Top Five Things to Do In: Seville, Spain

Just an hour east of Spain’s southwestern coast sits the city of Seville, the capital and largest city within the region of Andalusia. The city, situated along the River Guadalquivir, blends old and new with intricately designed architecture spanning centuries, lasting cultural traditions, and a thriving culinary scene. From the many museums to the must-see monuments, visitors are sure to enjoy their time in this enchanting city. Below are our top five “musts” in Seville to add to your list.

 

  1. Alcázarof Seville

The Alcázar, originally a Moorish fort, is the royal palace of Seville. The structure was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, and is the oldest palace still in use in Europe. Spend your time marveling at the intricate detailing and gorgeous tile throughout the Alcázar – one of the most iconic structures in Seville.

  1. Maria Luisa Park

Maria Luisa Park, a public park stretching along the river, was formerly the gardens of the Palace of San Telmo. In preparation for the World’s Fair in 1929, the park was redeveloped and a variety of native and exotic plant species were planted throughout the grounds. With many monuments, fountains, and ponds scattered throughout the park, it is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the beauty of the city.

  1. Plaza de España

Once you’ve spent sufficient time strolling through the park, head out to explore the Plaza de España. Conveniently located along the park’s edge, the complex forms a large half-circle with buildings representing the four ancient kingdoms of Spain. The Plaza was initially built during the World’s Fair, although it now consists mainly of government buildings. With beautiful buildings designed in the Renaissance Revival style, the Plaza is very much worth a visit.

  1. El Rinconcillo

Established in 1670, El Rinconcillo is Seville’s oldest tapas bar. The historic local eatery, located in the city’s Macarena district, serves up a variety of dishes. With classic interiors and a cozy atmosphere, it’s no surprise that this family-owned restaurant has been a favorite for so long. Be sure to make a reservation as the place tends to fill up fast!

  1. Metropol Parasol

Metropol Parasol is a wooden structure located in Seville’s old quarter. Completed in 2011, the structure is new to the city, but has become an iconic piece of architecture. The structure is organized into four levels and houses a museum of Roman and Moorish remains, a market, a restaurant, and an open-air public plaza.

 

Interested in getting a taste of Seville? Check out World Endeavors study and intern programs on our website, or get in touch with a World Endeavors Advisor to hear more.

 

 

Study, Intern or Volunteer: Which Program is Right for You?

Today’s study abroad opportunities are limitless. In addition to conventional study abroad programs, students (and graduates!) now have the choice between a myriad of other program types as well. From internships to volunteer programs, students have the unique opportunity to find a program that directly caters to them. The question is – how do you know which program to choose?  Below are a few benefits and features of each program type to help guide you in your search for the perfect program.

 

  1. Study Abroad

Typical lengths: Summer, Semester, Academic Year, J-Term, May Term

 Today’s conventional study abroad programs offer courses in everything from Anthropology to Distilling. Gone are the days when students from only a handful of academic disciplines were able to study abroad. Nowadays, students looking to earn credit towards their major or fulfill general university requirements have the opportunity to choose from a variety of available courses and programs. If you have a set timeframe in which to study abroad – a semester, for example – or you’re interested in studying a variety of subjects then a study program may be the best fit for you.

 

  1. Volunteer Abroad

Typical Length: 2 – 12 weeks

 Volunteer opportunities offer individuals of all ages the opportunity to travel abroad for a shorter time frame. Participants have the chance to choose between everything from assisting a local wildlife organization to teaching English at a nearby school. Volunteer projects are typically short-term, incredibly immersive, and allow participants the chance to make a difference in their host country. Volunteering abroad is a great fit for students interested in a meaningful experience during a school break, those who feel passionately about a specific cause and individuals who may not be eligible for traditional study abroad programs (i.e. retirees, high school graduates, families, etc.).

 

  1. Internships Abroad

Typical length: 1 – 6 months

 Internships programs have become increasingly available over the years. With a wide range of options for professional fields, locations, and time frames, individuals have a lot of choices! These programs are all about expanding your knowledge within your field and gaining hands-on experience in a new setting. We recommend intern abroad programs for students interested in learning more about a particular field and recent graduates looking to gain professional experience before entering the workforce. With many options for start dates and durations, individuals can choose to go for one month, a semester, six months, or anywhere in between.

