Archive for the ‘Studying’ Category

Study Tips from an Expert

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

As I mentioned in my last post, a lot of the study methods most college students rely on have no scientific basis. In fact, there are even a few quick changes you can make to your study habits that will help you absorb information much more quickly and store it in the long term, so you can ace your cumulative finals with ease and retain that knowledge for when you enter the job market.

Peter C. Brown’s 2014 book Make It Stick exposes these hidden truths about studying, explaining which methods are the keys to success and which are simply the same trite  unsubstantiated claims recycled over and over again.

Recently, I had the opportunity to ask Mr. Brown a few questions about his book and its implications for learners and educators and lovers of knowledge alike. Check out my interview with him here:

http://schoolsweek.co.uk/

http://schoolsweek.co.uk/

Q: I love that your book touches on students’ tendencies to be discouraged by failure and thereby categorize themselves as specific “types” of learners despite the absence of scientific evidence to substantiate these labels. What do you think people find so difficult about initial failure? If you had to give a word of encouraging advice to those people, what would you say?

A: “I grew up with 4 older brothers who knew how to do everything that I didn’t. It’s just central to one’s self image to avoid looking stupid at all costs. Nobody explained to me back then that trial and error are essential. What we need are classrooms where trial and error are celebrated. My advice is to find a like-minded friend for mutual support, assume the persona of one who is fearless, and forge ahead. Setbacks are evidence that you are hard at work while the timid people sit back chewing their nails and privately envy your confidence.”

Q: Make It Stick’s references to the learning techniques and high-pressure situations surrounding the experiences of pilot Matt Brown and neurosurgeon Mike Ebersold illustrate the importance of making information personal in order to recall it effectively. Do you have any tips for the average person trying to make schoolwork more personal or more relevant to his or her own life?

A: “You have to pause and ask how is this like something I already know? Can I think of a parallel in my own life? Why not say to the teacher, “I think I would understand and remember this better if I could think how it is useful to me, or how it connects to what I already know. Can you help?” This would make for a good class discussion.”

Q: Are you surprised that so many institutions (like George Mason University and Dartmouth College) offer study advice that is just blatantly incorrect? What do you think is the reason for this?

A: “I have not checked their websites since writing Make it Stick; perhaps they have revised their advice. Educators do not have a tradition of basing instruction on empirical evidence, largely because there has not been a body of such evidence until recently. But science has made huge strides, and we know from feedback to our book and others’ that many schools, notably through their centers for teaching and learning excellence, are aligning their advice and resources with the empirical evidence.”

Q: Make It Stick cites an example of a Washington University professor’s success with an unconventional frequent quizzing system in the place of larger exams, and also offers a section devoted to tips for teachers. What are your aspirations for the book? Ideally, how widespread would the impacts of these suggestions be for our education system?

A: “I would hope teachers everywhere come to see themselves as bearing a dual responsibility, teaching content as well as process: helping students construct their own understanding of the classroom content through study strategies like elaboration and spaced and mixed retrieval practice that are not intuitive, so that students experience success with these strategies and they become second nature throughout school and beyond.”


By Madeleine Fleming

Madeleine Fleming is a Campus Clipper publishing intern and a rising sophomore at NYU.  A lover of reading, writing, and learning in every way possible, Madeleine is excited to be writing about college study habits for the Campus Clipper. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services. 

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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Academic Relationships

Thursday, July 13th, 2017
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NYU Flag Outside of the Lipton Residential Hall

It's good to have friends to carry you through finals

It’s good to have friends to carry you through finals

            Beyond having a primary friend group, cultivating ancillary relationships is beneficial for one’s time in college and outside of it. Of large importance is the relationship one shares with peers and professors within shared academic contexts. From a networking standpoint, the connections made with professors and other students from one’s classes can hold professional significance in the future. From a more present-oriented perspective, those connections can be the difference between one doing poorly in their classes and one succeeding.

            Even though a student can be incredibly gifted academically, if they do not know how to be likeable in the eyes of their professors, then they may find that their classes are more difficult than they need to be and that their career prospects might be more restricted. The proverb, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar,” proves especially true regarding having healthy relationships with professors. I remember in my first semester at NYU having a professor whom I strongly disliked. The professor did not allow for open discussion, opting instead to filter every discussion through themselves and to disregard students with whom they disagreed. It seemed that they were also very openly critical in papers and class discussions about any student who questioned this system. Despite disliking that professor, I never made it readily apparent that I felt this way. By the end of the semester, the professor loved me because I showed them kindness and attentiveness, while other students had given up on the class.  This same professor told me that if I would ever need a letter of recommendation, I should not hesitate to ask. In this way, I made myself less of a target for harsh grading and allowed professor’s status to serve to my benefit. The same rule of kindness and attentiveness can apply to teachers one genuinely likes (most of my professors at NYU), the only difference being that the relationship in these cases is easier and more genuine. 

