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Easter Break in THAILAND!!!

Time April 12th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Beginning of my Journey!

Britt and I in the airport waiting to check in.

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Our flight path from Brisbane to Singapore.

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The first day of our travel from Brisbane to Singapore went pretty smoothly until we got to our hostel, which was very nice by the way. When we walked in for our reservations they told us that there was no reservation for that night, only a reservation on our trip back through Singapore. We were both tired and already so fed up with STA Travel (our travel agent) at this point, it was just not good. The man at the front desk let us stay there and said he would try to contact STA because we already paid for our stay and were not about to pay again!!

The hostel we stayed at, The Hangout.

I knew we were in Asia once I sat down on the toilet… my feet stuck out of the bathroom stall… and I am about 5 ft tall.

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When we woke up the next morning they never said anything to us so we just left not wanting to mess with anything! We left at 4:30am in a taxi to the airport. At the airport, in Singapore, everything went smoothly… but then we landed in Bangkok. When we were looking for our flight to check in and re-check our baggage we got the pleasant news that the airport we fly out of is an hour away! Crazy right? Well good thing that our flight out of Bangkok got delayed two hours before we even left Australia! The  ladies at the information desk was super helpful and told us where to go to catch the free shuttle  to the other airport :) I was so happy we didn’t have to take a taxi for an hour!

On the shuttle

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This shuttle ride was very interesting for the portion of it that I was awake 😉 Cars and mopeds don’t really follow any line system or anything. I was so surprised that we and nobody around us got in an accident! Anyways we got to the airport and had to wait in the longest line of my life to check in and check our luggage!  After we checked our luggage we still had 2 hours before our flight took off, great timing. So we got some Thai food! Yum!!!

Our flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai went great! It was very short, a little over an hour. We landed and we were both so happy to see a man with a sheet of paper that said my name on it!!! This man drove us from the airport to our very nice hotel :)

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PS the airport was full of real orchids (my favorite flower)!!! It was like a calming welcome :)

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Once we settled in we walked around Chiang Mai for a little while before we met our guide. This is a picture of Britt at one of the pubs we stopped at for a cool drink.

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When we met our guide and went over our itinerary we also met the other ladies that were to join us on our trek. Three girls from Norway and three girls from Germany. They are all super nice!

Here are some pictures of our very nice hotel – Mandala House

During our meeting with our guide we soon came to realize that we had to CARRY all of our luggage. Brittany and I specifically asked our travel agent two separate times if there was any chance of us carrying our baggage and they said no!! Well that was that and we had to, along with the girls from Norway , go buy backpacks. This was a fun experience because we had to bargain and they were so excited for our business! So we got knock off backpackers packs for 580 baht, which us around 20 bucks! Worked for us!!!

That night we went to bed once we got home, but I did not get a very good night sleep because I got sick!  It sucked so bad! I think I got it from drinking pop with ice cubes, plus I accidentally brushed my teeth with water from the focet. :/ not fun!

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Living and Learning – Easter Break Plans

Time April 1st, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

It is Easter break here and all study abroad students that I know are traveling, including me! My friend Brittany and I are going to Singapore and Thailand for 8 days!! I am so excited!!

There have been complications with flights and it has been stressful figuring it all out (yesterday) as we leave tomorrow morning. I have to tell you, I have made mistakes and from them I feel like I have grown up about 4 years-in a day. It was kinda like Becca get yourself together. The biggest struggle/learning moment was that I had nobody to “fix” my mistakes or turn to, I had to figure it out and own up to my faults. I think that it is fair to say that I am living and learning! To say the least it has been a stressful couple days, but its time to relax and enjoy Thailand!!! Pray that everything goes smoothly on our adventures… we need it!!

Can’t wait for this adventure to start! Don’t worry… I will be documenting!

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TOASTER!!

Time April 1st, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

As many of you know I am a poor uni student so I do not spend money on lots of things. One simple luxury I was missing from home was a toaster. Of all things right? A toaster… well I decided that I could splurge 8 dollars for a toaster the other day and it was the best decision ever!!! I am loving my toast so much! It is simple things like this that make me appreciate what I have back in the states. I forget what I have until I don’t have it anymore.

