Journey to 41 Countries: Jez Takes Study Abroad

Introduction 

After more than year of waiting, the moment finally came. Like many Syracuse University students, it was time for me to begin my journey to study abroad. There were more than 60 countries to choose from but my decision was easy because my heart was already set for Copenhagen, Denmark, my favorite city in the world.

Copenhagen is one of the most environmentally progressive and technologically advanced cities in the world. There are 25 programs at DIS Copenhagen ranging from Biomedicine to International Business, but the one I chose was Communication with my core course as New Media and Changing Communities. The course, per the DIS website, tries to understand the contemporary importance of media in creating communities and collaboration. It includes a week-long study tour in Southern Sweden and another week in Dublin, Ireland. I also signed up for four elective courses: Danish Language and Culture, Travel Writing, Virtual Selves, and Holocaust and Genocide, which travels to Germany to visit a former concentration camp. 

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Photo courtesy: DIS Copenhagen

Journey to 41 Countries

Although my semester doesn’t start until January 13, I was set to depart the United States on December 25, to spend 3 weeks traveling across the UK, Morocco, Spain, and Portugal with my best friend, Christina, in my pursuit to visit a total of 41 countries. I have currently been to 20, and plan to visit 21 more during my time abroad. Some of my major trips planned during my week-long breaks are Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia, and Iceland with shorter weekend trips to Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Finland, Estonia, and finishing it off with a 2-week post-semester whirlwind tour of Europe with stops in Sweden, Latvia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Italy, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.  I was beyond excited for our trip and of course my study abroad experience in Denmark and waking up that Christmas morning felt unreal.

The Night of Departure

On December 22, 2007, ten years and a few days ago, my family and I moved to the United States from the Philippines. It was probably the most gut-wrenching, most difficult, and most emotional moment I felt. The night I was set to depart for abroad, I felt many of the same feelings. I remember looking back at my parents as I went through security at JFK’s Terminal 4 and felt this overwhelmingly bittersweet, on the verge of tears, and I want to go back to give them one more hug feeling. As I walked away from them, I was hauling my carry-on suitcase and giant handbag towards my gate with tears in my eyes.

But then not long after, excitement took over after realizing once again that I was going to see one of the world’s greatest sights, eat the world’s most delicious food, and study at my favorite city in the world. It is without a doubt, so far, will be the most memorable, adventurous, and unforgettable experiences I’ll ever live through.

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The Flight and Arrival in London

I was scheduled to fly on Delta Flight 403, on board a Boeing 767-300ER. Fortunately, as I’ve finally made Delta’s Silver Medallion status, I was cleared for an upgrade to their premium economy product, called Comfort Plus. Although the flight was surprisingly completely full on Christmas night, my seat had plenty of space, and the service was probably the best I’ve had on Delta and there are already my favorite airline. Besides a broken reading light and call button, and a seat cushion that seriously needed more padding, it was a pretty smooth 6-hour flight. We landed in London an hour early and the view on approach was phenomenal. My once-in-a-lifetime adventure was just beginning and I was beyond excited for day one out of 151.

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Stayed tuned for more abroad updates! Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!! 

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