How-To: Talk To Your Parents About Study Abroad


Deciding to study abroad is a big, but exciting, step. The opportunities are endless for a student wanting to experience the challenge of studying in a different country, but one challenge to face before you begin is getting your parents approval and/or financial assistance. Follow these tips to prepare yourself and your case before bringing the idea of studying abroad to your parents.

Do Your Research

Before you bring it up to your parents, do your research. Make sure that you know what you want to do, and anticipate questions that your parents will have. Some parents frequently asked questions can be found here.

  1. Course Credit

Won’t this make you fall behind in your studies?

All semester programs offer courses that transfer into EIU credit. The number of semester hours offered depends on the program so do your research, and know what classes your program provides. On summer programs, you are earning course credit where you would not have been if you stayed home. Our summer programs offer a wide range of courses, so again, do your research and know what you want to take, and how it will count, before speaking to your parents. Go to our Couse Finder to see which courses you can take that transfer into EIU credit.

  1. Financial Aid

How are we going to pay for this? We don’t have the money for that.

The Study Abroad Office has many options for financial aid and scholarships. With both of these, you can lower your out-of-pocket cost significantly. Make sure to ask to an advisor in our office about scholarships that you are eligible for and due dates. Also check out the Financial Aid section of our webpage.

  1. Safety Precautions

How will I know you are going to be safe in a foreign country?

Everyone involved with the Study Abroad program is intent on your safety. It can be scary to think about something happening so far away, but measures are in place to make sure that you are being taken care of while you are studying abroad. Check out our page on Health and Safety.

  1. Staying in Touch

But I’ll miss you too much if you’re so far away!

Sending you to college was already a big step for your parents; the thought for you in another country is scary for them. There are many ways that you and your parents can stay in touch while you are abroad, whether that be for the summer or for a whole year. Check out our page on keeping in touch.



Timing is key when approaching your parents about studying abroad. Make sure that you bring it up in a moment of happiness and relaxation. If your parents just got off work, had to deal with traffic, and now has to deal with your whining sibling, that’s probably not the best time to bring up something like studying abroad. Make sure that you time the discussion so that you have time to have a discussion.

Be Assertive but Respectful

Make sure when you are speaking to your parents that your tone of voice never reaches anything that can be called disrespectful, but at the same time do not back down. Answer your parents’ concerns with facts, and make sure they know you are serious and that studying abroad is not just a passing whim. If you present yourself as a mature adult making an informed decision, they will be more likely to treat you like one. Sometimes your parents just want to feel like they are part of your decision. It might be a good idea to have multiple options so that your parents can help you narrow it down. If there are still issues, do not be afraid to compromise. Studying abroad may not be possible this year/semester. Have a plan B program and make sure to bring up studying abroad next year/semester.


For information from previous Study Abroad students, come to our panel discussion on April 21st in the Casey Room in the Union!

Holi: Festival Of Colors!


During the afternoon on Friday the 24th of April, 2015, the Office of Study Abroad will be hosting the third annual HOLI: FESTIVAL OF COLORS from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Library Quad of Eastern Illinois University. Admission is FREE, so come out and celebrate the spring season with us in an explosion of color and friendship.

The celebration originated as a Hindu religious holiday, mainly in India and Nepal, as a day to rid oneself of past errors, end conflicts, forgive and forget. It also marked the beginning of spring, and the tradition of spreading colors everywhere is a way to celebrate and encourage the coming growth of spring’s flowers and plants. The festival has since spread throughout other Asian countries and on to countries like the United States. Here at Eastern, the Festival of Colors gives students an opportunity to get together with their friends and work off the stress of upcoming exams and the end of the semester.

People of all ages and professions are encouraged to come and make a mess. As per tradition, colorful powder will be distributed to be spread on friends, family, and strangers. Participants will be sure to leave covered in all sorts of color with a smile on their face. Returning participants will remember the festival well and are sure to encourage new people to remember to wear white T-shirts or at least something they do not mind getting messy.


It’s sure to be a fun and messy time. Save the date, and I’ll see you there!

[Guest Post]: We Made It

EIU student Samantha DeYoung is currently studying at University of South Wales for the spring semester. Follow her experience with her blog here.

