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Differences When Living Abroad

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Whether it be for study abroad, for work experience, or for any other reason at all, moving abroad can be both an extremely stressful and exciting opportunity in life. Once abroad you will find that many things are different and that some things that to you seem small and insignificant could be a big deal in another country. Here are five things you learn when moving abroad.

What Things Are Worth Can Be Different

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Things cost different amounts in different countries but the changes can be a lot more drastic than expected, especially if you are moving from a country with high costs like the U.S.A to a country such as Greece where the economy is struggling and prices are relatively low. It is a good idea to check conversion rates and the cost of living in the country that you are moving to in order to figure out how much you will need to spend.

People May Judge You

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Although everyone likes to think that they don’t have any predispositions towards other races, everyone has their own stereotypes and views of different cultures and races. It will be different being in a foreign country where people are not the same as you, and you are likely to be seen as different and judged based on where you are from. The liability of foreignness is a concept that says that being foreign is a liability in another country based on cultural views of what it means to be a native.

Other Cultures Aren’t Always as They Seem

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As mentioned in the previous point, you may have predispositions towards other races when going abroad. However, it is often nice to see that some of these can be completely wrong and may catch you by surprise. Although some cultural tendencies and stereotypes may come from a true place, it is important to keep an open mind as you never know how people may behave.

Actions that Seem Trivial May Not Be So

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Things that may seem small in one country, may have a much greater level of importance in others. In Europe and many other countries, check kissing upon greeting is very normalized. The amount of kisses varies from country to country and even within countries. However, this action within the United States would often be seen as an unwarranted familiarity that is inappropriate.

Things Can Mean Something Completely Different

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Signs, phrases, and actions in one country that are deemed appropriate may be completely inappropriate in others. One example of this is gift giving in India. In the United States there are not many real rules to gift giving, but if you hand somebody a gift in India, it can be seen as dirty as that is said to be the hand you use when utilizing the bathroom. The backwards peace sign in the US also means relatively nothing but is a extremely rude gesture in the United Kingdom.

There are a lot of things that might surprise you when living abroad, so do some research on the country and culture to be prepared!

Life Skills College Doesn’t Teach You

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When entering the real world after college, many recent graduates are unprepared for the real world and lack basic life skills and knowledge. This isn’t always the fault of the education system or a lack of effort. There are simply some things that we need to know that we are not taught in traditional education. Rather we must make an effort to learn these skills ourselves and must ready ourselves for the real world. Here are five important life skills all students should be taught before graduating college in order to be ready for the real world.

How to Prepare for An Interview

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One of the most important aspects of the real world is knowing how to prepare for a job interview. It is important to know how to dress oneself properly and appropriately and how to behave within an interview. Although past experience and knowledge are very important in getting a job, the interview itself is how employers decide whether or not you are suitable for the job.  Before going to an interview it is of vital importance to do proper research on the company, the position itself, and the culture of the position.

How to Do Your Own Taxes

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Although many people rely on personal accountants to do their taxes for them, it is important to at least have a grasp on how to go about doing your own taxes. Everyone has to do them and by learning how to do them, you can save money by not hiring someone else to do something that you can do yourself. If you are employed and earning money you will have to file taxes. Understanding how taxes affect your income and whether or not you are being taxed too much or too little is quite important.

How to Cook Proper Meals

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In college it is possible to skate by with only knowing a couple basic meals or by relying on meal plans or the traditional ramen noodle diet that college students seem to go with quite often.  Once in the real world it is necessary to not only know how to cook for yourself, but to know how to prepare healthy meals that get you all the nutrients and vitamins that you need. By learning how to cook proper meals you can not only keep yourself healthy, but can also save quite a bit of money by cutting down on how often you eat out.

How to Manage Money

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Many college students have never had much financial freedom and have had their parents either handle their finances completely or control them for the most part. In the real world, it is necessary to keep track of what you are spending and earning in order to ensure that you have enough to make it through the month or to do the little things you want to do. Investing in a basic finance course or enlisting the help of a friend to teach you how to handle money is a great idea. It is also a smart idea to learn a little more about banking and to learn to budget expenses monthly and weekly.

How to Balance Social and Work Life

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One of the worst mistakes that recent graduates make is focusing too much on either the social or professional aspects of their lives.  Some focus wholeheartedly on work, putting all of their effort into furthering their career without leaving time for relationships and friends. On the other hand, many do not know how to focus on their work without cutting down on the social life that they enjoyed during college, and struggle to either find a job or keep up with their work life. Just because you have graduated doesn’t mean your social life needs to be over. However, it doesn’t mean that focusing on work isn’t important. It is imperative to find a healthy balance between the two.

Although it is important to enjoy college and the freedom that you enjoy, it is also necessary to learn a few life skills that are of the uttermost importance.  Doing so will help you find success upon graduating.

Books To Read In 2015

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We know you’re busy writing essays, taking final exams and dreaming about summer break but if you get a craving for a good book, check out some of these popular titles that you need to read in 2015!

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Paper Towns by John Green

Written by popular young adult author John Green, Paper Towns is the story of Quentin who has loved Margo since elementary school. Unfortunately, Margo has ignored Quentin for the majority of their high school years. That is, until she shows up at his window just weeks before their high school graduation and they spend the entire night together pulling off a series of revenge-fueled pranks. Margo disappears the next day and Quentin, along with his two best friends, are determined to follow the clues Margo left behind.

While the book Paper Towns was first published in 2009, it tops our list of Books You Have to Read in 2015 because Paper Towns is coming to the big screen soon! Paper Towns is coming to theaters July 24th, 2015! Watch the trailer here.

