It’s Back: EIU Holi 2014!

Huh? What is Holi?

  • Traditional spring festival celebrated by Hindus, commonly known as the “Festival of Colors.”
  • Celebrated all over India and Nepal since ancient times, Holi welcomes the coming of spring.
  • In most of India, Holi is celebrated the day after the full moon in March each year.
  • Large bonfires are lit to ward off evil spirits on the eve of Holi.
  • The day of, people flock to the streets, armed with Gulal (colored powder). People of all ages and professions can be found splashing water and Gulal on friends, family, and passers-by.

Wanna go to Holi?

  • Holi will be celebrated on Friday, April 25th, from 12 – 2 pm on the Library Quad.
  • Free Gulal and plenty of water will be made available.
  • Music and a photo booth will be on site.
  • There will be free giveaways of sunglasses and sport towels, and we will be hosting a raffle.
  • Those participating are encouraged to wear a white t-shirt or other light-colored old clothing.
  • This event is FREE and everyone is encouraged to join in!

Can’t Get Enough?
Check out some of the highlights from last year’s Holi event at EIU.

Be on the lookout for more info to come! Follow along at #eiuholi

Demystifying Hostels: 4 Reasons to Ignore the Horror Stories

Forget the stories you’ve heard about horrifying hostel experiences. Hostels are not at all terrifying places that should be avoided. Many can actually be rather enjoyable, and can even save you loads of cash.

Save money
Those are great words to hear, especially when it comes to travel. You have already been paying airfare, fees, and countless other expenses to see the world, so saving a little money here and there can be a big help. Some hostels can be as little as $5 per night. Hostels are a great alternative to staying in a pricey hotel or apartment, and they can have a whole lot of other benefits as well!

Meet lifelong friends from around the world
One of the best parts of staying in a hostel is the people you will meet. Living in close quarters with a bunch of people that you do not know can make you feel uncomfortable, but you will quickly become close friends with many of them and will have the opportunity to hear many unique and interesting stories about other people’s travels. You may even meet people that have great travel tips for you that can be a big help during your trip. Stepping out of your comfort zone to meet other people from around the world will result in an experience that you will not regret.

The Hostel in Edinburgh, Scotland

The Hostel in Edinburgh, Scotland

Weekend trips on a budget
Hostels are a perfect choice for weekend excursions while studying abroad. Taking weekend trips to neighboring countries or cities is common while abroad, and a great opportunity for seeing the world on a budget. You can find affordable hostels to stay in for the weekend that can save you heaps of money on your weekend adventure.

Livingstone Backpackers in Livingstone, Zambia

Livingstone Backpackers in Livingstone, Zambia

Spur of the Moment Experience
Staying in a hostel you are likely to meet other people and find that they are doing something more exciting than what you had planned or something new you had not heard about before. This gives you the option to be spontaneous and tag along with your new friends on an adventure and get the most out of your travels.

Have a hostel experience to share? Tell us in the comments!

Responsible Travel: Volunteer Around The World

Think its too late for you to travel the world? Think again! Although your time as a student may be coming to and end and it may be too late to study abroad and gain course credit, volunteering abroad will always be an option! Or maybe you’ve studied abroad already and are looking for another opportunity to travel the world. Volunteering is a great choice! Instead of saving up for that family vacation or a spring break on the beach with your friends, why not give back and participate on a volunteer trip instead?

There are all kinds of volunteer programs that you can find to fit your interests and needs. Some of the most common types of programs are teaching abroad, wildlife conservation, marine conservation, or internships abroad. I recently returned from my own volunteer experience in Livingstone, Zambia on a teaching program and had an amazing time.

Livingstone Zambia

Volunteering opens up the opportunity for you to travel while also giving back to a community in need. Connecting with the locals, being immersed in their culture, and living a different lifestyle in a different part of the world is an experience beyond what words can describe.

