10 Ways A University Is Like Europe

10 Ways A University Is Like Europe

If you notice most of these things, you've been in Europe the whole time.

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Since being in college, I have noticed many similarities between Europe and the campus. Here are ten of the most profound similarities I see every day.

1. Different cultures/languages

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When I went to Italy, I heard a very wide range of languages being spoken. I heard Spanish, French, Chinese, Latin, Italian (of course), English, and many others that I could not distinguish. Not to mention the many English-speaking people I encountered who each had a different accent than the last. In a university, when walking to my class I hear a different language almost every day. Of course, being in America, I mainly hear English but it is always amazing to hear a group of people speaking a language that you do not understand.

2. Uneven ground

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I will be walking, not looking at the ground, and trip. Did you know that Venice is man-made from logs under the ground thus, making the ground uneven? This is what I think of every time I trip on a small area that is slightly elevated from the rest of the sidewalk.

3. Walking everywhere

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You don't HAVE to walk everywhere, but you certainly cannot drive your car to every class. A lot of people will ride skateboards, bikes, or Birds, but for the most part, you walk everywhere you go. Every day I walk between 3 and 6 miles. In both Italy and France, I would walk between 5 and 9 miles each day.

4. Lots of food options

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There are so many restaurant strips in Europe, usually in the middle there will be a small souvenir shop. They offer almost any food you can think of, and it is the same with college universities. There are some strips with multiple food options as well as places to eat on campus, including a restaurant that serves food from around the world; and you can't forget about the university store!

5. Expensive food

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Have you ever gone to a tourist spot and the prices are just way too high to be what they are? It is definitely like this in college. Some places are priced well but some places you have to pay $7 for a pack of Oreos. I think some place's prices on a college campus could be considered a tourist trap. But if you have a meal plan card, it's not all that bad.

6. Small town

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A lot of countries in Europe are kind of small but densely populated. This is a very similar situation in my college town. Even if the campus is in a bigger town, it still feels kind of like a small town within a bigger one.

7. More buildings than land

There are tons of buildings in Europe and on college campuses. Almost every one of them are generally pretty tall which create pathways like mazes on the ground. However, once you are able to navigate, it's not all that bad.

8. Gypsies

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In Europe, when you go to landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower or the Colosseum, there are people EVERYWHERE trying to sell you "one of a kind" items. This is very similar on college campuses as some companies will set up in the plaza, where many students are during the day, and try to sell things. Although, some of these people are in clubs with the University and are trying to get more people to join.

9. Expensive

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It's expensive to travel and it's expensive to go to college.

10. Public Transportation

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In the town I grew up in the only public transportation was school buses. Going to Europe, we would get on the metro and ride many different public buses (and some boats) to get to the places we needed to go. Being on a college campus, there are MANY different public buses, more than I have ever seen, which is rather helpful.

As you can see, you are basically in Europe when you go to college! The only differences are the history, architecture, and cultural norms.

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To All Student-Athletes Beginning Their Respective Seasons, Remember Why You Play

You are going to get tired. You are going to get worn out...

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Dear athlete,

The season is by far the most exciting time of the year. Big plays, good memories, traveling new places, and winning championships... But yet another promise is that season is also exhausting.

You are going to get tired. You are going to get worn out...

But remember that this season of your life doesn't last forever. Remind yourself why you play.

You play this sport because you love the game. You love the competition, you love your teammates and the friendships that you've formed, you love the lessons you learn aside from the physical aspect.

So each day, continue to choose the game.

It's not easy. But if it was, everyone would do it. But discomfort is where progress happens.

Quit dreading practices, quit wishing for rain, quit complaining about conditioning, and quit taking for granted a busy schedule that is literally made just for you. Tens of thousands of young girls and boys would do anything to be in the position (literally) that you are in. Take advantage of being a role model to those young kids who think the world of you.

Freshmen, this is what you have wanted for so long. Take advantage of the newness, take advantage of the advice, encouragement, and constructive criticism that your older teammates give you. Soak it all in, four years goes by really quickly.

Sophomores, you now know how it works. Be confident in your abilities, yet continue to learn and grow mentally and in your position.

