The best summer in New Paltz: Take a swim at Ulster Country Pool Area!

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We had a great and hot summer during the Fall Semester 2015. When studying in New Paltz you should definitely take some beaks and visit the Ulster Country Pool Area several times. It does not matter if you stay one hours or even the whole day.

The Ulster County Pool Complex is an outdoor swimming pool that is close to Sunny Campus. The complex is quite old and seems to be out of a different era, nevertheless it is clean and perfectly equipped. There is one kiddy pool and also an Olympic size swimming pool. Next to each pool area is a lifeguard sitting and watching the pool carefully. The pool is surrounded by a very nice and spacious grass-area where you can lie down and enjoy the sun.

Moreover there is a large pavilion with picnic tables. Therefore you can bring your own food or buy some cold and hot snacks at the kiosk. The atmosphere is really calm and very relaxed.

Entrance: 4 Dollar

Taxi costs from Sunny Campus to Pool: 6 Dollar

Further information: http://ulstercountyny.gov/public-works/ulster-county-pool-complex

Visit the home of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Vanderbilt´s Marble House

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The school organized a trip to the home of 32nd U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Vanderbilt Mansion Historic Site, historically known as Hyde Park- Vanderbilt Mansion National Park. The Park encompasses over 200 acres of the original estate which was home to prominent New Yorkers for nearly two centuries. Both sites were amazing in itself.

The FDR estate is much more unpretentious that the Vanderbilt Mansion. Nevertheless it is definitely worth and very interesting to take the tour and see how the young Franklin D. Roosevelt lived, where he studied and later had official meetings. Moreover it is interesting to see the modifications that where made to make him live comfortable during the time he had to spent in a wheelchair, when being stricken with poliomyelitis. Roosevelt fought to regain the use of his legs and succeeded. The Presidential Museum is very modern and uses different types of media to inform and entertain its visitors. It allows to gain a comprehensive knowledge about Franklin D. Roosevelt and also about his wife Eleanor that was politically very active.

The Vanderbilt Mansion is only 30 minutes away and is one of the smallest residences that belonged to the Vanderbilt´s. It was a summer house where Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt regularly lived in. The interior is amazing and consists of more than 500,000 cubic feet of marble. When it was completed, Mr. Vanderbilt presented  the house to his wife as a 39th birthday present. since 2006 the Marble House is a National Historic Landmark and open to the public.

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More information:

FDR House: http://www.nps.gov/hofr/index.htm

Marble House: http://www.newportmansions.org/explore/marble-house

Fall Breaking in 2016?

Hi new IIB students!

Are you a fall breaker? Do you want to have fun? Do not hesitate and read one of our posts that we have written about! Everyone chose different places to spend these four free days. Autumn in the United States means, for me, red leaves, perfect weather and… Columbus Day! Some mates of mine visited Montreal, others went to DC and I left for Boston. Every decision you will take, I am sure, it will be a good idea! Boston, for instance, is awesome. There are, China Town, Little Italy, many parks and a harbor from which it is possible to see lovely and pink sunsets. Restaurants offer fresh fish and there is a market in the city center, called Quincy Market, in which you can find whatever you want! It is possible to visit Boston, and even the near Cambridge, in three days without problems; and it is definitely less crowded than New York City. For me, it was like staying in London but with less Italians settled in. And, believe me, especially if you came from Italy, this sounds good! I felt in love with this city and I recommend all of you to spend your time wandering in New England!

 

 

LIVING THE "BLOODY MOON" IN NEW PALTZ

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Picture taken from the telescope of the University. No filter.

1982 was the last time it occurred. 2033 the next appearance. However, during the night between September 27 and 28, the Blood Moon has given the Earth a breathtaking spectacle. And I was in New Paltz. Probably, one of the better places for enjoying this extraordinary phenomena.
The “Blood Moon” – also called Total Lunar Eclipse- occurs when the Earth is exactly in the middle between the Sun and the Moon. The gases contained in our atmosphere, create the illusion that the moon becomes red.
Everything that night was so magical: I have never seen a moon so bright and big. Everyone was out in the campus street – some of them were even in pajamas- to view it and take pictures. Indeed, during the total lunar eclipse, the moon is 8% bigger than the normal dimensions! We were so fascinated that we decided to go to the university observatory, which is situated in a silent place, quite close to the wood. Here, everything was even more beautiful and I felt like in a movie. There were some astronomy students that were enthusiasts to show us some old magazines about that phenomenon. There were also telescopes, that people could use to see it better. Students were not the only watchers, other New Paltz habitants had gathered there. Among them, a old man has attracted my attention: he was so passionate and excited about the lunar eclipse, analyzing every detail with his gigantic telescope. But he was even happier to explain us what it was happening, to transmit us his knowledge. And there were also a good pleasant music, enchanting the atmosphere. We were all together, with heads up to the sky and one purpose: enjoying our moon.

