Aer Lingus “Study in Ireland Program”

For my first return post, I thought I’d share a nice deal offered especially to Study Abroad Students!

According to their website, AerLingus (an Irish airline) is offering students studying in Ireland a special deal this summer through their “STUDY IN IRELAND Program.”

They’ll be offering “special airfares and a free date change to their return flight.” I like how it says you can change your return flight. Probably because so many students fall in love with Ireland and just want to stay a little bit longer (I know I did!).  Actually, it says you can even move the date of your return flight up (but who would want to?!?).  

The offer is for travel to or from Dublin or Shannon, Ireland on the following dates:

  • August 17-December 20, 2016 (Fall Semester)
  • January 6 – May 30, 2017 (Spring Semester)

Flights include those to/from Boston, Chicago, Hartford (as of Sept. 2016), Los Angeles, New York, Newark (as of Sept. 2016), Orlando, San Francisco, Toronto, and D.C.  Only individual students studying abroad get this special plan. 

However, the website also offers “special fares for Family & Friends Interested in travelling with or visiting the student while in Ireland (fares based on availability).” Awesome! Your best friend could come and visit you too!

For more details about the specifics and limitations, you can use the following resources:

If you try this program out, let us know how it goes! Excellent? Good? Bad? Terrible? Pass it on!

DISCLAIMER: This website is not affiliated with Aer Lingus in any way. My and my website are not responsible for anything AerLingus does or the program they are offering or anything else. I’m just letting you know what the website says.

France – Watch Out for the Infamous Paris String or Friendship Bracelet Scam

“France – Watch Out for the Infamous Paris String or Friendship Bracelet Scam”

Via “Corporate Travel Safety”

A Famous Tourist Scam in Paris, France

You’ll find this scam is one of the top  scams in Paris, France. It’s been around for many years, (because it works) and is known as the “Friendship Bracelet Scam” the “Paris String Scam” or by the name given to those who try to commit the scam on you, “Bracelet Pushers.” The scam is committed by who many describe as “string men” or as local Paris merchants call them “con-merchants.” Non-french speaking tourists are targeted the most. While the Paris Friendship Bracelet Scam is popular in Paris, it can also be found at many tourist locations outside of Paris in France too, and to a lesser extent in other countries such as Italy and Spain.

Paris Friendship or String Scam

Where the String Scam Occurs

One of the most common Paris locations where you’ll find the Friendship Bracelet Scam practiced is throughout the Montmartre area.  Specifically the scammers will target tourists and first time visitors as they approach and walk up the giant staircase that leads from the Metro to the Sacre Coeur area of the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur. This is a popular stomping ground for tourists and is Montmartre’s leading tourist attraction, and probably the most-visited church in Paris. Visitors to Paris should also be aware that this scam is also prevalent at many of the Metro lines and stations that  you travel on to get to this location.

The “string men” seem to usually target female tourists (but not always) as they enter the small fenced square below Sacré-Coeur and proceed toward the stairs that run up the hillside.  You can spot the “string men” as they are usually lined up on the sides of the stairs leading to the Sacre-Coeur. These innocent looking people are annoying “con-merchants” who have the “Paris String Scam” honed down to a science.

How the String Scam Plays Out

The scam begins like this. One of the “‘string men” walks up to you and engages you in innocent conversation and will usually say that they want to show you a magic trick.  Before you know it, a “string man” has grabbed your wrist or one or two fingers and encircled it with a homemade bracelet of colored string.

Typically the string men will say something to you like “it’s for the church” or “a gift.”  Sometimes the string men are more polite (they’ll ask the visitor to hold a string) and before you know it, the string men will somehow manage to grab your wrist or fingers and encircle it with a homemade bracelet of colored string, yarn, or other crafty-looking item.

Next, when the string men finish making your new “local Paris string bracelet souvenir,” they will demand payment of around €20 which is quite obviously not what the bracelet is worth. If you fail to pay them, they will doggedly follow you and be VERY insistent that you provide some amount of payment. These “con-merchants” are so demanding, they succeed in intimidating many tourists into paying them because it’s the only way to get rid of them.

