The GoGlobal Blog

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Ciao, Roma!

Ciao, Roma!

It has been a little over a week since I arrived at the John Felice Rome Center, and I still can’t stop pinching myself. From the aroma of oven-fired pizza on every cobblestone street to the blooming olive groves lining Via Massimi, I am starting to see why they say living in Italy is la dolce vita. 

This past week of Orientation has been planned minute by minute by our trusted Student Life Assistants to give us a crash course in Roman life. We’ve toured the Colosseum, splurged on a gelateria crawl, navigated public transportation, relaxed on the beach, and consumed bottles and bottles of wine (thanks Loyola) to toast the beginning of the semester. This weekend we had the opportunity to tour the Italian region of Umbria, and became aquatinted with the whimsical towns of Narni, Spoleto, Foglino, and Citta di Pieve. Sometime during lunch overlooking Castiglione del Lago, or wine tasting at a countryside vineyard, or even reenacting a Roman battle we grew from classmates to friends as we learned about the ancient history of these fairytale-esque Umbrian escapes.

With the commencement of Orientation on Wednesday upon the Mass of the Holy Spirit, I do have to admit that I’m excited to explore Rome on my own terms, and learn more about exactly what is la dolce vita (with the help of gelato, of course).

Orientation in Madrid

Orientation in Madrid

Hola a todas!
Tonight concludes our very hectic two-day stay in Madrid as part of API’s orientation for Sevilla students. Yesterday when I arrived, I met other API students and the director at the airport. From there, they loaded us into a bus and when we arrived at our hotel I got to meet my roommate for this semester! I definitely appreciated how they gave us the opportunity to room with our future roommates before we even arrive in Sevilla. This allowed us to get to know each other better all while experiencing new and exciting things. After an informational meeting we all went out for a group dinner, where we were able to socialize with more students.
This morning, we got an early start as we walked from our hotel to The Palacio Real where we toured the palace. It was amazing to take the time to appreciate such a beautiful place. We had a short break for lunch and after lunch we walked to the art museum- Museo del Prado where we were able to learn about the works of Goya. Tomorrow we will embark on yet another journey to Toledo, where we will stay for a night.

Major takeaways:

– There is a certain shared sense of vulnerability amongst the students in my program- entering a new country with a different primary language. Because of this, it has been easy to make new friends. My advice is to talk to other students, even those you would not typically strike up a conversation with. A lot of times you will find that sharing your experiences abroad thus far-even some of the more embarrassing ones- will help you form connections with other students.
-People will make their intentions/goals while studying abroad very clear within the first day or so. It’s more than okay to make friends with people who have different intentions than you, but I have found that hanging around those who have similar travel goals as you makes you feel much more comfortable when exploring and makes for less awkward situations in the future. If your #1 priority abroad is to immerse yourself in the culture, you might regret limiting yourself to going out to American clubs every night because that is what the majority of your group wants.

 

Taken while walking to the heart of Madrid. I loved admiring the architecture

 

One of the many magnificent ceilings in the royal palace

 

Buen Camino

Buen Camino

During Semana Santa (which was essentially my Spring Break) I walked 165 kilometers of the Camino de Santiago, an ancient pilgrimage ending at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. I walked for 8 days, with my only goal being to each day get closer to Santiago. There are many different routes, but I walked along the French Way, which is the oldest route and one of the most common for pilgrims nowadays to take. I began my camino in O Cebreiro, which is the first pueblo on the French way in Galicia, a northern region of Spain. Walking the camino has been a dream of mine since I began to learn Spanish, and I know that I couldn’t spend a semester in Spain and not do this.

My program ends May 18th but I don’t fly back to Chicago until June 1st, so my original plan was to walk the camino in my final week of being in Spain. A few weeks before Semana Santa I realized that if I were to swap trips around and do my camino then, I would have 10 days to walk rather than 5, so that is what I did. What that meant though, is that I had to prepare for this 165 km (approx. 100 miles) journey in just a few weeks. I have always loved the outdoors but I had never gone on a hiking excursion like this before, meaning that I had no idea what in the world I was getting myself into. I began to do what I do best– aggressively research and make so many lists to feel somewhat in control of this situation in which I couldn’t even fathom what to expect.

