Archive for the ‘onShopping’ Category

Why You Should Study Abroad: Leah Zarra, London, UK

Monday, October 27th, 2014

 

Leah Zarra posing in front of a sign for the famous Abbey Road.

Leah Zarra posing in front of a sign for the famous Abbey Road.

 

“I just loved being so independent and being totally immersed in another city,” says Leah Zarra, 22, a Texas native and Drew University graduate.

Zarra participated in a semester-long study abroad program to London through her New Jersey college back in the fall of 2012. “I couldn’t wait to experience another culture,” she says, “even though London isn’t the first to jump to mind when you think ‘foreign’.”

According to Zarra, the full semester trip to London cost the same amount as a regular, on-campus semester. The trip included: tuition, housing in a flat with other people from her college, and a 2-zone Oyster card—similar to a Metrocard, allowing Zarra unlimited access to the Tube (subway) within specified zones.

When it came to financial resources to help fund her trip, Zarra had it covered.

“I had an annual Dean’s award scholarship all through college, so this carried over to my semester abroad,” she explains.

Zarra was able to take classes such as London Literature, British Political Drama, Modern British History and a required colloquium course. She earned 16 credits studying abroad—more credits than she would have earned in one semester staying on campus in the States.

Zarra and her friends riding the Tube.

Zarra and her friends riding the Tube. (Zarra is second from the right.)

When it came to saving money while abroad, Zarra made sure to budget wisely.

“As college students, we all try to be frugal, so we kept our eyes out for free food and events,” she says referring to her study abroad group. “If you’re looking, they’re easy to find. One professor told us about a group of Hare Krishna monks that served free curry every day. Food is a big one to save on.”

When asked if she would recommend her study abroad program to someone else, Zarra responded with a resounding “yes!”

“I learned so much, and not just in the classroom,” she says. “We didn’t just read famous British authors; our professors took us on walking tours around the city to see where Great Expectations took place, [or] where Virginia Woolf walked every day. As cliché as it sounds, I truly found a piece of myself there.”

Sometimes students take out some loans to study abroad and Zarra believes it’s absolutely worth it.

“Go into it with a positive attitude, and appreciate everything you see,” she says. “Make an effort to appreciate the privileges you didn’t realize you had. You will never have another chance like this.”

The famous Big Ben and Westminster Abbey: one of the many pictures Zarra took on her trip.

The famous Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. One of the many photos Zarra took while on her trip.

 

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-Sam Levitz is a graduate of Brooklyn College and went on the CUNY Study Abroad trip to China the summer of 2013. Follow her on Instagram:slevitz

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#MakingMemories: How to Document a Study Abroad Trip

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

#tbt (noun) – A hashtag frequently used to brag on social media about past travel adventures.

However, Instagram-ing your “Throwback Thursday” pictures isn’t the only way you can document your study abroad adventures—though it is a popular one.

Journaling is another inexpensive way to preserve your trip memories without breaking the bank. It can be difficult to have the discipline to write in a journal every day, but in doing so you’ll have something to look back on for years to come.

 

The journal that I kept during my study abroad program in China. The cover is decorated with stickers and ticket stubs that I collected during my month-long adventure.

The journal that I kept during my study abroad program in China. The cover is decorated with stickers and ticket stubs that I collected during my month-long adventure.

 

Journaling can be an intimate experience, but for those looking for a more public outlet, social media is the way to go. Many travelers hoping to update friends and family overseas may want to consider creating an Instagram account. It’s free, works through WiFi and is a quick and easy way to document the highlights of your travels.

Some travelers do not understand the need to take frequent photographs, however past study abroad students, like Kimberly Rogers, 21, disagree.

“I am definitely the type of person to take a lot of pictures when I go on a trip,” she says. “People tell me to stop and take in the beauty of wherever I am, [but] I’m gonna want to look back and reminisce.” Rogers recently traveled to China with CUNY Brooklyn College in the summer of 2013. “I can be one of those old grandmas who tell my grandkids to come look at how cool I was [through pictures]!”

Kimberly Rogers holding the scrapbook she made after her study abroad trip to China.

Kimberly Rogers holding the scrapbook she made after her study abroad trip to China.

With more and more advances in technology every year, the amount of photos we can take and store is growing. Many of these photos get mindlessly uploaded to websites like Facebook and Flicker without a second glance, but the more creative you are with your photos the more memorable your trip will be.

