100 Best Things to do in Germany

“100 Best Things to do in Germany”

via Jen’s Reveiws

Here are the 100 best things to do in Germany that will show you the charm, beauty and cultural diversity of this country.

Germany is rich with surprises and contrasts just waiting to be discovered by the discerning tourist. A country of enchanting little villages nestling between lofty and imposing mountains, fairytale castles and churches and lush vineyards rolling down towards the banks of the Rhine or the Mosel, Germany also boasts of the more rumbustious Munich Beer Festival and the Cologne Carnival, a very fine choice of gateaux, sausages and beer and a powerful and somewhat spooky folkloric tradition.

1. Die Zugspitze

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Located in the Garmisch-Partenkirchen region of Upper Bavaria, the Zugspitze can be accessed by cable car from the Eibsee lake (around ten minutes) or by cogwheel train from Greinau followed by a cable car from the Zugspitzplatt to the summit. There are also five hiking routes for the more intrepid and guided tours with overnight stops are a popular tourist attraction for avid hikers.

At 2.962 metres above sea level, the Zugspitze is not only the highest mountain peak in the Wetterstein mountains, it is the highest peak in Germany. On a clear day, the breathtakingly lovely panorama of the mountain ranges of four neighboring countries – Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland – is clearly visible from its summit. For those who love hiking and/or winter sports, the Zugspitze is definitely a number 1 choice when visiting Germany!

2. The Castle of Neuschwanstein (Munich)

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In 1868, four years after acceding to the throne, the shy and reclusive King Ludwig II commissioned his architects Eduard Riedel and Georg von Dollmann to build him a mediaeval castle where he could hide from his people. Paradoxically, Ludwig himself only lived a few months in the castle before his death in 1886; 7 weeks later the castle was opened to the public and it has been one of Germany’s most popular tourist attractions ever since.

Located in Hohenschwangau in the rolling green hills of southern Bavaria, surrounded by blue lakes, Neuschwanstein appears to float in the clouds like some magical castle in a fairytale. From Munich, it can easily be visited as a day trip. Tickets should be booked in advance!

3. Europa Park (Freiburg)

North of Freiburg in Baden-Württemberg in the little village of Rust is the biggest amusement park in the whole of the German-speaking world. In 2015 alone, it boasted 5,5 million visitors and is among the top 5 tourist attractions in Germany worldwide. In 2016, it won the “Golden Ticket Award” as the best amusement park in the world for the third year running. As an additional bonus, it is also open in winter!

With more shows, rides and attractions than one could ever imagine, including the biggest roller coaster in Europe, the Europa Park offers unlimited fun, excitement and entertainment to young and old alike. The Europa Parkc can be accessed from Freiburg by car in around 30 minutes and the closest railway station is Freiburg. Additionally there are a number of airports close by which offer shuttle-bus transport directly to the Europa Park.

4. Oktoberfest (Munich)

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Munich`s flamboyant Oktoberfest is famous the whole world over. Since its inception in 1810 in celebration of the wedding between Ludwig of Bavaria and his bride Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, the Oktoberfest has grown continuously in size and popularity. With its dirndls and its lederhosen, its stalls and diners offering a multitude of German and Bavarian specialties and – of course – its fourteen beer tents offering beer for every taste (and wine, too!), the Oktoberfest is a must for anyone seeking the fun side of Germany.

The Oktoberfest takes place once a year, beginning in September and ending in October, on the famous “Theresienwiese”, otherwise known as “Festwiese”. Travel by public transport from München is recommended owing to lack of parking.

5. Cologne Carnival (Cologne)

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Traditionally, Cologne carnival begins whimsically at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, although the serious partying does not begin until Shrove Thursday. However, when it does, it goes with a bang! Cologne carnival is a celebration, above all, of fancy dress: streets, pubs and restaurants are full of exotic and bizarre costumes, streamers, balloons, practical jokes and laughter. The highlight is a 6 kilometre-long parade through the streets of Cologne on shrove Monday. A colorful, unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Though Cologne carnival is predominantly a street festival, there are plenty of carnival dances, dinners, parties and other indoor events running at the same time to choose from. Street activity during carnival time is at its height in the city center and the old parts of the city, which are accessible by bus or train from Cologne airport within 20 to 25 minutes.

