Hi! I just wanna ask if there really is a JTA for ab psychology students studying in ADMU?:)
Hello! Yes, there’s a JTA program for SOSS students too! The application process usually starts as early as the second semester of your sophomore year. Go go go, APPLY!!! :)
2012 was a year of self-discovery. I discovered so many things about myself which I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t gone on exchange. This time, last year, I didn’t expect myself to be here where I am today. I never expected myself to be able to cross out so many things off my bucket list. My old self was too shy, too stuck inside the walls she built herself. Today, I am stronger, older and much much braver than I used to be. I have finally crossed the “borders” and went beyond my comfort zone.
I just wanna say “I love you, self! You did it!” but wouldn’t that sound too narcissistic of me?
Anyway, one year ago, I never thought I could travel alone, visit places on my “places-to-visit list”, see the Eiffel Tower on New Year’s Eve, spend four nights in one of my favorite cities in the world with my family, visit the real “Sleeping Beauty castle” (Neuchwanstein Castle), go sledding down the Swiss Alps, and actually experience snow. I never thought I would be able to do such basic things like cook decent meals, learn how to use the washing machine, know how to travel from one country to another via train, know how to get from one city to the next via bus, even learn how to fix a broken toilet(!!!), etcetera etcetera!
Along the way, I met new people from different backgrounds, who spoke different languages. I learned a beautiful foreign language, and survived (and still surviving) in a foreign country with only basic knowledge of German, which I was able to acquire in just a span of five months. I have learned to love the culture, the food, the cities and most especially the people; Germans are the nicest people in the world! I have learned to appreciate the little things I know I’m going to miss a lot when I come home: the tiny little snowflakes that build up on my curls and the sleeves of my jacket, the train stations that serve as transition points whenever I travel from city to city, the sun shining bright on cold winter days, the usual cappuccino from the bakery, my favorite Schokoladen Croissant or chocolate croissant (I have never encountered bad tasting ones), grocery food items (such as Paprika chips, Ritter Sport chocolates, leberkäse & süssersenf etc.) that I know I’ll never be able to find back home, my Bavarian favorites: currywurst, bratwurst, leberkäse and schnitzel, döner kababs, H&M’s everywhere, the group excursions to beautiful cities: Dachau, Nürnberg, Munich and Salzburg, and the little field trips we arranged ourselves to German cities like Bamberg and Ingolstadt, all the cities I’ve been to, the people I went with and the people I met along the way, the beautiful university, the parties on cold weeknights, the Christmas markets, the International potluck dinners (which usually consisted of really good Italian pasta, Tiramisu, and Apfel Strudels!), random trips to the grocery, my all-in-one room (which I love calling an apartment but it isn’t, it’s a dorm)….I think it’s a never-ending list.
And all this happened because I finally said YES. YES to that one thing, that one opportunity I knew I shouldn’t simply let go of. And that one “YES” made all the difference. I used to let go of many opportunities in the past, but I’m glad I didn’t say “no” to this one.
I know I have changed, emotionally and physically, (because I am definitely fatter now, thanks to all those unnecessary pommes frites I’ve been devouring) and I am not quite the person I used to be when I left Manila four months ago. But I know I have changed in a good way. After all, (no matter how cliché this may sound) it’s the only thing that’s constant in life.
I remember the first time I stepped into this town during a sunny autumn day in September. I even blogged about it and left it hanging: “My arrival in Eichstätt was very cinematic. I felt like I was starring in my own movie. I got off the train, carrying my gigantic luggage with me, wearing my sister’s backpack and tugging my laptop case to my chest, I felt the cool wind brushing against me and the familiar sun greeting my cheeks and eyes. It was such a beautiful moment… finally reaching a place that’s going to be my home. Everything felt so picturesque because the place was so beautiful, it was surrounded by mountains and the perfect weather added to the drama too. Finally, a girl approached me and she said she was from the welcome team. After a couple of hours, I met my landlord who helped me settle in my new apartment…”
And four months later, here I am, being emotional in front of my laptop on the thought of leaving.
