Off the Beaten Path: Spain


If you’re planning a trip to Europe in the near future, a must-see destination is Spain! This Mediterranean country in southwestern Europe is the perfect combination of people, culture and nightlife to keep anyone entertained for weeks. If you don’t know too much about Spanish history and culture, let me give you a quick overview.  The first major inhabitants of Spain were the Romans in the 5th Century AD, but were quickly followed by a Moorish invasion from Northern Africa a few centuries later. As a result, a large part of the Spanish culture, specifically architecture and art, has its roots in the classic Roman and intricate Arabic styles. Most of Spain, especially the south, has many beautiful palaces and monuments epitomizing the grand and ornate Moorish presence. However, the Christian population of Northern Spain eventually took complete control of the Iberian Peninsula by the end of the 15th Century.  The change in authority, along with the colonization of the New World, helped bring Spain to the peak of their wealth and power soon after. Recently, Spain has not been doing well economically, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a beautiful and enriching country to explore! (more…)

Tips for Finding an Apartment Abroad


So you have made the move abroad and are now in the midst of trying to find a place to live in a foreign country.  In my case I had just moved to Madrid to teach English for the upcoming school year.  Even with the Spanish I know the first few days I spent in Spain were more than a little intimidating!  Whether you have moved abroad for school or work, here are a few tips and suggestions to help you navigate this part of the process:

Traveling with Ease Part 2: Smooth Arrivals


Most airlines do an adequate job of helping you relax while in-flight. But when the plane hits the runway, panic suddenly hits when you realize that you have actually arrived. A major part of flight anxiety is the journey to the unknown, somewhere unfamiliar and out of your comfort zone. But by making a few simple preparations, you can transform that apprehension into excitement.

Top 10 International Hotels


Is money no object for you? Are you looking for a place to stay that’s off the beaten path? Here is a list of ten of the world’s most interesting and luxurious hotels. Found in some of the most fascinating tourist destinations in the world, any one of them is a great launching point for an unforgettable travel experience. If any of these tempt your fancy, then head on over to StudentUniverse’s main site and book your trip now!


Twenty in Paris: Going to the Movies


Going to the movies has been one of America’s favorite pastimes for almost a century. But did you know that modern filmmaking was actually discovered by Auguste and Louis Lumière in France? Les frères Lumières (or the Light Brothers) as they were often referred to made the first motion captured film ever in France in 1895. When Hollywood was just a gleam in Southern California’s eye, France was the booming center of films. In fact, Paris was Hollywood before Hollywood even existed. When World War I broke out in the early twentieth century, it shifted the tables of movie making powerhouse status from France to America. All French men and resources had to go the front lines in 1914 whereas America did not for the first three years of the Great War. As a result, Americans were able to completely take over the film industry becoming the main producer of films for the entire world. Unfortunately for the French, World War I became World War II and they were never able to financially recover enough to take back their status as the movie making capital of the world. Although Hollywood has maintained its number one status for the past 99 years, Paris has become the second leading movie making center of the world. (more…)

Home is my #happyplace!

rebeccalargeWhen I was little and easily entertained, I would close my eyes in car rides and try to guess where we were on the ride home. I’d let my memory and intuition figure it out based on the different turns we had to take to get back. Sometimes I was right and sometimes I was way off.

If you’re anything like me, and thought of choosing a college as an adventure, then you may have ended up far from home. We hurry to become citizens of the world, spread our wings, leave the nest, and fulfill every cliché we learned.

When I was looking at colleges I knew I wanted to live in a place I thought I would never get the chance to live again. I found myself in New Orleans, a city that is culturally incomparable and always finding excuses to party. A place 1,300 miles from home. (more…)

Joyce's Dublin #happyplace

IMG_1085Dublin – a UNESCO city of literature.  The birthplace of James Joyce and affiliated with nobel prize winners for literature such as Yeats, Shaw, Beckett, and Heaney – this city offers a variety of activities related to their works as well as literature in general.  I spent about five days in Dublin so I had ample time to wander around and see many of the sites.  The city is small but chock-a-block with things to do and see.  Weather permitting I would suggest walking whenever possible (don’t forget to pack your hats and scarves – I definitely underestimated how cold it would be at the beginning of September!).

I spent a full day touring around Trinity College and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  Trinity College is home to the Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition, while St. Patrick’s is strongly tied to the life and works of Jonathan Swift who served as Dean of the cathedral.  At St. Patrick’s hop on a free tour in order to get the most out of your visit!  My tour guide was fun and knowledgeable – I learned a lot about Irish history surrounding both literature and religion.  Marsh’s Library might also be of interest to my fellow book lovers! (more…)