Relocating Abroad: When it starts to feel like home

I’ve lived in Amsterdam for five months now. All in all, it has been a great experience so far, however, with mixed feelings – nonetheless, a great experience! It’s fair to say that nothing has gone as planned. Nothing… Absolutely nothing. However, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve focused on settling first, becoming a local and soon, I can start exploring my new home(y) country as a tourist. I look very much forward to this!

…It started a week after I moved here when I started working at my current job. Then, I suddenly fell in love with this great guy. So while I’ve been busy making a living here: Settling, getting used to the city, people, work and a sudden boyfriend, there hasn’t been time for much else – and to be honest, I haven’t had the time or need for much else either. Too much just gets too much.  As a result, there have been ups and downs. Mainly because of limited leisure time, I haven’t done all the things, I wanted to do – the things I planned to do. It really bugged me the first two/three months. Now, I’m not too worried as I know that it’ll come with time. After all, I’ll stay here for a year or two longer. Furthermore, with almost monthly visits from friends and family, I get to do the tourist experience of Amsterdam at least for a couple of days a month. That’s more than most people living here can say.

Amsterdam home

Now that spring is slowly turning into summer, I have high hopes for the following months. I want to explore the Netherlands. As such, I wish to travel around a bit. I want to travel to the Hague, Rotterdam, Zaandam, Haarlem, Groningen, Eindhoven and Maastricht. Going too all these destinations might be a bit too ambitious as I only have the weekends. However, I’ll do my best to do as many as possible with the time at my disposal. After all, I’ll go visiting my parents back in Denmark during my holiday.

Anyway… The good thing about the slow settling has made Amsterdam feel homey to me. I can finally say that I’m settled. Next month, I’ll start a Dutch language course so I can finally say more than a few sentences when out. I don’t believe I’ll become fluent as I won’t stay here in the Netherlands that long. Nevertheless, being able to communicate with Dutch people when out and about would be nice. So here’s to Amsterdam Adventure Part 2.

Have, or do you also live abroad permanently? How did you settle? And how did you find the process – the experience? I’m very curious.
xo P!

Being an Expat: Living abroad as a foreigner

Bing an expat

Relocating abroad automatically means that you become categorised as an expatriate – also known as an expat. As such, you have decided to reside in another culture than that of your citizenship – you are now an immigrant. As a result, it’s now your responsibility to adapt to this foreign culture – for better and worse. Don’t be afraid, though, it’s quite the adventure, and as long as you have an open mind, you’ll be more than fine – trust me. However, for anyone relocating to a foreign culture and trying to adapt as well as assimilate to norms and behaviour attached to this culture will know: It takes time. Meanwhile, in my experience, you’ll come to experience things – things that you may or may not have expected before immigrating:

  1. The paper work concerning your relocation abroad is endless
  1. …And the rules and regulations can be rather confusing and, to you, at times, somewhat illogical
  1. Not knowing the foreign language can be a real challenge – even with good English skills
  1. For better and worse, Google Translate becomes one of your treasured friends
  1. You’ll come to find that the importance of a personal number is key to …EVERYTHING
  1. Keeping in touch with friends and family from back home becomes truly important to you
  1. ..As a result, so does all types of social media as they help you stay in touch
  1. You’ll experience that your otherwise common and boring name is exotic and beautiful in the ears of foreigners, which is somewhat wonderfully weird to you
  1. You’ll discover what stereotypes there are out there concerning your home country and its people
  1. You’ll come to understand that there are various and different expectations of personal space
  1. You don’t always know what you should or should not buy at the grocery store
  1. It can be almost impossible (at times, definitely impossible) to find certain native foods
  1. You’ll pay unreasonable amounts of money for food that only somewhat resemble what you can get back home in desperate hours of homesickness
  1. The wonders of goodie bags sent from friends and family with foods from home can make your day
  1. Eating out can be either the best or worst experience
  1. You’ll never really know how much to tip
  1. When you meet a fellow (insert your nationality here), you immediately get excited
  1. However, you’ll experience that meeting new friends from foreign cultures is truly enlightening on so many levels – especially, culture-wise
  1. You’ll find yourself incredible excited when new friends or acquaintances know something about your country – especially, if you, like me, come from a little otherwise insignificant nation that people rarely tend to know much about
  1. You’ll find that keeping up with politics back home is difficult
  1. …So is keeping up with its pop culture
  1. On the other side, you’ll experience that acquiring insight into and understanding for a foreign culture is an exciting and adventurous experience
  1. You’ll come to understand your own culture and foreign cultures more in-depth and acquire perspective on these, realizing that there’s a lot you don’t know about the world yet
  1. Ultimately, you’ll realize that you will never truly know the foreign culture no matter for how long you’ll live there
  1. …That won’t stop you from getting lost in the foreign culture and your new home city/country, which you’ll find nothing but exciting
  1. As a result, you’ll come to treasure your native culture more in some ways and in other ways, you’ll come to treasure the foreign culture more

