The Meaning Behind Wanderlust

Everybody probably has it – the impulse to venture into the exotic and the unknown. To leave the daily routine and see something different, get to know new cultures and maybe most importantly: rediscover oneself!

 

What is the meaning of “Wanderlust“?

There are many different definitions of “Wanderlust“ on the world wide web. But the following one by Urban Dictionary is in my opinion one of the best ones, including the most important points:

„A deep uncontrollable desire to hit the road and travel, by whatever means desired, to explore and enjoy the world.“ (source)

Everybody probably has their own meaning and understanding of „Wanderlust“. In my opinion, it also means exploring yourself and not just exploring the world.

Escape the daily routine

Waking up every day, going to work and sleeping in the same bed every night – daily routine may evoke the feeling of safety, however the feeling of ennui and wanderlust sometimes takes over.

As soon as we hear the word “travelling“, many thoughts and ideas immediately pop up in our head: experiencing new cultures, socializing and expanding one’s horizon… The list is endless. But exactly those phrases describe the beloved (so called) wanderlust. The question (strong desire for) of the unknown, of things we can’t see, smell or feel is a thing which has always moved us, that’s just human. That’s what we connect with wanderlust. Unknown countries and cultures goad us to leave our familiar surroundings. We travel in order to remind ourselves that we don’t know everything; that the world is bigger and more exciting than it seems when we are sitting at home.

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People change with travelling – they learn to get out of their comfort zone. What you learn during your travels, the wonderful moments you experience, people you meet along the way, the exotic and unknown world you discover as well as yourself; is hard to describe to anyone and therefore is a must-experience!

Maybe some of us have already lived through this unique experience themselves. It’s more than just leaving your home. Travelling means becoming more open-minded towards different world where you may have to handle things you have never thought of before. And that’s exactly what I wanted to gain with travelling – valuable experiences and learnings such as patience, open-mindedness, solution-orientation, independence and feeling unlimited freedom in every fiber of your body. But maybe the most important thing I learned during my experience is that

Life is a journey not a destination

 

Travel as much as you can, see as much as possible of the world; get to know new different and cultures, people and landscapes. The journey will shape you and you will earn experiences no one can take away. And especially you will learn a lot about yourself, because after all the definition of wanderlust says it all – “…travel to understand one’s very existence.” Augustine of Hippo once said „Life is like a book and those who don’t travel only read one page.”

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Author: Maike Schüssele

Between Green Landscapes and Pints of Guinness in Ireland

When I told friends and professors I planned to spend part of my spring break in Ireland the most common reaction was – Why Ireland? But I say, ‘Why not’?

Ireland might not have renown monuments like the Eiffel tower or Big Ben, but it does have its own charm ranging from vast emerald landscapes to the malty and bitter taste of a pint of Guinness.

My advice? Go to Dublin with an open mind to experience the city as it unfolds to you.

First, visit the temple bar district in central Dublin. This is the most famous district of the city and deserves a visit from your part both during the day and during the night. Visit the pubs around this area to experience Irish music ensembles and enjoy a pint of Guinness. The Irish vibe provided by the lively music and people singing is truly a highlight. I would avoid Temple bar itself, and suggest you to go to The Long Hall, Fallon’s, and Whelan’s instead.

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If you do wake up the next day, head over to Trinity College and admire the architecture and gardens of this over 400 year old campus. Continue your architecture hunt towards Dublin Castle and admire this iconic construction situated in the middle of a bustling city. You also can’t miss the cathedral and the St. Patrick’s church while walking through the city center.

The highlight of your stay in Dublin will definitely be the tour of the Guinness brewery and storehouse. The tour lasts around 3 hours and students pay 12 euros, which includes a Guinness pint which you will be serving. The tour starts by introducing you to Guinness’ history in Ireland and the original processing involved in crafting this malty beverage. Later on, you are taken to sample small shot sized glasses of Guinness after smelling the different aromas this beverage has. This ignites both your smelling senses and tasting buds, which enables you to taste the different flavors, from hops to the creamy malt. At the end of the tour you are taught how to serve a Guinness and after you served your perfect pint you receive a certificate stating your new abilities. Finally, you get the chance to savor your pint at the storehouse’s sky bar with a breathtaking view of Dublin.