 

New Program: Study at Heriot-Watt University

On the heels of our new programs in Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Colombo, Ho Chi Minh City, Paris, and Nice, comes the announcement of a brand new study program in Edinburgh! Our new program at Heriot-Watt University offers students and individuals a truly unique study abroad experience. Specializing in applied, hands-on learning, the University offers a wide range of classes across six academic schools. Their most notable offerings include programs in Textiles & Design and Brewing & Distilling.

 

Students will have the option to choose between summer, semester, and full academic year programs at Heriot-Watt. Throughout their program, students will not only gain experience in their academic field, but also enjoy all that the city of Edinburgh has to offer. We have offered programs at the University of Edinburgh for many years, and we are thrilled to offer another opportunity for students interested in diverse study options.

 

Applications for the 2015 summer study program at Heriot-Watt University are due May 15th! For more information about studying at Heriot-Watt University, including the course offerings and application deadlines, please visit our website or contact a World Endeavors Advisor.

 

Study Abroad in Scotland (Heriot-Watt University)

Email: info@worldendeavors.com

Phone: 612.729.3400

Balancing Your Relationships Back Home

“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”
 – Jack Kerouac. On the Road.

One of the hardest aspects of acclimating to a new city can be keeping in touch with your friends and family. It’s likely that part of your time abroad will be spent balancing your relationships back home, romantic or otherwise. Long-distance relationships of all types can be difficult. Whether you’re dealing with a time difference or a faulty internet connection, it’s easy to get frustrated. On one hand, you want to spend every second of your time exploring and adventuring in your new city, but on the other hand, you don’t want feel like you’re missing out on things at home. When the situation gets tough, we suggest taking a deep breath and following these seven tips.

  1. Maintain expectations

In the weeks leading up to your departure, you may find yourself making promises of daily phone calls and weekly video chats. While your friends and family will surely understand if these promises aren’t fulfilled, it’s best to set expectations before you leave. Your first few days abroad are going to be filled with sightseeing, adventures, and new friends. Our advice? Let everyone at home know that you have arrived safely at your destination and that you look forward to filling them in more in a few days or so. After this, take the opportunity to get to know your city and the people who are likely to become your lifelong friends.

 

  1. Set a schedule

After your first week in your host country, you’re likely to have a better understanding of what your days will look like. Use this time to set a schedule for keeping in touch with everyone back home. Set a day each week (or every other week) to catch up. Let your loved one(s) know you’ll be signed on to Skype from 1pm – 3pm or that you’ll call them in the evening every Monday. Find a schedule that works best for you and do your best to stick to it.

Note: There are bound to be days when you’ll want to embark on an impromptu adventure or something of the sort. Be sure to take each and every one of these opportunities! Let your friends and family know that you won’t be able to talk that day, but you’ll fill them in on your post-adventure stories when you return.

  1. Use Skype/Google Hangouts/Etc.

The next best thing to being there is virtually being there. Video chatting, as many of you may know, can be far better than a phone call and can help reduce any feelings of homesickness. Using video also gives you the opportunity to “show them around” your dorm/apartment/host family’s home. If your internet gives out or your friend’s face starts to look like a rubik’s cube, move on to Tip #5…

 

  1. Start a blog

A blog can be a great space to share your thoughts and stories, without having spend too much time cooped up with your computer. Whether you log on once a week or once every couple weeks, your friends and family will enjoy being able to hear more about your life abroad. Many blogs can also be set to “invite only”, allowing you to share your photos, videos, and stories with a select group of people. If you choose to set your blog to public, keep in mind that this may be viewable by future employers and grad school admissions officers – use the opportunity to showcase your writing skills and other creative talents you have!

 

  1. Use messaging apps

Phone bills can reach the “astronomical” level before you can say ciao. As opposed to racking up minutes on your phone or spending precious time loading up your international SIM card, we suggest making use of the nearest available Wi-Fi hotspot. Messaging apps, such as Whatsapp, WeChat or Viber, offer options for free calling, messaging, and video chat. Don’t have a smart phone? WeChat and Viber are both available for download on your PC or Mac.

