Despite the depressive weather and the upcoming Hallmark holiday that most people have come to loathe, I have some pretty exciting plans for the month of February. To start the month off, I have been tirelessly working and studying in order to finish all of my exams by the 8th. For any of those who have experienced or know someone who has been through the Croatian schooling system will understand what an accomplishment this is. Unlike midterms or finals in the United States, Croatians undergo a three-part exam period. The first part is the essays, professors will ask for 10-20 page papers on your topic of choice as long as it pertains to the course.
Once you have completed the first round the second round is a timed written exam. These written exams can be extremely rigorous where students are asked to write several pages about very specific topics (Some professors ask that students memorize parts of books and write them out word for word) within a few hours. By the time you have reached the second round, sleep deprivation and exhaustion have taken their toll, days start to feel like dreams and nights are inefficiently spent “studying” and checking social media every ten minutes.
The last round of exams are the orals, these are by far the most difficult especially for the international students who do not regularly practice oral presentations. American school systems rarely teach public speaking skills until our last year of grad school when we must defend our dissertation thesis. For Croatians however, they begin orals in pre-school and by the time they are in college, they are able to talk circles around professors unlike me who in my most recent oral was able to fumble out a few incoherent sentences accompanied by a red blotchy flush of adrenaline mapping across my chest and face. Cruel right? I am excited to say that February 8th marks my last torturous oral (at least for now) and to celebrate I will be going to Vienna, Austria from the 10th to the 15th. If you have not been to Wien (Vienna) it is on the “Must Go” list of European cities. This Habsburg hub is filled with some of the most magnificent museum courts, cathedrals, and libraries in all of Europe (pictures below). Also, if you are a foodie like me then Vienna is home to some of the best desserts and cakes that I have encountered during my travels abroad. To say the least, I am doing my best to study in these last few days but the allure of Viennese sweets and daydreams of city nightlife make it hard to stay on track. On another note. By the time I get home (Zagreb) there will be no time to rest, on the 27th I will be moving out of my current shoebox of an apartment into a more spacious place accompanied by my very good friend from Fance! I have had many roommates in my life and to be completely honest I was apprehensive about moving in with someone again but if there is one thing I can say about living alone, it’s utterly depressing especially in the winter. By the time I am all moved into my new place it will be time for school to start all over again, so cheers to February and the new adventures that it brings (and a little relaxation here and there I hope).
(Above) The Albertina Museum
My feet were freezing off when I took this
A friend took me up to his University to show me the view
Never go anywhere without a cup of coffee/tea first
Butterfly garden/Cafe…Too bad the butterflies weren’t there
Museum Court 1-100… just kidding… I think