Scrapbooking, a widely practiced pastime in the United States, is a useful tool for preserving study abroad memories. Rogers, who frequently used Instagram during her trip to China, also created a scrapbook upon her return home.

“I think it’s really important to document my travels,” she says, displaying her China scrapbook.

Four pages from Rogers' China scrapbook.

Four pages from Rogers’ China scrapbook.

 

The scrapbook that she created contains photographs of her friends, landmarks and other memories of her trip. She bought stickers that went along with the China theme and decorative paper to make the pictures pop.

Some places to go for cheap deals on scrapbooking supplies are stores like Target, Amazing Savings and Michaels.

“I could have just printed out pictures,” Rogers says, “but I wanted to put effort into what I collected and make something I could cherish forever.”

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-Sam Levitz is a graduate of Brooklyn College and went on the CUNY Study Abroad trip to China the summer of 2013. Follow her on Instagram: slevitz

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College Savings: How to Haggle Your Way to the Best Souvenirs

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

I have a confession to make. . . . Are you listening? Good. Well, here goes…

I’m a packrat.

I can’t help it. Wherever I go I like to take mementoes with me. My best friend calls me the Souvenir Kleptomaniac. If there’s a free gift or college discounts to be had, I’m there. At restaurants I save the little business cards and menus and circle what I ate. I keep receipts from purchases in other countries just because there’s a different language on them.  I’m a sucker for nostalgia and remembering my trip in every detail possible is important to me. Although people aren’t generally this extreme, the act of bringing home a keepsake is usually one that people follow. The most important thing about souvenir shopping is getting the most for your money without going bankrupt.

As discussed earlier, sometimes it’s hard to pack everything you need in one suitcase. However, make sure you leave some extra space in it so you have room to bring things back.  You don’t want to have to buy an extra piece of luggage to fit everything you want to bring home. Extra luggage means more plane space, means more money out of your pocket.

Be wary of scams.
If you’re going to a country that makes a lot of money off of tourism chances are the people there are waiting for you: and they’re prepared. They want your business and they want you to spend your money on keychains and postcards and bottle openers with funny sayings on them. Don’t feel the need to do your entire souvenir shopping in one day at the same place.

My friend bought a hat from a vendor in China for 25¥ ($5!) that ripped only seconds after purchasing it.

My friend bought a hat from a vendor in China for 25¥ ($5!) that ripped only seconds after purchasing it.

Do not buy souvenirs at the airport.
Those T-shirts that say I HEART [insert country’s name here] aren’t going anywhere. You will see them wherever you go throughout the country, and will probably get a better deal on them in other stores than in the first one you see.

Learn to haggle.
And don’t be ashamed of doing it! The locals want your money, and chances are the initial price they are asking for that miniature sculpture of that famous landmark is a lot higher than they expect you to pay. Haggle with vendors for a better deal. If you are uncomfortable with the asking price—walk away! You’re not obligated to buy anything, and many times walking away will encourage vendors to immediately drop their asking price.

We bought cute panda hats in China that we found a week later for half the price.

We bought cute panda hats in China that we found a week later for half the price.

Save your money for one priceless gift for yourself.
That’s not to say don’t buy yourself anything else the whole trip. However, study abroad trips leave lasting impressions. Having one precious item to take home from your adventure will mean a lot to you in years to come.

 

My favorite purchase of the trip: a Jade necklace. It's very special and something I will treasure forever.

My favorite purchase of the trip: a Jade necklace. It’s very special and something I will treasure forever.

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-Sam Levitz is a graduate of Brooklyn College and went on the CUNY Study Abroad trip to China the summer of 2013. Follow her on Instagram: slevitz

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College Savings and Saving Space in Your Suitcase: What to Pack When Studying Abroad

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

When I fantasize about traveling it’s always the same: one neatly packed backpack with just the essentials. Unfortunately, I am not a light packer and so this is never the case. When it comes to studying abroad you want to make sure you’re properly prepared for whatever you may encounter on your trip. It’s never a good idea to assume that a foreign country has exactly what you’re looking for. Try to find college discounts for certain items before your trip and you can save yourself a lot of trouble once you’re there. So what if you’re labeled the “mom” of your trip? Being prepared is never a bad thing—and chances are your new friends will thank you.

