This week I thought I would do something a bit different and highlight a few blogs that I’ve been following. What each of these bloggers have in common is that they are preparing to study abroad. They come from various places and each is headed some place different, but all of them are taking a great deal of time and effort to prepare for their journey, which I hope leads to a great abroad blog. Here are some new ones to add to your reader:
Like me, Mary is a study abroad professional. She travels the country helping students study abroad affordably in really interesting locations. Mary is taking a year leave from work to study abroad again (jealous), but this time, she’s doing her Master’s degree in Haifa, Israel in Holocaust Studies. Mary’s blog has so much depth already because she knows what she is getting herself into. She is prepared and has even reached out to the local roller derby team in Haifa to meet friends. This is definitely one to add to your blog roll for this fall.
I happen to have the privilege of being the advisor to the lovely blogger of FREEdom Abroad. Katie is first headed to London at the end of July for a semester abroad with our university, then will be traveling through Asia independently, and she’ll finish out the year with a semester in Budapest, Hungary. As a journalism major, Katie’s writing is interesting and inquisitive. She is constantly wanting to try something new and she is highly adventurous (sometimes to the dismay of her study abroad advisor!).
This blog is written by Hayley, a senior at Grand Valley State University headed to Turkey for the semester. Hayley’s prep has been extensive. She posts regularly and goes into detail into everything from learning the Turkish alphabet, saying goodbye to friends, and the visa and financial aid process. I’ve allow noticed that Hayley is pretty active in the blogosphere and is reading a lot of abroad blogs to prepare. I’m pretty eager for Hayley to go abroad to read her personal Turkish musings. One more fun fact about Hayley – she’s a regional official for the US Figure Skating Association.
I’ve only been following Anthony of Adelaide for a Year for a about a week but I’ve enjoyed going back through this prep posts. From Essex, UK, Anthony just arrived in Australia to spend a year studying at Flinders University in Adelaide. There are so few men that study abroad and blog about it that I was excited to find Anthony’s site. His new camera seems to be serving him well and I really appreciated his first post about leaving home. Now that he’s just arrive in Adelaide, I’m sure he’ll have some great pictures up soon.
Costa Rica seems to be one of those hot destinations right now for study abroaders, honeymooners, and anyone looking for an affordable, fun vacation. I have never been but thought I would give their cuisine a try for Friday lunch. Here was our menu all done without a kitchen stove:
- Gallo Pinto (done via microwave)
- Fried plantains (via toaster oven)
- Roasted Chicken (via grocery store)
- Chips and salsa
- Coconut, chocolate chip cookies – ok, not quite Costa Rican and definitely made with a stove thanks to a recent alum that came by.
- 2 cans black beans (drained and rinsed)
- 3 boi-in-bag rice
- 1/2 cup diced onion with 1 tsp oil
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- season salt to taste
- microwave rice according to directions
- microwave beans for 2 minutes in bowl
- microwave onions in oil for 2 minutes
- mix all ingredients and add salt for taste
- 3 plantains cut length-wise and in half
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- season salt to taste
- spread olive oil on roasting pan
- set toaster oven to 425 degrees
- brush plantains with olive oil
- sprinkle with salt
- place plantains down on roasting pan
- cook in toaster oven for 15 to 2o minutes; skins should come off easily
Cut plantains in half by length and width
Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt
Lay flat on toaster pan and bake at 425 for 15 to 20 minutes
The final product!
Some real Costa Rican salsa
My Costa Rica plate…yum!
These are my great students!
I had to put this one in…we thought we had an earthquake during lunch but it was actually a military maneuver too close to the coast. At least I got to practice my earthquake preparedness!
Right now in Uvita, Costa Rica there is a group of inner-city, Chicago teens exploring, learning, and serving abroad for the very first time. Do you remember your first time abroad? The excitement, the culture shock, the challenges of language, the sensory overload. These students are experiencing all of that through the incredible efforts of a non-profit called Empowering Youth Through Travel. Started in 2010 by Jessica Mann, EYTT just left yesterday for their very first overseas program after 6 months of training in Chicago.
In her blog post on June 11th, Jessica highlighted some of the students who were about to venture to Costa Rica:
For one of our student’s, Dushun, this will be the first time he steps on a plane let alone outside of the country. Can you imagine what this experience will be like for him? Dushun lives in Chicago’s Austin community and will go from our concrete city streets to Uvita’s lush land, surrounded by the rainforest.
What will this experience be like for Yael, a soft spoken young lady from Cicero, IL, who is passionate about nature, yet has never left the country or strayed far from her close knit family? She will be venturing off to an unknown part of the world, stay with a family she’s never met, and see things she has only read about in books.
And for Chris, a quiet, young man of choice words who’s world currently revolves around soccer. He will soon have to step outside of his comfort zone by introducing and immersing himself into a lively, foreign community.
For all of us who have had the privilege of traveling abroad, we are more than aware of all the benefits and challenges in store for these students. But I’m pretty confident to say that the experience will be life changing for them. If you are interested in supporting EYTT and what they are doing to help inner-city youth explore the world, be sure to check out their website.
If you know similar programs in other states or countries, please share!