COLLEGE IN EUROPE OR IN THE UNITED STATES?


If you were given the choice of moving to the States for college, what would you do? Would you take it in a heartbeat or would you rather go to Europe? I mean there's a lot of stuff that needs to be considered when it comes to such a big decision. A big thing to focus on is tuition costs, but let's forget about that for now. The two continents are fairly different and it's important to target the things we enjoy and find important doing.

The United States of America.

A lot of people believed and still believe in the American dream. They trust the land of freedom and all of that.  But unless you move to a big city, chances are that you will be living in a small place, you will need a car to get to places and will be spending a lot of time either at home or, again, in the car. Most of my American friends would rather drive through than sit down and enjoy a meal or a coffee. House parties are a big thing, and so is spending time with family.


Europe.

If you go to Europe though, you can pretty much find public transportation everywhere. People like to go for a walk, sit down outdoors, and stuff like that. This doesn't mean that Europeans don't spend time with their families or that they don't drive, but it is different. To be honest I like how everything in Europe is close together. I like being able to reach anything by foot and I like being in crowded places. 

I'm having a great time here in the United States, I've been driving for over two months now, I like the fact that at least now I can get to places (not like when I was on exchange over here), I like the fact that I am not in school but I'm working for a great company and everything, but all of this helped me realize that I also love Europe, there's nothing I can do about it. I love how every country is so close to one another, that it is fairly cheap to travel, that you can reach pretty much anything by walking (grocery stores, pubs, and so on). I love the nightlife, hanging out with friends outdoors and stuff.


An American girl on exchange to Denmark.

Even though I lived in the States as a high school exchange student and as a college intern, I did not experience University there. Therefore, I asked an American friend of mine who studied abroad in Denmark to highlight some of the differences between the two scholastic systems. The first thing she said was that in Denmark everyone actually pulled their weight, and that doesn't really happen in her home University. What was interesting for her is that attendance isn't required in Denmark but it is in the States. As a result, it doesn't really matter if you do your homework in Denmark but you get docked if you don't in the States. The grading system is completely different overseas. In Denmark, only a few tests determine your final grade, in the US it is a lot of little things. In Scandinavia, it is a lot of making yourself learn things. The school gives you the materials but you have to do it. In the US students tend to memorize only the things that will be on the test. As a result, Denmark prepares you better for the real world rather than for a test.

An Italian guy on exchange to California.

To be fair, I also asked a few questions to someone from Europe who studied abroad in California. My friend is Italian and he is studying at the American University in Rome, so that gave him an additional chance of seeing what the main differences between the American and Italian education systems are.  First of all, American Universities tend to have an attendance policy that in Italy is much rarer (that being said, some universities still have it). One of the reasons of why there is an attendance policy is because there are usually daily assignments, presentations, etc. so the students need to be present in class. Conversely, at Italian universities, students are given more independence, in fact, it is up to them to decide whether they want to go to class or prepare for exams by themselves. Furthermore, differently from most Italian universities where the final grade is composed of one exam only, in American universities, the final grade is made up of exams, presentations, and, in some universities, one's in class participation. Another major difference is that in Italy university students have to take both written and oral exams, whereas in the American system, they only have to take written exams.

I'd like to know if there's someone from Europe that would rather go to the USA, and vice versa, who would like to share their own thoughts about this, stating what if most important for them when deciding where to go to college. 

- Cris 

TRAVEL TO FIND OR TO LOSE OURSELVES?


I always cherish my study abroad experiences because they made me who I am today. I love traveling, cultures, languages, photography… I mean, I just love my lifestyle. But when it comes to saying goodbye, to move once again, to leave everything and everyone by saying “I’m not sure if I will ever see you again”, I kind of ask myself if this is all worth it. If it is actually good for me to get close to people and then leave them. If it is fair for me, but also for them. 
I’m extremely grateful that at only 20 years old I lived in four different countries but every single day I miss at least a couple of persons from each place and I feel sad that there’s nothing I can do about it. I can only call them on the phone, and that is only if the time change isn’t wild. Sometimes I even feel like I don’t play a big part in my friends’ lives because whenever it’s time for me to leave, their life will continue to be just the same as always, but mine will reset and start from nothing. Zero. 

Every single thing I do, every single person I meet every day is important to me, but for them, I am probably just someone who happens to be wherever they are at the same time, they already have a life in which I just play the part of an accessory they can live without.


I feel like it’s time for me to take a break; to quit being a nomad and finally find my place in this world. People say that traveling helps to find ourselves, yet I feel completely lost. I’m lost, yes, because I know what I want but I don’t know where I want it. I want to be close to my family, yet the US is the place to be for my career. Although, I loved being in the UK. I even wanted to move to Spain for the summer, but I will definitely not put myself through that if I will have to move again in the fall. 

I wouldn’t change my past because I wouldn’t have met all the people I did meet if it wasn’t for the fact that I traveled so much (just like I said in "Crossing Paths"), but I feel like I need to change. People always tell me that I am brave because I just grab my things and go somewhere new all the time, and it’s true, but sometimes I feel like I’m just afraid of commuting to something that doesn’t have a deadline. I’m having troubles applying for colleges but I’m sure I will find my way eventually, just like everyone else did before me. 

- Cris

Crossing Paths.


Isn't it weird to be walking through a huge crowd of people on a daily basis and having no idea of who all those individuals are? They just happen to be at the same place as you at the same time. Maybe you are completely different but you definitely have something in common: something or someone brought you both to where you are now. 

