Journey to Tanzania

Submitted by Carolyn Anderson on the 2024 Winter ENWC program in Tanzania

The Ngorongoro Crater

Today we visited the Ngorngoro Crater Natinoal Park. Driving around the crater was an amazing experience! Even though I knew there would be a great abundance of wildlife, my expectations were well surpassed. We started off by seeing plenty of olive baboons before we even got to the gate. As we made our way down into the crater, we saw plenty of bird species, including a few new ones for me! We saw a cape crow, and that was really cool because I love crows. The views on our way down the slope were incredible. Luckily it was not very foggy, and you could see pretty far! At one lookout point where we were able to stop and get out, we saw a single rhino very far in the distance through our binoculars. This was really exciting, as they are hard to see and critically endangered. I was grateful to see that rhino, no matter how far away and hard to see, because I did not feel confident we would get to see another. But we were wrong! Once in the crater, we saw three more a bit closer up! They were still pretty far away, but I was able to make out a lot more detail this time and just watch them for a little while. Although the myriad zebras, wildebeest, and buffalos were cool to see, I think my favorites from today were the hippos and the honey badger. Seeing both were a real treat, as it is rare to see hippos out of the water (and we saw two on land!) and honey badgers are incredibly rare to see. I was hoping we might see one, but I knew the chances were pretty slim. Yet another surprise from the crater today!

Wildlife Sightings in the Serengeti

Today was a very special day, full of amazing wildlife sightings. We began our day in the Ndutu area of the Serengeti ecosystem, and later travelled to the Seronera region. We headed out early, around 7am, with the hopes of seeing as much as possible. We started off strong with a lioness and three young cubs! The way the cubs were running around and playing with each other was so sweet. They were wrestling and chasing each other, and even trying to play with their mom at some points! I also saw two new bird species: the wood and marsh sandpipers. Later, we had our second hartebeest sighting. That was cool because we got to see more than one this time, a bit closer, and it had been a while since we saw the first one. We saw some more lions throughout the morning, but the best moment of the day by far was right before lunch, when we saw three cheetah brothers relaxing under the shade of an acacia tree. It was so exciting to see not just one, but three cheetahs, when I was not sure what the chances we would see any were. Unfortunately, we did not get to see them run, but when we got back from lunch they were eating a fresh kill of a small wildebeest. It was amazing to see the three of them eat their fresh kill, with blood covering their faces and dripping down their necks. Although we did  not get to see any adorable young cheetah cubs today, the three young males we saw were still quite the find. (Submitted February 2, 2024)

Last Week

Submitted by Isabelle Lieber on the 2024 Winter Winter FINC/BUAD program in Sydney, Australia

For the final week we visited multiple companies, had 3 free days and did a tour of  the opera house. At the opera house we learned about the history and got to see  each of the theaters. On our free days we went on a boat, went to a horse, and  Manley beach. (Submitted February 2, 2024)

Exploring Australia’s Wildlife

Submitted by Taylor Cannon on the 2024 Winter FINC/BUAD program in Sydney, Australia

Visiting Australia’s Native Animals.

Australia is home to some of the most unique flora and fauna in the world, which we got the privilege to visit. While visiting the Australian Wildlife sanctuary nestled in the New South Wales region, we were able to get up close and personal with the animals native to this amazing country. The 80,000 acre lot is home to animals such as kangaroos, wallabies, and emu that roam the property freely and are generally welcoming to guests who are eager to pet them. In addition to this we were able to hold some of the reptiles being rehabilitated such as the shingleback lizard and boa constrictor snakes. While learning and interacting with these awesome animals, our tour guide led us on a guided tour of the main area of the rehab center to visit other animals such as the koalas, bats, dingoes, llamas, and so many more. It was the coolest experience to be so up close and personal to these amazing animals. (Submitted February 2, 2024)

