Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Travel day back home!!!

Today I woke up around the same time 9am and did some last minute packing then headed down to go to breakfast. A lot of us were down there and we took another group picture which was great! We went back to grab our bags and head downstairs to leave the hostel. We had to get on the metro, walk down cobblestone, and up stairs with all of our bags one final time. I was so happy that it was the last time but of course dreaded every second! We took the train about ten minutes then hopped on a bus that brought us all he way to the airport. Once we arrived at the airport we got our boarding passes then had to wait in line to check our bags. The line was pretty long but once we got through it everything was easy from here. Ashley, Dr. Shanklin, and I went to the tax free area to get money back for the things we've bought. I wish I had known about this from the begging of the trip because I would've gotten a lot of money back! But getting money back for what I bought in Berlin was still better than nothing! My advice for anyone else going abroad is to remember to ask every store if they do tax free because you never know who does. We waited at the airport for about 2 hours once we got through security. The flight from Berlin to Amsterdam was fine. We arrive in Amsterdam to find out our flight was delayed 3 hours. Now we weren't suppose to leave till 7:30. We waited and waited then it was finally time to leave and head to Atlanta. The flight overall wasn't bad and didn't feel as long as our flight to Paris. I was glad they had movies again of course because they make the time go by a lot faster and its a good way to catch up on movies I haven't seen! 

Finally we land and go through customs and of course we missed our flight to Nashville. We thought that delta was going to give us a hotel room but that didn't happen instead they changed our flights and gave us a food voucher. My flight was scheduled to leave at 8 In the morning some others aren't leaving till noon! This has by far been an experience and I'll be happy once I'm in Memphis in my bed!

Last Day in Berlin!

Today is our last full day in Berlin! I woke up around 9 this morning to start my day because we had a pretty busy day ahead. After I got dressed I headed to the post office to mail a box full of things because I couldn't bring them all home in my luggage. The post office is inside the train station so t wasn't too far. Once I got to the post office I discovered that I couldn't pay card I had to pay in euros. At first I thought okay this isn't bad I'll just go to the bank next door. So I get to the bank with my credit card and try to take out money and my pin doesn't work. I was immediately really just frustrated and mad because I walked all the way there for nothing. Now I had to walk back to get my other card and our class was meeting with Dr. V to talk about finalizing our research. So I met with the class and decided to wait and go back after our guest speaker. Our guest speaker was a professor from Italy and she talked about the European Union and what it is, it's function, and issues that it is facing currently. I actually learned a lot from her presentation because prior I really knew nothing about it because we don't talk about that much at home because it's not our government. After her presentation Dr. V took us all to lunch at an Indian restaurant close to the hostel. It was my first time trying Indian food!

 I had mixed feelings about it at first but it wasn't bad it was good. I don't think I'd choose to eat it again though, just because I don't really like that kind of taste in food but it was still not bad. I'm glad I tried it. After lunch I ran over to the post office and finally shipped my box! I was so relieved to get that done. I then ran back to the hostel because we were leaving to go to the German parliament in 10 minutes. I did make it back on time! This was our last full group excursion on the trip. We got a full tour from a lady who wrote her thesis for her Ph. D about the building so, she knew everything there was to know! I enjoyed going into the globe of the building because it was a great last view of Berlin! We took a full group picture before we left. 

Jasmane, Meghan, and I headed back to Primark one final time. I know, we've been there a lot but, it's so addicting all the great sales! While we were over there I had to try a fresh squeezed orange juice before I left and it was amazing! I loved it! We then headed back to the hostel to finish packing and get our bags weighed. I am feeling still sick and I got a rash on my face I think it may be an allergic reaction from the Indian food so I'm not going to do anything tonight besides rest and catch up on homework. Overall I am ready to get home! Being in Europe has been a great experience. I've learned about myself a lot, a lot about other cultures, and met some really great people! 

