Maximizing Your Happiness Abroad

I recently read a fascinating article on how to maximize your happiness (You can click here for the article). Essentially, the article reports that scientists have found the quest for happiness comes through experience, rather than material gains. In essence, we are happier when we DO more rather than OWN more.

Now, how does this relate to study abroad?

Max Munich
Visiting Munich, Germany, where my high school friend was studying for the year

Studying and living abroad is an incredible experience by itself, and an investment worth making. Studies have shown that study abroad returnees report having higher confidence, experience better job placement, gained career interest from the experience, and much more (see one of many reports here). So, naturally, my first bit of advice for budgeting is to budget to study abroad, if you haven’t already. I highly doubt you’ll regret the experience.

So now you’re abroad. How do you make sure that your money is going to good use? Naturally, all college students have different budgets. Some can afford to live lavishly, others have to conserve their money very tightly. For those who are watching their purse strings a little more closely, here are a couple pointers that I found that really enriched my study abroad experience.

  1. BILLY MAYS HERE, I WANT TO MAKE SURE YOU GET SAVINGS, SAVINGS, SAVINGS!!!

I’m so sorry, I couldn’t help the infomercial joke. But seriously, know your exchange rate before you leave home and how much you can or want to spend. Cost of living could significantly increase or decrease abroad, so save everything you can before you go. I worked 3 part-time jobs the summer before I went abroad to help pay for it. Believe me, you’ll want every penny, and you can always do whatever you “missed out” on when you come home.

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Can you see the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona when you’re in Denver? No, no you can’t.
  1. Plan a list of adventures you would like to do during your time abroad

Anticipating and planning adventures is probably one of the most exciting things on the planet. Seriously, I have published a list of all the things I want to do in my life online (my bucket list), because I have way too much fun with this stuff. Know what you might want to do while you’re living abroad, whether that be backpacking Patagonia, attending a England-New Zealand rugby match at Wembley Stadium in London, going on a SCUBA diving trip along the Great Barrier Reef, walking the Camino de Santiago, or hiking Mount Kilimanjaro (I have friends who did all of these things). They knew they wanted to DO something special while they were abroad, and budgeted accordingly.

I planned to visit a Norwegian friend over Christmas before I left for abroad and got to explore the fjords
I planned to visit a Norwegian friend over Christmas before I left for abroad and got to explore the fjords
  1. Find atypical adventures

What I mean by this is that hopefully, at some point in your life, you’ll have the opportunity to be a tourist. When will you have the opportunity to LIVE abroad and have access to the little-known nooks and crannies of your continent? For me, this meant when I traveled, I wanted to go to atypical places. So, rather than see the Eiffel Tower and taking a picture of my finger touching the top of the Louvre’s pyramid in Paris, *cough* boring and cliché *cough*, I went to Croatia, cliff jumped in the Adriatic Sea, shared a 50cc scooter with my friend and travel buddy, Garret, and visited the UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site Plitvice National Park. I DID something out of the ordinary, and it was the best traveling I did abroad.

It actually is that breathtakingly beautiful
Plitvice actually is that breathtakingly beautiful
  1. Have an it’s-time-for-a-ridiculous-unforeseen-adventure fund

If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that good things just happen around you. My friends and family call it “Spiro Luck”, because I have the uncanny ability to get a good break when I need it most. Many people refuse to play games with me anymore because of “Spiro Luck”, and perhaps my penchant for excessively celebrating after winning…

Back to my point, one of the things I found when I was abroad was that opportunities presented themselves, so plan for the unexpected. One of the craziest experiences I had while abroad was that I got to attend the Clasico, the biannual soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona in Barcelona. I planned to be in the city for the match and to experience the atmosphere, but getting tickets were nigh impossible. That was until a miracle happened. A member of my travel group was accidentally given two tickets instead of one, and I got to go with him for a half-priced, nose-bleed ticket. Without having my it’s-time-for-a-ridiculous-unforeseen-adventure fund, I couldn’t have gone. Being at that game, where the glorious Barcelona won 2-1, was one of the most incredible experiences I had abroad. I still have to pinch myself to remember that it was real. Remember to have a little something to draw on if there is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You won’t regret DOING it.