I can’t believe it will all soon be over. In just a matter of days, I will be leaving the amazing life I learned to embrace and love, in this town which had become my home away from home for more than four months. I am definitely going to miss each and every little thing I have learned to love in this beautiful country and Eichstätt, where I am now. Germany has taught me A LOT so thank you, Germany, for helping me grow and for making a huge impact on my life. Ich liebe dich immer <3 And to Eichstätt, room 1033, and the Erasmus group winter semester 2012-2013, you will always have a special place in my heart.
And to the biggest adventure I have ever had and the four-month-long-trip that changed my life, I’m glad I made the right decision. No regrets. Here’s to 2013, to saying “YES” to every opportunity that comes my way and to more adventures ahead! CHEERS!
Isn’t life so very beautiful?
…in my perspective. And not in chronological order.
1. The smell of coffee.
2. Waking up just right before your alarm clock rings.
3. Looking out the window and seeing droplets of snow for the first time in your life.
4. Attending a fitness class and the songs from the playlist are two of your favorite songs.
5. Going to bed after a long day.
6. Having a hot cup of coffee and embracing the moment.
7. Waking up to the scent of fresh linen.
8. Zara sale. Enough said.
9. Late night and early morning Skype sessions.
10. Figuring things out on your own.
11. Snuggling under the comforter with your favorite hoodie on.
12. Runner’s high.
13. The view of your destination from an airplane window. (exhibit A: beach)
14. Wearing your boyfriend’s sweater.
15. Cooking something for the first time and it actually turns out successful.
16. Doing plenty of crunches and feeling your abs ache the next day.
17. Singing songs from Sound of Music and random Christmas songs on a road trip or car ride with the family.
18. Dancing Oppa Gangam Style with your sisters while crossing the street.
19. Eating Filipino food after one month of not eating it.
20. Eating at a buffet after hours of starvation.
21. Running late and actually making it on time.
22. Taking off your bra after a long day of wearing it.
23. Getting into a train right on time.
24. Spontaneous adventures.
25. Car ride with someone driving for the first time.
26. Talking to an English guy with legit British accent and imagining you’re in a Harry Potter movie.
27. Picking a random entree from a menu and it actually turns out really good.
28. Getting home so late that the sun is coming up.
29. Laughing so hard you have to catch your breath.
30. Crossing off things in your to-do list.
31. Understanding someone who speaks in a completely foreign language.
32. Smelling breakfast even before you get up from bed.
33. Having a nice hot shower after being out in the cold for too long.
34. Finally being able to buy that one thing you’ve always wanted on your wish list.
35. Getting surprise presents.
36. Seeing your family again after almost three months of not seeing each other.
37. Really tight hugs.
38. Cuddling in winter.
39. Getting a well-deserved “A” on an exam you worked hard for.
40. HIMYM and Suits marathon.
Random piece of writing I recently found in the depths of my drafts folder:
17 December 2011 11:46PM
And as we stood there, my arm wrapped around your waist and your arm wrapped around my shoulders, my head against your chest, looking at the star-filled sky, watching the water in the bay that looked like a gigantic infinity pool, listening to the soft waves that touched the shore below us and the almost inaudible sound of music from the party that we decided to ignore, I thought it might be a fine time to say the three little words.
…because posting Instagram photos is becoming too mainstream JUST KIDDING
1. Leberkäse + süssersenf from the grocery! For more than three months, I’ve been living on the usual salami and cheese sandwich (or on some days, tuna) for train rides or afternoon/midnight snacks. Thank God I’ve recently discovered that leberkäse (typical German meat which I usually buy from meat shops) is readily available in Edeka! Yesterday, I also got my very own süssersenf (in English: sweet mustard sauce?) which goes very well with the leberkäse! Hehe so happy I can eat them almost everyday now ‘cause they’re readily available… in mah fridge.