Berlin Day 4

Today we woke up and went to meet Dr. V for breakfast to talk about our progress as far as research goes in Berlin. We talked for a minute and met our guest speaker as well. Dr l. V told us of some other cool places to see on our free day and then we went out and about to start our day. We took the train first back to Alexanderplatz to go back to primark and shop a little more. We were there probably for a few hours. I did buy a few more items and returned something that didn't fit. Once we left there we got back on the train and went to see east side gallery and suicide circus. It was a few stops down and we were there in no time. We got off the train and we immediately could see all of the graffiti it was great! I love graffiti art so much because it's bright and everything looks different. We first went to east side gallery. East side gallery is a part of the Berlin Wall that still stands in the original spot but is completely covered in graffiti. It was so cool seeing this! I got a lot of cool pictures as well. We then went to grab some lunch from a Korean barbecue place not too far. I got a Korean chicken dish with rice and vegetables. I didn't like what I got much because it was just way too many vegetables and not enough chicken for me. Next, we went to see suicide circus which was at the same stop we just had to walk the other way down the street. When we got over there it was very grungy, run down a little, and graffiti everywhere. It was interesting! I liked seeing the though we took more pictures down here, looked at the skateparks, and rock climbing. It wasn't very many people down there like I thought it would be. It finally started to sprinkle so we decided to head back toward the hostel. We got to the train station to find out that there is something wrong with the train and it had been sitting there for awhile not moving. So we had to take another one that took a little longer to get back but it wasn't too bad. Once we got to our stop I decided to go to the post office to buy a box because I'm going to end up having to ship some things home. However, the price isn't too bad it's cheaper than checking another bag. To ship 20 lbs it's 50 euros where as another checked bag is 75 euros. We came back to the hostel and relaxed for a by it and packed some more then Jasmane and I went to grab dinner. We went to a Mexican restaurant not too far from the hostel. The food was different from our Mexican at home. For instance they didn't have queso and the only meat they had was chicken and lamb. The food tasted okay overall though. While we were over in this area I did research as well. I got 2 more interviews so now I have 3 total which is great. W sheared back to the hostel and I packed my box that I'd be shopping and decided to work more on my research paper. I think tonight is homework night for everyone because it's almost our last day!

Berlin Day 3

Today I woke up around the same time as usual and headed to breakfast around 9:30. Then hit the streets with Jasmane to do research. First we stopped at a few banks close to the hostel for her research then we happened to run into Kempson and decided to start our city research. I did stop by a store close but the lady didn't speak any English so I was unable to get an interview. However, I figured I'd come across another store at some point in the day so we continued to do our city research. We had already done one area so far that we go through everyday to catch the metro. First we found a grocery store In our neighborhood to find prices of milk, eggs, and a steak. We next went towards checkpoint Charlie to do this area because we had went over here on our walking tour so it was familiar. While we were in this part of town it started raining but that didn't stop us because it was just light rain. We found a grocery store over here and a souvenir shop that wasn't too expensive so we decided to grab souvenirs here. We then headed back to a residential area we ended up in the other day then headed back to Alexanderplatz to grab food and do a little shopping. I couldn't really find stores to research in this area because they're too commercial. It has been hard here finding local smaller stores because everything has been big chain retail stores which are great for shopping but bad for research. But I grabbed my first bratwurst from Germany here and it was really good! I liked it and it was only 3 euros. We then went into a store called Primark that Jasmane and I found really good sales! The store was so crowded and unbelievable how many people were shopping in there at once! But it was worth it for sure. We then went inside a department store across the street where I bought some dress socks for my dad and now I'm finally done buying gifts for everyone back home! Next we went into tk maxx (not tj maxx) it was just like at home I found some cool sunglasses in there and we waited around to avoid the rain. It started poring down right when we walked in there. It took a while for the rain to stop. It didn't stop for a little over an hour and we were back at the hostel by this time. Jasmane and I started to pack our bags because we had a little time left before the river cruise. We met downstairs around 6:30 with the whole group to head to the cruise. The temperature had dropped a lot! It was really chilly, I was glad I brought my rain jacket. The river cruise in Berlin wasn't as nice to me as the other cities because Berlin is very modern in architecture overall. so it wasn't as pretty as Paris and Amsterdam but it was still relaxing. 

After the river cruise a group of us went to grab dinner. We really wanted Mexican food but the place we first found was permanently closed and the other one wasn't Mexican it was Indian so we ended up eating Italian at the same place we went to the first night. I got something different though and it was still good. We ate and talked enjoying the night then decided to head back to the hostel because we all had lots of homework to work on. Overall today was a good day I didn't get anymore interviews but we have a free day tomorrow so hopefully I'll get some more!

Berlin Day 2

Today was a pretty long day. I woke up around 8 because we had to be downstairs to meet to head to the concentration camp sachsenhausen at 9. The marketing, sociology, and stats classes all went. We had a tour guide, Iuana, who picked us up front the hostel and showed us around once we got there. We had to catch 2 trains to get there because it was about 30 miles outside of the city. It was located in oranienburg a smaller residential area. Once we arrived there we took about a 15 minute walk to get to the camp. First we stopped at a building that was the head office of all of the concentration camps during the time of nazi Germany and our tour guide explained a lot to us and showed us around here. Then we walked to the actual concentration camp for our tour. Once we arrived on the actual grounds of the camp it was unreal and an unexplainable feeling To actually be where innocent people were imprisoned and died during the war and the holocaust. Our tour guide first walked us through the entrance and into a garden area where memorials now existed for the different groups of people that were in this camp. Then we walked the different cites on the grounds it was a pretty big place. We saw the infirmary, where the nazis assassinated many people in the camp, the barracks, and many other cites as well. Overall I'm glad I got to see it because it is a very humbling experience to see and hear different stories of what happened to people there and learn about this history. I wouldn't choose to go back but I am grateful for the opportunity to go and experience it. I'm also glad we had a great tour guide because she did a great job explaining everything and knowing factual information.

