Tag Archives: short term

Yorkshire

What did you think about the Twilight Franchise? Did you like it? Or was it too cheesy? As far as my vampirology knowledge goes, vampires are supposed to resemble demonic, sublime characters with a twisted romantic touch. But where does this misguided love theme in Coppola’s Dracula movie and the sinister notion of vampire films like Nosferatu come from? Well, it was the Irish author Bram Stoker who kicked it all off with his Gothic novel Dracula, in 1897. But where did he get his inspiration from?
Yorkshire_Dales_1

A northern English town called Whitby, located in Yorkshire, inspired Bram Stoker writing his novel Dracula. The weather conditions and the local dialect are worked into the novel and even the novel’s name itself – Dracula – derives from a book about Walachian and Moldavian history, which Stoker stumbled upon in Whitby.

Not only did Dracula put the town on the map internationally, but also well-known explorer Captain Cook acquired his early nautical skills in this Yorkshire town.

However, Yorkshire has more to offer than vampire-related trivia and nautical history. It was also home to the famous Brontë sisters, Emily, Charlotte and Anne. Emily’s novel Wuthering Heights, for instance, is regarded as an English masterpiece of the nineteenth century. The three lettered sisters lived in Haworth, which is one of many picturesque towns you can find all over Yorkshire. If you like cobblestone streets and dry-brick walls, you’ll get your money’s worth in the countryside of this northern English county.

Yorkshire_Dales_2

If you’re not too interested in vampires, sailors and classic literature,  don’t worry! Yorkshire has you covered. The county features three of the biggest cities in England, namely Leeds, Sheffield and Bradford. Leeds is considered to be among the top ten towns for live music and upcoming bands. Sheffield doesn’t make this list, however, even though both bands Pulp and Arctic Monkeys come from there, which tells you a bit about the quality we’re talking about.

If this doesn’t sound hot enough for you, visit Bradford, which was named “Curry Capital of Britain” for the sixth year in a row in  ????. Thanks to its many citizens of Indian descent, you can find the best and most original Curry in the UK here. Maybe spicy food isn’t your cup of tea, though; in this case you can always go for a hearty Yorkshire pudding – a traditional Sunday roast.

The historic town of York gives its name to the entire county, the already-mentioned pudding and it’s definitely worth a visit. Not only York, but also Leeds and Sheffield have tradition-steeped football and rugby clubs where you can experience authentic English passion. Luckily the football teams don’t compete in the Premier League at the moment, which makes buying a ticket more affordable and less mainstream.

And if none of these aspects intrigue you, you can still go for a hike and enjoy the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales.

 

Author & Pictures: Johann Beß

School’s not out in summer

You think summer and school can’t be combined? You’re wrong! Imagine the easiest combination and exactly this is what summer school means: It’s voluntarily attending a school or university during the summer break while your friends are lying on the beach or at a lido. Why did I choose to attend a summer school for teachers in Salzburg then? It was a new experience that I wanted to try and I think it was worth it, so here are some good reasons why you should at least take part in a summer school once in your life.

Summer school

A meeting point for students, teachers and professors

The first reason to go to a summer school is that you meet a lot of nice people. Some of them are students like you, some of them are already teachers and some of them are even university lecturers. Everyone of them enjoys conversations and you can easily get a first impression about how other school systems and universities are structured. The participants during my time there came from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. So you can get different perspectives on teaching. The exchanges between the participants enrich your experience a lot and it often gives you some good new ideas for your own teaching practice.

Learn teaching by watching teaching

Secondly, the workshops are structured in a cool way. Most of them include active participation by the group members. The lecturers get you to try out different games, give feedback on your contributions and there’s a lot of talking and discussing in groups or with the whole course.

Explore a different world 

Last but not least, you shouldn’t neglect to have a look at where the summer school takes place. In my situation it was one of the most beautiful cities in Austria, Salzburg. Although the courses did take place from the morning until the afternoon, you always had some time in the evening to explore the city. I was glad we stayed in a hostel near the centre, because that allowed us to have dinner and some after-work-drinks (I guess, you know what I mean). My friend, who joined me on this journey, and I really loved the old buildings. One of our personal highlights was the Hohensalzburg Fortress, which you can see from the roof terrace of the university building while drinking a cold beer with other course members. Just wandering around the historic centre in the evening was relaxing.