To do when in New Paltz

Time flies by and it is already time for fall break. The most of my exams, reports and presentations is done and today I finally had some time to just relax in my room for a few ours before class. Then I realize that we leave this place next Friday and I started to reflect over this past two months and my time in New Paltz.

Before we leave next week I want to leave a small but good “New Paltz Bucket List” for future visitors.

  • First of all, you have to visit Mohonk Mountain for a hike, and if you are up for an adventure, try the red paths and the labyrinth. The best about this is the totally amazing view you will see.
  • The Athletic and Wellness Center has activities to sign up for, be quick and do it directly when they release them. We got the chance to go zip lining and that it’s an extreme adrenalin kick and extraordinary experience. Thanks to school we only paid 25 USD, but if you go by your self it will be over 100 USD.
  • On Main street, there is a coffee shop called The Cafeteria, their environment is cozy, it’s a good place too study and some days you can sit there and just listen to live music.
  • A cross the street from The Cafeteria there is a cross-street to Main street where there is the coziest book store, and the best chocolate store in town. Definitely worth a visit.
  • And last but not least, our favorite activity. Eating good food. Maincourse is with out doubt the best place in town, with its healthy and fresh food, it’s always delicious. I don’t even want to count how much Hawk dollars I spent there. Two other restaurants with really good food is The Mexican Kitchen, I mean even the Mexicans in my class likes it and that says a lot. The guacamole is fantastic! The last place I’m going to recommend is Hokkaido Japanese Restaurant. They have a very varied sushi menu, – and if you like sushi, you going to love that place.
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I believe, I can fly!

Two weeks ago, on Saturday, I joint the university group going to the biggest North America park for ziplining. I booked the trip the day before because I was lazy to sign up and I was in the waiting list, but I really hoped to go because I had a hard week and I needed spear time to recharge. We arrived with our yellow bus in a place in which in winter people use to ski. We reached the top of the mountain with a chair lift and some guys explained us the most important safety rules. It was a great experience and we had so much fun! We stepped from a side to the other five times and we performed in different positions according to the gradient. I felt the air on my face and on my hair. I had a good adrenaline in my body and I loved those sensations! When we finished our activity we were so happy but worn out and hungry. At the beginning of the chair lift there were some shops that sold German food and sweetness. I bought an amazing waffle with sugar and cinnamon and this was “the cherry on the pie” of my day in the nature! I would suggest everyone to book this trip, it was worth every bucks.

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To be able to try your desired super power

Imagine having a super power like being invisible, be able to breath underneath water or flying high over the ground – it would have been amazing but of course, it’s not realistic. Even thought it isn’t realistic, there’re different activities you can do in order to try how it would have felt to actually have a super power. You can hide yourself, go diving with tubes or go zip lining at the second largest zip lining in the world, which some of us did this Saturday.

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It was a beautiful morning the sun was shining, the sky was blue and the temperature was perfect. As we were walking towards school and our starting point of the day, we were talking about or expectations of the day. Everyone was happy and thrilled for the happening of the day – the zip lining. When we arrived at school a bus picked up us and drove us to Hunter Mountain were the zip lining was located. During the bus ride, the radio was on and several upbeat songs were echoing in the speakers and we sang along. After one-hour drive, we arrived at Hunter Mountain. It appeared to be a skiing area were you can go skiing during the winter season and during the summer season, there’re different activities to try out and zip lining is one of them. We went out of the bus and walked up to the office of zip lining. At the location, we got divided up in two teams and we were the seconded team to go off.

 
12053158_10156105664335554_1274251967_n At 1 p.m. we went to the top of the mountain with a regular ski lift with all our equipment like helmets and harnesses thrilled to begin our journey of zip lining down the mountain, but what we didn’t know was that the zip lining was the second longest and highest zip lining in the world and we had no clue of what to expect. When we arrived the top of the mountain we saw the first line. It was the highest of all of the five lines we were going to zip away from. We all got scared. After having a safety review we were ready for take off. We got divvied in pairs and created a queue. Johanna and me were the fourth pair to take off and by watching the others zip away we got more and more terrified. When it were our turn, the guide called us up and counted down from 3 to 1 and when he said 1 we zipped away and it was the most amazing experience in my life. We flew over the trees in our cannonball positions that we were taught to do and the speed increased as further we went – it was an incredible feeling. When we arrived our first platform, I just kept thinking, “I’m so happy that we have four more to go!”.

Later on, we zipped away four more times and walked over a suspension bridge. Everyone was filled with happiness and excitement during the whole day and no one of us could stop smiling. Of all things I have every done in my life this was the most excitement moment! To be able to try my wanted super power – flying – was an experience I’ll never forget and if I could, I would have gone zip lining every single day. It was amazing! So if you have a wish to try your super power – do it. It feels like you’re having the super power and that feeling is wonderful!

 

To learn or not to learn?

“The beauty lies in the eye of the beholder”

– Plato

 

IMG_3129This quote is one of my favorite quotes, because it really describes the uniqueness of every individual person. It describes how sincerely different an interpretation can be from one human being to another and how something nice can be perceived as something completely different.