Me after the Barcelona, Real Madrid match in Barcelona
Me after the Barcelona, Real Madrid match in Barcelona
  1. Find local adventures that are free, or at least cheap

Some of my best memories from studying abroad are those that didn’t cost me a dime. In my first week in Salamanca, Spain, I joined the local Ultimate Frisbee team, where I met many of my local friends from abroad, and had a fantastic, fun time practicing every Tuesday and Thursday. I played pick-up soccer every weekend and explored the culture of Salamanca. I jammed with a three good friends on the steps of the cathedral in Salamanca and got a crowd of other students to listen. I took the bus into Madrid and spent the day visiting the modern art museum, then walked around the city for hours. I took the train to Toledo for a day, just because I could. While not as eye-popping as the travel stories, they were the ones that truly defined my study abroad experience. What I DID was worth spending money on, unquestionably, and I didn’t need to always break the bank to make a lasting memory.

Goofing around the Royal Palace of Madrid, all for the price of a bus ticket
Goofing around the Royal Palace of Madrid, all for the price of a bus ticket

-Max Spiro, Study Abroad Assitant

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Internships Ahoy

My program with CIEE actually offered many internship options, although most were oriented towards political science majors. None looked interesting to me, so here comes Lesson Number One: Ask for help. I talked to two of my Art History professors, and both offered internships practically by the end of the week. If nothing quite suits you and you have something in mind- fix it! Ask for help! People love to help, and love free labor, so if you are just looking for experience this is a great way to go.

So after asking for help and receiving, I accepted the first job that came my way. At first working at the Hungarian National Archives for Art History sounded kind of boring, and even after the first few days it really felt boring. But Lesson Number Two: you can make any job fun just with your own outlook. My job was scanning documents into a digital system, which, as it happens, can be done at the same time as watching the first season of Friends on my laptop. So I still got the same amount of work done, but I did it while listening to a show, or sometimes Pimseleur language help for my Hungarian. I had friends who did similar things with their jobs (since not all problems can be solved with TV shows- especially since I was alone in a room with headphones I wasn’t distracting anyone and this is definitely not always true), just by being in a more positive state of mind and applying yourself, you can still have fun. Plus the documents I was scanning were from the late 1800s related to national art shows for up-in-coming painters of the day. Super cool!

Lesson Number Three, before I tell you about my second internship, is an important one: Don’t expect to get paid. These internships can be for credit or simply experience, but if you ask a professor to find you a paid job it will be less fun for everyone. But on the other hand, if you walk up to a professor saying “Look, I absolutely love art history and really want experience in the field be it volunteer work or an internship, would you be willing to help me,” I don’t think there is a single person who wouldn’t try to help you out. Professors love passion, and if you care and show that you care, they will help you.

I worked in that giant building on the hill! Aah!
I worked in that giant building on the hill! Aah!

This leads to the second internship that I got- the Hungarian National Gallery– aka Magyar Nemzeti Galeria. Just by asking a professor, I got to work in one of the most prestigious museums in Hungary, in a CASTLE so cool guys so cool. In any case, this leads to another point: Sometimes people accept interns without having any idea of what they want you to do. I loved this internship, but when I first got there they had no idea what to do with me. I edited and read through their website probably 10 times just looking for grammar mistakes on three different days until I suggested other ways I could help. So Lesson Number Four: Sometimes you have to make your own work. Ultimately I ended up writing a new section for their website and giving tours to English speaking tourists on Saturdays, but it took a while and some suggestions before these were my assigned jobs.

Me and my boss Fatima in the top floor of the Gallery in front of a statue of György Dózsa-- super creepy story you should look it up on wiki.
Me and my boss Fatima in the top floor of the Gallery in front of a statue of György Dózsa– super creepy story you should look it up on wiki.

