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Worst Ferry Trip Ever

The ferry ride from Ko Phi Phi to Phuket was one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life. We got one of the first ferries off the island along with crowds and crowds of other backpackers. We boarded the

Exploring the Quieter Side of Ko Phi Phi

It’s very easy to get to the quieter parts of the island by either water taxi or simply walking. We opted to walk and noted that we were probably the youngest people up and about at that time in the

Aly en France: American Foods Revisited

*Four years ago I wrote a blog post about the American foods I missed while in France. I’m back in France now, and I thought it would be fun to re-visit that post and see if the foods I miss now


Hi there! Having been planning my exchange for quite a few years now I have been aware of Students Gone Global for quite a while, but it has only been within the last week that I’ve gotten around to actually

Lancaster University Grad Ball

As part of my travels this summer I got to do something few non-British people get to do. I got to go to a graduate ball at a University. This one was for Lancaster University which is located in Northwest

The Final Countdown

In my last week in Johannesburg I got to check off some of the places I’d been meaning to go all semester. Jess took me to SAB world of beer where we paid 65 rand ($6.50) for an hour tour

Fifth (and Final) Film Shoot: “First” / “Bar No. 9″

April 26 – 27 And here we are, at the last shoot! This one over the weekend. Another relatively simple shoot on paper (one location, three actors, with a fourth small role), this one still had its unique challenges. The

Culture Schock?

While abroad I experienced a bit of culture shock in several ways.  The first time we went to the local market in Johannesburg, South Africa the vendors constantly try to get you to go into their shops and buy from

Repeat After Me…

Dear Reader, How did two weeks nearly manage to escape me again? Is life really that boring? In terms of major news, I was featured on @steelcitygrammers for my picture from the Steel Tower! I was pretty floored by that.

Letter to next

In this post I’ll mainly write what I think maybe helpful for future students going to Sicily. First, CHECK THE WEATHER BEFORE YOU GO ! Sicily is generally very hot and humid in summer. However, if you go to a

Why I missed America?

The experience of sitting in class with students from different educational systems was quite unique. Every night during the socializing time, students would exchange stories about their lab environments. Surprisingly, the stories sounded quite similar as if all of us

First Impressions

Buenos Tardes de Xela!   Just to catch up, I landed in Guatemala City on June 25, immediately left for Antigua and spent the following four nights there. On June 29 I left Antigua for Quetzaltenango, known as Xela (Shay-la).

Skylines and Safaris

The first weekend of the exams Marle and Mika scooped up me and Amy from the International House and drove us out to Hartebeespoort Dam to check out the view from the top of the mountain. When the weather and the

Monkey Business

While in the process of drying my hair, we noticed we were not the only ones awake in the resort. A troop of monkeys were sweeping across the site. We rushed to the window to watch them, not going out


So I decided to take a day trip a few weekends ago to explore a city I hadn’t been to before. For this one I chose Manchester. Manchester is pretty famous, but I picked it for a pretty nerdy reason.

Academic Experience

I’m taking classes at the Universidad de Alcala – Instituto Benjamin Franklin. Unfortunately our classes are only filled with North American study abroad students so we don’t have as big of an opportunity to mix in with the locals. The institution

Culture Shock!!

Our group as a whole experienced culture shock together. In Spain, if you invite someone out for drinks or dinner you expected to be the one paying. In the U.S. this may not be the case. When you go out

Panama Viejo and Initial Impressions

Day 3: 12/30/13 Sorry I didn’t get my post up yesterday for 12/30/13′s entry (on 6/30/14). I’m having some internet issues so things are going to be a bit behind. Actually, that fits in pretty well with what actually occurred


So the school semester is over and I had to say goodbye to my single room. It was quite the comfy life living alone and well it was time to experiencing living with roommates. not just one, but two. It

First impressions of Israel and the dig

Israel is beautiful. I landed in Tel Aviv on Friday 6/27 around 2pm. The beach there is fantastic, if a bit crowded. The hostel that most of us chose to stay at was super grimy, but only like 90 shekels

Letter to Next

       I have met so many amazing people these last five months. Trieste is another weird port city with a lot of culture and I love it here. The first day I moved here back in February I went

Dear future student….

So  you’re off to Ghana?  Here’s some advice: Leave your over-scheduled, over-anxious, always-on-time attitude at home and get ready to be on Ghana-time!  That way, when you tell your driver to pick you up at 3:30 and he shows up

First Impressions

First of all, I’m super sorry that I haven’t been able to update this blog recently. It’s been so busy around here…Let me tell you all about it…   We got here at night, so my first impression wasn’t the

The summer course in Erice..

