Why study abroad?

Germany edition. On this wet & dull Sunday evening here in Dresden, I find myself watching the World Cup on monitor #2, while searching for compelling study abroad programs on monitor #1. How g…

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Irish History Student’s Association: Conference Review

holinshed revisited

Uni of Limerick University of Limerick

The annual conference of the Irish History Student’s Association took place in the University of Limerick between 13-14 March. The IHSA was founded in 1950 to promote the study of history among students in third level institutions on the island of Ireland. The IHSA has served Irish history students for decades and has allowed them to experience the world of academic conferences in an open and helpful manner.

The conference provided many quality papers, too numerous to review in this blog. During a panel titled ‘conflict in the wider world’ there was a very informative paper on ‘The Red Power Movement: a symbol of Indian Resistance and native political action’ by Katya Radovanova (T U Dresden) from Bulgaria and currently an Erasmus student in NUI Galway. It examined the nationwide campaign of Native Americans to reclaim the tribal right to sovereignty and self-determination during the late 1960’s…

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Create a Climate for Peace # Regional re:ACTION # Call for participants


Service Civil International – GAIA Kosovo


Regional re:ACTION

Prishtina & Plemetina

15th – 24th of April 2015

“Every chapter of history presents its own challenges.

The biggest challenge of today´s world is climate change:

a growing threat to peace, non-violence and human rights.”

15 young people from Southern Europe will gather in Prishtina & Plemetina for 10 days:

  • to share knowledge and experience in climate change and climate justice, with focus on SCI Create a Climate for Peace campaign
  • to learn about energy policies and possibilities for sustainable future in Kosovo
  • to learn about international climate policies (UNFCCC) and mobilization for COP21 in Paris
  • to learn about climate justice movement and how to get involved
  • to experience life with coal-fired power plants living with a family for 3 days in Plemetina
  • to “give back to Earth”, as an “offering” for all the planet gives us by planting…

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Top 5 Australian Universities, a guest post by Jane Roberts

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Top 5 Universities to Study in Australia for International Students

There are many reasons why Australians refer to their home country as the lucky country. Indeed, the largest island nation boasts of a relaxed culture and unique landscape. In addition to this, Australia has positioned itself as one of the most favourite destinations for international students in search of quality higher education. In this regard, the fact that the country is home to some of the best universities in the world has placed it high on the list for international students.

Some of the benefits of studying in these universities include formal recognition of the courses by various professional organizations as well as quality education that leaves students satisfied with their experiences. Top five universities to study in Australia for international students In addition to the benefits mentioned above, international students can be sure of outstanding research opportunities, relevant foundation courses as well as student visa perks that allow students to work while taking their courses.


University of Melbourne

University of Melbourne has been ranked as the best university in Australia and number fifty-four in the world. With this in mind, students can expect to find some of the best academic and research facilities in all the campuses of this university. More to this, the university offers transport services, quality residential halls and rooms, sports facilities as well as cafes and restaurants. In the end, these facilities are meant to ensure that all students can take advantage of an environment that is conducive to learning.

Australian National University

The second best university in the country appears at number sixty-six when it comes to the best universities in the world. It is important to note that the state of the art library of the university is designed to enable students to access the most relevant research materials. In addition, the recreational facilities and student associations in the university allow students to interact and learn from each other. Indeed, one of the major benefits of studying in this university is the exposure it gives students and the opportunity it gives students to develop their social skills.

University of Queensland

The University of Queensland ranks as the eighty-fifth best university in the world. In this regard, it is clear that the various courses taught at the university are accredited by the relevant professional bodies. When it comes to facilities and services within different campuses, international students will enjoy quality accommodation facilities, IT support, and round-the-clock security presence as well as health services. In the long run, students are awarded with internationally accredited certificates.

University of Sydney

University of Sydney is renowned for the quality health sciences programs offered by the School of Health Services. In this regard, anyone who enrolls for health related courses will get the opportunity to use modern equipment that will give them the requisite practical skills. Indeed, this is one of the best ways through which students can fortify the knowledge learnt in the classroom.

