Tag Archives: college

Letter to my undergraduate self

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – e.e. Cummings

college

Dear Tiffany,

I know you’re stressing. You will stress everyday for one reason or the other so do yourself a favor and stop. You’re actually stressing right now as you start taking on your first semester as a graduate student. Just take the time to enjoy the small moments like the way the campus looks filled with autumn leaves on the ground. Don’t overthink every single assignment you receive in class. Go with your gut because after two hours of over-analyzing, that’s essentially what you will end up doing.

I applaud you for your organization and time management skills because those will help you get through the crazy moments when you are drowning in school, work, internships and extra curricular activities. Don’t worry you will somehow manage to have a life because you live by your planner (and you still do at 25.) Talking about your internships, take more advantage of the networking opportunities presented to you. Build relationships and strengthen them because they will come in handy after you graduate and start job hunting. It’s not easy out there and bills start piling up. Don’t be afraid of part-time jobs even if it’s not exactly what you want at the moment. 

You won’t go to the gym but you really should. You seriously lucked out in not gaining the Freshman 15. I mean, you did gain the Freshman 5 though (no, that’s not a thing.) Go on adventures with your friends because you only get to experience college young and free once; life after gets more complex than you think.

Please please please don’t focus on love. College is not the place for it. It may seem like your life falls apart junior year but you’ll survive. Trust me when I say that in the end you become stronger from the disappointments. Don’t stop smiling because it’s your way of pushing forward during those tough times. Overall, you honestly don’t do that bad in college. You slack a bit first semester of freshman year but then you get it together after seeing your GPA. High five for staying focused on school and making it your mission to graduate with nothing less than a 3.0. You definitely learned that it’s easier to drop your GPA than bring it back up!

Enjoy your family. You never know what the future may hold…

However, my most important advice to you would be to never stop loving yourself. You lose track of that for a bit. Remember that this is your life and you matter the most in it. I love you girl and never stop reaching for those stars!

Love, yourself-

čau “hello” Bratislava!

Bratislava Scenery

This weekend I went to visit my cousin and his family in Bratislava, Slovakia. It was an amazing weekend! It felt absolutely great to be around family in Europe!

Ryanair

Friday, I woke up at 6am because I had to catch a flight at 1pm. I had to find my way to the Brussels-Midi station to take an hour shuttle to the Brussels South Charleroi airport. When I arrived to the Brussels-Midi station I got lost for about 5min looking for the shuttle but I found it by asking someone for help. She showed me on the map I had (map was pretty useless because I couldn’t find any of the street names ._.) a street that was on the opposite direction of where I was. The girl figured  that the street would be straight ahead of where we were, which it was, but of course she didn’t know where the shuttle was. Seriously, like half the people I ask for help never know where the exact location of anything is, but I don’t panic anymore when I’m lost in Brussels. I ended up getting to the station with 3 hours to kill. I didn’t want to risk getting lost and missing my flight since I had to take one tram and two trains to find a shuttle that was hidden in the back of the Charleroi station!

Shoe Covers

I used Ryanair to get to Bratislava. Honestly, I feel like it wasn’t that bad. I think it was pretty good and I arrived to Bratislava earlier than I expected! I also returned 45min ahead of schedule! They didn’t even charge me to use the bathroom like someone told me Ryanair would, and if you just put on your iPod you can block the flight attendants out while they try to sell you stuff. Ryanair did not overwhelm me at all. I would use Ryanair again if I had too.

Bratislava

When I arrived to Bratislava my cousin was already there! I was very happy to see him it has been years since I last saw him! Yes, I have a cousin living in Slovakia. I never thought I would be visiting a family member in Europe! Last I saw my cousin was before he got married. He got married to a Slovakian hence why he is in Bratislava. I think it is truly an amazing love story! You don’t find a Dominican and Slovakian couple everywhere you know! ^_^ I got to meet my little cousin as soon as I arrived because we picked him up from school. He is so adorable and so unique! A half Slovakian and  half Dominican boy with beautiful big eyes. His mom speaks to him in Slovak and his dad in Dominican so he’s bilingual! <3! When we arrived at the school I had to put on some type of shoe covers to not dirty the floors. My cousin told me that Slovaks take cleanliness and health very serious when it comes to children. I thought that was a very interesting fact! After we picked up my little cousin he then proceeded to teach me how to climb a tree!🙂

Bratislava Castle

Kofola

My cousin was able to show me Bratislava in one afternoon/night! First, he took me to the Bratislava Castle! A beautiful castle with an amazing view of Bratislava and Vienna! We also visited Slavín a monument dedicated to the Soviet Soldiers who fell during WWII. It also has an amazing view of Bratislava! The scenery from afar in Bratislava is absolutely beautiful!