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Loving the TOASTER!!!!

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Hey Hey!

Time April 1st, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

This past weekend my friends from IFSA-Butler (we met in Sydney and then all went to Binna Burra together) that go to Queensland University came to Surfers! I met them on the beach… sounds like a dream right? Connecting with friends on the beach… the oceans beach! It was so much fun to get together with them again, especially in my “hometown.” They got see what Surfers is all about and chill on the beach. The guys rented surfboards and boogie boards while the ladies chatted it up in the hot sun :)

This is a picture of all the ladies!!!!

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Plane buddies!! These are the girls that I sat next to on our flight to Australia! We connected right away, I feel like these girls are old friends even though we recently met. On the left is Anna and in the middle is Nina. In about a month or so I am planning on spending a night at QU with these ladies, its going to be AWESOME!!!

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Maccers

Time March 29th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

In Australia McDonalds is also called Maccers! I thought this was super funny when I saw this! Tastes of AMERICA! For some reason it is just weird to see this sign because sometimes I forget where I am exactly. Something great about Maccers in Australia is that they have 30 cent ice cream cones!! They are small, but they are the best little snack! I love them… I usually buy 1-2 cones a stop! :)

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Because I stopped here on St. Patricks day I’ll share a St. Patty’s day photo!! We had so much fun going to the packed pubs and dancing the night away!

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Homework?

Time March 29th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

So as we all know study abroad is when you go to uni abroad right? Well the thing is here, I feel like I am on an extended dream vacation. The weather is now perfect every day, its sunny and hot and BEAUTIFUL!! Serious I am loving it here more and more as time passes.

As the weather is perfect and I am getting the hang of life and going out I seem to find myself struggling to do my work. It is not that I do not have time, it is more that I rather be relaxing at the pool with friends or going to the ocean. Plus  I will only be with my new friends for a couple more months :( But do not worry, we all have big plans to travel and see one another!! Mostly everyones coming to America which is cheaper for us Americans!

Classes here are a lot different than at my home uni. Here they usually have 4 courses and for each course there is a lecture and a tutorial. All the notes are online too!! It makes it so difficult to go to lecture because you have easy access to the notes and when I am in class I do not really pay attention.

I had to study for the first time last week. It was torturous… especially when you can hear everyone at the pool!!!!

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Binna Burra National Park

Time March 25th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

IFSA-Butler planned a great 3 day weekend trip to Binna Burra, which is located in Lamington National Park. The bus ride was only about an hour away from Griffith Uni Gold Coast. Lucky for me because Uni of Queensland also went on the same bus as us and they had to travel about 2 hours before they even picked us up! So the bus ride was very short, although the road up to Binna Burra was a road for skilled drivers. Our bus driver told Lindsay, our leader, that he could not go any further, when he still had a ways to go! Hahaa I think we all know how that one ended… she told him that he was hired for a job and we were not walking up the extremely inclined/twisty/skinny road with our luggage-including hers!

A couple weeks before our trip up to Binna Burra there were high winds and lots of rain! This is important because we were supposed to be sleeping in “permanent” tents that are located in their campground, but the high winds destroyed them all!! So glad that happened before we got there, otherwise we would have never got the chance to stay in the luxurious cabins that sleep 9!

Yes, this is a picture of the EXTREMELY SMALL cabins that we stayed in. I loved them! I thought it was great for bonding and who says spiders, ants and other creatures under your stained mattress can take away from having a good time? I don’t! I think they create a better adventure! Something to remember anyways!

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Above is a picture of IFSA-Butler’s community cabin. This cabin had two levels, sleeping upstairs for our leader and some girls who could not “rough” it and the main floor was a large open area with a couple couches and a kitchen. This area was used to hang out and in general a dry place to be… since you literally could not stand in our cabins without being hit by the door.

The first night we got there we all learned that we were going to be fed amazing meals.  After cooking for yourself for about a month, having someone else prepare your food and having variety is heaven! I definitely took my meal plan at school for granted, now it’s a big deal for someone else to prepare your food!!! So the meals included bread, lots of colors and dessert!

