Archive for October, 2012

I Think This Is the Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Living in one of the greatest cities in the world, I can’t help but think about how lucky I am. I was born in Seoul, grew up in Los Angeles, and now am at NYU in downtown Manhattan. How this came to be, I do not know. Getting into NYU was a dream for me; how could I have been accepted into the city that I’ve wanted to go to since I was in 8th grade? I could hardly believe my luck. This is one of the oldest cities in the Americas; but much more importantly, where Ryan Gosling lives. I may not be gay, but damn, the things I would do to give that man a hug.No seriously, no human can resist his charms.

Before I get into depth about my current “amazing” life, I’ll tell you about my pre-college life. I was raised mostly in Los Angeles (I came from Seoul in 1999), and lived in an area not unlike Harlem. I went to an elementary school of 2300 kids, most at-risk (of joining gangs), then to a middle/high school of roughly 1700 people, also at-risk. Seeing a trend? Then, voilà, I studied my way out of a bad neighborhood and into a college where the tuition is 240,000 for four years. Talk about going from the frying pan and into the fire.

Now despite our Sex and the City view of New York City, the true New York is less charming. We don’t earn money by simply writing articles in some never-heard-of magazine, and we certainly don’t look like we’re twenty while we’re actually forty.I'll ask the question no man should ever ask a lady:how old are they? There’s also trash everywhere. Did I mention the trash? But yes, our romanticization of New York only lasts for about a month or so, before we realize that this city is just like any other city, sped up to the extent where people look at their watches every 10 minutes or so. It’s true that cities have a stricter sense of time, but even so, in New York City, the people check the face of their watches moreso than the faces of their loved ones on certain days, mainly when the subway is late.

There are a lot of things that interest me, but as of late, I’ve been drawn into news reporting, ironically by the TV show The Newsroom. The plot of the show is very unique, and it’s currently on hiatus, beginning again next summer. It’s written by Aaron Sorkin, writer of The West Wing and The Social Network. (More on my unhealthy TV obsession to follow in later posts.)

But in all seriousness, this city has great opportunities that you can’t find in other parts of the country, or even the world. New York is the capital of the media, and we also have Broadway. Maybe the tourists’ rose-tinted view of New York isn’t so bad. Maybe we have to occasionally walk over to Times Square and enjoy the fact that we’re in the best city in the world.

But did I tell you about the trash?

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Pushing Boundaries: How Traveling and Studying Abroad Have Changed My Life and Shaped My Career Path, and Why You Should Do It Too

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

At only 21 years old, I am no Confucius. I cannot give you sound and scientific advice that, if followed, will give you guaranteed success and happiness and all the things you’ve ever dreamed possible. I do not know everything; I don’t have all the answers. What I DO have is my own experience. One of my favorite lines from a book came from Arthur Japin’s In Lucia’s Eyes that reads, “The world is full of people who spend their entire lives seeking the miracle of love without ever seeing it. It’s actually very simple and self-evident, except to those who seek it. One need only have a different way of seeing things. That is not something you can teach people. All you can do is tell your story.”

Whether or not you’re looking for love, let that last sentence resonate with you. All you can do is tell your story. This is my story.

Me:

My mother was born and raised in Brazil and moved to the U.S. when she found her future husband who worked in San Francisco at the time. This man, my father, lived in the U.S. for several years already, but actually grew up in San Jose, Costa Rica.  Call them star-crossed lovers or whatever you wish, these two foreigners set out to make a new future in a new country for their new daughter, me!

 

Growing up, it was just my parents and me. No siblings, no relatives nearby, no pets other than the occasional goldfish won at a carnival with a lifespan average of two days.  I spent most of my breaks from school traveling, either to Costa Rica or Brazil, to see family and connect with cousins and friends my age, keeping up with both Portuguese and Spanish.

The language was never a barrier to me when I was in another country, but became an issue when I returned to the U.S. and had already started school. I would meet with friends and sometimes be unable to realize that I wasn’t speaking English with them because I was so used to being understood in another language.