Afterwards, my cousin and I met up with one of his friends from work for a couple of drinks and a night out around the city. We ate a traditional meal from Bratislava. Apparently beef and potatoes are very big there. I was so happy to eat some beef! Yum! At the restaurant we went too I also tasted Kofola, a soda from Czech Republic. It tasted like Cola flavored tea. I liked it though very unique taste.

Ridiculously cheap beer! o_O

Then off we went to Old Town Bratislava. It was a very beautiful part of the city.  It is where most of the night life takes place. We went into a pub where the workers were dressed in traditional clothing. It was such a nice place! I was shocked to see that the cheapest beer was 1.30 Euros! In Brussels the cheapest beer is 2.50 Euros! Woah!

I was submerged in Slovak language the entire weekend and learned how to say Thank Youďakujem.” I tried to pronounce many of the words but they were just too hard! :/

Overall, I had an amazing time in Bratislava! I got to experience a great deal of culture in such a small amount of time! Saturday, Vienna was another awesome experience!

Relief!

Relief kicking in as I waited for the tram!

The sense of relief I feel truly feels amazing!

Today, I took the second part of my French midterm and handed in my annual report assignment (we made up a company) for my Business Writing and Social Networking class. All I have left is a French presentation on Wednesday. After that I have no big assignments due until November! I just hope I get good grades on all my midterms and assignments.

E Building Classroom

Random sink

My French exam was inside the actual VUB school. Since VeCo is just a partner school with VUB we have classes in a building next to Citi Bank across the street from one of the exits of the VUB campus. The building is shared with other institutions so we only use 2 floors in the entire building. It felt nice to actually walk around a campus building. The classroom was in the E building and it was a lecture room. When I walked inside I was reminded of Rutgers! I have always had at least one lecture class every semester since my Freshman year. I’m not used to a small school at all! It felt nicebeing in a big room with seats and desks.

Side note: No idea why there was a random sink in the room O_o

Carbonated Ice Tea

 

 

 

 

I also decided to get myself one of the famous European “snack subs…” I felt I deserved it. I usually get a Kaas when I buy them at school (cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, shredded carrots, lettuce, and honey mustard.) This time I decided to try the Mona Lisa (Italian ham, parmesan cheese, lettuce, and dressing.) To drink I ordered an ice tea. Once I take a sip I realized the ice tea is made with carbonated water! Seriously everything here has carbonated water! I don’t mind it but the ice tea!!! Really? .__.

Midterm Week x_X

9AM Heading to my internship

I am officially convinced that midterms suck in any continent! This week I had 2 midtermsFrench and Intercultural Communications. For my Intercultural Communications exam I felt way more relaxed than I did for my French exam. The day of my French midterm I had to be up at 9AM for my internship… by the time I got out I was so exhausted and tired I had the biggest headache ever! I have no idea how I took that French exam! I had about 100 vocabulary words to memorize! x_x The days this week just seemed ridiculously long. The struggles of a student!

Eyebrows done!

 To feel better and release some stress I treated myself 2 times this week.

1. I went to get my eyebrows done at this place by my internship called Wax Zone Beauty Center. It was an  interesting experience. Definitely different than from when I’m back home getting them done. For starters I pay $5 back home here I payed 10 Euros! Back home it’s way quicker. Here not only did the girl lay me down but she mostly plucked them. At home it’s mostly waxed with some plucking here and there. She used a wax that hardens and you could tear off. That was also new to me.

Beer and nuts

QG’s

2. After my last exam on Thursday I went out for drinks with a couple of friends. We went to this bar right around the corner from school called “QG.” I had a large beer and an excessive amount of nuts and cheese! They were just so good! I ordered a second beer but my clumsiness got the best of me and I spilled it all over the table. I felt so bad I apologized to the waiter about a 100 times (he probably thought I was drunk and I wasn’t!) What annoyed me was when he went “the worse part is now you don’t have any beer” .__. Jeez Thanks! 

Sigh! I’m still not done with the nonstop assignments and work! This week coming up I have 2 assignments and the second part of my French midterm to finish!

The wonders of a bath!

Bathtub

These past few days I have been so busy. If it’s not school/school work it has been my internship. I am on the go from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep. I’m either taking the tram, bus, or metro, studying/doing HW, checking my e-mails, at school or at my internship. Days go by so quickly! My only type of relaxation is when I take a bath. Back in the states I only take showers but here I have no other choice. The bathtub is big (I can lay down and I’m 5’4) and it’s bright green in the middle of the attic. At first I was a bit disturbed but I’m used to it now. When I get back home I might even miss just laying down and relaxing from time to time. I lay in the tub and just think about my experience, what’s in store for me next, and what awaits me when I return back home.

