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!

Welcome to Tampa, Florida

 

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The famous Tampa Theatre
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Beautiful downtown Tampa at sunset
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Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
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The Tampa River Walk

Hello friends!

I recently moved to Tampa, Florida where I am studying International business and Marketing at the University of Tampa. I moved in just over 2 weeks ago and am loving every second of my time here. So much change has been happening! I am learning so many things, meeting new people, and exploring all of the opporunities that Tampa has to offer! I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to study on such a beautiful campus. Everyday I am in awe as I walk to class. I ‘m also really enjoying my classes! I am taking Spanish (which is a necessity living in Florida) and an Intro to Global Business course that I find so cool!

I have already explored so much of the Tampa area, from the Straz Center of the Performing Arts, to the bay, to Channelside, to the downtown Tampa area, and the Riverwalk. Tampa has so many fun things to offer its residents and tourists alike!  I also have to mention the new friends I made here!! I’ve only been on campus for 2 weeks and I already feel like I have known my friends for years! This year couldn’t get any better!… until the hurricane came.

By now, I’m sure many people are aware of hurricane Irma and the potential damage it may bring to the state of Florida. Luckily, I have evacuated from the Tampa area and am staying at a friend’s house in Jacksonville, FL. I was just starting to get into the groove of this “college lifestyle” and now a whole week of school is canceled due to the hurricane. Being from Ohio, I have never experienced a hurricane, therefore I have no idea what to expect. I’m just wating and hoping for the best becuase I want to get back to UT as soon as possible! But as they say, “life’s a journey,” so I’m just here for the ride!

I’m wishing the best for eveyone still in Florida, stay safe!

I’ll keep this post updated with news!

UPDATE:

The hurricane has passed and all is good! Actually, Jacksonville got hit a lot wore than Tampa, it was mostly lots of flooding and tornados. But the day after the storm passed was beautiful! Lots of sunshine, so we’re heading back to Tampa 🙂

Xoxo,

Amanda

Oi Brasil: Belo Horizonte, Brazil

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Pastel: a Brazilian fried cheese snack
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Belo Horizonte skyline at sunset
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Açaí bowls

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Fresh coconut water

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Bom dia / Hello!

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Brazil to visit my family. For anyone who doesn’t know, I am half-Brazilian, half-American. My mother was born and raised in Brazil and came to the US when she was 18 as a high school exchange student with Rotary International. I have been to Brazil several times to visit family and friends, but this time was different. I stayed in Minas Gerais for 10 days, visiting family and friends. Along this trip I learned a few things!

  1. South America is nothing like Europe

I had been to Brazil many, many times but it wasn’t until I went back recently and realized how different the lifestyle in Brazil is compared to France and the US! Brazil being a ‘developing country’ is working on economic advancement but currently has a lot of pollution, poverty, and corruption. After talking to my aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc they explained to me that the streets of many beautiful cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are extremely dangerous. This is because of the favelas, or slums, where gangs fight against each other.

        2. The food is amazing

On a lighter note, Brazilian cuisine is AMAZING! A typical dish includes rice, black beans, a tomato and pepper salad, and meat. Brazilians absolutely love their meat. And desserts are even better! My personal favorite is Passion fruit mousse! And I can’t forget the açaí bowls- this delicious amazon berry smoothie is topped with granola, bananas, strawberries… whatever your heart desires!

        3. The people are friendly

Ok not everysingle person you meet in Brazil is friendly, just like anywhere else in the world however, Brazilians are very welcoming… and they’ll take any excuse to party. It seems like every time I go to Brazil, there’s a party or dinner to go to! It’s a part of Brazilian culture, they love to celebrate life! Most of the parties start very late, around 8pm or ever later and contiue all throughout the night!

I have been very fortunate to have been able to travel to many countries this year, but Brazil will always have a special place in my heart. I hope to spend a semester abroad in Florianopolis during my studies as a student at the University of Tampa.

Any questions about Brazilian culture or future travels to this beautiful country, feel free to leave a question below!

XOXO,

Amanda

Europe Tour

36 Rotary exchange students, 11 cities, 12 days… C’est parti!

Day 1:

We started day one of the Euro tour bus trip in Paris, France on Easter! Unfortunately we didn’t have a lot of time to visit all of the famous monuments but we did have time to stop at the Eiffel Tower! It was an Easter we’ll never forget!IMG_0759

Day 2:

Bienvenue à Strasbourg! Day 2 was a lovely, rainy day in the city of Strasbourg located right on the border of France & Germany. The word “Strasbourg” in German means “street city.” Strasbourg is less than a 30 min drive from the German border, therefore there is a lot of German influence in the architecture and food. One of my favorite foods we tried here was the “Bretzel,” a German-style soft pretzel.