But finally, the most important lesson I drew from having these internships is this, Lesson Number Five:

→ Do what you love.

Internships can be all kinds of fun – like that idiom says about “never work a day in your life,” right? So when you do find an internship, just make sure it meshes with your interests. Then every day will feel like learning and new experiences, and not like a real job. You should look forward to your internship and not dread it. I looked forward to both of mine because I still learned a lot and it was in an area I care about- I hope that if you choose to intern abroad it is so you can have some fun, too, and isn’t just for resume boosting.

Audriana’s blog: Bilbao, Spain

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Audriana studied at the Universidad de Deusto through ISA this semester, and as she is wrapping up her time in Bilbao, she is reflecting on what the experience has meant for her:

“For me, study abroad became a time to find myself and be the person that I always have been, but was limited by her surroundings.  I know I will leave Spain as a different woman than the one who arrived here four months early, and I can’t wait to face my life straight on when I return.  I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to study abroad, travel to many amazing places, and meet such incredible people.”

http://unviajeporlavida.wordpress.com

 

Jacquelyn’s blog: York, England

Jacquelyn is studying at the University of York, sharing some of her adventures with us, and gaining come confidence while doing so.

Nerd moment at the National Railway Station!
Nerd moment at the National Railway Station!

“Today, I traveled for the first time someplace completely on my own, without friends or family or even a guide telling me what to do. This was one of the scariest things possible for me because I have realized I seem to always depend on someone else being there to suffer with me if I do mess up. Well I proved to myself that I don’t need to depend on other people because I can do everything on my own or figure things out.”

medievaltomodern.wordpress.com

 

Chelsea’s blog: Thailand

“About two weeks ago, I walked down the stairs to get my breakfast and a cup of instant coffee. My routine every morning. The thing that was different that morning was the set of twelve empty waterbottles, each of which contained a giant rhino beetle. Upon closer inspection, I realized they were very much alive. Nervously I asked my dad, “Kin a-ria?” Which roughly translates to “Are we going to eat that?” He laughed…. which really didn’t answer my question.”

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Read more about ISDSI Thailand from Chelsea:

 http://stillanoptimist.wordpress.com

 

Madiba

Thank you, Sonia, for sharing your post from this past July’s Mandela Day in South Africa.  What an incredible legacy he has left for our world, and we are so glad that you got to experience it first hand.  Read Sonia’s blog post here:  http://treasuresandtrunks.blogspot.com/2013/07/67-minutes.html

“I am honored to have spent Mandela day participating in such a great tradition. Though I am excited to continue my service over the next several months within this community, I am all the more excited to bring this legacy into my existence back home as well. This tradition is certainly a 67 minutes well-served, but it is even greater to know that it represents a legacy of equality, forgiveness, and strength that is very much in effect today.”

Mural put together made by Khayelitsha students.
Mural put together made by Khayelitsha students.

So much more

It may be five degrees here in Denver today (yep, I said FIVE), but we are living vicariously through this awesome video that DU student, Alicia Carter, just shared with us.  What an amazing semester you’ve had.

“August 15th I left Los Angeles, California and began my semester abroad in Mérida, México. Looking back, I’m not exactly sure what my expectations were for the experience, but what did happen, I know, was so much more.”

Tiffany’s blog: Amman, Jordan

Tiffany is participating on the CIEE Jordan: Arabic Language and Culture program, and sharing her adventures with us at www.the-river-bend.blogspot.com

Wanna know how to not fit in on campus in Amman?

“Backpacks are for losers. On the university campus, the Americans are literally the ONLY students carrying backpacks. The rest of the girls here carry their purses, and maybe a notebook or two. The guys will carry their phones, cigarettes, and a notebook or a book or two. I asked my language partner at the beginning of the semester why no one had them, and she literally said because backpacks are not cool. Only elementary school students carry them here. Despite that, I continue to look like a dweeb every morning carrying my backpack through campus.”