Monash University

The study facilities at the University of Monash are designed to make it easy for students to study. In line with this, there are specialized study spaces, discussions rooms, laptop-friendly desks, computer workstations as well as facilities for users with disabilities. All in all, it is clear that any undergraduate or postgraduate international student who chooses to study in Australia is bound to realize numerous benefits. However, all prospective students should remember that they will be required to obtain an Australian visa for students before travelling to the country.


Img 3Author’s Bio:
Jane Roberts is a Passionate blogger. She works on behalf of Australian Visa & she has been writing
content on the web professionally since 2010. As an avid reader and blogger, she shares her
experience through her articles on Travel, Culture, History, Lifestyle and many more.

Surviving your first week


What happens during the first days of a long (in my case 9 months) study abroad trip? So many things happen that it’s hard to keep track. If you are responsible for finding your own flat – it’ll be stressfull and you’ll have to go to viewings, and hope people will like you, and wish that your potential roommates are decent people. Also, you may or may not be hoping to find new friends at your brand new, temporary university. All these unknowns may give you a great rush of energy. However, they take their toll and may cause you a few sleepless nights as well.

Afterwards, once you have a place to live in and you know your way around town, then as you come down from the initial rush, you may become nostalgic of the home you’ve left behind. The people, the town, the life. Sure, it’s all temporary and yo can always keep in touch thanks to the amazing Internet but all those rational thoughts may not be able to convince you to let go of the nostalgia.

Lastly, (because this post is meant to be full of images rather than words) stress and a new environment may pose a threat to your health. Make sure you treat your body well and you’ll start to feel better soon. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself.

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     Here is my one-week-long ErasmusPlus experience in a nutshell.

     Getting to know the campus, meeting up with people, and admiring the number of fun student societies that exist.

Seen here is the Potter society who organized a small game of Quidditch.


          And here’s another campus shot.


          Discovering Galway city on foot is the way to go.


Boats, boats, boats! Boats.


Wandering away from the city center is a must as well.


I went jogging along the seaside. It was great, however, now I’m sick. Still worth it!


After all:


Where has ErasmusPlus taken you? How are you adapting to your new environment? Old and new Erasmus students, feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below. Cheers!

Packing. A guide in 5 simple steps.

Full disclosure, I lied to you. There is nothing simple about packing your life in a suitcase and hoping what you have is enough for a year abroad. And that it’s no more than 23 kilos. It is intense, and it is extremely nerve-racking. What should I leave behind? What deserves to take up the limited space I have in my luggage? Surely, you can buy many items in your new country, provided it is a country of a similar economic development and culture. Nevertheless, if you are worried about your lacking finances, you too would rather bring your own stuff, than have to spend money. I am not really talking about clothes, or make-up – most people bring their own. But what about towels? Sheets, winter shoes, hairdryer, blanket, a night lamp, a mattress? Okay, I might have taken it too far with the last two. Also blankets can be bought, right? That would otherwise take up a crazy amount of space in my bag.

Let’s see how far I’ve gotten with my luggage. Fair warning: upon reading, if you happen to feel a strong sense of panic rushing through your body, don’t worry, this is most likely me transferring my panic onto you. I apologize. My flight is tomorrow morning, and my bags are still far from ready. Okay? You may relax now. Panic is not healthy anyway.

Second warning: upon examination, the beginning of this “guideline” feels more like an internal dialogue between my stressed and relaxed selves. Read it as such. Don’t judge, and prosper, or whatever. Still,  I hope at least some bits are helpful.

Step 1: Relax! (that’s an order, I think) Ultimately, everything will work out. How many times have you managed to pack your suitcase the day before the trip? Every single time. Exactly. Has this strategy ever failed? No. Then why worry? Relax.

Step 2: *4 days before the trip* Short glimpses of panic. Overall: mood still set on ‘taking it easy’. House hunting is a bigger priority after all. Packing can wait.

Step 3: *2 days before the trip* Time for inspiration & list creation. Begin with watching a bunch of youtube videos and tutorials on packing for long trips. Side note: The word ‘trip’ helps me feel calm. To me it implies that the time spent abroad will be short, fun, and cause no troubles at all. Yay!

