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Posted by on Oct 16, 2013 in Blog, Feature, International Education, Scholarships, Study Abroad, Teach Abroad, Travel, Travel Planning, Volunteer Abroad, Work Abroad |

How to Choose an International Program

How to Choose an International Program

During my time as a study abroad advisor, I was frequently asked the question, Which program is better? There are no “right” or “wrong” choices when choosing an international program*, only different outcomes and consequences. Ask these 10 questions to determine which international program is right for you. *Choose an international program through a reputable organization that offers international programs! If you don’t know any reputable programs, check out GoAbroad.com or GoOverseas.com. 1. Why am I traveling?  Write down every reason you can think of as to why you are interested in traveling, studying, working, or volunteering abroad. Maybe you want to see a new place, learn a new language, or know what it is like to live outside of the country. This is good, keep going. Are you trying to accomplish something through traveling that you cannot accomplish at home? Was there a particular moment, conversation, person, or idea that inspired you to pursue an international opportunity? What are your goals? Are you trying to get away from something...

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Posted by on Oct 3, 2013 in Blog, Change, Feature |

Maps as Art and a Metaphor for Life

Maps as Art and a Metaphor for Life

Maps are conceptual perfection. Lines, dots, colors, and symbols all neatly grouped together to convey distance, space, culture, and place in one compelling visual. Oh the joys of exploring the interplay of parts and wholes! Zeroing in on a small detail and then zooming out again to capture the complete picture in one delightful moment! Maybe like Ken Jennings, I’m a “Map Head“. (Although in his geography quiz I scored at an ‘American college student’, which is narrowly above ‘the atlas shrugs’ and ‘Terrain wreck’ and sadly far below ‘Sensei of direction’ and ‘Certified maphead’!) So even though I won’t win the geography bee, my travel obsession combined with my ‘topophilia’ (Greek, ‘love of place’) is why I am drawn to maps and get lost in their cartological magic. Maps are both aesthetically pleasing but also functional. Just look at these examples…stunning and informative!   And what could be better than to have your map and eat it as a cake too? ‘Map’ props to this couple for creating...

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Posted by on Sep 8, 2013 in Feature, International Education, Study Abroad, technology and travel, Travel |

5 Ways to Use Social Media to Tell Your Study Abroad Story

5 Ways to Use Social Media to Tell Your Study Abroad Story

Social media provides dynamic spaces to share your study abroad story. That story begins the moment you decide to go and continues long after you return home. The idea is not to be glued to your computer all day but to thoughtfully use social media to engage your community throughout your study abroad experience.  1. Curate Your Study Abroad Story Curation means carefully choosing, creating, and sharing visually or conceptually interesting content via a distribution outlet, in this case, social media. People gravitate towards content that conveys particular themes, messages, or moods but tend to ignore an information dump. (A classic example of an info-dump is the rambling travelogue…. “Then I did this and went here and saw this and met so and so.”) Try one of the following or come up with your own idea (and share it with us below in the comments!) Take a photograph every day of a part of your daily routine (ie taking a bus to class, going to market, etc.) and put it...

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Posted by on Jun 24, 2013 in Blog, Change, Feature, Relocation |

A Traveler’s Fate: Acceptance of Ambiguity

A Traveler’s Fate: Acceptance of Ambiguity

Some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle or end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next….delicious ambiguity. ~Gilda Radnor Recently, against popular prediction, I decided to stick around rather than traveling or relocating this summer. I chronicled this in 34 Roommates Later, I’m Going it Alone and To Travel, Or Not To Travel…That is the (Existential) Question. I felt so pleased with myself. I had made the right decision. Then something crazy happened yesterday. My CEO and the Founder at Project Travel called me to tell me that we were invited to be a part of the first cohort of startups at a new  accelerator program in Northern Michigan. We needed to be there within a week. Is the universe trying to tell me something? It felt a little bit like the moment you let go of an ex and decide to move on and then s/he calls you and asks...

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Posted by on Jun 2, 2013 in Blog, Change, Feature, Relocation |

34 Roommates Later, I’m Going It Alone

34 Roommates Later, I’m Going It Alone

I have two theories about how people can become more well-adjusted human beings. The first is that everyone should be required to work in the service industry for at least 6 months. Perhaps if all of our entitled and ambitious Millenials went to work serving in restaurants, waiting on retail customers, or cleaning up after people in any fashion we may be a more civilized nation on the whole. My second theory is that everyone should live with at least 5 people before living solo or living exclusively with a romantic partner. Few experiences test our character more than sharing space with the same person day in and day out.  I myself have lived under the same roof with 34 housemates in my nearly 28 years of life and what I know is living with others brings out the best and the worst of us. Like many people, I have my horror stories– the time during my sophomore year in college my ‘best-friend’ and roommate packed up her things, abandoned...

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Posted by on Jun 2, 2013 in Change, Culture, Feature, Guest Post, Study Abroad, Travel |

How Beijing Gave Me An Iron Heart

How Beijing Gave Me An Iron Heart

I may have left my heart in San Francisco, but Beijing equipped me with a brand new one – made of iron. When I returned from my year-turned 6-month relocation to Beijing, people often asked me to choose and describe my favorite part of the experience. It’s such a completely expected and usual question, but I still found myself fumbling with how to answer. Filing through memories and experiences, and then bundling months of perspective into a single statement felt overwhelming. Faced with the question, it seemed I could do nothing more than shake my head, mouth gaping — I was speechless, and I was stumped. Initially, I considered the usual suspects: food, culture and activity. Memory after memory, I shuffled, trying to pinpoint the winner. But it wasn’t the steaming bamboo trays of jiaozi, though they were truly amazing. Once I spent nine hours in a moon-themed KTV room singing karaoke– that, too, was incredible but still not my favorite. Even waking up early to dance in the...

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