January 3rd, 2015

After a very long two days of traveling, I am finally here! Sitting in my room watching netflix, it is raining, something I will get used to very fast here in Wales. Yesterday was definitely the longest day of my life, literally I was awake and traveling from 3pm Thursday when I left Pittsburgh until 3pm Friday when I finally arrived at the University. With two time changes, two fights, a bus, and a train, we finally made it. Our rooms are nice and have private bathrooms attached to them, our flat consists of 6 rooms that remind me of American dorms, all connected by a hallway that leads to our kitchen.

Yesterday at the airport, I was constantly looking for all of those gypsies I had been constantly warned about, and of course I didn’t see any at all! The airport atmosphere was very safe. Customs gave us all a very hard time since our course of study is only until April, but our documents say it is until June. We were met at the airport by a lady that showed us how to catch a coach to Cardiff. After arriving in Cardiff, we walked from the bus stop to the train station. From what little I saw of Cardiff, I think it will be very fun to visit and wander around down there. Everywhere we go people can’t understand us and they use words we don’t understand either. After several jokes made at our expense, the people here are beyond friendly and helpful. I have never had so many people offer to carry my bags and offer to show us where to go. People here go out of their way to help you, something very foreign to Americans!


(Cardiff Train Station)


(Castle on our way to the Treforest stop)

After climbing a mountain to get to the accommodations office, we were shown our rooms and could finally relax. Kait and I went into the Treforest village to buy shampoo, conditioner, water, bread, and soap for our rooms. The village is very cute and we passed a lot of small shops and restaurants. After stopping to get Chinese “Take Away” we walked over the bridge that crosses the railway and hiked back up to our rooms.


(Our pretty campus)


(The view from our Flat)

Everything has been very exciting so far, tomorrow we plan to go back to Cardiff to visit and to explore. We choose our classes on Monday and hopefully can start planning for all of our trips after that!


Happy Lunar New Year!

Today is the Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year!


The name of the holiday is based on the Chinese calendar being lunisolar which means the months coordinate to the cycles of the moon but the length is periodically adjusted to keep it relatively in sync with the solar year, which the United States follows. Because the Chinese are not the only ones who celebrate this holiday, the name Chinese New Year is interchangeable with Lunar New Year.

New Year festivities are a tradition for celebrating great ancestors, family, religion, and a surplus of abundance. Lunar New Year is celebrated through lantern festivities, fireworks, dancing, music, food, and relaxation. It is also traditional for windows and doors to be decorated with red paper-cut outs with themes of “good fortune”, “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity.”

Check out this from the New Dragon Dance Performers as they dance in honor of the Lunar New Year!

Every year for the lunar calendar is marked by one of the 12 zodiacal animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. This year is the year of the sheep, but there has been some conflict over what the Chinese word yang translates into: ram, sheep, or goat. The ancient Chinese symbol meant goat; so, those in China more commonly use goat as this years animal. People in other Asian countries disagree. In Korea, the symbol more commonly means sheep. All three translations are technically correct. I guess it just depends of what animal you can find in your area.

Do you want to find out what animal coordinates with your birth year? Click Here


What can you do in the country you have chosen to study abroad?

Explore the places you can go when you study abroad!

Hello Everyone!
It’s Mary, the professional writing intern here at the Study Abroad Office. It’s been about a month now that I have been working with the office. For those of you that are trying to get all of your paperwork done for summer programs, you know that it’s been a hectic month. Now that summer program deadlines are upon us, I know a lot of you will be looking at semester programs for Fall 2015 and Spring 2016.

When making a decision about where you want to study abroad, one of the main draws to a certain country is what you can do besides studying. I have found a website that should help you figure out where you want to study based on what you can do around your school. You can also use this website if you have made a decision about where you want to go but don’t know what you want to do or can do when you get there.

This website is not a comprehensive list of every place in a certain country, but it can give you an idea of what you can do once you are there. I would recommend doing more research than just this site for a more complete list of places to visit and things to do. lets you browse by:

Accommodations accomadations

Attractions and Culture culture

Food and Drink food

Outdoors and Recreation outdoor

Points of Interest points

Camping and RV camping

Entertainment and Nightlife nightlife

Tours and Experiences tours

Services services

Shopping shopping

Sports sports

Motoring motorign

When you first get to the site, you are in the US. Simply zoom out and click and drag the map to find the country you want to explore.