 Once we headed back from there it was going on 3 in the afternoon we had been there a long time but I don't think it could've been any shorter because there was a lot to take in. When we finally got back into the city some of us went to grab food because we were starving! We went to the central station because there were lots of options for everyone to choose from. I got fish and chips I was a little disappointed with the food it was probably my least favorite thing I've eaten since being in Europe. But it's okay It wasn't too pricy. After that Ashley and I came back to take a nap while the others stayed out. Later that night some of us went down to the bar had food and drinks and enjoyed talking. Today was overall an interesting day! Can't wait to see what tomorrow Holds.

Berlin day 1

Today was our first full day in Berlin! We woke up had breakfast then our city orientation. The breakfast was very similar to in Amsterdam but they did offer extra things you could by like eggs, pancakes, bacon, etc. I didn't try them today but I plan to maybe tomorrow. At orientation we received our transit pass, museum pass, and breakfast valchures. After that the marketing class met with Dr. V then the tour guide picked us up for our waking tour. We walked for about 15 minutes then met at the Brandenburg Gate for or tour to start. I really enjoyed he walking tour here the most it's almost like they progressively got better. Some of the highlights of the tour were walking through the Holocaust Memorial, seeing pieces of the Berlin Wall and standing in both east and West Berlin at the same time, standing on top of the ground where Hitler's bunker use to be and where his body was burned. Our tour guide Susan was very enthusiastic and you could tell she was passionate! 

Once our walking tour was over we grabbed a German curry sausage from a place not too far from where our tour ended it was pretty good I liked it! After this we headed back to the hostel for a minute to rest our feet. Then, Jasmane, Kempson, and I went exploring. We first walked around this market area not too far from the hostel. This was nice I did get my first interview in Berlin here. Next, we got on the train for the first time by ourselves! We kind of just took it and got off in a few stops. We did end up more in a residential area but a man helped us out and told us where we may want to go the other way. We ended up getting off 2 stops past the hostel by a festival market kind of area called Alexanderplatz. There were lots of shops, music, food, everything you could think of! It was great we saw a man drawing a big art piece with chalk, lots of stands selling different items, and lots of people of course! We then went to a gym where Kempson had his first interview. This was a different gym from in the states them at I've seen because they had a DJ in there! It was awesome! After this we walked some more saw more shopping and decided to grab dinner from a burger place called Peter Pan. I really liked it as well it was pretty good and the atmosphere was great. We then headed back to meet up with Ashley, Dr. V and the stats class to go to the TV tower. This was pretty cool too! We road up an elevated about 200 meters then got off and could see all of Berlin it was getting dark too so it was a even better view. We stayed here for a little time then decided to head back to the hostel to get ready for tomorrow! Overall today always a pretty good first day!

Travel Day to Berlin!

Today we woke up to head to Berlin we had to be in the lobby at 6:45. The whole group was able to grab breakfast for the last time in the hostel before we left to catch the tram. At this point I had to use my extra duffel bag because I have picked up so many things along the way! So I was struggling a bit. Walking down the street to the tram was so horrible having two heavy bags but, I don't regret buying anything I have bought so far. To me I feel like your suppose to bring back things to remember your trip and the shopping here was way better than the u.s. So I couldn't pass it up either. I just know that I'll be struggling until we get to the airport to head home. We first took a metro like Inner City train to Germany. Then once we got to Germany we had to get in another train to take us the rest of the 4 hours to Berlin. Getting on one train to the next has just been an experience I'll say because I've never had to hop on and off like this before. I'm also getting sick again so you can imagine how much worse it is for me because i feel terrible and just want to sleep. I planned to start my paper on this ride but so far I've only slept so we'll see I may have to wait and start it tonight once we settle in. Once we finally got off the train we had to walk a little to catch a metro then we had to walk again about 10 minutes to the hostel. The hostel here is really nice!

 It has a terrace, a bar, game room, and a cool outside area. I like it! The rooms are nice to the only thing I don't like is that the actual toilet is outside of the room and you have to use tryout key to go to it. Also we have 5 people in our room which isn't bad because the room is more spacious. Once we unpacked Jasmane, Ashley, Meghan, and I went to grab Italian from a place really close to the hostel it was really I enjoyed it. However, we noticed that some people don't speak English here but hopefully more people do once we get out into the city more! Travel day was a success lets see how our first full day goes. 

