Thursday, February 19, 2009

Want to make a contribution? It could change my life!

Hey everyone! Here is a widget connected to my PayPal account. By donating through the box below I'll be able to add those funds to my account for my trip to China this summer (June 2009). Even a $5 or $10 contribution will help make a huge difference!

To read about my story and what our small group of 10 will be doing while we're there click here

If you have any other questions about the trip PLEASE don't hesitate to ask me!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tangents

Sometimes my train of thought gets a little carried away. Last night I was sharing my 2008 archived book list with one of the Student Life Staff members, Lina, who is just fantastic. I was super excited that I found someone new to exchange lists with! Well anyway, today it got me wondering what the Champlain College Community Book for (fall) 2008 was since I realized I hadn't read it. I was visiting the community book program's website and discovered that the book this year is called "The Tortilla Curtain." As I was exploring around the site I found a couple of cool tests and since I am easily distracted... I took them both. I wanted to share with you all and I'm curious about your results so feel free to share!

The first quiz was about your carbon footprint. You answer a bunch of questions about your lifestyle and the quiz tells you how many Earth's it would take to sustain everyone in the world if they ALL lived the exact same way you do. Then they show you plenty of really neat and easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint. It's definitely worth checking out! (P.S. I scored 4.23 Earths).

Carbon Footprint Test

This one was pretty cool too... Ever wonder what the new U.S. Citizenship Test is like for immigrants? It's pretty tough. Cut them some slack unless you can ace the darn thing! Here's your chance - (I scored 87%).

U.S. Citizenship Test

Friday, February 13, 2009

Help Me Go To China!

I know I already posted about my trip, but I'm doing it again!

I'm planning a two week trip to China this summer with a small group of 10 including one of my favorite and most inspirational professors on campus! Read on to find out how YOU can help for FREE! Here's a little information about the trip:

We're going to be traveling to the western parts of China, away from the big eastern cities to study the effects of globalization and modernization on smaller indigenous villages. We'll do this AFTER spending our first full day in Shanghai (where the effects are already in full swing!) so it really makes an impact. We'll be using a wide array of multimedia to document our travels and findings. Over the course of our trip we will stay in Tibetan monestaries, learn tons of Chinese history, and even meet with Chinese university students to hear their take on globalization and what it means in their lives. This is an incredible opportunity that I might never see again!

My goal right now is to raise the money to fund the trip. I'm asking you to help! All you have to do is sign up on our website:

www.dragonstudentexchange.org

and write my name in the referral box.

This will take $5 off of my trip. It may not seem like much but every dollar counts and the more people I get to do this the better! What would help even more is if you passed my request on to friends and family to do the same thing! I am so excited about this trip and really hope I can make it happen. If you have any other questions about it PLEASE feel free to write me back!

Go now! Do it! :)

If you'd like to pledge to make a larger contribution but aren't sure just yet then follow the link below to my pledge form. I'll contact you at a later date to follow up! This form is obligation free and you can make the decision to commit later:

Pledge Form

Monday, February 9, 2009

Hand Surgery

So I finally had my hand surgery a couple weeks ago. Nothing crazy, I had a benign cyst in my wrist that got on my last nerve so I got it taken out. I've been running around with a super annoying Ace bandage and gauze pads on for two weeks and today I finally got my stitches out! Hooray! :)


Montreal Day Trip

I have officially been accepted to study abroad at Champlain’s Montreal campus next semester! I am so excited that I am able to squeeze a second semester abroad in before graduation and still obtain all of my leftover requirements. What I quickly realized while working in the study abroad office though was that in my entire 3.5 years of living in Burlington, Vermont (an hour away from the Canadian border) I have NEVER visited Montreal. How ridiculous!?

Yesterday my golden opportunity arose. There was a bus trip planned for a day-trip to Montreal, all expenses paid. How could I possibly pass that up? We arrived in the Bader parking lot at 8:30am to check everyone in and pass out bagged brunches. Once the bus arrived we loaded up, took a head count, and then we were off! We passed through the border with no problems at all and were on our way to the city. I rode the bus next to Asa and once we started getting near the city he started getting really excited, which was SO contagious! He spent last semester there so I decided to stick near him all day so he could show me all of his favorite places nearby the campus. We were dropped off at the academic center on Sherbrook and went inside to say hello to a couple of the current students.



We met the interim director and she told us everything we needed to know about the academic program, the RA spoke to us about her job in the residence hall, and Brooke Zambroski told us about her experience so far this semester.


