Wednesday, 19 October 2016

5 Study Tips While Abroad

5 Study Tips While Abroad 

Studying abroad can be a fun time full of new adventures but remember, you still have to take your classes, so with any luck these five easy tips can help make your life less stressful as you embark on this new adventure. 

1.      Get a planner.
Even if you don’t use one back home you will need one while studying abroad. If you have a well organized planner, you can save yourself some stress and confusion later in the semester. Buying a planner is the first step but really writing in it is step two. Take the syllabus and mark down the dates for your papers and tests as well as the trips you are taking. A planner can keep everything organized while you are travelling around the world while still trying to  pass all your classes.
2.      Use your time wisely.
In past semesters, it was easy to put all your homework off till the weekend and binge watch all six seasons of your favorite show. While abroad, you won’t have time on the weekends. So, put down the Netflix and do your homework instead. If you use the free time you have throughout the week to do little bits of your work you won’t have to spend all Sunday night cramming in a week’s worth of assignments. 
3.      Bring some homework with you.
I know it sounds lame to pack homework on your trip, but you will be thankful later if you do. Use all that time on a train or plane to catch up on your reading assignments. If you don’t want to take the whole book, make a copy of the chapters you need to read to save space. If you do some homework while you travel you will have less to finish when you get back.
4.      Use all your available resources.
This one is just a good study tip in general.  While abroad, make sure to visit the library. Yes, there is a library. It also has quiet floors so you can actually get some work done. You can also visit sites like or to help make your study session more productive.
5.      Eliminate outside distractions.
It is 2016 and everyone has a mobile phone attached to them all hours of the day, but if you want to make your study time more effective then lock your phone in a drawer and get to work. Getting your mind away from your friends latest Facebook post or your ex’s last Instagram photo will keep your mind more focused on the assignment at hand. Trust me, all your social media sites will still be there after you finish your homework and your GPA will thank you later.

When you study abroad, you hear a lot about the places people go and the amazing things they see but a lot of people forget to mention the classes they were in. Don’t let those smiling faces fool you. The classes can be tough, but hopefully with these quick study tips you can conquer your classes and even the world. 

Written by: Brielle Brown

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Top 5 Tips For Planning Independent Trips



Plan in Advance

Flights are cheapest about 7 weeks before the departure date. Most budget airlines have a certain number of seats that they will offer at the lowest price, once those are booked they will offer the more seats at a higher price. Check out to compare airline fares.

Train tickets will also increase the closer to a date you get so book those about 3 weeks in advance, too.

It never hurts to call your taxi a week early, either, especially if it’s a busy weekend for traveling or if you’re on a time crunch. Taxi's may only be available 30 minutes before or after your requested time if you wait until the day of to call. This is a big deal if you have classes well into the afternoon.

16-25 Rail Card:
It’s worth it! My rail card paid for itself within 2 train tickets and trust me, if you’re flying out of London every weekend this will totally pay for itself.

City Cards:
Most cities offer tourist cards. Most give discounted or free access to public transit and several offer admissions to popular tourist attractions. Not all are worth their prices though. Compare what you want to do with the cost of the tourist card. Some websites will even do this for you. Some city tourist cards I’ve personally found worth while are:
·         London: Oyster Card (discount on underground services – also saves time)
·         Cinque Terre, Italy: Cinque Terre Card (free access to Wi-Fi, public restrooms, trails, and unlimited bus rides between towns)
·         Munich: Bayern ticket (free unlimited public transport around Bayern)
·         Barcelona: T10 Card (10 public transit rides for free – you can also split those rides amongst multiple people)

Check the Reviews

Unless you’re traveling to Antarctica there are probably reviews on just about everything you’ll do while you travel. Make sure you don’t just go by the rating either. Once you have it narrowed down to a few options, actually READ some of the most recent reviews to see why the rating is what it is. For example, a hostel might be rated a 7 out of 10 because of a lack of a “fun atmosphere”, while others might be rated a 7 out of 10 because of lack of cleanliness. There is an important distinction here. Some of the best websites for reviews are:
· for hostels

· for hotels

· for restaurants and activities/sights

      If you can’t find a review on an activity on one of the popular websites, try googling the activity and find a travel blog that might have a review on it. Travel blogs aren’t always accurate because they are one person’s opinion but they can be helpful if there is not enough information otherwise.

