Posts Tagged 'Gulliver'

Check Out Gulliver on Facebook!

Studying Abroad this Fall? Maybe you just returned from an amazing summer abroad? We want to hear your stories! Now you can find us on Facebook! Well, Gulliver already has a fan page, and right now you can win $500 toward studying abroad! Check it out!

Italy Facebook Group Page

Find us on Facebook!

In addition to the excitement on Gulliver’s facebook homepage, you can also join individual group pages catering to your study abroad country or city! Maybe you spent your summer in Italy. Did you visit the Coliseum in Rome? Peruse the artwork at the Uffizi Museum in Florence? Or scale the 5 towns of Cinque Terre? Join our Italy group and share your adventures!

Here’s a taste of some of the other Gulliver study abroad groups on Facebook: Ireland, Australia, Mexico, Copenhagen, New Delhi, India, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Athens, and Paris. There are plenty more on Facebook. Check them out! Join! Share your insights!

Gulliver’s Giving Away $500 for Study Abroad!

Are you heading abroad this fall?  Are you applying to study abroad this spring?  Gulliver wants to help you pay for your trip.  Head over to the Gulliver’s Facebook Page and enter to win $500!  All you have to do is write a short (300 word) essay on why you’d like to study abroad and what you think you’d get from the experience.   All entries need to be in before October 5th.  Check it out!

Head to the Gulliver Fan Page on Facebook and Enter Today!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The Sweetest Views of Switzerland

Whether you’re living, studying, or just swinging through Switzerland, how do you capture the beauty of this amazing country? Yes, you can hike through the Alps, but there’s an easier- and for some- more relaxing choice.  Whoever said the most beautiful way to see a country is by train…was right. Switzerland is no exception.

The GoldenPass: Interlaken to Montreux

GoldenPass is Your Ticket to Happiness

GoldenPass is Your Ticket to Happiness

The GoldenPass Line is Switzerland’s most coveted ticket. The route is up to you. My journey brought me from the northern mountain town of Interlaken to the southwestern coastal town of Montreux. Although you can use the train ride to catch up on lost sleep, this is one ride you don’t want to miss. Imagine seeing the Swiss Alps from every angle (except aerial); cows grazing in green pastures; snow covering small mountain towns; or the moment the mountain ranges open up to the sea. It’s truly an unforgettable experience.

The Swiss rail network’s GoldenPass line stretches nearly 150 miles from Lucerne to Lake Geneva. Unlike normal trains, the GoldenPass is designed for panoramic views with large windows and some of the most comfortable seats you’ll ever experience. Even better news… this exclusive view of Switzerland won’t cost you an extra penny if you have a Eurail Pass!

Other Routes to Consider

The Chocolate Train: Discover the real flavor of Switzerland.  This panoramic route takes you from Montreux on the Swiss Riviera to Gruyeres, home of the famous Gruyeres cheese and Nestle chocolate factory. There is nothing better than great views and Swiss chocolate! You’ll want to check ahead, though, because trains operate on certain days depending on the time of year.

The Swiss Alps Provide Unforgettable Views

The Swiss Alps Provide Unforgettable Views

Bernina Express: Catch the most beautiful views of the Alpines! The north-south Alpine crossing from Chur to Lugano offers breathtaking views as the express travels over viaducts, through winding tunnels, and past ice-age glaciers. So you catch everything, this express has large windows extending to the top of the train. Wow.

Glacier Express: A bigger dose of the Alps. This trip goes from St. Moritz or Chur to Zermatt through the Alpine heartland of Switzerland. Zermatt, of course, is home to the famous Matterhorn (not the one in Disneyland). The journey lasts seven and a half hours, passing through 91 tunnels, crossing 291 bridges and the 2033m high Oberalp (Over-alps).

Whether it’s snow capped mountains or luscious green countrysides, Switzerland offers some of the most beautiful views in the world. I couldn’t peel my eyes away from my window during my trip from Interlaken to Montreux. For a few hours I felt like royalty. Now it’s your turn! Let Gulliver take you there!