The other day, when a friend drove me home in her car after dance class, she asked me how I ended up in New Paltz, “one of the smallest and most boring towns in New York State”. I explained to her that I had first made up my mind and wanted to go to Paris, but when this opportunity with IIB came up, I had to go to the US. I just HAD to study in New Paltz and then do an internship in New York City, the city of my dreams. She was so surprised, how could I appreciate New Paltz and New York over Paris? The capital of fashion with amazing art and history? For me, the choice
was easy it was the opportunity of my life, for her it was not even understandable.

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Photographer: Johanna Bjornback

We are now starting our fifth week in New Paltz (gosh these weeks have passed fast) and I have learned so much more than I thought I would have, and now I’m not talking about what I’ve learned in school even though that is a lot. Living with 18 persons from 4 different countries is so different from what I thought it would be. Our cultures are so different. We have different values, we show appreciation in different ways and we appreciate different things. What I might see as extraordinary might someone else see as something casual, what I find tastes good might in other peoples measures be the most amazing dish they have ever tasted. But the most important thing is: There are so many things to learn and there are so much to experience!

My roommate, the very best Federica, has taught me “Italian sign language” and it’s really impressive! “What is this?” you might ask, well Italians have all kind of different signs they use as a compliment to verbal communication. They have a sign for “get it over with”, for “I told you so” and for “I don’t care” just to mention a few. I have also come to understand the importance of body contact and hugs for the Mexicans, something that is not that common in Sweden. And from the Germans I have learned how similar our two countries and mostly how similar our two languages are!! I was surprised when I learned this. For example craftsman is “hantverkare” in Swedish and “heimwerkerin” in German. The ascension is “kristi himmelfahrt” in German and “kristihimmelfärd” in Swedish.IMG_3119 But most of all, I have learned the value of how to appreciate each other and their cultures and how different, and dull most certainly, my experiences would be without them.
If I would be given a second chance to answer my friends question in the car, I would say: “Because of all the amazing people I get to meet here, they are truly the ones that makes this trip, New Paltz and then the future in New York City an amazing experience.”

Games

This Saturday, me and some of the swedes wanted to come up with something
fun for our lovely classmamidsommar1tes. We are always talking a lot about cultures and differences between our countries, so we wanted to play some typical “midsummer games”.

Midsummer is a tradition in Sweden that occurs during the summer.
We gather our family and friends, eat a traditional herring lunch and sing songs.
During the afternoon we usually dance around a midsummer pole, and play games.

We divided the class into 4 different teams, and they were supposed to answer some questions in a short quiz. The funny part in this is that you must answer the questions with a name of someone from your team.

For Example:
“Who in your team is the fastest roller?

Answer: Daniella

When they had answered all the questions we collected the papers, and the games could begin.

The different kinds of games were:

  • Who could fit the most marshmallow’s in their mouth
  • Roll out a toilet paper role as fast as possible
  • Stand in the plank for the longest time
  • Drink up their soda as fast as possible
  • Fastest runner
  • Smash a balloon between them the fastest
  • Make the longest peel from an apple with a plastic knife

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We also had some small challenges during the games. One of them were to run inside and come out as a cat. This was so much fun! Another one was to run and grab something with the school logo.

The games were so much fun, and we had no clue that the class were so competitive! I think this was a great way to come together even more as a group!

And of course, the winners: The flaming enchanters! Congratulations!

The birthday girl!

Hello folks!

It seems like yesterday that I landed in New York, full of hopes and excited to start this new and breathtaking experience…. But time goes by and it goes so fast.

The first month in New Paltz is over and just another one left to go… Then we’ll move to the “City”, where every dream can come true, no matter how big it is!

Many things have happened these past 30 days and among the craziness of a brand new life I had the chance to meet fascinating and surprising people and spend some valuable time with them.

Less than a week ago, it was my 25th Birthday and I decided to celebrate it in class, simply by eating a piece of cake with my international mates and asking everybody to wear some beautiful “Happy Birthday” crowns as a reminder of this busy but still important day! That seemed enough for me, though.

So, after a long day spent attending my courses at the University, I headed back home by walking. After a few steps, I started feeling overwhelmed by the circumstances… I was so tired, had no chance to hear from my parents and friends in Italy the all day, and missed home so badly.

I was deep in my thoughts when I arrived at the motel and approached to enter my room… It was closed from the inside… :-/

I imagined that my roomie was in there, maybe sleeping and didn’t want to be bothered…. But then, someone came to open the door and…

SURPRISE!!!!

My crazy, fabulous, sweet like sugar and affectionate Italian girls had prepared an amazing intimate party in my honor.
My room was dark and lighted just by tens of candles strewn all over the place…. Chocolate cupcakes on my desk… Random pictures of my life posted above my bed on the wall… and beautiful, stunning roses sent from Italy by my boyfriend!

I was the birthday girl.

And I felt home again.

Thank you all for making my birthday so memorable!

Hugs and Kisses.
Gaia.