3 Classes I Wish I’d Taken at University

Hello everyone!

I’ve been back State-side for nearly two months now. My plans have been going well and I’ve got to see quite a few old friends! We still have sunshine here in Georgia, but cold weather is coming and it may freeze soon.

 

Georgia On My Mind

 

I left the States in August 2017 as a senior and came back a year later as a college graduate!

I absolutely adored Uni and wanted to share another post on this blog about American university! I was a German Literature major, so this post will be most relevant for students of humanities. However, everyone is invited to read and may find some inspiration for their coursework here 🙂

Even before I began university, I was fascinated by the variety of courses offered in just one major and there were many other departments that interested me.  I really don’t have any regrets about my college years, but, of course, I didn’t get to do everything I wanted. To share some of my experience as an American college student and reflect on my major and classes taken, I put together this little post: 3 Classes I Wish I’d Taken at University

And before I dive in to the classes, I want to share a great resource for deciding on a major at college and, later, selecting a career specialization. “What Can I Do With This Major” provides an in-depth approach to career options with a particular major. I think it also gives insight into some steps you should take during your college career. So, I’m a big fan of the site!

 

3 Classes I Wish I’d Taken at University

 

1. Business Writing: 

Upon taking “Women Lead in Business” at my Uni, I realized that there was a lot I did not know about the business world.

The reason for this class is simple–being able to adjust your writing according to the proper style/convention is important not only during your college career but also in your professional life.

Not only would I have improved my writing in this area, I think I also would have learned a lot about business culture, ethics, research practices and verbal argumentation. Not to mention, it wouldn’t look bad to have “Business Writing”
on your resume 😉

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

 

2. Drama/Theater:

Looking back, there are a few reasons as to why I wish I would have taken theater.

But to be honest, I was not interested at all in taking drama class at high school and was usually shy and nervous about giving presentations until university. So, I thought that theater wasn’t the right place for me.

Oftentimes the performance is just as important as the quality or depth (think about speaking with a great accent in a foreign language despite only knowing a few phrases), and I think that is where theater has its role in preparing you to speak and perform, to be witty and natural, and to entertain your audience. Also, I would love to build my technical knowledge of theater. 

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Photo by Monica Silvestre on Pexels.com

 

3. Creative Writing:

Again, another writing class! While I have started adopting outlines and pre-writing techniques to improve my writing, I really would like to push my creativity and ability to describe something in words… to create a fictional world, to write a small scene or to embrace some lyrical rhythm in my prose.

I loved going to the Writing Studio at my school and getting feedback on my essays before turning them in! I would have enjoyed a creative writing class in poetry and fiction, which offered practice in styles, points of views, and structure.

I think most humanities majors would benefit from a creative writing class as they would not only get their creativity flowing, but also learn how to give and take constructive criticism, how to express themselves better, and writing regularly could serve as an outlet to relieve stress.

painting and drawing tools set
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

 

Let’s start a conversation! Which classes are on your list? Like and share with your friends.

Stephanie

 

**Coming Soon: “My First Trip Abroad in Photos/Roots of this Blog” & “My Favorite 5 Classes at University”**

Lake Bled ~ Slovenia

Excerpt from my travel diary: Lake Bled was such a stunning and serene site. The lake was an amazing color and so clear. We had enough time to climb the steep hill and enjoy the view from the castle. The view was incredible! Being at the castle and looking down on the water was magnificent and fairytale-like. My eyes devoured the scenery.

 

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Bled 1
There are no major natural streams flowing into the lake; water supply comes from only a few springs. The thermal springs in the north-Eastern part of the lake now supplies the swimming pools of Bled hotels.
Bled 2
On Bled island are several buildings. Most notably is the Church of the Mother of God. The church has a stone-staircase with 99 steps. Ringing the church-bell three times is said to bring good fortune.

 

Lake Bled is a popular tourist destination and wedding venue in northwestern Slovenia. The town of Bled and Bled Lake are 55 km away from the capital of Slovenia—Ljublana.

The lake is surrounded by mountains and forests. It also has a small island. There are a few legends about the island: The legend of the Sunken Bell and one telling a story of Slovene pagan gods and the conversion to Christianity. There is a medieval castle at the lake—Bled Castle. A popular culinary delight at the castle is the Bled Cream Cake.

 

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Bled Castle has more than just tasty cake to offer. There is a museum collection and wine cellar, where you can bottle and seal wine. Not to mention, the view is splendid.

