Category Archives: Valley Overseas

Study Abroad Apartments: The Solution to Finding a Home Abroad

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 11.58.12 AMSo you finally committed to spending a semester of college abroad. You have been through months of applications, paperwork, and deadlines and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel! But there are still some things you have not taken care of yet, like considering budget or packing. There is something else you need to consider: where you are going to live. If you are panicking because you don’t want to be stuck living in a glorified closet in London, or a roach infested dump in Rome then worry no more. Studyabroadapartments.com is the solution to your housing woes.

When you visit the website you notice that they offer apartments to students studying in Barcelona, Rome, London, Prague, Florence, and Tel Aviv. When you know where you are studying you chose your city and have the option of entering your arrival and departure date as well as the number of roommates you will have, up to 10 people. From there the website will show you your options, complete with high quality pictures and descriptions of the apartment amenities. An added bonus is the integrated Google Maps location of the apartment that allows you to move the map to figure out where your future home is located within the city. Continue reading

Valley Overseas: We Are… Roma!

Welcome to Valley Overseas. We’ll hear from students exploring new lands full of strange customs, seemingly impenetrable language barriers, and Euro-trash. They’ll dish out the good, bad and the ugly of living in a home-stay, and the tales of discount airlines. From mixed-up vocab to drool-worthy people in fantastic fashions, let us show you the experiences of a lifetime.

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As a Penn State student living abroad, there are plenty of things I miss about State College.

I long for the beautiful green campus, rowdy Saturday nights and of course my friends. But one thing I didn’t expect to miss as much as I do is the Penn State school spirit that envelops everyone in Happy Valley. I’ve been in Rome so long that now this feels like my home. I feel a sort of loyalty to this city.

One of activities I decided to attend in my newly beloved city was a Roma soccer game in the Olympic stadium. It was an interesting night to say the least, and I noticed some major differences between a Roma game and a Penn State football game. Continue reading

Valley Overseas: Coping with Homesickness

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 10.52.40 AMIt’s officially been a month since I arrived in Florence. The first week was pretty laid back – getting to know my roommates and attending orientation was pretty fun. Then came the second week, with the start of classes and a little bit of homesickness.

I recently spoke with a friend who studied abroad last semester. I asked her how she coped with homesickness. Her response: I never got homesick.

I am so lucky to have been granted this amazing opportunity to study abroad. The culture and people are amazing; not to mention the delicious food that comes along with it!

But there is a piece of me that feels something missing – maybe that something is not being able to talk with my family anytime of the day. Maybe that something is seeing pictures of all of my friends together without me. Maybe that something is just missing the American way of life. Maybe that something is… something I don’t know. Continue reading

Valley Overseas: Adjusting to City Life

Welcome to Valley Overseas. We’ll hear from students exploring new lands full of strange customs, seemingly impenetrable language barriers, and Euro-trash. They’ll dish out the good, bad and the ugly of living in a home-stay, and the tales of discount airlines. From mixed-up vocab to drool-worthy people in fantastic fashions, let us show you the experiences of a lifetime.

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I arrived in Rome three days ago jetlagged and delirious, but unbelievably excited to finally begin my semester abroad. Over winter break, I endured endless questions from family and friends wondering if I felt ready and if I was scared of anything I’d have to face. I had honestly never even registered fear as one of my pre-Rome emotions. Now that I’m here, I’m even more confident in my choice to experience another culture for four months.

I grew up in the suburbs and then moved to Penn State when I was 18, so the biggest change for me when I arrived was being a city slicker for the first time. At home, I drive everywhere and at Penn State, anything you could need is in walking distance. Continue reading

Valley Overseas: The Costs of Studying Abroad

Welcome to Valley Overseas. We’ll hear from students exploring new lands full of strange customs, seemingly impenetrable language barriers, and Euro-trash. They’ll dish out the good, bad and the ugly of living in a home-stay, and the tales of discount airlines. From mixed-up vocab to drool-worthy people in fantastic fashions, let us show you the experiences of a lifetime.

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The costs of studying abroad are adding up quickly. After a 16-hour journey from Philadelphia, I have finally arrived in Florence. And with that comes a hefty price on pizza, pasta, wine and even water.

As many of us know, the exchange rate is not the best. Currently, one U.S. dollar is equivalent to 0.73 Euro. I’m trying to wipe that fun fact away from my head and enjoy studying abroad to the fullest – even if it costs me €30 for dinner.

How do they get you, you may ask? There are plenty of deals; pizza and a drink for €10 sounds good – trust me, it is here. But that’s if you want to go to a tourist destination – your choice.

I’ve only been here for two days and I already have a list of charges that you’d never imagine in the States. Continue reading

The 13 People You Will Meet While Studying Abroad

450px-Base_of_Eiffel_Tower_at_NightWith many friends of yours – or yourself – embarking on an adventure of their lifetime, here, I, a study abroad returnee myself, will introduce 13 of the most typical categories of people one may encounter while being out of the country. Bon voyage!

1. The lovebirds

Either the couple has been together before the program started or just sort of hit it off on Day 1 and has been inseparable ever since. They are theoretically cute together but they can be the culprits as to why you feel extra lonely.

