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Songs of the Summer

11 Jun

Song of summerWe’re already into June and regardless of the cooler than normal temperatures, summer is well underway. Whether you’re in the discothecas of Madrid, the underground clubs of London, or just lounging poolside back home, there’s always at least one catchy pop tune that helps define your summer. 

It’s early, but here are three nominees for ’13’s song of the summer.

All are infectious, have great videos, and are practically unavoidable right now. Chances are you love, or hate at least one. When it comes to popular music, it’s often that love/hate relationship that makes songs mem0rable. So, you decide. What’s the song of summer 2013?

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Travel Far Enough, You Meet Yourself

9 May

Look Both Ways

Well this is it. My flight from Sevilla departs in 36 hours from this very moment (down to the minute- talk about good timing). I can’t believe it’s here. The idea that I’m going home is still foreign to me. I’ve spent 4 months in the beautiful city, and I can’t even put into words what my time here has meant to me, how it’s changed me.

4 months. I have been here for 4 months. 120 days without my friends, my family, Bruster, real Diet Coke, peanut butter, and so much more. Yes, it has been hard. There have been many-a-days that I have wanted to pick up a pair of Dorothy’s red, sparkly shoes and click my heels three times saying “there’s no place like home.” But I would not have changed a single second of my time here for the world.

I’m a firm believer in the…

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Studying Abroad Makes You More Employable

28 Nov

Travel Foul!

10 Oct

We’re all guilty once in a while

Travel Fouls.  We all commit them at one point or another.  Some are unknowing offenders.  Some feel guilt.  Others might be in denial. But one thing is for certain.  As long as people explore foreign lands, putting themselves in unfamiliar settings, Travel Fouls will occur. 

Now, I’m not talking about cultural faux pas.  A Travel Foul is different.  By definition (which I’m making up as I type), travel fouls are – Actions taken by a traveler which purposefully, or unintentionally remove them from the possibility of cultural enrichment. Travel fouls put up roadblocks and close doors.  They are moments of weakness. They are missed opportunities.

I don’t aim to play referee, raising a yellow-card each time a Parisian tourist enters a Starbucks.  But in crying foul, we can identify behavior that isn’t necessarily wrong, but limiting.  If you missed viewing the Sistine Chapel because all you packed were short-shorts, or the only locals you encountered were hotel bell boys, you sold yourself short.

Like in sports, travelers commit fouls because they need a break, got frustrated, or are simply unprepared.  While fouling-out isn’t a concern, one certainly can suffer as a result of committing too many.

Confessions… 

  • “I just couldn’t find the Louvre.”   (Referring to the largest museum on Earth)
  • “The only shopping I did in Milan was for condoms…ha ha!”
  •  Eating at a Hard Rock Café…anytime…anywhere
  • “We never left the resort. Why would we!?”
  • Going to Starbucks when in a city renowned for its coffee
  •  Taking a zillion photos – seeing the sights mostly through a viewfinder
  • “We planned to do the High Tea thing while in London, but were still too hung-over to get out of bed.”
  • “We were scared to death of hostels…used Dad’s Marriot points instead”
  • “I complained about Pandora & Hulu not working in Spain. Why was I always on my computer!?”

What are some Travel Fouls you’ve witnessed, or will admit to committing? Go ahead, get it off your chest.

5 Photos That Will Convince You to Pack Light

4 May

From travelshackblog.com

 1. Baggage Fees: 

They are out there; almost everywhere.  Fees are steeper and more strict for international flights.  They go by the number of bags and/or their weight.  Size matters here.  Multiple flights can equal multiple fees.  Plain & simple, over-packing will cost you!  Consult your airlines & be prepared.

 

2. For Your Own Safety: 

When you are this bogged down with luggage you’ll not only be exhausted from lugging them around, but will stick out like a sore thumb.  You’ve probably heard how thieves look for tourists.  If your bags are being dragged behind you, and both hands are full, you become an EASY TARGET.

 

 

  3. Stairs: 

Don’t assume the same conveniences when arriving at a foreign airport or train station.  Elevators, escalators, or even hallways as wide as what you consider normal, may not exist.  You may very well have to navigate steep stairs, turnstiles, crowded pathways, and cobblestone streets that lack a sidewalk.  Did I mention you may end up exhausted?

 

 

 

 

4. It Just Won’t All Fit:  

The key to efficient packing is not getting it all in, but convincing yourself to leave things out.  Face reality; you are not traveling to Mars. Most of what you think you need will be available at your destination. For each item you pack, ask yourself if it is worth going through what’s mentioned above.

 

 

5. Blending In: 

This is one aspect of the culture you don’t have to totally immerse yourself in!  Other than where this pic was taken, being overloaded won’t help you intermingle with the locals.

When it comes to packing, think of George Clooney’s character in, Up in the Air versus Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Vacation. “Pack light,” is the most common advice given to travelers.  It is also the most often ignored.  Happy travels!

Bonus Photo:  An Alternative to Packing!

“Look at me, I’m Chandler! Could I BE wearing any more clothes?” 

              ~ Joey from Friends

Holiday Greeting

19 Dec

Happy holidays from all of the Boilermakers Abroad!

Purdue Study Abroad Holiday Message (YouTube video)

Top 5 Reasons Semesters Abroad > Summers Abroad

12 Oct

5.   It could be very hot.  This is weak, I know, but there had to be a #5.  The majority of students head to Europe over the summer.  Anyone who’s climbed the Spanish Steps in Rome, or walked across Paris in summer could tell you about one particular cultural difference.  Even 80 degrees is HOT when you’re  walking all day and without common “necessities” such as air conditioning and elevators.  There is a reason why songs were written about Springtime in Paris & Autumn in Rome.

4.   It is just not cost-effective!  Most students do not pay to take summer classes.  If you study abroad over the summer, that’s what you are doing.  Most students do work over the summer.  If you’re studying abroad, you’re not working, at least not as much. 

A semester abroad is simply a change in location. You are still taking a full-load of classes, just like you would on campus.  If you do an exchange program, the tuition cost is exactly the same.  Your summers are left wide open for money-making opportunities.

3.  Too many tourists & inflated prices.  Summer is “high season.”  That means everyone who can, is traveling.  As a result, the price of airfares, hotels, tours, train tickets, etc. go up.  This influx of people creates competition and claustrophobia.  Not only may you have difficulty booking & affording your travels, when you get there the hordes of people are sure to impose upon your experience. 

2.   There is just so much to experience!  Study abroad students have a lot on their plates and lofty goals to reach.  Even if these goals are dumbed down to a simple sight-seeing list it could still take a lifetime to complete.  A big mistake many travelers admit to is trying to bite off more than they can chew.

1.  You guessed it.  It’s just too short!  Sure, for some a few weeks might sound about right.  But, once the program is completed and they’re back on campus, that crowd will be yearning to be back overseas as much as the rest.  We hear it all the time, “Just when we got settled and were starting to consider (enter host city here) our home, it was time to leave.”  I make it a point to ask summer participants if they wish they were still there, or if they’d love to go back.  What answers do you think I’m receiving?

Alternates:

  • Classes with local students – Most summer programs don’t provide as much immersion.
  • Festivals – Oktoberfest, Carnival, St. Patrick’s Day, Christmas Markets, etc. don’t take place May-August.