Kristen Adelman toured the streets of Salzburg, Austria, last month aboard a new fold-up bicycle she bought there. And what she saw stuckin her memory.
No one was overweight.
"It's so funny," said the 21-year-old College of Notre Dame sophomore. "Everyone rides bikes over there. They have bike paths all through the whole city."
Memories remain fresh for the Severna Park resident, who returned Jan. 7 from a three-month exchange program thattook her to Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia.
"Traveling was great. The opportunity was marvelous," she said last week.
A liberal arts major, Adelman's trip -- her third to Germany -- was arranged through the American Institute for Foreign Study, a national program for college students who wish to experience and learn about life outside the classroom.
"I began taking German in high school," said the 1988 graduate of Seton Keough High School in Baltimore. "I couldn'tbecome more fluent here at school. So I went back."
Knowing the language helped Adelman get a fair deal when purchasing her bike.
"The bike shop thought I didn't understand them and tried to sell me the bike at a higher price," she explained. "But when I commented in German, they were quite surprised and I left with a better-than-fair deal."
Adelman first traveled to Germany in 1982, to visit her aunt, then returned with her sophomore class at Seton Keough in 1986.
Her most recent trip included a semester at the University of Salzburg in Austria, where she studied music, German, art and philosophy.
Adelman traveled with a group of 50 students, from colleges all overthe nation.
"I like the different culture. The way of life is traditional. Their customs are different, people are very different, more reserved. (But) once you become friends, you have a friend for life. They are more genuine, it's a different feeling."
"Some of the people in my group stuck with other Americans. I separated myself and spent time with the Austrians," she said. "I
really learned a lot. I took German speaking classes as well as American classes.
"You cantell us from them. You could always tell a group of Americans walking down the street. The Germans aren't loud.
"They tease us so bad," she added. " 'Oh Americans, they only know one language.' They speak three languages and are taught at a very young age."
"It's basically important for someone who goes over there to become like they are and to live like they do and experience the culture," she said. "Myonly regret is that it is over."
Most of her trips outside schoolwere made over weekends -- Thursday through Sunday.
"I went to Prague, Czechoslovakia. They are very poor," she said. "I lived well and had a place to stay for $50. It was a morbid feeling, it is so beautiful, yet polluted and dirty. The people get everything from the tourists there. The scenery is so beautiful, but the people are so very poor."
Adelman also traveled by train to Innsbruck and Vienna, Austria and Garmisch, Germany.
"I would like to live there (Austria)," she said. "I'd like to go back and stay. They are really a much more relaxed people, less tense. I would really like to live there. It'sso beautiful, it's incredible."
Adelman is studying graphic design at Notre Dame. She said she wants to stay in Baltimore for a coupleyears, then go to Germany or Austria.
"I'd like to teach English to German students," she said.