Despite challenges and difficulties linked to relocating and living abroad, it’s worth it! Every day is the beginning of a new and exciting adventure filled with wonderful people.

xo P!

 

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Down the Rabbit Hole: Future relocation abroad plans

As an aspiring traveler always on the move, I have certain countries in mind in which I would not only love to travel to, however, also live in. Let’s just say: I’m not planning on returning to Denmark once I move abroad again next month. Ever… No, I want to settle in one country at a time for a longer period of time. That’s the plan. Truth is, Denmark has never felt like home to me, and I’m quite certain my home is out there somewhere. Maybe the best way to explain it is through the concept of fernweh? …I suffer from fernweh: What fernweh means is, basically, that you’re homesick for a place you’ve never been. As such, I’m sure that I’m destined to lived abroad somewhere. I just need to find the country I belong to first. Until then, I’ll travel and settle in various countries for a longer period of time. …Of course, you never know what the future holds, and I might end up falling in love with the next country, I move to. If that’s the case, then I know I’ve found my home and then I’ll be content with traveling the world and living permanently in that country. So when I write ”future relocation abroad plans,” they’re just plans – not set in stone. As a quite ambitious and determined young woman, I also want a career. Hence, my career comes first. Hopefully, however, there’s room for both a career and traveling. Anyway, for now, I have four future relocation abroad plans: Amsterdam, New York, Edinburgh and Stockholm.

Holding the world in my heands

Amsterdam, Holland
First and foremost, there is Amsterdam in Holland. I’m moving there next month and I can’t wait. I already have a furnished apartment with two roomies waiting for me while I’m currently looking for a job.
Recently, one of my friends asked me why my heart is set on Amsterdam. The only way I can explain it is that I’m drawn to it. My intuition tells me this city is the next stop. It, simply, has to be Amsterdam. …When I imagine my future life in Amsterdam, it puts a smile on my face. It makes me happy. This feeling isn’t new to me: When I relocated to London, Dublin and Berlin, I had the same feeling. Although these adventures were part of my education and, therefore, not permanent, it can’t quite be compared to moving to Amsterdam this time. However, as these adventures turned out nothing but amazing, I am not one to question my intuition. I follow it. Whole-heartedly. Hopefully, this adventure will turn out just as amazing as the previous relocations abroad have.

New York, USA
For some reason, I just have to live in America for a period of time. I wish to experience first hand the differences between the American and European cultures – lifestyles and line of thoughts. For some reason, this is very intriguing to me. Obviously, NY represents only one part of the US, I am aware of that. Nevertheless, New York, NY, is where I’ve set my heart.
The reason why I have my heart set on New York in America is due to its reputation as a young and dynamic city. …The city that never sleeps. Furthermore, it doesn’t seem to be restricted to a certain generation or age group which means that when I’ve explored Amsterdam and Holland to its fullest for 5-10 years, I’m not old enough to relocate to New York. And this city characterised as colourful and adventurous in the land of opportunity, I will fit right in – for a period of time at least.

Edinburgh, Scotland
Then, once I’m tired of the fast-paced city life, I plan to move to Edinburgh in Scotland. Green, fresh and beautiful Scotland.
When a dear friend and I visited the city back in 2013, I completely fell for its charm – the culture, history and people. As such, it’s a culture I want to explore further – and just just for a vacation, no I wish to settle there for a longer period of time. And with the opportunity for weekend tours around Scotland and to the Lake District in north England as well as the rest of UK and Ireland, I’m certain that my 40s here will be well spent and bring me calmness along with a more mature and grown-up version of me.

Stockholm, Sweden
Finally, I plan to grow old in Stockholm in Sweden.
I fell in love with the city when I visited Sweden earlier this year. This beautiful capital with stunning architecture, harbour views and scenery captured my heart immediately. As such, it is a city in which I can very well imagine myself grow old with a future husband because it’s lively, however, not too lively – it’s the perfect combination of adventurous and calm.