 

Bonus for nature-lovers: Close to Lake Bled is Vintgar Gorge. Vintgar is “gorge” in Slovenian. There are several touristically arranged, wooden bridges with great views of the 1.6 km-long gorge. There is also a stone bridge above Vintgar Gorge, if you would like a bird-eye’s view of the most intact nature of Bled. The gorge is also home to numerous plant species. Steep depths and beautiful fauna make the largest waterfall in Slovenia a memorable stop for Lake Bled-visitors.

 

~Stephanie F.

 

 

*All photos are from Austauscherfahrungen.

**https://www.slovenia.info/en/places-to-go/attractions/bled

**http://www.bled.si/en/what-to-see/natural-sights/lake-bled

**http://www.bled.si/en/what-to-see/cultural-sights/churches/the-church-on-the-island

**http://www.bled.si/en/what-to-see/natural-sights/the-vintgar-gorge/Presentation

Inspiring Quotes for Language Learners

Dear language learners,

Here are three inspiring quotes for hacking your language learning approach.

German is known as the language of poets (Dichter) and thinkers (Denker). Test your German reading with these insightful quotes in German language!

 

Sprache Deutsch

 

Das Problem zu erkennen (recognize) ist wichtiger als die Lösung (solution) zu erkennen, denn die genaue Darstellung (exact depiction) des Problems führt zur (leads to) Lösung ~Albert Einstein, Physiker

  • Instead of saying “my German is bad,” find your weaker areas.. “I make mistakes conjugating verbs” or “I need to improve my listening.”

 

Es ist nicht genug (enough) zu wissen, man muss es auch anwenden (use it). Es ist nicht genug zu wollen (to want), man muss es auch tun (do it).  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, deutscher Dichter

  • Put what you know into practice. If you really want something, you also have to do it.

 

Das Geheimnis (secret) des Erfolges (of success) ist die Beständigkeit des Ziels (endurance of the goal.)  ~Benjamin Disraeli, britischer Politiker.

  • Stick with the goals you set!

 

 

Why are you learning German or any other foreign language? How do you stay inspired? What approaches or methods have been most useful for you?

~ Stephanie F.

Returning Home After 13 Months Abroad

 

Returning home to Georgia, U.S.A after 13 months abroad was surreal. I spent 7 weeks in Kiev, Ukraine. And before that, I was an exchange student in Erlangen, Germany. During my 11-month stay in Germany, I didn’t visit home a single time.

 

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The Court Square ~ Newnan, Georgia

 

I left behind a different reality in Europe and had a hard time suddenly slamming my brakes to match with the pace of life in a good ol’ suburban town.

 
The population of my hometown (Newnan, GA) is approximately 30,000 people, which is about the same as the number of undergraduates at my alma mater, Georgia State University. Although it has been a humbling experience to revisit my hometown, I do not feel that my roots are here, and it is quite clear that the suburban lifestyle of southern American towns, or at least this one, is too mundane for someone like me.

 
I no longer have the stresses that I had here as a teenager and I feel as if I am on a different level than other long-term residents… as if I am not defined by or confined to the old rumors. I see that my hometown is continually becoming more modern and more culturally diverse. But, I still have sympathy for the kids, who feel stuck here and have not had the chance to travel, or the chance to develop their beliefs at university.

 

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It was hard coming back. Having conversations with family or old friends can be challenging. The best way to describe the scenario is Plato’s Allegory of a Cave. In other words, we limit reality to our perceptions. To become enlightened, it is necessary to see life outside of the cave. The cave represents the states of most human beings. Those who return to the cave and try to recount what they have experienced meet disbelief from those who have not left the cave. We need more than just the naming of things; we also need reflective understanding. Travelling and learning foreign languages allow us to grow past only seeing the shadows in the cave.

 
I am still learning languages and working on a few small projects until my “medium-size” projects take off—I am looking for local internships and work while continuing plans of travel in the States. And my “big project” is getting accepted into grad school.

 

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A few days passed, and I was no longer waking at 4 in the morning. I guess it’s also not so bad being around people who really know you and not just the exchange student version of you… with friends who have not just seen how you’ve bloomed, but friends, who also know the “Georgia Red Clay” that you grew in and how your branches developed.

 

Sincerely,

Stephanie F.

 

 

 

Goodbye, Kiev! ~Back Home After 13 Months Abroad~

I had a simple, relaxing weekend before my 18-hour trip back to the States. On Saturday evening, there was even a beautiful sunset in Kiev.

