Broken Abroad

After about two weeks of painfully walking around beautiful Sydney, I decided it was time to get a ct scan. And well it’s official, I fractured my heel.

I’ve been making the most out of this series of unfortunate events, however. This past weekend, CAPA rallied up the students to feed happy kangaroos and pet a furry koala at the Featherdale Wildlife Park. I’m so glad I decided to go rather than stay in my room sulking; feeding that roo was the coolest thing I’ve ever done. Afterwards our group was carted over to The Blue Mountains to see the iconic Three Sisters. I wasn’t able to hike the trails but I was able to appreciate the amazing views from lookouts and the railway cars. I am grateful CAPA has been so accommodating and comforting in this overwhelming time.

I am trying to be as positive as I can be while paired up with crutches and a boot. It’s hard, especially since I’ve been to the doctors more than I’ve been to the beach. BUT the sunshine brings me comfort and the salty air clears my mind. Only three more weeks with my hardware and then I’m a free woman!

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G’Day Mate

After 20+ hours on a tightly squeezed airplane, I lug my suitcases in the 96 degree heat to the taxi van. With a sigh of relief I can’t help but squeal, “I made it,” to the taxi driver.

CAPA had our next few days planned out for us; between scavenger hunts, field trips and jet lag it’s safe to say I was a zombie by the third day. It was hard to find the energy to be social and hold conversations with my classmates. That was until I finally had a long nights rest and I began to feel like myself again.

On Saturday, the 21st, I had a free day since my internship, at DEC Public Relations, wasn’t scheduled to begin until Tuesday. So, a few of my roommates and I ventured to the infamous Bondi Beach. We soaked up the Aussie sun and made sure to avoid the Blue Bottle jellyfish in the cobalt water. I was a little too adventurous that day and hurt my foot while exploring the Bondi Cliffs. Although the view from the walk was worth it, it was very hard the next day feeling immobile in such a beautiful country. I trekked to the General Practitioner and had to get an X-ray to reassure me (and my mom on the other side of the globe) that there wasn’t a serious injury. Thankfully, nothing was fractured, especially since walking is our main source of transportation in Sydney. I am still healing but I hope to be fully recovered this week.

Tuesday I was introduced to the office culture in the Central Business District at DEC PR. The streets in CBD are full of beautiful men and women dressed to impress. I thoroughly enjoy commuting to work and being apart of a “team.” I have already learned so much in the two days I’ve worked at DEC and I am so excited to see what the next 12 weeks brings.

It is nice to start being placed into a routine again. I am grateful my days are so busy because I feel as though I am making the most of every day I have here. Yes, I do miss home but I know I will see everyone in just a few short weeks. Therefore I plan on seeing everything and anything I can before I head to the Sydney Airport at the end of April. I am grateful for this spectacular opportunity and I’m excited to share my experiences with you. Thanks for tuning in.fullsizer-1 fullsizer-2 fullsizer img_2768 img_2772 img_2778 img_2787 img_2802

The fun part!

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This is the surreal moment where an opportunity of a lifetime becomes reality. At this moment, it finally sinks in and I begin to get butterflies of excitement.  This is the point in the process where I kept saying to myself, I can’t believe I’m doing this!  Hold on and cherish this feeling of elation because when it hits you simultaneously, it is a feeling like no other. Well believe it because it hits you all at once, in the best of ways. Here are some more important things to be aware of before/ during your first weeks abroad!

Flights

  • You have to book your flight independently from the school. They do not give you much guidance with this part. So I booked it once the program dates were finalized. So for me, orientation for the program is January 7th so I’m flying out on the 4, arriving  the 5th but classes start the 16th. So I have some time to get settled in before school starts. Sky scanner and student universe are good websites to look on for cheaper flights!

Packing

  • Everyone says not to bring nice things in case you lose them or they get ruined. Everyone says pack as light as possible. Everyone says bring old clothing to throw away to make room for the new stuff you will get. Well of course I’m not following any of that advice. I currently have 2 packed suitcases of only clothing lol. I’m lucky enough to have a big closet to keep my clothing in, but the style in Spain is so much different (better) that I have already been shopping twice…. Which is probably not the best great way to be spending my money, but oh well. The problem that I will probably face coming back to the states is that I will have to pay because my luggage will be over 50 pounds, but that’s a problem for another post.
  • I got 2 suitcases from Kohl’s (lightest ones they have 6 pounds) on sale for $65 each, which is a great deal. I have also brought a hiking backpack, which just screams I’m a tourist lol. But it’s the best way to be able to travel while keeping your things safe.