So… Those are my current future relocation abroad plans. Do you have any? Where would you like to settle for a period of time – or permanently?

xo P!

 

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Intern Abroad: My 10 reasons why to intern abroad

It’s no secret that I’m fascinated by interculturalism and cross-cultural communication. I have not only among others studied it at university, however, I’ve also made sure to practice it in real life by relocating to foreign cultures. One of my abroad stays that has made a tremendous impression on me was my internship in Dublin, Ireland. Of course, any relocation abroad makes a lasting impression on you, however, working in an intercultural environment abroad is quite a unique experience. As such, this blog post concerns a reflection on my own experience and presents you with 10 reasons why to intern abroad.

1) Explore a Foreign Country and its Culture
By interning abroad, not only will you have the opportunity to explore a new country and its culture, no you’ll do it from the inside – so to speak. By working with locals (maybe even in an intercultural setting), you have the opportunity to dig deep and immerse yourself in a new culture on a much deeper level than other types of abroad programmes offer. If the work place, furthermore, is intercultural, you have the possibility to discuss the culture’s norms and believes from an international angle. As such, working as an intern abroad not only provides you with an understanding for a foreign country and its culture, however, also its work environment(s) and the social norms linked to this.

2) Develop Global Perspective and Understanding
When you live in a foreign country, you automatically acquire insight into its culture from various perspectives. As a result, you gain a broader view of current (international) events and/or situations as well as your field of study and the concept of a work environment – both professionally and personally. This insight leads to understanding, which gives you perspective. This will most likely help you to view future challenges (and opportunities) differently and solve problems from a different aspect than what you’re used to.

3) Improve Language Skills
If you move to a foreign country, you’ll have the opportunity to improve your language skills and become more confident in speaking the foreign language in question. Furthermore, if you’ll be working at an intercultural work place, you’ll also have the possibility to learn other foreign languages that your colleagues speak. And let’s face it: Living in an increasingly international and intercultural world, the ability to speak multiple languages will make you more marketable to future employers.

4) Theoretical vs. Practical Knowledge
An internship abroad is the all time opportunity to gain some practical insight, understanding and experience in theories linked to your studies. In other words, you’ll have the possibility to use the skills you’ve been taught in the classroom in a real-world setting. As such, it’s a chance to prove the worth of your qualifications, turn theory into practice and show your employee as well as yourself that you can perform in the role you’ve been given and the future role you strive for.

5) Try Out a Possible Career
Like me, you might have various and different ideas of a future career. Hence, an internship presents you with the perfect opportunity to try out a possible career. Moreover, as internships are generally short-term, they allow you to test a career (or an industry) without committing to it.

6) Valuable Work Experience
Even if you eventually choose not to pursue the career you test in your internship, an internship will add valuable work experience to your CV. Upon graduation, hands on experience within your field of studies will no doubt give you a head start, as you’ll have practical and not just theoretical experience within your field.

7) Networking Opportunity
What better way to meet people within your field of studies than through an internship!? Even if you have relevant work experience, knowing people in the industry never hurts when chasing a career. Therefore, an internship might give you relevant contacts within the industry you’re trying to break into and end up helping you get a job after graduation. If not, references from people in the industry will definitely add weight to your application.

8) Transition into a Job
Some companies perceive interns as prospective employees. As a result, if you do a good job during your internship and leave with a good impression, your intern company might be interested in hiring you full time after graduation because you’ve already proven your worth and know the company.

9) Personal Growth and Development
By now, there’s no doubt that an internship will gain professional value. However, an internship will definitely also gain personal value. Because, during the months you intern, you learn much about yourself as a student, co-worker and, ultimately, person – not to forget…

10) An Experience You’ll Never Forget
Living abroad is an experience you’ll never forget – for good and bad. You don’t only grow and develop as a person, gain cultural insight and understanding, get to travel around the country and meet new friends, no you also have a lot of different experiences linked to various aspects of your new life abroad. …Yes, it’s not just good for your CV.

So… What are you waiting for? There are so many good things to gain from an internship abroad. …Maybe you’ve already undertaken an internship abroad? So you may agree with my ten reasons why to go abroad to intern? Maybe you have other good reasons to do it? Please, feel free to share.

xo P!