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Midterm Madness

One thing that everyone seems to forget while abroad is the fact that classes do exist, and that tests do exist. For me midterms just passed and everyone’s hair was absolutely on fire. We spent tons of time exploring and gaining the most out of our experiences… but everyone in my program also forgot that our classes are fairly difficult, and that we hadn’t quite caught up with the material by the time that the tests rolled around. There was a last minute cramming period the week before exams that none of us really saw coming. We all realized that our tests were going to be much harder than expected, and that on top of the difficulty levels they were all in quick succession and so we had no breaks in between to get more studying done.

With quarter system we are all used to tests being pretty close to each other, but we are also used to 4 classes and our expectations are manageable in terms of what is on the syllabus and what we expect on the study guide. But here we don’t know the teachers or their style, and also most colleges abroad are on semester system, which can also be a bit of a shock. More material on each test than we are used to, is basically what that means.

Not only do you need to learn to manage the tests in terms of spacing out studying, but you also need to learn the best ways to manage your stress. I don’t know if it is karma or some kind of murphy’s law, but some of the worst things happen when people are most stressed. For instance my suitemate got bed bugs by no fault of her own only two days before finals. Not only did she have to study, but she also had to fumigate her room, wash all of her clothes, bag everything that might have bugs, and find somewhere else to sleep. She was stressed and took it out on absolutely no one, but we all felt the stress and responded to it. Her room mates got angry at her/the world, and the rest of us in the suite tried to do damage control to little avail. Midterms and Finals are stressful times and you need to find a place where you can be alone and cope with your own stress without affecting anyone else. You miss home more, you miss your family and friends more, and you miss your usual routine for responding to stress.

My suggestions are these:

  1. Keep up with your studies as much as possible. Give yourself Thursday afternoons, or the few hours between classes to lock yourself away in a coffee shop to study. If you find a different coffee shop every time it is still exploring, and it helps you keep ahead of your studying so you don’t go completely under water when tests roll around.
    This is Mozaik, one of my favorite places to study in Budapest. It is in the Jewish Quarter and has a list of teas to die for. It is also a good place to “leave your mark,” since they recommend and urge you to draw on the walls with chalk. You cant see it in this image, but it is a total hoot. Very popular among travelers and Budapestens. (And free wifi! Sign me up!!) This is part of my study routine, since I love experimenting with new teas it is a good place to consistently travel to for the purpose of getting that reading done or finishing the other homework. etc.

    Mozaik can get a bit dark sometimes-- dreary weather and "mood lighting" aren't particularly conducive to reading light. But either way I happily work away in my nook.
    Mozaik can get a bit dark sometimes– dreary weather and “mood lighting” aren’t particularly conducive to reading light. But either way I happily work away in my nook.
  2. Give yourself a routine. If yoga helps you calm down, then do yoga during study breaks. If waking around in a park helps, then do that. Skype family, skype friends, do whatever it is that will help you calm down and re-center yourself.
  3. Don’t Panic. Let it go. Studies are important and you should still do your best, but if you end up with a B in the class then it isn’t that big of a deal. Calm down- just do the best you can and then don’t worry about it. I am not saying you should fail your classes, but it seems to me that you don’t have to keep yourself to your usual standards while abroad. You are in a new country, a new place with tons of things to do. If you have trouble balancing studies and exploration then just remember this: You are gaining multiple learning experiences. Even college at home has the duality of learning about yourself versus learning about your major. Yes, it is important to study math or science or business or what have you, but you went abroad to discover more than just that. Keep that in mind if you get a bad grade on a test, and move on. Do better next time, but don’t hold on to the past because it won’t help you in the future.

-Miranda Blank, DUSA Blogger

Home Sweet Homesick

Homesick?

