Travel Safety: Always Consider the Source

Don’t automatically listen to all travel advice you hear! Always consider the source first. Here are some things you should watch out for…

Graduated… Am I still allowed to post?

How has studying abroad affected your future? Jennifer studied in Japan for two years and sums up how things are different:

I’m sad that I didn’t get to update my blog so often… a lot of stuff happened. Let’s see…

1. I switched from the Animation department to Game Design from my second year in school (although I still consider myself an animation major). I switched because I wanted to learn more about game oriented animation and modeling, and because that department gave me a lot more freedom to learn the things I wanted to learn.

2. I got some crap internships that make me want to leave Japan twice, but also made me learn a lot about the good and bad of the culture here. Although I’m half Japanese, I didn’t grow up with Japanese customs. I just learned to speak the language, and liked the food and cartoons. During my awkward teenage years, I always thought that I didn’t fit in because I was actually Japanese, and that I belonged in Japan… It didn’t occur to me that being a chubby poser goth was the problem. I still wouldn’t fit in if I were to go back to high school, but I know for sure that I’ve never felt more comfortable with myself as I do now :)

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We do too!

We do too!

(via fathomwaytogo)

Typical Semester Abroad

I’m worried that I’m not doing my semester abroad right. I haven’t done anything really crazy and I don’t have very many cool stories. What if I’m not making the most of my time? What if I come home and think that I should have done it differently? I really don’t want this to happen. This semester is going by faster than I expected it to. Over the weeks to come, we’ll be leaving the country and traveling with different groups and seeing one another less. Our papers will have real deadlines and we’ll have to actually write these papers.

Being abroad feels a lot like a roller coaster. Your nerves mess with you before you’re even on the ride. The anticipation builds from the very beginning and the take off is slow. That first big drop takes forever to climb, but suddenly you drop headfirst and everything is fast. You don’t have time to think, you don’t have time to worry, you can’t understand what is going on around you. But it’s exciting. And before you know it, it’s over.

This is what makes studying abroad such a unique thing. This is where it gets its cliches and stereotypes of drinking and wild nights and perfect moments. Because everything about it is extraordinary. There is a lot of pressure on students who study abroad because we all know this. We all know that it is our chance to be wilder, more daring, more cultured. So I want this semester to be worth the ride. I want the typical semester abroad.

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What’s your idea of a typical semester abroad? Is there something you wish you’d done differently?

(Source: studentsgoneglobal)

Malaria and Typhoid and Yellow Fever…oh my!

Travel Research (and receive) all the appropriate vaccinations before departing! Here’s a list of what to expect for Colombia:

So, I went to the doctor today, and because I was the first person to show up from my study abroad group, I got the special privilege of sitting in the exam room for an hour while I waited for the doctor to look up the vaccinations that I am eventually going to need. At first, she just looked up Colombia - but San Andrés isn’t in Colombia – it’s in the Caribbean Sea.

So, here is some information about vaccinations in case you are traveling to the country of Colombia (for more information about the country you are going to, you should visit the CDC’s website here):

1. Malaria.
Symptoms: “high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Without treatment, malaria can cause severe illness and even death.”
Vaccinations: My university is providing me with a prescription to take orally at least a week before I leave for San Andrés.

2. Typhoid.
Symptoms: “high fever, fatigue, weakness, stomach pains, headache, loss of appetite, and sometimes a rash. If not treated, it can kill up to 30% of people who get it.”
Vaccinations: My university is providing me with the live typhoid vaccine. It is taken orally every other day for a week. The last dose is given at least 1 week before travel.

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The Difficulty of Focusing on Learning a Foreign Language While Abroad

When you study abroad, don’t forget to focus on practicing the local language!

… Every time I turn around there is some new aspect of Europe waiting to be enjoyed. As time goes on this can can take a toll on my studies. The local language is a fundamental part to the study abroad experience.

When you are thrown into a new environment with a foreign language, it is scary and not at all an easy task to speak the language everyday. Find friends from your home country for comfort, but remember to befriend the locals.

A bilingual friend will do you wonders, but unless your first language is English you may have a hard time with meeting someone who speaks your native tongue.