 

  1. Steer clear of social media

Logging in every once in a while to message with friends or post a photo can be great, but make sure that social media isn’t distracting from other activities. Spending too much time on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram can occasionally spark feelings of homesickness or make you feel like you’re missing out on fun events happening back home. If/when this happens, it’s best to take a step away and remember all the wonderful memories you’re making abroad. In the meantime, find comfort in the fact that everything will still be there the next time you log in. Besides, “unplugging” while you’re away can feel invigorating.

 

  1. Don’t count the days

Feeling the urge to count down the days until your homecoming can be very common, and it’s likely your friends and family will want to help you. However, we recommend that you steer clear of the calendar and make the most of your time. Many of those who’ve been abroad will tell you that one of the first emotions they felt when they returned home was homesickness… for their host country. This feeling, known as reverse culture shock, is very common. The only way to help ease the pain is to know that you spent every last minute of your time exploring and enjoying your home away from home.

 

No matter how you choose to keep in touch, just be sure that you enjoy every moment of your time abroad! Fill your boyfriend/girlfriend, friends, and family in when you can, give them a call when you’re feeling homesick, and send them photos from you travels. When you’re not doing this, spend as much time as possible exploring your new “home” and away from your computer or phone.

Funding Your Program Abroad

Earlier last month, the White House hosted a Travel Blogger Summit on study abroad and global citizenship. The event involved 130 influential travel bloggers, media outlets, and senior policymakers. With the primary goal of increasing study abroad enrollment of U.S. students, speakers discussed current figures, trends, and ideas to encourage participation in programs abroad. During the summit, the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced the creation of a new U.S. Study Abroad Office. What does this all mean? In short, there has never been a better time for U.S. students to participate in a program abroad. The creation of this office, along with a nationwide initiative to increase study abroad enrollment (Generation Study Abroad), has meant an increase in scholarships, as well as more emphasis being placed on the importance of study abroad as a whole.

Aside from the many government-sponsored scholarships, there’s also a wide range of other privately-funded scholarships, crowdfunding sites, and fundraising resources available to students, both from the U.S. and around the world. So, as you’re choosing a program and adding some money to your “travel” fund, consider these tips to get you on the path to studying, interning, or volunteering abroad:

Tip 1: Start Crowdfunding
Similar to sites like Kickstarter, study abroad crowdfunding sites have been growing in popularity over time. Crowdfunding provides a great opportunity for your friends and relatives to help you fund your experience abroad. Depending on the site, users may set up a profile page, set a funding goal, and post updates along the way. New to crowdfunding? Not to worry. Sites like Project Travel or FundMyTravel are very user-friendly, and also provide resources on setting up your profile and sharing your campaign with others.

Tip 2: Search for Government-Sponsored Scholarships and Grants
As previously stated, there are many government-sponsored scholarships and grants available to U.S. students wishing to study abroad. The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, providing grants to U.S. undergraduate students, is a great example of such opportunities. Applying for federal financial aid is also recommended to those looking for additional funding.

Tip 3: Search for Privately-funded Scholarships
World Endeavors offers a variety of partial scholarships and discounts for our programs. There are also a number of organizations and associations that offer yearly scholarships to students. Rotary International provides some great scholarships for study abroad. There are also many destination or subject-specific scholarships out there. Our advice? Search often. There are new scholarships popping up all the time. All you have to do is look. You may even want to bookmark scholarship search engines, such as StudyAbroad.com and Fastweb.com, for quick and easy searching.

Tip 4: Keep an Eye Out for Contests and Sweepstakes
Many organizations run special scholarship contests or sweepstakes throughout the year. Some may ask you to show off your creative talents via a video or photo, while others will ask you to write an essay. Whatever it may be, it’s worth it! Some organizations even offer prizes in the form of full scholarships to the program of your choice.

