Thinking of Studying Abroad? Here are five great tips to prepare you for a study abroad experience!
Originally posted on Education Empowers:
This week’s blogger is Jesa Pace, who studied Journalism and service-learning program called Camp Adventure. This week, Jesa will provide some tips for those considering going abroad.
While study abroad programs offer great opportunities for students, there is much more to consider aside from where you would like to study or travel. Things like obtaining a passport, receiving appropriate immunizations and completing program paperwork must all be taken care of before students hop on the plane. So, if you are considering a study abroad program, here are some things to consider before taking off.
Passport: When studying abroad, a passport is required to entire any country you may decide to study in. Passports can take weeks to arrive, so it is important to apply for your passport long before your departure date. Along with a passport, you may need to look into obtaining a VISA of some sort. Because my…
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I hope all of your summers are going well. I am having a great Memorial Day weekend with family and close friends. In the meantime I pieced together some of my favorite moments from my time abroad. With that, the one main point I would like to note is that it’s not about where you travel when studying abroad, but the people you meet along the way. I would not have been able to navigate around Taipei as easily without meeting my friend Angela or the group of three Europeans in the Philippines. I hope that from this blog it piques someone’s interest about study abroad in some capacity. It’s a big world! Take the time now, while you still can, to enjoy the world.
Everyone has at least one piece in their wardrobe that is a staple. Whether it be a denim jacket or a suit, there tends to be one article of clothing that lasts a lifetime with its respective owner. For the past seven years or so I have owned this tie dyed WVU t-shirt I purchased before a football game at Mountaineer Field. Every place I’ve travelled internationally since I have taken that shirt with me. It has gone to China in 2009, islands in the Caribbean in 2012, Spain in 2013, and Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Thailand in 2014. Nearly all of my travel has happened since attending WVU through their international programs. Though I missed “Throwback Thursday” for those familiar with the world of Instagram, I felt it was too cool of a photo to wait until next Thursday. I would also probably forget.
(From the top left clockwise: Chiang Mai, Thailand (2014), Beijing, China (2009), Cheung Chau, Hong Kong (2014), Batangas, Philippines (2014), and Santander, Spain (2013).
I know I’ve been on a huge hiatus, but the past week or so has been hectic. I landed back in the USA on Thursday in Newark, NJ at 11pm with only a two hour drive separating me from home. After that carride, it made my journey from Lingnan University in Hong Kong to the airport to Newark, New Jersey to home a total of 22 hours. I was so exhausted; I just crashed. The past few days I was in hibernation mode trying to allow my body to assimilate to Eastern Standard Time. I’ve met with some friends and treated myself to some of my favorite American restaurants, most notably the Cheesecake Factory. At this point, I’m just relaxing before I start my internship next week and eagerly awaiting Chaos Kass’s fate on tonight’s Survivor Finale.
I had finished edited my last two Thailand videos. One is a video story of my day at Wat Doi Suthep one of Northern Thailand’s most famous temples. The second video is in Chiang Rai, Thailand. The first day shows exploration of the White Temple and the festivities of the weekend night market. The following morning was Easter Sunday and I captured footage of a local Presbyterian church’s service.
I have linked their respective blogs with each video so you can look at both for further understanding.
Hope you enjoy!
I just received notice of my nomination for a Liebster Award. I got it about a month ago, but neglected to see it until now. I guess it’s better late than never…
I would particularly like to thank Six O’Clock Sunlight for nominating me. The Liebster Award is an easy way for new bloggers to receive accolades from the WordPress community. Given my short time blogging, it’s an incredible honor to recognized for my work.
So here goes nothing!
1. Thank the blogger who gives it.
2. Answer the 11 questions she/he asks.
3. Nominate 11 bloggers with less than 500 followers.
4. Ask these 11 bloggers 11 questions.
5. Let them know you have nominated them.
1. If you were a kitchen utensil what would you be and why?
I’d be a knife because I have a pretty cutting sense of humor. ;)
2. Where is your home away from home?
Currently my home away from home is in Hong Kong. When not studying abroad it is in Morgantown, West Virginia home of West Virginia University. Let’s Go Mountaineers!
