So far, I have been to a whopping 1% of the world (according to the app “Been”). As disheartening as that sounds, it makes me extremely excited as I thought that I had discovered an entirely new world just inside of Estonia.
Shoving 2 semesters worth of information into 8 weeks is HARD. Between class everyday, lectures, excursions, papers, movie reviews, verbs of motion quizzes, awkward interviews with native speakers, hours of homework when I’m done with class and a 2,000 word final project; I’m exhausted. “Class and homework. Class and homework. Study abroad is just that; studying while abroad.” However, the more I treck along this path into a foreign culture, the more I realize that with working hard comes playing hard, and that there is more to Estonia than Narva; just as there is more to study abroad than studying abroad.
Tallinn was gorgeous. Old town in Tallinn was an experience that I would live again and again. The city had so much to offer us from an amazing nightlife, to museums, shops with home made wool socks that I’m really excited to wear, stores with millions of trinkets, traditional food and clothes, art and music, and extremely welcoming Estonian friends. It was home away from home.
The next weekend was “свободное время” or free time for us. So what do we do? Planned a trip to Helsinki, Finland, of course! I, Caitlin Longhofer, would be traveling to yet another foreign country (Finland would push my “Been” app to say 1% instead of 0% – it’s the little things). To me, backpacking around Finland for a day was an experience I will never forget. Just to say that from Project GO I was able to backpack a Scandinavian country for a weekend is really something. The Russian influence on the architecture there was amazing to learn about.
Uspenski Cathedral – Helsinki, Finland
This last weekend we traveled to Tartu – essentially Estonia’s college town. It was, by far, the most gorgeous city I’ve seen on this trip. From the rich history to the river, Tartu was everything a foreign student could hope for. There were tons of younger adults our age and about a million stores and shops to accommodate them. My favorite part – as lame as it sounds – was learning the history of the city and the architecture. If European study abroad has taught me anything about myself it’s that I can make some awesome macaroni and my secret passion is architecture. The Tartu Cathedral is one of the biggest and oldest Cathedrals in the country and by far the most gorgeous.
Tartu Cathedral – Tartu, Estonia
I can’t believe we only have 2.5 weeks left of the program. Looking back on it, I’ve learned so much about Estonia and the surrounding areas. From history, to traditions, to the language, the people, and to the land itself. I’m so incredibly thankful to have been given the opportunity and I’m even more excited to finish this thing out with a bang! Time flies when you’re having fun…
… or when you’re having the time of your life in a foreign country. I think that’s the case here.