5 Reasons You NEED To Study Abroad

Are you looking into becoming an exchange student, spending a week/ semester/ year abroad, or just simply wanting to immerse yourself in a new culture? If so, I have some great reasons why you should take that leap of faith and do it!

Why I Did It And Why You Should Too!

I, myself was an exchange student in Chambéry, France. I spent 10 months living with a French host family, going to a French High School, and became fluent in the French language. It was an incredible experience and I recommend that everyone spends time abroad!

Reason #1: The Food

One of my favorite things from my time abroad was the food. I got to try so many different kinds of foods while I was living in Europe. I highly recommend being adventurous, try anything you can get your hands on. Of course, there will be a lot of foods you recognize but it’s important to explore the options native to the country you are visiting. You never know what you might end up liking!

Reason #2: Discover A New City

I highly recommend spending more than one week abroad. This can be anywhere from 2 weeks to a whole year! The longer you spend in a city or country, the more you will get familiar with the language and culture, and be able to completely immerse yourself in it. This was what I loved about studying abroad- by the end of the 10 months, I felt like I was a local and was able to really feel at home.

Reason #3: Have Fun

Without a doubt, traveling can be A LOT of fun. There are so many options for all types of travelers. Whether you are a nature or city lover, there is something out there for everyone. The best part about living/ traveling in a foreign city is the people you meet! Take the time to connect with the locals and learn as much as you can about their culture!

Reason #4: Learn A New Language

No matter where you go in the world, you will eventually be forced to learn a little bit of the country’s native language. This is the perfect opportunity to practice it! Again, don’t hesitate to ask the locals how to say a phrase or pronounce a word. Many times they will be more than happy to teach you!

Reason #5: Develop Confidence

No matter how long you travel or study abroad for, this experience will certainly leave you feeling good about yourself. You will encounter many situations where you need to have confidence in yourself. These opportunities will change you for the better!

These are just a few of the many reasons why I recommend going abroad. If you have any questions or comments about anything, feel free to contact me! I’d love to share more about studying abroad!5 (1).png

Best of luck,

Amanda

5 Ways To Make Your Year Abroad Affordable

Are you hesitating to study abroad because of a tight budget? Or worried that living across the globe will cost thousands of dollars? Fear not, many people don’t know that study abroad can actually be more affordable in a foreign country than in the US. Here are 5 ways YOU can study abroad on a budget:

  1. Chose A Destination That’s Right For You

To start off, think of a place where you can see yourself living. Does this place have a college you could attend? Is it a very touristy city? There are many aspects to think about when deciding on a location. It’s important to remember that choosing a city like London, England or Geneva, Switzerland is going to be a big tourist location and very expensive. If you’re not willing to spend money on high living costs, consider choosing a more affordable city like Cusco, Peru or Lisbon, Portugal.

      2. Do Your Research

Once you have chosen your dream destination, you should make sure you research as many study abroad organizations as possible. There are so many to chose from, each offers unique opportunities you might not want to miss out on. That being said, some will be more expensive than others. This is when you get to pick how much you want to spend, and what you want to study/ see while you’re studying abroad. Many times, study abroad organizations will offer students scholarships- it’s definitely worth it to apply. You can also apply for Financial Aid through your school to help out with the cost.

      3. Pack Smart

Now that you have chosen your destination and Study Abroad organization, its now time to pack! One thing I learned from studying abroad is that it’s important to come prepared for the season(s). For example, I lived in France for one year so I had to bring Summer, Winter, Fall, and Spring clothes. Sometimes this can be difficult packing all of your clothes into one suitcase, but you’re better off bringing all of your clothes than having to buy them in the country you study abroad in because clothing is typically more expensive outside the US.

      4. Less is More

If you’re worried about spending a long time away from home in a foreign country, why not make it a short-term study abroad? Many organizations offer 3-month study abroad programs. These are perfect to get a taste of the country’s culture and get school credit at the same time! It is also a lot more affordable than spending 12 months abroad.

      5. Create a Budget

Now this one may seem obvious, but it is the most important. Having a budget laid out for you will make it a lot easier to stick to. You can split up your budget into categories for food, transportation, entertainment, etc. Be honest with yourself when creating your budget, but also allow yourself flexibility in your spending money because you’ll want to be able to make memorable purchases.

