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> My (possible) Semester Abroad, Where should I go?
Phyllis
post Nov 21 2004, 05:36 AM
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So! Since I am now single, I decided that I should look into studying abroad. I always wanted to do it in high school, and never got to. I've never been out of the USA or even onto a plane!

I'm thinking about doing something for the summer semester. It would get me college credit, and would be *so* much more enjoyable than going to summer school (which I have to anyway, since I missed winter semester last year due to the hospital stay). So...I don't want to go anywhere too hot. Not knowing the language doesn't matter all *that* much....though I probably won't learn a new language within 1 semester. Basically I just want to go somewhere pretty, where people are generally friendly.

I think no matter where I go, this will be a good experience for me. As my close friends on here know, I've been taking the break-up really hard, and I need a change of pace for awhile to do some healing. But I'm having a really hard time deciding exactly *where* to go. I did find 1 program that tours 35 cities in 12 European countries: Cyprus, Greece, Italy, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary. Whew. That one is rather spendy, though, when I could spend 1/4 of that and just go to 1 country. But 12 countries....that would be quite the experience. I could always stay with my parents for a little longer to save up...but uuurgh. I don't really like staying here and was kind of looking forward to getting a place of my own (though the idea of living alone does seem rather....lonely). Costa Rica looks pretty nice...Spanish-speaking (I would like to become fluent, someday), spring-like weather year round, and low crime. Hummmmm. But I like the idea of Europe, too. Argh!

There's also the semester at sea option, but I've no idea if I get seasick or not. My mother does, horribly. For summer of 2005 they're going to: Canada (haha! And Oni was joking about me studying abroad in Canada...though...that's just the departure place, so I wouldn't be spending much time there), Iceland, Norway, Russia, Poland, Belgium, London!, Ireland, and Spain. They spend about 4 or 5 days in each place. But...it doesn't even *say* on the website how much it costs. That is never a good sign.

Sooo...thoughts, anyone?


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Fallen Element
post Nov 21 2004, 03:04 PM
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Hey you!

Big hugs on the break-up thing - I've been gone for far too long. I know that the University i'm at arranges semesters abroad - I'm being tempted to go to Canada for a semester... I don't know idf your school runs anything like that but it would be worth checking it out. Also, do you get sponsorships in America? Cos I know I can write to friendly business-folk and politely beg for money to study abroad.

Hope that at least a sentence of this was helpful? But - it's a once in a lifetime experience and you should grab it with both hands!

Hope all goes well dearest!

Fal xXx


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Cath Sparrow
post Nov 21 2004, 04:41 PM
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Come see us!!!! Were not to hot speak the same lanuage mostly! tongue.gif and any city you choose there's likely to be at least one forumite close by! biggrin.gif


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snooodlysnoosnoo...
post Nov 21 2004, 04:47 PM
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I'm with Cath on this one, we're lovely and only bite nicely... mostly!

Also in the summer it shouldn't be tooooooo hot although you really can never tell until it happens!


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Phyllis
post Nov 21 2004, 05:19 PM
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See, I thought UK first as well. But then...I realized what the exchange rate is. sad.gif

The exchange rate saddens me. Yes it does. If I did the semester at sea thing, I'd get to spend 4 days in London...but THAT is seeming horrifyingly expensive. There's no mention of *exactly* how much it costs, that I can find, but it does mention that to use the internet cafe onboard costs 50 cents per minute! Screw that.

Anyway...yeah there are scholarships available in the US for travelling abroad, Fal. I don't think my specific university has any particular programs, but other universities do, and they accept transfer credits from them.

I'm really taking a liking to Costa Rica. I can afford it....and they speak Spanish. But I am heartbroken that there are no Costa Rican forumites. sad.gif


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Sir Psycho Sexy
post Nov 21 2004, 06:14 PM
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with reference to the exchange rate, your wallet's gonna get raped whichever country you choose to go to =/


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Phyllis
post Nov 21 2004, 07:34 PM
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Not necessarily. $1 US = nearly 50 CZK. But I really don't have the urge to learn Czech. But most Central and South American countries have a good exchange rate.

But alas...anywhere in western Europe would probably rape my wallet, yeah. sad.gif Which sucks, cause that's where I really wanted to go.


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CommieBastard
post Nov 21 2004, 08:10 PM
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Speaking of the Czech Republic, Prague is actually one of the most beautiful cities I've ever been to...


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MistressAlti
post Nov 21 2004, 08:16 PM
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QUOTE (candice @ Nov 21 2004, 02:34 PM)
But alas...anywhere in western Europe would probably rape my wallet, yeah.  sad.gif  Which sucks, cause that's where I really wanted to go.
*


Despite the wallet-raping, you should go where you want to go - otherwise, what's the point? You may get further with your money in a country like Czech, but would you look back on the experience and say to yourself, "Gee, that was cool, but it would've been cooler if I could have gone to ______"? If you think you'd have any sort of regrets for not going to Western Europe, then don't base your location-decision off of the strength of the dollar. Also, what are the chances of you going overseas again during the course of your life? If the answer is slim-to-none, you should most definitely go where you want.
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Phyllis
post Nov 21 2004, 08:29 PM
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This is true. The answer isn't slim to none anymore, though...cause I'm free to do what I want now. I originally thought of the UK as a comfort factor, since there'd be forumites there and I wouldn't be *completely* alone in a strange country...plus I already know the language. Plus I'd really love to go there. But perhaps that's better put off for a vacation sometime in the future, rather than something that's supposed to be a grand adventure where I'm striking out on my own...cause one of the main attractions of the place is that I *wouldn't* be completely alone. So perhaps I need to break away from that and just pick somewhere where I won't know anyone.