3. What is one goal you’re working towards?
I usually have a lot of projects going at the same time, but one that is constant in progress is my audition tape for Survivor. Survivor is an American reality television show where 16 to 20 strangers are marooned in the wilderness forced to create a new society while voting each other out until one remains. Audition tape 2.0 will commence this summer. (Hopefully coming to a TV near you.)
4. What cause are you most passionate about?
I am extremely passionate about emphasizing stronger special education programs in secondary schools. This is a prevalent issue in most school districts and should be addressed accordingly with proper education and inclusion. This issue affects me and my family.
5. If you could experience any year in history when would it be?
1832. Why? Les Mis- I am only choosing this year because I love the musical despite the horrible tragedies present.
6. What person (famous, not famous, dead or alive) would you most likely to have a talk with over coffee?
Well I’m not the biggest coffee person, so our conversation would be over tea. I know… minor details. I’d love to chat with Lori Greiner from ABC’s Shark Tank. She’s an inventor and investor. With over 400 different products, I think she’d be a great person to talk to about identifying daily problems and financially capitalizing on them. Plus she’s my favorite shark on the show!
7. What is your favorite quote?
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
8. What was the last song that was stuck in your head?
It’s pretty embarrassing… “The Cup Song”/”When I’m Gone” by Anna Kendrick
Normally it’s “I’ll Be Waiting” by Adele
9. What is your role in your group of friends? (leader, helper, mom, crazy one, smart one, jack of all trades, adventurer, ect.)
I think everyone would ideally like to think they’re the “jack of all trades” since diversity in personality traits is good. However, I am defiantly the leader. No question. I have no problem vocalizing my opinions about an issue and implementing necessary procedures to fix it. Even when I know it will behoove to take a more passive approach in certain situations, sometimes I just can’t resist and get involved anyway.
10. What is your earliest Childhood memory?
This is totally vague, but going to the same preschool as my older brother. We weren’t in the same class, but would reunite during recess. Oh what I’d do for some recess these days….
11. What is the next place you want to travel to?
I want to go somewhere in South America. The most intriguing places for me are Brazil, Argentina, and Peru. So hopefully one, two or all of those three.
My Nominations (In No Particular Order):
My 11 Questions for all of you to answer:
1) What is your favorite book and why?
2) If you could be trapped in an elevator with three living celebrities, who would they be and why?
3) You’re a new addition to the crayon box, what color would you be and why
4) What was your senior superlative in high school and did they choose correctly?
5) What three words do YOU think best describe you?
6)What three words do OTHERS think best describe you from your perception?
7) If you could go anywhere in the world, where were you go and why?
8) If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only have one luxury, what would it be and why?
9) What is your favorite artist or band at the moment?
10) Pepsi or Coke?
11) What is a your favorite quote?
Hey everyone! I managed to edit the first two of my five Thailand videos. I hope you continue to enjoy my multimedia journey through another country. Though my study abroad experience is coming to an end, I still have some video content coming so lots to look forward to in the near future. Expect more Thailand videos tomorrow.
You can access these videos and every other video from my journey at my new videos page. If you missed one or just want to have a marathon of reruns, this is the place for you.
It’s crazy to think that I’ve been in Hong Kong for more almost four months. With those odds, I had about a one in three shot at being in Hong Kong for my birthday. Though the idea initially sounds really cool and out of the ordinary, my feelings were mixed. I have grown accustomed to celebrating my birthday with my family and close friends. My birthday was one of the few times I was reminded that I was away from home; but, moreover, away from my comfort zone.
My birthday is Cinco de Mayo, which is actually a celebration of Mexico winning a war, not their Independence Day (despite popular belief). Given the lack of Mexican restaurants in Hong Kong, it was not surprising that the festivities were less recognized than those in the United States. I tried to corral a group of students together to celebrate my birthday or at least the holiday. Since most have around one to two weeks left in Hong Kong, I knew it would be a hard sell. Everyone is studying for finals and getting their last minute sightseeing completed. Though the group fiesta idea fell through, a friend and I went to Outback Steakhouse and had some quality western food. At that point, I just wanted to attend some sort of eating establishment for dinner solely to get my free birthday dessert. Those that do not annually exercise this right are missing out. Who doesn’t love a free brownie sundae?