Relaxing Ways to Spoil Yourself Abroad

What entices you to travel or study abroad? Discovering new cultures, enjoying good cuisine, or conquering outdoor adventures? We at Gulliver recommend you do all of the above! On my recent trip to Loreto, Mexico, I went kayaking, braved cow’s head tacos, and drank some of the best tequila (ok, I guess I can do that back home!) There were a few instances, though, where I let myself unwind.  Normally I find “relaxing” a waste of valuable time.  As I continue to travel, however, I’m discovering some of the best experiences involve simply taking a break.

Catching the Sunrise

Wake up to This

Wake up to This

Ok, maybe waking up at 6am to watch the morning sun light up the sky is not your idea of relaxing. But imagine a rainbow of pink, purple, red, and blue illuminating the coast of Baja California Sur. At first, I regretted waking up; I wanted to go right back to sleep, but then I saw a pink layer of light over the horizon and realized I was in for a treat. The precious sound of my friend yelling at me to get up forced me out the door. Once outside she curled up in a hammock while I busted out my camera. There are so many benefits to watching the sunrise: it’s free; requires no energy; and it’s one of the best sights you’ll ever see.

Spa & Massage

If you need a break from eating, drinking, and overheating in Mexico- or anywhere else- get a massage. The whole point of going abroad is to pamper yourself… right? I had never been to a spa before Loreto. For one hour I didn’t think about anything else. To make life sweeter, it was apparently cheaper than a normal massage in the states. After clam diving, indulging in our catch, and enduring 100 + temperatures, an hour inside a cool, dark room proved mesmerizing. We went to a masseuse at the Hotel Posada de las Flores in downtown Loreto. If you have a free hour, this is a great way to spend your time!

Boat Rides & Whale Watching

Open Waters Offer Unparalleled  Views

Open Waters Offer Unparalleled Views

I regret not doing this in Loreto. The town is known for it’s fishing and sailing. We went kayaking and snorkeling but never took a cruise or boat ride. Boats go out much further from land than kayaks.  If you’re lucky you’ll see dolphins, turtles, man rays, and even whales! You can rent a boat or befriend locals or expats who have their own. If you’re dying to go whale watching- visit Loreto between January and March- that’s the prime season.

Personally, I find adventure sports soothing.  Most of my friends go to Mexico to lie on the beach. Everybody has a different way to relax.  At Gulliver we encourage travelers to try new things, especially those they cannot easily do back home.

The Real Flavor of Loreto, Mexico: Its Food!

I like to eat. I ate my way through Italy, France, Germany…and most of Europe. Here at Gulliver, we invite you to try new things. When studying abroad or traveling, there is no better way to learn a new culture than through its cuisine. Loreto, Mexico proved no exception. Yes we tried the burritos, chile relleno, margaritas, and tequila. We also stretched our stomachs to the limits.

Tacos. El Rey Del Taco is a side-street restaurant in Loreto known for its top-notch beef and fish tacos, tostadas, and other goodies. For the locals, however, it’s famous for cow’s head (Cabeza de Vaca) and intestine (Tripas) tacos. What?? You read it right. I tried the cabeza taco- turned out to be some of the juiciest and tastiest meat I’ve ever had. The intestines, we’ll save for another time.

Seafood & a View in Loreto

Seafood with a View in Loreto

Seafood. Loreto sits on the Baja California Coast. From mahi-mahi, to sea bass, crab, and clams, the seafood is abundant. My friend and I dined at Mediterraneo one night. As we overlooked the shoreline, we both indulged in mahi-mahi stuffed with crab. Great choice, especially with a little vino. Now, fishing is the biggest sport in the area. We did not make it out on a boat, but we did make it to a secluded beach to go clam diving. We learned how to hunt for the little white eyes hidden in the ocean floor. We captured dozens of beautiful clams. Our reward? Eating our catch at another coastal restaurant in Loreto, Loreto Islas. Our chef served us raw clams, chocolate clams (con queso), and a few soaked in tomato sauce. Add a little lime and fresh salsa and you have a delicious feast.

