An Unexpected Journey

When I received the fateful email from Mike Marshall that I had a spot on the Scandinavia trip, it was like receiving a letter to attend Hogwarts.  I stared in disbelief as it sank in that I was invited to go to a mysterious and fantastic land and had most of my expenses paid for.  It was too good to be true, yet it was.  I couldn’t believe my luck.  I was only a freshman! I knew that my name had not been entered many times into the lottery for this trip.  Yet, somehow against the odds, the stars aligned in my favor, and I am about to embark on one of the most unexpected journeys in my life.

I had never planned to go to Scandinavia, and I would probably never go there if it weren’t for this specific program.  I had some initial hesitations, about going because I was afraid it would interfere with my plans for the summer.  However, I quickly realized how I couldn’t turn down such an incredible adventure.  So what if I knew barely anything about Scandinavia?  I will learn about it.  When an opportunity like this comes, you’ve got to take it.

Life is full of such strange twists and turns.  I never imagined that my path will somehow lead to the land of the midnight sun. I can’t wait to immerse myself into a new culture, learn its history and folklore, and bask in the beautiful sceneries.  I hope to gain experiences that will enrich my life with a dose of spontaneity and adventure.

No Britain? No problem.

So Brexit happened. Which would  be cool I guess if the DOW wasn’t down 600 points the following day #JustFinanceThings. Thankfully, we won’t have to think about that too much when we’re travelling through Europe’s equivalent of Disneyland.

Hey team, my name is Jacob Choulet, and I am a Junior Finance Major From Scottsdale, Arizona. I wasn’t really sure which words to capitalize in that sentence so I just capitalized them all. But that’s why I’m friends with Jocelyn and Babineaux, because they read books and stuff and help me with my writing.

The next few weeks in Scandinavia should be truly life-changing. I hope that I can further expand my horizons and become more familiar with the incredible cultures that the world has to offer. For example, I’m hoping to find out if anyone in the Nordic countries sport killer mustaches like this:

IMG_3327

Specifically, I hope to catch a glimpse of some viking ships, take advantage of some BIG SUMMER BLOWOUTS (YOOHOO!), and get to try some tasty reindeer!

But to be frank, I truly don’t know very much about what happens in Scandinavia, so I’m more than excited to have the opportunity to take advantage of breathtaking cities, and immerse myself in some of the richest history Europe has to offer. I hope to take advantage of every chance I get to learn more, experience more, and grow more as a student and as a citizen of the world.

So, with that being said, I can’t wait to slide into Norway in just a few short weeks!

Till next time-

IMG_1527

We’re off to see the Wizard of….Scandinavia?!

I’m ready to click my ruby slippers and get out of this very artificial, very American, coolness created by my office cubicle’s AC and into the very organic, very foreign coolness created by the Scandinavian region’s proximity to the North Pole!

Unfortunately for me and my complete deficit in the area of patience, I don’t have ruby slippers so I’ll have to wait another couple of weeks. No no no, I am not Dorothy from Kansas, I’m little ol’ Sara Babineaux from Louisiana. I’m a Junior at TCU majoring in English and minoring in Philosophy. Aforementioned cubicle has been my spot this summer as I intern with Criminal District Attorney, Sharen Wilson– all part of my grand scheme to one day attend law school.

I L-O-V-E love to travel. When I was just graduating high school I spent a couple of weeks touring London and Paris, and every time I am reminded of that trip a huge smile envelopes my face. Those fourteen days abroad were filled with some of my happiest, most adventurous, and enlightening memories of my entire life (all 20 years mind you). Since then, I’ve been looking for the opportunity to go back abroad. When the email from Mike Marshall landed in my inbox, my hands were literally shaking as I pressed the message notification looking for more information. After the crushing disappointment of getting denied last year, I was bracing myself for the potential blow. When I read “Congratulations” it was all over, even the stress of my impending finals couldn’t wipe the goofy grin off of my face.

In terms of goals or expectations, I have a ton and none all at once. I don’t want to limit myself, which is why I feel like I have almost no expectations. Yet I’m not as familiar with Scandinavian history and culture as I am with other regions, which is why I have an endless number of questions I want myself to be able to answer and experiences I want to have. How are they all so happy? How does the extended amount of daylight during the summer impact their daily life? What about the winter darkness? What do they think about us and our weird election? What’s this reindeer heart appetizer Ms. Dianna mentioned as part of our trip?

I want to spend my time abroad taking advantage of every opportunity that comes my way, sleep be damned. I want to find new languages, food, music, architecture, literature, and whatever else my adventures produce. The best way to sum up my goal for the trip is that I want to see, experience, and ultimately come to understand how Scandinavians live and see the world–and how that differs or resembles our American way of life. I excuse myself in advance for any sweeping generalizations, I’ll be sure to qualify my statements as well as I can.

wizardofoz  csi pic 2
Don't Judy Garland and I share that same doe-eyed gaze of 
excitement for our upcoming adventures?