2. SUITS! The tv series. I ran out of things to watch (finished all the seasons of HIMYM, Awkward’s season 2 isn’t coming out anytime soon, plus I’ve grown tired of PLL haha!) so I decided to plug in the dvd I brought with me from the Philippines. And I’ve been watching everyday since. And God, I’m hooked. Mike Ross is my hero. I’m not kidding.
3. Strawberry yoghurt from the grocery. Mom suggested that I buy lots of those because apparently yoghurt from Germany is really good. And she was damn right. Huhu where have you been all my liiiife???
4. End of season sales and recent buys! Went to the other town, Ingolstadt (where there is civilization) last week and scoured the stores for sales! So happy I got to buy things on my Christmas wishlist. Had coffee at a French cafe too.
5. The fact that I’ll be home in good old Manila in two weeks! Yes, TWO WEEKS. Finally, finally going to see my family, my friends and my boyfriend after being away for four months. I. CAN’T. WAIT.
And after everything has been said, I realize that most of the things that make me happy are food. Lol that says something, yes? #foodierighthere #notafattie #whoamikidding #lol #annoyinghashtags
In the middle of all the Christmas festivities, I still can’t help but think of Paris. Many of you may not know this but I’m really a Parisian Mademoiselle at heart. It has been my life-long dream to travel all the way to the city of love to experience it in all its beauty and wonder. I’ve watched the movie “Monte Carlo” (which was filmed in Paris) over and over again like a giddy little girl because it always makes me happy. The Eiffel tower has been my favorite emblem since forever and now, I’m going to see it in real life. My dream’s finally coming true!!!
I can’t wait to see the Tour Eiffel sparkle at night, eat macarons from Laduree and Pierre Herme, have coffee and tea at one of the quaint coffee shops along the busy Champs Elysees, visit the Notre Dame (which always reminds me of the bell ringer, Quasimodo!), eat legit French bread and croissants, see the Louvre, wear a beret while walking the beautiful Parisian streets, listen to “La Vie En Rose” play in the metro, watch the fireworks display on New Year’s Eve, and maybe, just maybe, buy a new Longchamp bag!
I love you already and I can’t wait to see you. Make my dreams come true and help me find my joie de vivre?
Hello from Eschwege, Germany! I am currently at my tita’s beautiful home, and this is where I’ll be spending Christmas Eve. I’m so happy that I can finally feel the Christmas spirit now that I’m in a real home, it would’ve been perfect if I could spend it with my family though. But that ain’t a problem because they’re all on their way to see me and I’ll be seeing my favorite people in the world in just a matter of hours! I. CAN’T. WAIT.
Anyway, I arrived yesterday after lunch and I’m loving Christmas here in Germany so far:
1. My tita’s children picked me up from the station and we went straight to a family get-together where all we did was eat freshly-baked Christmas cookies, play English and Filipino Christmas songs on the piano, and not-so-Christmas songs as well (see: Harry Potter opening song, which I really really liked!), have coffee and/or tea, and just be cozy in the second floor of their relatives’ quaint German home.
2. We decorated the Christmas tree at Tita Marissa’s house as well!
Here’s our little masterpiece:
Isn’t it lovely? <3
By the way, it was a legit Christmas tree (which explains why it looks slightly uneven) and not a department store Christmas tree lol. It was a different experience for me because in the Philippines, we always put up our Christmas decorations and trees as early as October! Sometimes, even earlier. But here, they do it right before Christmas. I don’t know which tradition I like better but I really like the idea of anticipating Christmas really early in the Philippines. That’s what I actually miss back home- as soon as you enter the malls, you’re suddenly transported to a winter wonderland… except there’s no real snow though. Everywhere you go, you hear Christmas songs, see Christmas lights and decors all over the place, and really beautiful Christmas trees. I still honestly think that the Christmas trees in the Philippines are prettier than the ones we have here in Germany. Filipinos really do take Christmas seriously, and I love it.