Sustainable Margarita. Mexico has its share of alcohol: Pacifico, Corona, Don Julio tequila, margaritas, and Damiana liqueur. I had my first Sangrita (Don Julio and a bloody mary mixture) and one of the best Strawberry Margaritas. At one bar, the Giggling Dolphin, I learned a new mixing technique. The drink – an old fashioned margarita.  I of course, acted as the guinea pig. After I refused to dance on a counter top (too much pressure), the bartender asked me to make a “Sustainable Margarita.” This consisted of a bike connected to a blender. Wearing a skirt, I hopped on the rider’s seat and took off, pedaling my way to a blended margarita. After a few minutes, my margarita and I were whipped.

In a sense, we had to earn our keep in Loreto. I’m still thirsty for more. When you travel to new places, try everything- even if it makes you cringe. You won’t regret it in the end. You’ll also discover new ways to entertain yourself.

What Makes Studying Abroad Worth Your Time?

You just landed in a new country. You take a deep breath. You’re studying abroad. Once the excitement dissipates you realize you have no clue where you are, you don’t know the language, and you don’t recognize anything (save a few chains like McDonald’s or Starbucks). You ask yourself, “Why am I here?”

Of course you want to discover new territory, meet new people, and sample tasty native cuisine, but any traveler could do that. Why did you decide to study abroad?  Escaping the normality of everyday life is one reason, but as an article for the INSE at the University of Oslo explains, there are a few key benefits.

Experience a New Country

Living abroad is the best way to adapt to a culture. You’ll discover the customs that make a culture tick on a daily basis.

Some Customs Can't Be Explained

Some Customs Can't Be Explained

Learning the language helps you appreciate this different way of life. You won’t become fluent in a semester but you will learn more than you ever imagined. If you stay for a year- you may never want to leave. When you’re not exploring take some time to soak in the sights and sounds. There’s a big world out there just waiting to be conquered. It’s best to do a little research before leaving. Check out Gulliver’s “Prepare to Go” section to brush up on everything you’ll need to know.

Personal Growth

The moment you decide to study abroad you become a different person. You step out of your comfort zone and into a strange environment.  When you have no friends or family to rely on, you become stronger and more independent. You grow as a person and are able to handle any situation or crisis that comes your way.  Some might find it hard to build relationships overseas; others will find it easy. Don’t force yourself to do anything that is uncomfortable, but do push yourself to take risks. Bring a positive attitude. It will keep you upbeat and focused on your education and experience rather than what you miss back home.

Career Opportunities

Studying abroad gives you access to a larger and more diverse job market. The trip could push you ahead in your current career or create a new direction.  When applying to jobs, be sure to include your abroad experience as well as any languages you attained. This shows you can adapt to most situations and want to advance your skills in the real world.

Apply Your New Knowledge Back Home

While abroad, you’ll gain insight into the lifestyle of your adopted home.  Put this knowledge to good use when you return stateside. Maybe this experience will inspire you to seek change back home, or get involved in volunteer or charity work. The opportunities are endless. One thing’s for sure, you will return home transformed.

Need help getting ready?

Studying Abroad on a Budget: Finding Scholarships

Would you rather learn to Tango with some random guy in your Econ class or some attractive, Argentinean dancer?

Scholarships are Hiding... Like the Tower in Pisa

Scholarships Will Appear... Like the Tower in Pisa

If you chose the former, you need help. If you chose the latter, you’re normal. Where else can you get an authentic experience than in the native country? Granted, a trip to Argentina costs a bit more than a few Tango classes at the Rec Center, but imagine the adventure! What’s stopping you? Ah, right, money. The most common reason students don’t study abroad: Money. The American dream is to travel freely, without limitations. Well, these days money is a big concern. Still, program providers, universities, and private organizations are making an effort to help financially strapped students go abroad. While they might seem unattainable, there are plenty of scholarships available, you just need to do a little research to find them. Here at Gulliver we’ve got everything to help prepare for your big trip. There is no reason you can’t study abroad!