Volunteer Abroad

Outside of the local culture, you can be exposed to a variety of other cultures and people from around the world. On my volunteer trip I stayed in a house with other volunteers that came from all different countries, and we all became good friends that still keep in touch even though we are hundreds of miles away from each other.

Finally, with my program we had the weekends off from volunteering so we had time to take part in various activities and weekend trips. There are so many opportunities that volunteering abroad has to offer, and it is a great way to travel responsibly no matter what age you are.

It’s Your Chance to Have the Summer of a Lifetime!

Our deadline for summer faculty-led programs is January 31st! Don’t miss the opportunity to have a summer you will never forget. There are so many options to choose from, and we can help you find the program that fits best for you!

Always dreamed of traveling to Italy? We have two programs there this summer! Want to improve your Spanish? Head to Argentina! Maybe a tropical destination is more your style- apply to go to the Bahamas! There are also a variety of other subjects such as business, biology, music, english, and more! Click on the photos below for additional program information.

Stop by our office in 1207 Blair Hall with any questions you may have, and get started on your applications today! An amazing summer awaits!

Mediterranean Cuisine: Florence, Italy

Mediterranean Cuisine: Florence, Italy

The Good Life: Italy

The Good Life: Italy

Summer in Salzburg: Austria

Summer in Salzburg: Austria

Summer in Argentina: Cordoba, Argentina

Summer in Argentina: Cordoba, Argentina

Health and Wellness for Life: Novi Sad, Serbia

Health and Wellness for Life: Novi Sad, Serbia

Science and Schooling: Andros Island, Bahamas

Science and Schooling: Andros Island, Bahamas

Summer Archeology: Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Summer Archeology: Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Incredible India: Creating Global Educators - Hyberabad, India

Incredible India: Creating Global Educators – Hyberabad, India

Intercultural Communication and Co-Cultural Experiences: Ireland

Intercultural Communication and Co-Cultural Experiences: Ireland

Nation Building in the New South Africa: Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Kruger National Park, South Africa

Nation Building in the New South Africa: Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Kruger National Park, South Africa

Sustainability, Energy, and Development: Barcelona, Spain

Sustainability, Energy, and Development: Barcelona, Spain

Business Study Abroad: European Union - Croatia and Spain

Business Study Abroad: European Union – Croatia and Spain

Plant Usage and Culture in China: Beijing, Xi'an, and Sichuan Province, China

Plant Usage and Culture in China: Beijing, Xi’an, and Sichuan Province, China

The Sport Industry in the United Kingdom: Winchester England (with field trips to London)

The Sport Industry in the United Kingdom: Winchester England (with field trips to London)

English Literary Landscapes: Grantham, England

English Literary Landscapes: Grantham, England

Beneficial Language Barriers

Venturing to a new land that uses a foreign language can definitely be frightening. From birth we are brought up in a society that allows us to vocalize our needs, ideas, and feelings and understand others while using a common dialect. Being aware that this convenience may be hindered while traveling can most certainly be intimidating, especially while preparing to study abroad.

Before my study abroad experience in Florence, Italy I was nervous about the use of the Italian language. I had only 4 years of beginner Spanish skills under my belt, and knew the Italian language would be difficult for me to use. Luckily, in Florence, most of the locals spoke at least a small amount of English, which helped me in common situations. What I found most helpful was the Italian language course I was enrolled in at my university abroad. This class instructed me to actively use the Italian language, and made interacting with locals a more enriching experience.

There was only one scenario where an Italian man and I did not share a single common word. He was my waiter in a small restaurant in Siena, and immediately had difficult time explaining that he did not speak or understand English. Although we had a language barrier- through the use of smiling, nonverbal language, and a lot of hand waiving, I was able to partake in one of the most memorable lunches during my time abroad.

Language differences are not a factor that should scare the student from studying in a foreign country. If anything, it should be a reason that makes the country even more intriguing. Whether you’re studying abroad to practice a language, or going only understanding English, immersing yourself in a land of words that are unrecognizable only benefits you as a student, and more importantly a person living in a multicultural world.

