Study Abroad Bucket List: Asia Edition
College Life |  Source: @marjramos

Study Abroad Bucket List: Asia Edition

Wanderlust but still Zen.

If you get to study abroad, you're pretty lucky. If you get to study abroad somewhere in Asia, you're even luckier.

Every country (and province and city) has unbelievable cuisine, vibrant cultural sights, charming people, unbelievable nature, and fun night life. Anywhere you go there is so much to do and see and eat and drink.

If you're studying in Asia for a semester, you're probably also kind of cool. If you chose your destination for something a little off the beaten path from typical study abroaders, you clearly value adventure and exploration. You might also have had language study in mind when applying to your study abroad program, which means your bold and diligent (hello new alphabets) and set on opening your world wider with the skill of foreign conversation. Either way, for any reason you chose Asia, you're lucky you did because it is awesome.

During your time on the Asian continent, take advantage of every opportunity you can to live. To help keep your wanderlust spirit excited and motivated, I've created a list of things to do before you leave. While neither an exhaustive list nor necessary items for experiencing the different cultures, the Asian study abroad bucket list will, nonetheless, keep you exploring.

  1. Get a Shanghai style foot massage in Shanghai
  2. Master eating with chopsticks
  3. Make like Michael Phelps and do Chinese Cupping
  4. Go to an ethical elephant sanctuary and play with the elephants
  5. Go to a Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan
  6. Get certified in scuba diving
  7. Climb the Great Wall in Beijing
  8. Celebrate Chinese New Year with locals (anywhere in Asia!)
  9. Wake up and watch the fish auction at the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo (and then eat sushi for breakfast)
  10. Gamble (and eat egg tarts) in Macau
  11. Visit the Taj Mahal
  12. Explore Angkor Wat at sunrise
  13. Learn to make dumplings
  14. Swim in Luang Prabang in Laos
  15. Trek Mount Rinjani in Indonesia
  16. Take a cooking class to learn how to make curry
  17. Buy rolled ice cream
  18. Go to any and all of the Disneylands (Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai)
  19. Dress up and go to Harajuku in Tokyo
  20. Visit the Tegalalang Rice Terrace in Bali
  21. Tour the Tea Terraces at Maokong in Taipei
  22. Master the Squatty Potty Situation
  23. Get custom clothes made
  24. Cruise the islands of Halong Bay by boat
  25. Attend a sumo wrestling tournament in Japan
  26. Buy and wear face masks in South Korea
  27. Ogle at pandas in Chengdu
  28. Explore the world's oldest rainforest, Taman Negara National Park, in Malaysia
  29. Take a tuk tuk ride
  30. Take pictures of the cherry blossoms in China or Japan
  31. Visit the Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery in Hong Kong
  32. Go to a music festival in the Mongolian desert
  33. Do a meditation or yoga retreat in India
  34. Visit the Puerto Princesa Underground River in the Phillippines
  35. Trek part of the Himalayas
  36. Celebrate Holi in India
  37. Visit Bhutan
  38. Get full on street food for under $10
  39. Explore a Bamboo Forest in Kyoto
  40. Go on a hot air balloon ride in Myanmar
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Why I Chose to Study Abroad My Freshman Year

No, I won't miss out on the one night stands.

When I tell people, "I'm studying in Florence, Italy for my freshman year of college", I often receive two general responses: "Why the fuck would you do that and miss out on your freshman year?" or "OMG that's so cool. You're going to have so much fun. I'm so jealous."

Even though the first response can be discouraging, it's my favorite to respond to.

Why did I decide to study abroad for my freshman year?

For one, not a lot of schools offer freshmen the opportunity to study abroad. Unlike schools that offer a study abroad program freshman year like Northeastern, Marist doesn't force you to study abroad for a semester due to a lack of space on campus; Marist allows freshmen the choice to. I chose to apply to Marist's Freshman in Florence Program (FFE) because I chose to have a unique freshman year.

After spending four years of high school at an elite all-girls prep school, I wanted to do something different. I've already lived in a dorm for four years, survived eating food in a dining hall for four years, and have understood the challenges of being an independent student over the course of four years. Why not up the stakes and be a student in a foreign country?

In addition, I don't feel like I'll be missing out on typical freshmen parties, one-night stands, and transition to living away from home because I've never gotten drunk or have the urge to go out during the week; I like to genuinely know and care about the person I sleep with. And, I've already experienced living away from home (including an extremely homesick freshman year).

Studying in Florence fits perfectly with my major: communications. I'll gain a global perspective as a comm major that I wouldn't in Poughkeepsie, NY as a freshman. Not that everything is about resumes, studying abroad freshman year will set me apart from other students when I apply for internships and jobs. Sure, thousands of juniors and seniors study abroad, but thousands of freshmen don't study abroad on a given year.

I've never been to Europe! Living in Florence for a year will give me access to a culturally rich city, country, and continent. I can't wait to learn Italian, study in a new environment, cook for myself in my apartment, dip into the Mediterranean Sea, taste wines at Italian vineyards, eat delicious food, and visit my relatives in Germany. It's much cheaper to travel in Europe, and I've already brainstormed places that will satisfy my craving for wanderlust.

