TAK

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One of the first words I learned in Denmark was tak, which means thank you. In Danish, they really emphasize saying thank you and they do this by there being so many ways to say thanks: mange tak, tusind tak, etc.  Reflecting on my study abroad experience, I have realized how thankful I am for all it has provided me with:

Thank you to my host family:

You really made leaving Denmark one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.  There are endless times that I have no clue where I’d be without you guys, from saving me after my phone got stolen or breaking out into Mamma Mia songs at the dinner table. Thank you for showing me endless love and what it’s really like to be a Dane, I understand from the five of you why Denmark is the happiest country in the world.

Thank you to my parents:

There are no words for the people provide you with the opportunity of a lifetime, there’s much more than the financial and emotional support that comes with sending your daughter abroad. My parents taught me everything I needed to survive in a different country on my own, independence, courage, a sense of adventure, optimism, love and more. Thank you for giving me the world.

Thank you to all the patients that let us learn from them:

I have gained a newfound love for medicine and it’s because of the patients that let us ask millions of questions and practice our minimal knowledge of physical exams on them. Having patients put trust in you and believe in your learning creates a great sense of confidence for the future of our medical careers, and for that I am thankful.

Thank you to my friends I met abroad:

You all have provided me with roots in Denmark and our respective schools, thank you for adding some humor to my life whether it was traveling the world together or simply eating in a cafe.

Thank you to my Bucknell friends:

Whether it was letting me sleep on your floor, showing me around your home for the semester, facetiming me on my boring train rides or simply staying in touch, thank you. It has been crazy to know that the people I’ve spent the last two years surrounded by are on every corner of the world. It has been amazing to watch each of us grow and learn to live in the place we are and the distance between us makes going into senior year a little sweeter knowing I’ll be back with you all.

Thank you to my history teachers and the NYS history requirements

I hated (and still kinda do) learning about history, I thought it was boring and unimportant to my life. But after visiting so many incredible places with such great history, it has reengaged my interest in world history. Traveling to Germany, I went to the spot of the Berlin Wall, Hitlers bunker, palaces and more. In Greece, walking up to the Acropolis was like walking out of my 6th grade textbook and realizing the realities of the ancient  world. All the history in that city is so vital to the world we live in today, and I am so grateful to have been able to experience it and understand it.

Thank you to everyone who read my blog:

I never thought my blog would be what it is today, I started it as a way to keep in touch with my friends and family, and in turn was selected as my programs representative blogger.  I am always honored to see where my blog has reached, around the world and back again and I am continually shocked by the countries that roll up on the list and the comments I get. Thank you for taking a look into my life, I am so glad I got to share the last four months with you all.

This semester has provided me with plenty of reasons to say tak, and I am beyond grateful for each and every opportunity that I’ve had and will cherish it for the rest of my life.

 

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Captivating Croatia

For my last hoorah of my semester abroad I decided to embark on my first solo trip through Croatia for a week. Starting in Dubrovnik, a quick trip down to Montenegro, up to Split with a trip northeast to Krka National Park. Each place provided something unique and exciting, as well as the heat a7nd sunshine that is just starting to approach Denmark.

Dubrovnik

A city known for its old town walls and place right on the water, I was surely in for a treat when my airbnb had a balcony overlooking the beautiful city.

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But, that came with a price of 317 steps up from the old town, so I definitely got my workout in. I explored the city by the best way, from up above, by walking the walls of the city and it was a stunning contrast of the insanely blue waters and the orange/red rooftops. Reminents of the war of 1991 are seen in the ruble of some buildings, making the city extremely unique.

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After walking nearly 15 miles I decided to take a breather by watching the sunset at the beach directly below (by 317 steps) my airbnb. I then spent my last day in Dubrovnik with a friend exploring the winding streets of the city before leaving on a catamaran to Split.

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Montenegro

Read about it here!

Split

Split was a bit bigger than Dubrovnik, but had its own style, I was fortunate to find a lovely airbnb right on the outskirts on the old town.  I felt more like a local between a small soccer match was played between me and a little kid ending in high fives (and me losing). Or when my airbnb host made me a traditional Croatian dinner, I guess traveling solo can have its perks!

Split is a city also made to explore, the small streets are more maze like and I felt like every turn was leading me in a completely different direction. Highlights were climbing, and I mean really climbing, the bell tower. The steps were higher than my hip and eventually it was smaller stairs with no hand rails. I watched quite a few people attempting to conquer their fears of height on my trek down, but the views were completely worth it.