A lot of countries in Europe offer cheap flights to other European countries; so, make sure to explore other countries besides the one you will be studying in. If you are worried about price, many of the attractions that you find on this website offer a price range when you click on them. You will soon realize that many interesting places to visit are low cost. Use this site and others to make the most of your time spent studying abroad!

Mary Reber

Eastern Illinois University Study Abroad Program Ranking #14 out of 50 among the best Study Abroad Programs in America!

     Eastern Illinois University Study Abroad Program Ranking #14 out of 50 among the best Study Abroad Programs in America!
We are proud to announce that Eastern Illinois University Study Abroad Program has officially been ranked #14 out of 50 best Study Abroad Programs in America! We’d also like to give a special thanks to our amazing staff members, students, faculty, parents and third-party organizations for all your hard work and dedication!
“Experience the world through Eastern Illinois University’s vast number of study abroad programs. Along with partner programs and third party programs, the University offers various faculty-led programs for students looking for a personal experience alongside trusted and expert faculty. Students have the opportunity to spend a semester in South Africa working in human services. Visiting cultural and historical locations, listening to guest speakers, and touring scenic locations are also part of the curriculum. Exciting weekend activities in the area include shark diving, sky diving, and bungee jumping”.
Check out for more information on the top Study Abroad Programs Worldwide.
photo credit:

Making Volunteering apart of your New Year’s Resolution

How to Make Volunteering Abroad a Resolution You’ll Keep

Girl in Thailand

The New Year. Time to make resolutions for what we didn’t accomplish in the past year, and hope to accomplish in the coming one. Naturally, we at Go Overseas hope your resolution has something to do with meaningful travel, be it studying, interning, or — my personal favorite! — volunteering abroad.

If volunteering abroad is something you truly want to do, no reason should stop you.

We know things happen. Unforeseen obstacles, obligations, and busy schedules all join forces to keep you from following through with your plans. I also know that planning for and participating in a meaningful trip abroad is time consuming and can be a financial burden. But there’s one thing you should remember: it’s worth sticking to it.

If your resolution for 2015 is to volunteer abroad, I’m here to help you stay with that resolution, get out there, and do it.

Understand There’s a Solution for Every Excuse

Planning for a volunteer abroad trip is not something that just magically happens. It requires forethought, budgeting, research and preparation. With all of these tasks, it’s easy to procrastinate and not follow through. This is how your volunteer trip keeps getting pushed to the next year.

Maybe you think you can’t afford it financially or to take time off of work for an extended amount of time. Maybe your class schedule doesn’t leave much time to devote to volunteering abroad. Maybe there are so many volunteer organizations out there that you don’t know which to choose and get overwhelmed. Maybe the idea of going to a foreign country is scary and intimidating. Maybe you think you’ll miss your friends and family too much (hey, FOMO abroad is real).

Through talking with tons of people about why they don’t make room for travel in their lives, I’ve heard every excuse. There’s always going to be a reason not to go, but if volunteering abroad is something you truly want to do, no reasons should stop you.

As always, we at Go Overseas have solutions for each excuse you might have — and, in fact, have been blogging about them throughout 2014 and waaaay beyond that!

  • Where do you start? Go Overseas’ find a program search engine is one good place to start. Indeed also lists some longer term volunteer abroad options.
  • You don’t have the time? Maybe you really do. From short term programs to career sabbaticals; spring and summer break volunteer programs to post grad positions that will help you jump start your career: there’s a wide variety of options for you. It’s just a matter of finding one that fits your schedule.
  • The dreaded culture shock. You know my favorite part of traveling? Getting to a country and thinking “hey, what was I so worried about?” In the end, these differences are what make it fun, and scary as it may seem, international travel isn’t as intimidating in actuality as it is in your head.
  • FOMO. Especially if you’re going to be gone for a short term volunteer project, everything will be there for you when you get back. If you’re going abroad for longer, then I won’t lie. Things will change, and that’s OK. You’re getting a great experience as a volunteer rather than doing the same ol’ same ol’ at home.
  • Money. We often associate travel and vacation with expensive. However, traveling, living, and volunteering abroad is not the same as a 2-week vacation in Cabo, and definitely doesn’t have the same price tag. Sure, you may have to pay to volunteer abroad, but plenty of programs offer stipends, affordable costs, and opportunities to fundraise or apply a scholarship.