In addition to traveling to see relatives, I was fortunate enough to have such hard-working parents who always wanted me to see the world, as was their goal for themselves.  We travelled to many places in Europe before I finished the 8th grade, even at which point it was very clear to me that studying abroad would be in my future, no question.

Before starting high school I KNEW I would be gone for sophomore year – I researched study abroad programs and took advantage of them.  Initially I wanted to go to countries like Italy or Spain, but I wound up finding a full-ride scholarship opportunity (sponsored by U.S. Congress and German Parliament) to study in Germany, so I applied. As I moved further through the selection process, it became surreal how competitive this was: out of 2500 applicants, only 50 would receive scholarships.

In April 2006, I learned I had received the scholarship. I turned 15 the next month and three months later was off to live in Germany for a year: no family, no friends, and didn’t  know a word of German. I was the youngest of all the recipients, and after 11 months I was fluent in German.

Before beginning my time at a University, it was clear to me I would study abroad again. I would have applied for the program right away if it weren’t for the window allowed for it by the study abroad office. I was the first to submit an application for that as well, and in the fall of 2010, I had one of the BEST semesters of my life in Bern, Switzerland. If I hadn’t graduated early, I would have studied abroad again.

I’ve now relocated from Arizona to New York and am pursuing a career here while considering my options for a Master’s abroad – perhaps Switzerland again.  I’ve even recently been asked to work with a European magazine for some press releases. My passion is traveling and connecting with people who have experienced this and exchanging cultures.  All the traveling and studying abroad I’ve done have brought me here and told me where I’m going.  You CAN and SHOULD do it too, and even if traveling isn’t something you want for your career, experiencing it now while you’re young is priceless and will teach you so much about yourself and the world.

 

Where to look for study abroad programs:

  1. Consult with your school’s study abroad offices: I realize these offices are becoming smaller and smaller in the U.S., but these guys know what they’re talking about. Ask which kinds of programs are available to you – some may have year standing or GPA requirements. Maybe there’s a specific kind of program you’re searching for – my school offered programs in which you travel with a group of students from the University while learning abroad. My school also offered a program where you didn’t pay a study abroad fee, just the same tuition you were paying while attending the school, which is how I was able to study abroad. Many study abroad offices even have information on scholarships. There are plenty of options; inform yourself!
  2. Check other programs: This gets tricky and is where fees come into play, sky-rocketing the price of your study abroad experience. My scholarship study abroad program was limited to high school students, but there are other groups out there! Check out: ciee.org or studyabroad.com.
  3. Maybe you’re interested in the experience of it but don’t want to be studying: Check out things like aupair-world.net where you can be a live-in nanny, earn some money, have a host family that could help teach you more about the culture, and be immersed in your new surroundings. You could take a semester off to do it, do it in the summer, or make time for it after you graduate. Another post-graduate option could be The Peace Corps.
  4. Degrees and Internships Abroad: These are other ways you can be productive in a new place. You can research schools in the areas you’re most interested in and see their guidelines for international students. My advice for those looking to study in Europe would be to check out bachelorsportal.eu OR mastersportal.eu where you can define your search based on degree subject, country, or tuition and GET THIS: tuition prices elsewhere could be as little as 4% what you’re paying now. What about textbook fees? That’s all an American scam so you can say “bye-bye” to that! As for internships, try goabroad.com/intern-abroad or ask at your school’s study abroad office.  HEADS UP: this internship opportunity in China was just tweeted via @InternQueen that may be worthwhile: http://www.crccasia.com/?utm_source=InternQueen&utm_medium=Eblast&utm_campaign=October

5. If all else fails and you just want to travel abroad but want to do it sooner rather than later (excellent choice), check out statravel.com for good deals on flights and hotel information – those prices keep going up these days so it’s good to know of a place that’s dedicated to finding competitive rates. I’d also recommend kayak.com, which is where I found an affordable flight to NYC.

Why:

Even if traveling doesn’t give you insatiable wanderlust as it has to me, at the very least you’ll         broaden your horizons, learn something new and take these experiences with you in your next job interview, which could make all the difference. I encourage you to try something new, to not be afraid, and to learn a new language – there’s no better way than immersion! At the risk of sounding cliché, the world is truly your oyster so go out and open it!