I spent my last day at the beach soaking up the sun and the heat, which proved to be too much for me so I headed back to the cooler streets of the city. All in all, I left Split headed back to Denmark with a sense of accomplishment for finishing my first solo trip.

Krka National Park

After countless suggestions and pictures I decided to book a day trip to Krka National Park, and I am SO glad I did. Krka is known for its stunning waterfalls and clear blue water. After a few stops and panoramic views we finally got to the park. The park is designed in a one way walking tail that is essentially a bridge over the many many small to large waterfalls.

On my tour I befriended an older woman from South Africa who walked with me and we discussed how beautiful it was, and I’m honestly still in awe of such natural beauty existing.

As we finished our walk through the park and sat down to eat it started to sprinkle and we thought okay no big deal, but then it turned into a torrential downpour, not ideal. Luckily we had made it through the park and all we needed to do was get to a boat to get to our next location.  The rain stop and our large boat seemed to pierce through the fog as we made it to our final destination, in which we got to have a wine tasting, tasting wines from a family owned vineyard. Krka proved to be an outstanding natural beauty in the hills of Croatia.

Now I am back in Denmark for a few days before I start my trip home, it’s all bittersweet, let’s be real I’m craving some real American food, but I also don’t want to leave the incredible life I’ve been living in Denmark for the past for months.

4 days until I’m stateside, 7 days until I’m back in Rochester.

Until next time

Margaret

 

Making it Work in Montenegro

When booking my flight home from Denmark I decided to extend my time because let’s be real, I’m not ready to return to good ole America. So for the last bit, I’ve decided to spend some time in Croatia before my last few days soaking up Denmark. 

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I started in Dubrovnik, and when I finish my stay there I am sure I’ll have plenty to tell, but today I took a day trip down to Montenegro via the advice of a friend. Montenegro proved to be absolutely stunning, with incredible landscapes, unique walled towns, and the warmth of the Mediterranean climate. 

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My bus trip’s first stop, after the long process of passing borders, was Budva, a walled city right on the water surrounded by beaches, islands and more. It was great to wander the very small and slim streets, wandering for the time I was there.

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Our next stop was Kotor, most known for the bay of Kotor (supposedly one of the most beautiful bays in the world, and I agree) the main city is again walled and one could spend hours (aka me) getting lost in the streets. If I had more time, and probably a better stamina, I would have taken the trek up to the top of the city walls aka the top of a mountain. I can imagine the views were amazing, but I don’t think I could have climbed up and down a mountain in two hours. 

Anyway, the real adventure of this day trip was my need to budget. Although I would consider myself a fairly good budgeter regarding my semester abroad, when my card got declined (because my bank isn’t a fan of my excessive traveling) I had to figure out how I was going to spend a whole day with less than 5 euros I grabbed last minute from my previous euro usage. So what did I spend it on you ask?? 

– a bottle of water – 1 euro 

– a prosciutto and cheese sandwich (the two foods Montenegro excels at apparently, and I again support that statement) – 2.5 euro

– a gelato (only one scoop though) – 1 euro 

So I survived, even though my meals weren’t gourmet and I couldn’t buy any souvineers, I was able to enjoy the beautiful cities I visited (with a growling tummy)! 

Until next time 

Margaret  

A Stop in Scotland

If you recall nearly three months(ish) months ago two of my best friends from Bucknell came and spent the weekend me with here in Copenhagen. This past weekend I decided to hop the pond to visit them in Glasgow, Scotland.

With Copenhagen being Copenhagen, the flights weren’t ideal and I ended up in Edinburgh, Scotland 30 minutes past the last bus to Glasgow, very very sad. Luckily, Bucknell has provided me with plenty of friendships and I was able to crash on the floor of a freshman hall neighbor’s room for a mere 4 hours before I caught a train and ~finally~ reunited with my two friends. The true definition of being adaptable when abroad.

Anyway there were really two key events of my weekend.

1. Seeing my friends

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It is a big change going from seeing your friends every day for ten months of the year and only seeing them on rare occasions or through a computer screen. Let’s be real, we struggled with the transition from being next door neighbors to living a floor apart. So it was extra special to travel to see what life is like for people I know literally everything about. The two of them also provided excellent commentary, suggestions and a semi-okay tour of two cities in Scotland (you know I’m kidding you two)

2. The food

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The real reason we’re friends is because of our love for food, and of course being blindly forced to live with each other freshman year, but I digress. Knowing people in a different country provides you with the best suggestions of where to get food, and these two have dined well this past semester.  We started with pancakes and ended the day with a burger on a donut bun, so although I need to run another half marathon, I had a delicious food filled weekend.