Before your trip it’s important to at least attempt to learn the language of the country, or at least learn some key phrases. Rosetta Stone is a great option, but for those of us on a budget there are free smartphone apps readily available. Mindsnacks is a really helpful app I found before my trip to China that allowed me to start learning the language through a series of fun interactive games. If you upgrade to the full version for $5, you’ll get access to 1000 words and phrases, 9 unique games, and 50 lessons to master. This app is available in many different languages and the upgrade is definitely worth the money!

Mindsnacks is a free app that can be used to learn new languages.

Mindsnacks is a free app that can be used to learn new languages.

Do some research about the weather you’ll experience during the months you’ll be there and pack your clothes accordingly. You don’t want to be the one wearing sweaters in the heat or shorts in the snow. Make sure you have a solid stock of any medicines or vitamins you may take every day. Regular toiletries are an essential and it’s always handy to buy Tide-To-Go, packets of Downy or any other fabric soap just in case you need to do a wash at a moment’s notice.

downy.1load.packet.travel

tidetogopen

Sometimes laundry gets expensive in a foreign country.

 

Check to see what banks are available in the country you’re going to. Many countries often have branches that are linked with Bank of America so if you don’t have an account, open one up. It’s free and you won’t have to pay fees every time you grab some cash from the ATMs. The China Construction Bank, found all over China, doesn’t charge any fees as long as you have a BoA card. You can easily close your BoA account once returning to America.

Other important items are charger adapters for your specific country of origin. The outlets in America are not the same in every country and you do not want to be that person with the hair straightener exploding in your hair!

Also, to stay in touch with family and friends during your trip, set up a Gmail, Skype, Viber, and Whatsapp accounts. These are free ways to connect with your loved ones through email, phone calls, video and text messaging all through WiFi. You don’t want mom to get a $356 dollar phone bill because you accidentally used your data while roaming, do you?

My group connects to the WiFi in our hotel in Hong Kong and immediately engross themselves in social media.

My group connects to the WiFi in our hotel in Hong Kong and immediately engross themselves in social media.

-Sam Levitz is a graduate of Brooklyn College and went on the CUNY Study Abroad trip to China the summer of 2013. Follow her on Instagram: slevitz

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Fashion Is Mean To Be Personal

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

 

 

Fashion doesn’t always come off the runway donned by a supermodel in extra small. Fashion can be what others find to be cool but that you find to be anything but. It’s simply what you wear and what you like.

When you walk into a boutique and select a piece of clothing, it will not always be a thoughtful process. Sometimes you’ll choose that piece of clothing because it is the first one you saw or it is the right price, or perhaps someone else asked you to try it on because they think that color will compliment your eyes. Sometimes you just want your clothes to make you feel good and it’s not about any trends or fashion statements. It’s about you, as it should be.

Fashion is meant to be customized to you, the wearer. No one understands that better than the urban young adult. As the chief momentum shifters of mainstream culture and peripheral subcultures at any particular time, fashion is just another playground for exploring one’s selfhood, a showcase of personality. One of the things about fashion as a creative process differentiating it from most other art forms is that it gives the wearer the tool to complete the process. We get to experiment and cultivate our own personal way of self-identifying publicly by wearing our clothes to make a statement and intimately by letting our clothes dictate our moods and feelings about ourselves. Any way we express it is fashion and there’s no such thing as anti-fashion.

Fashion is thus as personal as one makes it if one has the eye and passion for it. But it can also be just as impersonal. The design process is guided by rulebooks of what not to do and is in itself limited by sales goals for a majority of high retailers. You may be surprised to find out that much of what feels like your own personal sense of fashion is a product of advertising and other mediated content targeted to you.  But that’s not to say you don’t have somewhat of an indirect say. You always do. Fashion is always personal.

Advertisers, designers, and editors know you all too well. They are the reason that shade of green-yellow which happens to be your favorite color, exists for you to buy in the first place. We may not all be fashion conscious but the market is. The great thing about it however, is that it is engineered to feel personal. You buy a purse with a designer’s name stamped on it who’s a complete stranger to you and somehow that purse can still reflect your own fashion taste or your ideals of luxury. When you’re picking clothes off a rack and you find your right size, it’s as if those clothes were meant for you. It’s as if you’re the one making the choice, deciding your own fashion taste when in fact it’s all been decided for you long before you knew you needed that shirt or those harem pants.