After spending some time in Palermo, we headed to Erice, a medieval peaceful town on top of a mountain. The course, organized by Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture, will be taking place there. It was inspiring knowing

Culture Shock

The first few days in Sicily were quite shocking to me, even though I come from another Mediterranean country that is very similar to Italy. Having lived in the US for more than a year, I almost forgot how things

Brunch Comes to BCN

I don’t know about you, but I am a HUGE fan of breakfast and an even bigger fan of brunch.   There’s just something about a big delicious first meal of the day that really puts me in a good

The Best Compliment I Received Abroad

I was enjoying breakfast and some post-night gossip with my roommate at my favorite cafe this past weekend. We were chatting it up, laughing, and I might have still been a little drunk. This is all in English of course,

Culture shock, and planning/traveling in country

Hi! I know it’s weird to do 2 posts so soon but I’m headed to xi’an this weekend so won’t have access to internet. First of all keep the questions coming, it’s really interesting and helps me figure out what

Day 2: First Work and Play Day in Panama

From 12/29/13 Quick shot of our sleeping arrangements: [As a note, please respect my photography and give credit where it is due if you wish to use it. Alia Hamdan] Now to the journal entry: This place is amazing! So

El Choque Cultural

For this prompt, I’m supposed to write about any and all culture shock I’ve experienced while I’ve been here in Cuernavaca. Surprisingly, the answer is almost a resounding none. If anything, I expected things to be more shocking than they

Academic Experience

A watercolor painting of the a part of the Etruscan ruins in Fiesole Studying abroad is not just about traveling, it’s also about the class work! The classes I took are GDES 491: Italian Design and GDES 417: Interdisciplinary Team Design. In

Letter to the Next

Dear Fellow Travelers, My recent study abroad experience in Southwestern Germany has taught me a number of things about making the most out of my travel experiences. The logistical aspects of traveling, while not the most exciting part of your

Barcelona How To – Avoid Pickpockets

Petty theft in Barcelona is a major reoccurring crime. During my time in the city I experienced, and witnessed, multiple occurrences of theft. From wallets to cell phones and even the occasional camera these tips, and insight, are here to

Hello from Tianjin!

So this is my first post from Tianjin, China, though I am about halfway through my trip already! I’m staying here for the summer and participating in an intensive language program, and let me tell you, they aren’t kidding about

Culture Shock

I haven’t really experienced much culture shock in Florence, honestly. Cute sign in a local pasta and wine shop A cute book in Italian A cool military sign that I found on the way back from a trip from Cinque

Day 1: Impressions

And just to cover my bases date-wise, here’s the actual first day in another country’s impressions. Day 1: 12/28/13 Well, here we are in Panama! The trip went more or less smoothly, with some unexpected bad headaches and lightheadedness courtesy

Pining for Panama

Six months ago on December 28, 2013 We started traveling this morning, around 3am, after 14 of us gathered outside of VCU Life Sciences building, waiting for a shuttle to arrive and gather us up into its rumbling embrace bound

The Super Secret Cake

After spending a delightful day jaunting about Madrid, shopping for gifts at the local Christmas markets with my friend, Jimmy, I came home to find the power in my apartment building returning with me, as well as my host mom,

Working in the City of a Hundred Spires

As a student abroad, it would be appropriate for me to write a post detailing my academic experience in Prague. Here’s the problem: I’m not actually taking any classes. I’m just partying all the time. Jokes aside, I’m in Prague

High Point-Low Point and Your Cultural Identity

The high point of the trip for me was our visit to a small, family-run winery in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse . We began the day with a tour of the Hambach Castle and a beautiful lunch in a beer garden. The

Academic Experiences

My trip to Germany consisted of a week of meetings with local economic development officials which were meant to be compared to those in America. Although these sessions did not take place in a formal classroom setting, they were extremely

Tea with the Royal Family?

Today we went to the Orangery at Kensington Palace for afternoon tea and it was the cutest thing. The china was so fancy and I got the best tea! I don’t even like tea that much, so it was quite

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I owned every second That this world could give I saw so many places The things that I did Yeah, with every broken bone I swear I lived I Lived by One Republic (via justfoldamap)

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you know its official when you get the Facebook group invite

Going Back Again

I am back in the UK after a wonderful week in Israel. It was strange going back to Israel. Israel is a very special place for me. It’s the country I have visited most, a place that for me has

T-Minus ONE MONTH until I leave for Hungary!!!

