Study abroad gives unexpected lessons

“Study abroad gives unexpected lessons”

by Yasmeen Serhan via “Daily Trojan

Before I packed my bags and set off on my semester-long Parisian adventure, I did what almost every student who is about to go abroad does: I read a Buzzfeed article about studying abroad.

In my case, the post was titled, “43 Reasons Studying Abroad In Paris Destroys You For Life.” Contrary to how the headline sounds, the post aimed to highlight all of the amazing things about studying abroad in Paris, from its incredible cuisine to its picturesque city streets, and how such things make it almost impossible to ever live life the same way again. In short, it set some pretty high expectations for the city of lights, and it was only until after I arrived in Paris in late January that I was able to realize how on-point the post really was. With Paris’s rich history and unmatched beauty (rain or shine — though mostly rain), it didn’t take long to fall in love with the city.

But in all the ways the post is right about life in Paris, there were some things about the Parisian experience that it fails to capture.

1. You’re not a perpetual tourist.

Don’t let your friends’ Instagram and Snapchat posts fool you — study abroad isn’t all fun and games. Behind all the captured moments of touristy excursions, delicious meals and well-timed selfies, there is some serious cultural immersion taking place. For some students, this means adapting to living alone in a new city. For others, this means adjusting to life as the newest member of your host family. Whether it’s figuring out how to best maneuver around your new city or simply becoming a regular at your local patisserie, achieving a daily routine is the ultimate mark of an immersed study abroad student.

2. Despite all the fun and traveling, it’s still study abroad.

Studying in a foreign country definitely takes on a different form than what one might be used to. Just as one still has to attend class (the only difference, of course, being that sometimes your classes are held in museums — c’est la vie), you still have to account for midterms, projects and final papers.

What’s more, the learning doesn’t stop once you leave the classroom. In fact, I’ve found that some of my most challenging lessons of study abroad have appeared in places where I’d least expect them to, such as on the streets of Paris. Every metro ride becomes a lesson in French social norms (Lesson one: You should be quiet on the metro), every purchase is a lesson on handling European currency, and every dinner with my French family is a pop quiz on the news of the day. It’s a perpetual learning process.

3. Study abroad is more than just transferring one’s studies to a foreign country — it’s a cultural sabbatical.

Regardless of where you choose to study abroad, you’re ultimately going to find yourself facing a culture completely foreign to your own. Though some things like language barriers and different eating habits are easier to anticipate, other more subtle cultural differences — such as how to tip at a restaurant or even something as simple as finding cafes that offer coffee to-go — can be a bit more challenging.


“Travel Tips From the Movies”

Actually good advice–just remember most of it is “what not to do” **DB

“Travel Tips from the Movies”

by Joy Jonette Chuyaco via “The Phillipine Star

“MANILA, Philippines – Traveling is such a fun thing to do. As long as you have the budget, the right travel companions (although some people would prefer to travel alone) and the perfect weather, you will surely have a trip to remember. But before you go ahead and take that journey, try to consider these travel tips from the movies. They could be of help in one way or another.

Hostel. This film and its sequels tell stories about how groups of friends enjoying a trip and looking for adventures end up being in torture dens. Tip: If you are in a new place with strangers, please, please try not to be wasted! You don’t wanna end up in some strange, scary and “yucky” place holding on to your dear life.

Vacancy. A couple checks into a cheap and isolated motel, and quickly realizes that they are not safe in the room after all. They are the main casts of a new snuff film. Tip: If you feel that there is something wrong with the place you’re staying in, trust your instinct. There are websites that carry feedback on places to stay. Make use of it.

Taken. It all starts when a girl and her friend innocently share a taxi with a charming young man. What seems to be a friendly gesture turns out to be an abduction plan. Well, not to worry, Super Dad is on the way. Tip: When traveling, don’t be too friendly. Also, don’t be tricked by good looks and angelic faces. They can be the most effective tools in fooling people.

Eat, Pray, Love. After her divorce, Elizabeth feels lost and confused. She travels and hopes that her trip will help her find the answer. Tip: Have you ever tried solo traveling? If it is possible, it is sometimes good to travel on your own and have that time for yourself — to reflect about life, to discover new things, to recharge drained energy and more. . . . .”