Tuesday, December 5, 2017

All About Kimono

Marlena Madden

When people see kimono, they often immediately think about Japan. Kimono are probably one of the most recognizable piece of clothing from Japanese culture. They have a long history, but are now pretty much only worn for special events or festivals.

While I stay with a host family, there are no children in my homestay family. But, some of my friends in JSP Program at TIU have went to Shichi-go-san ceremonies with their host families. The ceremony is for when children turn 7, 5, or 3. Usually during the fall, the children dress in formal kimono and go to the local shrine to celebrate. The whole family tends to dress up for the occasion as well to take pictures. There are also many other events were people wear kimono including festivals, weddings, and celebrations when people turn 20.

Because I live near Koedo in Kawagoe, a popular tourist destination because of the old-fashioned buildings, I often see many young women who dress in Kimono and walk through the streets taking pictures. I also got to do this experience along with my fellow JSP students as a field trip. Because kimono are very expensive and difficult to wear, we went to a rental shop. There we got to choose our kimono before being quickly dressed by the women who work in the shop. It seems impossible to be able to put on a kimono by yourself, but I've heard that there are people who can do it. I've also heard from other JSP students, that some of their host families even go to special classes wear they learn more information about kimono.

Altogether, it was a fun experience to dress up and walk around shopping in the streets of Koedo!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Dark TImes

Before coming to Norway I understood that the sun would be very scarce during the winter. I don't think I knew quite how hard it would be! It started slowly, the day getting shorter all the time. Then all of the sudden it is dark. No evening sun, just dark. They call it the dark times when it is translated. It is so shocking to me to see people living here when it is so dark so long. I didn't really think it would feel different but it really does! I try to go out enjoy the sun a little bit everyday!  I am really enjoying having the chance to experience this but I'm not sure if I would want to experience it everyday! Luckily they have some activities to combat this weather. Tons of people knit here! It's amazing to see how many people are knitting. People also do a lot of outdoor sports. I haven't tried the outdoor sports yet, unless trying to walk counts. I have tried the knitting though and love it! I will definitely be bringing that back! 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

BELLA: The only meatball in MILAN

Written in October of 2017 = I had this post in edit-mode for literal months 'cause I'm flawed. = Sorry Kirsten and Sponsors of my Scholarship!!

GET READY, dudes and dudettes. I, Isabella Crockett, Bella, Ol' Beller, a glorious yam, have flown across mother earth and have been living in MILAN ITALY for four weeks so far!!! There is a LIFETIME of details and advice and radical adventures I want to share, but I should preface that every study-abroad experience is what you make it. "Your vibe attracts your tribe"
For any student reading this who is stewing with that pre-travel anxiety and envisioning all the ways things could go wrong, you're not as unprepared as you think and things will work out, ya' paranoid lil' critter! (I was a nervous wreck, too. Tears were shed, y'all.)
I know you're all quaking in your loafers with anticipation, so...Now about me and my fabulous life and my glorious friends and all my travels and my feelings!!!

I got ridiculously lucky in getting a ride-share with my school from the airport to my apartment. When I landed I had no cell service, atms weren't accepting my debit card so I had no cash (all better now btw), and I am from the wilderness with no knowledge of navigating subways/cities.

So I scored killer-cool roommates and it feels like I've known these muchachas for years. (We eat family meals together most nights like we're in a frickin' coming-of-age novel. It rocks.) They all pitched in and gave me the most majestic 22nd birthday of 8am champagne-popping off our balcony, homemade pancakes, an extravagant dinner, a special-ordered CAKE, and delish cocktails! Good lord, I love the heck out of them. We have already planned a ton of trips to take together across Europe. I'll get back to you on our trips to Sorrento, Florence, Naples, Pompeii, Pisa, the whole of UK, Barcelona, Amsterdam, and Paris.
^^ Me and my babe-liscious roommates got our bunz into the freezing Lake Como.

