are waiting to be found there?   

Czech it

Where do you find French influenced architecture, history stories about public officials who were thrown out windows, and chimney cakes with heavenly chocolate hazelnut filling?  Czech Prague!


Immediately arriving in the old town plaza in Prague I knew this would be one of my favorite places I’ve visited.  The buildings were all brightly colored with rustic red roofs and the plaza was packed with venders selling sweet desserts, wines, and crafts such as decorative eggs.


Be sure to climb up Prague’s famous clock tower for an unforgettable view of the city.  And yes I swear I really did take this picture!


What next?  I would recommend to walk or hop onto one of the many moped tours to the Prague castle.


You’ll be glad you Czeched it out!

AmsterDAM Good Eats

  1. Yoghurt Barn, Netherlands Chain

I would pick this design-your-own yoghurt over froyo bars any day.  Not only do you instantly feel healthier picking between superfoods such as gogi berries and chia seeds to top your food, but you also can select an option from their loose leaf tea or smoothie collection.

  1. Poffertieskraam, Rotterdamn Street Food

I still dream about these Dutch mini pancakes all the time when I compare them to typical street food such as NY pretzels and dogs.  I’d pick these butter soaked pancakes over greasy, salty foods any day!

  1. Pim, The Hague


When I say I want to go back to the Netherlands, this place is why.  Dutch cheese is beyond wonderful on its own, but Dutch cooking with it was out of this world.  Homemade goat cheese mousse, lettuce, hazelnuts, and maple syrup marinated bacon.  
Thanks for all the yummy eats, till next time Netherlands!

The City of Love and I love the Food

Oui oui?  More like me me!  Of all the countries I’ve been to France has been the one I’ve found myself returning to the most.  
What is it about Paris?  The food?  The art?  The atmosphere?  All of it!
My first time visiting France two years back I was served fa-gras only to learn after the fact that what I thought was undercooked duck was actually perfectly cooked liver.  For someone who rarely ventures to try new types of meats, I was far out of my element.
This time my travel companions included two bubbly, energetic Canadian girls from Queens University who had an agenda that seemed a lot more up my ally: 1) stop and buy coffee at every cute cafe in eyesight till our inevitable caffeine crash, and 2) meet Kendall Jenner and Karly Kloss because we “just so happened” to be there for Paris Fashion Week.  
Sadly only one came true.  And this article isn’t titled “my 7 seconds of fame when I brushed paths with Victoria Secret models” so you can guess the ladder has yet to happen.  
Through extensive research via Instagram we found two cafes I still dream about to this day.  Obli-da.  And Frenchies to go.  (It’s worth distinguishing Frenchies and Frenchies to go are both separate and very distinguishable eateries).
Ob-la-di?  I challenge anyone to find something better tasting and more photogenic than this cilantro-pomegranate avocado toast.  

And Frenchies to go?  Well if you’re a musli fanatic like me there’s no need to look further.  Do you also feel healthier knowing you can order a green drink with your breakfast to balance out the 7 lattes you’re already salivating over in anticipation?  I repeat, this is the place.  Stop scrolling through French foodie blogs, this is all you need.

Paris in a Weekend: Doable

When you have the chance to go to Paris, you take it!  If it’s only for a 3 day weekend you’ve given yourself, you’ll make it work.  Here’s the highlights that you can’t miss on your trip:

  1. Visit the Louvre
  2. When you’re there, hit up everyone’s favorite girl Mona
  3. Did you even go to Paris if you didn’t take pictures pretending to touch the pyramid? (even though in my case failing)
  4. According to Lorde, we might never be Royal…but we can pretend to be at the Palace of Versace (it’s also one of few palaces I’ve seen that is a-okay with picture taking!)
  5. Your trip will not be complete without taking a lap around back
  6. And can you go to France without visiting a Lauderee? Idk, I wouldn’t chance it.
  7. But taking 3,000 pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower?  I would carve out a few ours to be safe.

Land Your Dream Internship Abroad: 5 Tips

I may be in Germany but I am still a Bentley student and Bentley students are all about getting summer internships.  But does being abroad during recruitment mean the ship has sailed for these jobs?

 

Being 3,720 miles from Boston does add challenges and complications to any recruitment process.  For me, Germany is 6 hours ahead of the Northeast and an 8 hour flight away from Boston–which thanks to Google Maps I know this equates to a 52 day walk assuming I never sleep and not taking into account the ocean.

 

However studying abroad does not have to be an obstacle towards achieving summer employment if you prepare properly.  So what should you do?

 

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1.     Plan your means of communications out in advance and hand out the correct contact information to employers.

We all want employers to contact us, but we need to make sure they can.  If you purchase a SIMs card and need to change your phone number DON’T let your resumes, applications, or email signature advertise a phone number that won’t reach you.  Additionally many students receive an email account at the university they are temporarily attending.  If you are providing employers with your home university’s address you will still need to check it.  Having two email accounts to check might be frustrating and receiving dozens of Bentley emails for campus events you can’t attend might make your FOMO act up again, but  the alternative is staying at home all summer with mom and dad…

 

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2.     Once you’re scheduling your interview, be conscious of the time difference: know how many hours difference there is and in what direction. 