Monday, August 1, 2016


TODAY IS THE DAY WE ARE GOING HOME!!!! Today is it!! We are finally going home!! I can honestly say that I'm very anxious about today and my nerves are getting the best of me!! I couldn't wait to get back home, in my own bed, in a familiar territory, with language and customs I understood!!! But, my nerves were also getting the best of me because of travel day! Travel day had a history on its own, and I knew today was going to be hard because I was looking forward to carrying 120 pounds of luggage!!! Ugh, today was going to be the start of a long day.
We met up at 10AM and headed to the U-Bahn so we could catch a bus to take us to the airport. We were catching a flight from Berlin to Amsterdam. and then from there, we were catching a plane from Amsterdam to Atlanta.
We began by headed to the U-Bahn, and already, I was struggling with luggage. I could not wait until we were at the airport and we had not even gotten to the first stop! We headed underground and got on the metro. We headed two stops and then WALKED up some stairs, along with my 120 pounds, and on our way to catch the bus. Once on the bus, we were on the way to the airport!!
After trips back and fourth, a standing in line for a long time, we said goodbye to Dr. V, and got on the plane to Amsterdam!
Once we were in Amsterdam, we were rushing to get off the make our connection, but when we got there, our flight had been delayed 2 and hours hours. Our long day just got longer.
After waiting and waiting, our flight was finally ready. I'm not sure I was prepared for this 8 hour flight, but any step closer to getting home was one I was more than willing to take! Once everybody was on the flight, we had dinner and I watched movies until I fell asleep. It was a long 8 hours, but I had never been more excited to see Atlanta.

After getting to Atlanta, we were all a bit nervous because there was a chance we wouldn't be able to make our connecting flight and get home. And that's exactly what happened. Going through customs took and long time. By the time we were ready, our plane to Nashville was in the air! What were we going to do?! In the end, it was going to a long night! We all got booked for flights in the morning, but now, we had to find a place to sleep in the airport. 
I woke up every 30 minutes it seemed, and it was so cold! The night was going by so slowly, but soon enough, it was time to board!!

Touching down in Nashville never felt better!! I couldn't believe it! It felt like I had been away for longer than three weeks, but I did know that being in Europe has taught me so much!! As Americans, we take so many things for granted and are really entitled as a culture. There are things I will miss and food I will crave, but nothing will beat being able to see the same 43 faces I've been sharing this experience with!
I'd like to thank God, Grandma and Grandpa Claibourne, Mom and Dad, my best friend and Dr. V!! Without you, this trip would not have been possible! It's truly been a blessing!!! 

Until Next time Europe,
Allysha Allen!!


This is it! Today is our last full day in Europe as well as the last day we will be spending in Berlin. I think that everyone is about ready to go home. We're all a bit drained, both mentally, emotionally, and financially. For myself, I know that I've had an amazing time and if I had the opportunity to do it again, I for sure would, but right now, I am craving home, my best friend, my family. I'm missing America. However, we had a full day today, so there was no time to waste!
We got up and met with Dr. V at 10:30 AM, just to talk over the syllabus and make sure we all understand the components of our project. Then, we met with our guest speaker, Dr. Vacca. Dr. Vacca is an Italian Lawyer and she came to speak with us about European Common Law and how it relates to the American Law System. Being a student studying Biology and not really having any knowledge about studying Business, it was very eye-opening for me and sparked great interest with me. There are a lot of components that captivated me, as I am curious about how systems work and how people are affected by those systems. It was a wonderful time meeting with Dr. Vacca.
Right after our meeting, Dr. V so graciously treated us for lunch and an Indian restaurant. Now, I have never tried Indian food, and every place that Dr. V had led us to have been wonderful, so even though I was slightly worried that I wouldn't like it, I was still excited that I was having the opportunity to experience something different. It turns out, I LOVE Indian food!!! The flavors go together so well, as everything was delicious, from the soup to the bread to my chicken, it was all very good!! Another point for Dr. V!

Once we were done eating, we were off to have our final group excursion with everyone, the Bundestag, the German Parliament Building. I was excited because this was our last excursion but I was also sad because this was it. This was one of the last moments I would have with GEC II. As we traveled to the Bundestag, everyone was talking about Berlin and their time in Europe, how we would all miss each other and the plans that we had to keep in contact. This experience really does give you some experiences that no one else will have!
As we approached the Bundestag, we went through security and were split into groups. Once our tour started, we began to walk through the building and I could tell our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable about her stuff! It turns out, she had a Ph. D on the Bundestag and wrote her thesis on this building! No wonder!! The tour overall was very enjoyable! After both groups were done, we headed up the dome to take our final group picture!! So long Berlin!! You've been good to us!!!