99% of online study-abroad packing lists just want you to become a minimalist/ pack light so you can buy items abroad, and I may have taken that to the next level. Yo' girl only brought one, I repeat ONE, pair of pants. And a coat? Nahh..... my butt only took a ski jacket from Goodwill. (I'm well aware that I'm a hot mess, but I am still reaping the repercussions from this.) Basically, the amount you pack should be based on how expensive basic things are in the country you travel to. So...Milan is not quite the best place to shop for a connoisseur of thrift stores like myself. Go figure. Pack more, that is all.
^^Yet I thought butterfly wings were a must-bring?? =Me at the top of Cinque Terre.

Milan is something else, man. Italians must know that they are thriving in the gene pool, because DANG are they foxy. It is humbling, to say the least. Hot diggidy dang, the food. These iconic places and ART are legendary for a reason, and did not disappoint.This place is a hub of culture, fashion, and MOSQUITOS. Not a single darn tootin' online source warns you about the evil zanzare (mosquitoes in Italian), but we literally had to buy jungle-grade bug repellent because we couldn't sleep without being eaten alive by Asian Tiger Mosquitoes. Our ceiling and walls are covered in their dead bodies, but smashing them is handy for when you need to take your aggression out on someone/thing. Check me out, finding the silver lining. I used to think, "Oh...every creature is a part of a collective balance in nature and contributes to a complex harmony in the animal kingdom".....NO BRO, not mosquitoes. Kill them with fire. I'll stop now.
< Ammu Cannoli Espressi Siciliani =
The best cannoli in Milan

Surprisingly, a lot of Gelato all around Italy was disappointing EXCEPT for a place called "Massimo Gelato Milano". It's right down the road from my apartment, the gelato is thicker than my thighs (as it should be), and it tastes like a gosh-darn DREAM.

Continuing on...My studly buds and I hiked the entirety of the Cinque Terre! A portion of the "easier" trail was closed due to landslides, so we BEGAN the ~11mile journey 96 flights up the first side of the first mountain. My toenails are purple, my calves feel like they were used as punching bags in fight-club, the thousands of stairs didn't immediately turn my body into J-Lo's, but I feel like a badass with new limits!!! (P.S. Can I say badass in these blogs? P.S.S. I complained a bunch on the hike because I felt like death and I regret it) = PROTIP: Whine less, you are blessed. Also, keep feminine products on you AT ALL TIMES, LADIES [and fellas if you're "woke".]

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention the "study" portion of study-abroad. It's...school. I'm an art major whose unable to take any art classes, which is a bummer. However, that brings me to another tip: don't sacrifice all of your hobbies abroad, because it will be draining emotionally. Being busy with school projects and travelling, I've cut out drawing (which I've learned is my therapy).

                                                          I have become one with the art.

This trip is the most marvelous way to go broke I could've ever asked for! I'M SO FULL OF LIFE AND PIZZA, ADVENTURE IS OUT THERE, THE WORLD IS SO BIG, THERE'S STILL SO MUCH TO LEARN!!! JUST DO ITTT!!!

I'm realizing this has become a novel, so If I ever want someone to read these things, I'll cut it short and save the millions of wicked details for my next posts. It's SO hard to not rant on about all the little beautiful moments and attach a ton of pictures of my new beautiful friends. Concerts in tunnels, morning walks in the Alps, touring castles in flowy dresses, dueling with Death-Eaters in London, LIFE IS GOOD.

Me @ the Uffizi Gallery in Florence; Oriana the Latina Princess @ Cinque Terre; Chrissy the True-Blue @ Pompeii

Thursday, November 9, 2017


My trip to Iceland

One of the most exciting things about studying abroad to me is the traveling possibilities. As a child, my family mainly traveled domestically with a few trips outside of the US. After going to New Zealand over J-term I have been itching to travel to another country! It has been absolutely amazing to get to travel around  Norway. 

My parents have been here to visit me for the past two weeks. I have had such a great time being able to show them this beautiful city that I get to call home for just a little bit longer. It was amazing for them to be able to experience all the things that I have been telling them about throughout my trip. I was most excited to show them the northern lights. Seeing the northern lights is hard to describe. It's as if God is painting in the sky right above you. Colors and light dancing and jumping across the sky. We also were able to see moose, reindeer, and sea eagles. 