6. Cologne Cathedral (Cologne)

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At the time of its completion in 1880, Cologne Cathedral, with its awe-inspiring twin spires, was the highest building in the world. Even now, at 157m, it dominates the surrounding architecture with ease. Building commenced in 1248 but was halted during the Middle Ages and recommenced in the 19th century. Cologne cathedral reputedly houses the remains of the Three Biblical Magi- which were given to the Archbishop of Cologne by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in 1164 – and is an important destination for modern-day pilgrims to this day. For this reason, but also because of its being “an exceptional work of human creative genius”, Cologne Cathedral was dubbed an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

Cologne cathedral is situated very close to Cologne railway station and is impossible to miss! It is around 25 minutes from Cologne airport by bus or rail.

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**If you were to give advice to future SAS (study abroad students) for your country, what would YOU recommend?!? Post in the comments! ** DB

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Terror attacks prompt FSU to create travel tracker for study abroad students

“Terror attacks prompt FSU to create travel tracker for study abroad students”

by Julie Montanaro via “WCTV”

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Best Mattress Sleep scholarship

Hey Guys! 

So I got an email a while back about this scholarship, and I somehow missed it when I was going through the mail.  But Best Mattress asked me to pass the information on to you all in case you’re interested!  It’s a scholarship for $1,000 (good start on a study abroad plan!) and the deadline is May 19, 2017 so you need to jump on it fast!  I’ve posted the information below.  Scholarships don’t have to cover the entire cost of your trip if you can add them together.  So here’s a great place to begin planning for your dream trip to study!  The website is here.

BestMattressReviews.com Sleep Scholarship

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Adventures with the GMAT Abroad: Finding the Location

Since I know several college student from International Countries (or from the US living abroad) also take the GMAT every year, I thought I’d keep you up-to-date on the process I go through while I’m taking it in China. Partly just because it’s kind of a glimpse into how things are different just traveling and surviving abroad. 

The registration process itself was pretty  simple – I did the normal US registration website and everything. Registered an account and selected Zhengzhou, China as my location.  

However, that was the end of the easy part. First of all, finding English study books is a pain though do-able. My students order them off of Taobao (Chinese Ebay) or Amazon.cn.  I went ahead and purchased one while I was in the States on holiday and brought it with me.  As long as its a semi-developed country where many students take the test, I think you can find study books. I wouldn’t count on it in other countries necessarily. 

I don’t actually live in Zhengzhou, instead I live about an hour away. Since the GMAT is less common in China, the testing centers are less populous.  So I was kind of lucky to find one this close to me.

My test is at 8:30am local time, which was the only time slot available. The dates are not as open, and you are more limited as to what time of day is available here than in the US I think. That means I need to arrange a hotel for the night before. Since my test will not end until after noon, that means I would have to rush in order to get to the bus and home on time. So I ended up getting  a hotel for two nights instead–A lot of students from out of town do this I’ve found.  

So the total GMAT cost goes to Test + Travel (for me about $10 for bus + subway + taxi) + Hotel ($150 for two nights).  

Unfortunately, the location itself is clear out in the boonies (sp? — out in the middle of nowhere) and I could never have found it on my own.  As with all good small-town Chinese addresses, it isn’t even a real address.  The location according to the MBA site is at “NEEA-Henan Higher Education Admission Office Zhengzhou HEN, CHN.”  Legit – I put in the name of the location that the MBA site gave me and it doesn’t show up on Google. 

Luckily my ticket had a little more information — HENAN COLLEGE OF FINANCE &TAXATION,  ZHENGKAI RD&KANGZHUANG RD INTERSECTION,  RM 517, ADMINISTRATION BLDG.. Yep – that’s a helpful address – “at the intersection of Zhengkai Rd & Kangzhuang Rd.” I tried looking up the college, and found an address on the opposite end of town (apparently the old address? – I’m not really sure).  

One of the things you learn when you travel abroad is that GoogleMaps can be much less helpful depending on the country. I’ve heard that it’s pretty on spot in Europe. But in Japan, Korea, and China where I’ve traveled extensively, GoogleMaps is frequently not helpful whatsoever. The names on Google are in Chinese (which I don’t speak and certainly can’t write or read), the roads aren’t up to date, the buildings move, everything is a couple years old. In a well-developed city, a couple years might not mean much for a map. But in a still swiftly growing and expanding area like Henan, China just two months might see a complete and total difference. 

