Monthly Archives: April 2017

5 Reasons You Can not Miss Learning in London

1. Experience history around every corner.

London is a city that perfectly blends together its history with its present. It seems as though everywhere you turn, you are met with a place of historic significance or you’re walking the same streets as an acclaimed individual once did three centuries ago. Scattered throughout the city are historical landmarks, so exploring London’s history is one of the best parts of living in the city. For me, as an American, it’s especially breathtaking to explore sites that date from before the U.S. was even a country — how awesome is that!? Some of the “must visit“ locations include: Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

2. Free museums (and other free things).

One of my favorite things about studying abroad in London was that there were so many museums to visit, and so many of them have free admission! You could easily spend an entire semester in London exploring just the museums. From the classic British Museum or National Gallery to the newer Tate Modern, there is a museum for every taste and every interest. Keep in mind, although most museums are free, there may be an admission fee for special exhibits. The good news is London makes things accessible to students by offering concession rates, which are good to look into for all museums and tourist destinations.

In addition to the free admission to museums, there are loads of other things to explore in London for next to nothing. There are a multitude of markets, which offer a variety of items, such as antiques, clothes, and food. Notable markets to explore include: Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill, Borough Market, Brick Lane Market, and Camden Market. Another location of note is the Sky Garden, which gives you a panoramic view of the city, for free! All you need to do is book a time and then you can see all of London, while also enjoying a drink (if you fancy). For another lovely view of the city, take a small walk up Primrose Hill for a picnic, plus a view.

3. Driving? Forget about it.

You absolutely do not need a car while studying abroad in London. Between the Tube, the Overground, and the buses (along with walking), you can get anywhere you want in London. The efficiency of the public transportation system makes London the ideal place to study abroad — no matter where your university is located, you can easily make your way into central London, pop over to Notting Hill for the Portobello Road Market, or head over to Greenwich to stand on the Meridian Line.

4. Parks in the middle of a bustling city.

London is an active, capital city, and yet, you can still find large areas of green all over the city. The most famous of these is most likely Regent’s Park, which leads into both the London Zoo and Primrose Hill. The park is filled with flowers, and when the sun comes out, picnic goers sprawl the lawns. There is also Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, and St. James’ park (among others), that make for perfect spots to escape the hustle-and-bustle of London.

5. The theatre scene, enough said.

If you’re into theatre, London is definitely the place for you to study abroad. There’s the West End, which offers a great variety of plays and musicals, but there are also smaller theatres all over the city that present an even bigger variety of shows. From fringe theatres to theatres located above pubs to well-known shows, London has it all. Not to mention, unlike in New York, most theatres have a decent amount of affordable seats for each performance, so you can afford to see a ton of shows without breaking the bank, if you plan well, and book in advance. (Hint: Sign up for National Theatre’s Entry Pass to have the chance to book £5 to each of their shows).

7 Best Travel Tips

1. When you go with a program, push the envelope a little bit.

If you are going to have an amazing support system while you travel, we recommend going to more far-flung or off-the-beaten-path locations. Why? Because the information about and experiences within well-traveled countries, like Western Europe, are easy to come by and well-established. But those unique and crazy experiences — like hanging off the edge of Victoria Falls or getting to live with a Chinese family in a homestay for three months — are much harder to coordinate as an independent traveler.

2. Ditch a suitcase for a backpack.

Suitcases totally cramp your style. Since we’re suckers for mobility (and maximizing our ability to see as much as possible, on foot, while we explore a new place), we suggest you leave your suitcase with Mom and Dad and adopt the super cool, grungy backpacker look instead. Regardless if you’re more of an Osprey pack or Tortuga trailblazer, there’s a backpack out there that meets both your utility and stylistic needs.

3. Don’t splurge your money on where you stay.

You’re young, you’re adventurous, you’re eager to experience the world. Who cares if your bed has 5000 count linen sheets or is one you have to make yourself on the top bunk of the hostel. Save your money to pay for extra helpings of spaghetti or a ticket into the Haggia Sofia instead of on a hotel or Airbnb that racks up the cost of your trip.

4. Boys are always the hardest to buy gifts for.

Whether your dad, partner, or brother, we recommend bringing them the kinds of souvenirs that are edible. They always love a good snack.

5. Use Instagram to research fun places to go.

All it takes is a couple of searches in the “Places” and “Tags” to find actual photos taken by people experiencing your dream destinations now. Using Instagram can be a great way to find unique places or specific cafes that make your heart go “double tap.” With their new save functionality, you can even create an entire secret album of “must stop locations.” Awesome!

6. Adjustable airplane headrests can be a lifesaver.

If you’ve been stuck with the dreaded middle seat on a longhaul flight, don’t fall into despair just yet. We love when airplanes are equipped with adjustable headrests, making your snoozes to the left AND the right a more comfortable experience (we didn’t say comfortable, but we did say more comfortable). 🙂

7. Maximize your layovers.

If you’re a savvy flight booker, you can quickly see where your suggested stopovers are from point A to be point C via point B. The secret is to book individual flight legs between points A and B and then B and C. In this way, you call the shots on your layover adventures (sometimes a couple hours will do, sometimes a whole night is fun!). This is an especially fun tactic if you go light and only pack a carry on.