Money

  • This is important. If you have a debit card you will be charged every time you take out money or use your card. But don’t worry; almost every national bank has some kind of card that has no foreign transaction fees. I will be using the capital one 360 card which works as a debit card abroad. Another option is a credit card either linked to your account or to your parents account. Personally, I don’t trust myself not to rack up the credit card bill so I opted for a debit card. I found that a lot of smaller credit unions don’t have a card option for international travel so having a big bank is super helpful.

** Be aware of the amount of money you spend, 1 week in I spent almost 700$, so sit down with a glass of wine and look at your card statements! It’s brutal but write out how much you spent, I had to learn the hard way and guilt myself into saving money.

Phones

  • A lot of international communication can be done through Wi-Fi with apps like WhatAapp or Viber in addition to iMessage. But this only allows you to communicate when you’re connected to Wi-Fi and your phone company will charge you if you use the Internet when your not connected( Data-Roaming). I found that lots of restaurants and buses all have Wi-Fi so I haven’t ran into any problems yet without a data plan (fingers crossed.)
  • You can look into an international SIM card, here in Madrid “Orange” phone company gives you 2 GB of data and calls for 15$ a month, which might be worth it in the long run (in case you get lost or lose people.)
  • Then your family can get an international plan, but I know these can get pricey.

*** Be so careful carrying your phones around especially at bars and clubs. Pickpocketing is extremely common here.People look for foreigners and will try and steal their phones if they are not put away (happened to my friend twice!!!)

Housing

  • This all depends on where you are living (country) and then what type of living situation you want (on campus, independent apartment or host family.) Personally, I will be living in an apartment, which is close to everything, which is very convenient! I’m sharing a room so ill be paying 420 euros a month but a single room is 500 euros, everything included.
  • I am located on Calle O’Donnell, which In Madrid, SUNY Oswego put is through a company called Sal y Ven, which finds us housing and also deals with the landlord for us. This is convenient in the sense that they find us great places to stay and its only one price, but as we begin to settle into the apartment we are beginning to see some problems with the company… For example we can never contact the landlord, in order to get something fixed, we have to email Sal y Ven, wait for them to email the landlord and get to get a response. This is good if the people in the apartment don’t speak Spanish. But being that my roommate and I speak Spanish, it is more time efficient if we would be able to call and communicate with the landlord directly. Also, apparently there are no visitors allowed, and if you want to have a guest stay with you, they have to pay Sal y Ven 15 euros per night. I haven’t ran into a problem with this yet because I haven’t had my friends stay the night yet, but we will see if I can get away with not notifying them. Last thing, I am living in a 4-bedroom apartment with only 4 people, so Sal y Ven apparently can rent out that extra bedroom. So I was informed today that 2 people are suppose to be moving in… tomorrow. You can see the concern not only do we not want to live with strangers but we only found out this was happening today. Clearly communication is an issue.

*** These things should NOT be a deal breakers, just situations to be aware of to avoid any future surprises.

Travel

  • Most people who study abroad in Europe want to travel as much as possible, and with crazy cheap airfare prices you can! I made a list of all the cities I definitely want to go to, but some are pricier than others, though all are cheap compared to US flights. Instead of spending a lot of money for one city, my friends and I are starting to travel to the cheapest places from Madrid (Paris, Brussels, Ireland, Lisbon) and then plan bigger trips. For example I planned flight to Brussels for 50 euros roundtrip!
  • There are some really great websites to help you with trips, Ryanair, SkyScanner, Bus2alps, Wanderlust and City Life. My school (University Rey Juan Carlos) has a Citylife program all around Spain, Portugal and Morocco that are discounted prices and day trips.
  • SUNY Oswego also has a great class in Madrid that every student going through Oswego has to take. The class is made up of excursions around Madrid and outside city’s, for example, one weekend we go flamenco dancing and to Toledo. Then at the end we have to write an essay for a grade, easy fun class.