I finally just posted the address on Weixin (China Facebook/Twitter) and my students (have I mentioned how much I love them to pieces?) immediately responded with the Chinese map, the Chinese name of the School, the Chinese address, and directions to give to a taxi driver. According to the map, it’s out in the middle of nowhere – land  several kilometers outside of the actual city.  Seriously, it’s at a small community college “on the road between Zhengzhou and Kaifeng” (hence the intersection of Zhengkai road 😛 ). So we all agreed, I’d need to take the subway all the way to the end. Then one student said I should take Exit E (thank God for that piece on information — people appreciate the Exit number not enough!) then go east to the main road. No one knows where the bus stop is (our city doesn’t have a good bus map or layout — so no one really knows when or where it’ll stop). Just that I need bus 102 to the stop (of course it’s in Chinese).  At first they said try to find Chinese students to help me find the bus — then we realized its the holiday and there probably won’t be anyone. 😛

Oh the life I lead!

Of course, because it’s so far out, there were no hotels in the area to speak of.  A couple that were low end – $20 a night- places. But while a cheap motel might be okay in the US, I don’t trust them here in China. Too many horrific experiences (namely one including a plate on the floor outside the hotel restaurant with so much mold on it, it should have been a lab experiment .) 😛  So I had to go further up line 1 on the Subway to find a hotel.

 To be honest, I have no idea how much time this whole thing is going to take me. And I’m kind of dreading the whole “Check-in” and get a computer process. They say the people will speak English, but I’m not really counting on it. 🙂 I’ve been told that before. Anyway, I’ll let you know how the process itself goes. Off to work on my math. Wish me luck!

46 Study Abroad Statistics: Convincing Facts and Figures

“46 Study Abroad Statistics: Convincing Facts and Figures”

by Ruth Kinloch via “Study.Smart”

Are you thinking about studying abroad, but are not sure if it’s worth your time? Or are you ready to participate in a study abroad program, but need some extra talking points to convince your parents that you’ve made a smart decision?

The number of American students who go abroad has more than tripled in the past two decades (304,467 students in the 2013-2014 academic year), and this increase is likely to continue. International education is on the rise, and for good reason: research has shown that students who study abroad have better career prospects and are more socially aware. Read on to discover more study abroad statistics, facts, and figures that reflect the latest trends in international education.

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Benefits of studying abroad

For many years, the benefits of studying abroad have been described in words like these: “It will completely change your life!” and “You will come back a new person.” But the exact long-term benefits were unknown. Now, though, the positive impact of study abroad experiences can be proven with study abroad statistics.

The Institute for International Education of Students (IES) conducted a survey to explore the long-term impact of study abroad on the personal, professional, and academic lives of students. Here are some interesting findings:

  1. 95% of the students who were surveyed admitted that studying abroad served as a catalyst for increased maturity, 96% reported increased self-confidence, and 95% said it had a lasting impact on their worldview.
  2. More than 50% of the respondents are still in contact with U.S. friends they met when studying abroad.

One of the goals of study abroad programs is to train future global leaders who will respect other cultures and political and economic systems and care about the world’s welfare. The survey reveals that study abroad is succeeding in this mission:

  1. 98% of the students stated that study abroad helped them better understand their own cultural values and biases, and 82% said that it helped them develop a more sophisticated way of looking at the world.
  2. 94% stated that their study abroad experience continues to influence interactions with people from different cultures.
  3. 87% of the students said that study abroad influenced their subsequent educational experiences. Nearly half of all respondents took part in international work and/or volunteerism since studying abroad.
  4. Three-quarters of the respondents said that they acquired skill sets that influenced their future career paths.

The survey results proved that studying abroad can greatly influence a student’s life. The results of the survey show that study abroad had a positive influence on the personal development, academic commitment, and career paths of the students who took part in IES study abroad programs.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the results show that the longer students study abroad, the more significant the academic, cultural, and personal development benefits are. But the survey also suggests that study abroad programs lasting at least six weeks can also produce good academic, personal, career, and intercultural development outcomes.

The Erasmus Impact Study (2013) analyzed the effects of mobility on the skills and employability of students and on the internationalization of higher education institutions. The results of the study proved the benefits of studying abroad for the career development of mobile students. The study highlighted that mobile students are more likely to get managerial positions in their future careers and are less likely to experience long-term unemployment.

Here are some key findings.