My birthday became this catalyst for a few thoughts about my abroad experience. Up until this point I have yet to really understand the whole concept of studying abroad for nearly four months. It’s obvious that I’ve been away from home and western culture, but really until my birthday did I start to realize how far I’ve come. I think I’ve compartmentalizing all of my homesickness and replaced those ideas with a sense of NEW adventures in a NEW area of the world. The excitement practically manifested itself to a point where you just live in the moment. You don’t reflect upon your journey at all or the people you’ve left. You’re just going through the motions, overwhelmed by new surroundings, and forgetting how much you’ve actually done in such a short time. When I prepared to leave, I did not really think about how much I’d miss my family and friends since I was primarily filled with wanderlust.
I had a nice birthday with new friends, but it just wasn’t the same. Even the most social people can quickly assimilate into a new group, but you can’t replace the friends and family that have been your support system for the past five, ten, fifteen, or even twenty years. On that note, thanks for all the birthday wishes! :)
With that, I’ve had a fantastic time abroad, but there is a time where you just realize you are ready to move from one adventure to the next.
I am eagerly anticipating my American homecoming in a exactly one week! Hopefully America embraces me with open arms and is at least marginally happy to take me back! I have already finished one of four final exams. I still have a few more places I need to explore before leaving Hong Kong.
This journey may be coming to an end but there are still places in Hong Kong and around the world that I need to explore. I hope it is safe to assume that I have nothing but time for further excursions!
See you soon!
Yesterday officially marked my last day of classes. After submitting two term papers, I now have a five day grace period before my first final exam. It’s a nice reprieve from the past week’s stresses and allows me to refocus my thoughts towards finishing this semester strong. I know one of my pre-final exam week rituals is the ever so popular number crunching. By that I mean how many points do I need to acquire on this final exam to receive my desired grade. To be fair, I think I spend too much time calculating my standing in each of my courses before finals when it could be used as time to study. I just can’t resist the speculation and what-if scenarios. Additionally, it’s a great indication of how much study time to appropriate to each of my courses. Obviously this procedure is only worthwhile if the grading system is clearly defined with set ranges. For instance, an A is 100% to 92%, B is 91% to 83% and so on.
At Lingnan University there is a lot more ambiguity surrounding your current grade. They utilize a comparative grading method which uses a standard bell curve. With that, the top 10% and lowest 10% receive A’s and F’s respectively, the next highest 25% get B’s with the next lowest 25% getting D’s. The middle 30% receive C’s. There are a few issues with this method. Firstly, it is unclear as to where you stand grade wise in the course. Your assignments within each respective course is being graded against your peers as well as your overall grade. With this strategy, it decreases collaboration for studying. Unless the study partnership is perfectly symbiotic, your helping someone else could lead to your detriment in the long run and vice versa. I happen to enjoy studying in groups since it’s sometimes easier to synthesize information from a fellow student. This entire aspect of the education system seems inherently lost here given the nature of comparative grading. This entire system makes me even more eager to return to the USA and soon be reacquainted with my home university where you grade is a internal competition rather than one against your fellow classmates.
Happy Summer! See you in 12 days, America!
This past weekend Lingnan University hosted its third TEDx conference. For those who don’t know, TED is a non-profit organization whose goal is spread ideas and foster some sort of a scholarly conversation. This goal is mainly accomplished through speakers invited to the conferences to discuss a certain topic for the betterment of the group. The “x” next to the TED indicates an individually organized TED conference at one’s respective university or city.
Each TED conference tends to have some theme that connects the group of speakers. The theme of TEDxLingnan was “Every Voice Matters”. The program coordinator explained that despite this being strictly a university attended event that every voice matters regardless of your background, age, gender, etc. It was an interesting theme given the variety of speakers.
Topics ranged from finding one’s sense of self, living your most fulfilled life, viewing urban spaces in different perspectives, international volunteerism, to paying it forward in one’s community. All of these stories had a distinct message with a clear intent on making some impact in hopes of instilling some message into young minds. I thought the talk was rather beneficial. Similar to most things, you usually don’t wholeheartedly enjoy every single part. Though I didn’t agree with some people’s opinions, I respected their differing perspectives. Embracing the conference motto of “Every Voice Matters”, I internalized their thoughts because that’s the entire purpose of TED- listening to others and appreciating the differing perspectives. I felt truly grateful to have the opportunity to attend a TEDx conference. One of my friends described my journey perfectly with “Chris Hickey is literally having the study abroad experience people dream about.” I could not agree more.