 

 

 

 

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Posted by Lauren A Ramires. Follow her blog, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (username: laurenaramires) for more lifestyle and inspiration posts.

If you’re interested in learning more of the experiences of a Peace Corps Volunteer, check out this blog for stories on the daily happenings of a PCV and things you could expect.

 

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Free Weekend (Week of 10/1/2012)

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Electrified ft. David Blaine

David Blaine is throwing a special launch party for his new illusion. What exactly is the illusion you ask? Well, Blaine will spend three days and three nights standing in the middle of a million volts of electric currents streamed by Tesla coils.

It should be quite the experience so be sure to RSVP.

 

Lazerpop ft. Girl Unit, Dubbel Dutch, Nadus

If you’re down for a late night party, Lazerpop  (aka Popgun) will be having a shindig at Grasslands Gallery. Dance/club music stars Girl Unit, Dubbel Dutch and Nadus all have sets tonight.

Tickets start at 5 dollars, but the fun you’ll have will be priceless.

more info here

 

Wild Belle

The chillwave/reggae fusion of Wild Belle is coming to Zebulon tonight. Wild Belle are duo Natalie and Elliot Bergman (we don’t know if they are brother and sister, husband and wife, or what, but that doesn’t matter, does it)?

They’ve gotten rave reviews earlier this year with performances at SXSW and Coachella, making this a must-see on a Friday night. RSVP before it’s too late!

 

Stop by 123 Burger before or even after your weekend festivities for a buy 1 get 1 free deal on burgers.

 

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Carlos L., Monroe College. Read my blog!!  Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Dwindling Communication in the 21st Century

Friday, October 5th, 2012

With all kinds of new technology and social media platforms popping up every day, it seems easier than ever to stay in contact and communicate with the whole world.  It doesn’t even require a lot of effort, just a portable laptop — which come in extra small packages these days – or a smart phone.  So why is it that the real value of our words is going down the drain?

Even he didn't say much and he could be heard almost ANYWHERE

Part of this is our own fault for relying too much on technology.  There’s less effort put into meeting up with a friend or family member for a quick lunch.  Making communication easier has made us less aware of the importance of following through and actually speaking.  Personal relationships have decreased in favor of the blogosphere or Facebook.

With the upcoming Presidential election, it’s important to take more pride and responsibility in our words, our communication, and listening and hearing content.  That annoying little habit of saying “like” after every other word?  That was OK when you were 13.  Part of being a responsible adult pertains not just to our professional lives, but also to our communication.  As students, you’re going to be primed as the leaders of the future; it is important to recognize this gift and own it.

Your Presidential vote is also your future, take some time out to inform yourself on what the candidates stand for. Yes, it is true that many of their speeches and debates will be ridden with white noise you should avoid, but the important thing to do is to INFORM yourself.  Educating yourself on issues is a practice you’ll continue even after the election, making you highly employable. Try news feeds like cnn.com or huffingtonpost.com. If you’re in a real rush, newser is a great place to catch up on headlines with a short and readable summary.

As to the nonsense words you use to fill silences, start thinking a little more before speaking.  This will cause you to have a fully formulated sentence before speaking, but if you should have a silence somewhere…it’s OK! No need to add “like,” “so,” “um,” etc.  Some thoughts to keep your message in line:

Are you really saying what you want to say?

Is that person going to understand your needs and goals?

If not, could you reword it and still make the message clear?

Remember: being too wordy may lose the listener.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in preparing and physically relocating to New York City, it’s that if you can write and communicate your ideas well, your career will soar.  While social media is all good and fun, it’s only effective when used properly.  So go out and use your voice, your thoughts, and yes, your phone (in fact, you could download the Campus Clipper App RIGHT NOW)!

 

Written by: Lauren A. Ramires

If you’re interested in finding out more about my opinions and ventures with social media, social media marketing, fashion, travel and humor, follow me on Twitter, Facebook or my blog.

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