Bicycles bring joy in every country

Lishewski-Amsterdam

Bicycles bring joy in every country

By Isabelle Lishewski

As I hopped on my bicycle this morning back in Arizona, my first thought was what a miserable hot ride I have ahead of me. As I turned the first corner my spirits were lifted when a little old lady smiled and wished me a wonderful day! I spent the rest of my ride soaking in the sunshine and reminiscing on my Amsterdam adventures.  Thinking about all of the meetings, lectures, discussions and running from one public transit to another, I am reminded of how thankful I am for the entire trip and simply how much I love to ride my bike! As I adjust back to work and the Arizona summer, I am challenged with how to continue life and expand on my new-found knowledge and experience.

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Groningen: Bicycle capital of the world

Lishewski-Amsterdam

Groningen: Bicycle capital of the world

By Isabelle Lishewski

Over the past few days we have been exploring Groningen, the northern-most major city of the Netherlands. The city is home to one of the country’s oldest universities and 60 percent of its inhabitants travel by bicycle. The city resembles a smaller Amsterdam with small winding streets, beautiful parks and breathtaking architecture.

Just like most cities during the 1960s, Groningen was very car-dependent. Fifty years later the city has become a bicyclist’s heaven!  The city center that was once run by cars and buses is now home to beautiful open space used for everything from Saturday morning food markets to celebrating the basketball team’s championship win (we experienced both!).

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Similar sustainability challenges connect global cities

Lishewski-Amsterdam

Similar sustainability challenges connect global cities

By Isabelle Lishewski

It feels like just yesterday I arrived in Schipol Airport but now I wait in the same place to take a train to Groningen, our home for the next two days. Week one consisted of a 20-mile bike ride, seeing the world’s fastest solar race car, eating under one of the oldest windmills in the city, talking with the “Father of Bike sharing,” having a picnic in Vondel Park and many more adventures. In this week alone I have traveled more by trains, trams and buses than I have my entire life and the best part was realizing that public transportation actually can be enjoyable and convenient!

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Rain or shine, we still ride!

Lishewski-Amsterdam

Rain or shine, we still ride!

By Isabelle Lishewski

Today marked the first full day of adventure as our group embarked on a bicycle excursion around Amsterdam. You would think a herd of twenty-five Americans on bicycles would blend in, but surprisingly it proved to be a bit more challenging. Although we packed rain coats, Arizona did not prepare us for riding through the streets of Amsterdam in pouring rain. Thankfully there were no serious casualties, only a few disgruntled looks from locals. I will say the Dutch seem very kind until you are in the middle of the bike lane; they can become intimidating very quickly.

Biking has been a wonderful way to experience the city. I never knew how blissful cycling could be until I rode through Vondel Park. Even on a Monday morning the park was full of life. Massive oak trees, beautiful flowers, soft grass and ponds surrounded people of all ages jogging, relaxing and cycling throughout the park.

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Amsterdam, here I come!

Lishewski-Amsterdam

Amsterdam, here I come!

By Isabelle Lishewski

Only four days remain before I embark on the adventure of a lifetime! That being said, I still have a lot of packing to do. This entire year has been a whirlwind of stress, opportunities, adventures and change, and only now is it sinking in that I will be in a new country come this weekend. As crazy as this past school year has been, I have certainly learned a lot in and out of the classroom, and I am excited to pair my knowledge with real-world experience. I have always dreamt of traveling abroad but never really found a program that felt like the perfect fit. As soon as I saw the trip for sustainable solutions in mobility and accessibility in the Netherlands, I knew it was the program for me.

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