It’s coming to an end…

My senior year of college is coming to a close and in less than two weeks, I will be a college graduate. The thought still boggles my mind; it truly feels like last week was freshman year. Throughout my years at Champlain College, I’ve been privileged enough to study abroad in Dublin, return home and work for the Office of International Education, and learn about building my personal brand. This semester, all of this has come together and resulted in this blog, which I hope you’ve enjoyed reading. I intend to keep this blog up after school ends, and we’ll see where it takes me. This post is a reflection of my blog for this past semester, my thoughts, and my analytics that measured any sort of success I had.

First, the layout of my blog has changed throughout the semester. I’ve used a few different templates in the beginning, decided to stick with one, and still it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. Just recently, I switched around the look and feel to my blog, tried to make it more personal, and I’m thrilled with it’s current appearance.

Blog, before edits

My blog before...

My blog after...

With the launch of this blog, I also launched a corresponding Twitter, @ABroadsBlog. After about a month of attempting to manage two Twitter accounts, I was advised by my instructor to really look at both accounts and evaluate whether or not the second Twitter was actually contributing to my brand. We agreed that my personal Twitter, @triciacawley would suffice for my blog, as long as I maintain the personal and professional aspects and balance them. I’ve had many great interactions with other study abroaders and different programs through Twitter, including: @zacmacinees @studyabroadalum @APIabroad @OSUGlobal -Thank you for the Twitter interaction, retweets, and feedback. 

For the analytics on my blog, I had to use just the basic WordPress analytics; each time I tried to install Google Analytics plugin- my blog just wouldn’t have it. Throughout my about 13 weeks managing this blog, I’ve had 915 views, averaging 10 per day. There was one day in February that made my blog seem much more popular that it actually is, because I purchased my domain name. Since I’ve purchased http://www.triciacawley.com , my views have increased. On the day I purchased my domain name, I set it as my Facebook status and the amount of views compared to the average day was ridiculous. That day I had 106 views with people copy and pasting my url into the address bar. A flaw, I realized a few hours after my status was set, was that I should have listed it as a URL so people could just click on it, drawing more traffic from Facebook. Also on that day, there were 9 links clicked on that brought traffic to other websites, including my friend’s Flickr.

One of the best feelings I’ve had all semester in relation to my blog, was being mentioned on other blogs. I would occasionally be mentioned in a study abroad daily or paper.li, and very occasionally on study abroad blogs as a resource. 

Throughout the semester I’ve worked on this blog and produced content I am proud of. I’ve averaged 10 views a day, and the days I created posts and advertised them through Facebook and Twitter had higher views. I’ve been listed as a resource for study abroad and have spoken to strangers on the Internet about studying abroad. International education and study abroad are truly my passions and I hope that through this blog I have entertained, educated, or at least made you think a little. Thanks for your attention, and talk soon.

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Forum on Education Abroad Conference

This past weekend was the Forum on Education Abroad Conference. It’s a great event that is aimed to bring people together who share a passion for study abroad and international education. At the event there were various assessment tools used to measure intercultural development, study abroad outcomes, and many other competencies. One assessment was the Learning from Study Abroad survey which measures eight different outcomes:

The ability to reason by developing an understanding that:
1. Culture influences how one thinks and reasons.
2. There are differences between cultures that influence norms.
3. Without being judgmental, cultural similarities and differences can be analytically compared and contrasted.
4. Certain universals of human existence transcend cultural differences.

Self-reflective insights that:
5. Allow one to understand that one’s culture has shaped his/her values or beliefs.
6. Allow one to continue the development of his/her personal identity (values, beliefs, goals, etc.) based on a multicultural perspective.

A capacity for effective action, which includes:
7. The skills to operate effectively in multicultural and intercultural situations.
8. The motivation to address issues of contemporary global concern.

 

Inside Higher Ed has a great article about the actual conference and can be found here.

