Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Experience Recap

1. How have you changed as a person after studying abroad?
I am more open to trying new things

2. What self-discovery surprised you?
Before I left I was always trying to squeeze everything in my schedule and never have time to sit down. After Italy I realize I am more relax and easy going. I'm not trying to fit so much in a day anymore.

3. If you took courses in your major; how has studying abroad impacted your understanding of your major?
It was more globally aware and showed the difference in accounting principles compare to the United States. 

4. Single greatest benefit of studying abroad?
The travel experience

5. How did your life goals change?
It made me want to travel more and even find a career where I could.

6. What was your favorite experience?
The sight seeing and difference in culture

7. Any advice for future participants?
If you're debating about studying aboard just take a leap of faith because you will not regret it when you're finish.

8. Would you study abroad again? Why?
Yes because it was a wonderful experience and there was so much more I wanted to see. Four months may seem like a long time now but once you're there it is so short.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Excuse My Fench But I'm In France

Paris is beautiful!!!! The people aren't so lovely though. My stereotype of French people were they wear beret, drink lots of coffee & eat a lot of bread. Surprising everyone here has their own sense of style and there were not coffee shops on every corner. People are not very nice. I think manners were never taught to Europeans beside dinner etiquette.

I did a two days of hop on and hop off bus tour (26 Euros). It was amazing because Paris is huge. The history and buildings are fascinating. I also did a tour of the Eiffel Tower. The wait was almost three hours and it is totally worth it.

Food wise I did not try anything out of the ordinary. I don't think I had it in my plans when touring Paris. I just grab snacks from small shops. They are really big on sandwich. So must try one!

In the future I would like to come back and spend a whole week here. There is so much I still want to do. Paris would have been a good spring break since we had 10 days off.

Can't wait to see Ms Paris in the future :-)

Rome Update

I am a little over halfway into my study aboard experience. After traveling around Europe I came to see that Rome is the not the cleanest place. People are not very nice and personal space is non-existence. Even the elderly are very pushy and mean. Sometime it makes me mad but then I remind myself that it's just their culture.

Italians love their pets! Dogs are everywhere and all different size. Animals are allow in restaurants, on bus and in stores. However, they are very well trained because 80% of them are not on leases and they do not leave their owner side. Do not pet their animals unless you ask or they acknowledge you because they get very offensive.

School here is very different and difficult. For business classes they tend to do a lot of group work and you do not get to choose your group. Teachers here do not really teach. It's more like an independent study in my opinion. Text books are international and not very helpful in certain subject such as accounting. Some teachers do not even have text books so you have to rely on their lectures. When a professor say quiz it really mean exam because their quiz are about 40 minutes long.

There are still a lot of places I still want to visit while I am here. Here is the list of places I still want to visit and I am sure you will read about 2-3 of them before I return to the United States.
  1. Paris
  2. London
  3. Amsterdam
  4. Morocco
  5. Florence
  6. Naples
  7. Sisely 
  8. Budapest 
  9. Prague 

Planning things before you go aboard

 I can't believe how fast time is flying by since I been here. There are so many things I still want to do. So today I decided to blog about things you should do before you come here so you're not rushing to see places and do things.

First is figure out where you want to study aboard and what are the countries surrounding your study aboard. After getting accepted make a list of things you want to do, places you want to visit and how much your budget is for traveling. Now go get a planner and start marking spring break and no school days. Leave the first months empty so you can explore the city you are in.

Now lets start looking into places you want to go. Here are websites that will help you in booking flights.
  • Momondo.com
  • RyanAir.com
  • LastMinute.com
  • Skyscanner.com
  • Cheaptickets.com
If you find tickets around $100 or lower book the trip because the earlier you book it the cheaper it is. If you are not ready to book it then put a postage on that weekend of the place and how much you found it for. Continue doing this until you have all the places you want to go to within your budget.

Next finding places to stay while on your trips are a little more difficult. Here in Europe a lot of people stay in hostels. It is like a motel and they're not bad at all. When looking for hostels you want to make sure that the rating is 80% or above. Website are:
  • Hostelworld.com
  • Hostelbookers.com
  • Hostels.com
If you don't have anyone to travel with and is afraid to travel alone then there are tours you can sign up for. Bus2Alps.com is a great one for Europe. They have fly in or bus tour.

Good Luck

Greece 10 Days

(Toga Party)
For spring break Nathalie, Erin and I decided to go to Greece with Bus2alps. It is a 10 day trip and we stop at Corfu, Athens and  Santorini. They provide transportation, hostels and some dinners.