Traveling Europe while Abroad

Studying abroad in Florence, Italy was a remarkable travel experience in itself. However, due to ample amount of time overseas and yearning to explore, I decided with conscious pre-planning and budgeting to set sail from my home away from home in Florence and discover new cultures in the European countries of Greece, Spain, and France.

My first adventure began with an overnight cruise to the island of Corfu, Greece. My friends and I booked the trip with the #1 European Travel Company Bus2alps, and had a memorable time on their planned excursion. During my time in Greece I jumped the waves in the Ionian Sea, devoured one too many gyros, and even attempted to learn a traditional Greek celebratory dance, key word- attempted.

Next on my travel list was a sporadic trip to Barcelona, Spain.  Two friends and I decided to book a flight with Ryan Air to what later became my favorite visited country outside of Italy.  My first stop in Barcelona was the warm beach on the Mediterranean Sea, followed by a night of shopping down the city’s most famous streets, “Las Ramblas.” While making my way through the city I viewed the enchanting Sagrada Família Cathedral, and thankfully discovered the Spanish delicacy, Paella, which quickly became my new favorite dish!

Before my time abroad came to an end, friends and I booked one last excursion to the French Riviera. Our primary bus stop was to the popular city of Nice, where I admired oceanic views as well as inspiring French couture. In between our destinations, my friends and I took a train ride to Monte Carlo, Monaco to gamble at the world famous Monte Carlo Casino, which consequently was a loss in euros, but a gain in wonderful memories! My journey ended in the city of Cannes, where movie stars around the world gather for the annual film festival.

These three trips fulfilled my experience abroad, and allowed myself to come home a more adventurous, knowledgeable, and cultured individual. Traveling while studying abroad is a factor I am most grateful to have experienced, and has inspired me to voyage to other new and intriguing destinations in my future.

Q&A: Jesse teaching in the Bahamas

Dedicated to our returning students, this installment of our Q&A Series focuses on a recent EIU graduate now teaching abroad in the Bahamas. Hear his thoughts from the best to worst and everything in between.DSC01572

Jesse Garibaldi

A recent 2013 EIU graduate, Jesse has gone from his hometown of Glenview, Illinois to studying, and now working on the beautiful island of the Bahamas!

1. Now that you’ve settled into your new job, what’s the best part?

Settling into a new job can always be scary, especially when it is your first job as a teacher. Thankfully, I work with a wonderful staff that is always looking out for each other and always willing to help however they can. I would have to say my fellow coworkers are one of the best parts of my job at Tambearly.

2. What’s the hardest part? What presented itself as a difficulty while you were adjusting?

One of the hardest parts of teaching here is the grading; it is something I have gotten better at but it still takes up so much time. I have been going in earlier and getting some work done
during my breaks to keep up with everything so I don’t have to worry about taking so much home.

3. Did your student teaching in the US prepare you well for this position?

I am really lucky because even though I am teaching abroad, the private school I am working at uses United States state standards. My lesson plans and the material I teach look similar to lessons I created during student teaching. I did my student teaching in kindergarten which is a little different than teaching in fourth grade like I am now. But I am teaching three, four, and five year old soccer so the practice I have had with the younger students has really come in handy there.

4. How does the environment affect your teaching or your daily life?

Tambearly is a open air school meaning that there are walls and a roof, but there is no air conditioning. The school is made so that the windows on the ground pull in air while the windows on the wall blow air out. It keeps the school pretty cool considering it has been around 90 degrees. Because the door and windows are always open to the environment, there are frequent “visitors” that come into the room especially if it is raining. One of my first few days, a frog managed to hop into my room and disrupt the whole class until I was able to get it out. Having frogs, lizards, and a variety of other animals is a pretty regular event, but I have become better at keeping my class calm and getting the animals out of the room without hurting them.