10 Best and Finest Places in Europe for the year 2018-2019

1. Rock the catwalk in Paris with Fashion Week Internships

Get hands-on, behind the scenes fashion experience interning in Paris—one of the fashion capitals of the world. This internship will teach you the ropes while encouraging you to draw inspiration from up-and-coming designers and the OG fashion icons. It’s even possible that some of their greatness is miraculously transferred unto you when you brush up against the hems of their garments.

Pros: Vous ne parlez pas français? Pas de problème! You don’t need to be able to speak a lick of French to qualify for one of these internships in Europe.

Cons: Actual fashion week in Paris is cray and internship spots fly away as fast as a model in a strong breeze. So, if you want to get in on the action, you need to apply suuuper early. However, programs begin every month and run throughout the year, because if Lauren Conrad taught us anything—it’s always a fashion show.

2. Get down to business in Berlin with The Intern Group

Gain highly sought after work experience in one the world’s business powerhouses. Business is a broad field; so being able to choose from a range of companies and organizations supported by this internship in Germany will help boost professional development in your specific area of interest.

Pros: Berlin’s politically and economically stable condition makes the cost of living quite reasonable. If you play your cards right, your groceries will consist of much more sustenance than ramen noodles.

 Cons: Formalities and bureaucratic paperwork in Germany can make workplace culture seem uptight and tense. Settling in to the office life may take some time, but sticking it out is always worth it!

3. Hone your computer whiz-ardry in Barcelona with Intern-Tech

Innovation is the name of the game in Barcelona. As one of the biggest and best tech hubs to find internships in Europe, a meaningful tech work placement will provide you with more than just a new bullet point on your resume.

Pros: Barcelona is known for it’s sunny climate, world-class beaches, and vibrant social scene. Interning here will allow you to enjoy a lifestyle few cities in the world can match.

Cons: If you took Spanish in high school, you probably know that Spanish in Spain is a little different than what your profesor was teaching. The Barcelona dialect and accent might throw you at first, but you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

4. History buffs unite in Krakow with ELI Abroad

The Jewish Museum in Krakow showcases and runs exhibits that present past and present Jewish culture through lectures, exhibitions, concerts, classes, and publications. Interning at the museum is an extraordinary opportunity for anyone pursuing a career in history and museum studies.

Pros: Poland is a great place to intern abroad due to its tolerant and hospitable culture. Coworkers will welcome you with open arms and make sure you don’t feel like a fish out of water.

Cons: Accommodation and meals are not included in the program fees for this internship. However, a program advisor will help you organize a reasonably priced room that matches your needs.

5. Pre-Med shadowing in Budapest with the Atlantis Project

Intensive shadowing for pre-med students in the U.S. is difficult to arrange and simultaneously essential. If med school application due dates are looming, hopping over the pond to shadow doctors during internships in Europe is what will make your application shine.

Pros: Pre-med students need to understand health care in a global context to expand their perspective as a physician. This internship runs during university breaks, so pre-med students can this global experience without missing a beat and kill two birds with one stone.

Cons: Taking the road less-traveled is no easy feat, and interning in Hungary is definitely a road less traveled. But, at the end of the day, the benefits far outweigh the challenges.

6. Save the dolphins in Funtana with GoEco

Work closely with bottlenose dolphins in effort to help conserve the declining species. Interns will not only gain extensive knowledge on the species, but also participate in conducting research, observations, and data analysis, as well as educating locals on the dolphins and their role in the marine ecosystem.

Pros: Live and work on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. Go ahead and Google image search “Funtana.” You’re welcome.

Cons: While it would be great if your internship could seamlessly turn into the fabulous expat life abroad, it’s more than likely that you’ll have to return home at some point.

7. Break a leg in London with Performing Arts Abroad

Pop over and intern in London’s musical theater scene with some of the most accomplished actors, dancers, and directors in the world. This internship includes classes, workshops, backstage tours, and attendance to all the hottest shows in London’s most famous studios.

Pros: Cross-cultural collaboration is invaluable for performing artists. Also, working side-by-side with the Brits will be like a free language course in British slang and leave you dead chuffed.

Cons: The inflated tourist prices coupled with an overall more expensive currency make London a bit pricier than what an unpaid intern might can live off of— start saving those pounds!

8. Crunch numbers in Dublin with Stint Ireland

Dublin is home to hundreds of accountancy firms and financial consultancies. An accounting and finance internship in Dublin will see you applying your accounting skills in multiple industries in the public sector to help maximize their profitability and your productivity.

Pros: Make sure you don’t forget to add included social events, weekend trips, and other excursions to your balance sheet.

Cons: Pubs and social drinking are tightly woven into the cultural fabric of Ireland. Those opposed to alcohol might have trouble finding “dry” alternatives for meeting and connecting with Irish coworkers and friends. But, it’s still not impossible!