2. The (relative/friend of a) VIP

This person gets in to the most exclusive and coveted of places with a snap of a finger. This person could be an intern for a high-end retail store. I knew a girl from London who sat on the front row in several shows during London Fashion Week 2013.

3. The budget traveler

Armed with tested-and-tried battle plans and knowledge of a dozen discounted flight ticket websites, this one is a keeper if you are on a budget but refuse to let the lack of money limit the quality of your trips.

4. The star-struck

I knew one girl who managed to capture Justin Bieber leaning against a hotel balcony on her iPhone camera and another who went to the London premiere of Oblivion and kissed Tom Cruise on the cheek. My belly dance instructor in London also snapped a photo of Jay-Z riding the tube one day before the incident made headlines. Continue reading

Valley Overseas: Expecting the Unexpected

Welcome to Valley Overseas. We’ll hear from students exploring new lands full of strange customs, seemingly impenetrable language barriers, and Euro-trash. They’ll dish out the good, bad and the ugly of living in a home-stay, and the tales of discount airlines. From mixed-up vocab to drool-worthy people in fantastic fashions, let us show you the experiences of a lifetime.

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There are many reasons why people choose to study abroad. Most of us go in hopes of finding something we’ve been looking for— adventure, passion, nightlife, education or history.

In the short week that I’ve already spent here in London, I’ve noticed that what we actually find is a bit more unexpected—that is, ourselves.

My last week has been spent making new friends, exploring new places and tasting new foods. To say that the majority of my time abroad so far has been a mix of unfamiliar experiences would be an understatement. Continue reading

Valley Overseas: Life is Beautiful

Welcome to Valley Overseas. We’ll hear from students exploring new lands full of strange customs, seemingly impenetrable language barriers, and Euro-trash. They’ll dish out the good, bad and the ugly of living in a home-stay, and the tales of discount airlines. From mixed-up vocab to drool-worthy people in fantastic fashions, let us show you the experiences of a lifetime.

photo-9Life is beautiful in that we’re constantly given the gift of starting over. For some of us, this means the start of a new relationship, or even, the end of a toxic one. It means changing our lives to adjust or adapt to something new, sometimes unknown. And every so often we’re lucky enough for it to mean finding a gift behind a door, finally opened.

Now, whether or not these new beginnings are welcomed into our lives is a different story, unique to each situation. But, as I look back at some of the moments I’ve been forced to start all over again, I notice they’ve all began with similar feelings. There were times I felt angry and mad, sad and alone, even dreadful. I believe that these feelings stemmed from going after things that were risky. But, in the end, they all turned out okay—just as life had predicted for me. Continue reading

Valley Overseas: Clothes to Pack for Study Abroad

ClothesToPackForStudyAbroad_LaurenJohnsonStudying abroad is one the most life-changing opportunities you will receive during your college career. Due to the massive amount of preparations, the months leading up to your departure are stressful. Even though getting the necessary paperwork notarized and your passport sent to you via express mail seem like the most challenging parts of getting ready, packing for your semester abroad is also quite an endeavor.

Versatile clothing                                                                              

When you are tasked with fitting all of your belongings into one suitcase, it’s difficult to know which clothing items to take and which to leave at home in the good ol’ US of A. To increase efficiency, think of which items could be used for the greatest amount of outfits. For example, take a chunky sweater that can be worn with jeans, leggings, over a collared shirt, under a heavy jacket or with a pair of cut-off jean shorts. Just that one sweater gives you five different outfits. Forget packing that lacey-crop top if you can only wear it with a high-waisted skirt.

Your favorite pieces

You are most likely to create new outfits from clothes pieces you really love. Even if a clothing item has versatility, if you don’t love it, you’re not going to wear it. Unwanted clothes are a waste of valuable suitcase space. As girls, if we really love a garment, we’ll find as many ways as possible to wear it. A suitcase full of our favorite pieces will inspire creativity for new outfits. Even though Mom says we need that bright red raincoat that can also serve as a winter shell and has eight hidden pockets to secretly carry our passport and cell phone, don’t bring it if you’re not going to wear it. Continue reading

Valley Overseas: Preparing for a Summer Abroad

Welcome to Valley Overseas. We’ll hear from students exploring new lands full of strange customs, seemingly impenetrable language barriers, and Euro-trash. They’ll dish out the good, bad and the ugly of living in a home-stay, and the tales of discount airlines. From mixed-up vocab to drool-worthy people in fantastic fashions, let us show you the experiences of a lifetime.

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As the school year comes to a close, graduation caps are flung into the air and plans are made with friends for the coming months, the summer will bring about many opportunities for students. While for some that means going back to a seasonal job or even interning at your dream company, for lucky, others it means travel. And not just the run-of-the-mill vacation—it can also mean studying abroad.

Penn State offers a huge number of study abroad opportunities for students who feel going abroad for a whole semester is too much or can’t fit an entire semester abroad into their schedule. Either way, it will bring a summer of memories and bring you back with some unique souvenirs—whether that’s a t-shirt from another country or even fluency in another language.

As the summer approaches and you’re studying abroad, it’s important to prepare yourself for things other than what dresses to bring to impress those cute European boys. To prepare yourself for what will be a totally new experience so you aren’t completely thrown off when you get to your country of choice, there are a few things you should do beforehand. Continue reading