Taking back positives to The States

Hi everyone!

We arrived back to the U.S.A this Sunday night. As everyone has been trying to return to their daily lives or playing catch up on their sleep, it has been an amazing journey I will never forget and I have to admit I am missing it already!

I am thankful for this opportunity and my whole perspective on life has changed. I really enjoyed seeing the uniqueness of  different countries outside the U.S.A. Now that I am back, I love sharing my experience with people, and one thing I had mentioned before going on this trip was that I wanted to take back the positives things to The States.

I am reminded everyday how America has lost their interpersonal skills to communicate due to technology. In Europe, you do not see people glued to their phone! They are simply gathered at the park, relaxing and having a conversation face-to-face. I noticed going out to some of the restaurants, that we were the only ones who took pictures of our food and had our phones out on the table. We do not realize how attached we are. In my opinion, I think that it was refreshing to see people without their phones.

In the two schools that we visited, I did not see many computers in the classrooms that we went to. When the students took a quiz, they used paper and pencil…not online. I liked this idea because one might say this is “old school” but I have to say this is how you really learn. It is sad not to be able to hear someone’s voice, because we choose to text. So maybe, we can change that by eliminating the use of cell-phones in public and live in the moment. We can check the texts later and enjoy the company upon us.

The transportation system was wonderful! When we were in Amsterdam, I probably saw about eight cars and people traveling with bikes and the train. This method helps promote exercise and a healthy lifestyle. I also noticed that there were a lot of high steps in restaurants and no elevator in schools. If we have the option to walk the steps or a few blocks down the road, we should take it. If we have the option to take the trolley or ride with a friend, we should do this too.

The languages also really impressed me. I was floored to hear so many! I had met an 18 yr. old student, who told me he spoke German, English, French, and is now learning Latin. I am very impressed overall with the education system in Germany. It is common to know more than three languages. How can we bring that here? We should encourage students to take more than one year of a language for better opportunities with not only jobs but with people-personal skills.

Here are just a few examples on the major things I’ve noticed I am happy to share. We can better our society if we do the certain steps of change and participate. Let us start today to change America!


I’m impressed.

There was so much to see and do today! After a bus ride of 45 minutes to the train station from Bad Oeynhausen and a two hour train ride, we made it to  the city of Berlin! Some big highlights of today was seeing the Berlin Wall, The Jewish memorial and Checkpoint Charlie, while having an awesome tour guide. He helped explain some of the history here and shared some of his childhood memories when the wall was being taken down. There is so much history here; it was such a pleasure to have this experience. I loved how many languages people know here. English is a second language to mostly all in Germany. Most people will know at least three different languages. (German, French, English). I loved hearing about their education system and the differences between ours. I am impressed.



Today was day two in Amsterdam, and let me tell you…It is amazing!
We arrived at 8:30 yesterday morning. There is a 6 hour difference between Amsterdam and Atlanta, Georgia. I was extremely jet lagged and could not keep my eyes open yesterday.

We were greeted by Margeaux who is our CEPA guide from France. She greeted us with the stroopwafels and European water bottles. I did not realize that this Dutch syrup waffle would become my new favorite candy!

Some things I have noticed that are similar to Georgia are the trees and the weather. (The weather is read in  Celsius not Fahrenheit). I’m very glad I brought my wind breaker & beanie along with me.image
One of the biggest things I have noticed is how amazing the transportation system is here. Yes, there are “more bikes than people” but I didn’t know that that was the main transportation. It is very easy to get hit by one, as we all had a  frightening moment. It was said that there are over 600,000 bikes in Amsterdam. There are not too many cars. They are all electric and are very silent. You do not realize they are right in front of you until you look up.

Most people here speak Dutch, French, German, and it is really no problem speaking in English. In the morning, we had complimentary breakfast. I was amazed how they had a salad bar, fresh juice, fruit, and even an expresso machine that made great coffee for coffee lovers like myself.
We had quite an eventful past 24 hours. Earlier today, we explored the Van Gough Museum and learned about all the wonderful paintings. I found it interesting to know only one of his many paintings were sold.
Later, we had a chance to do some shopping! I thought it was pretty neat that along the way as we stopped in a leather jacket store. As I was looking for gloves for my dad, we were offered a bread and cheese sandwich from the salesman and his friend who were having lunch in the store. I decided to take his offer and told him to prepare it like it was for them. It was very tasty, and a genuine act. As Margeaux said “a sandwich is very popular in this city”.

imageOne of the moments I have been waiting for that was difficult for us, was seeing the Anne Frank  museum. It didn’t hit me until we went behind the book shelves and were in her secret hiding place. I found it interesting to see that Anne and Peter would go upstairs to the attic to get some fresh air but always had lived a dark  and quiet life. It was a very sad but unique experience I will never forget.

Later on in the evening, we left to get dinner at the Pancake house (which is common here). I think we all learned a lot and it is noted that you should not ask to customize the menu. imageOverall, It has been such an amazing trip and tomorrow is our last day here! I honestly can say that I’m going to miss this place for all the diverse culture, new things I’m learning, and the beauty in this City. So here’s for now and will write later…goede nacht!

Just a few days away…

Hello everyone!

My name is Janicia Gomez. I am one of the six students selected for the Study Abroad Program in Germany 2016. The anticipation is becoming more real each day as we get closer to our departure date…to say the least I am very excited!

anne-frank-museum-bookcaseI had learned about the World War ll at an early age. My grandfather who is 95, had shared stories on the history and how it impacted so many lives back then. I remember growing up watching some war movies and reading the Anne Frank’s diary. This was a very difficult time for many. The idea of visiting The Anne Frank Museum had sparked a big interest in me. I can only imagine what it was like for her and her family to hide for several years while also trying to survive.

historyThis trip might just be a once in a lifetime experience, although I hope not! I am looking forward to knowing the culture, the education system, and to learn about the history. I want to gain more knowledge and take back the positives so I will be able to share it with my peers and maybe, even my grandchildren someday on how life was then and now, because it won’t be the same as our world keeps changing everyday.