I am a planner. I plan down to the detail because planning,  for me, takes away the a bit of the anxiety about the unknown. I made an excel document detailing which place I would end up in that night, and which albergue would be the “best” to sleep in, but after day one, I ended up disregarding my carefully detailed work. Regardless of how much I wanted to plan, this was a time where I needed to give up control and just exist. Now, that sounds like a lovely thought, and now it is, but I figured this out because the first day I was on the top of a mountain in a middle of a snowstorm. I arrived in O Cebreiro the night before to find a pueblo covered in snow (it felt like a whole different world than Salamanca, which, that same day, was 60 and sunny). I was told by the woman working at the albergue that the following day we would be unable to walk on the pilgrimage trail, but rather we would have to follow the highway until a pueblo named Triacastela. I immediately asked myself what I had gotten myself into, and in that moment I felt entirely underprepared. I hadn’t planned on arriving in Triacastela until my second night, but that first day I hiked there along the highway and through a snowstorm.I arrived to the public albergue freezing cold and soaked to the bone, but I had arrived. Despite the wretched weather, you are always greeted by other peregrin@s with the greeting buen camino. All along the camino you hear this being spoken between pilgrims, as words of encouragement, solidarity, and community.

    

That first day, I began to develop my camino routine. Each night (minus the ones in Santiago) I stayed at the public albergue in the pueblo. The region Galicia has a network of public albergues solely for peregrin@s, meaning that you needed the pilgrim’s credential in order to stay there. Each morning we had to be out of the albergue at 8 am, which meanta 7:30 alarm so I could throw on clothes, brush my teeth, and pack up my bag. Most mornings I got breakfast in whichever pueblo I slept in, and then I walked until I reached the next place I would be sleeping, arriving anywhere between 1 and 5 pm.

Most of the time, I had no idea where I was. Along the camino there are yellow arrows marking the way, so you never had to think too hard about where you were going. A man I walked with for part of a day said to me, “out here, there are only two names for towns: the next and the last.”When you’re walking, pueblos come and go as you walk through, and time doesn’t really seem to exist because your day consists of walking and sleeping. This disconnect from reality brought me a lot of peace– I didn’t have to think about anything except putting one foot in front of the other until I reached the next town.

     

I walked the camino sola, by myself. Before leaving, both my real parents and host parents were worried about me going out into the mountains by myself for ten days, but doing so allowed for me to have one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I began my camino with the intention of using it as a time of reflection and to spend time being connected to God through prayer and nature. I left everything happening in my life back in O Cebreiro, so I was able to focus my energy on being with God. The first day of walking I listened to the playlist I had created beforehand, but the more I walked in silence the more comfortable the silence became and the more out of place the music felt. There were times when I walked with others, but most of my time was spent by myself, in silence, surrounded by incredible beauty. When I did run into other peregrin@s, though, I was welcomed with open arms– there is a wonderful community of support between peregrin@s along the camino.

After about a week of walking, I arrived in Santiago de Compostela. My last day was about a 20 km walk, and it poured the entire way. I arrived at the cathedral the same way I arrived to my albergue the first day: soaked to the bone and freezing cold. But this time, it was the end of a journey rather than the beginning. The cathedral was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. I returned to the cathedral more than once so that I could really take in everything. After my first visit, I went to the oficina de peregrinación, so that I could “officially” complete my camino by receiving the Compostela stamp in my credential passport. The reality that I had arrived didn’t start to set in until the next morning, when I didn’t have to wake up at 7 to walk more. I spent the next day and a half exploring Santiago, visiting the Cathedral, and reflecting on the experience I had just had.