Contrasting Biodiversity Management

Submitted by Caira Flanagan on the 2024 Winter ENGL program in Netherlands

After a rather tame first week, our group braced ourselves for snowy back-to-back trips to national parks. The Dutch national parks of Veluwezoom and De Hoge Veluwe stand as admirable showcases of biodiversity in the Netherlands. Veluwezoom is renowned for its diverse landscapes encompassing heathlands, forests, and wild fauna. Though not far, De Hoge Veluwe showcases expansive sand dunes, along with woodlands and heath. Although their landscapes and ecological significance are similar, the conservation and management strategies employed by these parks are strikingly different. We got the opportunity to learn about these unique differences and how climate change affects their decisions. Together, Veluwezoom and De Hoge Veluwe serve as shining examples of successful conservation efforts, demonstrating the significance of preserving these pristine natural areas for current and future generations to enjoy.(Submitted February 1, 2024)

A Day in Seville

Submitted by Jack Mullarkey on the 2024 Winter program in Granada, Spain…

A view of the Catedral de Sevilla.

The last week in Spain was highlighted with a trip to Seville, the capital of the province of Andalucia in southern Spain. The city is home to places with both national and international fame. The Plaza de España in Parque María Luisa and the Reales Alcazares were home to scenes from media such as Star Wars and Game of Thrones. 

Our day began with a tour of The Plaza de España in Parque María Luisa. This was definitely my favorite sight from the entire day, it was a huge courtyard surrounded by ornate towers and balconies that overlooked a courtyard and fountain. We then took a tour of the Reales Alcazares, a 11th century Muslim palace known for its detailed architecture and beautiful gardens. My favorite part of the tour was the ducks that swam in the fountains and the peacocks that roamed the garden. 

Our day concluded with a tour of the Catedral de Sevilla, one of the world’s largest churches. Its gothic architecture with high ceilings, giant portraits, and golden details definitely made it memorable. The church also has a 40-story high tower that is only accessible by a ramp (if you want a good workout, I recommend it). (Submitted February 1, 2024)

Three Weeks in Leipzig

Submitted by Ethan Deutsch on the 2024 Winter LLCU program in Leipzig, Germany…

Making the Rotkraut, trying not to spill it with every handful!

It has now been two weeks in Leipzig, and I’m starting to love it here. This place has become my home away from home. I have a solid routine of attending class, stopping by the same coffee shop, and doing excursions with the group. This week we were given a cooking class which I really enjoyed. It involved us making rotkraut, goose leg, sausages, soup, and potato pancakes. This was fun because not only did I get to eat some authentic foods, but I also got to see exactly how it’s made. We also got to tour the BMW factory located in Leipzig. This was very interesting to me as I am studying engineering and would like to work somewhere similar to this. We could see just how all the cars were built, painted, and processed. On top of all this, we had an excursion to Dresden over the weekend, which was great to see as it has plenty of history. The Elbe river runs straight through the city, painting a great picture of the contrast between nature and the old architecture. 

I can’t believe it’s already been three weeks, and this trip is almost over. It feels like I just got here and like I’ve been living here forever. This weekend, I had the chance to invite a friend to visit me in Leipzig as he was studying abroad in London. This was special because Leipzig was a place that only I could bring back to friends and family, however this was a chance to share it with someone else. We went to a local soccer game, and it was quite amazing to see the entire city crowd onto the tram and rally for their team. At that point, I felt like I was one of the locals sharing their team pride with them. We also had a party held by the school with all of the exchange students and professors. This was great because I connected with some exchange students from other countries who also want to learn German. It really is a new experience to talk to someone, and the only language you have in common is German. 

RB Leipzig plays against Beyer Leverkusen.

This was the last week here in Leipzig and I am sad to be leaving. I had the best time here and I will miss it for sure. It’s crazy how fast this month went by but I wouldn’t change a thing. I have learned so much studying abroad here, and I can’t wait to come back. I formed everlasting friendships, and saw so many things. Not only did I learn a lot about this country, but I learned a lot about myself. I have developed as a person and will definitely travel abroad many more times, every opportunity I get. This last weekend we got to travel to Berlin where I was able to see many famous monuments like the Reichstag building, the Brandenburg Gate, and the Holocaust memorial. This city was large, exciting, and a great way to end our trip. 