The takeaway? There are many people rooting for you to make your dream a reality. Whether you’ve decided to volunteer in Costa Rica or study in England, there are many funding opportunities available. If you have questions about where to start, we suggest speaking with someone at your study abroad office or getting in touch with us. Our advisors are always happy to help!

Top Five Things to Do In: Ormskirk, England

Ormskirk is a charming town located just outside of Liverpool (approx. 30 minutes) in West Lancashire, England. The city boasts a rich history, evident in its cobbled streets and dramatic, gothic style architecture. Aside from the many shops, restaurants, and cafes, Ormskirk is also home to Edge Hill University, recently named University of the Year in the 10th Annual Times Higher Education Awards. Once leaving the university campus, visitors will find themselves soaking up the small town atmosphere as they wander through the open market in the city center (operated since 1286), or stop by one of the local pubs. Whatever may bring you to Ormskirk, you’re sure to feel right at home in this quaint and cozy city.

 

Otters at Martin Mere Wetland Centre / Image: Nigel Beard (via Flickr)

Otters at Martin Mere Wetland Centre / Image: Nigel Beard (via Flickr)

1. Martin Mere Wetland Centre

Winter Times: 9:30 am – 4:30 pm, 7 days a week 

WWT Martin Mere, Fish Lane, Burscough, Lancashire, L40 0TA

For travelers interested in experiencing some wildlife, be sure to visit the Martin Mere Wetlands Centre. The Centre is managed by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, the largest international wetland conservation charity in the UK. Visitors will find birds from around the world, and will be able to participate in a variety of activities, including otter feedings. Visiting during the winter months (November – March) is recommended in order to view the “Swan Spectacular”, featuring up close views of thousands of migratory birds.

2. Disraeli’s 1 Public House

26 Church Street, Ormskirk, Lancashire, L39 3AN

If you’re in the mood for a pint or some authentic British pub food, head over to Disraeli’s 1. This pub offer an impressive selection of drinks, ranging from local craft beers to wines from around the world. The atmosphere is cozy and relaxed, providing a prime location for socializing with friends. Fish and chips and classic club sandwiches are popular menu items. Not only is the food tasty, but the prices are great too.

3. Chapel Gallery

10 am – 4:30 pm, Tues – Sat

St. Helens Road, Ormskirk, Lancashire, L39 4QR

The West Lancashire Borough Council opened the Chapel Gallery in November 2001 in an effort to support local artists, and to engage and educate members of the community through exhibitions and events. The Gallery features exhibitions from a variety of local and national artists, as well as an Art Club and workshops for those looking to indulge their creative side.

4. Cavern Club
10 am – 12 am, Sun – Wed / 10 am – 1:30 am, Thurs / 10 am – 2 am, Fri – Sat 

Cavern Club / Image: Alan Cookson (via Flickr)

Cavern Club / Image: Alan Cookson (via Flickr)

10 Mathew Street, Liverpool, Merseyside L2 6RE

If you’re a music aficionado, you may have heard of the Cavern Club already. The infamous nightclub was central to the rock and roll scene in the UK during the 1960s. Originally opened as a jazz club, the venue later hosted such bands as The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, Queen, The Beatles, Elton John, and The Who. The original club was closed in 1973, and was filled in during construction of the Underground. The club was later rebuilt with many of the original bricks, and now hosts a variety of acts, from local to well-known performers. Some of the most recent acts include the Arctic Monkeys, Adele, and Jake Bugg.

5. World Museum

10 am – 5 pm, 7 days a week

William Brown Street, Liverpool, L3 8EN,England

The large World Museum, originally opened in 1851, hosts many extensive collections covering archaeology, ethnology, and natural and physical sciences. Having grown quickly in size since it opened, the museum has undergone three expansions and one partial rebuild following bombings during WWII. The museum now features a variety of galleries and special attractions, including a Planetarium, a Natural History Center, and a Bug House. And to top it off, the whole museum is free to the public.