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This is my friend Nina who I met on the plane ride over to Australia!! It was so fun to reconnect with friends that I had to say goodbye to in Sydney. And yes.. we were in the real world!

Throughout our time at Binna Burra we completed 2 hikes, a high ropes course and we went on a zip line. Due to all the rain there were a bunch of leeches everywhere!!! We all had to continually check for leaches on our shoes and legs. These leeches were determined and sneaky little buggers. Some people had them in their shoes when they took them off! They climbed through the mesh on their shoes!!!! Crazy!!!!

As we took part in the activities we had to be extremely carful for a couple things. The first is the Giant Stinging Tree leafs! They are the large leaves with holes in them and furry looking texture. Furry until you find out that those little “hairs” will attach to you and sting you like crazy!!! So we had to look out for falling leaves and smaller trees like the one below so we didn’t get stung! We also had to look out for Jumping Ants. These ants do indeed jump and when they land on you they apparently sting like crazy!!! There were nests everywhere! I was so afraid of them jumping onto me! Thank goodness I didn’t get any on me though!

While we were talking back from an activity we experienced a really rare event! We saw a koala bear in the wild!!! Many Australians never see a wild koala bear during their lifetime and we were so lucky to encounter this little guy!!! They are so so so cute! You can barely see the Koala in the tree, but it’s up there on the right of the tree trunk!!

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On Saturday night we attempted to have a campfire, it was a large attempt of multiple people as the wood was all wet. I think there were about 15 people trying to get it started…I snapped this picture at its peak performance! Hahaaa Campfire talk was a blast like always though, even without the fires warmth. –That’s another thing, it was cold in the mountains!!! It was a drastic, but refreshing change!

This entire trip was mud central! Everything we were wearing was covered in mud, no way of getting about it!

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The bus ride home was a joy as my feet got to breath out of the mudd!!!!

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Check out the beautiful sights back down the mountain :)

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My Sweet Abode

Time March 22nd, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

I have realized that the photos of my flat from a previous post do not load properly so I have decided to create another living post!

The first five pictures are of my personal room which I love! Having my own room is so great! Its is nice to just have your own personal space to do whatever and have down time. The next two pictures are of the bathroom, or as they call them here the toilets-sometimes referred to as the loo (I think that is how it is spelled). The picture in the middle on the bottom row is of our living room. I think that it is really nice, we have two love seats and a chair, along with a coffee table, TV and stand. The TV has cable and a DVD disk insert on the side! :) We are very fortunate because a lot of rooms don’t have the DVD luxury or new appliances that we have. That leads to the next picture which is of our kitchen! I spend a lot of time in here. The kitchen is our gathering place because we all make our own food, in other words there is no meal plan or prepared food for us… we are all becoming quite creative in our food creations. The one downfall is that we do not have an oven. I do miss baking, a lot! In fact this weekend I am going to bake cookies, I am determined!! The village has an outdoor kitchen with an oven in it which residents can use, we just have to get a certificate saying we know how to turn it on and properly use it. :) The last picture in this gallery is our my front door, we are on the top floor, lets just say our buns and thighs are looking good from climbing up the stairs multiple times a day!

This is a picture of my balcony. Our balcony is great, I like sitting out there eating breakfast, just chilling or whatever. It’s nice to be outside, but at home at the same time. I don’t know how to explain, but I enjoy it!

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I took this picture off the Village’s website, but its a quality picture of what the village looks like. Thanks http://www.griffithuv.com.au! The pool is great! Everyone is out there when it is sunny. I have to walk past it to go to class and sometimes it is difficult to just keep walking and go to class because its always a party at the pool! The pool area has a sweet high tech grill that works great, and anyone can use it! This means food and pool is hopping! lol

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I live with four other ladies who also have individual rooms. Three of the girls I love with are also study abroad students from America and one of them is from Singapore and studying her first semester at Griffith Uni. Although, she is planning on staying at Griffith until she graduates which is around 4 years. I am so lucky with my roommates. We all get along with one another really well and its all girls! We are one of the only flats that has all girls… I have not met another room with all girls yet! At first I was kind of bummed because I wanted the experience of living with both sexes, but now I am so thankful that its all females! We have no arguments, we all clean up after ourselves and are respectful to one another…. that doesn’t happen on a regular basis in unisex flats. So I am loving my abode :)

The other day we had a little experience! Lets just say a little green gecko wanted to move in with us! It was quite the commotion because those little guys are fast!!! It was going everywhere on the walls and such! That is an experience I hope not to have again, but sure was an experience!!! haha so great :)

Heres a picture I got off the internet of what it looked like and my roommate Amy who bravely captured the thing!