Time is flying by…but I am so excited!!

There’s More to Catalunya than Barcelona

The beautiful city of Barcelona is filled with things to do from visiting Sagrada Familia, finding the hidden gems of Guadi architecture to walking down the infamous Rambla you might be thinking, how could there possibly be more to see?

Reflection- My Year In Berkeley

Admittedly, as you can see from my small selection of blog entries i have not been the best at sticking to my plan of keeping a regular and up to date blog of my time abroad. It started out with

Life as we know it

What’s up? So I’ve been home exactly 2 weeks and 2 days and I’ve done so much in these weeks! I wasn’t planning on blogging about all of this, my life back home, but since I get so many questions

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1AK2avswW8JgfFjS3SVdwQ But we were born to be free range, free range. We’ve got the whole world at our fingers.We’ve got the whole world in our hands.

Not Your Typical Summer Job

Well it’s actually a winter job since I’m in the southern hemisphere, but not too cold compared to what I’m used to in the States.  Although I do find it quite humorous how much of the Argentines seem to be

Thanksgiving in Madrid

Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated by millions around the world. It occurs at different times, under different names, in each country; but the general purpose of the holiday remains the same: giving thanks for all that you have. This is

*receives email requesting supplementary documents*

*throws thousands of bank statements at the migration services*

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So yesterday my mother and I ventured to the big apple to complete the in person segment of my residence permit application. Aside from a few hiccups (an SUV almost hit me, I forgot my little passport photos) we managed

Thoughts before moving on…

This Sunday, I will travel to Madrid to work as an Au Pair for the summer. I have a number of thoughts, regarding both my time here in Barcelona and what it will be like in Madrid. Firstly, my thoughts

Culture Shock

Culture shock, according to my trusty old friend Google, is defined as “the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes.” Here’s an example of the W

Shakespeare at the Globe

Tonight I got to experience the Globe Theatre! It was absolutely incredible! I didn’t think I would enjoy the play because I’ve never enjoyed a Sahkespeare play before, but they took this to another level! It was authentic and the

Chi Town to Cape Town

Dear friends, family, and teachers, 10 days from today, I will be leaving on my journey to South Africa. It seems that the preparations and anticipation for my semester abroad were endless, and the actual trip was in the distant


The last adventure that I had was in Jerusalem. I booked a hotel there, and spent two days exploring. It was a wonderful hotel called the Jerusalem Little Hotel. It is part of a hostel, and in an amazing location. Basically

Travel Snobbery

Recently, a friend shared an article titled “Your Wanderlust Is Inauthentic: The Real Difference Between Travel And Vacation”. While the article made some good points, those are shrouded in what I can only describe as Travel Snobbery. To the author,

Fourth Film Shoot: “Toys”

April 22 – 24 (Nights of the 22nd, 23rd) Finally, it was my group’s time to shoot. Our film had a few permutations, but our final result was a kind of farce-y comedy about vain people interacting within a sex

High Point/Low Point and Cultural Identity

To be completely honest, this trip changed my life. Every day was a new adventure where I learned something new…whether it was in school, at home, exploring, etc. It’s hard to describe my high point of my study abroad experience

Prologue, or rather the end

Exactly one week left till the end of a trip lasted ten months, and it can seem – nay it sure is –  absurd to start a travel journal now. Maybe it was because of some obligations, or for laziness,

Chilean Sunset… saying my final goodbyes to Chile

I have less than 3 weeks left here in Chile and it’s time to start saying my goodbyes. Classes have ended; friends are going back home; others are starting their summer travels. And what perfect way to begin saying my

Spanish Family Movie Night

Living abroad, especially in a country that has a different native language than your own, presents a variety of new and enriching experiences as well as challenges. Whether it’s communicating with a waiter or waitress at a restaurant, trying to

Academic Experience

I am enrolled in World 391 – a service learning course. We have talked about Spanish history beginning with the Franco dictatorship and ending with the issue of immigration in Spain. The service learning component of the course involves a

Letter to Next

For anyone considering studying abroad in Córdoba through VCU this is my letter to you. Studying abroad this summer was a great experience and I recommend it to everyone. I say that for many reasons. Although you may hear about

High Point – Low Point and My Cultural Identity

A couple of weeks into the program I was asked what my favorite part of the trip had been so far. This was surprisingly a really tough question for me and I could not think of any answer, so I

Tel Aviv Pride 2014

If there is a city that knows how to party it is Tel Aviv. If you are at the bars at 11pm or even midnight it is empty. At that time, you are out “too early”. People who live in

