Spring 2011 Study Abroad Applicants:
Start preparing for the incredible semester ahead of you by reading this insightful article provided by AbroadScout.com
Studying abroad is a challenging and exhilarating experience, but it is also limited to a few short months. While an entire semester or year abroad will at first give the impression that you have plenty of time to visit ‘that museum’ or to try out ‘that nightclub’, the days will go by more quickly than you’d expect. When it’s time to go home, many students regret not taking full advantage of their time abroad or wish they had a few extra weeks to see more of the country. But you don’t have to be one of these students! Here are five tips to help you get the most out of your experience and come home satisfied:
Posted by Aria Cabot, CET Florence Resident Director
CET students joined 20,000 others in this year’s edition of CORRI LA VITA on September 26 at 9:30 am in Piazza della Signoria, the most historic and prestigious piazza of Florence.
CORRI LA VITA is an event organized and managed by a committee of volunteers in collaboration with the Italian Cancer Society. CORRI LA VITA is not only a walk/run, but is an event for people to gather together for sport, culture and solidarity.
Together with Florentine families, friends and children we walked through the historic center of Florence and crossed over the river to the Oltrano, stopping along the way to visit gardens, churches, palaces and museums that will be opened especially for this occasion.
Let me tell you about the best weekend ever.
It started Friday. First we went to the center of Suita, the city my school is in. There were tons of really interesting shops! For example, one shop that sold only seaweed products. There were expensive cake shops and a 100 yen shop. And my favorite, a shop that sold takoyaki and dorayaki. Takoyaki is fried balls of octopus… not really up my alley. BUT! Dorayaki is the most amazing food known to mankind. And I’m pretty sure this shop makes the best dorayaki in Japan. Here we are, loving it.
It’s sort of like a pancake filled with something, normally bean paste. However, this shop had a creamy custardy filling, and I got one right off the griddle. It was heaven.
Anyway, we made our way back to school. Next on the agenda: karaoke. First of all, it cost about $7 a person for three whole hours–and we got free soda/slurpees (melon-flavor for the win!) Second of all, we found lots of good English, Japanese, and Chinese (thank you, Karen!) songs to sing along to, including our new favorite, Ken Hirai’s “Pop Star.” You need to watch this video to understand the awesomeness.
I left the sensory overload a little early and had a nice quiet dinner at home. I needed to rest up for our next adventure, Spa World! (CHAAAA!!!)
This is the best place on earth, truly. Also, there was a big promotional event that made admission cheaper than normal: we only paid about $13 a person for the entire day. And what a day it was. When you first get into SpaWorld, you’re given a plastic wristband. This is to monitor your purchases so you can lock up your wallet and walk around empty-handed. Then you take off your shoes and store them in lockers, then walk around barefoot wherever. We went straight to the changing rooms, where we received towels and cute pink cover-up dresses (the men got blue shirt and shorts sets) for wandering around if we didn’t want to change out of our bathing suits. We then proceeded to the pool, which was basically a circuit of moving water with some pools off to the side. The water moves with such strength that you just get in and it pulls your pleasantly along until you decide to get out or move to a still pool. There’s a waterfall you can go under, too. Of course, it was packed. But super fun anyway. There were also some super sick water slides that Chris and Sean rode (they were expensive to ride so I didn’t, but I hear they were awesome).
So after a dip in the pool we moved onto the onsen. Onsen are public baths. They’re separated by sex, because you aren’t allowed to wear a bathing suit. It’s very liberating and super relaxing, because the water is just about as hot as it can get without burning you. Spa World has a ton of themed baths. This month, men were in the asian baths and women in the western baths. Ours were absolutely beautiful. Some were inside, a couple were open-air. There was even a sauna and a cold pool. On top of that, there was a little café for cooling down, where you would buy a drink (buck naked), sit down at a table (still buck naked), and put your feet in the little stream under the table, which had little pebbles at the bottom so you could give yourself a foot massage while watching tv.
After that, we hit the sit-down showers, where you could dump water over your head, soap up with the complimentary soaps, and basically get all clean. Back in the changing room there were complimentary brushes and lotions, and you could sit at vanities and blow dry your hair, fix up your makeup, and just generally get back in the world. But then Karen and I were sleepy, so we figured we would find a bench and lay down. No need, however! Next to the changing rooms was a huge lounge, full of big, comfy, fully reclining chairs. There were also TVs, and the chairs had little speakers near your head so you could pick a channel and listen privately. Complimentary blankets were, of course, also available, and plenty of people were just out like a light from the heat of the baths.
posted by Kim Strozewski, Director of Prague Programs
I would to introduce our new blogger, Diana Bowen from American University.
Enjoy reading her first blog entry about a recent CET trip to Český Krumlov:
8:15 Film + Photo + Kim + Jarka meet in front Veletržní palác
LATE ARRIVALS TRAVEL ON THEIR OWN!!!
Somehow everyone made it on time. And all was right with the universe as long as Emmett and Goodwin had a Mr. Brown káva in hand. Roughly 3 hours later (including a brief stop at a gas station complex/fortress that rivaled Wawa-/Royal Farms-type places) we arrived in the time-warp town of Český Krumlov (at least, that’s what I’ll call it for now—it earned about a half dozen nicknames throughout the trip).
After checking into our hotel-ish room and choosing who would sleep in the “kissy beds”—two single beds built right next to each other—we had free time to eat/explore. We did both, and thanks to Emma’s order at Zapa Café, we made a valuable discovery: nachos are not the same here. Firstly, they’re served on Dorito-type chips instead of tortilla chips. Not so bad. Secondly, not nearly enough cheese. Thank goodness Ilonya—our lovely Czech teacher—had taught us well and we could piece together “ještě sýr, prosím” which hopefully means “more cheese, please”—not entirely sure—but the waitress understood either way.
Post-nachos, we explored a bit more and discovered an interesting trend in sculptures throughout the city: various parts of human anatomy—fingers being a favorite—were displayed in the streets and in shops.
13:50 Meeting by castle moat (by the bears) on the 1st castle courtyard
That’s right- not only is there a moat around the Chesty Crumlove Castle, but it had BEARS. Such a legit castle.
Anyway, here we met Bryce, our tour guide. He would explain to us later that he came to the Czech Republic during his travels 20 years ago and just never left—playing guitar on street corners for money and just chilled. The idea of someone actually living in Crusty Kumquat is perhaps what I find most intriguing—this place is so much like Lord Farquaad’s kingdom in Shrek, it’s hard to imagine making it your home.
Bryce was great, though. I regrettably only processed about 2% of all the history and information he through at us but it was still a great experience. We got a tour of the whole castle, including the Baroque theatre.
We ate once again in a cave-like restaurant. DELICIOUS česneková polévka (garlic soup) served in a bread bowl, baked brie, and hot raspberries with ice cream for dessert. Other entrée options were trout and ½ a baked chicken—many students challenged themselves and each other to eat all of it.
After stuffing ourselves, we were able to avoid an immediate food coma by dancing to the gypsy band which came to play for us. [VIDEO]
Threw the map out the window (not that it was really necessary in such a small town) and tried to find the rumored Castle Gardens. We didn’t. And I’m still not sure they exist. But instead we found an apple orchard! We just kind of looked at the novelty of them for a while but eventually Emma was brave enough to taste one and she immediately proclaimed that it was the most delicious apple she’d ever had.
Melissa and I went to see the Josef Seidel museum. Our professor, Miroslav, had already mentioned him in his lectures, so we made a point to take advantage of being in Seidel’s home city. We went on a short semi-guided tour of his studio/house and got to see many of his cameras on display.