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Interesting, Yummy, Ok…

Time March 18th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Sweet Potato Fries

So one day Brittany and I decided to treat ourselves and make some sweet potato fries!! Brittany is a basically a pro at making these things and I think my skills may be on the rise! They are so delicious!! Maybe a new obsession… besides the time it takes to make them.

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Money!!!

Australian Money is amazing! I know that this is really random, but it is a big change from home. The money is so beautiful and vibrant! The bills are made with a waxy texture of some sort which keeps them looking like new as they are hard to crease!

Again so random and short… but here’s a pic to show em off!!! 😉

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Walk to Class

My walk to class from my flat is about 10 minutes or less, depending on which building I am going to. To get to class I walk over the bridge pictured below. This occurs at least twice a day, usually around 4 to 6 times a day to be realistic.

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Free Laundry

Once a month the Village provides free laundry for about 8 hours or so. During this time the laundry room is crazy! I believe this craziness is due to the outrageous prices to wash and dry clothing. It cost 3 dollars to wash one load and 2 dollars to dry one load. This is one expense I was definitely not expecting!!!! Here is a picture of the laundry room during the free laundry… it is quite the bonding experience! lol

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Quicksilver and Roxy Pro

The Quicksilver and Roxy Pro surfing competition is being held very close to Surfers Paradise. This competition has surfers from all over the world competing! I went to one of the beaches the competition is being held at Coolangatta Beach and got to see the girls practicing and walk around the shops. I unfortunately did not make it out to a day the competition was being held. Here are a couple pictures… nothing too exciting with my extremely high tech camera… 😉

 

Sunday Night Steaks

In Surfers Paradise, otherwise known as Surfers, there are two bars that have 2 dollar steaks on Sunday nights! I love this because it is amazing meat for cheap and I do not have to cook it!!!!! I think that is the best part! Every Sunday evening you know where I am at! Here are some friends and I at Waxys.

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Surfers Paradise

Time March 13th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Due to the constant rain since I have been in Gold Coast I have not really seen a beautiful clear day here yet. But all say that it will be coming!! On the first day that it hadn’t rained a group of us made a trip out to Surfers. Due to the strong currents or something of that sort we were not supposed to swim – beaches were “closed.” Even though the beaches were closed a ton of people were still in the water, including me, but only up to my knees because the water current was so so so strong!!!! Even though I didn’t really get to go in the water that much I loved it!

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Byron Bay

Time March 13th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

After a couple of days in the Village (my new home) I went on a trip with Griffith Uni exchange and study abroad students to Byron Bay. This is about an hour and a half or so from my Uni.

Just a heads up, it was pouring this entire trip!!! You will be able to tell in the pics.

On our way out there we stopped at a Wildlife Center, which was cool even though I already went to one near Sydney. This Center was much larger than the other one.

Once we arrived in the small town of Byron we took a hike up to the lighthouse. This was treacherous! The rain felt like hail the droplets were so large and the wind was crazy! This effect made the lighthouse hike even more memorable and maybe a bit more fun! :)

Once we got back I was lucky enough to catch up with some friends who were also in Byron Bay! It was crazy how it all worked out but Rob, Rebecca and Kylee picked me up from the hostel and we went out for a glass of wine. It was a short amount of time, but it was so meaningful to see them and say hi.

That same night we went out to Cheeky Monkeys for dinner and danced the night away! Overall the night was absolutely crazy after a large man fell on me because he was of course dancing on the table and being puked on. But no worries! I didn’t let that stop me from dancing my heart out! :) …kinda gross now that I look back hahaha

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Due to the never-ending rain and water conditions we were unable to go kayaking in the ocean and see dolphins, but we did make the best of it in a river where multiple races took place. My partner Jens and I took first place in the opening challenge! We were tired champions after that so we decided to have back seat in the rest of the challenges.

