Jake Schild ‘ 15 – Finally we have arrived! It was an early morning and a long flight, but we all survived. Some of us though are in serious need of a quick nap. Sadly, when we arrived at the Youth Hostel our rooms were not ready. We are forced to postpone our much needed rest. So we disperse and venture out into the city hoping that the energy of the town would keep us going. There was just one problem. The city was dead. The only parallel I can draw is to any classic western when the hero rides into the town and there is no one in sight. What we thought might be the beginning of the zombie apocalypse turned out to be just a regular Sunday in Europe. We were warned by our professors that Europeans take Sundays off, but we were not ready for the town to be completely shut down. So after exploring the deserted streets and peering into closed shops we made our way back to the hostel. Our rooms were ready and we could finally take that much needed sleep.
Upon awakening we ventured back out. To our surprise the town had woken up from its slumber as well. A few shops and cafes had opened and people were out front having coffee and tea. The feel of this Sunday afternoon is so much different than what we are accustomed to in America. Everyone is always rushing, always trying to get something done. Here the pace is slower, more relaxed. This was expected though. You hear that life in Europe goes at a much more leisurely pace. Some of that is lost in translation though. It is something that cannot be fully understood through discussion or reading. It needs to be experienced. This – I expect – will be applicable to the rest of our trip as well. We have discussed and read a lot about European politics, culture, and economics but without actually experiencing it our understanding is incomplete.
I want to conclude by thanking the Rogge Fund for funding this trip and giving us this unique experience.