Step 4: *1 day left* Start packing and while doing so, make an inventory of your luggage. For example: mp3 player + charger -> small pocket of the inside pocket of backpack. Sounds confusing but I get it because I know my backpack very well. We go way back.^^

Step 5: If you run out of place follow this simple rule: Unpack + repack = key to creative space creation. And repeat until everything fits. If your bag isn’t infinite then at some point you’ll get the message. However, for a few extra t-shirts, or the odd pair of socks, this rule is pretty solid. Experience suggests that the more you repack and the more you stare at your bag and wonder at its depressingly finite spaces, the more creative you’ll get when it comes to circumventing the laws of physics.

Leaving home for a whole academic year is hard. Right now I envy all those Erasmus students who will only spend one semester abroad. I will be there for two. I can only hope that I’ll meet wonderful people, take in the beauty of Ireland’s scenic locations, read inspiring books, and, most of all, I hope I’ll have enough distractions so that I don’t get sucked into a dark hole of nostalgia.

Did you make your own short guide to panicing, I mean packing? Share it with me :)

Why study abroad?

usa blog 1

There are many reasons to do a study abroad program. We all know the advantages: broadening your horizons, exploring a new culture and way of life, becoming more open to people from all sorts of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. It sounds great on paper. In reality – it’s also pretty much one of the most amazing things in life. Still, not everyone is convinced that traveling abroad and living there for a while are so great. Every day I see people on Facebook upload hundreds of photos from far-away lands. Great, you travel. Good for you. Tourism is economically a very important thing. So is having a holiday once in a while. But why not take your trips abroad to the next level? Study abroad programs allow students precisely this! And not only students can take advantage of such programs. People of all ages can go abroad on, for example, a short language-learning experience (I have my eyes set on you, Sweden).

In 2013, as a student of British and American studies at my sweet Dresden University, I participated in a study abroad trip with a partner institution in Nashville – Belmont University. It was a very unique program – no classes, just some research which had to be done by talking to random students. Basically, the program consisted of 2 weeks of living in student dorms, hanging out with American students, cheering for the basketball team (Go Bruins!) and getting to know the area. It was a very relaxed program. The time spent in Nashville felt almost like a vacation but at the same time we were also quite immersed in student life.

In a series of blog posts I will sketch my experience in the US. I will try to be self-reflexive and focus on what this study abroad program taught me. Hopefully, I can inspire those of you skeptical of visiting distant lands for a study trip to give it a go!

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Munich: Pop goes Politics

Call for Papers


Students from the American Institute at the LMU in Munich are putting together a student conference on American pop culture and politics. Every student (both undergraduate and graduate) may apply by sending in their abstract by the end of July.

After sending in your abstract, together with some personal details (name, email, phone, name of university you’re attending), you should get an email, informing you if you’ve been chosen to participate in the conference. The deadline for the papers (around 8-10 pages) is the end of August /so, 31-st/.

The topics on which you may write are varied (from their website):

  • How is the relationship between popular culture and politics constructed? How did it change over time?
  • In what ways does popular culture shape, reflect, and respond to the political climate?
  • Which role can film and TV play in the relationship between popular culture and politics? (The Wire, House of Cards, All the President’s Men, The War Room)
  • In what ways do musicians and music engage with politics? (Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, System of a Down)
  • How do political elections and social media campaigns influence each other? (Presidential Elections)
  • Why are celebrity endorsements of politicians or political campaigns vital to popular culture?
  • How do video games depict the social and political climate? (Call of Duty, Mass Effect 3, Grand Theft Auto)

You can follow them on Facebook or Twitter & ask your questions regarding the content, or perhaps organizational issues etc. I am really excited about sending my abstract (which exists only in my head right now!) and I am very tempted by the “House of Cards” suggestion. I’ll have to run it by my professor and see how she feels about it. The series is quite new, but I feel like there can be volumes written about it.

The conference will take place on 17-18, October. As far as I know, they do not offer any travel grants but they’ll help participants find a student-friendly accommodation.

Is anyone else interested in applying? I’d love to hear which topics interest you?

Also, have you seen this video?^^


Why study abroad?

Germany edition.