Lately, I started to believe that everything happens for a reason, even if that hurts us and makes us feel miserable for a little while. I just want to believe that there is a positive outcome, we just have to be strong enough to be able to wait for it to materialize. 

Some of my friends make fun of me because I change my mind fifty times before I make a decision, but there is a reason why I am like this. I believe that decision making is serious because everything we do now leads us to what we will be doing tomorrow and I want to make sure that I spend enough time trying to figure out if that is actually what I want to be doing. 

It's funny because all my headaches are the result of endless time spent deciding where I want to move next but "normal" people suffer from headaches for different reasons, like bills or lack or something or whatever. 

I've so many plans for next summer, and the following fall, that I don't even know what I want in the first place. I want to have plan bs because things just not go as planned sometimes, but on the other hand, I'd like to have fewer options because I just struggle to decide what I want. I only realize I truly want something when I just can't have it anymore and so I work my butt off to prove that I can, somehow, make it work.


So, when I was moving to Great Britain I flew from Milan to London with British Airways. As I was waiting to board, I took a picture of the queue I was in and sent it to my siblings complaining about the fact that my flight was going to be delayed because I was still on the ground when the gate was supposed to be closed already. As I land in London I can hear this girl asking the staff how to get to terminal 3 and so I pitched in and asked her if she was headed there for the same reason as I was. It turns out that she was also going to study at my host university and that she was also Italian. Weeks later I was going through my pictures and I found the picture of the queue and realized that she was literally a few feet away from me. We were both there for the same reason and we didn't know until we were abroad. Wild. But this is not even the first time that I meet someone and find out that we have been at the same place in the past, we just didn't have the chance to meet back then. In June 2013 I met a friend of mine outside Paramore's concert and the year after I met a girl, who's now one of my best friends, who was also there. And I could continue for hours...

Even though I believe that everything happens for a reason, sometimes I feel like traveling led me to lose myself rather than finding myself (traveling to find or to lose ourselves?).

Your turn. What's your story? Have you ever met anyone and realized that you could have actually met earlier than when it actually happened? Also, do you believe in destiny?

- Cris

Interning at a Video Production Company in the Unites States of America.


I must admit that sometimes I wonder if all the decisions I've taken over the past few years were the right ones. People want the things I have and I want the things they have. It's weird, we all have something but we always want something else.
Thinking back, I'd have never thought that I'd be here by now. I've always been interested in the film industry and now I am in the USA doing an internship at a video production company, how cool is that?

Sometimes I question whether it would have been better to study at home or elsewhere rather than Denmark, but then again, if I wouldn't have done that I probably wouldn't be here at this specific moment. I would have never lived in Worcester probably, which would have been a shame because there I've got to meet amazing people. Something bad can actually turn out into something good in the long run, even though it is hard to see that when we are in pain.

Anyhow, I've been receiving texts from friends and family who want to know what's it like to be working for a video production company in Denver. "What is that you do exactly?". Up to today, I haven't done much. I've been reading old files and watching previous spots to kind of get a feeling of what the company is like. I've done a location research as well as photo researches for a few documents we need to put together for a bid. I haven't been on set yet, but I'm sure that I will have the chance to do so in the next few weeks. I think that part of the fun is being able to be a member of a nice team. There's always a smile on my colleagues' faces, there's always food in the office and everyone helps one another when needed. 


My first impression is that I will have the opportunity to meet a lot of people, freelancers from other parts of the USA, like LA, often come and go and this is really cool. I believe that my official position is "Production Assistant" which in simple terms means that I am always available to step in and help with anything on set, from carrying equipment to making sure that everything is in the right place, and in the office.

Given the fact that I live a few miles away from Denver, to be able to get to work I had to get a driver's license, which is the coolest thing ever. In this past couple of years, I've been doing a lot of stuff but one thing was missing: driving. Given the fact that all my friends stayed at home, they had the time to get a license, but I didn't and I always kind of felt like if that was still something that I needed to do, but now I've done that too, which means that I can drive not only to work but wherever I want or need to, which is really cool, especially here in the West where public transportation is unknown.

- Cris

Living With A Host Family Or Living Alone?


Everyone thinks that living on our own is the best thing ever, and in some ways it is, but for other reasons, it can drive you insane. I've been an exchange student both in high school and university, so I experienced living with a host family but also living on my own. Both experiences are useful and definitely make you grow as a person, but there are surely some differences between the two.

With A Host Family.
Living with people who are willing to open their home to foreign exchange students is very cool because while you will try to learn your host language, make new friends and study in a different language, you will have a group of people that will support you just like your family back home would - or at least this is how it should be. By being hosted by locals, you will get to learn the customs and traditions, you will be introduced to other members of the family and friends, which will be a great opportunity for you to expand your network.


By Yourself.
When I went on Erasmus, I had my private room in halls. My flat was composed of one kitchen, two bathrooms and six bedrooms. I loved it because I had my own space and whenever I felt like hanging out with someone I could just go to the kitchen. Living on my own was good because I was the one in charge  of scheduling my appointments, making my own food, and so forth. At my home University, I shared a studio apartment with another guy, but I highly preferred to have my own room in a shared flat. Depending on how you see it, living in halls was a pro but also a con. Since I was an international student, I was put in the International Hall, which made it harder to be friends with locals. Even so, it has been cool to meet all kinds of people from all over the world. Eventually, I got to meet Brits when I started working as a sales assistant, so everything worked out for the best.

I am now curious to hear different stories. Do you prefere to live with a host family, even in college, or to live on your own? and why so?

- Cris