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Posted by on Jan 13, 2014 in Culture, Feature, Guest Post, Travel |

Finding Art & Beauty In an Unexpected Place

Finding Art & Beauty In an Unexpected Place

This is a guest post by British travel writer Gaby Lucius. Read her bio below! It was late June and the summer doldrums had me bored and restless. My freelance work had slowed and if I hadn’t been so damn hot, I would have been bouncing off the walls. “Why don’t we go to Vegas?” my husband proposed after work one day. “Vegas? What the hell, Mike? Can’t you come up with something slightly more inventive?” The thing is, when I get hot, I get grumpy. The thought of going someplace decidedly hotter than Portland was not appealing. From the first day of our married life, Mike and I had been working hard to see the most beautiful parts of the world. We’d been to Singapore, Cambodia, France, Belgium, Russia…I could go on and on. We’d enjoyed home cooked meals with local families, hiked through humid jungles and thoroughly explored ancient temples. We made a point to avoid the tourist traps like the plague. And here he was asking me if I wanted to go...

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Posted by on Jul 22, 2013 in Blog, Change, Culture, Guest Post, Relocation, Study Abroad, Travel, Volunteer Abroad, Work Abroad |

What to Know About Living Abroad

What to Know About Living Abroad

The following is a guest post by Troy Peden, Founder of GoAbroad.com. Living abroad is different from any other type of meaningful travel, particularly if you do not have a set date to return to your home country.  The ambiguity of living abroad changes the way you consider your new digs and how you adapt to a new environment. The following tips about living abroad contain advice I frequently share with study abroad students but also include specific advice geared towards long-term visitors and expats. As someone who has lived abroad a few times and is currently living abroad right now, here are a few of my Do’s and Don’ts. Let Go of Your First Culture Don’t bring a suitcase full of your favorite granola bars with you to your new home.  The sooner you become comfortable with your new ‘granola bar substitute’ the better!  Clinging to your first culture doesn’t allow you to fully immerse into a new culture. Living Abroad is Different, But Not Better Remind yourself...

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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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Posted by on Apr 25, 2013 in Culture, Travel |

Mosquito Paradise

Mosquito Paradise

We thought we were clever to save money by booking an overnight train from Athens to Thessaloniki. The harsh glare of buzzing lights, the sweaty Greek man snoring loudly beside me, and the smell of unwashed bodies added dramatic effect to this adventure I was on with my two friends, E and Oksana. We exchanged amused glances with each other that said we’d laugh about it all later. Credit card denied. Cash only. Combined, the three of us only had enough Euro for one ticket to Istanbul and the closest ATM was down the street. We set out into driving rain, preoccupied by the fact that our backpacks were not waterproof. E proposed we play The Glad Game, a competition to see who could come up with the best reason to be thankful or ‘glad’ about our circumstances. After a few feeble attempts fell flat, we gave in to exhaustion and irritation we felt and returned to buy our train tickets in silence. This train is sold out. The woman directly...

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Posted by on Mar 10, 2013 in Blog, Change, Culture |

Women are Powerful

Women are Powerful

As women, we are often told that we are weak physically, mentally, and emotionally. We sometimes even believe it. Even though we are both subtly and overtly told we are less-capable citizens of this world, the truth of the matter is that Women are powerful. This past week in Chicago, I have been energized by the incredible community of women around leading, creating, and mentoring. Beth Santos of Go Girl Magazine is uniting women around the world to engage in their local and global community. Blair Brettshneider at Girl Forward is helping empower young refugee women to reach their full potential. Dr. Jill Bishop founded Multi-Lingual Chicago to train people to speak more than one language and participate in a multi-cultural environment. On a more personal note, a friend I have not seen in seven years told me about how she recently gave one of her kidneys to her father to save his life. In my own life, I am more grateful and excited each day to be investing...

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