Christmas Party, Dublin

Study Abroad: My 10 reasons why to study in a foreign country

In 2012, I undertook my first abroad relocation as part of my studies to London, England. There’s no doubt that this was one of the best decisions, I’ve ever made. By leaving Denmark and adapting to the English culture, I learned so much more than I thought possible – both academically and personally. At the same time, I got to follow my childhood dream as an aspiring traveler to travel and acquire insight into and understanding for foreign cultures. Considering this adventure, I can’t find reasons not to leave comfort zones and take a leap of faith. As a result, I wanted to discuss this on my blog. As such, I present you with ten reasons why to study in a foreign country in the following paragraphs.

1) You have the possibility to study courses not available at your home university
You can choose any university in whatever country you find interesting that offers courses you would like to take. Maybe there are courses better suited for you and your future abroad?

2) You have the opportunity to practice your language skills
If you move to a foreign country in which its population speaks a foreign language, it’s the best way to learn the language in question with all its foreign ways. However, even if you move to a country where its population speaks your native tongue, you still have the opportunity to bound with other exchange students and learn or develop your language skills. It’s a win/win, really.

3) You’ll acquire insight into a foreign culture
Living in a foreign culture, you will automatically acquire insight into and understanding for its social norms and ways of living – its culture. You’ll learn about the culture’s history and gradually develop an understanding for its culture and social norms.

4) You learn how to cope in a foreign culture
All cultures have their social norms that dictates how to think and behave. This might be challenging at first, however, it’ll make you aware of cultural differences and teach you foreign ways of doing things that might suit you better than what you’re used to.

5) You learn that it’s all about perspective
As a result of living in a foreign culture, you’ll also come to learn and understand that it’s all about perspective. You might think and behave as you do in your culture, however, people from foreign cultures are not brought up with the same cultural, social norms. As such, you’ll develop an understanding for cultural perspectives that tells you there’s not always a right or wrong – there are, however, different ways of thinking and behaving as well as ways of reaching the same goal.

6) You have the possibility to travel
When settling in a foreign country for a period of time, not only do you acquire understanding for its history and culture, you also have the possibility to travel around the country and get to know other amazing cities, towns and villages in the country.

7) You’ll meet new friends from all over the world
You’re most likely not the only one on an adventure, there are many just like you on campus and in town. Therefore, there are many potential friends to gain from all over the world. These friendships may or may not last a lifetime, however, one thing is certain: You’ll have the possibility to visit them in their home country and explore their cultures as well. And having friends in foreign countries is not too bad – although you will miss them.

8) You become less dependent and more independent
Being on your own, away from familiar surroundings, friends and family, you are forced to cope on your own. It can be quite a challenge, however, when you learn how to overcome certain obstacles, you’ll feel like you can handle anything. As a result, you find yourself able to handle situations you never thought you could – and you’ll be less dependent on others and more independent as a result.

9) You grow up
Quite simply, you grow up as a result of facing your new reality – your new life.

10) You’ll make your CV stand out after university
Let’s face it: We increasingly live in an international and intercultural world in which businesses cooperate across countries. The fact that you’ll have approximately six months of abroad experience will make you stand out when it’s time to apply for a job after university!

See…! There are so many good things to gain from studying abroad. What are you waiting for? …Maybe you’ve already studied abroad? So you may agree with my ten reasons why to go abroad for studies? Maybe you have other good reasons to do it? Please, feel free to share.

xo P!

Study abroad

Purpose of Traveling: Does there have to be a reason?

The times I’ve planned to live abroad, people often ask me: ”Why this city and/or country?” Except for London in England, which was a childhood dream come true, I don’t have an answer. I travel without purpose or reason – sort of. Of course, I have a purpose with my stay, however, I don’t have a purpose or reason for choosing a particular city in a certain country. I just want to explore, discover, learn and acquire understanding for foreign cultures and their lifestyles. It’s that simple. And for a person who wants to explore the world, this seems like a logical line of thought. Right?