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Study abroad tip: Do your research beforehand and learn about the student life. Here’s what it’s like to study in Helsinki, Finland:


In this post I am going to list some things that I have found to differ between student life at my home university (University of Saskatchewan) and the University of Helsinki:
Tuition. In Finland tuition is free, but an entrance exam is required to be considered for acceptance into the university. Free tuition!? *dies*… Unfortunately free tuition doesn’t apply to exchange students like myself, so I still have to pay full tuition to my home university while I’m here. Goodbye $5070.00… that I would have liked to spend on traveling, a horse, or anything else for that matter. *sigh*
The academic year. Instead of two semesters like back home, the University of Helsinki divides the academic year into four jaksoa // periods and each jakso lasts about two months. The courses here last only half as long as the courses back home; most courses typically last one jakso, but some are longer and overlap into the next jakso.
Read more here

Study abroad tip: Do your research beforehand and learn about the student life. Here’s what it’s like to study in Helsinki, Finland:

In this post I am going to list some things that I have found to differ between student life at my home university (University of Saskatchewan) and the University of Helsinki:

Tuition. In Finland tuition is free, but an entrance exam is required to be considered for acceptance into the university. Free tuition!? *dies*… Unfortunately free tuition doesn’t apply to exchange students like myself, so I still have to pay full tuition to my home university while I’m here. Goodbye $5070.00… that I would have liked to spend on traveling, a horse, or anything else for that matter. *sigh*

The academic year. Instead of two semesters like back home, the University of Helsinki divides the academic year into four jaksoa // periods and each jakso lasts about two months. The courses here last only half as long as the courses back home; most courses typically last one jakso, but some are longer and overlap into the next jakso.

Read more here

(Source: studentsgoneglobal)

Arvo=Afternoon

Contrary to popular belief, there IS a language barrier here in Australia. From the very start of this trip, my perception that Australian’s speak the same language as me has been shattered daily. In fact, almost all of my perceptions of Australia and it’s people have been swept away being here only three weeks. BUT it is this language barrier that has been one of the most exciting parts of my experience so far. Before getting into why the subtle difference in language has already shaped me so much, I’d like to share just a few Aussie terms…I warn you many will blow your mind as you try to figure out how they came up with them… *CAUTION Some of these words are very unacceptable in America and are completely normal here. (sorry mom!)

“Arvo” = Afternoon

“Dead Horse” = Ketchup bottle

“Ute” = Pickup truck (Utility Vehicle)

“Bloke” = “Mate” = Man, buddy, guy

“*Cunt*” = Mate, good guy, *Term of endearment here*

“Vejjo” = Vegetarian

Alright, the list goes on and on but you get the jist. Another great example of a language barrier is the way Aussie’s respond to the phrase “THANK YOU”. Instead of a normal “You’re welcome”, you get an “It’s alright” or “No worries”. For the first two weeks of being here, I felt that I was burdening my Australian comrades with something when they responded in such a way….

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(Source: studentsgoneglobal)

Life-hacks for living in France

What are some things you wish you’d known before going abroad? Here are Heather’s 10 tips to prepare anyone going to France:

On Monday, one of my high-school friends is about to start a very exciting adventure to live in France for six months. I offered her some advice and then thought I could share this with everyone! It might seem like a really negative list – I did enjoy my time in France, honestly – and I survived despite these setbacks! These are just a few things I wish I had known before stepping on the aeroplane to start my semester. I hope these may help you too.

Things I wish I had known before moving to France:

French chocolate is EXPENSIVE. So are their sweets. So are their crisps. So are their snacks. Galaxy and Cadbury do NOT exist. Neither does Haribo Starmix. You can expect to find Marmite in the “world foods” section of the supermarket – if you’re lucky. Pot Noodles are unheard of. Peanut Butter is an alien spread. Bring as much of this from home as you can.

You will have to pay (5€/10€) for a SIM card for your phone. And the setting up of a mobile phone will not be easy. Passports, Addresses, Bank details – all of these need to be provided before the phone companies let you get your hands on that precious 1cm² bit of plastic. Opening a bank account, finding a house and learning your way around town will all be easier than getting your phone sim card and making it work.

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Make the effort to put yourself in new situations during study abroad… even if they’re awkward. Jocelyn describes her first experience using a Japanese public bath here.

Make the effort to put yourself in new situations during study abroad… even if they’re awkward. Jocelyn describes her first experience using a Japanese public bath here.