Visa and Flight: Confirmed

Good news! I have managed to figure out how to get a visa! YAY. A lot of the other Fulbrighters are having problems since each Taiwanese Economic and Culture Office (TECO) has different requirements for the Health Forms. But, luckily

Finally its Finals Time

I MADE IT!!!!! It is finally finals week at La Católica and everyone is frantically studying (mixed with trying to watch all the Mundial matches) and finishing up final projects. Its great to finally be at the end of what

Cooking Class

After spending the weekend at the nonprofit Hope for Roma in the little village of Rankovce, I hustled back to Košice to meet Kristen’s friends Kathy and Rebecca. They were going to visit the small village of Vitkovce about an hour

Musica: Elisa // L’Anima Vola

  L’Anima Vola  Le basta solo un po’ d’aria nuova  Se mi guardi negli occhi  Cercami il cuore  Non perderti nei suoi riflessi  Non mi comprare niente  Sorriderò se ti accorgi di me fra la gente  Sì che è importante 

Cultural Contrast: What’s New

I consider myself to be a flexible person. No, I’m no gymnast, but I adapt easily to new circumstances, and it has been advantageous to me in Prague. Like any good international business student, I checked the Hofstede cultural dimensions

Getting the London Look – My Trip to the GB

I haven’t mentioned London thus far. And it’s worth a mention. I remember London most for it’s many landmarks – it was impossible to see everything in just one weekend; its amazing food – I ate steak and kidney pie,

Rebajas, a Blessing or a Curse? – Confessions of a Shopaholic

The following are a shopaholic’s suggestions for what and what NOT to pack before you ship out and how to handle shopping in a fashion forward city. I am by no means a pro when it comes to packing, but

Dear Future Traveler – Letter to the Next

So. You’re about to embark on the adventure of your life. It has been said that only 2% of all American college students study abroad, so we gotta stick together. Here are some takeaways from my experience. Hopefully I can

Academic Experience

So far in my time here, I have visited Florence, Siena, Fiesole, Lucca, Assisi, Bargino, Chianti, and even Venice, all while taking classes at SRISA (Santa Reparata International School of Art). Such is the beauty of being a student abroad;

En Route

What a trip…lemme tell you all the stuff that happened from Norfolk to Cuernavaca! Sooooooo: My friends, brother, and mother came to see me off at the airport. It was very nice! Except I had to wake up at 4

Culture Shock

I’m unsure whether it’s due to the fact that I had already traveled several times before this trip or simply the fact that my time here has been so fast-paced I didn’t really have any time to stop and think

Academic Experience

While studying abroad I only took one course, which was energy. I was abroad for one month so a full schedule was out of the question. In this class we learned about the basics of energy, heat, fossil fuels, biofuels,

Education abroad

This opportunity to study abroad has been amazing! There is no way that we could have experienced the same education in a classroom in Virginia that we are receiving here in South Africa. The two courses I am taking are:

Culture Shock

During my time abroad my biggest culture shock experience was my first day there. My first day meeting my host family I was frustrated because I felt by myself since my roommate was not there yet and no one could

West End Live

West End Live was this weekend and today I got the wonderful, unforgettable opportunity to go. We were there about six hours watching small parts of musicals and plays. It was absolutely incredible. Singing “Hey Jude” along with the entire

Initial Impressions

The first day I arrived at Córdoba, Spain was quite overwhelming. As soon as I got off the bus my host mother noticed me and introduced herself. She was very excited to meet me and seemed like a nice lady.

Highs, Lows, and Cultural Identity

      Literally, the high point of my time in Ghana was at Kakum National Park when I was 100ft in the air  :)  But all joking aside, it is hard to pick a single high point.  It was

Free To Be Me – High Point/Low Point & My Cultural Identity

High point of my time in Europe? That would have to my trip to Granada. I got this idea in my head that it would be incredibly amazing if I could try my hand at winter sports in the snowy

Music of the Roma

  One of the most visible and pervasive elements of Romani culture is a talent for music. Whether it be through singing and performing on street corners, playing cellos and violins in orchestras, or winning first place at local school

Bologna Adventure: Mission Accomplished

My babysitting job has been over for a few days now and last night I asked the Mamma Bear to drive me to the train station today so I could visit Bologna. I do have a couple of friends in

Outside St. Vitus Cathedral

April 21 Outside St. Vitus Cathedral, with the obelisk (17m tall) and St. George’s fountain. The featured image is our view of the cathedral as we approached from a footbridge.