A Girl's Journey Living in Japan

sunrise-219778_1280

4 Things You Must Do in Vietnam

Getting Academic Overseas — Studying Abroad for the Future

5404766001_f6c4b44db4_b

Studying abroad is highly rewarding, academically, culturally and personally. Students are taken out of their comfort zone, at least to some degree, and learn to be independent and to communicate effectively with people from other cultures. Adaptability, flexibility and strong interpersonal skills are much sought after by potential employers, so studying abroad can significantly improve their career prospects.

Take the UAE, for instance, and some of the leading universities in the UAE, such as the United Arab Emirates University and the American University of Sharjah, which is licensed in the UAE and US. Other highly ranked overseas universities that have branch campuses in the UAE include Heriot-Watt University and the University of Wollongong, among many others, so there’s plenty of choice for international students. In the case of the UAE, the sub-tropical climate, with hot, humid summers and warm winters and, of course, the prospect of tax-free earnings after graduation, are other attractions.

4683563224_1844cda641_z

Students who dislike examinations (but then again, who likes them!) might prefer to study in the United States instead, where continuous assessment is the norm, but they also need to be aware that tuition fees in the US can often run into thousands of pounds, as they do in Australia. By contrast, European courses are more heavily dependent on examinations, but some European countries, such as Norway and the Netherlands, charge little or nothing by way of tuition fees. The European Commission’s subsidy scheme, known as Erasmus, and other similar programmes allow students to study abroad as part of their degree relatively cheaply.

Travelling abroad is an experience in its own right, but studying abroad allows students to experience day-to-day life in the country in question, much of which remains out of sight of traditional holidaymakers. This is particularly true of language students, who are wholly, or almost wholly, immersed in the foreign language and learn from native speakers how it’s used to complete everyday tasks and activities. Fluency in a foreign language isn’t necessarily a requirement for studying at a university that teaches in that language, but it is worth checking what language level is required.

30902399_5bfc7bdc96_o

Of course, homesickness can still be a problem, but with roughly two-thirds or more of the population of Europe, Australia and North America and roughly two-fifths of the population of the Middle East connected to the Internet, keeping in touch via Skype is straightforward enough (and often eases the longing for home). For other problems, such as finding suitable accommodation or simply dealing with the culture shock of studying abroad, help is usually available locally from a variety of sources, including an accommodation office and a welfare office.

Studying abroad is highly beneficial. Once you get into the swing of things, you hardly notice that you’re away from home. In fact, you can have so much fun while you’re out there that you may even have to remind yourself that you’re there to study!

 

Best Things to do in Shanghai

flickr-6145777462-hd

Living in Japan, it’s so tempting to just book a trip over to China to check it out. I’ve visited Hong Kong, but not mainland China so I am really curious about exploring more of this giant country. There’s so much to see and do here, and while many visitors find themselves heading to Beijing, I am actually a lot more curious about Shanghai. Many of my friends have visited this cosmopolitan city and it seems absolutely incredible; The Bund (Wai Tan), Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Circuis and Happy Valley of Shanghai. There’s so much to do in this city that chances are one visit wont be enough. There are a number of great Shanghai tours and China holidays available, so if you have been planning a trip to Shanghai, don’t wait any longer! 

flickr-5480866364-hd
The Bund:

There are two ways to explore the Bund, the first is by foot and the second is cruising down the river. Both are equally amazing and you’ll get to enjoy the amazing skyline. It is a great place to visit in the evening as it’s well lit up. You’ll find a lot of great shopping options here as well, so it is definitely worth a visit. 

Shanghai Circus World:

It is no secret that some of the best gymnasts in the world are from China. At Shanghai Circus World you will be both entertained and delighted by the sheer level of talent here. The music is live and the acrobats are extremely talented. Although the production level might not be quite at that of international circus shows, the Shanghai Circus World is definitely worth a visit if you’re in Shanghai. 

3796902479_e10a0169c6_o
Shanghai Museum:

One of the best things about this museum is that it’s free! Always good for those of us traveling on a budget. Beyond that, there are over 4 floors of Chinese history, art and calligraphy. Shanghai itself has some 5000 years of history so expect a lot to be crammed in this museum. I think when you’re traveling it’s important to get a sense of the country and culture and this museum is a great place to explore both Shanghai’s culture and history as well as China as a whole. 

Happy Valley of Shanghai:

This is Shanghai’s answer to a theme park and is a lot of fun. There’s a wooden roller coaster, as well as a number of larger roller coasters and rides. Bare in mind it can get quite busy in the Happy Valley of Shanghai so it is a good idea to arrive early and be prepared for some queues. This is a theme park where you can easily spend the better part of a day, so plan accordingly. 

There’s so much to do in Shanghai, I can’t wait to plan a visit. These are just some of the things that are on my Shanghai bucket list. Have you been before? 