I took pictures on a friend’s waterproof camera, once I get them I will put them up.

That night we went out to another club and had a blast. All I can say is Byron Bay is kind of crazy… at least with our group there! Lol

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Rachel and I were having a great time taking selfies 😉

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The last event in Byron Bay was supposed to be surfing lessons, but again due to weather we were unable to become surfing pros :(

Instead we became circus experts…

This is a picture of the trapeze net and things, I forget what they are called. Each of us got to try this and do a flip while on it! So fun!!

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Below is a picture of me trying to look talented on the silks.

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Arriving in my new home, Gold Coast!!!

Time March 11th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

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We got to walk on the tarmac!

I am living at the village and I love it! This past week was OWeek which is Orientation Week and they have had tons of stuff going on including beach themed parties at the Uni (University) Bar, free bus rides into surfers paradise, free food and much more. The free food here consists of sausages with onion and a slice of bread –I have not seen any buns here yet, even in the grocery store! Also, their ketchup or tomato sauce is very sweet! Getting used to it though. I would say that just about everything, all food tastes a little different because they use a lot of products that are grown in Australia! I think I will be eating much healthier here J

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One thing that has been difficult is that I have not had Internet basically at all due to wireless Internet not reaching my flat and the Internet jack not fitting into my computer. Between having to catch buses and not really knowing where I am going it has been difficult to say the least!! Figuring out where to get a converter or a router and getting there when it is open is quite the task when you do not have easy internet access! (little fact, you have to pay for internet everywhere, literally everywhere!!! To my friends and family back home, appreciate your internet and its speed!!!!)

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Sydney Day 2 and 3

Time March 11th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

After a nights rest we went to the Wildlife Center on our way to the Blue Mountains!

The Blue Mountains were very pretty even though it was cloudy. The hike was a nice hike lets say, it was not easy but great to get our blood moving!

So glad we only hiked down… we got to ride the cableway back up :)

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When we got back that night a group of us went out to explore the city and see what was happening on Valentines Day!  We found this crazy nice place that is on the rooftop of some large building. There was a huge pool in the middle of a the rooftop and around it was tons of really dressed up people and little cabanas that (seemed to be rich people) were sitting in). We felt a little out of place so we decided to take a couple pictures and move on.

The pool had large hearts floating in it with rose petals that you threw into the pool! So classy!!! Along with that there was also large screens above the bar that had projections of girls swimming on them… kind of weird, but made it feel very expensive (which it was)!

The last orientation event was our dinner cruise in Sydney harbor. This was amazing! All of us got dressed up and ate a wonderful meal! And everyone knows that dancing and sightseeing is always to follow J

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A Random…

Time February 26th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

On our beds in our hostel we each received a string backpack with treats, information and a water bottle. My new love our TimTams!!!

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Looking gross but that’s how in love I was at first taste! (Im doing good though! I have not bought any… yet :))

That night in Sydney some people from our group went out, here’s the group of us all jet legged and happy!

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Arriving in Sydney

Time February 26th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

This is going to be detailed because my program packed so much fun stuff in a couple days that I want to tell you all about!

I arrived in Sydney three days later (loosing a day in time zones) and was it ever beautiful!! I loved it! Right when we got there we checked into the YHA hostel.

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Almost instantly  we went on a two hour walking tour of Sydney. It was so nice to get moving right away. Here are some pictures from the tour.

Later that day we had orientation stuff and received our brand new cell phones! So glad I had some type of technology to contact people. Check out this good looker

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On My Way

Time February 26th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Getting to Australia was pretty much a breeze. My flights were delayed and such but other than that no major set backs.

I loved the service on my Quantas flight along with the beautiful sights!

 

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Beginning Thoughts

Time November 27th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Hey guys! This is a short video as I am just getting started with all the logistics (paper work, flights, loans, etc.) for my semester abroad. A little overwhelmed, but so excited for what is to come!

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