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Posted by on Feb 23, 2014 in Blog, Change, Feature, Travel |

Dear X, You Changed My Life

Dear X, You Changed My Life

This is an open letter to people I met through my study, volunteer, and work experiences across more than a dozen countries over the last decade. These individuals impacted me in a profound way but will likely never know it. Dear … Joel, We sat down on overturned buckets in a slum on the outskirts of Lima, Peru and talked for a few hours. I was 17 and I thought I had something to say to you about truth and life. You did not correct me. Instead, you created a crack in my worldview by sharing your story and asking me thoughtful questions. Years later, I finally understood that my ignorance, arrogance, and good intentions blinded me to reality. I have never forgotten. Zachary, I read your interview in the university newspaper as the first openly gay student president at the University of South Carolina. I kept that article for some time and thought about it for years. You were clear, unapologetic, and gracious towards those who mistreated you...

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Posted by on Feb 7, 2014 in Change, Culture, Feature, Most Popular |

Travel Every Day: A Joie de Vivre Approach to Life

Travel Every Day: A Joie de Vivre Approach to Life

  What most people really desire is something quite different from industrial gimmickry- liberty, spontaneity, nakedness, mystery, wildness, wilderness.  Edward Abbey When we were kids, life was an adventure. We examined bugs, fought off ‘evil’ with made-up super powers, and thought little of consequences. Gradually, society taught us how to cope with boredom rather than cultivate curiosity. We internalized that the ‘real world’ would be a duty rather than a delight– and then we perpetuated this narrative. Eventually, we bought into the idea that success means comfort and stability rather than a raucous ride into the unknown. When we realized we lost our way, some of us burrowed deeper into a job or career, got married, had kids, or traveled the world. We constructed our identities as ‘expert’, ‘spouse’, ‘parent’ or ‘traveler’ and fortified them with online social masks. We forgot that the world is a wild kingdom to be explored. It is nearly close at an empty Mexican restaurant on Colfax Avenue on a cold Thursday night.  Stories on...

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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 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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