World Museum / Image via Flickr

World Museum / Image via Flickr

The Search for the Perfect Program

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Choosing a program abroad can be one daunting task. Sure, you’re excited at the thought of travelling. Who isn’t? Just the thought of scaling the Eiffel Tower, touring Buckingham Palace, or visiting the Taj Mahal gives you a rush of excitement. You imagine your friends at home – jealous of your far-away adventures. But, before all this can happen, you need to make a choice. Do you want to study in Seville or volunteer in Pokhara, intern in Ireland or study in Sydney? Some of you may know immediately where you’d like to go, when you’d like to go, and what you’d like to do. But, for many, finding the right program can be like a frustrating game of pin the tail on the donkey. Well, that’s where we come in! Below is a not-so-short how-to guide to help you in your search for the perfect program.

 

Step One: Research the Options

First off, let me say that it is never too early to start researching. With so many options, the best first step you can take is to see what’s out there. You’d be surprised at the types of opportunities available, and the earlier you start looking, the more opportunities you may have. Want to help with sea turtle conservation efforts? Take classes towards your engineering degree? Intern at a law firm? You can do all of these things abroad! Take some time and do some browsing to see what types of programs pique your interest.

 

Step Two: Meet with Your Advisor

An increase in study abroad programs over the years has meant more opportunities for more people. Whether you’re majoring in global studies or marine biology, there’s a program out there for you. However, there may be better times to go abroad than others. Your academic advisor can help you narrow down when might be the best time for you to go and what types of classes or programs you should focus on (ex. credit-bearing, intern, study, short-term, etc.)

 

Step Three: Choose a Time and Duration

Once you’ve met with your advisor, you should have a better idea of what time frame you should aim for. While some may be fortunate enough to work in a full year abroad, this isn’t possible for everyone. Luckily, program providers and universities have found a way for most everyone to fit in some period of time abroad during their academic career. From week-long volunteer trips to four-month internships, there’s something for everybody. Once you’ve narrowed down a time frame, say a two-month summer program after your junior year, you can begin to get a better idea of what places and programs will work for you.

 

Step Four: Choose a Program Type

This can be one of the harder parts of choosing a program abroad. There are so many different types of programs, each with its own unique benefits and features. To help give you a better idea of the options, scroll down for a short description of each type.

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Step Five: Choose a Continent/Country/Region

Choosing a location can be one of the best parts of traveling abroad, but also one of the hardest. For many people it may be easy. Maybe they always saw themselves sitting along the shore in Valencia or sipping a cappuccino in Florence. But for some, it can be hard to choose between these two scenes and the many others that likely occupy your daydreams. Choosing a general area is really the best place to start. When choosing a region, take language, climate, and time zone into consideration. Keep in mind that, while these are things to be aware of, they shouldn’t necessarily be deciding factors when you get down to picking a program. Wherever you go and whatever you do, it’s all about finding a program that will allow you to have the best possible experience abroad.

 

Step Six: Choose a City

The (almost) final step! When choosing a city, you should factor in a few things:

  •  Geographic location:

Think about whether you’d like to be by the beach, the mountains, or the countryside. What type of location fits you best?

  • Activities available:

Do you enjoy hiking? Swimming? Biking? Look into what environment might be most conducive to the types of activities that you enjoy.

  • Cultural events:

Look into the events that are typically held in that city. Is there a yearly rock festival featuring a frequent lineup of your favorite bands? Do they host an autumn festival complete with traditional food and activities?

 

Step Seven: Choosing a Program!

You know what’s out there, when you’d like to go, what type of program you want to do, and where you’d like to go. Now the only thing left to do is pick a program. Once you know what you’re looking for, the process of finding a program can be a lot less scary and a whole lot quicker. If you’re still having trouble, simply ask for help. There are plenty of people out there that want to help you get abroad – academic advisors, professors, the study abroad office staff at your university, and us! Any one of the World Endeavors staff members is ready and willing to help you narrow down your options and plan your program.

 

Once you’ve figured out your program, there are many things you can do to get started on your adventure. My suggestion is to get in contact with the study abroad office at your university. Let them know what program you’re planning on doing and what program provider you’re working with. From here they can help you figure out funding (scholarships, crowd-funding, financial aid, etc.), the transfer of credits, and any other steps you might need to take.

 

Have questions? Contact a World Endeavors Advisor at info@worldendeavors.com or leave your comments below!