Metro

  • Everyone takes public transportation around the city. The metro comes every 10 mins or so and the bus does the same! Its very accessible and not sketchy at all!
  • To get a metro card, make a cita previa (previous appointment) online at http://tarjetatransportepublico.es/CRTM-ABONOS/entrada.aspx . There are so many metros you can get this at, but the one I went to (Avenue America) no one spoke English! So if you don’t speak Spanish it would be difficult.
  • Then you put euros in the kiosk and load it for the month!

Study supplement example

*** PSA: This is what I submitted for scholarships and for the application. Obviously yours would be different but this can be used as an example!***

As a double-major in Public Relations and Spanish at the State University of New York (SUNY) College at Oswego, I have been able to gain an understanding of both subjects that has allowed me to become more passionate toward each. However, in order to further enhance my education and gain new learning experiences, I wish to study abroad in Spain for this upcoming Spring semester. I believe that this experience will not only increase my confidence when it comes to using the Spanish language on a daily basis, but it will also open my life to new cultures and captivities that will positively affect my efforts in the field of public relations. Along with the academic benefits, the study abroad experience will allow me to gain personal advantages such as intercultural communication skill-building and achieving a higher level of independence.

Academically I have done well in my Spanish classes here in the United States. However, I have always felt that in order for me to truly appreciate and grasp the language, I must spend a significant amount of time in a country that speaks it. I do not have any doubts that spending a semester in Spain will increase my competency in the Spanish language and progress my ability to speak, write, and read in confidence. Along with the advances studying abroad will provide me with for my Spanish major, it will also contribute to my Public Relations major. Public Relations requires a great deal of creativity and the ability to create and maintain relationships with a wide variety of stakeholders. By experiencing and learning about new cultures, I will be able to understand how to work with diverse clients, co-workers, and medias.

Living in a foreign country on my own will also increase my level of independence. I have a desire to travel and see the world and although it may be intimidating at times, I know that studying abroad will only make me grow as an individual. When I return from Spain, I expect that I will be able to live and work anywhere in the world without being fearful. It may be cliché, but i have learned too well that life is short. I need to take advantages of these opportunities while they are still available to me.

Studying abroad will not only provide me with new learning experiences, but it will also give me the chance to become a more independent and self-aware individual. I believe that spending time in Spain will benefit me both academically and personally. Some my future goals will benefit greatly from the study abroad experience provided by Oswego. I hope to become fluent in Spanish, allowing me to become successful when pursuing a career in Public Relations with a focus in tourism. I plan on moving to New York City immediately following graduation. I hope to work for an international company with the focus on bringing people from their homes to see the sights of New York City.

I hope this personal statement has given some insight to my life and goals and prove why the study abroad experience is essential to my future success. Thank you.

***Cough Cough…You’re welcome!***

First things first

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Let’s face it, living in a new country where you don’t know anyone or speak the language is scary in general! But added on top of the intimidating application process and the physical (don’t forget mental) preparation can easily overwhelm students, causing them to miss out on an opportunity of a life time. That is the inspiration for this post; I’m going to break down every part of the “preparation” stage that the school doesn’t straight out tell you and that I wish I knew!

***FYI, I am studying in Madrid, Spain for a whole semester and living in an apartment. So if you’re program is different, some of the elements of the application process will be different from mine.

Application process: Not going to lie the application process is super confusing and stressful at first. Juggling schoolwork along with all the deadlines for the applications is a lot…. but worth it.

  1. The first step you should take is to look online at SUNY Oswego’s study abroad page; there it lists all the programs that are available (https://www.oswego.edu/international/program-search.) You should start this process at least one semester before you want to leave! Keep in mind, if there is something you’re interested in and don’t see, SUNY Oswego works with all SUNY schools and odds are another school has it. For example, I am going to Madrid, Spain, which is through SUNY Oswego, but there are people from New Paltz, Cortland and Albany on the same trip as I am. If you’re interested in another SUNY schools program, the credits transfer over to Oswego without any problems. ***One problem my friend ran into was that she was a transfer student from Cortland (2 years) to Binghamton, and wanted to study abroad with me through SUNY Oswegos’s program. Well, because Bing has a cap on how many credits a student can transfer from another school, the 15 credits that she would get from study abroad with Oswego would not count for her…. Just something to pay attention too before getting too far into the process.

  2. Next, when you find a program that you like you can click “apply now” and an online application would be set up for you. On this application it requires you to attach your official transcript (ordered online $10), 2 academic letters of recommendation, a study statement (see Study Supplement Example), and a language proficiency exam (only important if you are going to study a language.) Oswego has an online program that you can sign into which shows you all the forms you need… but I had no idea how that worked until I met with my study abroad advisor (Lizette Alvarado.) I suggest making an appointment with the international  office ASAP when you know where or when you would like to go.