5. Where are you living? What’s that like?

I am living in a nice neighborhood and my house is only a three minute walk to the beach. The water is so blue here and the sun is so many different colors. Depending on the time of day it really is wonderful. My walk to work is about half an hour but most of the walk is along the water, which makes the walk much nicer. I am living on my own for the first time without roommates, which is a little different. I have made some really nice friends so I rarely get bored, but there are some times when my days can be slow.

6. What do you miss from home? (places, people, things, food)

It’s on those slow days when I find myself missing my friends and family the most. I have always been close to my family so even when I was living at home it was nice because there was always someone to talk to. Thankfully now with Skype and Facebook, I have been able to keep in touch with mostly everyone, which makes everything so much easier.

7. You’re coaching as well – how does that add to your experience?
As it is my first time coaching, I do not know the most about soccer. However, I am working with three, four, and five year olds so practice is not about specific fine motor skills but more to get the students out, having fun, and boosting their confidence. I have a good relationship with the young students and many of them are really enthusiastic about playing, which is always exciting to see.

Thanks, Jesse! Continue to teach others all over the world.

Connecting with Haiti

Because you’re 20-something and not quite an adult yet but far from being a child, it is the perfect opportunity to do something beyond yourself. For me, it consisted of travel- and travel not for the sake of tourism or self indulgence, but for the chance to see the world through someone else’s eyes.

374428_10151336123463278_1308764353_n

While many travel abroad and seek authentic meals, stay at luxurious hotels, enjoy tours of art galleries, and rent bicycles to maneuver through tourist filled cities…in Haiti I ate at the table of locals, slept in their beds, got lost in the mountains and banana fields, and worked hand in hand with the people of the country.  The benefits of volunteering abroad are that you become emerged not just into the culture of the exotic country, but you get to build relationships and walk in solidarity with the people you meet. Meaning, you enjoy both the perks and hardships of their reality. Although it was only two weeks, I am proud to say that I lived without running water, 24 hour electricity, or any other modern conveniences I have come to depend on: a computer, phone, tv, a mirror, air conditioning, knowing the time, etc. And the perks: fresh fruit, naturally raised animals, swimming in a fresh spring, cliff diving,  what community really is, clear nights, shining stars…and so much more. Furthermore, the “downfall” of living in another person’s reality only made me more grateful for the things I have and take advantage of…

394784_2156310024553_2132051831_n

Although I had many tutors, learning Creole was very difficult

Like running water… After watching women and children carry their weight in water up and down steep cliffs and mountains, how can I justify letting the water run while I brush my teeth?

After visiting a clinic and witnessing starving and malnourished children, how do I justify overeating or throwing away food on my plate? Has milk ever gone bad in your fridge? It definitely has in mine. That small amount of food could have saved a child’s life.

550938_329614543823745_1208187183_n

This little model is posing in an older couples shelter after a hurricane destroyed their other home

When visiting a blind man and a weak women in their stick and mud makeshift home, how can I ever complain that my closet or room is too small? I have a roof over my head, I have a pillow to rest my head on, I have never gone to bed hungry.

24451_4031006216086_786446463_n

<3

I live a very fortunate and sheltered life in every sense of the word. Most of us do not need to go to Haiti, Africa, or your local soup kitchen to know that. But without walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, or in many Haitian’s case, without shoes, it is impossible to even begin to understand what it is like to be born and live every day in extreme poverty.

However, in the face of poverty, the Haitian people couldn’t be more rich with  love and hope. There is life in these people that is rare in the United States. How is it that we can have everything in the world, yet lack the kind of spirit that Haitians possess? I came to learn that a certain freedom comes with letting go of modern conveniences- that most of our complaints during the day truly are related to things that do not matter (money, computer, sporting events, phone, tv,  a mirror, air conditioning, knowing the time..)