     

After that week, I felt closer to God than I had thus far while living in Spain. I had intended to use my camino to be in conversation with God and to strengthen my relationship with Her. I was on a Jesus high, and as always, I didn’t want that feeling to leave. Going back to Salamanca, I felt at peace. My entire body hurt, but my soul was calm. I was utterly exhausted, but recharged at the same time. There were points on my camino where I felt a jealous of my friends who were spending the week traveling to places like Amsterdam, Berlin, and Budapest, whereas I was in the mountains, walking until my body couldn’t take anymore. Ultimately though, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. Since coming home from Santiago, I have begun to notice the indicators for the camino wherever I go, and each time I see one I feel at peace again.

Seen in Cádiz, Salamanca, and Brussels!

22 Days Left

22 Days Left

It’s crazy to think how much time has flown by. I feel like I haven’t done a lot during my time here. However, I have. I have had the great opportunity to travel all over Europe, which I thought would be impossible as a low-income and first-generation student. Yes, money gets tight. But there is nothing that budgeting can’t help you with right? I have learned SO much during my time here and I want to share with you what I have learned so far.

  1. GO OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE: I know it can be extremely hard to talk to people you don’t know, but this is the time to get comfortable. if you end up having an awkward encounter it doesn’t matter. You will likely not see those people after your semester here either way. My own personal example is when I met up with a random classmate in the bus stop. We were both going towards the same direction. Instead of dispersing right away, we decided to explore together. If I didn’t decide to do that, I would have never been able to visit Castel Sant’Angelo. One of Rome’s most famous castles. Take on an adventure with someone you normally wouldn’t. It could be worth your time.
  2. CREATE TIME FOR SCHOOL: There is always plans when you are studying abroad. It can be hard to catch up on the stuff you want to and need to do. You must remember that you are here to study. I have found myself slacking with schoolwork when back at home I would be on top of it. Make yourself a schedule and make sure to follow it. Don’t get distracted by social media or watch Netflix. Sit down and reflect on what you need to do and get it done. Preferably, without people around you. This will lead you to concentrate more with fewer distractions.
  3. MAKE SURE TO TRAVEL IN THE DATE OF YOUR CORRESPONDED TICKET: I recently went with Venice and I misread the date I was supposed to go. I don’t know how it happened but it did. It was super stressful at first because I thought I was going to get caught. At the beginning I didn’t. I was calm and cozy and was even able to take a map. On the way back though, it was a mess. I needed to show my ticket because a couple came in claiming it was their seat. I had to go talk to one of the workers and he offered me options since technically I was not on the right train. First off all, he was extremely rude. I explained the situation and he completely shut me off. He made it seem like I was lying to him when I wasn’t. On the way to Venice, one of the workers said it was fine that I was on the train because there was something wrong in the system. At this point, I knew I had gotten lucky. All in all, make sure you do everything you need to do before boarding your train. Including going on the right date
  4. DON’T LET YOUR EDUCATION GET IN THE WAY OF YOUR KNOWLEDGE: It may not make sense since you are here to study abroad, but think of it this way. You are here studying abroad in a whole different culture and environment. Instead of solely focusing on your classes and staying in the library, make sure to go outside and interact with locals. Increase the knowledge of the place you are studying in. Become more interactive and informed of the ways to navigate yourself around the city. Don’t stay stuck to your books. I know it’s important, but there are ways you can do both. Instead of staying in to study, go to a café to study. Get the cultural experience while you are studying abroad. Make it worth it.

There are so many things studying abroad has taught me and I can definitely say it has transformed me as a person. I feel more comfortable interacting with people I don’t know and I feel like I can navigate things more independently now. I had a lot of easy  accessibility to the things I needed back at home, such as money, food, and comfort. Studying here I don’t have all of that, but I have learned to manage random obstacles and even overcome them. I am still in the learning process though. There is always room to learn right? I am going to make the best out of these 22 days left and learn as much as I can, but also have fun! I’m excited and sad at the same time to leave. But hey, it’s been a good run so far!

Here are some of the places I have visited so far!

 

Ciao!

Jessica Criollo

Pretty in Paris

Pretty in Paris

Make sure to visit this at night for a stunning light show every hour on the hour
If you can afford it, the views from the tower are breath-taking

I’ve been lucky enough to have visited Europe before. I saw some cities in Spain, France, and Italy, and loved them all enough to come back. Recently, I returned from a trip to Paris, which I saw last time I was in Europe.