  3. After you have submitted the application and have been accepted, the online program attaches more paperwork onto the online application that you have to submit. For example a $250 deposit, copy of your passport, 2 passport size pics (for visa, $30 from post office), $160 Visa application, housing form, health forms, learning agreement (class selection.. see “The Fun Part!” post for more info), and a financial aid form. You have a good amount of time to get these things in order and submitted, but the sooner the better. You will see the online application program is very organized with what has been submitted or still needs to be. The study abroad office also sends out automatic emails telling you the things missing (which was a life saver for me!) I also included as many prices as I could remember only because I felt like I had no idea how many things I had to pay for right out of my pocket… and seeing as I’m living off of pasta and eggs each cost hit me hard. Each check that will be submitted to the international office has to be a certified check or money order (Culkin can do this and the Oswego post office too.) Your study abroad advisor will apply for your student visa (required for a semester study abroad), which you will receive in the mail with your passport before you leave.

***TBH I submitted all these things the week of the deadline and was fine… don’t stress too much!

Financial aid (https://www.oswego.edu/financial-aid/): Obviously this depends on everyone’s individual loans or whatnot….but what I didn’t know is that if you have the parent plus loan, you can bring the study abroad budget sheet (online) to the office and they can increase your loan. So that’s exactly what I did and they increased it  to the amount that the budget sheet suggest that you bring (which is way more than you need.) This comes back to you in a refund right before you go. For me this was super helpful for rent and also to have extra spending money… you know for emergencies 😉

*** I talked to Jennie Hoffman and she is super nice and SOOOO helpful!

Scholarships: Oswego has a lot of study abroad specific scholarships. You can apply online and it attaches to your study abroad application (https://www.oswego.edu/international/scholarships). I applied for 5 and was awarded 0 (lol just my luck.) But I recently found out that I was awarded the GETGO scholarship, which gave me $1,500!! That money is taken right off the bill for the semester, so when I get my refund back I have an extra $1,500 for necessity like shopping 😉 The GETGO scholarship paperwork is in the language department and it just requires you to put how long your studying for (quarter, semester, summer) along with your acceptance letter (also attached to the online application program) then a small written statement and an option to attach a letter of recommendation. Then I was emailed with an invoice for the cost of the semester abroad with that GETGO scholarship taken off of the total. Nice end of the semester surprise!

*** I used the same study statement that I applied for the program with for the scholarships… keep in mind I only received one though, so you might want to switch it up a bit!

This seems like a lot… and honestly it is, but this is the worst part! Everything after this process is a lot more fun! See my follow-up post “The Fun Part” for more information for what comes next!

Australia Bound

After a nice meal and a few tears, my family sent me off to the security checkpoint. My heart is pounding out of my chest. The day has finally come; I will soon be boarding my plane to Australia.

Hello everyone, I’m Lydia and I will be studying and interning through CAPA, The Global Education Network, in Sydney. I am filled with excitement and prepared for the unknown. Yes, living in a foreign country for five months may seem daunting. However, in order to grow as an individual, one must be pushed out of their comfort zone. The next post you read will be posted from the “Land Down Under.” See you soon America, you will be missed!

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2017 NYC Career Connections

Hello~ How is your winter break going?

I attended a special event called NYC Career Connections hosted by alumni association on Jan. 12 in NYC. I had a chance to meet alumni and talk about how to get a job in NYC. Any Oswego students who are juniors or seniors can participate in this event.kakaotalk_20170116_134745252

This semester is my junior 2nd semester which is time to think about my future careers. I wanted to meet alumni and get inspiration from them. First, I went Sportsman Channel and met Tom Caraccioli ’89 who is a director of PR in the company. It was a great chance for me to meet him, because I major in PR and I could listen how everything goes in the PR field. I used to experience PR by only textbook, theoretically. At this session, he shared his experiences with us and give us great advice.

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and i got this nice cap!!

After the day session, students gathered in the SUNY welcome center and met about 40 alumni participants from the different fields. It started with speech from keynote speaker and we had time for talking with alumni who work at the company which students are interested in. Students brought their resumes and got advice from them and got connections.
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I checked and I am in the right track for my future! Strongly recommended to students who just start to build your career.

http://alumni.oswego.edu/s/1552/start.aspx ——–> You can find more information in here!!