While they were here, we made a trip to Reykjavik, Iceland as well. I was extremely excited about this because I haven't been there before. We only had time for two and half days there but they gave us a chance to experience a little bit of Iceland. We decided to go to the blue lagoon, two geysers and two waterfalls. We also explored the old city center. It was very fun to be able to travel with my parents and experience a new country with them! 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Homecoming Weekend

by Chloe Kilpatrick

Before leaving to study abroad, I was worried that I would be missing out on things at Maryville. The thing that concerned me the most – Homecoming. Homecoming is such a fun thing to experience at MC. The game, the fall colors, the parade, the dance. All things that I love. But this year, my senior year, I wouldn’t have the chance to experience some of my favorite Maryville things with my fellow MC students. I would be across the ocean in a place I knew very little about and a place that definitely would not have a homecoming. I knew the positives would outweigh the negatives, but until I was experiencing that, I didn't really believe it. I forgot about my worries upon arrival but this weekend, MC homecoming, I remembered how much I was worried about missing out and I can say without a doubt that what I have gained from this experience is absolutely worth every single thing I missed at MC this semester. It is hard being away from my friends at MC but I have made lifelong friends from all across the world, literally. From Boston, Canada, Germany, France even to Australia. People I would have never met if I had let my fear of missing out cloud my judgment about studying abroad. Of course, I sent an extra piece of my heart Home to Howie this weekend, but for this semester that is enough. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world, even the chance to be home at Howie.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Everyone Likes a Free $500: A Thrifty Students' Guide to Study Abroad Vouchers

When we go shopping, we all love deals, flash sales, promo codes, etc. The best thing about these deals is that we can strategically time our shopping trips around them and save boatloads of money. Let's face it- when you are a college student, getting a great deal can bring on the same rush of adrenaline as reaching the top of Mount Everest.

You may be asking yourself what this has to do with study abroad.

I was compelled to write this blog because right now, students across the country are saving $500 on airfare thanks to a voucher from CEA Study Abroad. See "Current Deals" below. In order to receive it, they must apply by an earlier deadline. For those students, this is like receiving a free $500 off your airfare without having to write and edit extra essays or request letters of recommendation like you would for a scholarship. (CEA is one of our partner organizations for summer study/internships. Learn more about summer opportunities here.)

While this all may seem too good to be true, the Center for International Education here at MC has seen students get these vouchers time and again. This past summer, two MC students got the same deal: a $500 airfare voucher for Student Universe, a travel booking site for students. They applied for a CEA Study Abroad summer program and entered the valid voucher code on their application.

What's the catch? (Eligibility)

Before using any voucher, read through the eligibility requirements. Oftentimes, to be eligible you must complete the given organization's program application by a particular date. This date may be earlier than the standard application deadline. The catch is that you need to be sure and ready to apply by that date. Do not rush into something if you think you may back out since there can be application fees and deposits to be paid if you back out of an application. Check out the official rules for the aforementioned promo to see what I mean.

How can you make sure that you know about these deals?

-Follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@MCScotsAbroad) and keep an eye out for the Study Abroad Monthly Newsletter in your MC email. Subscribe to the newsletter here. (Scroll down and look for "Subscribe to our mailing list"!) We'll try our best to let you know about deals that come up.

-Make sure those of us who work in the Center for International Education know about your interest in study abroad! (Email us at studyabroad@maryvillecollege.edu to set up an appointment.) or subscribe to our mailing list.  We send out deals we find on facebook and to our newsletter subscribers.

-Check for vouchers yourself! Check for vouchers on CISabroad, CEA, and ISA websites. All are for summer study/internships. These deals come and go, so check back regularly.  Read more about our program offerings here.

No, $500 deals will not be available every day!

But checking the study abroad provider websites regularly or even a simple Google search for promos will usually save you something. In addition to vouchers, promo codes are also available. For example, a simple Google search of "Student Universe Promos" today gives you a free $25 off.

Be intentional about looking for deals and you will not regret it! If you have any more questions about vouchers, please email studyabroad@maryvillecollege.edu.

Current deals:

CISabroad: Trip or Treat and Location-Specific Promos                                     

CEA: $500 Airfare Voucher 

By: Cindy Columbus, International Programs Coordinator