Whether you think you can’t or can, it is still worth it to apply to study abroad because if you don’t try, you’ll never know!

If you are studying abroad, leave a comment below on how you made it work for you!

 

All About Amanda

Hello, my name is Amanda.

I was born and raised in Ohio and left the Buckeye state shortly after High School to study abroad in France. That was when I caught the “travel bug” and started this travel blog. I now attend the University of Tampa in Florida where I am currently studying International Business and Marketing and enjoy blogging in my free time.

When I’m not at school, I enjoy spending my time traveling around the world and blogging about my experiences. So far, I have visited 13 countries and plan to visit many more in the near future. Traveling has always been a big part of my life, this is because half of my family lives in Brazil. I started traveling to South America since I was 10 months old and believe this is what sparked my love for travel at such a young age.

I first stumbled upon the idea of blogging about 3 years ago when I created a travel blog during my year abroad in France with the intention of using it as a Travel diary. I wrote about all the cities and countries I visited to update my family back home. I didn’t think of it as a means to make money or grow a large following. I was simply satisfied with the idea of sharing my adventures on a platform that my family and I could access from anywhere around the world. I soon realized that I really enjoyed blogging and this passion led to the creation of this blog!

My intention for this blog is to inform my readers about travel and study abroad based on my experiences. I want people to understand that traveling doesn’t have to be expensive and anyone can do it! And because I am a college student, I figured my readers would like to read about how I keep my travels affordable. Stay tuned for more posts on tips and tricks about traveling on a budget. I hope my blog will inspire you to take a leap of faith and see what awaits you on the other side of the globe!

 

 

24 Hrs In Miami

Spontaneous trips are 100% the best kinds of trips.

My friend, Chelsea, and I were feeling adventurous and decided to head to Miami for the weekend. This little 4 hr road trip was by far the best one I have ever been on!

Our first stop was West Palm Beach: City Place

City Place is in Downtown West Palm Beach and is a beautiful place to shop and dine.

Our next stop was Subculture Coffee, also downtown.IMG_3606

Subculture Coffee was the most adorable café I have ever been to! I got a delicious cappuccino with lavender syrup and almond milk. Chelsea got an iced coffee and zucchini bread. YUM!

After spending some time in West Palm Beach, we headed one hour south to… Miami!

West Palm Beach is a very beautiful area, but nothing beats Miami!

Our first stop was Wynwood Walls.

 

This a completely free thing to do in Miami and I highly recommend visiting the Walls if you enjoy photography and/or art!

 

They even have fun exhibitions where you can purchase the art!

After a while, we got hungry so we wandered down the street and came across The Wynwood Marketplace.

 

Chelsea and I were offered free Goya tacos and we just couldn’t resist. And I, of course, had to get a fresh agua de coco (coconut water)!

There are so many adorable boutiques and restaurants around the Wynwood area. We stumbled upon this super cute plant shop! It was perfect for an outdoorsy photo op!

 

After walking some more, we decided to get some doughnuts because why not! So we popped into The Salty Doughnut.

They have the most beautiful doughnuts I have ever seen. The line was out the door and wrapping around the building so we knew we had to get one. I had the Guava + Cheese doughnut. It was so good that I ate all of it and forgot to take a picture. LOL

 

The rest of the day was spent at South Beach.

It was definitely not as beautiful as the beaches near Tampa, but nothing beats the city atmosphere of Miami. I even got a nice tan.

 

Before it was time to leave, Chelsea and I stopped at the Design district to visit the famous AMAZONICA where we got a pineapple Oblea.

It is a traditional snack from Mexico, similar to a wafer with pineapple, condensed milk, and whipped cream! It was so good.

 

By the end of the day, we were stuffed and the 4-hour car ride was a struggle, but we made it home safe and sound. It was a weekend we will definitely not forget!

10 Steps To Starting Your Own Blog

Next month will be exactly two years since I started blogging!

