Snapchat Makes Studying Abroad More Accessible

Snapchat Makes Studying Abroad More Accessible

Adventures with friends are even more possible
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These past two semesters, I have had so many friends studying abroad all over the world and while I missed them so much, part of me always felt like I was there. At first, I and many others were not so sure about the idea of a "Snapchat Story" with all your friends illustrating their fun night out while you are still at home watching Netflix because no one invited you. Then, we all eventually got over it and adapted to post our own stories as well as to ignore others.

On the other hand, I am so happy this Snapchat Story idea was invented and brought to the app because now I can see what my friends abroad are seeing in real life. A few of my close friends and sorority sisters studied abroad in London this semester and every time they took pictures of the London Eye or Big Ben, I felt as if I was right next to them enjoying the same view. As a child, I was lucky to go on a family trip through London and France and so seeing my friends see some of the monuments I vaguely remember is also so cool.

Additionally, most of my friends are studying abroad in places I have never been and had not considered exploring until I saw their adventures. Two of my friends are in Israel right now and a few weeks ago, I saw the slightly scary but also fascinating process of going through customs. I mean, of course, many countries have amped up security but this particular friend illustrated that so perfectly in her story.

Besides that, I am able to see so many sights and places I have read about in the Bible and studied in religious studies courses. This semester, I took an introductory course on the Old Testament and immediately was fascinated by the whole course. At the end of the semester, my friend left to study abroad in Israel and visited the Dead Sea, the Red Sea, Judea, and so many other sites and cities too.

Before I thought Snapchat stories were just a place to prove you were doing something on a Saturday night or to ensure all your friends knew where you were and who you were with, but now I see that these stories can be a powerful tool. I am almost done with college and most likely will not get the experience again to see these incredible places myself or on Snapchat again, so I am thankful for those friends who posted almost constantly while abroad because I felt right there with them.

Cover Image Credit: http://media2.ef.com/~/media/universal/stage/other-themes/1920x670/study-abroad.jpg

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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11 Ways To Travel More And Spend Less

Airbnb is just the beginning.

Ellie
Ellie
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Everyone wants to travel, but it can be really expensive, especially if you are in college and have a lot of other expenses. Here are a few different ways you can travel while still staying on budget. These are just some of the ways you can reduce travel costs.

1. Airbnb

A hotel that got four and a half stars in the reviews costs $245 a night in New Orleans, Airbnb has options for as low as $28 a night that has five stars rated by over 130 people. In San Francisco, a five star Airbnb costs $46 a night where a four and a half star hotel costs $199. So if you are comfortable with renting out someone's space for a bit, it's a great option.

2. Get a hotel membership

If you aren't comfortable with staying in strangers' homes, this is another great way to save money. Earn rewards and free visits by sticking to one hotel chain. This might be hard if you travel abroad but it will certainly help in the states.

3. Last minute airline deals

If you want to travel to Florida in two days, take a look because airlines often lower prices and have last minute deals. I would be okay going in two days if the plane ticket price went down to $98. And for New Orleans, the flight price dropped from $400 to $155 for a round trip ticket. If I leave for Dubai in four days, my round trip ticket is $984 instead of being around $1300. So if you can get up and go in a short period of time, look out for deals like these.

4. Round trip vs. one way tickets

Most people just go automatically into booking a round trip ticket, but sometimes it is actually cheaper to get two one way tickets. So just take a look before you book the tickets.

5 . Eating on vacation

It may not be as exciting as eating out every night, but even just bringing enough for your own breakfast and snacks will save you a ton of money by the end of your trip.

6. Eating at home

Or if you really want to go out on vacation, eat cheaper when you are home. Cook more, go out less — this will save even more money than the previous suggestion. Or even better, do both.

7. Get a credit card with points or miles

This way everything you do will help you do more things in the future, while helping pay for what you want to do now.

8. In terms of saving up, ask for money

If you really want to travel, for every holiday and birthday, ask for money or gift cards, then save it up to go away.

9. Use public transportation

Instead of taking an Uber or taxi everywhere, use public transportation.

10. Use apps

If you are going out of the country, use apps to call and text people instead of paying for a very expensive phone plan. WhatsApp is a very popular option.

11. Withdraw money, don't exchange

Many times you can avoid fees or at least minimize them by withdrawing money while in the country you are visiting rather than paying exchange rate fees.

Ellie
Ellie

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