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Second Semester

In the second semester of my year abroad, I decided to take fewer courses to allow myself more time to travel.

I took International Marketing Part 2. It had more of a self-learning structure in place, meaning that each student had to research a topic and prepare both a report and a presentation and then present it to the class. This allowed us all to learn from each other and I really liked it. I also took International Marketing Strategy Simulation, which is a course based around an online program where we had to sell toothpaste in South America in teams of three. This course allowed me to put all of the theory that I had learned into practice.

Lastly, I took an intensive German course for four months where I had class five days a week for two and a half hours each day. The level went from B1.2 – B2.2 and at the end of June there is a big exam for all of the students who take course. Luckily, I passed! I recommend everyone who wants to learn a language take a course like this because you learn a lot by getting the chance to practice your vocabulary and grammar in a helpful environment when you have to go to class every day . This was all while still taking Sprott’s Cross Cultural Communications course online. In total, I finished with the needed 60 ECTS to have a grand total of five Carleton credits.

As I previously mentioned, I was able to travel a fair amount from March to June. I visited Berlin (Germany), Sibiu, Bran and Brasov (Romania), Barcelona and Valencia (Spain), Sofia, Rita and Plovdiv (Bulgaria), Budapest (Hungary) and Brno (Czech Republic). I was hoping to make it to more cities during my second semester, but I didn’t have as much time as I thought I did and I didn’t want to miss too many German classes.

During my travels I found that I developed a love of Eastern Europe and I hope to travel further into to the places that tend not to be visited by tourists. Perhaps go for a three or four day hike through the mountains somewhere?

Jessica standing in front of a landscaped waterfall at Swarovski Crystal World outside Innsbruck

Exploring Swarovski Crystal World outside of Innsbruck

Grüner See, Austria

Grüner See, Austria

Jessica in front of the Hungarian Parliament Building

In front of the Hungarian Parliament Building

The view over Park Güell with lots of buildings and houses in the background

Enjoying the view over Park Güell

Jessica in front of Castle Hunedoara in Romania

Conquering Romania one castle at a time (Castle Hunedoara)

Rila Monastery in Rila, Bulgaria

Rila Monastery in Rila, Bulgaria

Jessica and 4 friends sitting on a mountain peak with greenery in the background

Celebrating our climb to the top of one of the peaks of the Vitosha Mountains in Sofia, Bulgaria

Once the semester came to an end, I had to say some teary-eyed goodbyes to the people who had become good friends. I then began my next adventure as the sports leader and assistant leader at an English camp in the west of Austria, near Salzburg.


I worked at a camp run by Educom and Young Austria, for a total of six weeks with a one week break after four weeks. All of the counsellors are native English speakers, with the majority coming from the UK and Ireland.

During this time, I organized different sports activities like hiking, going to the swimming pool, sports tournaments, etc. for the kids during their three hours of afternoon program, as well as helped organize the evening program from time to time. Each week there would be an excursion somewhere (sometimes to Salzburg, sometimes an adventure trek) and there were also extra activities that some of the kids would take part in. I was able to go rafting with the kids and to a high ropes park.

During these activities it hardly felt like work at all! I was having so much fun that and I couldn’t believe that I was actually working at such a cool place. Some kids stay for one week, but some kids stay for up to four weeks and I really got to know them. I would talk to them about what we had done that day, what they liked, what they didn’t like, and then use this information to help me plan and/or change the activities that I had in mind or the next day.

For the entire summer, I was surrounded by mountains in a small town where I was still able to practice my German with the locals and the people who owned the house we stayed in. Additionally, because we were staying at an overnight camp, we were served each meal every day and most lunches and dinners were three courses (a soup, a main, and a dessert) of traditional Austrian food. For anyone who is doing a year abroad in a country where English isn’t the national language, I recommend working at an English camp because you get to meet some really cool people and have so many new experiences. It was sad to say goodbye to everyone on my last day, but I was also looking forward to returning to Ottawa to finish my degree.

It was a blast to have had the opportunity to be a Sprott Blogger and I hope that you’ve enjoyed my posts. If you have any questions about my year abroad or Austria, please feel free to contact me!

Jessica with 2 very large easter egg sculptures in the middle of the market

Enjoying the Easter Market at Schönbrunn


Jessica 🙂

Friday, September 9, 2016 in ,
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