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By mtumasz

Kia Ora Mates! This post is going to be slightly all over the place, but very informative. I’m going to tell you all the little travel tips you might not think of when traveling from another country.

Super Important Fact #1:

Check the requirements for traveling from one country to another. I am currently in New Zealand, and am spending a week in Australia (I leave tomorrow, Ahh!) and my group of friends and I did not realize you need a traveler’s visa to enter Australia. Usually this isn’t needed for traveling among countries in Europe, but it still doesn’t hurt to check. Another big point off of that is checking for vaccinations! Traveling and vacationing is no fun if you’re extremely ill the entire time…

Don’t be afraid to use public transportation, because taxis can get very expensive! If the bus or train system looks confusing, ask someone at the information counter and they will be more than happy to help you navigate to where you are trying to go! ...continue reading "Travel Awareness – Or Things Easily Forgotten"

By mfretes93

To most Americans, the word "gringo" is an attack on everything that our country stands for, from eagles to apple pies to making sure that there's a McDonald's on every corner of the earth. We hear the word in movies and on television, when dim-witted Americans encounter Latin Americans, usually in or around Mexico, generally being unaware of cultural norms outside of the U.S. And so what's what we think when we hear the word--"stupid, stupid Americans." ...continue reading "Proud to Be a Gringo"

By arosema93

AustraliaThey say that you learn something new every day and this week it was something I never expected to learn before coming to America. I learned to drive a manual car! Apparently, something that I never realized is that most of the rest of the world still largely drives manual cars, partially due to their fuel efficiency. So, when I came to Australia, I was hit by the realization that I would only be capable of driving about 10% of the cars in the country. In Australia, some states require a separate license/test in order to drive a manual vehicle. However, an American license is 100% valid in Australia and also still qualifies me to drive a manual; despite the fact that I would have no idea what I was doing. ...continue reading "How to Save a Baby Kangaroo"

By tinavisc

I've done it! I've crossed 'Safari' off my bucket list for once and for all. The experience was actually quite amazing. The company picked me up at the crack of dawn yesterday morning and trekked about 10 of us 2 hours out of Cape Town straight in to the bush. ...continue reading "Lions and Zebras and Elephants"

By mtumasz

Group PictureKia Ora Mates! Once again I will say, New Zealand is amazing, breathtaking, every awesome adjective you can think of. It's crazy to think that I have mid-semester break in a week, and that I'll be taking midterms soon; it feels like I just got here!

Last weekend, my friends and I all rented a minivan and drove Northeast of Auckland, to the Coromandel Peninsula. Absolutely gorgeous beaches, nice waterfalls, and heaps of hikes to do. My favorite part of the weekend trip wasn't any of this though; it was the drive back to Auckland. ...continue reading "It’s All About the Journey"

By sdemetry

Hallo Alle!

The time for my first blog post has finally arrived. As my departure draws near, I can't help but feel more and more anxious to get to Berlin and start this year-long adventure. It seems surreal that in a few days I will be revisiting those first-day-of-school jitters. It's a little disconcerting to think of going back to a stage in which I know no one, have no bearings in or first-hand knowledge of my surroundings, and feel a general sense of nervous uncertainty regarding my future.

Luckily, all of that uncertainty is pretty consistently being overshadowed by anticipation.

But enough of that- the point of this post is to tell you all about what my time abroad will be focused around: the IES Berlin Language and Area Studies Program and an independent internship with The Nature Conservancy.

I chose the IES program for two main reasons: ...continue reading "IES Abroad Berlin and The Nature Conservancy"

By tinavisc

Following the train along the N2The following post is inspired by Elon Musk's design for a hovercraft disguised as the Hyperloop.

Students, plagued by insolvency and open mindedness, have a unique opportunity to travel around this world unbound from the ordinary. My own experience on the matter has equipped me with tools to help along my fellow peers seesawing on the fulcrum of adulthood. Thus begins a tour through Cape Town by virtue of my own terrestrial body: ...continue reading "5 (fun) ways to move your body in Cape Town"

By arosema93

The last week was a little rough for me. For the first time in Australia, I got sick. I came down with a cold/flu sort of thing for several days. It was being passed around my college pretty quickly and I knew I would get it. As my college is a fairly close knit group of 500 uni students living in close quarters and spending the majority of their time together, things obviously spread quickly (think of the Thurston flu).

But after a few days I improved, and it was only necessary to take one sick day at work. My illness was further improved by the opportunity to spend two relaxing amazing days at the beach this last weekend. Despite being winter in Canberra, it was a sunny 75 degrees at the beach both days which was perfect for hiking and having a bonfire. It was a little chilly at night, but so worth it for the experience of sleeping under the stars on the beach in Australia.

During my time here, I have yet to find something better than sleeping under the Australian stars on the beach listening to the waves crashing in. Stars in Australia are pretty special, due to the fact that the ozone layer is much thinner over Australia than the rest of the world. While this can easily lead to a sunburn (or a nice tan) during the day, at night it allows millions of stars to shine through in a way that is not even possible in America. Added to that, is the experience of different stars from back home. For example, there is the Southern Cross, but no Northern Star, and Orion is upside down! It was also really weird to return to campus from two days at the beach and run into friends as they arrived back from a two day trip to the mountains and skiing.

As I am sure is interesting to nearly all GW students (seeing as we retook the honour of most politically active campus), Australia has an election coming up, and it sure is different than an American election. For starters, the election is not held on the same date all the time. Actually, it’s not even held every three or four years. It just has to be somewhere within that timeframe and the party in power gets to decide when they want it to be. Once the date is decided, Australians have about a month to enrol to vote, change their registration, or whatever else they need to do to ensure they are not fined for not voting under Australia’s compulsory voting laws. Also, instead of voting for a person to be prime minister, you vote for a party, the leaders of which then get to decide the prime minister. Sounds alright, except that they are allowed to change who the prime minister is whenever they want, as happened about a month ago. One day, they just decided they were sick of the prime minister and replaced her with a new one.

If that isn’t absurd politics then I don’t know what is. Just after writing this one of my friends showed me a piece of brilliance by John Stewart that really sums it all up quite well.

By mtumasz

So here I am, chilling in New Zealand, STARVING. Food here is very expensive, and the University of Auckland doesn't have a nice dining plan for its students; you have to fend for yourself. It's a pretty rough life when you're a poor college student, spending all your money on trips and adventures, and forgetting you have to go grocery shopping.

I'm a very healthy eater, and not a big fan of sweets. Junk food and fast food tend to be a lot cheaper than healthy options when buying food. In this post, I am going to offer advice to people in foreign countries, trying to eat clean while also on a budget. ...continue reading "Food for Thought"

By mfretes93

After 10 hours on a plane, not including the 2 hours spent idle on the tarmac, I finally reached Rio de Janeiro and now, I'm almost done with my first week. And while I still have a lot to see, do, and understand (namely, how not to get lost, everyday), I feel as though I have a pretty good grasp on how things work around here: nothing ever starts on time, coffee is drank like water, and the beach is a way of life. I think I can do this for four more months.

But while this might seem like a dream come true, the initial adjustment period was difficult, and still is. Namely, the language barrier. So, of all the lessons I've learned so far (more on that in the coming weeks), the most important takeaway from my first week is this: speak, speak, speak. ...continue reading "The First Few Days"