living

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!

8 Reasons to Run Outside

For many, running is one of the greatest pleasures in life. As children we learned to run by chasing our friends, playing sports, or running after pets. We ran because we could and because we wanted to, not simply because we needed to stay in shape. For some people this is still true, but for others reasons may be different. Whatever the reason you have for running, it is a great one. Running is one of the simplest forms of exercise, yet is also one of the best for you. Besides the obvious health effects that you can get from running, there are many other lucrative reasons why people should run, and run more! My personal preference is running outside.  Here are 8 reasons to run outside:

1. Change of Scenery

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If you, like me, aren’t a fan of running laps around a track, running outside may be your best option. Running outdoors gives you the chance to see things that you have never seen and take in views. It can make running much more enjoyable when you are able to run through nice and interesting areas, thus making what may initially be viewed as pure exercise a little more fun. Running outside also brings the added benefit of exposure to sunlight, which when managed correctly (wear appropriate sun protection) can bring lots of added health benefits such as increased Vitamin D!

2. Save Money

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Besides saving you trips to the doctor by improving your health and decreasing the risk of disease, running can help to save you valuable cash. Gym memberships can be very expensive, whereas running outside is a very inexpensive thing to do. Running only requires a pair of shoes which you would have needed to go the gym anyways!

3. Do it Anywhere

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One of the great advantages of running is that it can be done anywhere. All you need is land, which unless you live on a boat is all around you! Sometimes you don’t have the time to commit to driving to and from the gym along with the allotted time for your exercise. Running can easily be done in very small intervals, allowing for the maximization of your time. The ability to get up and go also is a bonus for people who may not have the motivation to get up and get to the gym. Simply having to put on clothes and shoes is much easier to do!

4. Improve your Brain and Body

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Studies have shown that regular exercise can boost the circulation and flow of nutrients and oxygen to the brain.  People who get out and run tend to have lower levels of stress, and thus have decreased risk of diabetes, heart attack, and other ailments. Running also lowers high blood pressure, making runners healthier overall than those who do not run. Cardiovascular disease is much lower in people who exercise regularly

5. Sleep Better

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For those who may have trouble sleeping, running can be a great cure. Running helps to reduce stress and anxiety, thus making falling asleep easier. Your body heat is also raised during a run, and when it drops down to normal post-run, this can make you tired which makes it easier to sleep. Many runners enjoy running at night or before they go to sleep, as an obvious effect of running is tiredness post-run.

6. Enjoy Others Company

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One great advantage of running is that it can easily be done with a buddy. Running with friends is an easier way to get motivated to get up and go and can also improve your relationships. Exercising with someone else puts you both in a place where you may be healthier and have less stress. Less stress leads to an overall happier mood.  Running can also promote unity as setting running goals together or accomplishing benchmarks as a team can be a great feeling that can be shared.

7. Increase Stamina

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Running is also great because it allows you to increase your stamina. This will allow you to go further in subsequent runs and also will improve other aspects of your life. Other workouts at the gym or other places will be more bearable and you will be able to do more in your day without getting as tired. Although boosting your endurance and stamina can be difficult at first, the advantages of doing so are well worth the effort!

8. Give Yourself Time To Think

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Although it may not be the first thing that pops to mind when you think of the advantages of running, the ability to think and be alone with ones thoughts is one of the greatest advantages that running outdoors has. Personally, I love being able to go on a long run as it gives me the chance to disconnect from the world and just be alone with my thoughts. Running past beautiful scenery and through interesting areas, you can easily forget all issues and think about what you want.

I hope that all of these reasons to run outside will inspire you to get there this summer and run!

Comment below with other great reasons you love to run outside! 

To Live on Campus, or Not Live on Campus: Tough Question!

Depending on where you go to school, living can be a sticky situation. If you go to a big school your options might consist of freshmen dorms, off campus apartments or houses, and potentially Greek Sorority or Fraternity houses. You may get to choose where you live—and make the tough call of staying put, or venturing off on your own. However if you go to a smaller school, your options start to change.

Smaller schools can accommodate more students because of smaller numbers—instead of 33,000 beds, you may only need a few thousand—if that. Small scale universities have large commuter, day time, and evening populations. Dormitories can be built to hold fewer students than state schools would need to, and often guarantee housing for all four years instead of offering a less than desirable lottery system.

But how do you choose where to live? If it’s mandatory to live on campus, is that a bad thing?  If you can choose whether or not to live on campus, should you? Or if you have the option to move off campus, what factors should you consider? Where does benefit vs. cost analysis kick in?

Before you toss and turn trying to figure out all of you housing worries, consider the facts. Make a pros and cons list and really weigh your options. Most campuses are different, so what may make more sense for friends studying at other schools, may not necessarily make the most sense for you!

So why live on campus? Here are my reasons: I go to a small, private institution in Philadelphia. It’s centered in an urban area, 15 minutes from center city. Housing options are limited off campus—you have to rent, buy or sublet. However, students are fortunate enough to be guaranteed housing on campus for all four years. And that’s not all! Your start in the dorms, but as you move through semesters and classes (and start to accumulate credits!) you can move up on the housing ladder. Dorms turn into apartments, and eventually your apartment turns into a townhouse with three floors. Now this isn’t the case everywhere, but you get the point. There are options for students who want to stay close, and stay put right on campus! The upkeep is taking care of, you don’t pay water and electric, you have options and space to room. Really, campus is your new backyard. The only downside? Your room and board receipt.  Maybe it’s covered in your financial aid, scholarships or loan, or maybe not. Just consider the numbers and decide if adding this portion to your bill makes sense.

If on campus isn’t for you, what else can you try? Here is my perspective– On the flip side of our cozy campus community, is the off-campus living. Students who are local, or who want slightly more freedom than dorms allow, make the move off campus. There are houses and apartments close by with owners looking to rent, or sublet to desirable students. There are factors that go into this move that students don’t often consider—safety, upkeep, costs, etc. However, when all is said and done, those who decided to become “college home owners” do okay. You can make your own rules, decorate however you want, and eat on your own plan. However, don’t forget to consider the time commitment you are signing up for! You are signing a lease or contract and become responsible for property. You are paying bills (that may or may not be cheaper than on campus alternatives), and managing the upkeep of your place. You have to cook, clean, and monitor aspects of your living life that you may not have even noticed when you were in the dorms.

Unfortunately there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to where you should live on campus. It’s mixing bowl of factors, time, and costs. You need to decide what makes the most sense for you individually and how you want to spend your time when you don’t have your head buried in a book. Do you want to share a room, are you comfortable with roommates? Can you remember to take on the trash? Will you remember to turn off lights and lock your door? Will you remember to grab your keys?

Take your time and do your research. Check out every available outlet of information on housing in your college area and decide what makes the most sense—also check requirements. Some scholarships stipulate that you live on campus, so does some financial aid! Or your campus may have a “first year” rule making it mandatory to live on campus. After that, it’s up to you! You can also choose how you decorate your room and what furniture to have—now you just have to decide where that room will be!

-Ring Queen