Australia Here I Come!

I’m 12 days out and it hasn’t hit me yet. 12 days from now I’ll be boarding a plane going to a place that I’ve never been, with nothing except two suitcases and my passport. I know nobody, know nothing, don’t know what to expect but I’m beyond excited.

A few months ago decided that I wanted to travel across the country by myself. I have never been someone to be afraid of new things and I love traveling so why not combine the two things? It didn’t take much for me to realize that Australia was the place for me. First off, I love the warm weather and the Oswego cold was getting to me. I have always had a passion for animals and have wanted to hug a koala for as long as I remember. Australia is somewhere where I know I will feel at home. I will create great friends and even better memories that will last me a lifetime.

To start off, there are so many programs that you can choose from and the application process is really easy. If you are someone who is looking into studying abroad, I would highly suggest looking at the International Opportunities page on the Oswego website. There are list of the programs available and you can contact people easily to get more information. If money is an issue for you, don’t worry!! There are many different scholarships that you can apply for and there is even a full ride scholarship. Studying abroad is a great opportunity to expand horizons and learn a lot about the world we live in.

During my trip I plan on posting quick little videos showing all of my adventures and explaining how I got to where I am going and I couldn’t be more excited to share my experience with all of you! If anyone has any questions don’t hesitate to ask, I’ve been through the whole process so I could help a lot!

Go to the writing center!

 

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Hello~ An Nyeong!! Today all classes canceled because of the snow!

BUT i know, you know, we know that we have lots of assignments to do.

Because my major is public relations, usually my assignments are writing papers such as case analysis, persuasion essay and so on.  Even though I studied in English which is my second language, the reason why I could survive in American university is the writing center. Today, I want to talk about how much benefits you can get by going to the writing center before submitting your assignments.

In my case, I’ve always been to writing center, since I was a freshman. In my first semester, I had never wrote an essay in English before, but I had to write an essay in English class. Fortunately, my English professor was a director of the writing center in the time, I got information about writing center and started to visit. I was so shy to show my work to tutors at the first time, but I did to get good grades. Once you showed, it was not hard at all from the second times. Since they know I am an international student and English is not my first language, they explain and help give me more detail so that I can understand. Here are more benefits!

  1. Save your time! (You can organize your thoughts before you actually write down in your paper.)
  2. Be more logical! (The most important factor of your essay is the logic.)
  3. Get rid of typos! (Letting other people read your papers always leads to a better job.)

I believe that your classes are coming down to finals. Please do your best until this semester is done and get good grades for every class you are taking.

Korean say “Fighting!!” when we want to cheer friends up!

FIGHTING!!!! 파이팅!!!

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Hangul(Korean) day

Hello! An nyeong(Hi in Korean)!

How is your semester going? How was your midterm? I will have three more tests after this week! So excited!

Today, Oct 9th! is special day in Korea which is my country and i want to share with you. It will be a informative blog today but i am sure you will have fun.

Hangul is the language that has an inventor named King Sejong and even comes with a user manual guide. Before Hangul have been invented, Korean used Chinese characters which only high-class people can learn. However, King Sejong wanted to make a language which every Korean can read and write easily. Hangul consonants are direct representations of the shape of the mouth when they are articulated. The vowels of hangul have a philosophical meaning to them. The circle represents the heavens, the horizontal line represents the Earth, and the vertical line represents humans.

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King Se jong

 

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Korean consonants

 

 

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Korean vowels

 

Hangul is considered the easiest writing system. It has only 28 letters, but you can make 11,172 syllables. Nowadays, many foreigners are learning Hangul because of K-pop and K-drama. Lakers also can learn Korean in campus! There is a club called KOSA and we have meetings every Mondays at 8pm in hart hall. If you want to learn a second language i highly recommend you to learn Korean!

I brought some quotations about Hangul.

“Hangul is the best alphabet that all the languages have dreamed of.” -Jogn man (historican)

“Hangul is perhaps the most scientific system of writing in general use in any country.” -Edwin O. Reischauer(Professor, USA Harvard)

“King Sejong ststematized the phonological theory five centuries earlier than the West which completed its phonological theory in the twentieth century” -Werner Sasse(Professor, University of Hamburg)