I thought I wouldn’t have much to do, since I’d been to the Eiffel Tower, seen inside the Louvre, and entered the Notre Dame, but I didn’t have enough time to visit half of what I wanted to.

As preparation for this semester abroad, I hunted down works of fiction that took place in Europe as inspiration on where to visit during my stay, and I had a few new ideas on what to see in Paris. This trip was so fun because it was like a scavenger hunt, I was either viewing the touristic attractions in a new light or visiting places a tourist would normally walk by.

Be sure to look for the cat if you don’t have the time to read part of a book in there
A complicated, beautiful work of art. If you think it’s pretty on the outside, wait until you walk in

I highly recommend reading a couple books that take place in the countries you’d like to visit, because that way you’ll learn about new places to visit, or gain more knowledge on places you already know of.

Thanks to the books I have read, I was able to visit the church of St. Etienne du Mont, Shakespeare & Company, and learn more about Point Zero.

I learned Point Zero is where all distances in France are measured. Apparently if you make a wish on it, it’ll come true, and if you don’t make a wish, you’re bound to return to Paris again one day.

Don’t worry, I made sure to stop at Point Zero before I left Paris, but I can’t tell you what I wished for, or it won’t come true!

It’s worn away from the tourists walking past, to Notre Dame
Halfway done??? What???

Halfway done??? What???

This weekend I took my first solo trip. I spent the weekend in a hostel in Granada where I explored the city and built relationships with the others in my hostel. As I wrote this, I was on the bus home from Granada; I went first to Madrid and then I had a shorter ride back to Salamanca. I am exhausted from this weekend, but it was so wonderful and will absolutely be a trip I remember for a long time.

I began traveling at about 8:30 on Thursday evening, and I arrived in Granada at 6:30 AM on Friday. Overnight but travel wasn’t necessarily the most comfortable way to do this weekend, but I was able to spend the full day on Friday exploring Granada because of it. My hostel was about a 35 minute walk away from the bus station, so after a cup of cafe con leche I hauled myself and my backpack towards my home for the weekend. Throughout the semester I have been collecting photos of graffiti that has caught my eye, and the graffiti in Granada did not disappoint.

It was pretty early and I technically wasn’t supposed to check in to my hostel yet, so on my way I just wandered, took my time, and took in the sights of the city. I lived in the neighborhood Albaicín, which is located above the city center which means that it has some of the most amazing views you can find in Granada. I stumbled upon a beautiful view on the way to my hostel and decided to sit and journal for a little bit. I wanted to spend a weekend by myself in part because I wanted to relax and recharge, but also to reflect on the semester as it has gone thus far.

In the past few years I have realized how introverted I am, so even though I am very social and love spending time around others, it drains me of energy. I anticipated a weekend where I didn’t really talk to other people and would just be spending time with myself, but what I did not anticipate was how wonderful my hostel would be. I spent the weekend in Makuto’s backpackers hostel, which is unlike any other hostel I have stayed in. Immediately upon arrival, I felt like I was being welcomed into a home. It still wasn’t technically time to check in, but one of the employees got me set up with a shower and breakfast. In all other hostels I have stayed in the people living there keep to themselves, but at Makuto there were multiple rooms designed just for people to hang out and be in community with one another.

After I got showered and changed, I went back out into the city to explore. I walked around the city center, ate some lunch, stumbled upon a beautiful garden, and wandered. The beautiful thing about traveling alone is that I was able to wander without a destination without having to be mindful of what others are wanting to do. I just walked without any intentions, and experienced the sights of the city. After checking in later, I took a siesta (because I am now adjusting to the relaxed Spanish lifestyle and get a little cranky if I don’t get my daily nap oops), and began to talk to some of the people in my hostel. I ended up going for tapas with a group of 5 people– it felt like a group of friends though, rather than people I had just met. We went to a few different tapas bars, and spent the night enjoying each others company.