I have learned so many things from my blog, so I thought I’d share some tips for anyone who is interested in creating one! One of my favorite things about blogging is that you can be as creative as you want with your website! My blog has served as a creative outlet for me where I can write about whatever comes to mind. It has also created many opportunities for me as an Influencer! Here are my top 10 tips for starting a blog:

     1. Decide on your niche

Before you even decide what you want to call your blog, I think it’s important that you decide what kind of blog you want to have! It can be anything from fashion to travel, or you can even call it a lifestyle blog and write about all aspects of your life. I consider mine to be primarily a travel & language blog, but I don’t limit my site to only these types of posts.

     2.  Pick your name

When deciding your name, the options are endless. I decided to go with my actual name because I didn’t have any other ideas in mind 😉 If you are considering getting a domain name, like mine (amandamaxim.com), do your research on the type of plan you want.

      3. Chose your plan

On WordPress there are 4 plans:

  • Free: with this plan you’ll get a free website and a limited amount of free themes, great for newby bloggers!
  • $4/mo Personal: this plan comes with a free domain name, also great for newby bloggers if you want your own domain name!
  • $8/mo Premium: (this is the plan I have) comes with your own domain name and unlimited premium themes!
  • $25/mo Business: this very advanced plan comes with your own domain name, advanced designs, PlugIns, and much more!

When starting off, I recommend using the free plan until you get the hang of the WordPress settings. Once you’re comfortable creating posts and customizing your site, the rest is up to you!Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 3.09.25 PM

      4. Set up your Menu

Once you chose your theme, you’ll have to set up a menu to organize the location of your posts. On my blog, I have 5 parts to my menu: Home, Videos, About + Contact, Français, & Destinations. This part will be up to you to decide how you want to organize your blog. What I like about WordPress is that they make it very easy for you to customize the settings on your blog. To change your menu, go to Themes -> Customize -> Menus and then the rest is self-explanitory!Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 3.11.16 PM

     5. Write your first post

Coming up with your first blog post might take some brainstorming. I remember my first blog post was about me introducing myself to my non-existent readers at the time 😉 Remember to stay consistent with your posts. I try to write a new post once a week. I really like using http://www.trello.com to help me plan and schedule my blog posts.Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 3.29.30 PM.png

    6. Take quality photos 

This part of blogging is just as important as the actual post you are writing. It’s important to take good quality photos. You readers will be more likely to actually read your posts if you have unique and interesting pictures! This is especially important for the “Feature Image” on your blog which is the photo the reader sees before they click on the post. Most of the time, I use my iPhone to take the photos and videos you see on my blog. This is the most convenient form of photography for me. I also like using http://www.canva.com if I don’t have any pictures for a blog post that I am writing. It’s great for advertising posts.Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 3.24.23 PM.png

    7. Make videos 

I like creating different content for my blog to keep it exciting. One of the ways I do this is by taking videos of my adventures! The $8 WordPress Plan I have does not allow me to upload videos directly to my blog so I have to download the video on YouTube first, and then paste the link on my blog for it to show up! I use iMovie to edit all of my videos.Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 3.12.02 PM

     8. Share on other social media platforms

One of the ways I have increased my number of readers is by sharing my blog posts with my friends and family on social media like Instagram and Facebook. I also use BlogLovin’ and Pinterest to share my posts with others around the world. Don’t be afraid to reach out to bloggers (locally or internationally) and ask them for tips or for collaborations! (Collaborations are great if you’re looking to partner up with another blogger or brand that has similar interests as you and co-write posts together).Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 3.12.44 PM

      9. Try out new Settings/ Themes 

I am constantly changing my blog theme and I’m always looking for new ways to display my blog posts. I think learning how to blog is a never-ending learning experience. Pinterest is a great tool to use when looking for tips and tricks on how to update/ change up your blog! There are countless Bloggers that use Pinterest to share their blogging tips!

    10. Have fun!

Especially for newby bloggers, don’t forget to have fun! Don’t stress about the number of views you are getting from the beginning. The most important thing to remember is to create content that you love and the rest will come naturally!

Happy Blogging!

Amanda

 

P.S. Be sure to follow me on Instagram @amandamaxim

5 Things College Has Taught Me

With one month left of the semester, I decided I’d write about my freshman year of college. These past 10 months have without a doubt been the most challenging yet rewarding of my life.