3. Last night after decorating the tree, I went with Imke to meet her friend at a local bar. I had my usual Radler beer (a personal favorite!) but we went to three different bars so I ordered three more drinks to accompany me during the night. I had fun! Met her friends and tried interesting drinks, and ended up going home NOT tipsy at all. Thanks to the water I’ve been gulping in between drinks lol
4. Now we’re having a “Mittagspause” after lunch (English translation: afternoon break) which explains why I’m on my laptop right now. I’m so excited for Christmas eve tonight, gift-giving, food(!!!) and other German Christmas traditions! It’s my first time ever to celebrate Christmas eve without my family but I guess there’s always a first time for everything. Right now, all I can think of is:
finally seeing my family after 86 long days. Yes, that’s how long I’ve been away and this is the longest time I’ve been away from my loved ones. I miss them terribly. But tomorrow is gonna be a great day! And probably the best Christmas ever! I shall flood all of your Instagram timelines with family pictures and Christmassy things….. or maybe not.
Anyway, I shall now get some sleep for it’s going to be a looong night! Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas from Germany!!! xx
Last weekend, I went with the Ateneans from Ingolstadt to explore the beautiful city of Lucerne, Switzerland and it was one of the best trips I’ve had! It was the prettiest city I’ve ever been to <3 Here are my favorite photos from the bunch (I took most of the pictures but credits to Miguel and Anina for some):
Everything looks so perfect and picturesque. What’s not to love?
^On our first day, we went to Engelberg via train to explore Mt. Titlis and the other nearby mountains. We found out that Mt. Titlis was closed, which was strange because it was a Friday, but it was all good because we had an amazing time in a winter wonderland!
^That’s my first snow angel right there! Another item off my bucket list, yay!
^Burying Lizzie under the snow hahaha!
^Our peace signs look funny with our bulky winter gloves on haha!
…and then lying on the snow after. SARAAAAAP!
^That was our view while eating our packed sandwiches for lunch. Unforgettable!
We stopped by the cheese factory for a while to keep ourselves warm because it was too cold outside, and we were lucky because there was a cafe inside so we took advantage and ordered a few hot drinks. I ordered Swiss hot chocolate, which interestingly tasted like Swiss Miss!
^We also tried the Swiss Cheese Fondue, which was served with bread and pear cubes. I enjoyed this a lot! The cheese was served in a hot pan and we just had to dip the bread and pear into the cheese, just like chocolate fondue. We realized the cheese had a rhum taste to it so we figured it was spiked. I liked it better with pear though, because the sweetness of the pear created just the right amount of balance with the cheese’s strong flavor. The bread, on the other hand, will give you a strong hint of rhum and cheesy goodness! Yum!
^Hehehe that’s me, amazed and excited to try out the cheese fondue!
^WINTER WONDERLAND. My friend, Bea, said that I looked like I was in a postcard! I realized this picture did look like one! The place was really really nice, words can’t express how beautiful it was.
^Here’s a photo of the city of Lucerne at night. Aren’t the Christmas lights pretty? This reminds me of Coldplay’s song hehe
The next day, we went to Mt. Rigi by boat and then by train. We had so much fun taking pictures and appreciating the Swiss Alps as our view. Breathtaking!
^With Lizzie and Nikki
^On our way up to Mt. Rigi
WHAT A VIEW!!!
^We finally arrived!
^With the Ingolstadt girls: Anina, Nikki & Lizzie <3
^Here’s me, at the top of Mt. Rigi!
You have no idea how hard it was to get to the top. We had to withstand a legit blizzard and keep ourselves from slipping, not to mention the strong winds and ice particles that kept hitting our faces! Definitely an experience I will never forget!
^But look at that amazing view! The journey on the way up was worth it!