On this wet & dull Sunday evening here in Dresden, I find myself watching the World Cup on monitor #2, while searching for compelling study abroad programs on monitor #1. How great is it to have two monitors? Go get yourself a second monitor and enjoy the greater multitasking abilities that come with it. Germany is playing tomorrow (Go Schland!). The mood here is elevated! I too find myself excited about soccer – unbelievable.

Back in 2010 I decided to leave my home country and move to Germany. For a citizen of the EU a decision like this is not a huge deal because it’s fairly easy to move within the Union. I knew that I wanted to live in Dresden – a town 2 hours south of Berlin & roughly 2 hours west from Prague. The town is most popular in connection to its WWII past – it was bombed and later Kurt Vonnegut wrote about his experience in the amazingly weird book Slaughterhouse Five. Apart from history, the town is well-known for its wonderful baroque architecture and distinguished art galleries. This is also the place where the expressionist art group Die Brücke had its start. Dresden is also a town of many colleges and universities: Dresden University of Technology, Dresden University of Applied Sciences, Academy of Fine Arts (located in the heart of Dresden), Dresden University of Music, Palucca University of Dance  & several more you get the main idea, which is the focus on art&technology.


I am a student of Dresden’s University of Technology where you have a wide range of fields to choose from. My bachelor studies were dedicated to the study of Art History and English and American studies. I can, therefore, speak best for my institute and only for the TU Dresden. Prospective students need to have a circa B2/C1 level of German. If you do not have a certificate you could also first move to Germany and then take an exam – many universities also offer one semester of German language prior to beginning your actual studies. So, if you are considering studying in Germany but think your level is not high enough, say you have a B1 level, you could apply for the summer semester (usually semester begin is April 1). Master students may choose from English taught programs, at the TU Dresden you have – Computational Engineering, Distributed Systems Engineering, Computational Logic – 4 semester-long, English language Masters of Science.

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Future leaders, Albania and the Adriatic coast

I haven’t checked the interwebs for study abroad programs lately – busy schedule or laziness, I’d rather not comment. Just yesterday I came across an interesting opportunity for those who find themselves in one of the following fields: Natural Sciences, Environment, Energy, Politics and Diplomacy, and Social Media. The program is short and is more of an information exchange/great networking opportunity than an actual study abroad program.

FUTURE LEADERS CONGRESS ALBANIA 2014 will take place from 25-th until 27-th August in Vlore, a beautiful Albanian port city.

The organization behind the congress is the Association of Youth Development for Albania and all students (16+), researchers, diplomats, doctors, architects, journalists, and engineers are eligible. From what I’ve gathered from their website, this is their first Future Leaders Congress. The congress itself consists of two panels on the topics mentioned above. Each panels will be moderated by experts in the respective fields. All participants will have the opportunity to present their topic and engage in short Q&A sessions with the audience.

There are several enticing awards for the best presentations at the congress. The two best presentations will receive an award of 1000 Euros. There’s also a special award, which I, as someone who briefly considered applying before figuring out those dates don’t work for me and I am not a student in any of the required fields, found very motivating – participation in the biggest science fair ISWEEEP 2015, USA.

The participation fee for this program is 140€ (travel to and from Albania not included but they’ll take care of you if you arrive at Tirana Airport). The best applications, however, are going to receive a travel scholarship.

As far as the application process is concerned, the form consists of several open questions in which you’ll need to impress the board. At the beginning you’ll need to write a 500-word-long motivation letter explaining why you’d like to participate. Afterwards, you’ll be asked to explain what experience you have with conference, congress participation and what your expectations are. Your understanding of the word ‘leader‘ (a true leader) will be inquired and you’ll also have to provide them with a favorite quote on the topic of leadership. If you get this far, the rest of the application is fairly easy – eating preferences, additional comments + uploading your CV, a photo + clicking on submit. And here’s a link to the, as it is named on their site, registration form.

You will also need to write an abstract – a general description of your topic. It needs to be between 300 and 500 words.

Friday 25-th July 2014 is the deadline. A whole month to write the best abstract and come up with the most moving and inspirational motivation letter in the history of motivation letter-writing.

You can also get in touch with them too, as the website doesn’t manage to provide detailed information on what exactly their expecations are of the applicants’ abstracts. You can find them on Facebook as well as on Twitter.