Another variation of this scam occurs when the string men find a couple and offer the woman a  friendship bracelet.  When the woman kindly denies, the scammer tells her there is no charge.  To get the scammer to leave them alone, the woman offers her wrist and the scammer ties the “Friendship Bracelet” on her wrist.  A second scammer then appears and offers another “Friendship Bracelet” to the man. The man thinks to himself, “well if they are free why not?” and then he offers his wrist to the scammer.  Once the Friendship Bracelets are tied onto the wrists . . . .

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Ljubljana travel tips: Where to go and what to see in 48 hours

“Ljubljana travel tips: Where to go and what to see in 48 hours”

by Mary Novakovich via “Independent”

Why go now?

The balmy summer air brings everyone out into the Baroque streets and riverside cafés of Slovenia’s jewel-like capital. It’s like walking into the most civilised street party in Europe, with the bonus of exquisite architecture and top-notch cuisine.

Until 28 September, the Ljubljana Summer Festival (ljubljanafestival.si) runs a varied programme of classical concerts, opera, ballet and theatre in venues around the city. On a different note, there’s techno, blues, retro pop and club nights during the Gala Hala Summer Stage festival at the Metelkova Mesto (1) alternative culture centre (metelkovamesto.org) until 31 July. And on 28 August, the Biennial of Graphic Arts kicks off, with three months of projects, exhibitions and events across the city (mglc-lj.si).

Looking further ahead, the city will be Europe’s Green Capital 2016, taking up the mantle from Bristol (ljubljana.si/en/green-capital).

Touch down

Ljubljana’s airport is 27km north-west of the city and is served by easyJet (0330 365 5000; easyjet.com) from Stansted, Adria Airways (00 386 1 369 1010; adria.si) from Gatwick, Southend and Manchester, and Wizz Air (0911 752 2257;wizzair.com) from Luton.

The shuttle bus from the airport to the bus station (2) costs €4.10, runs hourly and takes 50 minutes. Shared transfers can be booked with companies such as GoOpi (goopti.com) for about €9pp. Taxis cost between €40 and €45.

Get your bearings

The Ljubljanica river curves through the city, with the pedestrianised Old Town on its eastern bank dominated by the medieval Ljubljana Castle (3).

Three linked cobbled squares, Ciril-Metodov Trg, Mestni Trg and Stari Trg – more like wide streets than squares – follow the old medieval layout of the city to Gornji Trg.

On the western bank of the river is the cultural centre of the city, with the university (4), the Philharmonic Hall (5), one of Europe’s oldest, and the main square, Presernov Trg (6). The main tourist office (7) is by the Triple Bridge at Adamic-Lundrovo nabrezje 2 (00 386 1 306 1215; visitljubljana.com; open daily June to September, 8am to 9pm, to 7pm, October to May). Here, you can buy the Ljubljana Card, which gives free entry to museums, public transport and bike hire, plus various discounts. From €20.70 for 24 hours.

Check in

A few steps away from the river at Krojacka 6 is the chic Vander Urbani Resort (8) (00 386 1 200 9000; vanderhotel.com) run by a friendly Australian- Slovenian couple. Along with stylish rooms is a rare sight in Ljubljana: a rooftop plunge pool. Doubles from €109, B&B.

Cubo (9) at Slov-enska cesta 15 (00 386 1 425 6000;hotelcubo.com) has sleek modern décor in light-filled rooms. Doubles start at €130, including breakfast. . . . .

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Interview with Featured Study Abroadist ~ Lauren Hall!

Lauren in Prague

Yeah! We have a new featured Student Abroad Interview!  Ladies and gentlemen, meet Lauren Hall, author of the blog “I’m Coming For You, Praguehttps://ohivebeentoprague.wordpress.com/.

This lovely young woman has been blessed with the opportunity to give European culture a try, more specifically Prague in the Czech Republic.  You heard that right, the beautiful land of classic and varied architecture, delicious foods, beautiful art, centuries of history, and more.  What a chance!  