^Would’ve been profile picture worthy but looks like I’ve grown a moustache……
Now let me share with you the highlight of our trip: SLEDDING DOWN THE SWISS ALPS!
^Nervous but excited!
^I know I look like Rudolph (the red-nosed reindeer) but this experience was definitely one for the books. Sledding down the Swiss Alps was my best adventure yet! Everyone should include this on their bucket lists! #YOLO
^We went sledding not one, not two, but THREE times because it was that fun, one just wasn’t enough. Every time we finished the trail, we had to go up again and pull our sleds up to catch the next train going to the top of the mountain.
It was a near death experience for me (lol clumsy me; I fell off my sled five times, almost got ran over by another sled but was lucky enough to avoid it, fell off a mini-cliff and had to go up again carrying the sled on my left arm - and I’m not even exaggerating, I still have battle scars to prove it) but hey, at least I have more stories to tell, and it’s all part of the adventure! The adrenaline, the speed of the sled, the snow and most importantly, the beautiful view of the forests and the mountains made the whole experience super worth it!!! Imagine, sliding down from the top of a mountain with a winter wonderland for a view. Just perfect. <3
Switzerland in a nutshell: The beautiful Lake Lucerne, sledding (aka the highlight of the trip), sandwiches for lunch in front of the Swiss alps, legit winter wonderland, snow angels, snowball fights, Swiss cheese fondue, Swiss cheese (winner of the Swiss cheese awards lol), legit Swiss hot chocolate, amazing view of Switzerland from the top of Mt. Rigi (aka best view I have ever seen!), Swiss chocolates, chocolates and more chocolates!
Never ever miss out on Switzerland if you’re going on a Eurotrip. Really beautiful country and a one-of-a-kind experience, you won’t regret it! I swear, it’ll be super worth it!
Here’s to the best weekend I’ve had in Europe and here’s to one hell of a winter wonderland adventure with you guys! Thank you!!! ‘Til next time <3
1. Snowy day in Eichstätt
2. View from my window: Love seeing the sun and blue sky in winter
3. Early morning train rides
4. It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas
5. Going for a walk after class and enjoying the last few days of fall
6. Eichstätt Dom
7. Thanksgiving dinner hosted by the Americans! Yay turkey!!! <3
8. Never fails to make my day
Follow me on Instagram: alexahao
SALZBURG, AUSTRIA. Last weekend, we went on an excursion to Salzburg and I hate to say this but it was freezing the whole time. But the temperature didn’t stop us from having fun! I must say, It was one of the best excursions ever! Salzburg is such a beautiful and quaint little city. Here are some photos:
^FREEZING! Behind me is the Mirabell Gardens. Sucks that it was snowing like crazy when we were there, it would have been so much better if we could go around freely and take more pictures. But hey, that just gave me one of the many reasons to go back!
^This is the entrance to the place where the Von Trapp family had a concert at the last part of the movie hehe
^Eating the famous Mozart chocolate!
^Dark chocolate covered banana I got from the Christmas market
^Drinking hot Christmas wine to keep us warm brrrr
^Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree!
^The Christmas spirit is in the air <3
^The Original Sacher-Torte from Cafe Sacher in Salzburg, Austria
^Salzburg is beautiful at night!
“Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things”
Sucks that my photos don’t do justice at all to how beautiful this city is. Loved the streets, the vintage store signs, the Sacher-Torte, the Christmas markets, the hot wine (forgot what it’s called), the snowflakes, and the Christmas spirit in the air!
Being the ultimate Sound of Music fan that I am, I felt like a giddy little girl again knowing that Maria and the Von Trapp Family once lived here! I wish I could go back to this place someday so I can re-enact and sing “The hills are alive…” in the mountains…
or sing “My Favorite Things” while skipping on the streets…
or sing “Do Re Mi” in the Mirabell Gardens…
There are so many reasons to come visit this place again…
I SHALL RETURN.