Thursday, June 21, 2012

Morning Coffee in the Town Square: Day Four

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.      I woke up early this morning and decided I wanted to go to the town square and have a coffee before we started our day. It was really calm in the morning walking to the center, many of the people there were also starting their day by getting a coffee and reading the paper. So I had an hour of just sitting and drinking coffee while I waited for everyone to start coming to the meeting place. It was great just sitting watching everyone walking and going about their day, it was relaxing. Once we all got together we started off by visiting an elementary. The aspect of this visit that I really liked was talking to the school psychologist about what she does at the school. She explained the diagnosis which they do and how it plays into the schools, she also mentioned how many of the school in Croatia have a psychologist. She also discussed the amount of ADHD diagnosis here compared to the amount of ADHD diagnosis in the U.S.

The presentations today were pretty relaxed except for the one about friendships which was done by Prof.dr.sc. Goran Bubas. I found his presentation really interesting, even though I have not done any research on relationships I did find it very informative. I found his research questions were really good ones and it was nice to see a presentation done by a psychologist from Croatia.

After lunch we went to another elementary school where we helped to weed their pumpkin patch. It was really hot when we got there and it got hotter as soon as we started do some work. But it was nice to see that they are able to plant pumpkins and then used the seeds to make oil. This is something which I have never seen at any school near us. The elementary school itself was really nice and they had just hosted an international hand ball tournament. So today was a really fun day full of activities and some relaxed time which made it a very good day.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day Three

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Today was a very eventful day; we began our day by visiting a kindergarten school. We learned a bit about how the education system works here and how different it is from what we are used to. We learned that each school has a different way of teaching and can have a different curriculum from other schools. One of the classes then sang some of the song they had learned that year. Some of them were in Croatian and some were in English. It was great, they did such a good job in both languages at such a young age. We then received a beautiful drawing and a flower which they had made for us. After visiting the school we went to see the museum inside the castle we had seen the when we first arrived. There were so many different things inside the castle, from paintings to clocks. The one thing that really stood out for me was the fireplace, it was so big I could actually walk in and stand inside without having to bend down or anything to get in. After lunch we had some more presentations including my own presentation on my summer research. That all went very well it was also very interesting because we learned a bit more about Croatian history and about the parks in Croatia. We then had a bit of free time before we had to go and watch some of the traditional dancing and do some salsa dancing. It was so much fun to see the children doing the traditional dancing. They were all so good and so exciting to watch, they also got our whole group involved in the dancing which was fun. After they were done with their dancing we were shown some basic salsa steps. Though I do not do much dancing at all it was fun to learn some basics steps with everyone. Overall the day was very exciting and fun.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Second Day in Croatia…

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The second day in Croatia has gone really well. We started the day with presentations all of which were all very interesting. It was also nice for me to see other people do their presentations before I had to do mine. I think it made me a bit less nervous seeing that it was not a very formal setting. After seeing the presentations we had lunch. This lunch was delicious; it was a traditional Croatian food which was really good. I had a bit of everything that was offered. They had different types of cheese and meats then this really good pork dish which had buckwheat on the side.

After our lunch we started our bike tour by visiting the sports complex which was owned by a former coach of the Croatian soccer team. They had such a large complex with indoor and outdoor facilities. I did not expect so much to be there when we first arrived. They offered soccer, handball, badminton, table tennis, exercise facilities, and physical therapy. They also had sitting areas by the entrance, indoors, and in the first floors all these seemed like relaxing places to just spend some time there. Though what interested me the most was possibly going back and playing some table tennis with the staff member who was a professional table tennis player. Maybe I could get a couple of tips on how to play when I get back home.

We then continued our tour by riding our bikes to the river. The trip there was a bit longer than expected. Though the length was not as big of an issue as much as the heat and not knowing how to navigate through the streets. It was fun to get on a bike after so long having not ridden one at all. We finally reached the river and were able sit down in the shade and enjoy the view. While we sat we played an interesting game. The game consisted of many people saying different syllables of a word while a person tries to guess what word is being said. Once we returned to our dorms we were able get ready to go and watch the Croatian soccer team play Spain in the town square. Though they lost it was a really fun time. Everything has really been great here so far and the people here are so nice and always so willing to help with anything that we need.

Monday, June 18, 2012

My arrival in Croatia

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.     The first day in Croatia was quite difficult. Having been on an airplane for over eight hours made it really difficult to keep going through the few activities that were planned for the day. Though I was tired that did not change the fact that I was excited to be here. When we arrived we could not really see much, but as we started our forty five minute drive to Varazdin.  The drive allowed us the opportunity to see cities and landscape along the way. It was a nice to be able to see the homes and cities along the way, there were very nice and had distinct roofs and colors to each home. It was also interesting to see how many of these people built there homes on hills which we passed. Another thing which was interesting that I noticed was that many of the homes which we passed had some crops growing even if it was not a large amount they seemed to have some.

As we entered the city we got settled into our dorms and had lunch, which was great not because for the last hours we had only been eating airline food. So the food we had as soon as we got to the city was really good. Not only for lunch but the food in general was really good. Once we ate our lunch we went on a small tour of the city, we went through the town’s center to visiting the castle in the town. The city was amazing, the buildings were beautiful, the castle was the first one I had ever seen and was great, and the city itself had a very relaxing environment. The first day here has been wonderful and has been a great overall experience.

Friday, June 15, 2012

2 days and counting….

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.   Now that it has been getting closer to going to Croatia I have been getting more excited. One of the reasons for this is the fact that I have never been out of North or Central America. So going to another country where I will be able to see new things is pretty exciting. Not only will there be new things to see but new things to learn such a different culture. The other aspect which I excited for is the fact that we will be in the country while their national soccer team is playing in Euro 2012. I feel that will add to the experience of being there. The fact that the Croatian national team is in leading in their group standings and that we will be watching a game in their town square should be interesting. Having looked at the link for the webcam which shows the town square also gave me an idea of what the town looks like. I have to say it looks like a really nice place. Not only did the weather look nice but I really liked the way the town looked. The thing that I really liked is the fact that you do not see that type of setting when you live in a city. After doing a search on Croatia many of the things that people mentioned to pay close attention to were the buildings in the different cities in Croatia.

Monday, June 11, 2012

DePaul McNair Scholar: Eric Hernandez

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Eric Hernandez is a junior at DePaul University, majoring in Psychology. His research interests focus on clinical community psychology. He will be conducting a summer research project this summer at DePaul University with Dr. Antonio Polo, analyzing mental health and implications for Latino families.