Barcelona, Spain

Bienvenidos!

Welcome to my all time, favorite city in Europe, Barcelona! There are so many reasons why I LOVE Barcelona, but as they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” so here’s a few of my last trip to the beautiful Barcelona! Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter: Roam these gothic streets and admire the city’s beautiful gothic architecture! This location is perfect for a stop at a café or dinner! There are plenty of authentic restaurants to chose from.

Walk up the hill to the Museaum where you will see the Barcelona skyline! This location is perfect for pictures 😉

If you’re cathing a cruise or just want to take a boat ride along the Mediterranean, check out the Port of Barcelona! There is street food, local entertainment, and much more!

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What to pack for a Year Abroad

Hello!

So I hear you’re going overseas soon, or at least thinking of moving abroad… Congrats on taking the first (of many) leap of faith! Here’s a packing list to ease the stress that packing always seems to bring.

After spending a year abroad myself, I have come up with a list of necessary things to pack. Wether you’re looking into studying abroad for a year or just planning to visit a foreign country. My packing tips will help you prepare for anything you many encounter during your time overseas. 3

Of corse there will be more necessary things such as prescription medicine, sun block, etc- don’t forget those either! Wherever you are planning on going, have fun, stay safe and take lots of pictures!

Xoxo,

Amanda

Welcome to: Tampa, Florida

 

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The famous Tampa Theatre

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Beautiful downtown Tampa at sunset

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Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park

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The Tampa River Walk

Hello friends!

I recently moved to Tampa, Florida where I am studying International business at the University of Tampa. I moved in just over 2 weeks ago and am loving every second of my time here. So much change has been happening! I am learning so many things, meeting new people, and exploring all of the opporunities that Tampa has to offer! I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to study on such a beautiful campus. Everyday I am in awe as I walk to class. I ‘m also really enjoying my classes! I am taking Spanish (which is a necessity living in Florida) and an Intro to Global Business course that I find so cool!

I have already explored so much of the Tampa area, from the Straz Center of the Performing Arts, to the bay, to Channelside, to the downtown Tampa area, and the Riverwalk. Tampa has so many fun things to offer its residents and tourists alike!  I also have to mention the new friends I made here!! I’ve only been on campus for 2 weeks and I already feel like I have known my friends for years! This year couldn’t get any better!… until the hurricane came.

By now, I’m sure many people are aware of hurricane Irma and the potential damage it may bring to the state of Florida. Luckily, I have evacuated from the Tampa area and am staying at a friend’s house in Jacksonville, FL. I was just starting to get into the groove of this “college lifestyle” and now a whole week of school is canceled due to the hurricane. Being from Ohio, I have never experienced a hurricane, therefore I have no idea what to expect. I’m just wating and hoping for the best becuase I want to get back to UT as soon as possible! But as they say, “life’s a journey,” so I’m just here for the ride!

I’m wishing the best for eveyone still in Florida, stay safe!

I’ll keep this post updated with news!

UPDATE:

The hurricane has passed and all is good! Actually, Jacksonville got hit a lot wore than Tampa, it was mostly lots of flooding and tornados. But the day after the storm passed was beautiful! Lots of sunshine, so we’re heading back to Tampa 🙂

Xoxo,

Amanda

Oi Brasil: Belo Horizonte, Brazil

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Pastel: a Brazilian fried cheese snack

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Belo Horizonte skyline at sunset

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Açaí bowls

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Fresh coconut water

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Bom dia / Hello!

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Brazil to visit my family. For anyone who doesn’t know, I am half-Brazilian, half-American. My mother was born and raised in Brazil and came to the US when she was 18 as a high school exchange student with Rotary International. I have been to Brazil several times to visit family and friends, but this time was different. I stayed in Minas Gerais for 10 days, visiting family and friends. Along this trip I learned a few things!

  1. South America is nothing like Europe

I had been to Brazil many, many times but it wasn’t until I went back recently and realized how different the lifestyle in Brazil is compared to France and the US! Brazil being a ‘developing country’ is working on economic advancement but currently has a lot of pollution, poverty, and corruption. After talking to my aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc they explained to me that the streets of many beautiful cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are extremely dangerous. This is because of the favelas, or slums, where gangs fight against each other.

        2. The food is amazing

On a lighter note, Brazilian cuisine is AMAZING! A typical dish includes rice, black beans, a tomato and pepper salad, and meat. Brazilians absolutely love their meat. And desserts are even better! My personal favorite is Passion fruit mousse! And I can’t forget the açaí bowls- this delicious amazon berry smoothie is topped with granola, bananas, strawberries… whatever your heart desires!