Ready for an Adventure

IMG_1602

(Me and some friends from Washington. I am second from the left)

At TCU, one of the most common questions I answer after just meeting someone is, where are you from? I am proud to be a local of Washington state, simply because to me, it represents adventure the freedom of the outdoors, and the consequent freedom to explore it. In fact, it was in the spirit of adventure that I decide to attend college in Texas, a state completely different from my own. It is at TCU that I now find myself as a Sophmore, Pre-Business major who is still actively seeking a chance to explore. I am hoping to further that goal in our trip to Scandinavia. I am hoping to experience  the beautiful geography of Scandinavia by hiking on free days and exploring the countryside of the cities that we visit.  I hope also to experience the unique culture of the Scandinavian countries that we visit and I am very curious to note what makes each country distinct culturally. I am ready to meet locals and to learn about their lives and values (and food of course). I have Scandinavian heritage, Norweigan to be exact, and I am curious to learn if some of my ancestral practices and values have found their way into my own life. I hope also to build strong friendships with the staff and fellow students with whom I will be traveling.  One thing that I have learned that an adventure is more rewarding when you can share it with others, and that is what I hope to do this summer in Scandinavia alongside my peers. I have three specific, if trivial, goals among many others that that I hope to achieve during this trip:

  1. To swim in a Fjord.
  2. To go on at least one hike in each country, however short (or long) it may be.
  3. To buy a souvenir  from each country that has cultural significance, and reminds me of that culture’s specific values.

Of all our trips I most look forward to visiting Norway because many of my relatives called it home. I am so excited for our adventure in Scandinavia and cannot wait to embark on it with my fellow students!

Like A Movie

FullSizeRender-1

I enjoy traveling because it takes me out of my daily routine. I’m forced to step out of my own little world and into someone else’s. It’s as if I have the opportunity to play a new character in the movie of my choosing, and the exotic setting only heightens the surrealism of the experience.

While abroad in this fantasy, I’m looking forward to appreciating the travel clichés—exploring new cities, tasting ethnic foods, interacting with locals. But I’m also hoping to gain a better understanding, a new perspective, on how other people value life. Does their daily routine revolve around a career? A family? Do they lead a fast-pace lifestyle or a stop-and-smell-the-roses mentality? Has their past shaped who they are? Or are progressive ideas transforming where they find meaning? Regardless of how vast our differences (or similarities) may be, traveling gives me new questions to consider. I’m able to gain a better understanding of myself and what I hope to contribute to this world.

In three weeks I’m excited to grow closer to the other students and faculty members as we enjoy our time in Scandinavia, balancing these perspective altering experiences with many carefree adventures—enjoying the chance to be fully emerged in each moment.

Scandinavia Bound

Hi, my name is Matthew Leonard. I will am a rising Junior Mechanical Engineering major, Math minor from Benbrook TX. I am very much looking forward to exploring the beautiful countries of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark this summer with my fellow CSI travelers.

This is going to be my first trip out of North America and I am really looking forward to it! This trip was actually something of a surprise to me when I found out that I was going. I had completely forgotten that I had applied for it in the mess of Fall semester. I had to read the first paragraph of the email 3 times before I realized that I would be going to Scandinavia this summer. I am extremely happy that I am going though! These countries are not your typical tourist destination, but they are rated as some of the happiest, richest, and free-est countries in the world!! They are also drenched in fabulous scenery and history.

Having lived in Texas my entire life, I have not had the pleasure of experiencing very many cultures outside of the American and Hispanic ones. Therefore, one of the things that I hope to accomplish through this trip is experience these new cultures as much as I can while I am in Scandinavia. One way in which I wish to do this is to visit at least one art museum while we are there. This is in part due to my love of art, but also due to the significance of art to the development of a culture and how it can track it.

While I am there I also hope to bond with the people that I will be traveling with and hopefully come out of the experience with new friends!

I hope that you have learned a little bit about me and what I am looking forward to in my trip! Because I know that I am very much looking forward to it.

So Ready for Scandinavia

IMG_7801

Hi! My name is Victoria Guvenc and I am a pre-business major and psychology minor from the beautiful Orlando, Florida. I am so excited to go on this amazing adventure with 15 other incredible people!!

I never thought that I would find myself here about to embark on a trip to Scandinavia. I always thought that if I were to study abroad I would go to one of the more “typical” (yet still special) places, like London or Paris. However, when I heard about the opportunity to visit Norway, Sweden, and Denmark I knew that this was a unique trip that I just had to experience.

Growing up I have always been surrounded by many different cultures with my mom being from Paramaribo, Suriname and my dad from Istanbul, Turkey. I feel that having such a different cultural background and upbringing has given me a deep appreciation for other cultures and has constantly pushed me to want to learn more. In every city that we go to, I want to learn more about cultural customs and really immerse myself in a different world. One of my favorite ways to to do this is through food! I have grown up trying unique foods and I can’t wait to eat lots of seafood and smørrebrød. I also hear that Scandinavia has quite the coffee culture, so I hope to start every day off with some of that. With so many museums I want to learn about the deep history and tradition that have made these countries what they are today. Sometimes when I think of Scandinavia, I think only of vikings, but I’m sure I’ll see that its so much more than that.

Along with my cultural background, the recent tragedy in my hometown has also lead me to see the importance in understanding and accepting different cultures. Now more than ever we need to learn to appreciate those who are different than us. I am looking forward to going to one of the most liberal and accepting areas in the world, and hope to see the world through a different set of values and gain various perspectives on life. At TCU we are so fortunate to have opportunities to help us gain global perspectives, and what has happened in Orlando has shown me how important that is.

I can’t wait to explore Scandinavia and learn so much along the way!!