There are quite a lot of people who experience homesickness, but just because you may not think you are, remember that it can come in many forms. I personally experience little to no traditional homesickness. Summers spent across the country at camp for months at a time cured me from this normal feeling. When I moved across the country to go to college I never had the achy sadness of missing the past, and it is not to say from time to time I didn’t think about friends and family or even my puppy! However, I never went through traditional homesickness. Going abroad has not been very different. Of course I was nervous and anxious about quite a lot of new things, but I have been easily caught up in the excitement of the new environment and different experiences. Homesickness is, by no means, a bad thing! It is natural! But like most things, it is about moderation, putting your privilege in check, and being in a mindset of taking advantage of the new experiences in front of you. Remember that you can simply survive abroad, or you can LIVE while you’re abroad, and that is much more fun!

Belfast at dusk, a beautiful time in the city
Belfast at dusk, a beautiful time in the city, but evenings often yield themselves to homesickness

-Moderation-

Missing people or things from home is natural. In the inconsistency that is the Abroad Experience, it is normal to miss some of the things that are staples in home life. The problem with giving in to homesickness is letting it consume you. If missing home becomes the main focus of your trip, this could become detrimental to the experience as well as harmful to your wellbeing. To keep yourself in moderation, I recommend:

  • Talking to family and friends once or twice a week. Don’t spend your entire trip on Skype!
  • Try joining the gym. If it is something you consistently do at home, it might help you feel more stability. (This has been a great decision for me! I love being able to work out to handle stress).
  • Make your favorite meal! Share it with the people you’ve met as a way to positively talk about and share memories of home. You could also watch a tv show or movie with people. For Halloween I organized a movie night in my house to watch Hocus Pocus, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Corpse Bride, which helped me feel better about not being home.
Sharing Halloween Traditions
Sharing Halloween Traditions

-Check your Privilege-

This “p” word tends to turn people off, but I think abroad is a time to reflect on where you come from. This reflection can bring up bouts of homesickness, but it is important to map your growth. Think about what things you are missing and consider if they are really necessities worth whining over. Also, recognize that people you meet are going to have distinctive experiences, come from diverse places, and potentially have very different outlooks than you. If you feel out of place because of this, don’t worry! This is also ordinary. Here are a few ways to handle this:

  • Take a moment to recognize that it is OKAY for people to be different than you, it makes the world more interesting. Living with 15 people from all over the world in my house, view points can be very different! But take advantage of this. I have learned so much about the politics of the EU, European immigration, and even capitalist theory, topics I would probably never read about or take courses on, but have now explored in a bit of depth.
  • Don’t make other people feel stupid for not having the same experiences as you. If there is something you think most people know, even silly things like chocolate chip cookies or Dr. Seuss, don’t belittle someone for not having knowledge about them. (I have seen Americans do this and it just makes you look more foolish)
  • Keep a journal. Even something basic, where every day you write down one thing that you learned to think about differently or something someone said that challenged a belief. I have personally started this, and it is a great way to remain open to new ideas, as you can search for things to write in your journal!

*Also remember that many people who would like to go abroad don’t have that opportunity, so you are privileged in going and should not take that for granted* 🙂

-Take Advantage of the New-

Abroad is not about doing things the way you have always done them. This is the most important thing to remember when mentally preparing for your trip. Things are going to be different! Sights, sounds, foods, people, will all present chances to get out of your comfort zone. But don’t mope about what your new local doesn’t have, instead delight in the new!

  • Try cooking new meals, buying different things from the grocery store or market, or just eating different food in general. It is not the time to be picky! Food is a bonding time for many cultures and it can offer you insight into greater pieces of the new world you’re in if you eat the food.
  • Words, words, words. I am in a country which speaks English, but the accent can sometimes be a challenge. Try to be comfortable with the new language or accent around you! When you get back to the states it will sound so plain, this is the time to love the different sounds.
  • Moping or complaining about the differences gets you nowhere. Try to have a mindset that allows you to enjoy the differences, rather than constantly contrasting them.
  • Get involved! Attend campus events you may not  go to at DU or join a new club. Belfast is filled with active school groups and they offer open activities to the whole campus!
Attending an open stage night hosted by Queen's Players was new, but I loved it!
Attending an open stage night hosted by Queen’s Players was new, but I loved it! Belfast really supports its local arts!