Tips for a Stress Free Flight

24102165_4cb9d1d713_b

As amazing as flying is, it can be really hard especially if you’re flying long distance. Long haul flying can take a real toll on your health and energy levels. Jet lag is a real problem, especially if you want to make the most of your holiday or business trip. As someone who has been on countless long flights, I have a number of tips to ensure a stress free flight which might help make your journey more comfortable. Here are my tips for a stress free flight:

339802887_37c131af2d_z
1) Check The Flight Information Online 

What’s worse than being at the airport for a four hour delay? Being there when you didn’t have to be. Check the flight information online in advance and you’ll have a better idea of what’s going on and exactly what time you need to be at the airport to clear security and ensure a stress free departure.

2) Wear Comfortable Clothes

I love to look good – who doesn’t? But flights are not the time for fancy dresses and tall heels. Be comfortable and practical and your flight will be infinitely better. If you can’t let fashion be pushed aside, wear whatever you please but bring a change of comfortable clothes, such as some skinny jeans, trousers and a loose fitting top. I also like to bring socks along as I prefer to remove my shoes and my feet would freeze otherwise. Comfort will make a big difference when you’re trying to sleep on that pesky long flight.

526245341_51dd3fea26_z 3) Stay Hydrated

Drink water, and lots of it. Many people make the mistake of drinking alcohol or caffeine before and during their flights. Because of the different air pressure and the recycled air, you tend to get really dehydrated when flying and this contributes to jet lag and fatigue. Try to drink a glass of water for every hour you’re in the air – and using the bathroom a lot is a great way to keep your legs moving while on the flight.

4) Arrive Early

Have you ever had to do a mad dash to the airport? You know the feeling… frantically checking your watch every minute to see whether you’re going to miss the check-in time. I’ve been there, and it’s not nice. I’ve been that person running frantically through the airport, arriving at the gate and everything closing up behind me. My heart was racing, I was sweaty and felt anxious. This is not a great way to start your flight off. I prefer arriving earlier than necessary and relaxing before a flight.

Flying can be a fun experience if you plan ahead, look after your body and are realistic about when you need to be at the airport. Do you have any tips for flying? I’d love to hear them.

Top Reasons Why you Should Visit Japan

3709140442_cc2c57da15_b

Known as the “country of the rising sun”, Japan does not stop to surprise, mesmerise and attract visitors from all over the world. There is something exotic, yet intricate, a fantastic mix of cultural heritage and Asian traditions coexisting amongst modern mirrored high-rises and huge mind-blowing amusement parks. Regardless of the places you have visited before, Japan will definitely blow your mind and it never fails to impress its visitors, whether it is their first, or tenth time in this ultramodern capital.

Continue reading →

Top 5 Things to do in Singapore

10032822014_a96800ad0b_k

Although usually referred to as the ‘business capital of Asia’, Singapore is a fascinating place – it is an island, a country and a city, which is home to people from multiple religions and mainly three cultures – Chinese, Indian and Arabic. It is an extraordinary place, where you can’t chew gum, yet there are huge entertainment theme parks that can fully compete with Disney World. This unique gem located in Southeast Asia combines architectural miracles and ultramodern business centers, skyscrapers and mazes of traditional Chinese houses. While it is influenced by such rich and different cultures, it remains to be one of the cleanest countries in Asia, with strict rules that both locals and visitors must adhere to. Amongst the numerous things to do in Singapore, here are my top picks.

Continue reading →

It’s Cool Here: Exploring Ooty, Queen of the Hills

242245018_5ba3338914_b

Travelling South India and looking to beat the heat?  Board the next bus to Ooty, and retreat into a little mountain cool.  Perched 7,347 above sea level, the weather here is refreshingly pleasant, and the crisp mountain atmosphere is literally a breath of fresh air after the heat and bustle of the cities below.  Even its most famous products speak of an atmosphere of relaxation; Ooty is known for its high quality teas and chocolates.  While it’s possible to arrive by bus or train, getting around tends to be most successful by taxi so you can explore the captivating countryside.  Just don’t choose drivers offering to take you to shops or restaurants – the places will likely be overpriced, and the driver is collecting a commission, not just making a recommendation.

Continue reading →

Beyond Sushi: Must-Try Foods For Visitors to Japan

348622907_d759f02862_o

Part of the reason I moved to Japan was because of the great food. When visiting Japan, by all means eat sushi, and lots of it.  But don’t forget there’s lots more to explore- and missing the wide array of culinary delight Japan has on offer would be an unforgivable shame.  Sample some of these savories (and sweets) to discover new favorites you’ll still dream of when you return home.

Continue reading →

Weirdly Wonderful Tokyo

9074409909_bd1768025e_b

Tokyo culture sometimes feels like entering an entirely different world.  It’s a place that celebrates the wonderfully weird- and you should to!  Check out these uniquely Tokyo experiences to get started, and then let the city guide you to all the beautifully bizarre it has on offer.

Continue reading →

Nobody does it better? How Japan does it differently

5521896858_35e59b9969_b

Japan can often seem like a mystery to the outside world. Name another country that would put what is basically a nappy on a grown man, and make them wrestle around on the floor. No, I can’t think of anywhere else either. Despite its quirks, or perhaps because of its quirks, Japan is an excellent place to live.

Put simply, Japan is so popular because it is so … weird isn’t the right word, but diverse. Yes, Japan is so popular because it is so diverse and different. What you think is normal in one part of the world is deemed very abnormal in the land of the rising sun, and vice versa.

Continue reading →