Travel without purpose or reason

Yesterday, I spoke to a dear friend and told her about my plans regarding moving to Amsterdam in January. After having told her that I already have an apartment there and that all the practical matters are sorted out and planned, the first thing she asked was: ”Why Amsterdam?” Well… All I could say was: ”Because I’m drawn to the city and have been for almost a year now.” Baffled over my reply she implied that I must have some plans? My reply: ”Not really. I have an apartment and I’ll figure out the rest when I’m there.” She seemed confused and stressed on my behalf that, as a newly MA graduate, I didn’t have some plans, work-wise. Finally… I understood where she was going: If I could actually work there – that was the question. ”Of course,” I replied and told her about the job market in Amsterdam and how I’ve been researching all about it and living in Amsterdam for the last ten months. Because, of course, I have to hopes and wishes when it comes to working there, however, the rest I’ll figure out when I’m there. I’m a highly organised and structured person – I don’t really work without plans for, what I perceive, important aspects of my life (such as a place to live or work). I’m not nervous or anxious about not settling and/or feeling at home in Amsterdam – for me, home is something you create. Maybe I should be nervous… However, in my experience, things have a way of working out, and I will find a job before moving, which is all I need now that I have a place to live. Otherwise, I can’t wait for my next adventure – it will be amazing! Like always. Nothing less.

xo P!

Becoming a Traveler: Following my dream

Once, when I was child, my mum asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Of course, this is a question that most parents ask their children. Most children, however, will have a specific profession in mind such as a police man, doctor, cowboy or a princess. Not me. I wanted to travel – to be ”a traveler”. My mum, confused about this answer, replied that this was not a profession. I was devastated. How could that not be ‘a profession’? Wasn’t a job something that you spend half of the day doing? I wanted to spend half (if not the entire) day traveling – exploring foreign cultures and their ways of living. Discovering. Learning. Understanding. She comforted me and explained that I had years to figure out what I wanted to spend my life doing and that I didn’t need to worry about it then.

I don’t know exactly what motivated me to wanting to be a traveler. It’s not as if we have ever traveled much in my family. Beside for one trip to Turkey when I was three and driving around Denmark (where I am born), I didn’t travel and explore much of the world in real life during my childhood. I had to watch the Television for that. Maybe the Television with programmes from all over the world inspired and motivated me? Anyway, a traveler is what I wanted to become. And with a mature sense of determination and stubbornness, this has become my life goal.

When I was thirteen, the first step of becoming a traveler was made. I went abroad for the first time. I traveled to England with a friend. This was very much against the will of my mum, however, as my friend had an aunt in York, we decided to travel there and visit her. Luckily, my father backed me up, and, as I would be in safe hands, my mum let me go travel.
From when we planned to travel to York, I couldn’t think of anything else. I was, finally(!), going abroad – experiencing another culture and trying out my English skills, which I had been obsessed with practicing from a very early age. The entire week in York was just incredible. Although we were only thirteen-years-old, we explored York to the fullest (in an under eighteen kind of way, of course). And this increased my appetite for traveling immensely. I didn’t doubt it – I was right on track!

When I was sixteen, my then-boyfriend was going on a one-week vacation to northern Germany with his parents. They kindly invited me along, and who was I to miss out on that opportunity. His mum planned the trip in details, and knowing my interest in traveling, she included me in the travel planning process. I was thrilled! We were going to explore the northern coastal region of Germany – ending in Berlin. Oh Berlin! I could just feel the excitement when planning – butterflies in my stomach and the urge of just saying ”hey, forget about planning. Let’s just go and experience. Let’s explore. Discover”.
The week in northern Germany and the metropolis of Berlin was extremely interesting and exciting. Germany has so much to offer: History, scenery, culture, music, art, cuisine, attractions – the list goes on. Returning home after that week, I talked to my mum. She mentioned the story I started out telling above. When she told me, I could recall the situation. At this point, I think my mum was slowly realizing that I wasn’t kidding – I wanted to be ”a traveler”. And I was slowly realizing that it was actually a possibility. I mean, I just needed to continue to follow my dream and chase opportunities of traveling.

As years went by and I had to choose a future after ’gymnasium’ (high school), I felt stuck. If traveling by profession wasn’t an option then I really didn’t know what to do with my future. I mean, I had to make some money in order to live. I still wanted to travel the world and acquire an insight into foreign cultures – an understanding, however, I didn’t have the money to do it. I watched many friends taking a gap year in which they worked for six months and traveled the remaining six months. However, that wasn’t my plan. I wanted to settle in a foreign country for a couple of months and acquire a deeper insight into a culture than the normal tourist experience of a week or two would allow me. Therefore, as I wasn’t going to let money get in the way of following my dream, I decided to combine studies and traveling.
Studying tourism was an option, however, I really wanted to focus more on a culture and communication perspective. At the same time, I wanted to make sure that my future degree was going to be applicable for a company in an international aspect. As such, I attended Aalborg University in northern Denmark where I enrolled in their BA programme, ”English and International studies – Business and Communication”. This programme not only focused on international aspects such as (English speaking countries’) cultures, communication processes and politics, however, it was also conducted in English and had English grammar, translation AND creative writing classes. The best part, though, it included an exchange on the fourth semester. I could just hear Joey (Friends) in my mind, when I read the programme description: ”London, baby!!!” I was sold.

