你好大家!

Week Six of being in China has been pretty eventful! The weather has been getting a lot nicer and into Spring so that makes absolutely everything better. The air quality is better and the flowers are blossoming! I was running today and one petal fell and blew straight into my eye though and it was really uncomfortable for a moment. So hazardous. Also, my classes are getting way more manageable. I think I’m feeling better and better about my Chinese most days. Yee!
Last weekend we went to the LouGuanTai, a Buddhist temple that is a scenic hike up into the mountains outside of Xi’an. It was so nice to get out into nature with some friends and see some green. The temple was really expensive to get into but we were able to take pictures in the doorway, so that’s pretty much the same :)) Walking around the trails of bamboo forests with little wooden temples along the way was really worth the trip. We also found a really nice lookout and giant statue of the writer Lao Tze. Oh and we also rode on horses for like 5 minutes! Then they tried to charge us more so we got off but it was really quite thrilling I don’t often ride horses.

 

I’ve also started volunteering with a kindergarten on campus teaching English! It’s only one class a week but it’s so much fun. It’s also really easy to come up with lesson plans because one of the Chinese teachers set me up with a tutoring gig with his friend’s daughter who is also five. It turns out I can reuse the lessons and materials I make for tutoring with teaching at the kindergarten and vice versa. The little girl that I tutor, Chen Chen, is so cute and creative and clever, it’s so much fun to be paid to play games with her once a week. The first week I completely underestimated her level, she’s only five but I had planned to teach her the seasons, when we got to Spring I asked her if she knew what the picture was and she said, “Springtime, flowers are in blossom” and I was like, Oh WOW we need to do something else. On Wednesday her Mother texted me and just wrote, “I will pick you up at 5:30 and we will go back to our house for the tutoring session tonight”. I said that was fine but when we arrived at her house it actually turned out to be a birthday party for Chen Chen! They invited me to eat dinner with them and then one of Chen Chen’s friends came over and we had a birthday cake and everyone sang happy birthday in English! Even the grandparents! I was so touched that they invited me to the birthday party. It was really nice to be at home with a family, I was so happy.

I’ve also started volunteering with the OCAT Xi’an Contemporary Art Museum! I’m super excited about this, I was given a tour by the founder of the Museum for their new Oil Painting exhibit which opened this past weekend. I later found out that this was my training as an English tour guide for the exhibit (posh voice). I went to the opening but nobody needed an English tour merp. But I did give my friend Lauren a tour. She is going to be volunteering at the Museum with me. On Wednesday we had a meeting scheduled with another volunteer who was running really late so we did the tour and we analyzed the artwork (which she is really good at!) and then we did some yoga in the activities space upstairs – she was trying to show me how to chatarunga – which thankfully no one walked in on. When we actually had the meeting, it was super productive! We seem to have full reign of the room upstairs to hold weekly activities every Wednesday. We came up with a list of programs to run by Ma Ying (the person you run things by) that middle school to University students may be interested in taking part in. Some of the ideas we came up with were; a poetry workshop based on the paintings in the exhibit; a workshop/informational session on Chinese-Muslim calligraphy, a workshop where kids bring in trash and we try to make musical instruments out of them and teach them about protecting the environment; and a poetry reading where kids have to draw a picture to go along with a poem. These were a few of our ideas but they have to be approved my Ma Ying before we can start working on any of them. Still, the meeting felt really productive and got me really excited to start working on any one of these programs.

Anyways, I’ll keep you updated! I’ve included pictures of the hike and the Buddhist temple, volunteering at the kindergarten, and we also went to BingMaYong, the Terracotta Warriors (we went on the same day that Michelle Obama went! But we didn’t see her.) so included a couple pictures of us there as well.  China1 China2 China3 China4 China5 China6 China8

Guest Blogger: Julie Martine Paquette

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Study abroad is not about studying, no matter what your good intentions might be. We know how to study – we’ve been doing it for over a decade by this point. No, study abroad is about the little details (and the big ones) that separate you from home and teach you about yourself and about the world, not about your college major. Now, as a disclaimer, I did study while I was abroad, but I learned as much, if not more, outside the classroom.

My name is Julie, and I just returned from a semester in Antibes, France. I am a third-year Cultural Anthropology major with minors in Business Administration and History. I began my study of the French language when I was 12 years old. I was looking to continue my practice in France, and the Riviera program was the perfect fit.

I arrived at the peak of the summer season on the Riviera, so I enjoyed three full months of beautiful weather before the cold started to creep in. I kid you not – I was still swimming in November. In Antibes, I was situated between Cannes and Nice, two of France’s most famous cities to the south. Both cities were only a short train ride away, as were the French Alps and the Italian border. My apartment was a ten-minute walk from the beach, and it was hard to find a place where you weren’t in view of the sea.

