My first summer in Europe was over and college had begun. I immediately began thinking of ways to get back to Europe. When I applied to a study abroad program in Valencia for spring and was accepted, I thought things were too good to be true. Turns out, they were. A few weeks before I was supposed to leave, the financial aid office at my school lost some of my paperwork and all of my loans fell through. I had to stay in Tallahassee another semester. What was my first step after that? Applying to a study abroad program for summer of course! My friend Nicole and I were both accepted into a six week long Holocaust intensive.
Polka Dancing with Nicole at the Hofbrauhaus, Munich, Germany
The actual title of the research program was “The Nazi Era: Perpetrators, Bystanders, and Victims.” For six weeks we would travel around Central Europe with 20 other students and 3 professors. We would visit concentration camps, museums, memorials, interview survivors, watch documentaries, and develop journals and a final research paper.
This summer would turn out to be so different from my last. Instead of staying in hostels, we stayed in one of a kind, locally owned hotels. We had a bus that took us from city to city instead of trains. At first it was really hard to be on someone else’s schedule. Class would sometimes run from 9 AM to 9 PM, and considering we only had six weeks, I wanted to go out every night. Add that to the piles of homework we had, and I can safely say that we consistently burned the candle on both ends for six straight weeks.
Nicole and I met a kindred spirit on this trip, Kelly, and the three of us immediately clung to each other like bees to honey. We had an understanding that while the program was our first priority, the six weeks would be unbearable if they were all work and no play. So play we did.