International Connections

Jade Bunn

; Apparel, Merchandising, and Design

Year: Junior
Hometown, State: Oelwein, Iowa

Type of experience: Faculty-Led Study Abroad
Experience: Exploring Craftsmanship and Hospitality in Western Europe
Experience website:
Destination: Germany

Overall experience..
Our trip consisted of traveling to Amsterdam, Netherlands; Bruges, Belgium; Kortrijk, Belgium; Frankfurt, Germany; and Paris, France. Each city and country had its own uniqueness that made it special. It was a great experience to travel to so many places in such a short amount of time. Each day was packed with activities and we experienced something new each day.

I learned...
I really didn’t know much about the trip until I got an email about it. I thought about it but didn’t think it would realistically work. Could I afford it? Could I sign up in time? I decided not to apply because the due date was too soon and at a busy point in the semester. Later, I got an email saying the deadline received an extension. I knew it was a second chance for me and I had to apply.

An impact to my life...
This trip really made me get out of my comfort zone. Getting out of your comfort zone is extremely important in all aspects of your life. I became friends with some amazing new people, that I will stay in touch with. I tried different kinds of foods, some I enjoyed and others not so much. I also learned so much while on the trip. I have never been to so many museums or historic sites in my entire life. I feel like I am more cultured and educated leaving Europe. I also feel like I am personally more open-minded and not afraid of trying new experiences. As for future career goals, I feel like I could totally have a job in Europe. I could even see myself living in Bruges or Amsterdam. A lot of people speak English in these countries, so the opportunities for me do not end in America.

My most valuable learning experience...
I think the workshops and museums left the biggest impact on me. I am thrilled to say I got to go inside the Anne Frank Haus, a humbling experience as well as other places like the Louvre and the Rijksmuseum. I was literally inches away from the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci and magnificent pieces by Vincent Van Gogh. We saw so many beautiful garments and gowns in the fashion museums we attended. In addition to experiencing many museums, we got to participate in a variety of workshops. We felted, indigo dyed, and made lace. I have a lot more respect for lace makers at is a tedious job. The museums and workshops really made the trip worth it. We got to do a lot of unique things that most “tourists” wouldn’t think of doing.

I will never forget...
I think the most memorable experience was the memories made with my new friends on the trip. I am so thankful to have made friends who I can share all the ups and downs of the trip with.

A surprising discovery...
Before this trip, I didn’t realize how prevalent public transportation was in Europe. The train can be your best friend in there. We took the train to get into town or to travel longer distances such as Amsterdam to Frankfurt. In America, I feel like everyone is always using cars for transportation, but in Europe, it is the complete opposite. Everyone always walks or uses the trains. Going into the trip, I knew the Amsterdam streets were going to be heavily filled with bikes. But I didn’t realize it would be RAGBRAI 10.0. Bikers had their own lane and stoplights and pedestrians had to yield to them or they would be smashed. I wish America could adapt to using some of Europe’s transportation methods more frequently as it is healthier for us and the Earth. I never experienced so many forms of transportation, growing up in small-town Iowa. I feel like I now could be confident using public transportation or other driving alternatives as my only form of transportation when in cities.

Advice for others...
DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! If you want to travel abroad but a whole semester isn’t exactly in your budget… GO ON THIS TRIP! It was worth every single penny! You will not regret it. Prior to the trip, I was a bit hesitant to attend because I did not know anyone going on the trip or really in my major. I quickly developed close friendships and memories with the people on this trip. Gaining friendship and memories really made this trip priceless to me.

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