Underwater Paradise

Submitted by Aliyah Figueroa on the 2024 Winter BUAD/FINC program in Thailand and Australia

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving at the Great Barrier Reefs.

The Great Barrier Reef is a city underwater, filled with vibrant, beautiful marine life. While diving and snorkeling, I encountered sting rays, fish, and turtles. The gorgeous coral is home to many different species, making it a great sight for anyone fortunate to see these creatures in their environment. To keep the Great Barrier Reef healthy, it is important to use reef-friendly sunscreens and follow the rules in protected areas to maintain the balance of this beautiful ecosystem. This is a must for any underwater lovers, whether you are a beginner diver or snorkeler. The vibrant colors and diverse marine life can promise an unforgettable journey into the world’s most magnificent underwater paradise.

A Trip Down to the Water (Nafplio)

Submitted by Josh Leonetti on the 2024 Winter LLCU Micro program in Athens, Greece.

On January 21st, our group took a three-hour bus ride south to the beautiful city of Nafplio. We arrived right near the dock, basically on the water and the view was breathtaking. One of my favorite parts of this trip was the Italian influence on the rich cuisine. Not only were we able to try amazing fresh seafood, but also some of the best handmade gelato I have ever had! My favorite part of this journey was between the one-thousand-step climb up to the historic Palamidi Fortress which overlooked the entire city on one side and the other the beautiful blue waters of the Argolic Gulf, or the amazing opportunity to swim in that water! Although it was super chilly, it definitely stood as a metaphor for the trip as a whole, which is to continue to try things out of your comfort zone. (Submitted February 5, 2024)

Balsamic Vinegar Tasting

Submitted by Logan Devaric on the 2024 Winter History program in Italy…

Learning about the process of making balsamic vinegar.

On this trip we were able to do many day trips as a group. We all hoped in a bus early in the morning to go explore a new city. On this trip we went to Siena, Dozza and Modena. All were amazing but one of the best ones was going to the Balsamic vinegar faciality in Modena. Modena is one of the largest producers of Balsamic Vinegar and we got to tour one of the places that makes it. We saw their land where they grow the grapes, then got a tour of where the magic happens. We learned how different types of wood effects the taste of the vinegar because it has to sit in wooden barrels for years. We did a tasting of different aged vinegars along with vinegars that sat in different woods for longer. We even tried Balsamic vinegar that was over 100 years old. We than had a lunch where each course featured Balsamic Vinegar. We had pasta with these Balsamic popping bubbles on top along with lots of cheese and meats. Overall it was a great experience and one I will never forget. (Submitted February 5, 2024)

The food we had featuring the Balsamic.

Foreign Friendliness

Submitted by Mabel Hance on the 2024 Winter LLCU program in Greece

The most notable difference between Greece and other countries I have lived in or visited is their attitude towards tourists or Americans. Everywhere we went we were greeted with smiles and often asked where we were from. When I would respond to this question with New York, whoever asked would usually try to connect through an experience they have in NY or one that a friend has had. Many times when dining with a large group, which is abnormal for most local Greek places, we were given some traditional Greek drink or food in the house and offered words of encouragement and to enjoy Greeve. These people were so proud to share their country with us and you could feel the love they had for their country and culture. They did not see speaking English or being lost and looking like a tourist as a negative thing and only cared about sharing all the experiences they loved. One time we were walking down a street filled with shops and we had an older man approach us to ask where we were from and what our plans were. Normally in the US you would be wary and cautious when a stranger approaches you and asks these types of questions but immediately you could tell he wanted to help us. We told him we were headed to dinner and he walked us to one of his favorite spots, noting the overpriced tourist traps along the way so we knew what to avoid. This meal was one of our favorites in the country and we were treated with some of the best hospitality at this restaurant. This experience we would never have had if a local, probably walking a path he often does, did not stop to offer some friendly guidance. (Submitted February 1, 2024)