If the company you’re talking to is on Eastern Standard Time then when you communicate with them use Eastern Standard Time—and label it so.  You might have to be flexible and accommodating, or the time difference might work for you.  I have been running 6 hours ahead of Boston, so when I finish my classes at 2:00pm, businesses back home in Boston are all starting up.  Therefore students in Europe can sleep easy knowing they won’t be missing phone calls or skype interviews due to sleeping in!

 

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3.     Pack one formal outfit.  Many employers are willing to use alternative communication mediums to replace a face to face interview; popular substitutes being phone or Skype interviews. 

If you’re asked for a virtual interview with video it’s better to have professional, well-fitting clothes on hand than have to scour your roommates’ closets or buy something.  The days between being asked to interview and interviewing is better spent reading up on the company than at the mall.  Plus there’s much better things you’ll want to spend your money on while abroad than dress clothes!

 

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4.     If it is a Skype interview: have a profile picture and username you won’t be embarrassed of an interviewer seeing.

If you’re questioning whether that selfie is “professional enough,” it might even be easier to make another account rather than temporarily change all your settings.

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5.     And lastly, once you make it to the interview don’t be afraid to talk about your non academic experiences abroad. 

Maybe not that winery tour in Italy or Saint Patrick’s Day in Ireland, but there’s a lot of characteristics travel brings out such as punctuality, organization, independence, or adaptability.  Tell stories that emphasis skills gained or situations you’ve challenged yourself in a new way.  For me, I cannot emphasize enough how much studying abroad has made me more confident and open to new experiences.  After the painful process of receiving a residential permit abroad with documents in German and a clerk that spoke no English, I know I might not excel from every experience but enter every situation knowing I will survive and grow from this.

 

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6 Packing Tips for Study Abroad

Stuffing a whole semester’s worth of belongings into a suitcase can be overwhelming, and often leads to over packing and forgotten essentials.  You can’t forget clothes, electronics, bedding, toiletries, and next thing we know our suitcase looks like we’re packing for an impending apocalypse.

So what are some essentials we often forget to bring and “essentials” we need to ditch?

1.     Don’t Bring Clothing You Already Barely Wear

You’re packing for a whole semester: that means clothing you pack should be something you see yourself wearing and re-wearing often. And this goes for all clothes: if you’re bringing an item that you already know will only be worn occasionally, it better be small or you’ll quickly identify it as that waste-of-space-item-that-took-up-precious-space-in-your-34-inch-suitcase! Pack items you know to be tested and true.

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2.     Do Bring Comfortable Footwear

You’re likely to be studying in a city, do a lot more walking than you’re used to and (if you’re traveling to Europe) can count on walking on cobblestone—and no one wants hurt ankles or the public humiliation of falling

Ladies, I’m talking to you when I say: if you’re thinking of bringing heeled shoes give a long hard evaluative look at how often you’ll actually wear them.  I am guilty of bringing what I thought were comfortable heeled wedges with me and after walking over 15 miles in them on my first day in Mannheim, Germany I threw them in the back of my closet and haven’t seen them since.  With such short walks between classes at Bentley, it’s easy to tolerate wearing uncomfy shoes for the sake of tying together an outfit. Study abroad…not so much.

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3.     Don’t Pack a Semester’s Worth of…

You don’t even need to complete this thought. You are going to college in a new city, you’re not a tribute in the 24th annual Hunger Games. And unlike our favorite fictional characters, you will be able to find essentials with a reasonable amount of ease. Wherever you’re going will probably have shops, drugstores and access to Amazon shipping.

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4.     Do Double Check You Have All Your Chargers

If you’re bringing electronics make sure each device has its charger. If it’s a charger for an iPhone, you’re fine—you can buy those anywhere. But if you make the same mistake as me and forget a charger not ordinarily sold in stores and have to wait for 2 weeks of shipping to use your speakers in your room, the responsible electronic(s) will be both literally and figuratively dead to you.

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5.     Do Bring Layer-able Clothes

If you’re going abroad for a semester odds are the weather will vary during your time overseas. To avoid packing too many clothes, be smart and bring non-season specific clothing you can layer when it’s cold, and still wear if the weather gets warmer. This helps you avoid having to wear half your wardrobe to and from your travel destination.  And on the off chance you’re like me and you want to pack more cloths than can fit in a suitcase?  I say forget diamonds, vacuum seal bags are a traveling girl’s best friend.

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6.     Don’t Bring all Your America/University/Greek Apparel

You’re going overseas as a student, not as a tourist. So when in (insert country of travel here) act as the (insert nationality of country here) do. It’s cool to show off your school and country pride while abroad, but so is not being taken advantage of for being a tourist. By all means be proud to be American, but also remember the best way to experience another culture is to immerse yourself in how they act

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