      Utilize the Apps

GET ALL THE APPS! Just kidding, don’t or else you’ll have no room for pictures. But seriously, before you travel somewhere make sure you have some of the basic apps.
·         Tube Map: London Underground: this app tells you which lines to take and how long it will take you to reach your destination saving you lots of time!
·         CityMaps2Go: This allows you to access maps of wherever you are offline. It even tracks where you are using satellite. It says it only gives you one free offline map but as long as you delete the app and re-download it, you can continue getting new offline city maps for free. Sometimes you can even get an entire country or region which is helpful if you’re traveling outside of a major city.
·         PayPal: When traveling with a group you’ll often pay for one another. For example, it is not customary to split checks at most European restaurants so you’ll be indebted to each other multiple times throughout trips. PayPal makes it easy to pay one another on the spot and quickly transfer it to your bank account without a charge.

 Be a Leader

Sometimes it’s hard to organize a large or even small group; heck, it’s hard to organize yourself when making travel plans! You’ll be forced to make decisions on a regular basis so don’t be afraid to commit or offer your opinion to the group you’re traveling with. Throw out a restaurant suggestion. Speak up if you want to go into that cute shop you just passed. Remember, you deserve to have the experience you want to have.

Written by: Nicole Childress

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

A Hidden Gem : Rouen, France

     You may be wondering how I found myself on a charter bus from London to Paris around 3 A.M. sitting in front of a man with a “Grind or Die” snapback who argued with a Gandalf-like ponytailed man in a three-piece suit. Though my sleep-deprived mind wished to scream “This shall NOT pass” at that late hour, I drove the thorny thoughts from my mind and focused on my mission like I was James Bond (sans suit and cool gadgets). My mission - and I did choose to accept it - was to visit Rouen, a hidden gem of a city.
     Situated in northern France is the tiny city of Rouen. Approaching the city on a connecting charter from Paris, I emerged out of the running hills of the French countryside and the thick forest foliage into the charming city snuggled by the Seine, surrounded by the comforting support of mountains clothed in verdant green. Inspired by its historical legacy, my familial origins there, and it being the site of the trial and execution of the famed Joan of Arc, I felt my heart skip as I stepped off the bus into temperate air to stroll to my hotel. Like cloudy green jade, the Seine flowed lazily under the bridge and reflected the nearly-cloudless sky of possibility.
     I dropped my things off at the Ibis Hotel, freshened up, and set off to wander the streets of Rouen. Cobblestone streets scattered with the occasional cigarette greeted my feet, along with chalkboard signs reading daily specials. I passed a cinema advertising French films and opted to meander down an alleyway wreathed with straggles of flowers. This led me to the Roman-Catholic Church of Saint-Maclou, elaborate in its Gothic architecture. Looking closer at the grim decorations, you can understand how the Black Death inspired some gruesome depictions in the art.

     Driven by my hunger - as is my usual state of being - I stepped into a small restaurant called La Petite Bouffe . There I ordered “Le Petit Canard” (“the little duck”) sandwich, which came out on flour-dusted fresh bread. Oh, this sandwich was just what my stomach ordered - generous strips of hot, juicy duck as well as lettuce and a mayonnaise-based sauce? Yes please. It came out to be reasonably priced and it filled me up with enough fuel to drive on