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Margael St Juste, Hunter College ’15

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Fashion Is Meant To Be Disposable

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Gasp! If you’re really into fashion, I know how that sounds. Fashion is art and art is sacred, and this is sounding like an oxymoron?

Well, we are on the subject of modernity and if modernity is the inherent fiber that makes the American urban young-adult aesthetic as commercially successful and as cultural relevant as it is then fashion must be predisposed to imitating its nature, one that mutates and evolves. Which is why fashion is meant to be disposable—it’s meant to be functional and it’s meant to be aware of itself.

You have your  fashion staples, pieces that never go out of fashion, timeless pieces passed down from generations that remain profoundly embedded in the vision of every contemporary class of fashion makers and influencers since its time. We can cite Diane Von Furstenberg’s wrap dress as one of those revolutionary pieces that easily made themselves permanent fixtures of American fashion and are now deservedly iconic. Combining a minimalist design with equal parts high functionality and artistic direction is genius that transcends both time and culture. You can now walk into most fashion retail department stores around the U.S and see a wrap dress on display and it won’t feel retrospective or vintage. The prints, the colors, the textures even, will be as modern as our time but the design remains essentially classic.

Or we may look at a simpler paradigm…

American blue jeans, who doesn’t own a pair? This garment probably holds the same importance to the mediated image of American fashion as Bourbon whiskey does for American leisure. The key seemingly is a formulaic dose of design and function. A pair of denim trousers as an innovation at its time was simply a reaction to the social shift in the workplace. No longer did textile need to be spun at home by hand while adhering to dress etiquettes of propriety and decorum. Because of the much dirtier nature of  factory work and because of available means to mass produce, a new industrial population demanded more casual, more utilitarian fashion, in effect more disposable fashion— cheap practical simple design—fashion that was not in essence concerned  with art but with a primary objective of being wearable.

Inevitably, all fashion ends up reflecting on its approximate culture being bred from the intellectual and material resources of that culture. All design as a general rule takes a creative direction. But the more disposable fashion becomes, the less we see a creative direction in lieu of wear-ability and the more adaptable it is to our own creative expression. Fashion as a disposable commodity responds to the modernity of culture, our need for self-expression, our need for high functionality paralleled to the high-paced structures of our lives, and our endless appetite for consumption and instant gratification. Ideally, fashion has to be obsolete and we want it to be. When constantly seeking ‘the new’ and ‘the modern’, we don’t get that without recycling ‘the old’ to generate new ideas.

So we must go back to modernity and also understanding the instrumental role of fashion being functional for use and disposable for value. We may thus understand why the American aesthetic is ideal to be at the forefront of fashion globally—why people in all corners of the world aspire to the white tee and blue jeans, perfectly bracketed within urban young adult imagery, the most important shaper of culture

 

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Margael St Juste, Hunter College ’15

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The Fashion Complex You’re a Part of

Monday, August 11th, 2014

This blog series is a serialized look at fashion as a function and inspiration in our everyday lives. It explores the urban young-adult aesthetic in modern American culture, specifically in New York City. If you are reading this series, you’re somewhat familiar with urban fashion trends or perhaps you fit the aforementioned demographic. The urban young-adult aesthetic likely saturates every form of media from music to films and other visual arts that you consume. You find that a touch of it lingers in the background track of your favorite dance song when you hear heavy platform shoes on hardwood floors or the clink of metal on some over accessorized clubgoer. You notice that the film adaptation of your favorite young-adult series uses the popular color scheme from the runway that year. It is no coincidence that fashion concepts marketed to young-adults are such popular motifs in other art forms. The young adult is powerful in any form of art. The confluence of their unique and modern generational experience fused with newfound independent thinking, without fail, makes every generation of young adults the most important shapers of culture.

The term aesthetic generally conflates a vast concept of beauty and the perception of it through the senses. In fashion, it has a more direct association to the word style, the concept of self-identifying through clothes. Often it’s used to describe a brand or fashion house’s distinct personality.  That is what I mean when I talk of the urban young-adult aesthetic. I’m talking about the distinct ‘isms’ of this generation that are engaged in formulating this seamless urban attitude that is both commercially successful and culturally relevant.