Corfu was very small and private. There are a couple of things to do here. First is the beach. It is still chilly out but it's perfect for laying out and not swimming.

Second is the APV which are quads. The hostel provide a tour on AVP threw the city. It is amazing because you really get to experience the historical and modern town. People are excited to see us and they all come outside to greet us. It's like they are watching a parade. This excursion is about 5-6 hours and take up a lot of energy. They also provide lunch. (If you don't like driving or not comfortable with quad I wouldn't suggest it.)

The third excursion is the booze cruise. I did not do this personally. However, I known people who have. It stops at 2-3 places and it is a big party on the boat. From what I hear it is crazy, too crazy for me!

The hostel (Pink Palace) provides dinner for free and lunch at the bar for 5 euros. I suggest buying lunch here because it is pretty cheap and the food is good. Lunch comes with whatever you choose, fries and bottle water or beer. I personally don't drink beer but my roommates did and they told me I should try it. It's really different from home. It's pretty good but still not my cup of tea. Pink Palace also sold souvenirs. For 1.40 euros you can purchase a postcard and they will mail it for you which is awesome.

Athens is our next stop. We do not stay here very long. Bus2alps does a 3 hours tour of the city. Definitely where tennis shoes because there are rocky paths and speed walking involved. This is a city filled with history. Go to ever monuments because with your International Student ID you'll get in for free. It is a marvelous city overall and amazing for pictures.

Athens do have beaches. It is still pretty chilly to go to the beach. The beaches here are not sand beaches but instead rocks/pebbles. Walking barefoot will hurt.

Santorini is our last stop. This is usually what shows up on search engine when you search Greece. The place where the buildings are white and the roofs are blue. We visited two different beaches. First beach is a black sand beach and second beach is a red sand beach. Bus2Alps does a tour of the city for 20 euro. This is a must do because you get a nice tour of the city and also wine tasting is involved.
(Black Sand Beach)

I loved Greece!!! I think it's way better than Rome. The city is enormous and the food is amazing. There are all type of cuisines and not just Italian food. Landmark are amazing and the view is beautiful. Everything is also less expensive. I really recommend to try a gyro and some wine. Even if you don't like gyro or wine Greece will change your opinion.

Ciao for now


Barcelona, Spain was my next designation. This city is beautiful. The trip cost about $200. It included 3 night stay at a hostel and the plane ticket. The hostel I stayed at was urban hostel. It was a metro ride away from the city. They are really helpful with providing information if needed. Also they had something plan ever night for the guests.

First thing you should do is take a bus tour. It's right in the city. For a 2 days ticket it is 30 euro. With this tour you can hop on and off the bus at any of their stops. There is even a stop close to the hostel. This is the best way to learn about the city and find your way around the town. You'll realize that this city is actually really small after the tour.

Barcelona monuments are amazing. It's a new developing city for tourism. There is not really many historic building if you are into that. However, there is a beach. I suggest to go in April because you will be able to use the beach. Eating seafood is a must here! Everything is fresh and delicious. That wraps up this trip. Time to plan the next one.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Vistors From Home

Erin's friends came to Italy for a week on their spring break. It was really nice to see people from home and have hot Cheetos and hot sauce. Those are the two things I missed the most from home.

Rome has these shops called Tabbachi. This is where you can buy you're bus tickets, cigarettes, stamps, lottery, etc. It is basically a very small convience store without the junk food. They are everywhere and their logo is a big T. Something I suggest buying here when you first arrive is a Roma Map for 3 euros. The map that's our school provide us is not very good. This map has all the monument enlarge and all the bus stops on it. It is also helpful when asking for direction or when you need to find where you are at because people can just point to it.

We have been here for 2 months and still did not do our sight seeing yet. We decided to learn our way around town first. Since we had visitors we did all the sightseeing then and the map helped tremendously. This is when I really saw how beautiful Rome was. It finally met my expectation after sightseeing.

Something I learned this week is stamps for mailing letters or postcards home is 1.70 euros.
Also you don't need to catch a taxi to the airport. Taxi without traffic is about 50 euros. Instead you can catch a bus to Termini (train station) and on the right side there are buses that can take you to either airports for 8 euros. I don't suggest this if you have many suit cases or an enormous one.

China Town is right next to the Termini and we like to go here because it's cheaper than normal supermarkets. If you don't like to cook or know how to cook this is where you can get ramen noodles. The only bad thing is carrying the bags back to the apartment. So when going grocery shopping carry a book bag or a big bag because they do charge for the bags and you might not make it very far with them.

Until next time.
See you later :-)