The next day, rather than going out by myself, I went on a journey to the Alhambra with a few new friends from the hostel. We didn’t have tickets, but there are a lot of places you can visit for free! We spent a few hours there, but we could have spent the entire day because it is so huge. Afterwords, we got chocolate con churros and pizza for lunch which was exactliy what I needed at that moment. We then relaxed at the hostel for a bit, before it was time for the guided walking tour!! Every night at about 6, the hostel provides a free walking tour of the neighborhood, which takes you to all the beautiful viewpoints. The last viewpoint was on a MOUNTAIN!! We climed a mountain for one of the most beautiful views I have ever experienced. We came home, and it was time for dinner. The hostel has a family dinner every night, and last night we had paella. We didn’t do much for the rest of the night, besides spend time with each other, and it was so wonderful.

I miss my mom. A lot. I miss my friends and family, I miss Chicago, I miss the kids I work with, I miss my apartment, I miss my dog– I miss home. A few days ago, I talked to my mom over facetime and I told her how much I missed her and how hard it is to be thousands of miles away from her. She asked me, “do you regret going to Spain?” because she said it worries her, how much I miss home. I was actually talking about this with a friend a few days before my mom and I talked, but I didn’t come to Spain to have an easy time, I came here to learn and grow. I’m not in Spain to feel comfortable, because if everything were comfortable I wouldn’t be growing. I have been in Spain for two months now, and these months have been incredible but they have also been so difficult. Despite the hardships, though, I have grown so much in both my Spanish but also as a person. I just spent the weekend in Granada by myself without having second thoughts. Two months ago, I would not have been able to just up and go to a city I didn’t know for the weekend without another person, but here I am.

This upcoming week marks the beginning of Semana Santa, Holy Week, but it also marks the beginning of me walking the Camino de Santiago. For about ten days I will be walking a section of the ancient pilgrimage trail by myself. I won’t be fully alone because there are going to be many other pilgrims walking the trail, especially since it will be semana santa. I have gotten all my gear, bus tickets, know where I will be sleeping each night, and now it just needs to be time. This is something that I never would have been able to do prior to being here.

I may miss my family endlessly, and I may want nothing more than to be in my apartment surrounded by my best friends, but if I were to have spent this semester in Chicago I would have had a regular semester and wouldn’t have gone so far out of my comfort zone and wouldn’t have grown as much as I have. I miss the comfort of my life in Chicago, I miss the monotony of every day life: walking to class, taking the train to work, being at the IC all night; however, I am so thankful for the experiences I have had, because without them I would be stagnant rather than growing. 

Being an Airbnb host for the right reasons

Being an Airbnb host for the right reasons

 

I have traveled to Oslo, Norway three times now. The first time I stayed with an amazing couple with two kids. I paid 412 SEK ($50) for both nights, which I believe is reasonable. The price was definitely lower than it should have been based on the experience I had. Each night my friend and I came back, it was either talking all night or playing card/board games with our hosts. They also drove us to the city each day on their way to work. On Sunday, the wife (Nina) made us baguettes with over 10 spreads to choose from. Spreads are common to have with snacks and to use on baguettes, or crisp bread. A commonality in Sweden and Norway is food in tubes: kaviar, cheese, and dill spread. Also, we had homemade chocolate cake because it was Mother’s day. I did not know what to expect from booking my first Airbnb, but I was blown away.

They are such amazing hosts so I visited Oslo a month later with my brother and stayed 5 nights for FREE at their home. Again, each day consisted of traveling the city and each night was talking, board games, or card games. My brother is in SLU med school so he geeked out talking about Norwegian healthcare.

The wife is the main contact for all her Airbnb guests. What she wants most out of Airbnb is for her guests to be treated well on their first visit, so they come back and bring something from their home country. Yes, she has a motto, “if I like you on your first stay you don’t have to pay for any further visits, but you do have to bring something from your home country… preferably chocolate :).” Nina wants to hear stories from around the world, so she can visits those places later and experience the stories first-hand. She has been to 29 countries and she is 31 with a 8-4 job, 9-5 husband, and two kids 6 and 8 years old. How does she travel so much? Because it is easy to get away and know where to go when you visit people who were previously your Airbnb guests. I LOVE IT… to the point where I am debating renting out my other bed in my room, if that is even possible.

