Saturday, March 24, 2018

Valparaíso

Mackenzie Yaksic
PUCV (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile)
Chile

When you first arrive here in Valparaíso, it's overwhelming. The amount of makeshift, bright buildings and housing on the hills is overpowering. The streets are unlike American streets in almost every week. Street vendors and pop-up farmers' markets are common. It's a busy city, and the streets are filled with many people from all social, age, and work groups. Men in suits with brief cases sit along side young mothers and college students. The way these different groups merge in this city is amazing. The street art is incredible, also. One has to take an ascensor up one of the hills to see most of the street art, but each hill makes a great day trip. The city is amazing, and unlike any other I have ever visited.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Blogger Tips

Marlena Madden
Study Abroad Ambassador
Fall 2017, Tokyo International University

Study Abroad Blogger Tips

The first step to writing a blog post is often the most difficult. Deciding on a topic can be a challenge. Hopefully, this post can help.

While you should always consider your audience, you also need to keep yourself in mind. Always try to write about experiences that you are comfortable with sharing. To me, blogs are like journals without all of the personal commitment.

Here’s some tips to help with your blogs:
Look at other travel blogs
Everyone has different experiences, but looking at other people's blogs might give you some ideas for developing your own.
Take and share lots of pictures
I’m not suggesting that you remain committed to photographing everything you encounter, but it’s nice to look back on photos when you return home. I love looking through my photo albums.
Update regularly 
It’s important to keep up with the blog on a regular schedule. If you don't do this, it might be difficult to get into the habit of posting. You don't want to look back and wish you would have been more active while you were abroad.
Share on social media for friends and family
Your friends and family probably aren't aware of this blog site, and want to know about your adventures. By sharing your posts on social media, you can keep them in the loop.

Some suggestions/ ideas for possible blog posts:
Life in your City/ University
This could help others decide if the country or university is the right choice for them.
Local Foods and Drinks
I know that this might seem boring at first, but I find that many Instagram accounts are often dedicated to food.
Experiences using Foreign Language
Stories about language communication and barriers are often very entertaining. Telling these stories can make your blog very lighthearted and entertaining to readers.
Famous Places/Popular Travel Destinations
Describing the cultural importance of these places can be a great conversation starter. You can also make all sorts of useful suggestions for others who might be interested in visiting these sites.

There’s an endless amount of possibilities when it comes to making a blog post. Keeping up with a blog might be stressful, but it is something amazing that you can look back on!

While trying to decide on which tips to share, I found this awesome blog post which goes way more in-depth than me: https://capaworld.capa.org/15-tips-for-writing-an-awesome-study-abroad-blog 

Marlena Madden


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Weather Patterns: HELP!!!!!!

Myka Bland
University of Worcester
England

Now, I was born in Michigan and am well aware of the content of snow, such as color, where it comes from, how it's formed, etc., but if I had any advice for anyone wanting to study abroad, PLEASE MAKE SURE TO CHECK THE WEATHER PATTERN OF YOUR DESIGNATED COUNTRY!!

If I had to describe a "perfect weather" day, it would be a nice cool breeze along with a 70-75 degree Fahrenheit, sun is optional, and ABSOLUTELY NO RAIN!!!!! However, I can count on one hand how many times I have seen the sun, rain seems to rarely be in the forecast, but it has rained almost half of the time I've been here, and, not to mention, I was just apart of the biggest snowstorm to hit Worcester in the past 5 years. Oh it's true; IT'S DANG TRUE!!!!!!

If someone asked me how to better prepare themselves for their time abroad, I would have to say CHECK THE WEATHER PATTERNS OF WHERE YOU ARE GOING! If you are all about sunny days, warm nights, and very dismissive to rain, then maybe the central part of England is not for you!

Week One Recap- Culture Shock is Really Real

Mackenzie Yaksic
PUCV (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile)
Chile

I have spent just a little over a week here in Chile, but it has felt like three months already. I came here not knowing much Spanish, and that has been my biggest, most stressful struggle to deal with. The school programs for learning Spanish are supposed to be great for all levels, but life outside of class is nearly impossible around here without adequate Spanish knowledge. Even my entire orientation week for international students was spoken in Spanish, and the speed at which everyone speaks here is almost unbelievable. I would not recommend coming here without an intermediate to advanced level of Spanish communication.
Transportation around here is also very much unlike the US. I have to use the metro or the bus to get anywhere I want to go. On the first two days of my orientation, my host sister showed me how to use the bus and the metro, so I now know the paths to get to my school, but that is all. My lack of Spanish knowledge also isolates me from finding my way to other parts of the town, so I have not done much exploring, like I'd like to. I have spent much of my time at my house, and when I do go out, it is with my host family. All but one member (who is never with us) speaks no English, so I am left to silently sit and listen to a language I do not know. I am treated almost equally to how they treat their family dogs, who know just about as much Spanish as I do.
Living situations are incredibly different than in the US. The school does not provide housing, so there is little to no student community. All of us international students live spread out throughout Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. The closest friend lives nearly a mile away, so walking is a must when visiting friends. Because of these living situations, meeting new people and making friends has been difficult for me. As of this point in my trip, I am left feeling incompetent, undereducated, and isolated.

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