Share Your Story: Be an Abroad101 Ambassador

Share your story with the world, spread the study abroad love, and serve as an Abroad101 Ambassador this semester!

Whether you’re currently abroad or back home, read on to learn more about two exciting internships that will take you from traveling student to traveling stud!

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Hostelling International… in the USA?!

Looking for an affordable last minute get-away this Labor Day weekend?  Did you know there are nearly 60 hostels in the US that are part of the Hostelling International network?  Our new friends at HI-USA gave us the inside scoop on what’s in an American Hostel.



The word “hostel” seems to conjure up a variety of reactions and ideas.  Some who are familiar with them think of traveling through Europe or Latin America.  Others think of cheap accommodations and sharing a room with total strangers.  Still others tragically think of the movie.  Despite being around for more than a century and serving hundreds of thousands of travelers every year, there are many people who are still confused by hostels.

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Abroad101 Spends a Night on Semester At Sea!

Last Saturday, some members of the Abroad101 team got the distinct pleasure of spending an evening on the Semester At Sea (SAS) Ship! We were wined and dined as we heard tales of the high seas and just how much the semester means to the students who get the opportunity to experience it. Most of us left the ship wishing we could stay and become part of the upcoming semester’s adventures.

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Our Favorite Foods From Around the World!

Ahi Tuna Hawaii Poke

Fresh Poke from Hawaii!

 

When you arrive in a new country, or a new city for that matter, there are always long lists of cultural experiences to get at. Yet we all know that sampling the local food is always the most fun! Especially when it’s delicious and you can’t get it anywhere else!

This recent article titled 33 Foods Worth Traveling Across the World Just to Eat really gives you a reason to get packing. We decided to ask the Abroad101 team about their favorite foods around the world. What’s your favorite? Tell us about it in the comments!

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A Final Farewell To Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

Enjoying the scenery on our final outing

It was a very tearful goodbye yesterday morning to my fellow AIFS students in Istanbul, Turkey. We all have different plans- some are studying abroad again for fall semester so they are traveling around Turkey, some are going back to the states, and I’m traveling around Europe for a bit before heading home. I figure that I might as well take advantage of that while I’m here.

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Lessons from Abroad: Why You Need a TEFL Certification

Written by Abroad101 All-Stars, Sarah and Tami

Having both taught English in Asia, we’ve spent many a lunch hour arguing over which country has the wildest, wackiest open-air markets.  Tami may have bargained her way to a pair of Buddha-shaped sunglasses in Korea, but Sarah haggled over smiling pig heads in Thailand.

One thing from our time abroad that we absolutely agree on though, is the advantage of having a TEFL certification.  Without one, it’s hard to be an effective ESL teacher in the classroom, and as one student put it, TEFL doesn’t mean Teaching English For Laughs.  Ok, maybe sometimes it does.  But with a TEFL certification, you’ll learn how to apply humor in a way that reaches your students, so you’re not left with a room of blank stares after making a witty pun.    Continue reading

Secular Republic, Muslim World: Participating in Turkish Ramadan

Tons of Muslims gathering for activities, Sultanahmet in the background.

Submitted by Rachel Whitcomb, Global Ambassador in Istanbul, Turkey

A long skirt and covered shoulders gets you through most neighborhood and sights safely.

One of the most interesting parts about Istanbul and Turkey in general is that although it’s a secular state, and has been for decades, the population is 98% Islamic and at this time of year, Ramadan, it certainly shows. This unique combination leads to a variety of clothing styles- modest coverings ranging from burqa (fully veiled except for the eyes), hijab (only the face is showing), and just covering all of the arms and legs, to the modern European/Western style dressing. There are certain parts of the city that you need to be aware of what you are wearing, but most of the time it’s not something we worry about.

I’ve been in solidarity with the half of the Muslim population here in Istanbul that has been fasting for Ramadan- that’s no food or water from morning prayer at 3:55 a.m. until the sun sets at 8:40 p.m. (yes, that many hours without food or water). It’s been a challenging and humbling experience, especially to be a part of it around so many other people! By day, the city and areas around my campus are pretty barren, but after the sun sets people come from all over and hang out and celebrate. It’s a beautiful sight to see!

