Fort Worth, Texas – Participating in the International Leadership Academy 2016

A year ago I returned home from Fort Worth, where I was a participant at the „International Leadership Academy“ which is an international issues forum where students from 8 countries meet and discuss a certain topic.

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Before the actual program started, we visited the Texas Rangers Baseball Stadium with the Swazis.

These countries are Mexico, Italy, Hungary, China, Japan, Swaziland, Indonesia, Germany and of course, the USA. Only Fort Worth’s sister cities have access to the program.

All the people I got to know are very important to me now. I text them almost everyday and I am very glad that certain social media platforms make it possible for us to keep in touch.

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„ILA“ is a great opportunity to meet people who are highly interested in social activities, politics and international friendships. We had two sessions every day where we worked on the topic „Building a Culture of Health“, which was selected for ILA 2016. Additionally, we did many activities together for example helping at a community center and visiting a center where they collected food for homeless people and families who could not afford groceries. We also went to different malls and to the historical district of Fort Worth which was great! I will later write a blogpost about the city and its sights.

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Me fooling around, unfortunately my friend who took the photo cut my feet off.

Generally, all the friendly, open-minded and caring people- including Facilitators, Delegation Leaders and Program Participants made the program very special and I assume that there is no other program in the world where everyone is so passionate about and engaged in working together.

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The campus is huge! It is like a little student village.

Additionally, I really liked the topic „Building a culture of health“ because I think in course of the globalization which is followed by more work and also stress, it is very important to care about other people’s cultures and about oneself. Also stress should not be underestimated because people have to be healthy in order to deal with it appropriately. Furthermore, it was great to do group activities and especially visiting business companies in Fort Worth. Thus we got a brief insight into their work and how they help society.

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This is the Football field where the Horned Frogs play American Football. We used to go running every morning at 6am and did some stair running in the stadium. We had to go running very early because breakfast was at 8 and we even had 28 degrees in the morning. (38 degrees in the afternoon)

In addition, I had the honor to interview three very inspiring business people with two other boys of the program. I am very glad that I had this opportunity because I learned a lot about these people, about their work-life-balance and how two deal with too much work and stress.
At this point I would like to thank Sister Cities for offering me this great opportunity!

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Me and the „Horned Frog“

We stayed at the TCU (Texas Christian University) Campus for two weeks but we also spent a weekend in a host family. This weekend with my host family was probably the best weekend in my life so far. They were very friendly and hospitable. They brought me to all the great places in- and around Fort Worth. It was great because they introduced me to activities they also like to do at weekends and I was able to do „typical american things“. They planned the weekend and also asked my what I would like to do, for example going to the Kimbell art museum where I was able to see some of my favorite paintings by Piet Mondrian or Michelangelo. We also went to the rodeo which was very exciting for me because we do not have similar things in Germany. Additionally, we went to a Drive-In movie theater which reminded me stereotypically of the movie „Grease“ – it was great! But these were only three of many activities. They were also very interested in German Culture and in my everyday life. There was always something to talk about.

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The entrance to the Football stadium 

Participating in the International Leadership Academy was the best decision of my life and these two weeks were the best weeks in my whole life so far. I would appreciate coming back 2018 or 2019 and hopefully one day I can say „I’ve been to all the Sister Cities countries and I was able to meet all my friends there!“!

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They even had a huge food court, a Starbucks and the Recreation Center (Fitness Center with an indoor track field, 3 Basketball fields, a climbing wall, a gym and two swimming pools) on campus. There were also Beach Volley Ball fields in addition to the Football stadium and the Basketball arena.

Looking at these pictures makes me really sad because I really miss the time and all the people I got to know there. I miss the hot sun in Texas, I miss candy shopping, I miss dancing salsa with my Mexican friends in the evening in front of our dorm, I miss having pool parties and swimming with my friends from Swaziland and I really miss my host family. Actually it is really hard to write about this experience because my eyes are almost filled with tears.
But I should not be whining because I am grateful for this experience and furthermore, I will be starting my next adventure very soon!

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Me posing in the heat, 100 degrees Fahrenheit 

Have you ever participated in a similar program or have you ever experienced something so great that you actually feel miserable thinking about it because you really miss the the people and the place? Let me know in the comments!

