The hardworking people of Dubrovnik

The hardworking people of Dubrovnik

We have returned from our trip to Montenegro which was stunning (pictures are below).The mountainous landscape coupled with the coastal cities of Kotor and Budva made for a truly great weekend. It also made me realize just how amazing Dubrovnik is. Now that I have visited multiple European cities, and several in the Adriatic and Baltic regions, I have no hesitation in saying that Dubrovnik is my favorite city with the most charm.

One of the reasons that I love Dubrovnik so much is because of how hard working their people are. Since the end of August, I have walked the same path to school Monday-Friday and sometimes on the weekends. Day and night, the same people are perched at their street locations or in their shops. They perform the same duties each day that I see them. I know that if I was in that position, I would be bored, complaining, and unhappy with my job. These people are so passionate and happy to be where they are (or at least they portray that). Every morning and evening, the same craftsmen and women are out knitting or painting, hoping to make a sale that day. There is a man that stands by the big fountain literally every day, in a costume, selling tiny little hearts with “Dubrovnik 2015” written on them, for only 7 kuna, or $1 each. The same woman stands outside the Orlando restaurant, happily waiting on her tables and encouraging passing tourists to take a seat and enjoy a coffee. I have never seen such hardworking people in my life (well, except my mothers fiancé Brian, he never stops either!) But seriously, these people are so dedicated to whatever they are doing, it is so inspiring.

On the other hand, I have noticed how lazy the students in Dubrovnik are. Maybe they have better work ethic when they are actually at work and just don’t care much about school, but it really makes me wonder- Is there something wrong with my generation that we don’t (as a whole) have the same passion and hard-working habits of these people I see on the main Stradun every day? Students and classmates in Dubrovnik are constantly asking for extensions on projects and assignments on the same day they are due, proving they have waited to the last minute to start anything. Most of them hand in poor quality work because they just don’t care. In group projects they like to try and do as little as possible. It is quite frustrating.

One of my upcoming blog posts will be a list of reasons why Dubrovnik is the best city to visit. I keep hesitating writing it because I feel like I will learn another thing great about the city, so I don’t want to write it prematurely.

I wanted to remind everyone reading my blog, students especially, one of the reasons my study abroad trip was possible was because of many generous organizations, such as Constellation Brands, the Benjamin A Gilman Foundation, the Statler Foundation, AH&LEF, among many others. I encourage all of you to look into the scholarships that these foundations offer, even if you are not looking to study abroad, they offer other general scholarships (mostly for hospitality students).

Thank you all so much for taking this journey with me! I will be back again next week!

XOXO Sarah

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Two months down… Two months to go!

Two months down… Two months to go!

Wow! I cannot believe two weeks have gone by, yet again! Schoolwork is getting a bit more intense as we get into the middle of the semester. I went to Amsterdam last week, and my sister met us in Amsterdam and then she came to Dubrovnik for a week. I was her personal tour guide while she was here!

After 7 weeks of living in Dubrovnik, we finally were able to climb the city walls. I am told that some locals who have lived here their entire life have never climbed the walls, so I don’t feel as guilty that it took us so long to do it :). The view from the walls was completely different than what I was expecting. Since our balcony has such an amazing view of the city, I didn’t think it could be beat. But when you are on top of the walls, the view looking out onto the streets and the terracotta rooftops is incredible.

While my sister, Jessica, was here, I finally did some souvenir shopping and felt like a tourist in Dubrovnik. I met so many great locals working in the shops while I was wandering with Jessica. From the kind man in the T-shirt shop who is specially printing us our own t-shirt styles, to the father of a classmate working at the bus station, I engaged more with locals working in the hospitality industry than before. I also was able to walk through the small outdoor market where locals sell their homemade goods; lavender, oils, cooking utensils, sweets, and fresh fruits and veggies are just a few of the charming things they sold. I discovered new areas of Dubrovnik while my sister was here, and for that I am grateful.

I am becoming a little nervous, because we only have two months left in this city! I cannot believe how fast this experience is flying by. I still have so much to look forward to, like a class field trip tomorrow to Peljisac, a trip to Montenegro next weekend, and a getaway to Rome, Italy in a few weeks!

I have been gone for eight weeks now, and in that small amount of time I have learned more about myself than I would have ever imagined. Some things I learned:

Almost everyone speaks English, which means that are speaking at least two languages, which also means that I am spoiled for never learning another language.

The people who don’t speak English can still communicate with what little English they know, and that is almost always the funnest part about traveling places.

I am more independent than I ever thought possible.

Americans are loved and hated almost everywhere. I feel so lucky to be an American. After meeting a woman traveling alone who was born in the Phillipines but has lived in Tokyo for years, I realized how lucky we are. She has to obtain a visa for every country she visits before she even begins planning her trip, and she has to apply and pay (sometimes several hundred dollars) for each one. Americans can simply buy a plane ticket and hop around several countries without ever having to apply for a visa (which is what I have done for Paris, London, Amsterdam, Rome, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro). I never once even looked up if I needed a visa. But on the other end, some people resent us for that. We are ignorant, and many people want to blame the world’s problems on us. It is very interesting going to class with other nationalities and discussing politics and the refugee crisis. So that brings me to my next point…

Other nationalities pay attention to American politics more than I do. I feel so embarrassed to even admit that. I have not paid attention to the upcoming presidential election much at all, but the woman I met wanted to know my opinions on the upcoming election… and I couldn’t give one! She had watched all the debates and followed the campaigns pretty closely so far, and I don’t think that I have done anything other than see things on social media about it. It is terrible, and I have decided that I need to become more politically involved.

My perception of New York has changed so much. Of course, whenever I tell people I am from New York, they think I mean Manhattan. I tell them no, I come from farm country :). I think the thing I miss most is fall; the foliage, the smells and scents, and the atmosphere. I tried bringing a little bit of NY fall to Dubrovnik by making my sister bring me some ingredients to make pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, ha! They don’t sell any pumpkin in Dubrovnik, and it is my ultimate favorite fall food, so since she was coming anyway, I told her to throw it in her suitcase. I think that I have grown an appreciation for New York that I never had before, but maybe I won’t be saying that when I arrive at the end of December in the freezing cold :).

Thank you for following me for the past two months; we have two months left and I am so excited to share the rest of my time here with you!

XOXO Sarah

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