The back of Schaerbeek Town Hall

I really feel like I’m living the typical Belgian life (school and work.) I’m glad that my study abroad experience here is like this. Getting an internship in Brussels was one of the best decisions I could have made. I’m living the 9-5 life just like most Belgians. I feel like I’m seeing things from a different perspective than tourists do.   I’m really getting to know the true Brussels. I even feel 10x more comfortable with transportation and finding my way around than when I did the first couple of weeks I arrived here. A lot has changed in a month.

Lately, here in Brussels, it’s been pouring like non-stop rain. It’s the worse because it’s that windy rain where having an umbrella is pointless! So I decided to have my hair curly for the next 2 weeks! Wish I would of brought my rain boots :/ but they would of taken way too much space in my suitcase!

Well today after it decided to pour in the morning my roommate and I went to register at the town hall. The building is absolutely beautiful! It was built by Jules-Jacques Van Ysendijck in 1887. Europe is filled with old buildings something you don’t see much back in the states. I love architecture that looks like that! The details on the building are truly impressive. To think that people with less technology than us built such marvelous creations is absolutely impressive.

A Brighter Day

Lessons I’ve learned to always carry with me: 

The fountain the day after

1. Never give up even when something seems impossible

2. Struggles make you a stronger person

3. Try to find a positive when things seem negative

I woke up remembering those lessons the next day after my culture shock and off I went to find the Denmark Embassy, Austria Embassy, Brussels Weekly Office, and back to the hidden office at Montgomery . Of course I managed to confuse myself in that huge circle once again but the fountain looked more beautiful than the day before in the morning sun so I didn’t mind.

Parc du Cinquentenaire

After picking up the posters and flyer’s I decided to go and sit at Parc du Cinquentenaire, which was across the street. It was so beautiful and peaceful! I sat there and admired the fountain for an hour. When I stood up I even managed to catch a glimpse of a rainbow. All day I basically took the Metro and walked. I was absolutely exhausted by the time I got home!

That night I went out with friends. I have to admit though, I’m currently feeling the after effects of the night it was well worth it! ^__^

First Day As An Intern In Europe!

Conrad Hotel, the most beautiful hotel i’ve ever seen! 5 star Belgian hotel!

Today, was my first official day as an intern for Accessible Art Fair. Accessible Art Fairs bring together original art, photography, and sculptures from a variety of artists. It’s a public event where people can come view different forms of art, meet the artists, and then purchase a piece of artwork right there and then. I’m really excited because the fair in Brussels will be taking place in a beautiful 5 star hotel and has sponsors like Mercedes Benz! I’m also really excited to see the different forms of art! I’m a firm believer in creativity and I’ve always wanted to take photography as a hobby!  I think one of the coolest moments I experienced today, other than a brief tour of where the fair was taking place, had to be reading an e-mail that said “I will be back next week from fashion week in Milan” I don’t even like fashion! Just knowing that I will be surrounded by people that are doing such exciting things really excites me! I’m so grateful for such opportunity!

Today, I also finally got to eat one of those huge subsI always see people on the

Eating my sub

Eating my sub

streets walking around with. I got a Caesar sandwich (basically a caesar salad on a baguette.) I must admit it was pretty delish!! I have a feeling I’ll be eating a couple of those subs before my stay in Belgium is over. You will rarely see people eating subway as they walk the streets back is the U.S. Oh how differentis Europe!

The Life Of A Tram Taker – Friday

The things I find omw to my internship

These past two days have been so long! I took the tram a lot! I’ve  never taken public transportation so much! Unbelievable! I seriously took the tram 4 times and the bus 3 times on Friday! Public transportation has seriously become my life, especially the tram, and boy do I hate public transportation! That’s what I get for complaining so much in the states. First, I had to take the bus to my internship at Accessible Art Fair. I managed to find my way there without getting lost! I was so proud of myself. I remembered most of the way from last time I got lost trying to get back home. I also took pictures of the map online with my iTouch JUST in case. It took 1.5 hours to get there with traffic!! Just not real! Sheesh! So I’m at the internship meeting my new co.interns and they tell me there’s a more direct way to get to the internship and back from where I live… with the tram! .__.  (I prefer the tram than the bus) Google Maps in Europe Sucks!! That’s the conclusion I came to after the heinous way it was telling me to go when the tram takes me a more direct way!! 

Once I got back home I had to take the tram again to finally get my hair done! I must say that the French lady did a good job! I was a bit uncomfortable the first few minutes there because there were only old ladies at the hair salon. I was also really scared to how the French lady was going to handle my dominican hair! Luckily I got this hair relaxed before going to Europe! The struggles a girl goes through when she doesn’t know how to do her own hair! I must say when she was washing my hair the massage she gave me was absolutely heavenly!!! I felt like I was in the clouds! Everything came out to 18 Euros, which is not bad because they put some amazing stay in conditioner on my hair.