15571037_1449791818388338_570870172_n

The summer school in Salzburg was a great experience and I got a lot of new impressions on all sorts of topics. As I took part in courses about English teaching and how to do small exercises during lesson breaks with your pupils, I guess my future teaching will focus on things I learned about these topics to keep my lessons alive. I hope I’ve been able to get across my passion and excitement for this kind of event. It was a cool trip, I met a lot of great people and I may be part of it again next year.

Author & Pictures: Alexander Gallwitz

Five things to do in Rome

Ahh Rome…la dolce vita! Lots of you have probably already been to the Eternal City, but in my opinion, a trip to Rome is always worthwhile and who isn’t dreaming of summer at the moment? So, let me take you on a trip to the Italian capital and tell you what you shouldn’t miss out on!

1. St. Peter’s Basilica

I’ll start off with something really touristy, but the cathedral is just THAT building you’ve got to visit in Rome. I’m a total church nut and need to visit most of a city’s churches, so I’ve been to quite a lot…let me tell you this: St. Peter’s is breath-taking! Of course, it’s also really crowded, but the splendour of this place will make you forget everyone around you. Make sure to also climb the dome – the people down in the aisles look tiny from up there (but don’t take the elevator – that’s a waste of money!).

rome2
2. Palatine Hill

This is also a well-known place, but it was honestly one of my absolute highlights. In the middle of the city, right next to the Colosseum, the Palatine Hill is like Rome’s backyard. It’s like you’ve stepped through a hidden door and found yourself in another world. You don’t hear a single car. The hustle and bustle of the city is forgotten – it’s just you (okay, and the other tourists), plants and flowers and ruins. It’s perfect to relax a bit before you make your way back to the buzzing streets.

20161017_1323113. Discover things off the beaten track

Yes, that sounds pretty vague at first. What I’m trying to say is that there are things to discover at pretty much every turn! So, don’t follow the main routes. Instead, turn into a side street (not a dubious one of course!) and be surprised. And when in Rome, why not take on the Italian lifestyle? Take things slowly (piano in Italian), sit down at a café and treat yourself for lunch or a really good Italian coffee (I’m not exaggerating – coffee is SO good in Rome!). Just because you deserve it.

4. Enjoy the view!

This is something I can recommend not only for Rome, but for every place you visit. Get on top of things and marvel at the city from a bird’s-eye view. This literally takes sightseeing to another level. My travel guide’s insider tip was to get on top of the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II – judging from the amount of people up there it’s not an insider tip anymore – but it’s still awesome. I spent a couple of hours up there watching the sun set and it was worth every second. Supposedly another great place to relax and enjoy the view is on top of the Pincian Hill in North Rome.

rome3
5. Take a stroll in the dark

Rome is amazingly beautiful in the daytime, but at night, when everything is illuminated, there’s a whole different atmosphere to it! It’s awesome when it’s still warm in the evening and people sit outside cafés and bars. You should definitely join them at one of Rome’s great bars or clubs and enjoy a cocktail outside, maybe even with a monument in sight…

So, whatever you do, have fun and let the beauty of the place impress you. It’s pretty much impossible not to fall in love with Rome. Don’t believe me? Go and see for yourself!

Author & Pictures: Henrike Wilhelm

One ticket – boundless fun

As the semester break is slowly approaching, it’s time to plan your activities, if you haven’t already. If you love backpacking, you should definitely try Interrail. It’s one ticket that allows you to travel by train across Europe. You can choose between one country (One Country Pass) or several (Global Pass, 30 countries). I did this two years ago and had lots of fun. Three weeks with the Global Pass gave me the chance to travel to three countries, the UK, Ireland and France in the summer.