Day 3:

Next stop: MÜNCHEN! This was my first time visiting Germany, so I was pretty excited. We arrived in the afternoon and had “Rotwurst” which is like a sausage served with French fries for lunch. En route to Munich, we got caught in traffic because of the snow storm that was going on, but that didn’t stop us from arriving in the beautiful city of Munich! We took a very nice tour where we learned that it is the wealthiest city in Germany and is known for football (soccer), beer, and cars. With that being said, we visited the BMW museum. BMW is one amongst 3 other companies that do the most hiring in Germany, roughly 36,000 people work for BMW. It is also a very popular University city, there are many university students in the city of Munich, where college is free!!

Day 4 & 5:

Czech this out!

The next 2 days were spent in Prague! We took a tour around the “Old Town” visiting a lot of the important buildings and cathedrals, and since it was Easter week, we even got to see the adorable outdoor Easter market. We also tried a Czech specialty food called “Trdelnik.” The best way to describe it is like bread dough rolled up around a hot iron rod where they roll it in sugar, bake it, and then spread caramel sauce/ Nutella/ whipped cream/ etc on the inside. It was delish! We then visited the john Lennon wall, a beautiful wall where you can find graffiti with drawings or quotes of world peace.

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Day 6:

We then drove to, in my opinion, probably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe… VIENNA! We took a nice walking tour around the city but we’re unable to visit the entire city by foot, so we hopped on the bus and saw the rest of the city. There were so many beautiful buildings with ‘Art Nouveau’ style architecture.

Day 7 & 8:

Next up on our tour is Venice, Italy! I had seen so many beautiful pictures of Venice in books/ social media/ etc, but when I saw this city in person, my jaw dropped. It is such a unique city built on water. We had to take a 20 minute ferry form the main land to get to Venice. First thing we did when we arrived was get Gelato! IMG_1040I got Stracciatella, which is vanilla with bits of chocolate, it was delicious! We then took a guided tour where we saw a good bit of Venice including the Byzantine cathedral and learned about Venice’s 15 day carnival and specially in Glass making. I bought a pair of beautiful glass earrings that are made on an island not far from Venice. We ended the day off right with a run along the beach at sun set and had pasta for dinner! Fun fact: pasta is considered as an appetizer in Italy, so we had one plate of pasta, then a plate of veal and potatoes, and then Panna Cotta for dessert.

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Day 9:

Ciao Milano!

Every day I spent in Italy I ended up loving more and more. The people are so friendly, the food is great, and I even got to practice my Italian! For breakfast we ate traditional Italian food: presunto, cheese, pannetone and café with latte (which means warm milk!). I was surprised to find that Italian is quite easy to understand. For lunch we stopped at a restaurant in Milan where they did not speak English, therefore we had to make an effort to speak in Italian. Luckily my knowledge of Portuguese, Spanish and French came into hand and we had no problems ordering our meal. I ate a delicious “gnocchi Verdi,” which is a potato based pasta with basil and garlic.

We then took a guided walking tour visiting all of the major monuments in Milano. We saw the beautiful Duomo cathedral and the Plazza Della Scala, which is a very high end shopping centre. I was completely starstruck by this city because my freshman year of high school, I did a project on Milan and its famous monuments, so I was in awe to actually get to visit Milan and see the city in person during my senior year of High School.

And since Milan is one of the fashion capitals of the world, i just had to go shopping. I found an adorable Italian hand bag store, from Naples, where I bought a beautiful summer-y purse. And we couldn’t leave Italy without trying the coffee, so I tried an espresso. Boy oh boy, those Italian espressos are about the size of 2 sips but it gave me so much energy!

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Day 10:

En route back to La France! Today we adventured to Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in in Europe. We arrived in the afternoon, it was raining so we decided to eat a warm lunch. We found the cutest little Swedish restaurant in the centre ville of Chamonix where we ate Swedish meatballs, lingonberries, and mashed potatoes. We then caught a train to take to the top of mount blanc. It was such an awesome view! We then took a gondola to the bottom to check out the glaciers! It was incredible to get to see the inside of a glacier but alarming because of how fast it is melting. 

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Day 11: 

Guess who’s going to the UN in Geneva today?! ME!!!

Today we drove from Annecy, France to Geneva, Switzerland. We got to see an actual conference going on during the ‘eCommerce week’: Assessing eTrade readiness of the least developed countries. We also learned that there are 6 official languages of the United Nations: English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Russian, and Arabic.

We then stopped in downtown Geneva for lunch! I ate at a delicious Brazilian restaurant with all of the Brazilian exchange students. It was delicious!!!

Then we headed back to Annecy where we spent the rest of the day! We drank hot chocolate and saw some of the other exchange students who live in Annecy.

And to end the bus trip, we had a dance party in the hotel! This was a trip that I’ll never forget! Thanks to everyone who made it unforgettable!

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Bisous!