            As for peers, it is not necessary to be friends with them much outside of the academic context to still reap the benefits of an academic relationship. Sure, forming studying groups can be especially helpful for reviewing material and covering gaps in knowledge before exams, but there are greater benefits to having friends in class. For core classes, many students are not as interested in the subject matter as much as they will be when they take more self-directed, specialized courses later in their academic career. Core classes provide a helpful platform for students to network with students from a broader range of interests than specialized courses do, since every student usually must complete certain core requirements to complete their major. It is then possible under such circumstances that a student may find themselves in a class with both science and humanities majors. By forming symbiotic in-class relationships with other students possessing diverse interests, one may find connections that could inevitably benefit them outside of college, when their career could benefit from the help of someone from a different discipline entirely. For instance, a computer science major could benefit from the help of someone in finance when calculating the costs for a tech startup down the road. Who knows, some of the friends one may find in such classes could also develop into relationships beyond the academic sphere.

            For more specialized courses, one may use such courses as grounds for honing their craft with other like-minded individuals. In my case, I have been taking workshop classes in creative writing to enhance my poetry. In this environment, I have used classroom discussions as grounds to both learn how to enhance my art and provide new insight on the work of others. In the future, some of the people with whom I shared such classes could help me in developing and editing my future work. What’s more, those same people could become partners in collaborative artistic projects. Yet, if I never made the effort to reach out to my peers, I would not have the same opportunities that I have now.  

By Matthew Evert

Matthew Evert is a Campus Clipper publishing intern who is studying English and Philosophy as a sophomore at NYU. Passionate about poetry, people, and adventure, Matthew aspires to live an explorative and artistic life. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services. 

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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Preventing Procrastination Like a Pro

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

Consider this: every unexpected obstacle you’ve faced while tackling an assignment at the last minute has been entirely avoidable. I’ve seen my fair share of broken printers mere minutes before class while trying to prepare an essay I’d had weeks to work on. I’ve seen the internet crash the night before a research project or an online assessment was due. If you’ve ever procrastinated, then you’ve lived through these tough times too. Then why is it so hard to stop?

http://www.smarterservices.com

http://www.smarterservices.com

It makes perfect sense in the moment. The first rush of decision-making adrenaline that comes with throwing caution to the wind makes anything seem possible. Common sense deteriorates into “you can study for that test right before class tomorrow” or “you can get up at 5 A.M. to finish that essay”–and you believe it, too. Maybe you’re busy and don’t want to set aside the time for work, or maybe procrastination still plagues your daily life even when you have a wide open schedule. Sometimes, the piles on piles of work just seem so daunting that you’d do anything (or in this case, nothing) to avoid even looking at them. The first step to solving the problem is facing the truth: procrastination is your worst academic enemy.

For such a common problem, it remains one of the most difficult to admit. When you’re caught by a professor making easily fixable mistakes on an assignment or test, saying “I just didn’t start working on time” will never be enough to explain what you really mean: “I could have done so much better.” My battle with procrastination is ongoing, but I’m learning to grow and change by implementing a few small changes every time I get an assignment.

https://www.raywenderlich.com

https://www.raywenderlich.com

Quick Fixes
The internet is not always your friend. When used correctly, it can do wonders for the way you learn and study, but when used incorrectly it has an astounding ability to halt your productivity in its tracks. As long as you have the foresight to see your procrastination coming, preventing it should be easy with apps like StayFocusd for your computer that block distracting websites of your choice for designated amounts of time. If you’re looking to support a larger cause, the app Forest  partners with an organization that plants real trees when its users don’t get distracted by other smartphone apps.

There are certainly less graceful approaches to cutting down wasted time online; sometimes I like to hurl my phone across the room so I wouldn’t be able to answer messages if I tried. Other times, I go out of my way to tell my friends not to contact me until I’m done with a given assignment. If I’m not feeling motivated enough to do either, I turn my notifications off and call it a day.

Leave your room to work, and bring only the essentials with you, whatever they are. You can’t get distracted by a phone or laptop you don’t have!

Big Picture
At the end of every day, write down your long term goals on a piece of paper, even if they don’t change. If you don’t know what they are just yet, even better! Write down everything that you have the potential to accomplish. Turn those far off goals into daily reminders of what you can do if you put in the work. I’m definitely the most motivated when I understand that my time is valuable. When I believe that I can do anything I put my mind to, I’m a lot more willing to put my mind to my work.


By Madeleine Fleming

Madeleine Fleming is a Campus Clipper publishing intern and a rising sophomore at NYU. A lover of reading, writing, and learning in every way possible, Madeleine is excited to be writing about college study habits for the Campus Clipper. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.