There’s never going to be a perfect time to go abroad, so just do it now! You won’t regret it ten years from now.

Set Actual Goals

The very first step in achieving your travel objectives is to actually set them. It’s easy to say you want to volunteer abroad next year, but what are you going to do to make sure it actually happens? How are you going to find the money? When and where are you going to go? For how long? With whom? What do you want to do?

It’s easy to say you want to volunteer abroad next year, but what are you going to do to make sure it actually happens?

Setting goals gives you both a long term vision while providing a short term motivation. Use the following list as a roadmap to help you see your goal of volunteering abroad through:

  • First, figure out what you like to do: This is important to do in general, but when it comes to setting your volunteer goals, you are going to be much more motivated to follow through with something if you enjoy it. Think about what you enjoy doing in life, be it working with healthcare, education, the environment, or maybe even something more specific like soccer or the arts. Decide if you like social or community projects better than research or construction projects.
  • Then — more importantly — figure out what skills you can offer: One characteristic of responsible volunteering is to be able to transfer useful skills to your host community so that they can continue using them after you’re gone. Figure out what you’re qualified to do, in addition to what you like, so that your contribution is more of an equal exchange, rather than you just learning something from the project without giving back. (For more information about who helps whom while volunteering abroad, read our article on who’s helping whom with volunteering abroad?)
  • Clearly identify your goals within volunteering abroad: They should be achievable goals, ones that allow you to clearly define exactly why you want to volunteer abroad. Avoid vague resolutions like “I want to volunteer abroad.” Instead, say “I want to apply my knowledge of women’s rights to at risk groups in Asia” or “I want to practice my Spanish speaking skills while volunteering at a summer camp in Chile.” Spending time thinking about what you want to accomplish in your life will help you narrow down your search and choose a volunteer program that’s right for you.
  • Write them down: This seems like a silly thing to do, but physically writing down your goals after you identify them makes them more real and holds you accountable. You can even write them down and hang them in your room or on your mirror so they’re always on your mind.
  • Break each goal down into actions and prioritize them: Once you decide where you want to volunteer abroad or what you want to do (like, volunteering in India, for example) assign two hours each week to researching different organizations. You should also research relevant issues and what the volunteer industry is like in that country — it’s part of being a responsible and informed volunteer. Start your budget and talk to your boss about your plans. Decide when you’ll go and for how long, buy flights, schedule vaccination appointments, and figure out what to pack for your volunteer trip.
  • Keep track of your progress: If you realize that it’s already March and you haven’t contacted any volunteer organizations, you are not staying on top of your goals. Set dates and deadlines ahead of time and make sure you follow through. You can also write down your timeline and hang it somewhere visible so you can keep track.

Following these tips will help establish a strong foundation for following through with your goals. You’ll be one step closer to making volunteering abroad a reality, but you’re not done yet!

Get Ready to Go

Vivian in Nepal

Photo Credit: Vivian Bi

When I graduated college, I had never planned a volunteer trip before. I didn’t know where to start. Then, I began researching different organizations and figuring out what I wanted to do. This first step was slightly easier for me, since I already knew where I wanted to go. If your destination is unknown, your first steps will look a little different, but either way, your pre-departure steps (which we brushed on in the previous section) will look a little like this:

First, you’ll want to choose your organization and destination. As a volunteer, it is your responsibility to make sure that the organization you choose is trustworthy, actually benefitting the community, and will keep you safe. If there are ever any doubts about the integrity of the organization,contact them and ask questions. Make them convince you of their sustainability and commitment to helping the community.

After you find a great organization, you can then pick your program and country according to your skill set and interests. If you are one of those brave souls who are taking a career break or volunteering post retirement, there are some great organizations with programs more suited to adult participants. Picking your program can be a tough choice, but also one of the most exciting parts of the process.

Next, decide when you want to go so that your program can start preparing for your arrival and you can prepare for your departure. Hopefully, by this step, you’ve already been in contact with the organization and both of you have some idea of when you’re looking to volunteer and for how long. Also, if there are any applications you need to submit, do so now!