A beach in Cornwall.
A beach in Cornwall

First stop: England

I took the plane from Memmingen to London, so I visited the UK capital first. However, other parts of England you don’t usually visit much were more interesting. So I travelled to Cornwall and was stunned by its natural beauty. St. Ives (Cornwall) is a really small town, but it’s as beautiful as the rest of this region. When visiting Land’s End, you feel like you’re in a different country, because it’s not how I had imagined England: blue sea, sunshine and very nice paths along the coast. Even beaches. The windy weather is dangerous for sunburn, as I experienced painfully.

Killarney National Park
Killarney National Park

Second stop: Ireland

A ferry to Ireland was next. The journey went by very fast and then Dublin was a blast. Street musicians, lovely people, cosy pubs, it has everything. Next stop was the small town of Killarney. With a national park in sight, I rented a bike and explored it. Everything is green and you feel really healthy.

So far so good – but trouble was brewing, unbeknown to me. I mixed up the dates at the end of July. I’d almost boarded the train to the port of Rosslare, when I noticed my blunder. The ferry was departing in a few hours that very day whereas I thought I had an extra day, which is why I booked an extra night in Ireland. Things then got very hectic. Will I ever get to France in time? When does the next ferry depart? Where do I stay till then? I contacted Irish Ferries, and thank God, they were very kind. The next ferry was departing in three days and they cancelled my reservation on the other one. And they got me a ticket for the next trip. I even found a nice hostel in Dublin until then.

seine
Seine sightseeing tour

Third stop: France

Paris was my first choice in France and I wasn’t disappointed. I can very much recommend a Seine sightseeing tour. There are boats leaving every 30 minutes at the Pont Neuf, and it’s a really different view from down on the river, especially at sunset. After only three hours aboard the TGV, I found myself on the Côte d’Azur in Marseille. Finally, 35°C and a beach to relax on. And the restaurants have delicious food, especially fish and vegetables from the region.

Go try it yourself!

In the end, it was a fantastic trip. You even get discounts on ferries, and as long as you’re under 28, the pass is cheaper. So don’t hold back – explore Europe!

Author & Pictures: Thomas Kienast

London on a student budget

If there is any vacation destination that I could call my home away from home it’s London. The British capital captured my heart from the first time I visited and has me coming back as often as I can. But frequent trips to London have one major drawback: this city is bloody expensive! So when my best friend asked me to spontaneously accompany her for just three days, I hesitated for a while, wondering if the expense was worth it for the limited time we had. In the end, I went with her, of course, and spent under €200, thanks to a couple of things I learned during my previous visits.

Museumslondon1

In 2001 all state-managed museums in London abolished admission charges, which means all of the major museums like the National Gallery or the Tate Modern are completely free. This allows you to basically museum-hop, which is what I like doing in the city more than anything else. If you want to visit the British Museum, just to look at the Rosetta Stone and admire the impressive architecture of its main hall – go for it! Tea at the Victoria & Albert and a quick detour through the dinosaur exhibit of the Natural History Museum? Lovely idea!

Churches

London makes up for the free museums with horrendous admission charges to its beautiful churches like Westminster Abbey or St.Paul’s. During a service, however, it’s completely free. I would especially recommend the choral evensong at Westminster Abbey; sit down to listen to the famous choir while taking in the gothic architecture and delicately carved décor.

West End showslondon3

No visit to London would be complete for me without seeing at least one West End show. Lots of theatres offer special daily tickets for a huge discount, but most of them are on a first-come-first- serve basis and require lots of queuing. So if you’re pressed for time or simply don’t want to research all the different deals, drop by the “tkts” booth in Leicester Square. They always have a lot of discounted tickets for evening performances on the same day, so you can go by and just pick what’s cheapest or sounds the most fun.

Food

You can find the best bang for your buck for a quick meal at “Wahaca”, a Mexican grill right beneath Waterloo Bridge. Their 6-pound pulled pork burritos are mouth-watering and satisfy even the biggest hunger. And if you want to make a little sightseeing trip out of it, cross Waterloo Bridge at night for a breathtaking view across the whole cityscape, get your burrito and wander along the Thames in the direction of the Tate Modern. Your path will take you through trees full of twinkling fairy lights and to Blackfriars Bridge, where you can check out “Doggets Coat & Badge” pub for a pint of cider or alelondon4.