 

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How to Study Abroad

Hello folks. While stumbling across the internet, I found this nice short description of what you need to do to study abroad. Check it out:

 

 

 

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What to look for in a Study Abroad program

This  past weekend was Accepted Students’ Day at Champlain College and I worked for the Champlain Abroad office promoting our two campuses to accepted students and their families. After giving my pitch about the programs numerous times, I realized there are a few questions that every parent ask and a few that students often ask. It got me thinking about what people should look for in a program.

1. Organization– A program should be organized so the student can submit their forms and follow through on their end, while the program is organizing everything else. The application process needs to be smooth and anything negative that happens in that process can affect a student’s abroad experience.

2. Safety– This has to do with the location of the abroad program as well as the staff. At our campuses, the directors have copies of our passports, our phone numbers, travel itinerary, and anything else that would help them keep track of us in case a situation arises. Also, the locations of our campuses are designed to keep us safe. I believe studying abroad in a “dangerous” location is a personal decision, but the staff of the program should have policies and protocols in place in case of an emergency.

3. Support- Most people don’t realize how unique American higher education is until the encounter a different style, such as Europ0ean higher education. Most colleges in Europe have huge classes of over 200 students and the classes themselves are pass/fail which don’t even require attendance. This is where some academic support or structure would really benefit American students abroad. Also, having a support team of those who run the program helps assure students that their semester abroad will be well spent.

These are 3 of the largest factors that I believe students should look for when choosing a program. Do you have any other thoughts as to what students should look for?

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Paying For Study Abroad

One of the most daunting aspects of studying abroad is the cost. Some schools, such as Champlain College, have their own campuses where the tuition & housing cost the same. Some programs require a student to disenroll and the reenroll in order to complete the program, and the costs can change. No matter if it’s a third party program or through a school, the static costs aren’t the scary part, it’s the money spent while abroad. While planning a semester abroad there are a few tips that are universal that can enhance the experience. The worst thing would be traveling to a different country for a complete experience and being limited by finances. Some great guides on how to prepare for a semester are StudyAbroad.com’s Student Guide and GoAbroad.com’s resource section. From working in the study abroad office and experiencing a semester abroad, I have a few of my own tips:

 

1. SAVE SAVE SAVE!  – If you have any hankering to study abroad or any desire to study abroad, start saving now. I don’t mean you have to dedicate whole pay checks to the semester, but put aside a few dollars every so often and it will pile up. One tip I’ve learned from the office is wrapping a elastic around your debit card. This way, each time you go to use your card you must take the elastic off and ask yourself if you really need this purchase or should you be saving the money to go abroad.

2. Apply for scholarships – There are hundreds of scholarships dedicated to sending American students abroad. Some colleges even offer money to students if they study abroad. A few good resources for scholarships and international scholarships are @payingforschool @scholarshipscom @borenawards

3. Understand exchange rates – One aspect that comes with studying abroad is using a different currency that is worth something different than American money. I can not tell you how many times I would think something in Dublin is cheap and then realize it was in Euros and wasn’t as cheap as I thought. When abroad, you must constantly remember that you are not dealing in dollars and prices on many things vary.

4. Cash or Credit based? – The US is a very friendly credit/debit card friendly place and most places accept cards and cash. This isn’t a universal commodity and many other cultures are still very cash based. Also, knowing that banks charge a fee when you use a debit card abroad for purchases. Some charge the basic international use charge in addition to a currency conversion fee. When you’re in a cash based society, best advice is to take out cash when exchange rates are in your favor and keep it safe. ATMs can charge massive fees as well, so limit ATM use and take out enough cash to last a bit.

5. Pace Yourself- Depending on the program, you are living in a country from anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Pace yourself, realize that you have time to spend and don’t spend your money all in the first weekend. It may be nice to splurge on nice outings every once in a while, but remember the money you bring is the money you’ll need to make last until you leave.

