I Went to Munich… Twice!

Written by Serena Khan

Before coming to GTE, I got all sorts of advice and warnings about coming to Europe. The most echoed warning was the vigilance required for personal belongings due to the rife pickpocketing. My response was often a dismissive ‘duh,’ confidently assuring myself of my ability to safeguard my essentials. After all, while traveling throughout Paris, Lisbon, Luxembourg, and Metz, all my valuables — phone, wallet, and passport too — had remained secured. My confidence in my vigilance was rock solid… until Munich happened.

I made so many good memories in Munich. From exploring the city with my friends to seeing the BMW museum, everything was going so smoothly. I thought Munich was such a cool city, and my trip was filled with so much joy and laughter, the kind of laughter where you can’t even breathe and you’re growing an instant 6-pack. The vibes were so positive. On our last day, we decided to explore the city at night. As we walked through Munich, the old, German-style architecture was illuminated by street lights, casting a warm glow on the cobblestone streets. Passing by lively restaurants and bars, the vibrant energy of the city was evident.

We were all enamored by the vivacity of the place when we suddenly came across an explosion of strobe lights and loud singing. The allure of the atmosphere from inside was irresistible, drawing us in. As we approached the source of the commotion, the energy of the night seemed to concentrate at this one spot. It was a karaoke disco. The atmosphere was electric inside with a vibrant mix of melodies, laughter, and joyous singing. The music was a blend of familiar hits and local beats that resonated with us. It created a sense of connection despite the language barriers. With all the singing and and endless laughter, it was easy to lose track of time, and even easier to overlook the safety of our belongings. The night was promising, and we were all too eager to dive in, completely captivated by the vibrancy that had originally drawn us in. This moment that was so full of life and energy, would later deflate like a balloon to the realization of my lost phone — a humbling reminder of my carelessness.

The journey back to Munich was filled with dread and faint hope. Losing my phone was a wake-up call from the euphoria I had been experiencing. Despite the warnings about pickpockets in Europe, I was so confident in my ability to keep my things safe, but I was wrong. The thought of losing my phone, with all its precious memories and important information, was devastating. My confidence and excitement from the trip were replaced by a sinking feeling of regret. I always thought I was vigilant enough to at least keep my phone safe… yet here I was, facing the consequences of a momentary lapse in attention.

The process of trying to retrieve my phone felt like a long shot. Filling out the lost and found form on the disco’s website felt like grasping at straws. It just felt like a formality that I doubted would even be helpful. The stress of useless waiting and managing my daily routine without my phone was overwhelming. Every task, from waking up on time for class to communicating with friends and family, became a hurdle. The constant worry about explaining the situation to my parents loomed over me. However one day, an unexpected email notification informing me that my phone had been found was a moment of sheer relief. Yet, the realization that getting my phone back would require a seven-hour train journey to Munich, with a narrow window of opportunity, added a new layer of anxiety. The fear of traveling alone coupled with the logistical challenges of missing classes weighed heavily on me. I somehow convinced one of my friends to accompany me on this journey, and I am eternally grateful to her because without her, I would have never even considered going to Munich to get my phone alone.

The frantic race against time to reach the karaoke disco before my chance closed and the relief of finally holding my phone again was a rollercoaster of emotions. This experience of losing and finding my phone was a lesson in humility and the unpredictability of life. As I reflect on this adventure, I am reminded of the value of staying grounded and re-evaluating my sense of responsibility. To my parents, who are learning of this ordeal for the first time through this blog post, I am so

Making Friends

Written by Serena Khan

Diving into Georgia Tech-Europe was like stepping onto a rollercoaster blindfolded with not a single clue who’d be riding with me. I began my journey of finding my people by joining a GroupMe chat ahead of time, trying to see if I could make some connections before actually getting to Metz. Nonetheless, it still felt like I would be walking into a party where everyone’s already paired off into their cliques. I assumed everyone had already found their people which was nerve-racking to say the least.

In a last-minute “what have I got to lose” moment, I started DMing girls on GroupMe who seemed like they’d be down to earth. When I got to the airport to catch the shuttle to Metz, catching sight of other students made me realize most of us were going through the same thing — all of us bound for the same adventure. Bonding happened in the blink of an eye with a couple of girls on our way to Metz, making me feel like maybe I wasn’t in this totally solo. It was just the start, but that spark of hope felt really good.