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Winning Over Your Professors

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

In college, we all realize that there is no one way to eat, work, learn, or live. This principle extends beyond just student life: there is also no one way to teach. Just like everyone else, professors come in all different shapes and sizes–and for this reason, so do college courses. If you want to find good personal study habits, you have to first understand as much as you can about the person who decides what you have to study. Here are some tips to help you choose the right professors, and, when the time comes, impress them!

Choosing a Professor
Have high expectations for what you can accomplish in a class. If you can handle being challenged (and I’ll bet you can), choose professors with a reputation for expecting a lot of their students. It isn’t hard to figure out which professors these will be–lots of us already know about sites like ratemyprofessors.com that give us students the opportunity to anonymously praise our professors or similarly take our anger out on our keyboards in a show of a semester’s worth of pent up frustration. When you read these reviews or even when you hear about a professor from a friend, take everything with a grain of salt. You are different from everyone else: don’t lose sight of the kind of student you are or the kind of student you aspire to be when you consider others’ opinions. If you want better study habits, a great way to get them is to choose a professor who has a reputation for encouraging learning in a way that works for you–and that means not taking the easy way out.

https://www.dreamstime.com/

Making the Impression
If you’ve already chosen the best professors for yourself, or at least tried to, then winning them over shouldn’t be hard! It will, however, take some planning and thoughtfulness. Like I said, all professors are different, but it generally takes a just little more than turning on the charm to show them you’re serious about their classes. I like to set small rules (small enough that I know I can keep them up all semester) that will help me show my professor my best self. For starters, if technology is allowed in class but not encouraged, I recommend you stay away from it. It will set you apart from everybody else in the class and, even if you don’t believe it, actually help you pay attention. And regardless when you actually start assignments (though you can read last week’s post for some tips on planning ahead), always read the handout explaining the assignment on the first day you get it. It only takes a few minutes and it spares you the dreaded possible fate of starting an assignment at the last minute and realizing you’re doomed by unclear instructions.

If you read all instructions as soon as possible, go out of your way to ask early questions! Nothing too obvious, but if you email your professor early on to ask advice about an idea for an assignment, they will notice your dedication and respect for their opinion. This also goes a long way to help you get your name recognized and get face time with your professor–don’t underestimate how important this can be. It’s the only way to avoid being just another face in a large class.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be ready to impress and finally kick the stress. Whether you’re enrolling in next semester’s classes soon or you’re drowning in midterms for classes you wish you’d never chosen, keep this advice in mind to boost your grade and your morale.


By Madeleine Fleming

Madeleine Fleming is a Campus Clipper publishing intern and a rising sophomore at NYU.  A lover of reading, writing, and learning in every way possible, Madeleine is excited to be writing about college study habits for the Campus Clipper. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services. 

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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How Not to Do Anything: An Expert Guide – How Not to Succeed in School

Saturday, September 17th, 2016
Image Credit: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/5-ways-make-most-short-study-breaks

Image Credit: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/5-ways-make-most-short-study-breaks

The first great obstacle to doing nothing is quite formidable, but the challenge of evading activities in school can be a real learning experience. We all have to go to school, and we are then expected to do all kinds of things: interact with our peers, learn to read, learn to add and subtract, etc. etc. For most of us, the lifelong onslaught of to-do’s begins with school, which is why everyone hates it so much. Of course, the primary objective of the education system is to prepare children to become the kind of adults who contribute to society and to the nation’s tax base, and have just a terrible amount of responsibilities. This goal is directly opposed to yours, and it must not be achieved.

So when it comes to school, make absolutely certain that you do not excel to the point of getting more work, but at the same time be careful not to fall too far behind, or you might be in danger of getting a tutor. The most important thing is that none of your teachers think about you too much, whether as a favorite or a hated laggard or a class clown. The attention of teachers is a hazardous thing, leading only to more work, more time in school, or more attention, and it should be avoided at all costs.

In America, you have the right to drop out of school on your sixteenth birthday, but beware the consequences of doing so, tempting as it may be. Being done with school is wonderful, of course –– but after school comes a tidal wave of responsibilities, like making money and figuring out what to do after you’re done with school. So think long and hard on that sixteenth birthday: there’s a good chance that the demands of school are in fact a lot less onerous than those that come later, in real adult life. But I wouldn’t know too much about that.

By Aaron Brown


Aaron Brown was one of the Campus Clipper’s publishing interns, who wrote an e-book   “How Not To Do Anything: An Expert Guide.” If you like Aaron’s writing, follow our blog for more chapters from his e-book. We have the most talented interns ever and we’re so proud of them! For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during last year’s Welcome Week.

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Study Abroad, Get Hired: Virginia Yu, Copenhagen, Denmark

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

It’s hard to argue that there are many benefits to studying abroad, and for MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) graduate, Virginia Yu, it gave her a unique job opportunity as well.