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Ireland is not only about Dublin and Guinness. Our adventure to the famous cliffs of Moher starts at 7am as you drive west towards Galway. Before you reach the cliffs the tour stops at Dunguaire Castle. After a morning of driving through picturesque green landscapes you will most likely arrive to the cliffs at around 3 p.m. We were lucky enough to visit the cliffs on a sunny and clear day, which is unfortunately unusual. The cliffs are not only unique for their breathtaking views, but also for their beautiful and picturesque green landscapes that really portray the essence of Ireland.

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No, of course I did not forget food! Here I have a few suggestions for where to go when you need some energy or a break from beer. At ‘’Super Miss Sue’’ or SMS students) can get a large portion/box of Fish and chips for only 6,50 euros. English speaking countries in Europe are famous for their Indian restaurants and fusion cuisine and Ireland is not an exception. Go for lunch to ‘’Kathmandu Kitchen’’ to experience a delicious and inexpensive full set Indian-Nepalese lunch for under 10 euros.

Even if Ireland is not on your bucket list, plan to visit this majestic country. I promise you will not be disappointed, but rather surprised by how diverse and exciting Ireland actually is. Wait, I forgot to ask you, what are you waiting for? Go explore the emerald isle and broaden your horizons!

Author: Mauro Ortiz

Easy Ways to Kick Off a Conversation When Abroad

No matter how long you stay abroad, it’s the people you meet and the conversations you have that stick with you the most. There are certain topics that can be conversation-sparkers and that give you insight into underlying or fundamental differences between cultures. These are my three personal favorite conversation starters to help you make the best out of your experience abroad.

1. Food

It’s true I am a Foodie. I love food! But far form personal preference; food is part of our culture. You never become so quickly immersed in another person’s culture as when you’re exchanging secret recipes for traditional dishes. Take it a step further and invite someone over for a traditional dish party. There is nothing that gets people talking about their life and values at home than talking about a favourite childhood meal. These moments will be some of the most inspiring you will get to experience in your lifetime.

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2. Favorites

Who could ever be a better tour guide as someone who calls the country you are visiting his or her home? Most people love sharing local secrets with someone who is genuinely interested in exploring their country and culture. Be it a favorite restaurant (I told you I’m a foodie), their favorite park, beach, grocery store, building, quarter and so on. The list is endless and endless are the possibilities for new discoveries within a foreign country.

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3. Anything really 

You are in a new environment and most possibly experiencing moments that will be at the center of the stories you will tell old friends AND new acquaintances at home and across the world. Going abroad is a formative thing in itself, but it can be enhanced by the conversations you will have. We reflect and learn things about ourselves through communication. Engaging in discussions with people from different cultural and personal backgrounds gives you something you cannot get anywhere else. These conversations are facilitators for personal development and can make you a stronger, more self-aware and open-minded person.

The best is that these are the experiences that no one will be able to take from you. So if life offers you the opportunity to go abroad – take it! And make sure you are in 100% and conversing with as many people as possible!

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Author: Chelsea Hladik

Vamos ao Brazil!

Not only is the Brazilian Portuguese, with its soft melodic accentuation, arguably one of the most beautiful existing languages, it also emphasises some characteristics we all instantly associate with this enchanting place at the Sugar Loaf Mountain.

Everyone knows what Brazil is famous for: its colorful vivid carnival, yet adopted by many other countries; for being a crazy football nation with one of the top teams in history (despite the tragic ending during the world cup 2014); for the typical music and dances, such as Samba, that makes you want to celebrate and enjoy life to the fullest; and of course – for the beautiful people, who always seem to embody this unique lust for life that’s nowhere else to be found.

There is so much to discover, while visiting Brazil and its 200,4 Million inhabitants.