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Pamplona, Segovia and San Sebastian: Weekends Done Right

Photo: jimcintosh

Submitted by Kristen Schlotman, Global Ambassador in Madrid, Spain.

Jumping in Segovia.

I can’t believe I only have one more week in Madrid! This experience has been such a whirlwind. Never in my life have I done so much in less than a month. One of the best parts of studying abroad is traveling on weekends. The first weekend all of us in USAC were in Spain for the Running of the Bulls. Without a second’s hesitation we bought tickets and headed to Pamplona. Most of the other students in the program also bought tickets. We knew right away this was going to be a great weekend to bond and to get to know each other.

Pamplona was probably one of the crazier weekends of my life. The bus departed from Madrid at 2 PM on Saturday and by 8 PM, we were ready to experience one of the biggest celebrations in Spain. Dressed in the traditional red and white, we walked around the city taking everything in. By 1 AM, we were bar hopping, drinking calimocho (red wine and Coca Cola), and meeting people from all over the world. Sleeping was not an option. The city was too vibrant and exhilarating to sit it out. At 6 AM we lined up to watch the running. This was somewhat anticlimactic, but the night itself was one of a kind.

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Looking on the Bright Side in the Emerald Isle

Cliffs of Mohr

 

Submitted by Brendan Bond, Global Ambassador in Galway, Ireland

Within a few days of arriving in Ireland, I learned something very important about this country. I was told, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes.” Moral of the story is that the weather here is fickle, always changing and never making up its mind on whether it wants to be sunny, cloudy, windy, dreary, warm, cold, misty, rainy or downpouring.

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Where to Study Abroad if You’re a Vegetarian

Vagabonding vegetarians beware: maintaining your veg-centric lifestyle while Studying Abroad will be a challenge.  But not to fear, you got this.  No one ever said using your diet to save the planet was easy!  To help you stay on course, we’ve compiled a list of study abroad destinations that we think are very vegetarian friendly.

India

Untitled by Pierre Turtaut (pierreturtaut) on 500px.com

With the world’s largest vegetarian population, this South Asian nation is a no brainer for students looking to chomp on veggies and paneer all semester.  In fact, we’d go so far as to say that if you enjoy meat, India might not be the destination for you.   I mean c’mon, their cows are holy!

 

Denmark

Nyhaven Canal Copenhagen by Chase Lindberg (chaselindberg) on 500px.com

Danes are known for their progressive thinking, so it’s no surprise that vegetarian options abound in this place that once held the title for “Happiest Country in World.”  We even hear their vegetable stands run on the honor system!  So don’t worry, be “Hygge,” and refer to this excellent resource from DIS on Danish vegetarian vocab.

 

Israel

Falafel today! by Laurence Penne (lovelyday3) on 500px.com 

In keeping Kosher, it seems Israel would be a solid choice for students with diverse dietary needs.  You don’t have to worry about pork or shellfish, and many establishments won’t combine milk and meat.  Besides that, hummus and cucumbers are served with virtually every meal, and Falafels grow on trees.  Now that’s Israeli nice!

 

Taiwan

Spirited Away by Andy Beirne (DirectPositive) on 500px.com

Once you know what to look for, this subtropical land can be a Taiwan-derful place for vegetarians.  The majority of the country is Taoist or Buddhist, which means meat-free meals are understood and available.  Visit restaurants with the red and yellow Chinese characters 素食 (sùshí) which means vegetarian, and eat your herbivore heart out.

 

The United Kingdom

Tate Couple by Matthew Dartford (Mushroomgodmat) on 500px.com

Hold the Bangers & Mash and bring on the Bhindi Masala!  Perhaps not appreciated for it’s native food, the UK has some excellent ethnic entrees for vegetarians.  What’s more, the food labels are in English and the pubs serve veggie burgers!  What more can a tree-hugging globe trotter ask for?!

The act of studying abroad and being a vegetarian can sometimes feel like they are competing opposites- to be a great study abroad student takes flexibility and adaptability.  To be a great vegetarian takes determination and diligence.  But the two can coexist, you can still be respectful towards your host country’s culture, while also staying true to your own veggie values system.  To make your life easier, consider studying in one of the above countries and check out Happy Cow for an online directory of vegetarian restaurants around the world.  The International Vegetarian Union is another great resource that all traveling vegetarians can utilize.

Bon voyage veg-heads!