     After lunch I meandered more, finding the Saint-Ouen Abbey Church. Large and repeating the Gothic Flamboyant style, Ouen seemed more unkempt, with vegetation sprouting through the stone at select points to trickle down the sides. Ouen had a park-like area beside it, inhabited by teenagers roughhousing in their games, a floppy-tailed puppy learning how to play fetch, and a statue of Rollo, the Viking who became the first ruler of Normandy. Rollo looked a little rough, his stone unfortunately being tattooed with careless graffiti. The air was light, though, whispering to press on.
     Down alleyways I went, till I discovered one long alleyway so tight that you had to walk single-file to get through it. At the end of this straight-shot there was, on the wall, a portrait of Joan of Arc, perhaps done in the medium of spray paint. Not too far was the Historial Jeanne D’Arc, a museum in which you walk through different chambers to illuminate different sections of the life of the Maid. I did pass through, and was impressed.
     Exiting the Historial Jeanne D’Arc, I entered the majesty of the Rouen Cathedral. Having seen Westminster Abbey in the peak of tourism, I see this cathedral was a breath of fresh air. Walking into a nearly-empty cathedral is something like a dream, small tongues of golden candlelight appearing in every alcove in rows upon rows. Cathedrals rock you back on your heels till you feel dizzy, are open and airy and set in stone. This cathedral in particular is tomb of kings, housing Rollo, William I Duke of Normandy, Matilda of England, and even, at one point, Richard the Lionheart’s heart. Monet painted several versions of the Rouen Cathedral during several times of day and several types of weather, so it’s clear in no matter what condition the cathedral lives through, it still stands magnificent.
     The next day, my final day in Rouen, I visited the Church of St. Joan of Arc. This church, twisted and dark in architecture, was built in Rouen’s market square and a little garden just outside called Le Bouchet marks the spot where Joan was burnt for heresy. I’d set out alone in the early morning to see this spot, early enough in the day to see the fingers of dawn touch the cathedral and turn its highest spires pink with sunlight. Arriving at Le Bouchet, I read the sign where Joan’s death was summed up in one sentence and covered by the scent of the rosemary bushes and purple flowers growing nearby. I am not a particularly religious person, but visiting Joan’s final destination at such an early hour in the morning stuck in my heart. This enigma of a peasant girl turned military leader, this puzzle of a maiden who turned the tide of the Hundred Years War - all had condensed to her burning at the meager age of 19. In October, I will be 20, and able to live longer than the historical Maid.

     A new appreciation rises from Rouen, the place where Joan was tested and executed. Though the city experienced its hardships and still does feel the weight of terrorist threat today, Rouen is soaked through with beauty and history of striving for a cause. It is truly a hidden gem.

Written by: Julia Toney

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Life Changing isn't a Strong Enough Description

Anyone you ask that has studied abroad will tell you the same thing. "Studying abroad changed my life." Anyone who hasn't studied abroad will say they wish they did.

"There is nothing I would not do for those who
are really my friends. I have no notion of loving
people by halves, it is not my nature." -Jane Austen

Being away in another country can be rough. But Harlaxton prepares you, they prepare you to travel alone, to immerse yourself into another culture, and how to make a new life in England.

But what they don't prepare you for is leaving. You're excited to go home and see your family, friends, and pets. Sadly, by going back to the states you end up leaving the new Harlaxton family you've made while being here, the new family of students from all across the United States, professors from different colleges, and the staff at Harlaxton Manor.

My biggest fear leaving Texas was not if I'd be able to do my school work or if I would be able to travel. It was if I'd be able to make friends. I was so incredibly scared I would get to England and find no one to be friends with. I was scared for no reason at all. I did make friends. And the friends I made I hope to keep for the rest of my life. They are the girls I stayed up late watching movies with, went out and painted the town red with, had amazing and silly adventures with, crammed for the British Studies with, and the girls who are now my family.
I owe a lot to Harlaxton for giving my this wonderful experience. But I think I owe them the most for giving me a new family. One that I hope to always be a part of.
" born at the moment when one man
says to another 'What! You too! I thought that
no one but myself...'" - C.S. Lewis

Written by: Skylar Plummer