  1. More than 85% of Erasmus students study abroad to enhance their employability abroad.
  2. More than 90% of mobile students reported that they improved their soft skills, including their knowledge of other countries, the ability to interact and work with people from different cultures, adaptability, foreign language proficiency, and communication skills. . . . .

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International Merry Christmas”

Taking College Entrance Exams When Traveling Outside of the US

Just registered for the GMAT! Wish me luck! I’ll officially be taking the exam on February 7, 2017 at 8:30am in Henan, China. 

Yep, that’s right. Most standardized American college entrance exams are offered in international locations. In fact, many international schools also utilize these exams for admissions and scholarship criteria. For example, I’m looking at schools in Asia, and most of the accredited big ones ask for either the GMAT or the GRE. 

 So if you want to study abroad in fall of Senior Year or last year of Undergrad, you can still take the all-important exams you need for your future.  Or if you’re an international student looking to study in the states, you can find one in your area hopefully. 

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American College Testing (ACT)

The ACT is one of the two main undergraduate school entrance exams. Most universities accept either the ACT, SAT, both, (or on the very rare occasion) neither. It is up to you to research your potential universities and verify which exam they require. They are not major specific-all majors need to take it.

Format (as of 2016-2017) -the ACT has four primary parts (Math, Reading, Science, and English) as well as an optional written portion. The English portion covers grammar, punctuation, and structure. The Math portion covers basic algebra, trig, and calculus questions. The Reading portion asks you to analyze essays or paragraphs you read for meaning, complete thoughts, etc. The Science portion is less science and more logic. It asks you to take data and analyze it to answer their questions.  The Writing asks you to write an essay response to a question they give you.

Notes: Unlike the GMAT or computer-based GRE in the US, the GRE internationally is usually the “paper format.” Meaning you have to sign up for a specific date (often only a few times a year) to go take the test in hand-written form. Then, because scores are not calculated online, you will have to wait for your scores (as much as 4-6 weeks later).  SO READING INSTRUCTIONS IS IMPORTANT!

Cost: $51 (for International locations)

Next Date: April 8, 2017 (Register by March 3, 2017) or June 10, 2017 (Register by May 5, 2017).

List of International Locations  **To Register for International Locations, you must make an account on the ACT website and register through that. 

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Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT)

The SAT is one of the two main undergraduate school entrance exams. Most universities accept either the ACT, SAT, both, (or on the very rare occasion) neither. It is up to you to research your potential universities and verify which exam they require. They are not major specific-all majors need to take it.

Format (as of 2016-2017) -the general SAT has four primary parts (Math, Reading, Writing & Language, and Essay). The Writing & Language portion asks you to analyze things you read–correcting logic issues, strengthening or weakening the argument, finding errors, etc.. The Math portion covers basic algebra and elementary calculus/trigonometry questions. The Reading portion asks you to analyze essays or paragraphs you read for meaning, complete thoughts, etc.  The Writing asks you to write an essay response to a question they give you.

WARNING – I’ve heard a lot of bad things about the College Board exam centers in China. I have absolutely no background in other countries – but I do NOT recommend taking the SAT in Mainland China or Hong Kong.  Friends or students taking the exam here or in Hong Kong report never receiving their grades, being told to wait as much as 6 months for scores (and then still not getting them), scores being thrown out because “someone cheated,” not being given the full time to take the exam, not being provided with all the materials needed for the exam, questions not being answered, and more.  When students (some US citizens included) attempted to call the College Board in Hong Kong and ask for information, the first question they were asked is where they were from. When they said China, the office immediately hung up on them. Several reported similar issues. One of my friends was actually late applying to schools, despite taking the exam early, because her first scores never came and they just told her to re-take the exam again.  

Cost: $45 * without essay | $57 *with essay  (there is an addition “fee” for international students changing by region. Africa and the Americas pay an extra $35.  East Asia / Pacific pay an extra $53.  Europe and Eurasia pay an extra $38.  Middle East is $47. South and Central Asia is $49).

Next Date: January 21, 2017 (Register by December 7, 2017) or May 6, 2017 (Register by March 22, 2017).

List of International Locations  **It is not offered in March outside of the United States. You may have to obey special national rules for the SAT which vary country-by-country. The SAT does provide international examinees the option of having an “international representative.” However if you do this, you must register by paper and by the early deadline. They also cost money 🙂  Here is their “Tips for International Registration.”