Once you know you’ve been accepted, you’ll want to set a budget and fundraise. Research your estimated program costs, flight costs, vaccination costs, and any extra travel expenses you might have, and figure out how much money you’ll need to save. Many organizations offer fundraising platforms, but you can also get creative on your own.

Host a party where instead of gifts, everyone brings donations to help fund your volunteer project or host organization. On top of this, look at ways you can cut back on costs in your daily life. Here are 30 Ways to Cut Your Monthly Expenses, including things like bulk cook your meals at home, don’t buy take away coffee every day, and shop at thrift stores.

Following these steps worked for me, but it wasn’t everything. You need to frame your mindset around making volunteering abroad a priority. Without that commitment, you won’t have the motivation to make your travel aspirations come true. At the end of this getting started research process, you’ll likely be surprised by all the things you didn’t know about volunteer abroad, and it will likely seem far less overwhelming.

Why 2015 Is Your Year to Volunteer Abroad!

Do you need further encouragement to go volunteer abroad this year? Here are a list of seven benefits that will make all your effort worth it.

  • Learning something new: Whether it be a skill, language, or certification, your experience abroad will undoubtedly teach you something that can be used in your daily life.
  • Expanding your horizons: Jumping headfirst into an unknown country and culture is absolutely going to give you unique insight, change your perspective of the world, and give you something to think about after you return home.
  • Reevaluating your priorities: By taking on the role of volunteer, you will be able to take the focus off yourself and on helping others. This will help you understand what’s truly important in your life.
  • Talking about your cool new experiences: The next time the conversation turns to international relations at a party or meeting, you’ll be able to contribute with your thoughts and what you did while volunteering abroad.
  • Putting things into perspective: If you feel your life going down a road you don’t particularly love, do something about it. Now. If traveling and volunteering is something you’ve always wanted to do, start making those plans today. If you feel stuck or confused about your path, taking time off to travel is an excellent way to do some soul searching.
  • Helping to improve your host community: By transferring your skills to those in a developing country you are making a much more long lasting contribution. Like the old proverb, you’re not giving fish away for free, you are teaching people how to fish, thus providing them with skills to continue improving their lives.
  • Impressing college admissions or employers: In today’s emerging global economy, having experience with living and working in different countries is incredibly important. Instead of just taking a vacation, you can volunteer and then leverage that experience to get a job or get accepted to college.

This year, instead of resolving to buy a gym membership that you only use for two months, or to read those books that have been collecting dust on your bookshelf, make a resolution to take action. If volunteering abroad has always been a dream of yours, now is the time to make it happen.

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Meet our Professional Writing Intern,Mary Reber!

Welcome Mary Reber! 

Hello! My name is Mary Reber. I’m a senior English major with a minor in professional writing here at EIU. I’m excited to start working with the Study Abroad office for the spring 2015 semester as a professional writing intern. From my first look in the Study Abroad office, I feel like I’m going to enjoy the people, the projects, and the experience.

Although I have not participated in a study abroad program, I have had the opportunity to travel to Ireland as a teenager, and I look forward to a future of travelling to all sorts of different countries and experiencing different cultures. I have always been interested in travelling and was sad when I realized studying abroad was not going to be in the cards for me. Since I am graduating at the end of the spring semester, I will miss the chance to study abroad with EIU, but I know that learning opportunities don’t stop with school. I am sure I will still be able to learn all sorts of things in my travels in the future. I hope to get some ideas on where I would most like to travel by working with the office.

flag_of_irelandWhen I traveled to Ireland, I instantly fell in love with the country. The passing of life in Ireland is slower than it is here; everyone seems more relaxed. Of course, I spent most of my time travelling between B&B’s out in the country so my opinion negates city life. If I had the opportunity to go to school in Ireland, I probably would. My cousin Maureen actually decided to transfer to a school in Ireland after studying abroad, so the love of the country seems to be genetic.           


Hopefully while I complete my work for the Study Abroad office, I will have the time to read through the guest posts to learn about the different countries EIU sends its students to study. I feel like getting the insider prospective of the country is the most helpful when you are choosing where to travel or where to study abroad.I am excited to start my work for the office come January, and you may be hearing more from me then. Thanks for reading!