  1. Get Involved! 

Since the start of my fall semester, I have created friendships with people who have inspired and encouraged me to shoot for the stars. I became involved in many organizations on campus:

  • UT Diplomats (Student Ambassador)
  • Student Productions Marketing, Recreation, and Diveristy committees
  • Women Business Professions Association
  • Tennis Club

The people I have met through these clubs have truly impacted my freshman year in a very positive way. I learned that college is much more than staying up all night studying (or partying). I realized that the next 3 years are going to pass by super quick and its up to me to take advantage of the time I have to make a future for myself.

2. Challenge Yourself! 

My first semester was exciting, but my second semester was even more so. I applied to be a Resident Assitant and was offered the position for the 2018-2019 school year. I also applied for Student Productions exec board and will serve as the Special Events Chair for the next year. I will be planning Homecoming for the students at the University of Tampa!!

3. Reach out to those who inspire you

These achievements inspired me to dig even deeper and see what else I could accomplish within the last few months of my freshman year of college, so I reached out to a young female entrepreneur (Natasha from Sol Studio) whose work ethic I admired. I conducted an informational interview and was later on offered an internship for summer! I am so excited for this opportunity! I also got a summer job (my first job!) to keep me busy. 😉

4. Don’t let the hard times get you down

These are some of my favorite accomplishments this year, but I also had some very difficult times. Even though I was constantly being surounded with other students my age, I felt lonely at times. I like to think it was because of my “reverse- culture shock” coming back to the USA from France. That alone was a huge struggle during the first few months of college.

Since then, things started progressively getting better and better! I can already tell my sophomore year is going to exceed the level of fun I’ve had this year. I think the most important lesson I learned during my freshman year is that things will always get better as long as you trust yourself and make an effort. I kept telling myself this through out this roller coaster of a year and it has motivated me to stay positive. I think this method worked really well considering all of the things I have done to get me out of my comfort zone!

5. Set Goals

During this whole time I also managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA! This just goes to show that if you set goals, the sky is the limit!!Processed with VSCO with g3 preset3A554C67-46D3-469D-BEE9-E57615C4EB22818A7943-FF72-4774-8B01-421FEEBFC5CAC104A4D6-258B-473E-BB4B-851654D8E9AE91CE1429-781B-4758-A9F0-24B1412484C902E2687C-844D-4020-905A-6F1A06CDB136P.S. I’d like to thank my parents and grammielicious for keeping me sane during this whole time!!

 

Yogahhh

Hello friends! I have some exciting news to share with you all!

If you didn’t already know, I am a yoga fanatic. I have been practicing for the last 5 years and have completely fallen in love with the fact that you can literally do it anywhere, without any equipment. I truly love practicing yoga and think it’s a super relaxing (yet very challenging) way to calm my mind and body. One of my favorite yoga memories is participating in Wanderlust; a mindful triathlon. This is an all-day event that consists of a 5k run, 1.5 hours of yoga, and 30 minutes of meditation. You can only imagine how sore I was the day after…

 

I have recently partnered up with Cuccio Somatology, a yoga-based business. I have fallen in love with their products! I especially love this brand becuase of their new approach to health and wellness. All of their products are made as natural as possible, so you know you’re only getting the best quality.

I’m really enjoying is their Yogahhh! Muscle Fitness Arnica Balm. This one is great for when you pushed yourself a little too hard and you need a little something to soothe your sore muscles. I really could’ve used this one the day of the yoga festival! This balm feels AMAZING on my back muscles!Cuccio_Somatology_Yogahhh_Muscle_Balm_grande_ad7e815e-619e-4709-84e9-5210a65ada24_grande.jpg

I have also been using their Fitness Equipment Cleansing Wipes. These are super convenient for travel. I take a pack with me to yoga and use it to wipe down my mat after class.White wet wipes package

I also really like their Cooling & Cleansing Active Body Wipes. I think this is such a great idea for yogis who don’t have time to take a shower right after class. I like to use them when I have to run to class after a quick yoga session. Bonus: they also smell really good!White wet wipes package

Thank you Cuccio Somatology for creating these awesome goodies for yogis! I’m looking forward to trying out your other products very soon!

download-1.png Be sure to check them out on Instagram! @CuccioSomatology

For more info: http://www.cucciosomatology.com