Life in Antibes is not like city life. It’s much more relaxed than Paris. Life slows down on the beach. I recommend studying there in the fall because, like I said, you start off in peak season. Still, if you want an unparalleled view and a “hidden gem” type of experience, this is the place. The food is delicious and diverse. There are boats everywhere, at all times – you can even take sailing classes with the university if you’re so inclined. Most students live in apartments with other students from the abroad program. I lived in a homestay so that I could practice the language more. My host mom, Francoise, was an angel. She was an incredible cook (think fresh, homemade baguettes, daily), a reliable guide, and an great resource for learning the language.

As for the studies, SKEMA’s business curriculum is challenging. You will take classes in your language of choice (French or English), but most classes are in English. What sets SKEMA apart is that it integrates its exchange students directly into the school with its “native” students, so you are not in a separate building like in many SA programs. Like any experience, the classes are what you make of them.

Finally, what makes the Sophia program so unique is the CEA experience. This program is small. There were only 10 of us, so it made for a truly personalized experience. We were constantly going on trips and having get-togethers planned by our program director and included (that means free) with the program. She provides an amazing support system. Having so few of us also allowed me to become close to an incredible group of people, with whom I still keep in touch. I can promise that between SKEMA’s international student body and CEA’s own diverse group of students, you will find companions with whom you can make memories.

If you want to learn more about my experience abroad, feel free to take a look at my blog, http://juliemartinepaquette.wordpress.com/category/sophia-antipolis/. It has pictures of Antibes as well as some other places I visited while I was there. This is not the typical study abroad experience. Keep your eyes open – there are opportunities everywhere. However, if you run out of things to do, there is always the beach.

Welcome to the Riviera, et bonne chance.

Julie

Schoolwork, Bali, Wildlife!

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Lately I have been swamped with work. Honestly I didn’t think I would have to do this much homework while abroad! The assignments I have had since I last wrote include but are not limited to: a Chinese presentation convincing my Chinese class why they should travel to Antarctica (yes, in Chinese), a paper on the threats and opportunities for cyber warfare in China for Chinese defense policy as well as a 15 minute presentation on that topic, a 2 hour Chinese written midterm, numerous profiling reports for my Criminal Profiling class, and the beginning of a case study project for my Learning and Behavior class. Oh yeah, also applying to co-ops for the fall and registering for summer 1 classes.

But the main focus on the entry is my trip to BALI. I left on the morning of Thursday 2/27 and left Bali Monday 3/3. It felt more like five minutes than five days. The flight was around 5 hours. Our days were extremely packed, I’ll give a brief overview. Day 1 we settled in to our hotel and walked around the neighborhood. Day 2 consisted of a 15 mile bike ride, an elephant safari, and white water rafting; all of which were absolutely amazing. Day 3 we had a tour of Ubud and rice fields. Day 4 we went to the largest temple in Bali. Day 5 we took a cooking class, relaxed and then headed back to school. I wasn’t planning on going to Bali originally, but the trip just looked so amazing and 3 of my friends were going. It was so worth it and it had everything I wanted in it: culture, wildlife, and adventure. I had never seen elephants so up close before and I got to pet one! She liked me very much and was hanging out by me; attached is a picture. A big change from Australia—none of the spiders in Bali are poisonous! Given the opportunity to hold one by one of my tour guides I obviously did. Bali was an experience like nothing else and the preservation of their culture is absolutely astonishing.

I am so lucky to have gone there and I felt very spoiled when I didn’t want to return to Australia even though Australia is also amazing! I am going on a few trips around Australia before I leave. I only have about 5 weeks left in my study abroad and am going to Cairns on Wednesday to live on a boat for 3 days and dive the Great Barrier Reef, something that has been a dream of mine for years. I am so excited! I am also planning trips to Sydney and Melbourne before I leave. This semester has flown by so quickly and I am trying to pack as much as I can before I leave. I am extremely happy to have seen so much wildlife already and going to the Great Barrier Reef will be a whole new experience of seeing wildlife. Goodbye for now and I will have a lot to say when I get back from Cairns!

Cheers,
Shannon

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These are pictures from the few days we were in Beijing. As a group we went to the Hou Hai lakes and explored one of the remaining Hutong neighborhoods which surround the lakes. The Hutong’s are neighborhoods of old, one-story, traditional houses and travelling through them gives you a feel for what it would be like to live in ancient, dynastic Beijing! We navigated through the neighborhood’s narrow alleyways in rickshaws and were able to have a homemade meal in one of the Hutong houses. It was delicious! The remaining Hutong neighborhoods are being preserved as most have been destroyed due to new construction projects. They are also big tourist attractions and around the lake are some really fun shopping/eating centers. The lakes are also absolutely gorgeous and it was great just to take in the scenery there :)

 

Crystal Wegner

 

Northeastern University chemical engineering students embark on a process safety venture during spring break to Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.