Although she’s busy being awesome and having amazing fun times, she was kind enough to agree to an interview about her study abroad experience — why she went, why this program, the country, and more.  Thanks Lauren!

Also, please don’t forget to check out her blog “I’M COMING FOR  YOU, PRAGUE” for more information about her trip abroad!  She’s a great story-teller!

JPEG

INTERVIEW

Where are you in Your Education? (Sophomore, Junior, Etc.–Highschool/College)

Lauren: “I am going to be a senior in college. “

What have you decided to/are you interested in studying? 


Lauren: “I am majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders and minoring in Child Development and International Studies. I want to get my masters degree in Speech Pathology and become a Speech-Language Pathologist. I do not know if I want to work with children or older adults yet.”

Why did you decided to study abroad; what sort of things did you consider?


Lauren: “I always wanted to travel Europe and I knew that once I graduated college, got my masters and got a job, doing this would be very difficult. My school has a very good study abroad program and I knew that I would not let myself miss out on this. “ Continue reading

Greece travel advice Q&A: Tourists urged to bring cash not cards on holiday

Same would presumptively be true of students abroad in Greece for the summer.**DB

“Greece travel advice Q&A: Tourists urged to bring cash not cards on holiday”

by Kiran Moodley via “Independent.co.uk”

The Foreign Office has advised British tourists travelling to Greece to avoid relying on cards and that cash will be the best form of currency as the country enters a week of political and economic uncertainty.

Greece is close to a financial collapse with the stock exchange closed and banks shut all week after the European Central Bank (ECB) said that further credit to the nation was being refused after the eurozone rejected the latest bailout extension pleas from Greek politicians.

With new proposals put forward by creditors, the Greek people will go to the polls on Sunday to have their say on whether they agree with the latest round of austerity proposals. Having already overwhelmingly backed the anti-austerity, ultra left party Syriza in January, the future of Greece’s place in the eurozone looks uncertain.

The Foreign Office has advised British tourists travelling to Greece to avoid relying on cards and that cash will be the best form of currency as the country enters a week of political and economic uncertainty.

Greece is close to a financial collapse with the stock exchange closed and banks shut all week after the European Central Bank (ECB) said that further credit to the nation was being refused after the eurozone rejected the latest bailout extension pleas from Greek politicians.

With new proposals put forward by creditors, the Greek people will go to the polls on Sunday to have their say on whether they agree with the latest round of austerity proposals. Having already overwhelmingly backed the anti-austerity, ultra left party Syriza in January, the future of Greece’s place in the eurozone looks uncertain.

The ECB has said it will not extend emergency funding to Greece, thus forcing all banks to close this week with the government saying it needing to protect their liquidity. Currently, people can only withdraw up to €60 (£42) a day this week. The administration of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras must pay €1.6bn to the IMF on Tuesday. That is also the day when the country’s current bailout package expires, with the new austerity proposal offered by the eurozone yet to be agreed upon by Greece, after the government said it had to take the matter to the people in a referendum on 5 July.

What has the Foreign Office said?

The latest advice reads: “Visitors to Greece should be aware of the possibility that banking services – including credit card processing and servicing of ATMs – throughout Greece could potentially become limited at short notice. Make sure you have enough Euros in cash to cover emergencies, unforeseen circumstances and any unexpected delays.”

What does this mean for holidaymakers?

The €60 restriction on withdrawals does not apply to people who hold bank cards from outside of Greece, but still, the main warning is that it may be difficult to find a reliable, working ATM. . . .

What’s the problem?

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Book Review: “Italy Travel Guide: Top 40 Beautiful Places You Can’t Miss! “

“Italy Travel Guide:

Top 40 Beautiful Places You Can’t Miss! “ 

by Manuel de Cortes

A handy tour guide gifted to visitors of Italy.

 

Manuel de Cortes’s recent book, “Italy Travel Guide: Top 40 Beautiful Places You Can’t Miss” is an resources for travelers or students interested in visiting Italy.  At 125 pages, the book is small but still contains quite a bit of useful information on locations worth checking out during your trip.

