Dancing in Dublin- Finding The Pot of Gold


Got a fever for finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow? Why not some leprechauns too? Well then, get yourself to Ireland! Though I can’t guarantee you’ll find a pot of gold when you visit Ireland, I can almost certainly guarantee you will find joy, good times, happiness, beautiful scenery, a charming culture, and a vibrant nightlife. After spending 10 days in the Dublin region of the beautiful country of Ireland and falling in love with everything the country has to offer… here’s why you should go and some ideas for when you visit! (more…)

Don't Wear a Dress to the Windy City


Chicago is called the Windy City, and I learned the hard way that it lives up to its nickname when I wore a thin, flippy dress upon my arrival and promptly showed many Chicagoans and my fellow tourists quite a bit more of myself than I had intended. I attempted to hold my dress down with one hand without losing my grip on my backpack, duffel bag and handbag, while I searched for the entrance to the underground trains (and finally found it on my third trip around the block.) Despite our rough beginnings, Chicago and I formed a fast friendship. I’ve been back multiple times, and if not for the fact that it gets far too cold for my thin Southern-bred skin, I would move there in a minute. There is no shortage of life in Chicago, and I’ve spent days just walking around the city without ever getting bored or seeing all the things I wanted to see. That said, there are a few must-sees that I have discovered. (more…)

Twenty in Paris: Happy Holidays

It’s the holiday season here in the USA which got me thinking about what our friends in France are doing this time of year. Many of the major holidays that we celebrate in the USA are also celebrated in France. How they are celebrated and when is a different story. Let’s take a look at some differences in the ways holidays are celebrated in France and the United States. (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.

Twenty in Paris: Fire Safety


Fire Safety is something that most American students do not worry about. If you live in a dorm room or apartment, you do not have to worry about fire safety. This is because the dormitory building or apartment has fire escapes and was approved as being up to fire safety code by the local fire marshal. This is something that we take for granted in the USA. I was living in my Parisian studio for two months before I noticed something was missing. The studio in which I lived was a little shoebox of a living space but it had a great big French window overlooking a charming, moss covered courtyard of an adjacent apartment building. When I needed some fresh air or a break from studying, I would open the window and look out at the view. It was during one of these instances that I noticed there was not a fire escape ladder. I was on the top floor of a four story apartment building and my stomach did not like the idea that we were helpless in the event of a fire. Looking around the courtyard, I noticed that none of the other apartments had any fire escapes nor discernible ledges/objects that could be used to lower oneself to the ground safely in the event of a fire. (more…)

Travel Accessories You Don’t Want to Go Without


There isn’t anything comfortable or energizing about traveling long distances in planes, trains, or automobiles. Spending hours and days and crossing time zones in a cramped seat while your over-processed airline food or gas station candy settles at the bottom of your stomach is a recipe for restlessness. There are a few items that can relieve some of the nightmares of traveling, however, and believe me – they are worth the investment!


For any travel:

1.     E-reader  – If you are a reader of books or magazines, there is nothing worse than having to haul around a backpack full of heavy books that hogs valuable trunk or carry-on space. Reading material is a must for the hours upon hours spent doing nothing but sitting during travel, but there is a much easier, lighter, and smaller way to bring your library along with you. Up until my most recent trip from Michigan to Taiwan, I was that girl who had a carry-on full of heavy books. But this time, I just packed up my little iPad Mini, stocked with some books downloaded to the Kindle app, and found myself with a whole new world of extra room in my carry-on! It truly is a lifesaver. It is a bit of an investment, but I’ll doubt you’ll regret it. Many e-readers also allow web browsing and have thousands of apps to keep you entertained, as well. (more…)

Traveling with Ease Part 1: Beat Jet Lag


We all know that feeling, you step off the airplane after a 12-hour flight unsure of your surroundings, with no idea of what time it is, astounded at the feat of making it to your hotel bed. Upon waking up after an unexpected eight-hour nap, you find it difficult to sleep when it is actually dark outside, starting the vicious jet lag cycle. Jet lag, medically referred to as desynchronosis, can deter many from making the most of their travels abroad. However, there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself and alleviate the awful affects of jet lag. (more…)

Some Basic Packing Tips for Your Trip to Europe


One thing to remember about traveling throughout Europe is that they have just about everything you could ever need available in stores open 5-6 days a week. Except peanut butter. Europeans still use hairdryers and tooth brushes. In fact, they have hair dryers with European double prong plugs! This gets rid of the headache of trying to remember where your adapter is. In addition to toiletries, remember that when both academic semesters start (Spring and Fall), they usually correspond to some great sale seasons throughout Europe (either post-Christmas or end of summer sales). Consider packing half the clothes you think you’ll need, and use that as an excuse to pick up some sweet European styles. I’ll list some guidelines below to get you off to a good start, but if you’re able to take a deep breath, and internalize that anything you forget can always be picked up later during your trip, packing for a semester abroad or long backpacking trip is a lot less stressful. (more…)