Darius in the United Kingdom

                                                                                                                                                            Professional Picture 1
Darius Lee Francis, a Chicagoan and student at Eastern Illinois University, makes the long 4,000 mile journey to Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom, with the assistance of Panrimo and EIU.  He interned in Summerhall (Summer 2014). Summerhall is an arts hub for various arts performances and a venue for various events such as weddings, banquets, and parties.  Summerhall has a pub/bar, cafe, and catering department within.  The excitement does not end with Summerhall.  Darius traveled all over the United Kingdom and Europe and experience different foods, cultures, people, and fashion. Here is one of Darius’s blogs entry during his stay in Summerhall. If you would like to learn more about his travels in the United Kingdom check out his blog

The Internship 

The first week of my internship was interesting…
I walk up to this place that looks like a piece of a castle…it has old charm and is quite interesting.
I enter the building and the old charm continues…I walk to the reception desk…
“Hi, my name is Darius Francis, I am and intern from Chicago working with the events and programming team here.”
“OH! Hi, you are the person everyone has been talking about here! We all got an email about you, saying how you would be joining us!”
Anna, the sweet girl from reception! She was so nice and things never changed. Always greeting with a smile and her British accent could never do any harm.
“Well, Da-rye-us, uh.. I mean, how is it that you say your name?” she said.
“DARE-EE-US.” I explained.
“Well Darius, let me call Rupert, the Artistic Director, he has been awaiting your arrival.”
Moments later a long, lanky man, wearing a black suit with big black hair walks from the left corridor.  He looked a little confused, very artistic to say the least.
“Daarius!” He said like a Newyorker
“Welcome to Summerhall! My name is Rupert, I am the Artistic Director here at Summerhall.  You have been in contact with my wife, Anu, she is your internship coordinator. Let me show you around!”
At this time I was a little nervous. However,  I was exited to be in this new place.  Rupert took me on a tour of this amazing building called Summerhall. He explained to me that Summerhall used to be the Vet School for the University of Edinburgh.
All the original architecture was the same from when the school move to its new location.  Each room in Summerhall was still in it original state and kept its original name.  The most amazing of all the rooms was the ” Dissection Room.” this room was where the vet students dissected and learned about the interior of animals.  There was a large lift in the space, now used for DJs and others event things, previously was the lift used to bring up large animals, like elephants, and giraffes.
What an amazing and unique place to work.
After my tour of all the venues in the large and beautiful Summerhall, I was thoroughly confused.
The Dissection Room, The Small Animal Clinic, The Autopsy Room, The Main Hall, and The Old Lab, just to name a small few.  The place is a maze…
Rupert took me back around and to through the courtyard and up to the management office and showed me my desk!
Let me back track.  During the time of the tour, every time we saw someone, which was every five seconds, I was introduced to someone new.
Rupert would say,
“Hi ______, I am taking our new intern on a tour of all of our venues. He is from…Chicago…”
“The new person would usually gasp and say oh, you are from the States! C H I C A G O…Ive never been.
Why are you here?
We have such terrible weather.”
Okay, now back to my desk.  It was definitely more than I expected. Wonderful view and large windows in the office! Just what I like!

Fashion & Shopping

Now, the fashion in the United Kingdom varies.  At first, one wouldn’t be sure what the trends are in a certain area. However, if you look beyond the surface, you will find that there many fashion statments being made in the UK.

Firstly, Harris Tweed.
There are many shops all around Scotland that sell Harris Tweed, and Cashmere.  I personally think that tweed looks grand.

Many people you see walking down the street will be wearing a tweed bag or purse. Sometimes you may even see a wallet or blazer made of tweed.

One day shortly after I arrived in Scotland discovered on my way to work, near the bridges, The House of Cashmere. 

Beautiful place with an equally as beautiful staff to match.  Now if you know nothing else, you should know that I am incredibly indecisive when it comes down to purchasing… well, anything.

Each day after work while walking home, for about 3 weeks, I would make sure I walked by The House of Cashmere and “eye” almost stalk, this briefcase that I wanted from the window. The Briefcase was make of Harris Tweed and leather.

The bag was constantly on my mind.

Some days, during those 3 weeks, I would even go inside and check on the bag, just to make sure it was still in good condition and just to hold it.

It was a little obsessive, I know.