15458_4294303712633_793210055_n

Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, but for some reason I can not wait to go back. As I became more exposed to the truth of Haiti, the more I fell in the love with it. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to travel there and have the people in the communities we visited soften my heart and open my eyes. As cliche as it might be, I left with more than I arrived with in Haiti- and again, this did not consist of material related goods, but sights, stories, and a deepened sense of humility.

If you are interested in traveling to Haiti, or helping aid this wonderful nation in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me in 1207 Blair Hall. Haiti Connection meets Monday nights at 8 pm at the Newman Catholic Center!

540334_10151413482808949_1860245260_n

The lovely Haiti Connection Crew of 2013

Q&A: Laura’s View from 2 Countries

A unique double trip installment to our Q&A Series dedicated to our returning students. Hear their thoughts from best to worst and everything in between.

Laura Krieg

AlpsLaura is a native of Woodstock, IL and is an EIU student receiving a Dual Cert. in Special Education and Elementary Education. She has studied abroad TWICE within the past couple years, first during May 2012 on the German Life and School program in Esslingen, Germany and then again in May 2013 on the Science and Schooling program on Andros Island, Bahamas.

Q1: PLACES, talk about your favorite spot in your home away from home. Where? Why?

In Germany, my favorite spot was at the highest point in the Alps.  It was so breathtaking.  I have never been able to look down on so much and so far.  I would love to visit this spot again.  In the Bahamas, my favorite spot was the lodge where we stayed.  There were two other groups (one from Ohio and one from New York) staying there with us, so we got to interact with more than just our group of EIU students as well.  Every night, we would sit out on a deck they had on the ocean and watch the tides come in.  It was a great place to stay!

Q2: NOPE, are there things you don’t miss from your destination? What? Why?

The sand fleas in the Bahamas!  I came back covered head to toe in huge bites!

Q3: YEP, you’re actually homesick for something from abroad. What? Why?

I really miss the laid-back, relaxed lifestyle from the Bahamas!  People did not rush around as much as they do in the United States.  You simply got where you needed to go when you got there.  Also, everybody was so friendly!  People would honk and wave every time they passed you on the street.

Q4: SHOCKING, you could hardly believe your eyes when you saw … What? Why?

A small group of us were snorkeling one of the reefs in the Bahamas.  We were swimming right along the reef when a 6 ft shark came up over the reef and swam right underneath me.  I could have reached down and touched it… it was so close!  I don’t think my mind actually registered what it was until it was underneath me.  Scary, but AMAZING, experience!

Q5: WEEKENDS, full of travel. Where did you go? How did you choose? Was it difficult to plan?

In Germany, I spent a weekend in Konstanz, Germany on Lake Constance.  I chose this location because it was close enough for a weekend away but very different from where I was studying.  It was beautiful!  I did find it difficult to plan because I do not speak any German and neither does the girl I went with.  The weekend was definitely an adventure… we ended up walking miles and miles because we couldn’t read the bus schedule!Andros Island

Thanks, Laura! We appreciate hearing your memories from both of your trips abroad!

Photo Contest Awards Ceremony

International Education Week

Via Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

The votes are in! Although the photo contest has ended, there will still be an awards ceremony to honor the winners and celebrate International Education Week (November 11-15, 2013)! Everyone is invited to attend, whether or not you have studied abroad. Not only will you have the chance to see beautiful works of art, but you will have the opportunity to experience the world through the lens and eye of students who have been able to see these amazing sights firsthand. The top 15 photos will be on display at the event, and the captivating images of our winners will be worthwhile to stop in and see. Office of Study Abroad staff will also be available to talk about upcoming Summer 2014 faculty-led programs for all who are interested. Admission is FREE and refreshments will be provided!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Tarble Arts Center Atrium

The photos will be on display at Tarble Arts Center for the week of November 11-15, and then will be moved to a display at Booth Library through the end of the semester.

For more information, check out our website, or contact us at goabroad@eiu.edu with any questions you may have.