We split into groups and toured the rest of the building, four floors in all (I think), each with it’s own lounge and restrooms! The classrooms are pretty small, but just like in Dublin it’ll make an intimate learning environment which is so much more beneficial than sitting in large groups.
When our tours were over we met out front for the walk over to the residence hall. We are housed in the same building as UQAM (University of Quebec at Montreal) international students. I am so excited to live with people from all over the world once again! We visited one of the quads, the apartments seem nicer than the ones in Dublin, but they are also much smaller with lower ceilings and feel a bit more confined. On the plus side, every student is allowed his or her own bedroom! It’s nice to see the residence halls, but I spend most of my time outside of them so I’m not too worried about it.
Finally it was time to venture around and explore the city. I kept nearby Asa and Nick (another Montreal alum that I work with in the study abroad office) so they could show me their favorite hangouts.


Our first stop was Frite Alors where I was told I could order poutine (aka heaven in a bowl). Poutine is a big bowl of French fries with gravy and chunks of cheese. It might sound and look a little miserable but BOY was it tasty! I probably won’t be eating it too often taking preference to more healthy options, but it’s great to already know those little secret treats exist!



As we kept walking we decided we needed some coffee to keep us warm. Although the weather was up in the 20’s Montreal is quite the windy city! So we stopped in a Starbucks (I know, I know, not a very cultural place but hey! I have gift cards!). Then we headed up Saint Catherine Street to look at all the shops. I loved the way the city is an ecclectic mix of old and modern architecture.


I quickly realized that not only was I in shoe shopping heaven, I was in a very general shopping heaven. There are several mall complexes on the street, including an underground mall that the Metro has a stop in. Talk about convenience!


In addition of course there are plenty of smaller boutiques in the mix. I saw some museums I’d like to explore and even ran into a Titanic exhibit with real artifacts from the accident.
When we had finished walking through one of the malls we realized we had an hour and a half to kill before having to meet back up with the rest of the group and a mere $10 in our pockets. I asked where a good place might be to grab a beer and people watch, so we crossed the street into Les 3 Brasseurs, grabbed a seat and talked our time away.


3:30 finally rolled around and it was time to make our way to the meeting point and get back on the bus. I think I passed out as soon as we started rolling – all the excitement was exhausting!


I definitely can’t wait to get back up to the city and explore China Town and Old Montreal. I am so excited about spending my last semester of college there and think the experience will be equally as rewarding as my experience in Europe.

Senior Snowball

This past Thursday was my final Snowball (winter semi-formal) at Champlain College. It’s hard to believe I’ll never attend one again! All of the girls got ready together at Elizabeth’s apartment, but since Josh had just gotten home to Vermont the night before (hooray!), I “boy-sat” at my apartment. Then we headed up to meet everyone so we could all carpool over to the Sheraton together. We arrived on time and the dance floor was already jumping! The decorations looked fantastic and we were definitely ready to have a great time. Here are some pictures of everybody looking beautiful!







Unfortunately I had my wrist surgery two weeks ago and don't get my stitches out until today so I had this ugly arm wrap on all night! We all had a ball anyway :)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Go MOJO China! (Mobile Journalism)

At some point last week I was sitting in the Student Government office wasting time before I had to head off to class when Miss K. Maund burst through the door with news of a summer trip to China with Professor Rob Williams. I immediately perked up because Rob happens to be one of the most inspirational professors I have ever taken a class (or two) from in my time at Champlain College, and I also have a SERIOUS travel bug and dire need to see the world.

I sent some emails around and finally came up with some information about the trip. It will be a two week tour of western China (where the indigenous people are rarely visited by the Western World). When we arrive in Shanghai we will stay overnight to absorb the impact that globalization and modernization have had on China before heading off to Xi’an for two days. Later we will travel even further west and stay in more indigenous villages exploring the lifestyle and culture of the people who live there. We will visit various Tibetan monestaries and interact with university students who struggle with the ideas of modern globalization and the ways in which it interacts with their northwestern Chinese lifestyle.

I am extremely excited about the prospect of this trip! However, my current challenge is fundraising so that I can actually afford to go! "Tuition" and traveling costs will come to approximately $3,000 so I'm looking for any type of donation. Every dollar counts towards this amazingly life-changing cultural and educational experience.

So how can you help? The easiest way is by registering with our website: http://www.dragonstudentexchange.org/

On the top right-hand side of the page you will see the link to sign up. You will not have any obligations after signing up, but I receive $5 off my trip for every referral I get.

I will soon be setting up a separate site for larger donations if you feel so inclined. I will post information about it here, but I definitely have my work cut out for me during the process. Please let me know in the meantime if you are interested, or at least register with the website! As we learned from Obama's campaign every little bit you can contribute counts. If I get 10 people to give me even $10 then I've knocked $100 off of my deposit!

Stay tuned for more information and feel free to ask any questions you may have! I have not been this excited about a global adventure in a while! Cheers!