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All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Described as “hauntingly beautiful” by The New York Times and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, All The Light We Cannot See tells the story of a blind French girl and an orphaned German boy whose paths cross in occupied France during World War II. Werner, the young boy, is incredibly gifted at mathematics and earns himself a spot at an elite Nazi training school. Marie-Laure, blinded at the age of six, has fled from Paris with her father and a highly sought after sapphire from the Museum of Natural History in tow. The story that Anthony Doerr has created is far too complex to explain in a few short sentences so to find out the fates of Werner and Marie-Laure you are going to have to read this book for yourself!

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Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

Critics are buzzing about Go Set A Watchman, Harper Lee’s earliest known work. Believed to have been lost, the manuscript for Go Set A Watchman was re-discovered in late 2014. The story follows up with many of the original characters from Harper Lee’s well-known classic To Kill A Mockingbird 20 years after the story ends. Go Set A Watchman is scheduled to be released on July 14th, 2015.

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The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

If you loved Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, you will love this book! This psychological thriller follows our main character Rachel as she rides the commuter train each and every day into London, even after she is fired from her job. Through the train window, Rachel sees the same houses and the same people in their yards every day and begins to feel like she actually knows them. She gives the people names and imagines what their jobs and lives are like. While looking out the window one day, Rachel thinks that she sees something happen to the girl she has named “Jess”. When news stories about a missing girl named Megan (who turns out to be “Jess”) start surfacing Rachel decides to tell the police everything she has seen from the train window. Did I mention that Rachel is drunk for most of this book? That puts an interesting spin on things when an unreliable drunk shows up at the police station with information on Megan’s disappearance. The twists and turns of this story keep you guessing not only “Who did it?” but “What actually happened?” right up to the last page.

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The Residence: Inside the Private World of The White House by Kate Andersen Brower

Being the President of the United States is a tough and very public job, but what do we really know about the on-goings of the first family when the cameras are off and the world isn’t watching? In this 2015 release, we hear from employees at the White House that have been there day in and day out through ten different administrations over a span of fifty years. Written after hundreds of hours of interviews with butlers, chefs, florists, maids and other White House staffers, we catch an inside glimpse of what life was really like at the White House from the Kennedy Administration, through the days of Nixon and Reagan and the scandal-filled Clinton years, all the way up to the current first family, the Obama’s.

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Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling

Bestselling author J.K. Rowling, best known for her Harry Potter series, gave a very moving speech during commencement at Harvard University in 2008. Now available in written form, this speech doles out words of wisdom for anyone who has come to a crossroads in their life. The perfect graduation gift or perfect for when you need a boost of inspiration and motivation, Very Good Lives does not disappoint. Proceeds from the book will be donated to J.K. Rowling’s foundation Lumos, which focuses on ending the institutionalization of children worldwide. Find more information on Lumos here.

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Redeployment by Phil Klay

Redeployment, winner of the 2014 National Book Award, describes the unseen lives of an American soldier on the frontlines. Author Phil Klay is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and uses his experience in Iraq to tell a story that civilians cannot even begin to imagine as truth. This book is sure to leave you with an undying gratitude for those fighting overseas as well as a new found outlook on exactly what it takes to fight for your country.

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An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Readers have been patiently waiting for this debut fantasy novel from author Sabaa Tahir to be released and the wait is finally over! This novel, just released on April 28th, has been described by early reviewers as having “the addictive quality of The Hunger Games, the fantasy of Harry Potter and the brutality of Game of Thrones.” We can’t wait to get our hands on this one!

What books are on your list to read this year? Let us know in the comments!

How to Conquer College Exams in 9 Steps

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College exams can be very overwhelming.  They may even be so overwhelming you struggle with composing yourself and have difficulty concentrating.  I am going to walk you through 9 steps to conquer your next round of college exams. Okay. Go…
college examsStep 1: Prepare! Make sure you fit as much of the subject material into your brain as you can!

Step 2: Wear clothes you feel good in. Feeling comfortable or like you are putting your best foot forward will give you the right mindset going into the exam.

Step 3: Tell Yourself “I’m gonna ace this.” Believing in yourself is an important part of the process.

Step 4: Listen to your pump up playlist. If you don’t have a Pre-Exam Study playlist, make one and listen to it on your way to the exam.

Step 5: Breathe. I think this one is self-explanatory.

Step 6: Be well rested. Having to drink caffeine right before an exam can make you jittery and over think the test.

Step 7: Draw a smiley-face on the top of your exam. Just do it.

Step 8: Do your best! That’s all anyone expects of you.

Step 9: Don’t agonize about the test afterwards, there is not anything you can do about it.

What other tips do you have for taking college exams? Share in the comment section below!

Bounce Back from Post – Midterm Blues

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Midterms got you feeling down?

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You know the semester is well underway when you’ve already gotten your first midterm grade back. One thing I’ve found after a long summer break – I never do as well on that first midterm fall semester… But, you can’t let a bad grade on an exam, paper or assignment discourage you. Here are some ways to bounce back:

• Remember that this won’t decide the rest of your life.

• Meet with your TAs and Professors to see how you can improve.

• Work in study groups so you can get help from your peers.

• Don’t dwell on the bad grade, because that won’t help.

• Make sure you are getting all the notes and understanding all the homework.

• Try a different study method, maybe yours doesn’t work as well as you thought it did.

• Go over the notes from the midterm you did badly on so that the information won’t be back to bite you on the final.

One last thing to remember after getting a bad test score is that college is HARDER than high school. You will probably have to change your study practices from high school. In college, while getting good grades IS important, it’s more important to really understand the material.