“That is simply epic.”

A phrase I have used very often during my time abroad. I love the way this phrase draws my attention back to the reality that much of what I am experiencing is “simply epic.”

The two seemingly opposite words fit together so beautifully. “Epic” is often used to describe an extraordinary or remarkable experience or feature, whereas “simply” is used to demonstrate a more common or modest nature. How cool that a moment, place, or thing can be simultaneously both simple and epic.

I would love to use some “Fotos” to feature some fun and unforgettable moments from the past few weeks.


Many of the classes I am taking at IES take advantage of the amazing museums and art exhibits located in Berlin. During classes and on my weekend trips, I have been heavily impacted by the thought-provoking art and history.

I have had the opportunity to go to the Alte Nationalgalerie, Humboldt Forum, and the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin along with the Louvre in Paris. These places present art, information, and history in specific ways to imbue a combination of thought, emotion, and/or change.

I chose a few of my favorites to highlight, but there is art everywhere. Every street corner, every wall, every building has a display of past and modern creative work.

If you’re curious what has captured my attention, slide to find out!

Here are a few not so famous art pieces that I found to be worthy of noting.


I chose to document many moments on my phone camera and also my little camera featured below.

I use this camera often in art museums, on walks, and when I want to utilize the smile feature.

The smile feature works by detecting the level of smile in the proposed subject. When the subject of the photo has smiled large enough to satisfy the camera’s requirements, it will snap a photo. If the subject’s smile is not large enough, no photo will be captured.

Naturally, while in the famous Louvre Museum in Paris, a few friends and I decided to put the Mona Lisa up to the smile test. My good friend Margaret suggested the test, and we instantly knew what we had to do. We waited in line to get the optimal lighting and angle for the test, we adjusted the zoom to ensure her face was in focus, but all of our efforts were in vain. My little camera decided Mona Lisa did not in fact meet the requirements of a smile.

Nevertheless, we continued to use this feature on the other famous featured works in the museum and were able to capture a smiling faces. I am currently unsure how to transfer the photos from my little camera to my computer, but I can’t wait to compile all of smiles that lens has captured!

Let’s pretend the candid pictures below came from my little camera.


I have had the privilege of meeting, traveling with, and interacting with so many people during my time abroad. Often, what makes the places we visit so special are the people with whom we experience those places.

My friend Vivian and I had the opportunity to visit Margaret in Paris this past weekend, and it was legendary. Margaret was an incredible host, and my appreciation for the French language, cuisine and lifestyle has exponentially increased. It was simply epic. We ended one of our nights in a jazz club where we met a new friend named Michelle. Michelle gave us some great advice: life is too short to worry about what others think. With Michelle’s encouragement, we tore up the dance floor to some wonderful jazz music.

New places are fun to explore, but friends always make the smiles a little bigger and the time a little sweeter.

At times, study abroad is full of simple, mundane, and ordinary moments. At times, days consist of papers, readings, trips to the local store, and daily chores. Other days, however, consist of big moments that will remain in my memory a little longer. Everyday is a new adventure and full of simple and epic moments.

Study abroad can be both!

Thank you for following along so far on my journey!

Published by Natalie Hammer

Class of 2024 Social Work and German Major IES Berlin - Language & Area Studies

Leave a comment