– Jessie GG, DUSA Blogger

 

Forethought and Hindsight: Packing for Abroad

After a month of adjusting to the Belfast life, I can say I feel much more at home. I am more knowledgeable about navigating the city, campus, and the nightlife. I am still adjusting to things like military time and using the currency, but those are understandably taking a bit more time. Being comfortable comes in waves, and is mostly about your mindset. Sometimes though, it can come down to the things you have and the things you need, and their ease of access. This being said, I have compiled the following list of things I am very thankful I brought on this journey with me, and well, the things that if I could have had the foresight to bring I would have.

  1. My Camera: This one probably is the most obvious, but I had to mention it. Before coming abroad I invested in a DSLR Canon Rebel and a few lessons to make sure I could really capture moments from my time here to share with friends and family back home. If you don’t want to make the investment or really don’t care for picture taking, consider just bringing a basic digital camera, or even a smart phone in airplane mode, and using it to capture some of the memories.

    Glad I had my camera to capture the Lanyon Building, the most photographic building on campus
    Glad I had my camera to capture the Lanyon Building, the most photographic building on campus
  2. Towel/Sheets: These depend on what kind of living situation you are in. I live in an on campus house style accommodation.  My first night in Belfast, I was happy I could shower and sleep on my own sheets. Although the school provided an option for buying a bed pack (which I did) the sheet was scratchy and it didn’t include a towel. These items took up space in my suitcase, but I was happy to have them once I moved in! Nothing like a shower after hours on a plane with a warm towel to wrap up in.
  3. Swiss Army Knife: If you bring this, make sure it goes into your checked luggage! Bringing this fancy tool has been great. You never think about the times you’re at home and need a scissors, knife, or even a bottle opener/corkscrew. This tool was my mom’s recommendation, and I have already put it to use even just opening packaging for new items I purchased here.

    My photos from home! as well as some items on these lists :)
    My photos from home! as well as some items on these lists 🙂
  4. Pictures from Home: One of my first purchases at the school organized IKEA  trip was a corkboard. The £3 purchase was great for putting up a few pictures I brought from home, as well as important paperwork I needed for the week. Having already printed pictures, I stuck them on the top of the board, and made my empty room feel much homier. Plus it was a simple, inexpensive project!
  5. Super Glue: Really! After running around the airport my first day and doing walking tours of campus, journeys into the city center, and just exploring in general, I put a lot of wear into one of the pairs of boots I bought. So much so that one of the heals started to come off the boot! Instead of having to go without, however, I simply super glued the heel back on. Presto! Good as new. Again, make sure this is in your checked luggage, but it really can be a great quick fix instead of spending time and money on replacement items.

    Ready for the rain!
    Ready for the rain!

    6. Rain Coat/Rain Boots: Here they call them your Waterproof and your Wellies, and they are essentials anywhere in the UK. It can rain at any time, can come at your any and every direction, and can take you completely by surprise. Bringing these items with me makes for more pleasant days, rain or shine.

      7. Reusable Grocery Bags: In the UK, and most of Europe I believe, when going to any shop, bags will cost you. They are only about 7 cents, but that adds up over time. I was very happy that I happened to throw a few of these into my luggage. They fold up really well and have come in handy wherever I go. They are lightweight and many conveniently fold up, so I recommend adding these to your packing list.