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Ten Northeastern University chemical engineering students elected to head North instead of South for their Spring Break.  The venture is a part of a new international program initiative to offer international experiences to students during the Spring Break as part of their educational experiences.  The group led by Prof. Ronald J. Willey, Professor Chemical Engineering, Northeastern will focus on process safety along with some cultural activities in the Province of Quebec Canada.  Their plans include performing a Hazard Analysis of a laboratory area at the University of Sherbrooke, possibly working with some fellow Canadian students.  They will also visit a paper mill and a chlorine producer based on the Province.  The week finishes off in Quebec City with a surprise or two awaiting them.

Hi all!

My name is Crystal Wegner, I am an International Affairs student in my 5th year (and last semester!) at Northeastern University, and this is my blog about my 4-month study abroad experience in Xi’an China.

I arrived in Beijing last Wednesday on February 12th for the Alliance for a Global Education orientation of the Xi’an and the Silk Road study abroad program. A few days later we took the overnight train to Xi’an, got acquainted with the Shaanxi Normal University campus, and started up our Mandarin languages classes.

Just to give you a bit of background into my senior year thus far: from August up until the end of January I had been doing an International co-op with an NGO called Supporting Kids in Peru (SKIP) in Trujillo, Peru. At SKIP I was teaching children in SKIP’s afterschool program and doing microfinance and economic development work with the mother’s involved in the organization. Going from Peru on January 31st to Boston for ten days to Beijing on February 11th made me think my head might explode a little (it hasn’t yet). Also, saying goodbye to my friends, coworkers, students, and life in Peru is too sad to not describe outside of a tragic love poem (still in draft phase), and seeing my family and friends in Boston obviously made me want to stay there forever (they are truly lovely).

With this in mind, when I arrived in Beijing, China for the orientation with Alliance for a Global Education I was feeling a bit removed from the whole experience; still processing how I could have left summer and the beach in Northern Peru for winter and smog in Northern China! I understand this is awful though. I was in the capital city of China and it was my first time ever seeing China! I should have been elated! But it happened and I’m happy to report that since arriving in Xi’an I’ve been able to settle into my new home a bit more and have stopped being such a crybaby. Now I’m back to feeling like one of the luckiest humans around for getting to travel to so many really incredible places for my senior year.

Some things that I am really looking forward to this semester in Xi’an are my classes with Alliance and volunteer opportunities in Xi’an.

CLASSES: Our Mandarin language class is probably the hardest class I’ve ever taken. This past week has been a bit of a roller coaster ride of feeling REALLY excited to start classes, horrified by the amount of homework and how behind I am with Chinese characters, panic that I definitely am not in the right level and they misplaced me, and quiet acceptance… or maybe it can be called feeling up to the challenge. It’s only been 4 days, but I already feel like I’m recognizing way more characters and am able to read the dialogues a lot faster. The first day it took me about 4 hours to individually draw into my phone and annotate each individual character. Now I am down to about two hours and reading the dialogues is becoming a lot easier. All in 4 days! I am incredible.

As for volunteer opportunities, in China the children are adorable. It is winter and they are all wearing the puffiest winter coats ever created and animal shaped hats. It is so cute. If I find out it is culturally acceptable to take pictures of random children I will absolutely post pictures. It’s only been a few weeks but I already miss working with kids. Lucky for me there is a conveniently placed kindergarten on Shaanxi Normal University’s campus and they offer volunteer opportunities to teach English to the kids!
Our Program Director, Orion – maybe one of the nicest people alive – also informed me of a volunteer opportunity with an Art Museum in Xi’an with which Alliance has connections. The woman who runs the museum is also looking for foreign volunteers with an interest in art and curating.
Both of these opportunities would be amazing. I love volunteering in foreign countries because it really forces you to get out into the community and meet locals. Also, you can do some really great things like help curate museums. I feel like it’s especially important to volunteer when studying abroad so that you don’t get trapped into the ex-pat bubble. Also it really helps with your language skills!

 

Current State of the Union at Bond University

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So far there are two days that have stuck out as extremely culturally different: Australia Day and the Superbowl. January 26th was Australia Day- sort of like our 4th of July. When I say sort of I mean not at all. In America, the 4th of July truly is a national holiday and you are insane if you don’t celebrate it or at least attend a barbecue. Here, it’s fine if you do nothing. Which is basically what I did, I just had a lazy Sunday. My Australian friends warned me not to get my hopes up and told me that it wasn’t a big deal, yet I was still disappointed. I ended up spending the night stargazing on campus near the lake and talking about our time in Australia so far with two of my American friends. Which wasn’t bad it was just different. ‘Superbowl Sunday’ here was actually Superbowl Monday and the game kicked off at 9:30am. I watched the game on a projector screen on campus while doing homework– a very different superbowl watching experience than what I am used to. It didn’t help that I wanted the Broncos to win and they got slaughtered.