Of course, we did more than just eat, such as strolling through their university campus, seeing their own living situations, and exploring Edinburgh castle.  But, the most interesting thing was seeing how other study abroad students live their semester outside of the Bucknell bubble.  We all came from the exact same schedule, town and even dorm and now are all over the world with friends in Costa Rica, the Galapagos Islands, Rome and more, visiting friends is one of the best ways to see the world with an insiders perspective and of course a good laugh.

So Amber and Monica, thank you so much for a wonderful weekend

Cheers

Novelties of Norway

I booked this quick trip to Bergen, Norway not really knowing what to expect and in return I got one of my favorite trips so far.

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Bergen is a small city in Western Norway known for Bryggen, a small wooded shopping area on the harbour, as well as its prime location near the fjords of Norway. After advice from a friend I booked a fjord cruise tour to Mostraumen Fjord, and it was quite possibly one of the most beautiful tours of my life.  Even though it was incredibly windy, and my rain jacket and hood covered all but my eyes (which were profusely watering) and I couldn’t feel my fingers, I was truly in awe of the natural beauty around me.

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After leaving the Bergen harbour we ventured through the water with views of some small towns, I decided to venture to the top, outdoor deck with only a few others because I knew these would be the best views.  After finding the least windy spot, I was able to take in some small waterfalls and high mountains thinking that this was the peak of the trip.

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Was I wrong! After a little while longer we were surrounded by cliffs and being misted by the waterfalls only meters away from the boat. After we cleared the very small passageway, the view was snow capped mountains and waterfalls, once again, I was in true shock from the beauty.

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Eventually we pulled up nice and close (literally hitting the rocks) to a waterfall where we sent out a bucket to retrieve some fresh water for everyone on the boat to try, it was truly refreshing!

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It took quite a while to defrost from the top deck, but the views were beyond worth it, and I wish I could do the cruise 10 more times.

 

 

An Amsterdam(n) Good Weekend

IMG_0468Sometimes it takes laying by a random canal in the Nine Streets of Amsterdam looking up at the sunshine and moving clouds to really remember why you study abroad in the first place. I came to experience the Danish culture but also to explore Europe and open my perspective of the world wider than it was before. Although seconds later I sat up and continued my MCAT studying and reality hit again, it’s the moments I’m lost in the experience of traveling that I am beyond thankful for this experience.

Amsterdam is an interesting city to say the least, my friend and I equated it to the Las Vegas of Europe because as we walked around the inner city and especially the red light district it seemed as though we were surrounded by bachelorette parties and guys weekend.  Although we didn’t participate in the ~wildness~ of Amsterdam we had an incredible weekend there.

From tasting every cheese possible, strolling along the plenty of tulip markets and flea markets, questioning everything about prostitution while walking the red light district and even waiting two hours in line for the Anne Frank House it was an experience we’ll never forget.

This week is much more relaxed now that my exams of the week are over, and I am able to finally enjoy the warm(ish) Copenhagen weather especially when the sun is out, and this weekend I am spending with my host family traveling in Denmark. And the count down begins until my real family comes to visit me (in 11 days)!

Until next time

xoxo

Margaret

 

5 Reasons I Love Sunsets

My week in Greece has made me appreciate the sun way more than I ever have. Probably because the sun rarely comes out in Copenhagen, but we’ve spent almost every night somewhere to watch the sunset and I’ve realizd how obsessed I am.


1. My Mom (I know you’re reading this) – one of her favorite things to do is take pictures of sunsets or walk out on the pier to watch the sunset or capture it in any way possible,  so I guess you could say it’s inherited.

2. Everyone loves them for different reasons – there’s so many reasons to love sunsets, the calmness, the colors, the meaning, and plenty more, and I love hearing about what they mean to each person

3. They force you to embrace them in that moment – unless you’re a professional photographer (which is not me) a picture will never ever do it justice, so it forces you to take it in “the old fashioned way” with your eyes.

4. A scientific phenomenon – during my dreaded year of physics, we learned the actual scientific background behind sunsets and it made me even more amazing at our ability to see it

5. They’re visible everywhere – whether in in Rochester, Keuka Lake, Denmark (occasionally), Greece or wherever there is always a chance of seeing a sunset and it creates a sense of connectability no matter where in the world I may be

A few more days on this amazing spring break embracing the sunset every day.