9. Find your rhythm in Amsterdam with Music Industry Internships

Ambitious interns can get a taste of the music industry behind-the-scenes with some of the best-known labels, studios, festivals, radio stations, and management agencies in Amsterdam. These internships in Europe will get your creative juices flowing and help you focus on developing skills specific to the music industry.

Pros: Two words: Backstage. Passes.

Cons: Musicians have a reputation for being pretty lax, but if you’re hoping to work in a place running on the same agenda, Amsterdam might not be the place for you. The Dutch place a great deal of importance on sticking to schedule and tardiness is considered very rude.

10. Get your journalism juices flowing in Kiev with NovaMova

If Lois Lane is your alter ego, Kiev is looking for interns like you to work as editors, copywriters, and researchers. Hone your journalism skills at top communication companies, such as the Institute of World Policy, Internews Ukraine, the Independent Association of Broadcasters, and many other well-respected organizations.

Pros: Pack stretchy pants because Eastern Europeans don’t mess around when it comes to food. Subbing your usual stale break-room donut for an array of homemade pick-me-ups, such as cookies, strudels, pancakes, and dumplings will get your over that mid-morning hump.

Cons: Russian is required for this internship in Europe. You don’t have to be 100% fluent, but having a solid grasp on the basics is necessary.

5 Hella Rad Homestay Program for High School Students

1. Spanish and Surf in Costa Rica with Nosara Spanish Institute

You won’t get thrown into the jungle without a safety net in Costa Rica (that’s what your host family is there for!). 

Immerse yourself in the warm waters and knowledge of expert instructors on the beaches of Nosara, Costa Rica. Whether you’re a novice or advanced-level surfer and/or Spanish-speaker, this program combines one of the best surf breaks in Costa Rica with an intensive Spanish program.

Pros: You get to spend spring break on a gorgeous beach in Costa Rica. Nowhere is quite as beautiful inside and out as the land of pura vida.

Cons: With all the English speakers running amok, it will be easy to revert back to your mother tongue instead of practicing your new Spanish skills. You just have to commit! This will be easier to do in your homestay program.

2. Conservation in Thailand with Projects Abroad

Enjoy learning about the intricate details of Thai life. 

Get your PADI diving certification and use it for good off the shores of Thailand. Observe and study the extent of reef damage and its impact on fish populations, work to conserve a marine ecosystem, and assist with beach cleanup and reforestation work.

Pros: Thailand is brimming with adventure. When you need to dry off, there will be plenty of on-shore adventures with your name on them!

Cons: Much of Thailand practices the Buddhist religion and follows a conservative way of life. Be respectful of beliefs and customs and, even though it’s hot, try to keep your shoulders and knees covered whenever possible.

3. Volunteer in Ghana with OGVO

When you’re welcomed into your host family’s home, you’re welcomed into their entire community. 

Volunteering in Ghana will open your eyes and your heart as you fall in love with vibrant cities, coastal beaches, African wildlife, and the lives you touch as you make your positive impact. Get ready to hear: Akwabba! Welcome to Ghana!

Pros: Often called “Africa for beginners,” Ghana is considered one of the safest and most stable countries in Africa. Be sure to hit this selling point hard when you petition to get your parental permission slip signed.

Cons: There is nothing quite as eye opening as volunteering in a place where the people are dealing with very real challenges. You will undoubtedly hear stories and see things that will break your heart, but will teach you about true resilience. It will be incredibly hard, but you will go home more open-minded and appreciative after a homestay in Ghana.

Summer Homestay Programs

Didn’t we just convince you not to spend spring break sleeping late and binge-watching? Why spend your summer that way, too? Instead, opt for any of these summer homestay programs abroad.

4. Peace Studies in South Korea with The Experiment in International Living

Your host-mom’s cooking will bring a whole new meaning to Seoul food. 

Journey through Korea’s past and present during a summer of peace studies and cultural immersion. The program includes language instruction, visits to historical and cultural sites, a community service project, and numerous opportunities to experience Korean food and popular culture.

Pros: The food. Oh, the food. Kimchi. Bibimbap. Noodles. Dumplings. Stews. Your host mother will hook you UP.

Cons: Adapting to your new surroundings while you study abroad in South Korea may be challenging at times, as you will be in the midst of an entirely new culture and language. Put your best foot forward to assimilate, however, and you will fall in love with the country.

5. Exploration and Service Learning in India with Where There Be Dragons

Even on your homestay, get ready to help out with chores here and there. 

Explore India by getting the skinny from scholars, climate scientists, and Buddhist philosophers as they dig deep into the traditions and culture in India. You will also visit herding camps, volunteer on environmental projects, and do some seriously amazing trekking!

Pros: India offers a beautiful opportunity to let go of rigid Western schedules and busy-ness and simply live life day-by-day (no wonder yoga originated here!).

Cons: Western amenities, such as hot water, Wi-Fi, and flushing toilets may be sparse. However, you may find it refreshing when you realize how little you actually need.