One Month in Jyväskylä!

Everyday Adventures

Wow!!! Today marks a month since I set out on this journey. It’s crazy to think that a month ago at this time I was sitting in an airport in Chicago just waiting for time to pass. Actually, that’s not true. Time zones ignored, I had only just woken up to load up the truck and head out.

Since that day, I have experienced so many amazing things, met so many amazing people, and have learned more than I think my brain can hold. It’s been so wonderful. And I haven’t even left the city yet!

In no particular order, here are some of my highlights of this month:

  • I have learned to budget. It took moving out of the country to make it happen but now I know how much I can spend and still have room for rent and food. At home, because of how American college dorm…

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8 Things You Learn From Staying in London

1. There is no such thing as personal space.

A thing I noticed while in London is that people don’t really have their own space bubble. Most places you go such as the tube you will be crammed close to people not caring about your personal space.

2. Beauty is everywhere.

Literally everywhere you look there is beauty. Whether it be a park or a part of history, every single thing in London is beautiful. 

4. Restaurants work a bit different.

Almost every restaurant we went to while in London had a bar inside it. Now we didn’t know at first but quickly found out that you order not only drinks from the bars but also your meals. You go up to the bar and order and pay for your food there and then they bring it out to your table. I think this is a cool way but personally I like being lazy and having the waiter/waitress come to me. 

5. People get drinks after work.

One thing I loved about the London social scene was that people go out with friends to grab a drink after work. People will be outside all pubs enjoying a beer almost everyday around the 5pm. I think we should bring this norm to America personally. 

6. It’s more expensive.

London is a very expensive town and we knew this before going but it really doesn’t hit until your paying $14 American dollars for a meal that seems cheap in pounds. The conversion rates reall get ya. But honestly every extra dollar is worth it because I mean you’re in London! 

7. Water.

Water is very different in the UK. A popular thing is sparkling water. At restaurants you have to ask specifically for tap or still water if you want it, and most of the time they will look at you like you’re crazy. Also if you want ice be sure to ask for it because most places don’t give you ice in your water!

8.  Museums and Churches.

In London it’s kind of funny because you pay to see the churches but most museums are free to enter. That’s almost completely opposite from America. However, paying entry for those churches are 100% worth it. 

Although many of these things are different, they are all the small parts that add to your trip. London was amazing and I can’t wait to go back! 

One Step Further

Name: Moaz Al Nouri

Year of Studying Abroad: Sophomore

Degree/Major: Economics and Business

Country visited: France

Moaz - La Rochelle4
Why did you choose to participate in study abroad?

Being an international student in the United States gives me a whole bunch of opportunities that are not given to me back home, opportunities that I only understood their benefit by experiencing them one by one. It has also shown me the advantage of studying abroad, being in the middle of students from all over the world. Students who speak languages I don’t understand and follow beliefs I didn’t even know about,
yet were open to share their cultures and learn about mine.
They might look different, but they all think similarly.
So I thought to myself why not take it a step further where I push my limits a bit more. Go explore another country, live a new experience, practice another language, and minimize my comfort zone as much I could. To learn more and see the world better.
So I got on the first plane and went to France…not really! It was not that easy, it took me very long time, I visited the International Office uncountable times, sent the university in France many emails, and even had to go to Chicago for a visa appointment. That didn’t discourage me, though, not even a bit. I was so determined that I wanted to study abroad in France that I kept trying as much as I could, which I am so thankful for now.

What were your expectations for the country?

I visited Europe before, so I kind of had an idea of what to expect. Yet, I went with the stereotypes and thought that the people in France wouldn’t speak English and would expect me to communicate with them in French and that they would not be so friendly. Little did I know! In the city of my university, everyone spoke good English.
I was able to practice my French there but whenever I was short on words, they immediately shifted to English.
Also, people were surprisingly nice! I remember a stranger came to help me hold my luggage up the stairs leaving the metro station, and another directed me to the right place without my asking. Maybe in Paris where many tourists go, you’d find locals who get sick of being asked “where is the Eiffel Tour” and just ignore the question,
which might be understandable, but my experience with the people there was just great.
One more stereotype I went with was that they’d have really good food and desserts, which was quite accurate and fulfilled my expectations!

Moaz - France 2

Something special about the course you had?

From the social side, I liked the fact that I made many friends who were also studying abroad there. They came from Canada, Austrailia, and the U.S., some were actually from Kansas, too. We did not only work in groups on our projects together but we also had the chance to tour the city, hang out, and go on company visits. It gave me a chance to learn about Australia and Canada, even though I was in France.

Moaz - La Rochelle

From the academics side, I learned a lot about international business. We had professors from different countries, including my own, to my surprise! I also got to create a company and do its profile, budget, and benchmark, which was really cool!

Moaz - La Rochelle2

Have you had the chance to travel around?

I was so excited to visit Europe again, so I didn’t want to go to France without visiting its neighboring countries. For that, I planned a trip around 10 European cities that I have not visited before. I booked tickets on airplanes, buses, and trains. It was kind of intimidating at first, especially that I was going to be traveling alone from each city to another, but I didn’t let that stop me. I took it as a challenge. I thought of my friends and family members who live in Europe that I would reunite with, and I also bought myself a selfie stick, you know, for documenting my trip, and here are the results:

La Rochelle, France

Paris, France

Moaz - France

Rome, Italy

Moaz - Rome4

Pisa, Italy

Moaz - Pisa2

Florence, Italy

Vatican City

Moaz - Vatican City2

Budapest, Hungary

Moaz - Budpest

Vienna, Austria

Moaz - Vienna2

Prague, Czech Republic

Moaz - Prague3

Berlin, Germany

Moaz - Berlin2

Who knew you’d find your happy place away from everyone you know, in the middle of a foreign country that doesn’t speak what you apprehend?

Summer 2015
Moaz Al Nouri