The Garden Eden – wild jungles and idyllic beaches

The northern part is famous for the miracle of nature – the Amazonas rain forest, whereas the northeastern part is dominated by some of the most magnificent beaches along the 8000 km coast line. You can chose between more than 2000 bays, most of them lying beneath palm trees, each offering you space to spend some hours in paradise. For some amazing waves and surfing courses check out the São-José Beach, Bahia. Travelling up north you can reach the capital of Bahia, Salvador, which is famous for its traditional, vibrant carnival, vivid culture and old charm.

Or how about visiting the Ceará coast and its urban capital Fortaleza? Over 600 kilometers of white sandy beaches, theaters, modern and colonial architecture, delicious regional and international restaurants and much more are waiting for you!

You know about the Victoria Falls?! The famous Niagara Falls?! Forget them both and travel to the South Western part of Brazil to experience the Iguazú Falls, part of an UNESCO world culture heritage, that mark the border to Argentina and Paraguay. They are said to be more stunning and, with a height of up to 84 meters, more impressive than any other waterfall you have seen before. You can take part in exciting activities such as rafting-tours or just enjoy the marvelous view.

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The big 3 – vibrant metropolises

Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Belo Horizonte – the triangle of superlatives in the South East is probably the part where the huge social contrasts are the most visible. Even though the area is well known for its powerful economy, – just remember that Brazil is one of the leading agricultural exporters worldwide, – the society is facing tremendous social divides, extreme poverty and violence in many areas. The infrastructure is, on the other side, better developed, than in any other part of Brazil, with its many universities, educational institutions and well organized transportation system.

The Museu de Arte de São Paulo” is home to the most prominent art collection of South America and São Paulo itself has the reputation as the city of art and design. Thanks to its multicultural character, the city is sometimes compared to New York, – no surprise, because part of the inhabitants consists of Portuguese, German, Italian and Japanese emigrants. Another thing to be excited about when visiting São Paulo is its variety of delicious restaurants, where you can chose between typical traditional and/or international exotic cuisine. If you just want to grab a quick bite, make sure to step by the mercado municipal with its over 300 market stalls and try some exotic fruits and other delicate treats.

While staying in Rio de Janeiro you can not miss out on the chance to visit the iconic estádio-maracanã and the famous beaches Copacabana and Ipanema while enjoying some ice cold agua de coco. To get the best panoramic view over the city take the cable car up the 400 meter high Sugarloaf – you will understand why the inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro call their city thecidade maravilhosa”. 

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Life’s essence

No matter where you are, the next crazy party is never far away. It does not matter if you travel in february for carnival or not – any decent-sized town offers an endless amount of possibilities to dance through the night and to enjoy yourself every single day and night.

But what would this all be without the people you surround yourself with?! Exactly – nothing spectacular at all! This is why, to me, one of the most important reasons to go to Brazil is for its inhabitants. Without trying to generalize, it seems that they embody a certain vibe that makes you fall in love with them. The joy they seem to have for everything they are doing is contagious and meanwhile they still seem to be a lot ‘down to earth’ with their love for family, children and strong believes. A little bit like Samba itself: – radiant and always in movement, yet soft and sophisticated.

There is much more to tell you, about places, customs, people, food, cities and nature, but the best way to really get to know Brazil is by going there and finding out for yourself. We cannot tell you what to expect in detail, but we can promise one thing – this journey will be everything but boring.

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Author: Sara Balitzky

7 Reasons To Volunteer Abroad

Each year we ask us the same question “What should I do in this summer?“

We make several plans, do a lot of internet research, apply and eventually end up doing exactly the same as the summer before. This year do something different. Here are several reasons why I believe you should decide to go on a volunteering internship and have the summer of your life.

1. Exploring

Volunteering gives you a chance to explore new countries and cultures in a different way than by just travelling and sightseeing in these countries. Doing a volunteer internship shows you the country from inside out, allows you to get to know the culture, locals and their habits. You will see places and areas you would never have the possibility to go to as a tourist. Some people might have travelled the country but in doing a volunteer internship, they sometimes feel they’ve been here for the first time.

„Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.“ (Robert Frost)

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2. Connecting

Meeting many new and different people is another great aspect of volunteering. Working with young people from all over the world is a big advantage nowadays. This diversity can help you improve your soft skills and give you the opportunity to make friends across the globe. Sometimes, it’s hard to get in touch with local people as a foreigner, but as a volunteer it will be impossible not to get to know them. Another positive aspect is that for your future career, it’s important that you have the skill of adapting to different environments and work in a team with diverse people.

3. Communicating

 By communicating with people you might even soon call your friends, you’re able to improve your language skills or even learn a few words in another language. And we all know that improving language skills, especially English, is always “the yellow from the egg“.

4. Doing amazing things

 We don’t want to forget why we volunteer. Besides many positive aspects, the most important thing is that we can make a difference by helping: helping children learn English, contributing to the environment or helping the locals. For you it’s just a few weeks of exploring and helping, full of new challenges. For them it could be a life-changing interaction. Always be aware what you are able to do and change just in helping step by step.

“The world is changed by you, do something awesome!“ (Kid President)

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5. Getting to know… You

 Just dare and you will see soon that you will learn so much more about yourself than you’ve ever imagined. By volunteering you will experience so many new things and challenges. By doing so, you will truly reach and extend your limits. But in the end you will feel absolutely nothing but self-fulfilment when you look back at what you were able to do in a few weeks.

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6. Learning

After working several weeks on amazing projects and in NGO’s, you will not only improve your soft skills but also gain valuable knowledge and practical experience – for example entrepreneurial experience, which can be helpful for your personal and professional life. Volunteers don’t do it for the money; they do it for the impact.

7. Getting off the couch

Going abroad for several weeks and working there is always a challenge for oneself. You have to step outside your comfort zone and be dare, because nothing will happen if you don’t take the first step. It won’t be always easy, speaking of cultural differences and cultural shocks (be excited for our next blogpost) but you just have to break down barriers. There will always be obstacles or challenges in your life and no one can prepare you for them, but in learning how to overcome them, you will get a feeling that you’re unstoppable. So go outside, dare, challenge yourself and get the hell out of your comfort zone!

And always remember when volunteering:

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind“ (Neil Armstrong)

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Thomas stepping out of his comfort zone while volunteering in Ghana

Author: Julia Wünscher

5 Skills You Develop During an Internship Abroad

Sometimes we come to a point where we have this vague feeling, an inscrutable desire out of the blue to change something in our life. Considering that a change does not happen in a narrow classroom or by analyzing a most astonishing theory but takes place throughout life and by taking a step out of your “comfort zone” into an exciting and open world.

 

An internship abroad combines an exciting opportunity to brighten your own horizon with the useful “side-effect” of actively collecting experience.

 

1. Gaining Work Experience

First and foremost, working abroad helps you to develop the own skills and the ability to use it in a practical context within challenging your potential. And a solid work experience also makes you a much more attractive to employers in nowaday’s high competitive job market.

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2. Developing Multicultural Understanding

Cultural immersion is a significant aspect of living abroad. Since the world has become an interconnected “global village”, it is important to gain basic understanding of business practices associated with different cultural norms and values.

3. Finding a Direction

Often, people start with a job or a study impulsively, because they have heard somewhere from someone how great it was. But after a month “down the road” they get bored and ask themselves what on Earth they are doing here. By having the opportunity to ask and have your questions answered during an internship by industry professionals, you will  be able to get a better insight into whether a filed is right for you or not.

4. Connecting with the Global World

Networking is one of the most popular ways of finding and also getting a job. By building new contacts worldwide through internships in various fields, you are able to create a wider and global working environment for yourself.

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5. Personal Growth

Moving away from the cozy and familiar environment to challenge your abilities and beliefs in a totally new surrounding is necessary to develop not just your professional skills, but also create environment for personal growth.

Even if the experience abroad is not be a perfect match for your future career path, take it – the career insight you will gain, and the space and challenges you will undergo (which will shape you as a person and a worker) are unmatched by any other experience.

Author: Anna Smekal