A few tips for finding scholarships or loans:

  • Start at home. Does your school sponsor the study abroad program you hope to attend? Then any financial aid you currently receive will most likely apply to any overseas expedition. Don’t get financial aid? No sweat. See what scholarships your school offers. Talk to your study abroad advisor first chance you get.
  • Contact your local heritage/ethnic organizations. For example, the Sons of Italy in America (OSIA) offers generous scholarships for students of Italian heritage who want to study in Italy.
  • NextStudent is a great resource for scholarships. Search by major, academic year, athletic/artistic skills, or your ethnic background. You’ll learn more about scholarships, private student loans, and federal student loans.

Most study abroad programs cost as much- if not less- than a semester at your home institution. If college is really about growth and experience, then coming up with money to study abroad is the best investment you could make. You will learn more on your international trip than you ever will daydreaming in your classroom. If you need help searching for scholarships for specific countries, check out our Prepare to Go section. If you’re still strapped for cash, then don’t splurge on the Italian leather shoes, drop the gelato, and sign up for one less Tango class.

Trying To Find a Tree Kangaroo: Introduction to the New Guinea Highlands

I think a nice way to start off this adventure blog is to tell the the story of my journey to find a tree kangaroo in the Papua New Guinean highlands. Some background:

highlands12

I was in Papua New Guinea (PNG) helping launch Panango, a student-initiated organization promoting Education, Empowerment, and Exchange between American students and Papua New Guineans. While we lived in villages on the coast in the lowlands, which were awesome in their own right, I anxiously bided my time to get up to the Highlands.

All the stuff that one might associate with Papua New Guinea – cannibals, tribal warfare, fiercely face-painted warriors – originates from the Highlands. Those short, powerful guys with a boar tusk pierced through their septum – that’s a Highlander. Before I left for PNG, I remember Robert Siegel, an associate professor of immunology at Stanford who spent some time in the Highlands, telling me about men in his village casually explaining to him how they had just torched huts of another village because there was a tribal conflict and retribution was part of their way of life. I was definitely intrigued.

The Papua New Guinean Highlands’ history helps explain its wild reputation. Europeans first discovered the island of New Guinea in the early part of the 16th century, landing and staying in and around the lowland areas. They didn’t even bother venturing to the center of the island, assuming that only mountains and dense jungle existed. In the 1930s European explorers finally made the trek up there, only to discover about a million people living amid the rugged landscape. Think about that. A place that was “discovered” by Europeans only about 75 years ago.

highlands22

Tribal warfare was and is a very real thing up in the Highlands. While as recently as the 1970s, warriors used traditional bows and arrows, spears, and shields, at some point some guy brought a gun to the battlefield and ruined it for everyone. I heard a lot of men talk about that with regret, as warfare with spears and arrows, while still deadly, was more like a game to them. One of my friends from up there told me about how his dad got stabbed in the leg with a spear, and immediately upon release from the local clinic, went right back to the battlefield as though it were a playoff soccer game and he was their injured star forward.

From what I could gather, the introduction of guns to tribal warfare was like our introduction of the atom bomb to conventional warfare. It totally redefined the rules. So these days, tribal warfare seems more akin to gang warfare. Your tribe members are your people, and if one of them gets crossed, you’re obligated to back him up.

highlands31

Hence retribution as a culturally significant and necessary action. But now they use pistols and AK’s instead of arrows and spears. Interestingly, poverty usually prevents most disputes from becoming too drawn out. Once both sides agree they are spending too much of their respective resources on bullets (expensive to them), they agree to call it quits. Still, a good amount of people die.