My “second” family, as I call them now, took me to their family cabin in Hemsadel, Norway. We went skiing all Saturday in the second largest ski resort in Norway. Previously, I only been on slopes that lasted at most 2 minutes. The longest slope here took 20 minutes to get to the very bottom. It was absolutely surreal. We had the 6 year old son with us, so we often took it slow. At one point, myself and the husband went off-piste and that’s where the real test began. I was toppling down the side of the mountains through fresh, powdery, untouched snow. I am hurting so bad three days later, I wasn’t able to go to the gym haha. I can now say I witnessed what real slopes are like, rather than the fake snow back around Chicago. Myself and the husband, 31 years old, had a 6 hour conversation into Sunday morning. What I found amazing is that someone who is 10 years older, from another part of the world, and a father could have such similar experiences and thoughts as I do… We are all humans in the end.

The purpose of this post is two-fold. One, it is to remind me how opportunities can rise from trying new things. I had no idea booking my first airbnb would snowball into so many experiences. Second, it is to educate my readers about how beautiful and exciting meeting new people is. Airbnb is an amazing platform to do so. It shouldn’t be about the money, unless you need it. If you have a part of your home that is vacant, try renting it out. There are a lot of characters in this world to make your world just as exciting to live in. The experiences are endless, if you choose to open yourself up to new experiences.

MIDTERM

MIDTERM

I’m half way through the semester and through the internship. In retrospect, I think I’ve accomplished a lot so far. At the beginning, I didn’t have any idea what to expect. I wasn’t sure if the office would be like in Chicago where everyone is business formal, or business casual. I didn’t know how serious the staff would be, if they’d be friendly, and actually help me build career skills. There is such a stigma towards business interns where we’re known for getting people coffee, filing, and essentially doing grunt work. This being said, I expected the worst. I’ve never had an internship before and I wasn’t familiar with the work-life in Italy. I’ve only heard that in Italy people are a lot more laid back, so I had no clue what it would be like here. The most interesting aspect of this internship is the staff because they’re really open and give constructive criticism. It is incredibly helpful. My least favorite aspect is the commute. It’s a twenty-minute walk to the train, fifteen-minute train ride, and then a ten-minute walk. Two euros a day, three days a week is no fun. I understand how to use MeetEdgar, I better understand how to schedule posts on social media to reach a wider audience, and I understand how much dedication it takes to market. During this semester I had the hardest time getting used to the work, school, life, balance. Now, it isn’t so bad. All I had to do was get used to the routine by staying consistent. Interning in Marketing reflects what I’ve done in my marketing courses because I’ve constantly got to be thinking about who my target market is, what content they’re looking for, and how to use that to sell a product. Beyond the job itself though, I personally wanted to prove to myself that I was capable of doing something I had no experience doing. So, here I am doing it. I think by the end of this internship, the most rewarding part is going to be the fact that I got through it. I never thought my first job would be in Italy so that still amazes me. It is difficult, but I’d recommend going through this internship to anyone.

Spring break came around just in time. I truly needed it. My friend Cat and I went to London and it was the best city I’ve ever been to. Our hostel was above a pub and they had free breakfast. We met the nicest people who took us to some clubs and pubs and talked to us about the difference in cutlure in the UK vs the US. It was hysterical. It was such a relief to be in a city where transportation works and people speak English. We went on a slide in Stratford London that was literally the height of the statue of liberty. Afterwards, we went to Paris and Versailles. Not as fun, my friend got mugged in front of the Louvre. On the bright side, I met up with 3 friends from Chicago that I really missed, one of which studies in Paris. We went to a club with a ball pit.  A piece of home is what I needed to pull me through the rest of this semester.