Juniors, prepare to take the lead. Use this season to, of course, continue to sharpen your skill, but also recognize that you're over halfway done, so mentally and physically ready yourself to take the seniors' lead next year.

Seniors, this is it. Your last year of playing the sport that you love. Be a good leader, motivate, and leave your mark on the program in which you have loved for so long. Encourage the athletes behind you to continue the traditions and standards set by the program. Lay it all on the field, leave it all on the court, and leave your program better than you found it.

Take the season one day at a time and, each day, make it your goal to get better. Get better for your team, for you pushing yourself makes everyone else work even harder. So even if you don't get a lot of playing time, make your teammates better by pushing yourself so hard that they have no other choice than to push themselves too. And when a team has every single player pushing themselves to the max, success happens.

Take advantage of this time with your teammates and coaches, for they won't be your teammates and coaches forever.

No matter what year you are and no matter what your role is this season... GROW. You are an integral part of your team and your program.

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4 Ways To Be Present While Traveling

The intangible, yet most important, part of traveling.

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In the summer of 2017 I left the country for the first time. I spent two weeks on the island of Java in the country of Indonesia, and I fell in love with the new-ness of culture, people, language, and food in a way that I didn't previously believe was possible. I have fallen in love with every place I've visited so far, and each country and city has taught me something different. Each one has taught me to love a new location, to be okay with a new bed (if there is one), and to eat what's given to you (no matter how strange).

Don't get me wrong, I love where I live here in Missouri, I love being in a comfortable home, and I'm a picky eater, but the adrenaline rush of being in complete oblivion of a place unknown to me is so addicting. Since my trip to Indonesia I have also traveled to England, France, and Jordan. All are beautiful in their own way, and I don't have a favorite (please don't ask me to pick). My tips about immersion will all be based on my first trip – to Indonesia. These five tips on how to truly be present in a place you're traveling to are not about things you can buy, or tours you pay for, or even the luxury of places you stay, but instead are focused on the intangible things such as friendships, language, and change of the heart.

1. Stay a while.

No one is asking you to stay forever, but spend enough time in one place that you are able to make a friend. It could be the barista at the coffee shop you go to, or someone at the park, but at least a week is enough time to make this happen. One week will allow you to see the way the local people live, as well as give you time to see all that there is to see in your travel destination.
I stayed for two weeks in Indonesia, and volunteered at an English Center where I made friends that I will have for a lifetime. I was able to go on gelato dates with my new friends, and still have time to see a volcano, go on a float trip, and conquer my fear of heights (kind of) by jumping off of a 35-40 foot cliff into water. Anything is possible to explore if you stay long enough.

2. Find the little things.

This is when knowing local people comes in handy. Your new local friends will suggest the best places to eat, tour, take pictures of, and where the best local coffee shops are. Don't fall into the trap of your own imagination or the trap your own taste buds, step outside of yourself and live like a local.
On the island of Java there is bound to be great coffee (I mean…there has to be, right?) and some of the best coffee I found was actually in my hotel. None of the "chain" coffees came close to the taste of the tiny espresso-sized mugs of coffee I got at the hotel's breakfast.

3. It's not about you.

You're soaking in a new experience, not being your own experience. So many times I see travelers and friends leave the country expecting to change the world with their presence, but they're not letting their presence be changed by the world. When you travel to your next location, look for ways you can be educated about the place you're in, listen to your new friends and strangers, and find every excuse to spend the most time outside of your hotel room.

4. Rest.

You aren't going to remember your trip if your mind isn't rested enough to store more memories. Long flights and travel wear people out very quickly, and your excursions aren't going to be as exciting if you're not awake to remember them. However, if you need to adjust to a large time difference, don't go to bed until 8 pm the first day that you're there. That will allow your body to readjust to the time zone quicker so you'll be more rested for the days ahead.

Wherever you're going, I hope you learn the most you can and that you immerse yourself into a beautiful culture. Even if you don't understand it at first, allow yourself to be open to differences. Stop comparing your destination to "what's back home" and just let yourself be! Travel is meant to be an addition to your cultural portfolio, not a comparison. I hope these tips help you to have a better understanding of how to venture into a new culture. Have a great trip!

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