And yes, cannibalism was indeed practiced among certain tribes, a few relatively recently. Apparently cannibalism still exists in isolated places, but for the most part, it’s a thing of the past. I guess it offended the missionaries.

highlands41

While the mystique of the Highlands certainly drew me, I did have an ulterior motive: finding the coolest little fuzzy wuzzy animal on the planet.

Two new blog “series” – we’re all Study Abroad, all the time!

JY EcuadorHey everyone! My name is James Yin and I’m a member of the Gulliver Team. Just as a quick introduction, I gradutated from Yale in 2007 and I studied abroad in China for 2 summers.  I learned a lot about Chinese culture and a lot about myself, and a had a blast – so much so, in fact, that after college I went to work for PAX (www.pax.org), a Study Abroad program provider.  Then I reunited with my college friend James to start Gulliver – best.job.ever!

Andy and I are going to be running the Gulliver blog day to day, and we’ve decided to kick things off by starting up two long-term themes: “Adventures Abroad” and “Passport Control.”  “Adventures Abroad” will share epic stories of student adventures abroad. Stories will come from all over the world – whether it’s surfing in Liberia, searching for tree kangaroos in Papua New Guinea, or sneaking into ancient ruins in Peru, we’ve got it. This is where you’ll find stories of what people usually tell us not to do. But, as we here believe, we’re all the better for it. Like extreme alpinist Mark Twight says: “Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment.” Amen to that!

“Passport Control,” on the other hand, is our current events section.  Here we’ll highlight news and happenings in Study Abroad.  What are the hot new destinations?  Which colleges are making it easiest for their students to go abroad…and which hardest?  How can you take advantage of new scholarships to go abroad cheaply?  “Passport Control” is your resource for all the nuts and bolts of an international education.

At the moment we’re looking to post frequently for both themes and have the occasional guest writer as well. I think we’ve put together an exciting first group of posts and I can’t wait to share them with you. Stay tuned . . .

Gulliver blog mission statement

Hey guys!  Today I just want to briefly comment on the purpose of this blog.  The Gulliver team has given a lot of thought to how we’d like to use this.  We’re pretty sure all of these ideas are going to have completely changed before long, but for now, here is what you can expect on the Gulliver blog:

Topics

  1. Featured posts by Study Abroad students and other young travelers.  Want to get the inside scoop on going abroad from a variety of different people and perspectives?  You are in the right place.
  2. Current issues in Study Abroad.  For the other Study Abroad geeks out there.  Are you planning to stay up all night reading the new Open Doors report?  Is your magazine rack full of worn copies of Glimpse, Abroad View, Transitions Abroad, and International Educator?  You, too, are in the right place.
  3. Gulliver updates, news, and behind-the-scenes peaks.  Transparency is our M.O. here at Gulliver, and it’s a philosophy we bring both to the Gulliver website, and to the company itself.  As we continue to grow, build, and develop, you’ll hear all about our adventures here. 

Contributors

We love a big conversation: lots of people, lots of points of view.  Getting different perspectives and meeti500soapbox-pic1ng completely different people is one of the most amazing parts of going abroad – we want to imitate that experience here.  So this blog is going to have a number of regular contributors, and then tons and tons of special guests.  Think of it as the communal Study Abroad soapbox. 

But in addition to our regular writers and special guests, the most important contributors to this blog are you guys.  We. Want. Comments!  Like Gulliver itself, we want our blog to connect people and start new conversations that never would have happened otherwise.  So let us know what you think, and we promise to respond.

To start off with a bang, we’re going to post a few items in quick succession, each by a different writer and on a different topic.  Then we’ll probably slow down a bit and get back to doing real work.  Happy reading!


the blog of www.gullivergo.com

Gulliver helps students Study Abroad. Our blog covers: current issues in Study Abroad; featured posts by Study Abroad students; and Gulliver updates, news, and behind-the-scenes peaks. Thanks for reading!