On a more positive note, 2 weeks ago I went to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary with some friends. It was amazing. I got to pet kangaroos, hold a koala, watch a crocodile get fed and walk around various other animals! It was a unique experience and they would have nothing like it in America. There were children running free from their parents petting the kangaroos and very little regulation, however no one was doing harm to any of the animals. I spoke to one of the volunteers and he said that most of the kangaroos were born and raised here. The koala I held was a bit over a year old. I got a picture with her as well. That zookeeper said that each koala only gets held for pictures for 30 minutes a day, and after every 3 days they get ‘a day off’. So they are not handled too often. I have always wanted to see those animals and the wildlife is a huge reason why I came to visit Australia. I looked into volunteering there, but they have a 6 month service requirement and I will only be here for 4 months. It was still a great experience and I had an amazing day.

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Interacting with wildlife was one of my main goals during my time here and another one of my goals was to get SCUBA certified. I started the course and have 2 more dives left until I am officially certified! During our first session we had a few hours of classroom/theory stuff and then worked on a lot of skills in the pool on campus. The week after that we went on our first actual dive near Cook Island about an hour away from campus. The first dive wasn’t so great because I could not see a thing due to my mask fogging up. The water visibility wasn’t clear already and I literally could barely see what was next to me…it was equally frustrating and scary. I switched masks for the second dive and it was AMAZING!!! Being underwater for an extended period of time and actually getting to swim with the fish and other animals was so cool. It was a shore dive so we just jumped into the water from the shore (pretty self explanatory) and next week we have a boat dive. I hope the weather is nice and that the visibility is better. The dive instructors are awesome- so nice, informative and helpful. Diving is tiring but it’s an extremely good time and it’s addicting. It also helps that one of my best friends, Meaghan, is my dive buddy :) I cannot wait to get back into the water again and can’t stop thinking about it!

On Friday there is a spring festival/gala to celebrate the Chinese New Year, organized by the Chinese Student Association on campus. I’m going with most of my Chinese class. Someone in our class is performing a Chinese song so that should be fun. And after that there is some sort of Valentine’s day event. Luckily I have a red dress with hearts on it which can dually function for both events because you are supposed to wear red to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

My images still aren’t loading so I’ll attach a link to my flickr page. I update it every few days, adding photos and descriptions underneath them. Enjoy! :)

-Shannon

http://www.flickr.com/photos/115609200@N03/

Study Abroad Scholarships for Fall 2014

differing-currneciesFinancing study abroad is a key concern among many of our students.  For questions on the cost of study abroad, as always, please consult the Finances Tab on the OISP Website, the Pricing and Billing Information Sheet, the Cost section on program pages, Northeastern Financial Services (your Financial Aid Advisor), and contact OISP with any further questions!

Are there scholarships available?? Yes!  There are many, many National Scholarships available for students going abroad – we link to many of these in the Finances Tab of the OISP website.

For Fall 2014 Students, OISP is pleased to offer several Study Abroad Scholarships.  We have College-Specific Scholarships for students in the COS, CAMD, and CSSH.  Deadline is April 1, 2014.  For more information, click here.

The Exchange Programs Scholarship for students applying to one of the institutions Northeastern has an exchange agreement with is also open for Fall 2014.  Click here for more information.  Deadline is March 1, 2014.

 

New England Returnee Conference- Free Registration for the 1st 10 NU Students!

Are you a study abroad alumni? You should attend the New England Returnee Conference (NERC) on February 22nd! 

We know that you had an amazing experience abroad! Now, make that experience work for you:

The 2014 New England Study Abroad Returnee Conference is dedicated to educating study abroad alumni from around New England on the best ways to utilize the skills and knowledge gained from an international experience. Attending this conference provides a unique opportunity to:

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  • Learn how to market your international experience to potential employers
  • Discover how to study/teach/work abroad again
  • Internationalize your resume and interviewing skills
  • Share stories with others that have similar interests and experiences
  • Enter your photos in a contest for prizes
  • Join keynote speaker, Andy Molinsky: author of Global Dexterity: How to adapt your behavior across cultures without losing yourself in the process. The first 80 students to register will receive a copy of the book! 

 

Conference Details:

Saturday, February 22, 2014

10:00am-4:00pm

Babson College, Wellesley, MA

$12 in advance; $15 at the door

*A shuttle will be available from the Green Line Woodland stop to/from Babson

At this year’s conference, we encourage attendees to dress professionally, as to encourage a professional atmosphere. Business casual attire would be appropriate.

 

To Register:

 

To make a submission into the Photo Contest:

For conference updates, follow online: Facebook   Twitter   Website

Please email returneeconference@gmail.com with any questions.