I actually really *would* like to go to the Czech Republic. I once watched a 3 hour PBS special on it when I was suffering from insomnia. The only issue I have there is the language...learning it probably wouldn't do me any good. But then, I suppose that doesn't matter overly much. I've also wanted to go to Costa Rica ever since I first looked into studying abroad when I was in the 10th grade (but I was not allowed..boo!). Plus, they speak a language I already know a little bit of and want to become fluent in.

And every time I think I have begun to narrow it down...someone mentions another country, and I go "Fwaaargh!" Right now I'm thinking seriously about both Costa Rica and the Czech Republic. I'm not sure which I want to see more. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.....and I need to look up a bit more on Costa Rica's disadvantages. I'd be in San Jose, which apparently has 2 active volcanoes nearby. Far as I know, the only natural disasters in Czech Republic are minor flooding. Hmmm.


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CommieBastard
post Nov 21 2004, 08:33 PM
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Czech Republic:

Advantages:

Vodka is cheap-ass.

I'm CommieBastard, and I approved this message.


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spiffilicious05
post Nov 21 2004, 09:31 PM
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I heard from a friend that went to the southern part of France that it's nice there and you can get to other countries (like Italy) pretty easily.

She also said that Barcelona is nice.


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exceptional1709
post Nov 21 2004, 09:37 PM
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Barcelona might be an idea if you speak Spanish.

Doesn't it rain all the time in the Czech Republic? I'm not sure but I wouldn't like to go there if it rains as much as I think it does.


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Sir Psycho Sexy
post Nov 21 2004, 11:17 PM
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QUOTE (CommieBastard @ Nov 21 2004, 08:10 PM)
Speaking of the Czech Republic, Prague is actually one of the most beautiful cities I've ever been to...
*


not to mention czech beer being top notch, a Prague has some top notch clubs, you could definately do worse wink.gif


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Jonman
post Nov 22 2004, 05:01 PM
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Oooh, oooh, do it, do it, do it!

Seriously, jump at this chance. It doesn't really matter where the hell you go, as long as it's foreign. Working abroad for a couple of years has been one of the best things I've ever done (along with parachuting, but never mind). It's a pretty life-changing experience. Horizons are broadened, confidence is built, and experience is huge-ified.

For the most part, don't worry about the language issue. Chances are that if you're going as part of an organised study thing, there'll be support structures in place to look after you. And it's my experience that a combination of English, grunting and a will to give speaking another language a go will get you through. Except in France, but they can be moody buggers. The more developed the nation (as a rule), the more people there will speak English. Again, except France. Well, Paris at least.

The great thing about being in central Europe is that it's so easy to get to other countries. Northern Italy, Souther Germany and anywhere inbetween will be ideal for travelling around. Train system is good, and while reasonably priced, is not cheap. On a student's budget, your travelling may be limited.

But that aside, just the experience of turning up in a foreign country and fending for yourself is amazing. It's terrifying beforehand, but fantastic when you're there. And it'll stand you in good stead.


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Smiler
post Nov 25 2004, 02:16 PM
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I second Jonman DO IT DO IT DO IT

I spent a semester in Denmark and it was AMAZING! I went to Roskilde about 30 minutes away from Copenhagen and I stil wish wish wish I could of stayed longer or still be there. The mix of friends I'm still in touch with is great. People I would never have met with (obviously) but also people I wouuld never normally haveassociated with at home. I learnt so much both educationally and life experience wise. You really need to do something like that I'd say.

You fend for yourself and form very fast firm friendships of people in the same boat an help each other as well 'cos you're all in the same boat. I'd recomment almost anywhere in Europe but Roskilde especially.

The Danish education system is diferent from the UK/US's anyway but Roskilde is a diferent uni from most as its set up under a very specific ethos of group co-operation and group-work. Individual activities that can strengthen yourself and a group etc. The local joke is that it was set up by Commies and Hippies and its quite proud to be different from stuffy academia while still providing everything you'd get from 'old establishments'. On top of that (almost as part of that actually) it has an active and developed international department. You're working with Danish students in their groups and they have lectures etc with you in English so as not to leave you out. Part their development in English etc, part yours working and getting ot know people from other cultures while still keeping up there and learning. You can also learn Danish which is DAMN hard!!!!!!!!! (I'm rubbish at it) But even if you cant quite get it most Danish peole I've met are happy to talk English rather than some nations taht aren't quite so flexible. ***Here ends the Roskilde hypno-promo babble***


Oops, carried on a bit too much there but the essence of it is DO IT DO IT DO IT!!! Go abroad and you'll not regret it at all. Seriously I could go on more as well wink.gif


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post Nov 25 2004, 02:50 PM
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I think you should give Czech a shot, Prague is indeed a beautiful city, by all accounts smile.gif and I'd love the chance to spend a term or year abroad. Do it!


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Artemisia
post Nov 25 2004, 07:48 PM
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Where should you go? Florence, of course! I mean, is there anywhere else to go? (don't mind me I'm just an art historian.) I hear Germany's nice too. New Zealand also ranks high on my list.

In other news, regarding me and studying abroad, I'm looking for a place to do my Ph.D. at. (in 2 years). For a while schools in the States were looking good, but as you all know Tigersong and I are Canadians, and with the recent Bush re-election he says he doesn't find the idea attractive....so he's got me seriously thinking about going to London, the Courtauld Institute of Art. What do you guys think? Tigersong and Artemisia for 4 years in England? I guess it depends on whether he can work as a dentist there.
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snooodlysnoosnoo...
post Nov 25 2004, 08:07 PM
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oooh... that sounds spiffy.

I think he shouldn't have much of a problem getting a job over here, I know that for most medical type jobs you have to be alot more qualified than we do. I'm not sure that it counts for dentists but I don't see why it shouldn't.


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