Guys round at the beer chugging competition

Finally, it’s night time! After taking the tram, yet again, to get back home I get dressed to go to another VeCo social event. This time is a “beer chugging competition night.” Apparently this is normal here. There was like a reigning champion and everything. I decided to join the competition! I figured, “what the hell! How many times can I say a joined a beer chugging competition in Europe.” Surprisingly, I managed to make it to the second round! I was pretty proud of myself! But I definitely keep underestimating the amount of alcohol percentage in Belgian beer! I also never seen people chugg beer so fast!!! I was impressed! Overall, It was a really good night with friends! Even met some new people including a Belgian student that studied abroad in RU! Glad I went out and bonded with my new VeCo family!

Girls round at beer chugging competition

Changes

This rainbow makes me feel like there are
only good things waiting for me at the end of the road!

A lot can change in one day. It’s crazy how by the end of the day everything seems different than from when you woke up this morning. Yesterday, I was excited about the Corporate Communications and Public Relations class I took… well now I have to drop it and take the professor’s other class Business Writing and Social Networking Applications. I figured since it’s a more media related class I can try to scheme some RU credits and maybe try to actually graduate on time! Things can never be easy with RU. My internship offer was finally finalized today so starting next week my trips to the Accessible Art Fair office will become more current. Hope I don’t get as lost as I did the first day I traveled there. eek! I also made my first hair appointment at a “coiffure” hair salon near my current school, Vesalius. That should be an interesting experience.

Today, I had my first Intercultural Communications class and boy was the class full of culture! There was a girl from Argentina, another from Ecuador, and twin boys that were French and Dominican. I had no idea that, that mix even existed! So much for me being the only Dominican at Vesalius! That’s three Dominicans I found already! There was even a handful of kids from Jersey and kids from all over the states! I loved being in that atmosphere!

I’m finally home and call my mom as usual. I like to update her on my abroad activities. Plus is nice to hear her voice. Experiences

Keeping it classy in Belgium!

like these really make you closer to your family and close friends. Makes you appreciate them more. Also makes you see who’s really there for you throughout the distance. I always believed that whatever makes it through long distances is there for the long run! 

Chocolate pie! with Belgian chocolate! ^__^

My host mom arrived last night with her daughter Lou! She is the sweetest girl!!! With the most adorable French accent! In the morning I spoke to her for an hour about my fascination for owl jewelry and talked to her about my family. When they arrived from shopping this afternoon she brought me an owl notebook! She literally made my afternoon with that amazing gesture! She then asked me to help her cook dinner! I can proudly say I officially cooked my first meal in Belgium! It was Paella rice with vegetables, baked cheese on top, ham on the side, and a fresh small tomato! Absolutely DELICIOUS! She even made dessert!!! Chocolate pie and yes! with Belgian Chocolate! We ended the night with “Fashion Victime” Sweet Home Alabama. How that became the name of the movie in French beats me! I love that movie so I was excited to hear the French version!

Now to go to sleep with the sound of raindrops on my window pane! 😀 Sounds like a peaceful sleep ahead of me!    

Ma premiere jour de classe (My First Day Of Class)

VeCo building: Where i’ll be taking all my classes

Bonjour! Today was my first day of class! And what better way to start the semester than with a French class 🙂 Things went great especially when the professor said that we did not need a book for class! My bank account immediately became happier!

After class I had certain errands to run. The night before I intensively looked up the directions to a store (whose website was in dutch o_0) to purchase some school supplies. Google maps said the place was just approximately 12min away, but somehow I ended up walking for 1.5 hours! I couldn’t find the store and didn’t realize as I walked that I passed the area in which the store should of been located. But I did find some interesting stuff during my endless walk. I first found this beautiful fountain in the middle of this residential area. I sat and decided to think a little and snap a picture of it while I was there.

Residential Fountain

I also found a hair salon that charged 13 Euros for shampoo and a blow dry!!! 😀 That made the walk soo worth it! I been looking for a place to do my hair! I also found an Aldi. I had no idea Belgium had those, felt like I was back home (I peeked inside the window like a creep and it looked just like the ones in the U.S.) I also found a huge supermarket, which was where I ended up buying two notebooks, one folder, and a pack of three post-its all for 5 Euros! I felt very accomplished. Only problem I had at the supermarket was that when I approached the cashier there was a man in front of me that STANK! I’m sorry but I literally felt dizzy his body odor was just too much for me! I think the cashier felt it too because she looked a bit disturbed. I wonder if his wife or girlfriend was smelling it?! Smh! I would never let my man walk with such a stench!

On another note I decided to do some research because I kept thinking about the Royal Palace “Palais Royale” in Brussels. So I found out that Albert II is the current King of Belgium (the sixth King of the country!) The first King was Leopold I. Pretty interesting how people are just born into monarchy. “Princess Tiffany” ^__^Now to find that prince!

http://www.monarchie.be/en – Learn more about the Belgian Royale Family and its history!

Palais Royale