The joy and excitement linked to moving abroad from Aalborg to London was filled with pure happiness. I mean, exploring another country as a traveler and having the opportunity to ’dig into’ a culture, discovering and exploring it while simultaneously trying to understand it… When I was accepted at Westminster University for a semester, tears of joy ran down my face. Finally! It was happening. I was pursuing my dream of becoming a traveler – and it worked. Unbelievable!
The fourth of January, 2012, when I landed in London and was taking the train to Wimbledon, where I had managed to get a flat with another girl, I had to hold back both tears and laughter. You know that feeling you get when you’re so happy you think you could just burst into tears and laughter at the same time? Almost like being in love. Actually. Not ’almost,’ but like being in love. THAT was what I felt. I had the biggest smile on my face all the way from Gatwick Airport to Wimbledon. The smile lasted throughout the entire seven-month exchange.

When I left Aalborg for London, I promised myself to soak in as much of the UK as I possibly could, as I didn’t know if it was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This resulted in many trips around England and Wales. My most treasured memories of traveling involve getting to know the roots of England – soaking in as much knowledge about England’s heritage, history and culture as possible by going exploring. Discovering. Learning. Understanding.
During the seven months, I undertook 23 trips out of London to other parts of England and Wales and went to 6 big concerts. I, finally, was in a city in which I could explore a foreign culture and its history and heritage to the fullest as well as in a city in which well-known music artists were performing, and I wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass me by. I was extremely lucky that Coldplay was performing in London that summer. The tickets for their concert were bought months in advance of moving to London. When they entered the stage, I started crying. Normally, I’m not one to show my emotions like that – quite on the contrary (being a cold Nordic person…), however, I couldn’t control it. Tears just streamed down my face. Tears of happiness. The feeling of living out my dream slowly but surely affected my emotions.
A similar feeling was evident on my trips to cities around England and Wales. I remember lying awake the night before a trip with this extreme case of butterflies in my stomach and feeling of excitement. I would get to the bus/train station in very good time just to make sure that I made it in time for the trip. My favourite cities I visited was, among others, Bath. Beautiful Bath! This little city is just so extremely beautiful – the scenery, architecture and relaxed atmosphere. Also Cardiff and driving along coastal Wales is somewhat different from England. The scenery is similar, however, the cities are different in the sense of atmosphere. Of course, this might also have something to do with people living there talking Welsh – and, after all, it is like entering an entire different country! Then there was Brighton with its pier, small boutiques and cafés as well as the Royal Pavilion that amazed me. This is not to forget Cambridge. Walking around Cambridge during summer time, taking a tour down the river Cam and exploring the very lively city made me so jealous of the students who are studying at Cambridge University. It sure doesn’t look anything like Aalborg University. However, as a passionate street art admirer (not graffiti, but street ART), the trip to Bristol was planned months in advance. I was to explore the city but more importantly to explore the work of Banksy. At the end of my exchange, to commemorate my experience and the fact that I did follow my dream and that it was working, I had Banksy’s ”Girl with a Balloon” tattooed on my feet. As a proof to myself and as a reminder to continue to follow my dream and, indeed, become a full time traveler! Even if not professionally.

When I returned to Aalborg after the seven months in London, I had two semesters left before finishing my BA degree. After the two semesters, I still wasn’t ready for the real world. I mean, how was this education – this degree – suppose to get me where I wanted to be. And where did I want to go? What did I want to become – to work with? So I decided to enrol in a MA programme. Because I couldn’t afford studying abroad, the programme, of course, had to include the possibility of yet another abroad experience. Due to my passion for traveling, studying tourism crossed my mind yet again, however, my passion for cultures and intercultural communication made me interested in studying Aalborg University’s MA programme, ”Culture, Communication and Globalisation – Marketing and Consumption”.