 

There are many different opinions and nuggets of advice people give regarding money. I would simply recommend saving as much as possible and pacing yourself. Set a budget, and even if you stray, monitor spending so you’ll have enough money to last you. Fees and exchange rates are also inevitable, so be aware of these and remember to take them into account when dealing with finances.

 

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Internships Abroad

Firstly, let me apologize for being absent this past week or so… I was on my last spring break ever. This time last year I went to London and Greece for spring break, this year I went to Massachusetts and Connecticut. Let’s just say I had a bit more adventure last year…

Rhodes, Greece

Anyway, interning abroad is probably one of the greatest things any student can do while pursuing an undergraduate degree. Interning in any major is nearly essential for experience before graduation and I’m obviously a huge fan of international education – so the combination is fantastic. I personally didn’t intern abroad, but I’ve had a few friends and follow a few people online that intern abroad and the consensus is that it is a great, can’t miss opportunity.

Firstly, interning abroad gives a student a look at another dimension of the host country- the business world. This whole different perspective can contribute to a much broader understanding of the country and culture. There’s a whole social aspect that an abroader would be exposed to that other students wouldn’t have the chance to and it’s essential to understand this if one ever decides to return to the country to live.

Upon returning home, one that interns abroad would now have an amazing point to post on a resume. It helps you stand out to potential employers and is experience that a vast majority of people do not have. Working abroad while in college is definitely a talking point and unique aspect to a resume.

Many programs have connections to local businesses and link up students with internships as part of programs. GoAbroad.com has some great resources with internships and tweets (@goabroad) quite often about internships abroad. They’re a great resource for anyone looking for some work experience while studying abroad.

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What I Miss So Much…

The other day, my friend @AnnieGrantham, who I spent 4 months with in Ireland, sent me this video she found. It sums up pretty much everything I love and miss about Ireland. I thought I would share and see what everyone else thinks. Thoughts on this video?

 

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Top 4 Places for a Graphic Designer to Study Abroad

So again, I’m here with another list that I’ve made from mostly my opinion, and some fact thrown in for taste. So the following is the top 4, yes 4, places for a graphic design major to study. It’s based on what kind of design is going on, the general abroad experience, quality of the programs etc… In no specific order, the Top 4 Places for Graphic Design majors to study are:

1. United Kingdom

It might have been an easy assumption, but the United Kingdom is definitely somewhere a graphic designer can gain great experience. It has London, which has everything. It’s a huge nightlife city, historical city, business city, fashion city, cutting edge city that is looking for designers. European work in general is a lot different from American design and it’s definitely worth taking a look at.

2. Switzerland

Graphic design in Switzerland is all about grids, lines, geometric shapes, and uniformity. It has a very distinct, clean style that can suit many graphic design majors. Switzerland itself is a major attraction for all study abroad students. The economy, opportunities, and location are big attractions.

3. The Netherlands

Dutch graphic design has a very distinctive style that is a bit more edgy than other locations. There’s a great permanent exhibit at the Graphic Design Museum that shows the evolution of design through two world wars. The Netherlands also has its own attractions that many study abroad students fancy.

4. Japan

A lot of new technologies and concepts are coming from Asia, and the design there is also evolving quickly. The whole anime scene is heavily based in Japan and exposes people to an entirely new form of animation and design. Also, Japan’s culture couldn’t be more different than American culture and facing that allows you to develop life skills and traits that employers look for. Everything is still so traditional, but now with a modern twist.

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Studying abroad: Is it worth leaving campus for? : Response

Studying abroad: Is it worth leaving campus for? | USA TODAY College.