“I’ve always loved traveling and learning about new cultures,” the 22-year-old says.

Yu attended the Danish Institute for Study abroad (DIS) in her spring semester of 2013. The school is located in Copenhagen, Denmark — “The land of LEGOs and awesome architecture!” she quips.

The tuition to study abroad was actually cheaper in Denmark than in Baltimore because Yu didn’t have to pay for extra on-campus fees. Her trip included classes, housing, two study tour trips, transportation in Copenhagen, and food expenses in the form of a prepaid grocery card. Yu also had grants and financial aid from MICA that carried on for her spring semester abroad, including a presidential scholarship and a MICA talent grant.

Virginia Yu smiles for the camera overlooking a typical Denmark scene.

Virginia Yu smiles for the camera overlooking a typical Denmark scene.

“[One way] I saved money was by not eating out and always asking for student discounts when I did eat out,” she says. “Copenhagen offered plenty of them because the majority of people were students.” Education is free in Denmark, so many people there are obtaining their masters. Because of this, many stores and cafes offer student discounts.

Yu ended up staying in Denmark for a total of eight months after she secured an internship with Seidenfaden Design Copenhagen for the summer.

“I felt really fortunate to have that opportunity because it allowed me to have more time in Denmark and to see the country more,” she says. “The best part, of course, was being able to work internationally and to compare the work environment to how things were like back home.”

She said that in Denmark there were better wages, more time off and less pressure — a very different working environment than one would find in Baltimore or New York City.

Brainstorming at work.

Brainstorming at work.

For college students, resume building is everything and having work experience abroad can really help someone stand out from other applicants.

“I gained a worldly knowledge, a chance to see the world, an opportunity to study overseas, which lead to working overseas, and lastly a once in a lifetime experience that I’ll never forget,” Yu says. “It has helped me become the person I am today.

“You learn to redefine what home is and you learn to infuse another culture to call your own.”

And really, isn’t that what studying abroad is all about?

Copenhagen landscape.

Copenhagen landscape.

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You can check out Virginia Yu‘s work at http://missyudesigns.com/

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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

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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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

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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#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

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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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

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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Cultural Cuisine: Eating Your Way Around the World

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Writer and traveler Deborah Cater once said, “You have to taste culture to understand it”—and she wasn’t wrong. When you go to a foreign country and choose to eat only foods you are familiar with then you’re doing yourself a disservice. Traveling is all about trying new things—and food is one of the most important ones. In China, there are so many unique local dishes to try so you shouldn’t let fear of the unknown get in the way of experiencing the country like the locals do.

Sure we’ve all gone to our local Chinese takeout place and have ordered the pork Lo Mein or General Tso Chicken, but if you take the time to explore the country you’ll find non-Americanized Chinese food that’s definitely worth a try.

One of the most popular dishes to try if you find yourself in Beijing is the Peking Duck. This famous dish has been prepared since the imperial era and is served with steamed pancakes and eaten with scallion, cucumber and sweet bean sauce. Traditionally the meat is sliced thin by the cook right in front of you, which is definitely fun to watch. Two of the most notable restaurants are Quanjude and Bianyifang in Beijing, China.

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A chef prepares to carve a Peking Duck.

Peking Duck is traditionally served on a duck shaped plate.

Peking Duck is traditionally served on a duck shaped plate.

 

We all know that Italy is famous for their pasta; but did you know that the world’s oldest known noodles were actually discovered along the Yellow River in China? Dating back to roughly 4000 years BP, noodles have been a staple food in China—and watching hand pulled noodles being made is definitely something to go see if you visit. Hand pulled noodles, or Lamian, is made by stretching and folding the dough into strands. This unique method of making noodles originated in China and dates back to 1504. Lamian literally means pull or stretch, lā, (拉), noodle, miàn (麵) and watching a professional noodle chef pull noodles is a tourist attraction in itself!

The process of preparing hand pulled noodles is so quick that it happens in a blur!

The process of preparing hand pulled noodles is so quick that it happens in a blur!

Whether you’re traveling to China, or any other country, make sure that if you have food allergies you are well prepared. The chefs know what ingredients they use to prepare their food with and a language barrier shouldn’t stop you from being safe. Having a restaurant card is a great way to stay safe, and still be able to enjoy many of the delicious unique foods available. The card clearly states in another language the types of food you are not allowed to eat and your servers and chefs can take it from there.

Gluten-Free restaurant card picture taken from www.chinahighlights.com/

Gluten-Free restaurant card picture taken from www.chinahighlights.com/

Also, take the time to find out if the water is safe to drink in your country of origin. Often times it’s just easier to choose to drink only bottled water for the duration of your stay. You know it’s clean and safe, and you definitely don’t want to get sick while studying abroad!

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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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