Sure, there will be plenty of obstacles while I'm abroad and a challenging transition back to Marist's campus in Poughkeepsie sophomore year. But as students and young adults, we are constantly encouraged to take chances. For me, studying abroad my freshman year is one I don't want to miss. I hope you'll consider the same.

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Living Abroad: On vs. Off Campus

Which one is right for you?

One of the biggest decisions you need to make when studying abroad is where you are going to live. You can choose to live on campus, in a dorm-like setting, often in an International House. Or, you can go out on your own, sign a lease or sublease from someone, and take your chances in an off-campus apartment/house/living situation.

I chose off campus. This is because my first year at UCSB, I had the worst time in the dorms. I was in a claustrophobically small room with two roommates from hell, had an unhelpful RA, and I hated the meal plan and the overall lack of freedom.

That being said, I live in a house with five other international students, I have my own (large) room, am a 15-minute walk and five-minute bus ride from campus, and absolutely love it. I am close to both the school and the city, which is super convenient. The downside is that you are kind of isolated if you don't live on-campus with the other international students living in IH (international house).

This brings me to living on campus. The vast majority of my friends live on campus. It is far more expensive and I have yet to hear something positive about what they are fed, but activities are planned out for them to do together to have fun and bond, which makes making friends so much easier in my opinion. Also, you don't have to worry about buying sheets, pillows, cleaning supplies, etc--you know, actual house shit.

So basically, if you are not as outgoing, and fear that you will not make friends, or, you just like having everything easily laid out for you all the time, I suggest you opt for an on campus housing situation. If you are more independent and like your space, or are just a broke college kid who can barely afford studying abroad in the first place, off campus is for you.

I totally do not regret my decision in any way, but this is mostly because my friend I met at the airport lives in IH, so she invites me to all their events and keeps me up to date. So now I am basically a part of IH without living there, which is super cool.

Also, even if you live off campus don't be scared of not making friends, most schools have clubs that are created specifically for international students where they plan trips and activities for you to participate in and meet other international students.

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Study Abroad Drunk City Guide: Istanbul, Turkey

How to get down with the locals.

I don't think I truly understood the expression "sensory overload" until I traveled to Istanbul. The ancient architecture stacked so close together was one thing, and the fact that the two-continent city straddled a sea-path with constantly hovering pigeons was another.

It was also the genuinely friendly locals, the shouting in the Grand Bazaar, the food from the street stalls, and the hookah smoke that added to the mysticism of the stone alleyways. I suppose, to put it simply,Istanbul is just the epitome of charming.

While studying abroad in Prague, a trip to Istanbul seemed like a no-brainer. If you're in Europe, the Middle East or Asia studying abroad or travelling, find a way to get there. Or, if you're deciding where to study abroad, it's a great choice.

Although the drinking culture here isn't as wildly boisterous as many cities due to Istanbul's close connection with Islam, there are still lot of ways and places to get your drink and fun on.

Get Your Drunk On:
Duty-Free alcohol from your travels
Alcohol is taxed quite heavily in Istanbul, making your guilty-pleasure purchase feel a lot more guilt-ridden. If you can, save yourself some money by buying liquor with a duty-free price tag in an airport during your travels.

Efes Pilsner
The most popular (and one of the only) Turkish beers that you should undoubtedly buy in a tall boy, ?i?e (brown bottle), or f??? (on tap) along your journey. If you're feeling a little extra rowdy,you might upgrade to Efes Extra for that nice 7.5 percent alcohol content.

Known as "Lion's Milk" by locals, Raki is a brandy made from grapes and raisins that is typically anywhere between 80 to 100 proof. Mixed with water, it turns a milky white. Usually, Raki is drunk while eating small-plate style meals of fish, cheese and bread. It smells and tastes like anise (think licorice), but if you don't mind and you're looking to turn up, this is your Turkish beverage of choice.

How to Cheers:
-Glasses raised and say ?erefe!
-Pronounced: Sher-i-feh
-Translation: "To your Honor"

To Tip or Not to Tip?
If there is no service charge included (check your bill!), you should tip between 5-10 percent of the bill at restaurants, cafes and bars. Be prepared to leave this amount in cash!

Get Rowdy At:
Istalkal Street
At night, this avenue is inundated with people drinking. The bars on the main avenue are a bit pricey, but wander down any given side street and you'll see bar after bar teeming with interesting people to drink with.

Eski Beruit
One of the most popular drinking joints for study abroad students. It gives off the chill vibe of a bar, but still offers plenty of opportunity to dance.

Also popular with students studyingabroad, this bar is a nice place to kick back, drink beers, and dance to funmusic. It often holds fun events or good drinking specials.

Reinaand Sortie
If you're feeling alittle more classy, hit up these establishments on the Bosphorous in Ortak?y. While you'll pay a bit more than theside bars of Istalkal Street, you'll get a bougie experience worthy of anInstagram (side note: please make sure to use #TurkishDelight in the post).

