Sorry for another delay! My computer broke then I was traveling again. I only just got a replacement, which I need to return anyway.
Quick personal update: on top of my computer dying recently, my dog had to suddenly be put down a few weeks ago. It’s been really hard being here while my family did that. Also, finals are starting, so it’s a tough time for me right now.
I did, however, have an amazing time on the program’s last field study trip. I got the chance to travel to Lisbon, Portugal, Madrid, Spain, and Rome, Italy. All three places were gorgeous and warm, a nice change from the weather here in Freiburg, where, as of last night, it has started snowing! We had several meetings throughout the trip about immigration, environmental issues, and the debt crisis. Probably the most interesting tidbit that I learned was that in Italy, the mafia and organized crime in general play a large part in waste disposal. They illegally dump and turn a profit. It was very interested to hear how organized crime has developed to keep up with the modern age. While traveling, we also got plenty of free time. I spent a day on the beach in Portugal, explored museums in Madrid, and toured the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Vatican while in Italy.
We also had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner as a group. In Rome, the program set up a reservation for an American style dinner. It had turkey, cornbread, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and more! Both the food and the company was wonderful!
Since returning, I’ve dived back into school. Like I mentioned at the start of this post, finals are upon me, and so I’ve been writing papers left and right. The program has also started its preparation for the model EU Commission meeting we will be holding in a few weeks. Every student has been assigned an EU country and position within that country, either head of state or foreign minister, and we have been researching and discussing our countries’ positions on issues like equal rights and the immigration crisis. I’m representing Greece, and so issues like immigration are important for my country. It’s been very interesting navigating alliances and partnerships as we put together proposals on each topic. It’s a lot of work, but I’m excited to see how the final simulation goes.
In holiday-based news, the Christmas markets have started! This may be foreign to some readers, so let me give a brief explanation. Germany and other places in Europe have a tradition of setting up large, month-long fairs in their towns for the holidays. In them, you can get Glühwein, or hot, mulled wine, special, Christmas-related snacks like cookies and a better version of fruit cake, and you can pick up small gifts as well. I have yet to go, as I’m trying to get all my papers done first, but as soon as I have free time, you’ll find me bundled up with a delicious mug of hot wine in my hands. I’ll share pictures next post! Until then!