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General Record Exam (GRE)

The GRE is a basic graduate school entrance exam used largely for all majors not including Medicine, Business, and Law. So basically all arts and sciences. It’s definitely the most popular and the most commonly taken exam of the lot. Schools accepting the GRE internationally

Format (as of 2016-2017) – the GRE has three separate parts (Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing). The Verbal Reasoning portion is split into Reading Comprehension (read the essay and answer questions about it), Text Completion (fill in the blank), and “Sentence Equivalence (word definitions –  can you put in the correct word).  The Quantitative Reasoning portion is mostly math and logic questions.  The Analytical Writing asks you to write an essay response to a question they give you.

Notes: Unlike the GMAT or computer-based GRE in the US, the GRE internationally is usually the “paper format.” Meaning you have to sign up for a specific date (often only a few times a year) to go take the test in hand-written form. Then, because scores are not calculated online, you will have to wait for your scores (as much as 4-6 weeks later).  SO TIMING IS IMPORTANT!

Cost: $205 (or $220 in China – why, I don’t know.)

Next Date: February 4, 2017 (Register by December 23, 2016 or pay a late fee).

List of International Locations where the Paper-based General GRE is offered. **To Register for International Locations, you probably need to look for testing centers and dates under the “paper version.”

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Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)

The LSAT is the graduate school entrance exam used students entering Law Schools. 

Format (as of 2016-2017) – the LSAT has five separate parts (Reading Comprehension, Analytical Reasoning, two Logical Reasoning sections, and a Writing portion). Reading Comprehension asks you to analyze essays or paragraphs you read for meaning, complete thoughts, etc. Tests your ability to analyze, understand, and apply what you read to other information. The Analytical Reasoning portion is what many of us call the “logic” portion. It’s like those old games you used to play (M is married to S. S is not married to T or J. X married on Tuesday but is not married to T. Who married who and when). The Logical Reasoning parts provide you with information and asks you to analyze what you read and draw conclusions, explain, or provide the logical theory underlying what you read. The Writing asks you to write an essay response to a question they give you.

Notes: Most schools want you to take the exam before December, in order to get your scores on time.

Cost: $180. (If you are applying to a US school, you’ll probably also buy the CAS paperwork compilation system which is $175).  

Next Date: Varies significantly by country and region. 

List of International Locations where the LSAT is offered. **Some countries only offer the exam on certain days, not all of them. 

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Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

The MCAT is the graduate school entrance exam used for Medicine programs. 

Format (as of 2016-2017) – the MCAT has four separate parts. The Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems portion tests biology, organic chemistry, and inorganic chemistry. The Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems tests biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, and physics. Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior Systems  will test psychology, sociology, and biology as it relates to sociological threats to heath. Critical Analysis and Reasoning portion is basically a Reading Comprehension section.  Mixed within the first three parts will be questions testing you on specific Scientific Inquiry and Reasoning Skills 

Notes: 

Cost: $310 (goes up to $365 about 1-2 weeks before the exam). Applicants at international locations must pay an extra $100 no matter what.

Next Date: January 19, 2017 (Often vary by country).

List of International Locations where the Paper-based General GRE is offered. **To Register for International Locations,follow the same instructions as domestic registrations. Make an account on the AAMC website first.

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General Management Achievement Test (GMAT)

The GMAT is a graduate school entrance exam used largely Business Schools. Some MBA programs accept the GRE in lieu of the GMAT, but not all. 

Format (as of 2016-2017) – The GMAT has four parts (Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal, and Analytical Writing). The Analytical Writing asks you to write an essay analytical response to a question they give you.The Integrated Reasoning will provide with a set of information and data. Then you will be asked a serious of questions based on that info analyzing your ability to evaluate, comprehend, and utilize it.  The Quantitative is similar but focuses on math and logic. You might be given a set of facts and then you are asked to find the truth that fits all those facts. The Verbal Reasoning tests you ability to correct sentences, answer reading comprehension questions, analyze and answer questions using what you read. 

Cost: $250  (+VAT – depending on Country)

Next Date: You Choose.  Each testing location and country will have different exams. Rather than the ACT, SAT, etc where a bunch of people take it together in a testing scenario, the GMAT and computer-based GRE are more individual. You must first choose your testing location. Then look at the dates and times available at that center.

List of International Locations where the GMAT is offered. **Each country has specific requirements and taxes they will apply. You need to read the “country-specific instructions” before applying.