Eat the mussels being sold on thestreet as drunk food. They are extremely cheap, but more importantly, mind-blowingly delicious. Plus, you won't feel as bad the next morning knowingthey aren't that many calories. You can thank me later.

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Study Abroad Drunk City Guide: Beijing, China

How to make the most of China's party city.

You can't quite imagine Beijing until you've stepped inside it. Descriptions of China's capital abound: nefarious smog, perpetual crowds and traffic, temples and hutongs inlaid with historical charisma, artistic vibes that have hipsters labeling it the "New Brooklyn," and a constant influx of new skyscrapers.

But, that only goes so far in helping you really feel Beijing.

It's a bit like Willy Wonka's Wondrous Boat Ride. With a bit of the feels of 22 by Taylor Swift. But, maybe a Picasso painting too (probably The Three Dancers). And Jack Kerouac's On the Road thrown in there as well. Beijing is in constant motion; a place that is equally as enchanted as it is eerie, that must be explored to be understood.

It should be of little surprise, then, that Beijing is a city that likes to party all the time. There always seems to be a reason to make a toast, grab a drink, dance, and eat late night street food like calories don't matter. In the event you need an insider opinion on partying in the North Capital, read on.

Get drunk on:

B?iji?: This white grain liquor boasts an alcoholic content of around 40-60 percent (and it tastes like it). It'll only set you back a few dollars for a convenience store bottle, but it might also come at the cost of your dignity, night's memory, and the cell phone you'll forget at the bar.

Tsingtao: Buy a bottle of this cheap light beer from a local store (ask the owners to open it), and walk around drinking at your leisure (because no open container laws-HOLLA!).

Local craft beer: Jing-A Brewing Co., Slow Boat Brewery, Great Leap Brewing, Arrow Factory Brewing are only a part of the (awesome) local breweries. Drink in the taprooms, or find them on tap or bottled across the city.

Night Light

A photo posted by Kelsey Clough (@kelsclough) on

How to cheers:

1. Announce G?nb?i

  • Pronounced: gahn-bey
  • Translation: "to dry the glass".

2. Clink glasses with everyone else toasting

  • As a sign of respect, try to clink below where the other person is clinking.

3. Finish your drink

  • It doesn't mean dry your glass for nothing... try your best to finish what you have.
  • If you don't want to participate or have a liquor too hard to finish, opt out or take it easy.

To tip or not to tip?

No tip! And so we tip our hats to you Bei.

?? #ganbeijing #killingtime

A photo posted by Kelsey Clough (@kelsclough) on

Get rowdy at:

Ron Mexico: If you get the reference, then you can already guess this small hutong bar is something cool. Quality cocktails, interesting owner and staff, and always an eclectic group of bar-dwellers to swap life stories with.

The Local: A sceney expat bar that serves up beers on tap, decent cocktails, great grub, and the occasional one-night stand. Awesome in the way that it can create a chill bar night or a raucous evening, depending on what you and your gang want.

Dada: A club to keep you dancing all night. From the patrons to the DJs -- up and coming spinners to big names -- Dada is an international party to count on.

Sanlitun: Walk around the street for bar after bar, with live performances and people shouting at you from every direction. Head here if you like bar-hopping around rowdy places.

KTV: You'll see them everywhere, so there is no excuse. Stock up alcohol and rent out a room to sing to your soul's content. Best done with a fun (and inebriated) group of troublemakers.

Other Tips:

If the price on your drink seems too low to be true, it probably is. Beware of fake alcohol (unless you love mind-blowingly bad hangovers, and probably permanent damage to your innards)

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College Life |  Source: @Jess.xn

Shit Australians Say

My conversational adventures abroad.

Studying abroad is awesome because it gives you the opportunity to experience different cultures and different types of people. While I was studying abroad in Australia, I met people from all over the world, and a lot of them ended up becoming great friends.

But one thing that took some getting used to was their slang. Here's a list of the most common slang Australians and people from the United Kingdom used.


I'm having heaps of fun out here in 'Straya even though half the time I have no idea what the fuck they're saying.


To my knowledge, I feel this means cute or kind of sassy. Still don't know if it's meant to be a compliment or not, but whatever.


British slang for the word guy


British slang for the word girl


British slang for hot

Imagine my surprise when I'm with my British friend at the bar and he tells me "That bird is so fit, why is she with that bloke." Um, I'm so lost. I swear I'm not that drunk. Or am I?


This is not only a term for friend, or the American equivalent to bro, it is an acceptable ending to almost any sentence.


If an Australian ends the sentence with "aye", it is most definitely a question.

Pissed, or loaded

One of the many ways to say that you're drunk or have had a lot to drink.


A wine bag or box. This is definitely cheaper than the liquor there. In fact, a bottle of Smirnoff costs $45 there. I know.


Fucking McDonald's. Took me days to figure that one out.




AKA university. If you say you go to school, you're in high school. I've made that mistake and was made fun of, so definitely avoid that. Also, it is insulting if you ask someone else "what school they go to". Uni. Uni. Uni.

Aside from those, basically every word just gets shortened. Brisbane is Brissy. Australians are Aussies. Breakfast is brekkie. You get the idea.