Author & Pictures: Anna Reinbold

Airbnb – there’s no better place to stay

Low-budget traveling has been cool for a long time. The most popular way to go on holiday without much money Airbnb1is certainly staying at a hostel in a dormitory with four to fourteen people. But honestly – is this a “holiday“? If you want to hear your roommates snoring or you want to discover more of their bad habits, you should definitely spend your time there!

However, let me tell you about another, for me personally more comfortable, nicer way of going on a journey. In any case, a very well-organized, practical website to book your accommodation, in any case is Airbnb. You may have heard of it yet: it’s an online platform where people from all around the world offer you a place to stay. The community was founded in 2008 in California to give people who have a free bedsit the opportunity to subrent it, as well as providing an alternative to low-cost booking websites such as “couchsurfing“.

Users can either provide a private room or a whole apartment. Using the website is quite easy. Just choose the city you want to go to and the date, and thousands of hits will appear, from expensive to cheap. The offers are very diverse and, of course, reliable. Airbnb guarantees booking security so you can check in advance whether your host has a good rating or not. A further advantage is that you’re able to pay online, so there’s no need to carry lots of cash with you during the trip.

As a Airbnb2passionate traveler I have already visited eight different places with Airbnb, so I’d like to share one experience with you:

Probably the most adventurous, extraordinary place I’ve been to was a wooden bungalow in the middle of the jungle in the southern Thai province of Krabi: imagine…35 degrees and no air conditioning, sharing your daily shower with frogs, lizards and cockroaches, getting bitten by thousands of mosquitos. Even though this doesn’t sound like a relaxing holiday at all, if I look back now, it’s just a really funny, unforgettable memory which only cost €9 per night.

Anyway, Airbnb has simply everything. It‘s a precious opportunity to explore so many different places, and get to know interesting people from everywhere. Simply unmissable!

Author and Pictures: Isabelle Zint

A Dream of History

History has always been one of my favorite subjects in school. This isn’t just because of what happened in the past but also because of what connects the past with the present and thus with the future. When I went to the US this summer, I experienced one of my most vivid and interesting dreams about one specific place there: The Gardens at Great Oaks in Roswell, Georgia. After going there on a hot summer’s day and listening to stories being told about the history of this place, I dreamt about it.

history 1

In my dream, I was travelling back in time to when the first family lived on this gorgeous estate. The house and gardens were a gift from a groom to his bride in 1842. My dream sent me back to exactly that day; the day of the wedding of Reverend Nathaniel Pratt and Catherine Barrington King. All the guests were gathered in the gardens after the happy couple’s ceremony. The maids and helps were busy preparing the wedding dinner in the outside and inside kitchens. Butlers were hurrying to get more cider for the guests and the couple to have a toast at that little pavilion that is still there today. After the toast, dinner was served in a building called Ajax Hall, which is across the meadow and not far away from the main house.

history 6

As it was getting dark outside, the maids were lighting hundreds of candles everywhere in the gardens, making it look so romantic and pretty. People were having good conversations or strolling around, enjoying the air getting cooler as it had been a really hot summer’s day. I can still feel the heat of the rays of sun touching my skin.

The next morning Mr. and Mrs. Pratt woke up to a wonderful symphony of the chirping of birds and the aromatic scent of roses as well as the warmth of the sun shining through their windows. Catherine Pratt got up and, only with her nightgown on, went down the stairs, through the narrow hallways of the house, passing by the living room with the superb piano and chess table, through the back porch with its rocking chair, into the beauty of her new gardens. That feeling she felt when she opened the last door keeping her inside was breathtaking. Catherine went outside, with bare feet, feeling the still damp grass between her toes. After passing the red carriage and all the little bird houses, she finally decided to sit down in the pavilion closest to Ajax Hall. She was surrounded by nature, listening and just relaxing.

history 7

When I woke up, I remembered everything as if it were real. I remembered everything as if I had been there. The next time I went to the Gardens at Great Oaks, I strolled through the estate the same way Catherine did in my dream, imagining what her and her new husband’s life might have looked like.

Author & Pictures: Susann Tallmadge