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Tag Archives: Exchange Semester

The Mountain of Men

Somewhere deep down in the second ‘leg’ of the peninsula of Chalkidiki, Greece, lays a mountain where only men live. Anyone wanting to see the stunning landscape surrounding Mount Athos, must be a man. A man, of course, in the sense of having the stereotypical features of what a man is supposed to be in our current social/societal understandings. Short ... Read More »

Study Abroad: Continental Contrasts

“You can’t have it all!” – Yes, you can. The biggest city in Europe offers contrasts everywhere you look. Two girls take a selfie, one wears extensive make-up, her friend a head scarf. A Syrian refugee with counterfeited crocs-plastic-sandals walks next to wealthy Western tourists. Young students in Besiktas drink traditional Turkish cay and play backgammon, while later they have ... Read More »

The Perks of an Exchange

The road towards a career constitutes a never-ending story and is imbued with making choices. One of these is whether or not to step out of your comfort zone, and take on the challenge to study abroad. After careful consideration, overwhelming amounts of paperwork and endless procedures I decided to go on an exchange, and here I am, studying at ... Read More »

Study Abroad: Scotland

Checks&Balances is writing a series of blogs from IRIO students studying abroad. Sander des Tombe is currently studying in Aberdeen, Scotland. In a stroll through the city, I noticed the absence of sale signs and I came to understand that Aberdeen’s house prices have actually doubled over the last ten years. Along with London, Aberdeen is unique in the U.K. ... Read More »

Studying Abroad: Greece 3

Greece is one of the gateways of many refugees routes to Europe. This is a fact, which does not go unnoticed on the streets of Athens. It is an afternoon in March. I am on my way to a self-organized refugee assembly. The meeting is about to begin. It takes place in a lecture room of a university building. In ... Read More »

Studying Abroad: Turkey 3

Even though many Europeans consider the touristic cities at the Mediterranean Sea as ‘Western’ and, therefore, as an extension of their own country – which is true to a certain extent, as you can talk in any language you desire with the local population – there are some striking differences between the ‘real’ Turkey and Western Europe. Foremost, it could ... Read More »

Studying Abroad: Ukraine 4

Last month I went home to Germany for a weekend.  On my way back I took a bus from Berlin to Chernivtsi. It took a whole day to get there and Ukrainian roads are not exactly a joyride, but the experience justified the means. Such a trip reminds you of what it’s like to live in Ukraine. The (Ukrainian) bus ... Read More »

Studying Abroad: Rome 1

“Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd and everything conceals something else.” (Italo Calvino, Le Cittá Invisibili) And this certainly counts for Rome, the city where I am currently spending my Erasmus semester. Absurd rules. The first remarkable thing was the impossibility of getting in ... Read More »

Studying Abroad: TURKEY 2

A common expression in Turkey is ‘smoke like a Turk’, since cigarettes are abundantly present in Ankara. Actually, I still need to meet the first Turkish man who is not smoking. An additional expression  linked to Turkey can be introduced: demonstrate like a Turk. In the first couple of weeks I was surprised by the number of people discussing politics. ... Read More »

Studying Abroad: UKRAINE 2

The Erasmus experience in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, continues. Being a university student in Chernivtsi reminds me of my days in primary school. Monday is my main day. I take the matrushka bus number 5 from student dorm number 3 to Cathedral Square. The mint-green building hosts the Faculty of History, Politics and International Relations and is right next to Chernivtsi’s hot ... Read More »