I’ve never been to Italy, so I cannot actually tell you if the places he recommends are truly the best. But I looked up some reviews and pictures of the spots, and I would definitely want to check them out if it were me. I’m planning my dream trip to Italy one day, and this book gave me some great ideas 🙂

There are seven Chapters, including the introduction and conclusion. He has divided the country into a general overview, North Italy, Central Italy, South Italy, and the Islands.  Each gets its own description and list of recommended locations.  In addition to brief descriptions, he also throws in the fun fact here and there  to spice up your trip.

The book is a little simple, and he doesn’t include directions or tell you how to reach these spots. And it’s usually recommending a larger area (this city, that pot), so specifics like where to find dinner or shop aren’t here.  That will be up to you. But it is a good place to find ideas if you want to get a good look at all the different areas in the country.

Writing style: Pretty good. Some of the writing could have been edited better, but I feel that with a decent editor it would read like a professional.  Mr. Cortes has written several other books, and is obviously familiar with the writing process.  The book is self-published, and you can tell in some places. But overall, I really liked the flow and all the information he includes. A lot of people seem to have really appreciated his use of pictures – he has one for almost all of the major locations. It certainly helps you find them on the streets. 

If you are planning a trip to Italy, I recommend checking his book out.  You can find it on Amazon as a cheap E-book ($2.99) so you can carry it with you as you tour 🙂

 

Buy On Amazon

Voices: Making the most of study abroad travel while in Europe

“Voices: Making the most of study abroad travel while in Europe”

by Gabe Cavallaro via “USA Today“‘

Segovia, Spain (Photo courtesy Gabe Cavallaro)

A month into your study abroad in Europe and you spot that long weekend coming up on the calendar. You’re feeling settled now in your new home and ready to be adventurous again, but this is Europe and picking where to travel is no easy task.

“There’s so many possibilities and every place has merit, every place is worth it,” says Alexz Craddock, the program assistant on the University of Georgia’s study abroad semester in Valencia, Spain, for the last two years.

Without infinite cash or time, it’s difficult to prioritize which places you visit, but you can’t really go wrong, she says.

Here are some strategies that might simplify the decision of where to travel while studying abroad in Europe.

Have a set idea of what you want to do

Coming in with a specific idea of which places you want to visit or things you want to do — and researching them — can make things a lot easier.

Craddock, who in spring 2012 studied abroad in Valencia as a student in the program she now works for, says she took two weekend trips to Italy because her whole life she’d wanted to go there. With an Italian heritage and stories of her parents’ travels in the country in her head, she used that impetus to book trips to Rome, Pisa and small towns in Tuscany.

Zach Pollack, a UGA junior majoring in international affairs and Spanish, says he traveled to Andorra over a long weekend during his current Valencia study abroad trip because he wanted to go skiing in Europe and he read that the country was the best budget skiing on the continent.

La Fontana di Trevi in Rome, Italy. (Photo Courtesy Gabe Cavallaro)

Go with friends

Pollack says where his friends want to go will be another important criterion for planning future trips.  Craddock says she decided where to go over the Easter break on her study abroad largely based on where her friends were going. She hadn’t made plans yet and so when a couple friends asked her to come along on a tour of London, Paris and Dublin, that was reason enough to visit.

Megumi Ogawa, a psychology major at Osaka University in Japan, says she picked her travel destinations when she visited Europe based on where she had friends living. This isn’t something everyone can say, but something to take advantage of, if applicable.

She visited Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Spain and having friends in each country was perfect because they showed her around and were able to translate, she says.

Use the “what’s cheap?” option

Don’t overlook the budget-friendly strategy, especially worth considering if you’re lacking inspiration.

Craddock said she and a friend traveled to Morocco, Ireland and Italy in 2014 after the Valencia program ended based solely on where they could find the cheapest fares. If struggling to decide where to go, you always pick which flights are cheapest.

“If Ryanair flies cheap from Valencia to Paris, you better believe we’re going to go there,” Craddock says.

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