Each time I entered the shop, the helpful, but never pushy staff, would act as if I had not been stopping in each day gazing at the bag.

On the Thursday of the third week eyeing this item I decided that I would purchase the briefcase.

When I entered the store I went straight for the bag.  Just then, I saw some one eyeing it up.

Now of course this would happen to me,  the day I want to purchase the bag, someone else is looking to destroy my dreams.

Just then, the kind staff member came up behind me and said,

” Hiya! Is there anything I can help you with…? ”
She saw me staring at the bag.

“Oh yes! have you made a decision on if you were going to by the briefcase?” she said loudly reaching for the bag.

At that moment I was so over joyed that she had the bag in her hands, for me!

I purchased the bag, and I am still in great love with my Harris Tweed Briefcase.


The day decided to come to Scotland, I knew that I wanted to wear a kilt. It was something that I thought would help me understand the Scottish Culture.

Prior to my arrival in Scotland, it was my belief, and the belief of many other Americans, that everyone in Scotland would be wearing a kilt!

Contrary to this belief, kilts are only worn for special occasions.  Weddings, Parties, Special events, soccer games etc.

While discussing with a Scottish friend, Chris, the American belief about kilts, he told me he had one of his own.

Originally, I thought I would be able to purchase one of my own.  However, after seeing the cost, my mind quickly changed.

So, I asked Chris if I could wear his…he agreed.

The rest is history.


Recently, I had the pleasure of traveling to Glasgow, London, and Paris.

The shopping in Paris, as you can imagine, is something that I had never experienced before…obviously.

The Five Week Countdown!

The Five Week Countdown by Brittany Griffin

Hello Everyone!
It is so hard to believe that this experience is coming close to an end! I have five more weeks out of the nineteen that I am supposed to be here, which means that everything is going to go crazy fast. I am so grateful for this whole experience because if I stayed in the US, I wouldn’t have been able to grow as much as I have. In my opinion, the best way to grow in anything is to do things that are outside of your comfort zone. This trip has definitely revealed some things about myself that I might not have known, and I have been able to learn and improve from these inner conflicts.As far as teaching goes, I feel that I am getting to a point where I am comfortable with the idea of having my own classroom. I didn’t think that I would get to this point for a while, but I am so excited! Also, I have gotten the chance to develop more relationships with the kids, and they are really starting to grow on me. There are still many times during each class when I will say a certain word and they will have no idea what I am saying, or they will say a word in Spanish if they don’t know the word in English and I will look at them the same way. But, these kids have really given me a wonderful example of how to teach an international student. Since all of the students are speaking in their second language, I have to constantly think about their vocabulary limits.

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In addition, I am constantly reminded that each student has a story. Since almost all of the students at my school live a “Beverly Hills “lifestyle”, it would be easy to assume that they all have perfect lives, but that is far from the truth. There are so many students that are still hurting no matter how much stuff they have. I may not be able to fix their family issues, but I can encourage them. I may not be able to fix how they are treated at home, but I can give them a hug, which may be the only hug they get from anyone that day. I have definitely gotten a different point of view concerning the relationship between life issues and wealth. Even if you work at a rich private school, every kid who walks through those hallways have problems just like any other kid in the world.

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I have also been able to take a few trips since my last post. My first trip was to Arenal, which is a huge tourist spot to see an active volcano. During the trip, I did not do any exciting excursions up the volcano, but I did go to a resort that had twenty five pools of different temperatures. So, basically there were twenty hot tubs with about five cold pools. It was a great way to unwind from a full week of teaching by myself! Then, the next weekend I went to another active volcano, Poaz, which was amazing! For this volcano, you are able to walk all the way to the top and see the crater. I went with a group of wonderful girls and had a blast! When we all walked up to the crater, we couldn’t see anything because of the fog, but after the rain started, we could see everything. Unfortunately, being at the top was a lot colder than expected, especially with the added rain. Let me just say, that I am definitely concerned about going back to the States at the beginning of December because I have become a wimp towards the cold. Thankfully, we were all able to scurry down to the entrance and warm-up with some hot coffee. : D . We also got chances during the bus ride to stop and take pictures of the landscapes. So beautiful! Here are some of the pictures that were taken during the trips.

     “Who knows what will come up in these last five weeks, but I will keep you posted! Happy Halloween everyone”

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