These past few weeks in Metz have been nothing short of a blast. I now have myself an amazing group of friends that’s all about those uncontrollable laughs and making memories that’ll stick around way longer than any souvenir. This journey without them wouldn’t be the same. The time with them is flying by way too fast, and I’m here trying to live it up as much as I can.

To anyone even half-thinking about studying abroad: just dive in. Once you land, throw yourself into every single event GTE throws your way. Welcome bash, art classes, you name it—each one is a golden ticket to stepping out of that comfort zone and really soaking in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity while you’re not spending your weekends traveling.

Feeling jittery about finding your people? I get it. But, surprise, surprise—it turns out connecting with others in a new setting isn’t as tough as it seems. Keeping an open mind and saying ‘yes’ a lot can make a world of difference. Before you know it, the globe feels just a tad smaller, and you’ve found a new family. As my own chapter here is already flying by, I’m just super thankful for the friendships and bonds I have already created. They’ve turned every day and every memory into something monumental.

First Blog of the Semester!!

Written by Serena Khan

It has been a season of new beginnings for me, and little did I know, another one would be just around the corner.

This semester marked a significant new beginning for me as I had just transferred to Georgia Tech. It was a challenge adjusting to a new school, new faces, and a different academic landscape after two years at another college, but it was also an opportunity to grow and adapt. However, another new chapter awaited me in France.

I’ve always romanticized studying abroad and everything about Europe, but I was quickly met with a reality check. My first few weeks in Metz were not without their challenges.

The extreme weather in Metz was definitely unforeseen. I’m usually accustomed to Georgia’s bipolar weather that bounces back and forth between temperatures of all four seasons in just the short span of one week. I found myself in a constant state of the coldest weather I had ever experienced during my first two weeks here. This unanticipated cold, combined with a sense of overwhelming nerves and homesickness, led me to miss orientation, and it was just a mere one-minute Uber ride away, which I hadn’t realized. The gray, depressing atmosphere of the area around our dorm and campus initially dampened my spirits, and I just wanted to be in the comfort of my room back home.

Although the start of this trip abroad was intimidating and honestly anxiety-ridden, I began making friends and exploring beyond the campus. Things started to look up. Even though I knew my study abroad would eventually turn out to be everything I imagined and more, I needed a sign of hope that would erase the negative feelings. My first night exploring Metz with a group of people I had just met turned out to be that sign. It was the first time it actually hit me that I was in Europe. Taking in all the intricacies of the architecture, the lively streets, and just navigating through a new city without any familiarities was a surreal feeling. For the first time, I am managing all aspects of travel planning without my parents, who always organized every detail of our family trips. This independence is both new and intimidating, but it’s a challenge I’m learning to embrace.

Now, here’s the pièce de résistance: I have an extra-special reason to be excited to be here. My 14-year-old brother, a budding soccer star, is on the path to making his dreams come true, as he takes his first steps towards greatness playing for the Ja Drancy soccer club in France. From January to June, you’ll find me cheering on the sidelines, with all the enthusiasm of a proud sibling. It’s more than just a soccer game; it’s a testament to diligence, hard work, and chasing after your dreams.

The main factor that influenced my decision to study in Metz is the proximity to my dad and brother living in Drancy. Having the chance to be there for my brother’s soccer journey is something that fills me with so much joy and pride.

But what I’m anticipating the most is traveling across Europe with my newfound friends. As I travel from country to country via train, I welcome every hurdle and obstacle with open arms. Italy, Spain, Prague, and more await me, each with its own unique charm and stories to be uncovered. These trips will broaden my lens on the world, offering me fresh perspectives and a chance to create unforgettable memories.

So, here’s to embracing the adventure, to campus life in Metz, to experiencing the true essence of France, to cheering on my little brother as he chases his dreams, and to welcoming these new beginnings with open arms. Together, we’ll explore the heart of Europe, one train ride at a time, and create a unique blend of stories and experiences to cherish forever.