Luckily, I lived in a room with a balcony. Although there was a noisy street outside, I still enjoyed having a view of passerby and of the many trees. When I search for a new place to live, an apartment with a balcony is on my list.

I headed out early on Sunday morning and caught an Uber to the airport. The international airport is located out of the city center and there is no metro connection, so buses and taxis are the only forms of public transportation. I got to the airport in plenty of time to get my ticket and hand over my luggage.

My flight from Kiev to Istanbul was about 2 hours long. I didn’t do any sightseeing in Istanbul—I had to run directly to my connecting flight after landing. I found the gate as they were doing security checks on boarding passengers.

Turkish airlines provided a pleasant experience. The aircrew was friendly and professional; the services they provided made the long flight manageable and more comfortable. I was in the air for 12 hours! I watched a total of 3 movies because I couldn’t catch any sleep. During the first 6 hours of the flight, it felt like time would stay moving so slowly that I wouldn’t be able to take it anymore, but, once I knew that there was only an hour left before landing, time felt like only a matter of a few short seconds that needed to pass before I would arrive.

I was ready to go! To hop of the plane, collect my luggage and set foot in Atlanta. In Kiev, I was settled and had a sense of home, so I wasn’t homesick, but during the flight I became excited thinking about going back to the States and seeing my home state of Georgia with new eyes. I was also thrilled to see family and friends and to have all my belongings together in one place. My suitcases were quite heavy—40 kg total. No, there wasn’t any gold in them—just books 🙂

Once I stepped out of the airport, the sultry Atlanta weather (despite it being 8 p.m.) greeted me kindly. Although everything was familiar, it was still a strange experience to be back after so long. This feeling of being back home will be the topic for my next entry.

Yours truly,

Stephanie F.

New Discovery in Kiev

I got to see a new part of Kiev today! A permanent flea market with an open-air book market. It was wonderful to dive into the stacks of books.. to test my knowledge of reading Russian and to discover some books in English, German and French. My buddy also found a book he had been searching for!! Schwein gehabt 🙂

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Despite the cold, rainy and grey weather, I had a great time. I feel like most big cities have these layers. As short-time tourists, we stay on a level of tourism.. only seeing attractions but not getting to know the city as it lives naturally. Ordinary parts of a city aren’t so ordinary when you find something you like. Like going to a book market as a book lover. I enjoyed myself and am glad that I keep finding new things to do and see.

For those interested, the book market along with the other flea markets there are directly at the station Pochaina (formerly Petrivka) on the blue line of the metro. In my post about Kiev, I mentioned a collection of shops at an underground crossing near Arsenalna station that sell a decent variety of new books, but this area is a typical flea market with a huge collection of used books especially in Russian language. Likealocalguide.com says that it’s the biggest book market in Ukraine with books of all genres and an authentic atmosphere. And I agree! It’s an authentic place with so much history and so many beautiful stories waiting to be discovered –> Petrivka Market

Best Wishes

~ Stephanie F.

Tips for Native English Speakers Learning Russian (Part 1 of 3)

“Повторе́ние — мать уче́нья.” (= Repetition is the mother of learning.)

Learning Russian… you need to master a new alphabet then move to reading syllables until you can read words and short sentences—but that’s not the hardest part! Russian grammar is very complex and there are few Russian-English cognates (mainly modern vocabulary dealing with tourism or technology.) Being able to speak Russian even on a lower intermediate level is a big challenge because, for most English speakers, it takes a while for basic Russian speaking-constructions to stick. Not to mention, Russian is highly-productive and can be very exact offering many options to one English word or phrase. Both the literary and the spoken language are rich and idiomatic. Therefore, building comprehension is a lot of work. Furthermore, there are many exceptions and various nuances (like stress in Russian words) that make the language challenging for non-native speakers. Russian language is a world of its own and, if you want to speak the language well, it helps to also study Russian history and culture. However, despite the many challenges, I still believe that learning Russian as a native English speaker is a rewarding process. I’ve never met a Russian who isn’t proud of their language and it should be easy for you to find speaking partners online. Russian literature also inspires many English speakers to study Russian. So, if you’d like to begin to use the language effectively, the following tips will help you out:

 

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1. The number one thing I can suggest is immersion. What do I consider immersion? a) Having a good teacher and regular lessons based on an effective system. b) Passive learning & natural usage (minimum five days a week) such as watching films, listening to music, reading literary texts, and communicating in Russian. c) Teaching yourself the language: use YouTube videos and free websites to learn vocabulary and grammar d) Practice & usage: think to yourself, record yourself speaking Russian, write stories and essays, and do A LOT of listening.