In the summer of 2013, when I had been accepted into the MA programme, I was so eager to plan the abroad internship experience on the third semester. What country did I want to live in next? I decided to select various countries and then send out applications to travel companies. Luck was with me. My first application to the travel agency, Abbey Tours, in Dublin was accepted – an entire year in advance! It was unheard of. I was thrilled to say the least. Jumping up and down, out of my mind and filled with adrenalin. I had to plan all things to see in Dublin and all the trips I was going to take in Ireland and Northern Ireland immediately. As a result, I spent much of the summer holiday planning my internship in Dublin, and before I had left Denmark, 33 trips and 9 big concerts were planned. The adventure that awaited me on the Emerald Island was exciting and yet, unbelievable. ”Dublin, baby!!!”

Yet another seven months with a permanent smile on my face was evident. I felt like I was living the dream – and truth is, I was! Exploring a foreign culture, meeting new, interesting friends from all over the world and a more pracmatic approach to studying culture and communication than university offers. Any student that has undertaken an internship whether abroad or not will, most likely, agree with this: It’s an opportunity of a lifetime – for good and bad. I mean, studying is this theoretic approach to everything, but an internship offers an opportunity to test theory in practice. I was lucky, and the Chairman of Abbey Tours agreed to collaborate with me on my semester project. Studying intercultural communication and working in an intercultural company – come on, I had to test theory on intercultural communication. All in all, I learned SO much from my internship placement in Dublin – both professionally, as an academic, as well as personally, AND I got to follow my dream once again.
Of the many trips I was on during my stay in Dublin, the region of Connemara, Giants Causeway and Galway stand out. Connemara is this very rural, green region with mountains (or hills really), lakes, romantic bridges and wild flowers as taken out of a post card. Soaking in the scenery that is very different from the Danish scenery was an experience worth while. And going to coastal Ireland seeing the North Atlantic Ocean and the Giants Causeway was unbelievable. I mean, this landscape not only presented dramatic cliffs that have inspired artists for centuries, however, also presents this interlocking columns of ancient volcanic eruption that seems out of this world. Galway, on the other hand, is this cosy small city that has an amazing atmosphere. I cannot explain it – you have to experience it for yourself. It’s a rather old city with old houses and a romantic twist that has everything from restaurants, cafés, pubs (of course! It’s Ireland), churches (of course! Ireland…), museums and the lake, Corrib. It has everything you need in a city – also a tranvistite club (yeah, when you don’t read the club sign before you enter a club, surprises await).

At the end of my stay in Dublin, only one semester of my MA degree was left. The final semester – writing the MA thesis. As I soon realized that I didn’t have any classes on the final semester, I was planning my next abroad experience. I mean, I could write that baby anywhere – all I needed was a computer and a public library. Where would I like to move to next?
Growing up close to the boarder to Germany and having grown up with German Television as well as the vacation I was on in northern Germany when I was sixteen, the thought of moving to Berlin to not only brush up my German skills, however, also explore the wonderful city made my choice easy. ”Berlin, baby!!!”

In January, 2015, I moved to Kreuzberg, Berlin. As I write, I’m in the middle of my new adventure. Following my dream. Again. Proving to myself once more that I can do it. Become a traveler. If not a traveler by profession, then, as a lifestyle. And I can do it. I mean, I am doing it. And what better city – or metropolis – to do this in than in Berlin!? Berlin has it all. I’m thrilled with the Berlin culture – it’s so… free. And open-minded. Welcoming.

Traveling is for me a source of pure happiness. Just like music. It’s that simple. It’s a way of not only exploring foreign scenery, culture and meeting lots of new friends from different countries around the world and learn how to communicate with these from different cultural perspectives, but it’s also a way in which to explore myself. Discover myself. Learning about myself. And other. Understanding differences and similarities and why there are no right and wrong, per se. Not only do I fall more and more in love with this, in many ways, imperfect, yet perfect, world with beautiful scenery, cultures, experiences and people but also find myself more and more. Or develop myself? Who knows… All I know is that my lust to wander somehow will lead me where I want to be. And help me become who I wish to be. But most importantly, make me a happy person. It makes me smile… Traveling makes me smile! As such, I can’t wait for my next abroad experience, once I finish university in June, 2015. Until then, I will enjoy every moment and every cultural aspect as possible of Berlin. Beautiful Berlin!

xo P!

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