5 Tips For My Best Friends Going Abroad

5 Tips For My Best Friends Going Abroad

Please call home sometimes (aka me)

Dear Erin and Lucy,

You two are full of sage (and often pessimistic) advice for me, but in the craziness of scheduling class, getting visas, booking flights, and finding living accommodations for months, I'm worried you two have lost the joie de vivre of going abroad. From my lighthearted and unbothered sophomore perspective, I've come up with five pieces of advice for you guys to remind you both of the wonderful opportunities you have before you.

1. Eat everything

Calories don’t count in other countries, or at least they shouldn’t. For the first time in three years, you will be able to go to school without having to limit yourself to the DUC, Cox, or Kaldi’s. Chase your dreams. Buy 30 baguettes. Make yourself a cheese platter nightly. Treat yo’ selves (and send me pics)!

2. Get involved

Just because you’re studying in another country doesn’t mean you’re not still a student on a college campus. Take advantage of your school’s clubs and organizations. If you’re at an international school, introduce yourself to all of the other Americans abroad in your classes. You are both so comfortable with group study work thanks to the B-School, so go group study with your potential new lifelong friends.

(Oh, look! Your study buddies now double as travel buddies… so funny how that works out!)

3. Make a plan

You are both strong, confident, Type A and proud women. Make a list of all the countries and cities you want to hit at the start of your semester so you feel a sense of accomplishment when you visit them. Prioritize each list item so that you don't miss out on something you've been dying to do. Schedule transportation, get comfortable with Air BnB's, and hold friends accountable if they plan to come with you, but be more free and flexible, too. C'est la vie, as they say in Paris!

4. Remember to call home

I don’t mean your real home with your real families; I mean me and my lonely heart waiting for you guys to come back! I might be miles on miles away, but you both have international calling plans and my number. Don’t think leaving the continent means you can escape me and burdensome love for you two.

5. Fall in love

Fall in love with the people, the culture, the places you’ll get to see. This experience is really once in a lifetime, so sap the life out of every place you touch down in. Meet Parisian men who make jokes about your accented French, talk for Spanish for days on end until you start to question ever reverting back to English, lose track of time and spend all of your money (wisely). Just live and be present every single day.

I'll miss you, but I'll see you both when you get home.

With love,


Cover Image Credit: Erin McSally

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11 Must-Go To Day Trips In North Carolina

For the wanderers and curious...

It's finally summer, classes are out! There are so many things to do in this beautiful state. There are many small towns to visit. These towns are perfect day trips. From the mountains to the beach and everything in between, there is something for everyone! Pack your car up and get ready for a summer of adventure.

1. NoDa

This is a small hipster district right outside of Uptown Charlotte. Music and art paint this town and it has a very creative energy flow. Amelie's Bakery, a 24/7 french bakery, is located in this district. There is always something fun and new to try in this cute, artistic town!

2. Asheville

This town is known for the beautiful scenery and historic importance. The Biltmore Estate is located here, and it is open for tours every day of the year. It is the biggest estate in America. The downtown area is very artistic, and the mountains make for a gorgeous hike. This is definitely an adventure you don't want to miss.

3. Boone

This small town has a lot of outdoor activities. It is perfect for hiking and whitewater rafting. If you love nature, this is a must see. It is a college town where Appalachian State University is located. The downtown area is very old school and for modern hipsters.

4. Crowders Mountain

This is located in Gaston County. Once you reach the Pinnacle, the peak of the trail, with clear skies you can see for miles. It is a quick four-mile hike for the short one, the view is amazing.

5. Wilmington

This city is known for the beachfront. It makes a perfect day to hit the waves. There are many beach fronts to visit, such as Carolina Beach. Cape Fear Ocean runs through this city. White sand, waves and the boardwalk. If you are a fan of One Tree Hill, it was filmed here.The small restaurants and characteristics give this town a vibrant energy.

6. Serendipity House

This house is from the movie Nights In Rodanthe located on a beach in Avon, North Carolina. It has been remodeled, but the amazing characteristics of this make it a sight to see.

7. Linville Falls

This is located in Linville, North Carolina. Attractions close by are also the Blue Ridge Mountain. To get to the main fall, it is about a mile hike.

8. Outer Banks

Small beaches on the outer banks of North Carolina have wild horses. Corolla Wild Ponies run free, and you can even take a ride on them in the water.

9. Sliding Rock

Located in Brevard, this rock is actually naturally made from a small waterfall. You can actually go sliding down it. It is in Pisgah National Forest also near Asheville.

10. Devil's Tramping Ground

This is located near Bennett. It is a 40-foot circle that cannot grow life. If you leave something or sleep in the circle, the rumor is it will be outside of the circle the next day.

11. Land of Oz Theme park

Located in Beech Mountain, this theme park that was once full of life is now closed and for the most part abandoned. It comes alive for one night a year for an event. This is definitely a place to take a night adventure to...

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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My Future Is Unpredictable And That's Totally Alright

As I prepare for study abroad in Ecuador, I'm going in with no expectations.


For six months, I had plans to study abroad in the Dominican Republic during the fall semester of junior year. Filling out what seemed like endless applications and paperwork, searching for travel ideas on Pinterest, and writing a class research paper on the DR's relationship with its neighboring island, Haiti, I was prepared to live and learn about Dominican culture hands-on.

Then on the Thursday before Finals Week last spring, I read my email. My study abroad program in the DR had gotten canceled. In the span of 30 seconds, my future had taken a new course. Less than a week later, I was submitting papers to study abroad in a new country where another adventure awaited: Ecuador.

If there's anything I've learned in the past year, it's that life is unpredictable and we can't control it. The future is unknown. But-

Who wants to know exactly what's going to happen in the next few years? I mean, I believe it's good to have a direction, but you don't have to have the entire journey pinpointed straight to the core. You meet people, you get inspired, you see things, you have experiences. And you go from there. (Though, I totally respect people who have clear ambitions and stick with them their entire lives.)

Where I was a year ago was a completely different path than where I find myself today. Last summer, I worked four different internships/jobs in the span of three months. A year ago, I would never have guessed my following summer unfolding with an immersion trip to India, a solo adventure to Taiwan & Hong Kong, and becoming a certified yoga instructor. A year ago, I hadn't met half of my best friends. A year ago, I hadn't seen poverty in a third-world country. A year ago, I wasn't even sure I wanted to major in Environmental Studies.

Just because I don't know what the future holds doesn't mean I can't set goals. I have a destination, an idea of where I'm headed and where I want to go. While abroad in Ecuador, I want to learn about sustainable development and coffee production as well as enhance my Spanish skills.

As I prepare for study abroad in Ecuador, I'm going in with no expectations. I know the format of the program. I'll be taking classes and living with a host family and then doing an internship at a farm. Otherwise, I have no idea what's going to happen. And that's what I'm looking forward to the most. The spontaneity. The unexpected. As one of my good friends would say whenever he doesn't have formal weekend plans, "I'm improvising." And you know the one rule of improv: Always say yes.

¡Hasta pronto, Ecuador!

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