Once we learn to recognize this phenomenon as part of our cultural affect, we can start to understand it—why the urban young adult is a universal landmark of aspiration on the runway and subsequently in our local fashion department stores. Firstly, being young is always en vogue. The fashion industry’s obsession with youth is another story altogether but it is important here to note since it’s all, believe me, very cyclical. What the urban young adult means to fashion however is newness and modernity. Fashion that adapts to us has the key to being successful.  Modernity, a tried and true American ‘ism’, allows for adaptability to changing times and markets. This series outlines five inherent concepts of the urban young-adult aesthetic that exemplify how it works and works so well.

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Margael St Juste, Hunter College ’15

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A Look Inside Vada Spa and College Discounts for Students

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

First-time-spa-user here. I’m not really one to make a big fuss over nothing, even crazy college savings,  but I have to say– there are certain things you must try in life, and one of them is getting a professional massage. This is a level of pampering that will absolutely erase your bad day, and the Vada Spa employees go well out of their ways to make sure you leave feeling like royalty. I want to take a minute and describe my trip to you.

Vada Spa, located in downtown Manhattan, is committed to excellent service that is affordable and accessible to anyone. It has two floors: the nail salon on ground level and the hair salon and spa upstairs. When I walked in to make the appointment, I was greeted warmly at the front desk, and was even offered a glass of wine to sip on while I waited for massage. (I mean how classy is that? That’s what I mean when I say they go the extra mile.) I decided I’d get a manicure before my appointment, so I picked out a pale pink Essie color and took a seat at table right away. The woman who did my nails was extremely thorough when she was prepping them, and very neat with the polish itself. I learned that all of Vada Spa’s employees all had at least five years of experience before coming there, and anyone who’s ever gotten a messy manicure knows that this really makes a huge difference.

When I was finished drying my nails, it was time to get my massage. My masseuse came to meet me at the front desk. He introduced himself as Tibor and then escorted me to the spa on the second level. It looked as though there were about four or five separate massage rooms on this floor. My room was dimly lit as if by candlelight, and there was soft music playing in the background; it was easy to get comfortable there. The massage itself was one of the most relaxing experiences I’ve ever had, both mentally and physically. It’s funny how you have no idea how tense your muscles are until someone works out all the knots. I’d had backrubs before just from friends, but this is on a completely different level. By the end of it I was so relaxed that I didn’t want to get up– I couldn’t believe an hour had gone by!

This is one experience I’d like to repeat. Those of you who’ve had massages before, you know exactly what I mean! Those who haven’t? Well, you’ll just have to take a trip to Vada Spa!

Check out this college discount before going!

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Laura DeFrancisci, Manhattan College. Check out my Blog!

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Friends of Campus Clipper: SocialEyes NYC

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Even living in the exciting atmosphere New York, sometimes I get bored. Which is crazy! What a city to be bored in! Sometimes I just need a little inspiration, or maybe a nudge in the right direction. SocialEyes NYC  is a great blog to give you that nudge.

socialeyesnyc.com

First you can pick by area, in case you don’t want to stray too far from your home, or if you’re feeling adventurous and want to explore a certain neighborhood. Or, you can select from museum deals, concerts, or even sporting events. No matter your interests, SocialEyes NYC is your blog for fun, affordable outings.

My favorite of the current events: classic film screenings at Bow-Tie Cinemas. Tickets are only $7.50 and they’re showing movies like The Goonies, Casablanca, Psycho, and The Birds. Another great idea to get in on is the presale for the New York Comedy Festival. This is a huge event each year, with a ton of fun comedians and groups coming to town, so hitting up the presale is a must.

Let SocialEyes NYC help you search for your next fun night in the city!

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Erin O’Brien, NYU.

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Friends of Campus Clipper: The Hang

Monday, August 19th, 2013

The Hang has a very similar approach to Campus Clipper, which is why we’re proud to consider them our partners in fun. Run by college students, The Hang is a guide to all student discounted events in NYC and the surrounding area.

Some fun events The Hang has pointed us to are Free Fridays at the Museum of Moving Image in Astoria, and free admission to the MoMA on Friday evenings.

For the older college students, there’s a list of NYC party events that are 21+, each offering free or discounted tickets on certain days of the week.

The Hang also offers a long list of retail stores that offer great student discounts.

So hang out! Do your thing! Because with The Hang, fun is affordable to every student.

thehangny.com

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Erin O’Brien, NYU.

Follow the Campus Clipper on Twitter and Like us on Facebook!

Interested in more deals for students? Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter to get the latest in student discounts and promotions  and follow our Tumblr and Pinterest. For savings on-the-go, download our printable coupon e-book!

 

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