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Looking back…

Now that my stay
in here in Copenhagen is coming to an end, I am realizing once again how glad I
am that I had the chance to come here. I am not exaggerating when I say that
going abroad was the best decision that I made while at Caltech. Coming here
was a really fun, interesting, eye-opening experience that I will never forget
about. Moreover, I think that this trip to Europe is just the beginning of many
other experiences that I am already looking forward to. I had such a great time
here that I know I will return here, and explore other places whenever I have
the chance.

I realized that I have been talking mostly about Copenhagen in my previous blogs.

However, there is a number of other places that I visited in the last four
months. I have been to Holland, Belgium, and Sweden, and am planning to travel
to Norway in two weeks, right before I return home. When you find yourself in
Europe, you are surrounded by many countries, each somehow different from the
others. You suddenly realize exactly how large US is in comparison to any
country in Europe. It doesn’t take much to travel around and see some other
places outside of the country you are studying in. In the beginning, it was
really shocking to me to be able to see Sweden across the water from Copenhagen.

It seemed strange to me that another place can be so close, and still be a
different country. But that’s how it is, and it’s really great.

Of course, if
you just travel across the bridge from Copenhagen to Malmo (Sweden), you won’t
feel much different. When I went to Malmo, I did not find it particularly
striking, but it was still cool to be able to say that I have been to Sweden
and back in one day!
I realize that I could have seen many more countries, but I chose not to. I
decided to spend more time in Copenhagen and really understand what it is like
to live in Europe. I decided that I did not want to make a lot of short trips
to different places and have to quickly run around and only see small parts of
each country. Instead, I would rather come back to all these other places
sometime later.

I hope that this blog has inspired the same excitement about going abroad in some
of you. There are so many places in the world outside of the US that are worth
discovering. And Europe should be on the top of your list if you have never
been there before. There is just a whole another way of living that you
discover here.

And if nothing I
said before sounds appealing, then there is one more thing that makes Europe a
great place to be in. It’s Chocolate! If you like chocolate as I do, you will
I am not even talking about Belgium. Yes, if you must go to Belgium if you want
to be in chocolate heaven for a couple of days (complemented with waffles and
other cookies and sweets). But even in Denmark – I now feel the need to eat
chocolate almost every day, just because it is so good, and there is so much of
it here. Hot chocolate, chocolate milk shakes, chocolate ice cream, and just
plain chocolate….how can you resist that? I can’t…

Masha Belyi