Hilary Weissman>sophomore>Journalism>University of Maryland
When you’re abroad, there is a whole new way of life to adopt. For example, in the land of big lunches and mid-afternoon siestas, “Spain, particularly Madrid, is noted most for its nightlife, especially in the summers. People don’t go to clubs until 1 a.m., and they don’t leave until sunrise,” said Sam Mintz, a senior finance major at the University of Delaware.
During summer of 2008, Mintz made connections that he will never forget. “One night my friends and I were at a really nice rooftop bar right next to our apartment building, and we bumped [into] what we thought were regular kids from Canada. After talking with them more, we realized [they were] the guys from Simple Plan,” Mintz said. When he and his friends joined the band at a club down the street, they got VIP bottle service and hung with the band all night.
Perhaps not all students run into famous bands while abroad. But for some, other types of unique, different – and extreme – experiences serve to pass the time.
Run with the Bulls, not just Celebs
The Running of the Bulls is an annual festival that takes place in Pamplona, Spain. It involves provoking a wild bull with taunts and flashing red sashes (worn by the usually intoxicated Spaniards and tourists). Mintz caught a view of the action from one of Pamplona’s side streets.
“Essentially, it’s a huge party where a town of normally 300,000 people hosts upwards of 1 million people. There are dances and celebrations all through the night and into the morning. In fact, we tried to find coffee around 7 a.m., and all we could find were shots of tequila,” Mintz said.
Rachel Kornstein, a nursing student at Adelphi University, took the plunge over the Swiss Alps when she spent the semester in Italy in spring 2008. Her semester was eccentric enough (she took a wine tasting class for credit), but her weekend excursions are what brought her to her most daring experience of all.
Deciding to jump out of a plane and falling at about 120 mph is a pretty big decision to make, but for Kornstein the gravity of the situation did not weigh down on her until she was up in the air.
“I wasn’t even nervous until the very last millisecond before I jumped out. But I would do it again for sure!” Kornstein’s parents were far from on board. “I called my parents right before I was going and they wanted to kill me!”
Kornstein did the jump with her two best friends, as well as a group of people from her semester abroad
group. Once they were all safely back on the ground, they felt comfortable enough to watch the taped footage of their jumps. What’s the old saying? If your friend jumps off of a bridge…
“The Kiwis love extreme sports, I was told bungee jumping was also invented in New Zealand,” said Hannah DeMilta, a senior Public Relations major from Otterbein College. The New Zealander who invented Zorbing must have been jealous of their pet hamster’s mode of transportation, as it involves rolling down hill in a giant plastic ball. There’s a straight course to share the ride with someone else, but the zigzag trail is for one person.
While studying in Australia in fall 2008, DeMilta and her friends took a week-long excursion to the city of Rotorua, New Zealand, where Zorbing is said to be invented.
“The hill isn’t that big, but it’s an intense little trip. We screamed the whole time,” she said. “It’s comparable to a water slide, but I thought [it was] more fun. You end up slipping side to side and sort of suspended in the air at moments.”
She also went black water rafting in caves in New Zealand, where they rappelled 10 meters and took a zip line. It was pitch-black and they saw a “ceiling full of glowworms,” she said. “It’s something I’ll never forget.”