 
2. The second most important thing is repetitionstudying, reviewing and applying what you know. And reviewing again after applying what you know. Learn something new and forget about a topic then come back to it. This is the only way to succeed in learning Russian. Also, try not to isolate vocabulary or grammar when studying or reviewing, but always work on the two together—this will help you to learn the correct conjugations of verbs, the declination of nouns, etc., that you can apply correctly in your speech.

 
3. The next thing I would suggest is learning how to write Russian cursive. It will be very hard to continue to learn Russian vocabulary if you still write block letters for your notes. If you want to be able to use Russian to produce your own speech and writing, you need to learn Russian cursive and get corrections from natives.

 

Saint Petersburg 2016
The Winter Palace @ Saint Petersburg, Russia

 

4. Another suggestion I have is to skip American or European textbooks for learning Russian and start with materials directly from Russia. What I don’t like about non-Russian textbooks is that they are either oversimplified or too complex. Now, I don’t think that American or European textbooks are completely useless, but I find the Russian system of learning Russian to be more effective in the long run.

 

5. The fifth and final point is to believe in your success and to have the desire to learn Russian. It helps when you have an encouraging teacher and make use of fun options like films, music, or literature, but the motivation has to come from within. Find something that inspires you and think about your goals. Keep working hard on the language so that you don’t have to ask yourself if you’re making progress, but you will naturally feel that you are advancing in the language.

 

That’s it for this post! Good luck with your Russian 🙂

For more language learning: Language Learners‘ Toolbox

 

~Stephanie F.

Blog Update

Dear readers,

As my blog continues to grow, I am trying to improve as a travel blogger. I want to record my memories for myself, but tell them in a way that is inspirational for my readers. I love exchanging ideas with others and picking up good habits from different people. Moreover, I want my travel posts to be just as interesting as they are informative. I’d love any feedback, tips or further comments about travel blogging. Why should we write about our travels? What do we gain by sharing our travels with others? What does travelling and writing mean to you?

Sincerely,

Stephanie F.

Why I’m Learning French

Hello hello!

Learning a new language is hard work and a big time investment, so we better have good reasons for why we want to do so. Knowing why helps us with our goals in the language (making learning it more structured) and will also help keep us motivated.

Here are eight reasons why I want to learn French:

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1. I had French for a few years in secondary school. I didn’t go that deep into the language, but I still had some interaction with vocabulary and basic grammar, which will make the learning process a little easier. Not to mention, French classes and other materials are relatively accessible in the USA, so it will be quite doable to learn basic French in the States.

2. It’s the second most popular foreign language after English. This means that I could speak French with friends (who already know it) and meet new francophones. It’s not the most popular language now, but it still holds its status as a lingua franca. It will always (or so I think) be regarded as a beautiful, romantic language that is part of a nice, prestigious culture.

3. It won’t be easy to read and write, but I like the pronunciation. (And, as I am learning more French, I like how French grammar expresses itself differently than English or German grammar. I am learning new vocabulary/new ways to think about the world, too.)

4. French and English are (sometimes) similar, so it won’t be as big of a challenge as learning, for example, an Asian language (or even Russian for that matter :D) There will be a lot of new vocabulary (and false friends) due to the Latin roots of French, but it will make it easier for me to learn another romance language in the future.

 

 

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5. The language has crept into other European languages (French used to be the language of government and the language of the elite, so other languages borrowed many French words) and knowing French will help my reading comprehension in general humanities. Therefore, I will understand history better and also improve my vocabulary.

6. I like a few French scholars already and would have access to even more scholars, writers, artists and the like.

7. After learning German and starting with Russian, I just wasn’t satisfied. Learning languages is one of my hobbies and it is something that I enjoy–not just to say that I speak the languages, or just to be able to communicate with others, but because I enjoy the process of learning them. Speaking multiple languages also makes travelling easier and more interesting.

8. Learning French will make it more enjoyable to travel in France. I can’t wait to see the beauty of the country, enjoy tasty food and get to know the culture (art, literature, customs) better.

 

So, guys, what languages do you want to learn and why?

~ Stephanie F.

 

For more language-related fun check out–>How I learned German (A Bilingual Text) & New language, new life