And what I should have brought…

  1. Utensils: Again, this one really depends on the type of living arrangement you have abroad, but hunting down a fork and spoon the first day was a dumb inconvenience that I could have solved by just throwing some plastic wear in my bag.  Even if you just snag the pack they give you on the plane (if you have a flight that provides food) you will thank yourself later when you are trying to cook dinner and realize you may need utensils to eat it.
  2. Sharpie: I brought pens and pencils with me, but the pouch of markers I had originally thought about bringing didn’t make the cut. From labeling food and kitchen tools to writing on my pub crawl shirt, there have been many occasions a little permanent marker could have been handy.
  3. Water bottle: Another thing that I had intended to pack and decided against. Being in a more humid environment, I forget to drink as much water as I do in Denver, and that has resulted in some minor dehydration. Drinking fountains are not as readily available as on DU’s campus, so bringing something that made it easier to bring water with me would have been helpful.
  4. School Supplies: I was not focused on the school aspect of things when I packed, and when I started to get prepared for classes I realized I didn’t have notebooks, or post-its, or binder clips. Again, I don’t recommend packing a full backpack of school supplies, but if you like to highlight notes or use binder clips to organize notebooks, consider putting a few in a zip lock and tucking them in your carry on.
  5. Tupperware: Versatile kitchenware that I can think of a million uses for now… Packing electronics in it to keep them from getting wet, saving left overs, cooking with, eating food from, storage, drawer/shelf organization, lunch box, change holder, jewelry box…needless to say I purchased some when I got here.
  6. More adapters: I didn’t realize that the UK had different outlets than the rest of Europe, and so the adapter I brought doesn’t work here…but the converter I brought does. This just makes for a bit of an annoyance/strategy when it comes to charging electronics throughout the day, I usually have to rotate them through a schedule in order to get things powered. I recommend 2-3 total adapters, just to make life easier.
  7. A Budget: I battled with this idea before I left, feeling like it would be too hard to judge costs before I got here and so I didn’t want to really limit my first week’s purchasing power. I was wrong. I think for me having more of an idea of what I would have liked to spend for “start up” costs would have been helpful, so I wasn’t blindly strolling through IKEA with no idea how much money I could put towards purchasing house necessities. In hindsight I wish I would have created even estimated figures to help me steer my spending from the beginning. I now have made a monthly budget, which I update nightly from the days purchases as a way to really maintain a spending limit and minimum. I hate spending money, so I had to set a minimum to make sure I was going out and eating or drinking at local places, rather than being too conservative, and passing on things I would regret later.

These items may not help everyone, but after a month here, this is my list of my month’s hindsight as well as some surprising forethought. Ultimately, what you bring and what you forget usually ends up adding to the stories you have and memories you make, forgetting something at home usually isn’t the end of the world!

– Jessie GG, DUSA Blogger

Tiffany’s blog: Amman, Jordon

Tiffany is in Amman right now, on the CIEE Jordan: Arabic Language and Culture program.

www.the-river-bend.blogspot.com

She’s got some great stories about her experiences this semester on her blog.  We also really love that she included this quote:

“Maybe you had to leave in order to really miss a place; maybe you had to travel to figure out how beloved your starting point was.”  – Jodi Picoult

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Introducing our 2013 DUSA Student Bloggers!

We are pleased to introduce you to this year’s official DUSA bloggers!  They’ll be posting all about their experiences and (mis?)adventures during their study abroad programs this year.  Without further ado, here they are!

Mirand Photo
Miranda Blank

Miranda Blank is a Marketing major traveling alone to Budapest, Hungary on the CIEE program. She looks forward to telling you all about her explorations and adventures going boldly where she has never gone before.

Heather Photo
Heather Cook

A double major in International Studies and Environmental Science, Heather will be studying both this fall with SIT Study Abroad in Mongolia. Originally from the flatlands of Kansas, Heather is obsessed with the Colorado mountains. She enjoys learning to rock climb and hiking fourteeners, even if she is afraid of heights.

Jessie Photo
Jessie Galioto-Grebe

Jessie is an English Major, and a Communications and Gender and Women’s Studies double minor who will be studying abroad at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Originally from Wisconsin she is a Packers fan who loves her yellow lab Orla, Brett Easton Ellis books, and the Oxford Comma. In her free time she likes to watch Dr. Who, sing show tunes, and work out, usually not at the same time.