        3. The people are friendly

Ok not everysingle person you meet in Brazil is friendly, just like anywhere else in the world however, Brazilians are very welcoming… and they’ll take any excuse to party. It seems like every time I go to Brazil, there’s a party or dinner to go to! It’s a part of Brazilian culture, they love to celebrate life! Most of the parties start very late, around 8pm or ever later and contiue all throughout the night!

I have been very fortunate to have been able to travel to many countries this year, but Brazil will always have a special place in my heart. I hope to spend a semester abroad in Florianopolis during my studies as a student at the University of Tampa.

Any questions about Brazilian culture or future travels to this beautiful country, feel free to leave a question below!

XOXO, Amanda

 

 

 

I’m Back “Home”: Canton, Ohio

Bonjour! or should I say Hello! since I’m back in the USA!

I have been “home” almost 2 weeks now and it has been the strangest 2 weeks ever! The reason I put “home” in quotes is because I feel I have left a piece of my heart in every city I visited this year and coming back to Canton, Ohio doesn’t feel 100% like home anymore. Of course I was very excited to come back home and see all of my family and friends here in Ohio, but I experienced a severe case of reverse culture shock.

The first week home was the hardest. I kept thinking of all the things I did during my year abroad that I could never do here in the US, so I did nothing but stay home and feel sad about no longer being in Europe. But as time went on, I realized I had to move on with my life because my adventures don’t stop here…

In 2 weeks I will be going to Brazil to visit my family which is very exciting! Then in mid-August I will be moving to Tampa, Florida where I will be a student at UT studying international business and of course, French and Spanish. My goal is to keep up on both French and Spanish because I invested a lot of time in learning these languages. I will also make it a goal to keep up with this blog and inform my readers on any of the other adventures life will take me on!

I’d like to thank Rotary and my family for encouraging to not only go on exchange but also motiving me to write on this blog, hopefully my readers enjoyed keeping up on all my adventures! This year has shaped me in so many different ways and I am so grateful for the opportunity I had.

Here’s to many more!

Bisous,

Amanda

Rotary Exchange Student 2016-17

Sponsoring District: 6650 North Eastern Ohio, USA

Sponsoring Club: Jackson Township

Host District: 1780 Rhône-Alpes

Host Club: Chambéry Challes-les-Eaux, France

 

Fromage, fromage, and more fromage: Annecy, France

Bonjour!

It’s been a while since I last wrote something so I thought I’d talk about FROMAGE (aka- cheese!!!!) since the French absolutely love their cheese after a good meal.

My host family took me to a ‘Cheese Fair’ in Annecy (pictured below) about 2 weeks ago, where I learned a lot about a cheese called Reblochon. I think it’s my favorite cheese that I have tried since I’ve been in France! 

Reblochon 101: 

Step #1

To make this delicious cheese, you must first gather cows milk, but not any kind of cow milk! The milk must contain a high percentage of fat to turn out. 

Step #2

They then take the milk and boil it. After they put it in a mold where it can sit anywhere from 15 to 300 days! Fun fact: the longer the cheese sit, the smellier and thinner it gets. This is because as the cheese sits in a mold that sucks out all of the moisture, causing it to form into the famous Reblochon!

Step #3

After the cheese is done sitting, they throw the little wheels into a bath of salt water! And they are put into the cave where they are stored until eaten! 

Et voilà!

Now you know how some of the finest cheese in France is made! 🧀

It’s Voting Day in France!

Bonjour mes amis!

Today is a very important day in France… Voting day! I thought I’d share briefly how the process works in France, so let’s jump right in!

My host mother explained to me that about 2 weeks ago, the country of France had 1 vote to choose between 11 candidates running for president. They then narrowed their choices down to 2: Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron, and today was the day to vote for one of these two candidates.

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Since today is election day, my host family invited me to go with them to see how they vote! I have never voted in the United States, so I didn’t know what to expect. In France, there are 2 papers, each of which have the Candidate’s name on it. You take 1 envelope and head to a voting booth where you choose to put one of the papers with the name of who you wish to vote for, inside of the envelope. Once you have decided, you take the closed envelope with the name inside and put it inside of a clear box with all of the other votes. You must also have your electoral card and your I.D. in order to vote. This process stops at 7pm, and around 10pm the whole country will know who their next president is!

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One thing I found interesting is that when they count the votes, after 7pm, it is open to the public, so anyone can come and watch the officials count the votes!

To be updated with the next president of the Republic of France!…

Emmanuel Macron

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