Love,
Sophie

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NYC #7 – Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge, as well one of the most touristy places in New York.
No caption needed, I just hope you like the photographs of this architectural masterpiece. Additionally, you will be happy to hear that my New York City Photography series comes to an end and there is only one post left.

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Stay tuned and have a great week!

xx, Sophie

NYC #6 – Almost touching the sky

We bought our group ticket from a local tourist guide and decided to climb the Empire State Building on the spur-of-the-moment. It was 10pm and we were very excited.
Having arrived at the building, a woman guided us to a huge elevator. I was wondering how long it would take to get up onto the platform on the 86th floor.
The answer was, just a few seconds. My ears were aching, my heart sank into my boots – I was afraid.
As soon as we arrived at the 86th floor I became excited. My friend and I stood in front of the glass door which separated us from the terrace.
„Ready?“ she asked, „Break!“ I answered. (It’s an American Football thing, we used to play Ladies Football)
We opened the door, a strong breeze was blowing through our hair. We stepped out on the terrace and walked to the fence. What we saw was beyond words.

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NYC #5 – The City at Night

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Just noticed the Strand Bookstore which I already mentioned in my last NYC post

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This one is my personal favourite!
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Oh and I also messed up my logo/copyright whatever…Photoshop confusion 😀

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I just wanted to share with you my „New York City at Night“ pictures, there’s not much to say. I hope you enjoy this post even though I don’t have another NYC guide for you at the moment.

Much love,
Sophie

 

 

NYC #4 – The (partly) Alternative New York City Travel Guide

Maybe you have already read my first New York City post and know that I travelled to NYC for four days in 2015. Although I had a great time and saw great places and sights, I was (of course) not able to explore many alternative and non-touristy places.

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As you know from my second NYC post, I love to explore cities by foot. This is why I would try to not use the subway and walk through Manhattan next time.
If I go back to this wonderful city in a couple of years, I would like to focus on the alternative things to do.

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Rockefeller Center Ice Skating

This is still very touristy but a few steps from Times Square you will find the Rockefeller Center with its Ice Skating area. The last time I went to New York I desperately wanted to go ice skating, since it was very warm and I thought it would be quite refreshing.

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Visiting a Street Art Gallery

I love arts in general but I am also very interested in Street Art. Graffiti is not only about spraying walls anymore, many artists publish their graffiti in alternative art galleries.
Visiting a Street Art Gallery would be extremely interesting, especially if I could talk to New Yorker artists.

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Thrifting

Since I like to read blogposts about thrifting, especially by Kali Borovic, I would love to go to different Thrift Stores in New York. It is amazing how many great clothes you can find if you just be patient and spend a little more time in Thrift Shops.
Kali’s tips for thrifting and her thrift hauls are awesome and we should all try to live a more sustainable life and buy second hand clothing.

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Going to the gym in SoHo

This may sound weird to many of you but I am obsessed with sports and I love going to the gym. It is not that I always have to have a gym around me but I heard that especially SoHo has many alternative basement gyms to offer. So why not meeting some wannabe celebs in a nice hipster gym?

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Spending my afternoon in Strand Bookstore

Not long ago I found out about this bookstore on the website Goop.com. They describe themselves as a „modern lifestyle brand“ but I still do not know what kind of business they actually are. Anyway, they published something about NYC and mentioned this huge and beloved bookstore. I visited the official website (I linked the website in the heading) and became obsessed with the store without even having visited it before.
I really love to read and although I started using an  e-reader (because it is more comfortable and water resistant), I still enjoy conventional books. If I go to the library or to our local bookstore, I will spend at least two hours reading the caption of minimum thirty books, reading some chapters of books I think I would enjoy and then buying at least three books. Not very minimalistic I guess…

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Exploring China town and Little Italy

When I was in NYC, we just ran through these two municipalities because we obviously did not have much time. But it was really interesting to see all these people on the streets, selling delicious food and Lucky Cats (??)!
However, if I come back, I will spend much more time in these two districts.

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I hope you enjoyed reading this post and please comment down below if you have any ideas or advice on what to do in NYC.

Have a nice weekend and see you soon!
Sophie