A semester abroad

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Sam’s studying abroad this semester, so he’s missing out on all of the growing up changes we are seeing with Oliver (and Jack). He’ll be back home in the states just in time for his birthday in May, but in the meantime, we’ve been making do with Skype sessions to keep in touch. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… the ability to use your phone/computer to video call with someone halfway around the world in real time… that’s quite sci-fi and very Star Trek like.

He’s a Government and Economics major at Bowdoin College here in Maine, so the time spent in Europe studying and visiting many of the important political institutions will give him a better understanding of how part of the world’s economy works. He’s based in Freiburg, Germany, but what’s especially cool about his semester abroad is that he travels to a lot of places as part of his study program.

So far he’s been to Brussels, Berlin, Prague, Frankfurt, Basel and Paris… and in the next few weeks he’ll be visiting Paris (again), Barcelona, Geneva, London, Tallinn and Munich. He has seen places like the Bundestag, the Louvre, Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris, the Berlin Wall, the Brandenburg Gate, the European Central Bank – now that’s pretty cool. Here are a couple of photographs from his travels…

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28 thoughts on “A semester abroad

  1. Thanks to Skype and social media – the world has turned into a village – so to speak… and your loved one’s are only an email or skype call away… Technology is great – isn’t it? However did we manage before ? 🙂

    • David Patterson

      Before Lori and I were married, I was living in Ireland, and she was in the United States… we used old fashioned letter writing to stay in touch 🙂

      • Those were the days… I moved to Ireland in 86 and got my first mobile (from OKI) in 89… and you could throw it further then actually talk on it… and it actually stored up to 10 numbers… imagine that 🙂 no email those days, just plain old letter back home to spill the beans… and a letter would take up to a week to get to Germany…guess States was quicker because of airmail… but it was a good time, wouldn’t miss it for the world…

          • Well everything is possible – you knows… and yes the place has changed so much… even those 4 years I went to live in Sweden (94 to 98) the changes were so imminent on the return, back to Germany in 2001 and have only been back once in 2004… Taking a taxi from the airport to rathfarnham cost me an arm and a leg… like the whole country was blooming so were the prices… our house trippled in value over a very short period in time… and then the whole country went into this European down spiral… TempleBar is still the place to be… 🙂

            • David Patterson

              The Celtic Tiger economy was a big deal for a while, but unfortunately then the wheels fell off. And yes, the Temple Bar is a pretty neat place. I took Sam there on St. Patrick’s Day two years ago when we last visited. Wild place!

  2. You must tell Sam, that he’ll HAVE TO visit the BEST country in Europe too….. (I would love to show hin some nice spots around here 🙂 )
    Apart from this, Freiburg a lovely city which I have had the pleasure to visit more than once….
    Should Sam’s father/family by the way not visit his son in Europe?!

    • David Patterson

      Sam is getting to see a lot of Europe – more than I’ve ever seen. His schedule is booked pretty solid – it seems like every week he’s off visiting another country. We would love to be able to visit him, but between his busy schedule, and the fact that we now have all our little friend Oliver to care for, I don’t think it’s going to happen.

    • David Patterson

      Someday he’ll look back on this experience and realize just how cool it is, though I do think – even now – that he understands how lucky he is.

  3. Hello David,
    First off Sam looks like Jack or Jack looks like Sam which is good I don’t look like my Mom or Dad or brothers and sister I look like my Mom’s sister and her daughter DJ people always think that my aunt is my Mom. I say she my second one. LOL Now tell Sam is a very lucky young man I didn’t get to visit Europe until I was in the military then I was in a lot of different place and had a great while doing my job. Oliver and Jack are growing by leaps and bounds so Sam will be missing a lot but he will be home in a couple months so he will see the changes right away. He also as pick up some of your styles of taking pictures which by the way is great. Have a good week David and family. Kat

    • David Patterson

      You should see their school mugshots… they could easily pass for twins (other than the 12 year age difference!)

    • David Patterson

      Agreed on the twins thing, and yes, I think Sam can hold his own with the camera. A couple of years ago he came on a photography trip to California… he did an amazing job shooting landscapes.

  4. I’m pretty sure he’s enjoying all his trips. If he visits Barcelona (I’ve seen he will) I’d recommend him, that if he wants to visit Sagrada Família to buy the tickets online, the queues are horrible there. And there are a couple of buses that he can take to see the city, but, he can also get on and off it all the times he want so, he can give a tour and visit things around.
    I hope he’ll like it! (If he wants/needs more information I spent most of my weekends there so… I’m kind of an expert of Barcelona :P)
    Enjoy of this abroad time!

  5. As someone studying abroad, I definitely appreciate tools like skype for helping to keep me in contact with everyone back home! It took an (embarrassingly) long time to find a post office in Singapore, AND skype/emails are so much faster and help communicate so much more!

    • David Patterson

      It is amazing how technology has grown to the point where we can – if we choose to – stay in touch from anywhere in the world. Hope you re enjoying your time abroad 🙂

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