Pizza and Immigration

Pizza and Immigration

‘It is a privilege to be a resident of Sweden where people are respected regardless of religion, belief, colour, appearance and nationality,’

The idea for this post came from pizza. I love pizza and I guess residents of Sweden do to! It seems that on most corners you will find a pizzeria with a family name on the sign. I have tried about 4 places in Jonkoping and Tenhult. The style of pizza is definitely different from Chicago pizza. Your order is almost always a full thin-crust pizza and is not meant to be shared. Also, every pizzeria has about 30 combinations where some are radically different from anything I have ever seen before. I tried a pizza once that had marinara, bananas (common topping), pineapple, paprika and roasted peanuts… I was the only one who liked it.

I looked up and noticed who was serving me this delicious compilation and not once was it a native-born Swede. One pizzeria owner was interested in my English and we had a conversation about our origins (while he recommended the kebab pizza, kebab being one of the most common foods in restaurants). He told me how he migrated from Iraq to Sweden 27 years ago and opened his pizzeria doors 21 years ago.

Angelo: Do you like living in Sweden?

The owner: No, I miss home too much (long pause). You know, it is the motherland. How could I want to be elsewhere?

And if you read my last blog post, you would know why inside I was like “aww man why does everyone have to go breaking my heart?”

A lot of pizzerias are owned by immigrants mostly form Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Chilean and Iraq. They immigrated their “motherlands” in times of political turmoil. Many Chileans came during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet during the period 1973-1990. The Iran-Iraq war brought many from both countries avoiding a war they did not believe in. They were able to do so according to the Geneva Convention which granted many residence permits to Sweden.

‘I am proud to be part of a country that gives shelter to those in need.’

Sweden also became an asylum for many Syrians during the war zone that is occurring in Syria. Sweden has granted permanent residence permits to all Syrians and led to Syrians being the largest immigrant group in Sweden. Every fourth immigrant is from Syria.

The current situation is that every sixth person was not born in Sweden. Sweden has become an asylum for the right reasons. It is amazing to be able to see the diversity everywhere I look. It is not a new sight for me considering Loyola is similar with diversity, but still beautiful to understand.

The task for Sweden now is integrating refugees into all aspects of Swedish society. From the testimonies of refugees, it looks like all Swedes are excitedly willing to accept the challenge.

Thanks for reading and HEJDA (GOODBYE)!
Angelo

quotes came from this website:

Sweden and migration

Winter Break in the Winter

Winter Break in the Winter

At Loyola we get Spring Break and Winter Break, but at SLU Madrid we get Winter Break and Spring Break. Our Winter Break was after our midterms, so it just ended, and I chose to spend mine in the cold snowy countries instead of on a beach (and I only slightly regret it).

Bike riding through Copenhagen

I travelled to Scandinavia, visiting Stockholm, Sweden, Oslo, Norway, and Copenhagen, Denmark and even in below freezing temperatures I loved them. I definitely recommend bringing a Chicago winter coat for the Spring semester, because I incorrectly assumed it’d be sunny and beachy weather, so I had to buy a winter coat in Spain.

Walking the streets of Stockholm

Despite my mistake coming into the trip, I wound up having a lot of fun touring the cities! Since it was so cold my friends and I took every opportunity to go into the little shops along the streets and saw things we wouldn’t have if we had just walked by, and I ended up with some pretty cool souvenirs. We also booked tours so that we were doing more than just walking around in the cold. There are free walking tours in every city we visited, but we paid for ours in order to be a bit warmer travelling inside a bus. I learned a lot about the local history and current opinions on the city I visited and I stand by the belief that guided tours are worth the money.

Out of all the cities, Oslo was my favorite just because I loved how the city looked and felt covered in snow, and how beautiful the parks were even in the winter. I do think Copenhagen was the most fun city I visited though, because we booked a bike tour, so we were biking to all the sights! It was freezing so I was completely bundled up, but the tour was absolutely worth the cold weather.

My friends and I kept joking how it was warmer in Chicago than where we were, regretting not choosing the warmer climate, but enjoying the experience we were having. I definitely don’t regret the trip, but next time I book one I’ll be planning according to weather first.