 

One of my classmates and fellow RAs, Monique Prevost, posted this article on my Facebook a few days ago and ever since reading it, I’ve been trying to decide to what extent I disagree with it. Because it is another college student’s opinion I didn’t want to have strong negative feelings to it, but after reading it, I literally can not disagree more with his opinion. I respect it, and if I try hard enough I can slightly understand where he is coming from, but I still believe he is wrong. He is completely right in one of his first points that the reason students come to study in the US is because we have the best school systems. After this point, he loses me. He believes that if you are on the fence about studying abroad that you should reconsider and instead, consider what you will be leaving behind. He believes that if someone studies abroad, while they are gone their entire lives back home will change; that their friends will dump them. I can’t say this won’t happen, but I also think that if your friends stop speaking to you because you decided to expand your horizons and study in a different country for a semester to better yourself, then you need better friends.

He then goes on to say a quote that I quite like…

Studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But so is college itself.

I completely agree to this and can respect it, but then he goes on to ruin it with…

Living among your peers, spending hours pondering life’s biggest questions or partying up to four nights a week is not something you’ll be doing after graduation.

Although this may be his definition of what goes down at college, it doesn’t encompass the most important aspect of college : EDUCATION. The reason to go abroad is to educate yourself. Educate yourself on language, culture, customs, and living. Going abroad is far more than the classes you take there, but the time you spend there, just like the time you spend on your domestic campus. You will learn more about yourself in 4 months abroad than you will in your entire 4 years in college. I had a guest speaker once and he made the class go around and tell their most embarrassing story, because you don’t know someone until you know them at their worst and most uncomfortable. Building on this, you don’t know yourself until you are out of your comfort zone. I don’t mean you have to go abroad to know yourself, but you need to challenge yourself in someway that takes you far far away from your comfort zone.

The USA Today blog article encourages those who are on the fence on studying abroad to reconsider and remember what’s at home. I disagree. If you are on the fence about going abroad, go. Thrust yourself into another culture. Get lost in a foreign city. Meet people with accents you can barely understand. Eat something that you literally have no idea what it is. Learn a new culture. Experience something new and love it.

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Top 5 Places for a Business Major to Study Abroad

Continuing with the flow of how students choose destinations, I’ve been looking into the best places for certain majors to study. My lists and recommendations are based on some fact and some opinion and by no means are presented in any specific order. As a marketing major, I fall into the division of business and therefore decided to start there. Contrary to my last post, which mentions students studying in countries that speak English, only 1 of the 5 countries listed below has English as a national language. In my opinion, the top 5 places for a business major to currently study are:

1. China

2. India

3. Brazil

4. Germany

5. Canada

I know, Ireland is not on the list and those of you who know me are probably wicked surprised at that. If you had asked me about let’s say… 8 months ago, I definitely would have recommended Ireland to everyone. However, with the current state of economy and government, I would hold off on calling it 1 of the top 5 places for a business major to study until the country bounces back. It has a tendency of doing that. Anyway…

1. China

There is a huge influx of American students venturing to China to study abroad. China’s economy is growing consistently and the business sector is also increasing. Students are attracted to the business possibilities and are flocking there. There is also opportunity to learn a new language that will be completely relevant in the future, but it’s not as scary as some other countries because many people do speak English.

2. India

India is another example of a booming business economy with the opportunity of language. Similar to China, a student has to realize the cultural differences aside from language and then decide if it is still something they would like to follow through on. India has a booming business sector full of opportunities that will attract many students, especially business students.

3. Brazil

Brazil is another booming economy with a language barrier that students are interested in. Brazil is one of the BRIC countries (as are India and China), which are expected to be the next largest global economies. Brazil also has access to other South American countries that draws many students

4. Germany

Germany has been one of the world’s largest economies and business areas for half a century. After WWII they went under a complete reconstruction and to this day are still reconstructing and building the economy further upwards. They have huge industries, and allow for students to access the rest of Europe.

5. Canada

Overlooked by many American students because, well—it’s Canada; this country is a great experience for all students, especially business. There is a growing economy and a diverse culture. Different provinces of Canada are essentially different countries and cities like Montréal have aspects of multiple cultures that create a very unique experience. There a many opportunities for American students to study in Canada, and unlike many other countries—there are visas available to students who wish to work there.

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