SUMMER ABROAD

Summer Abroad Packing Guide

The countdown to Forum Europe Summer 2018 is on!

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Preparing for a month (or longer) abroad may seem challenging, but don’t sweat it! Here is a guide for seamless packing, recommended by Forum-Nexus alumni. Feel free to customize this list to your own personal needs and preferences.

The Essentials

  • Clothing
    - Casual attire for sightseeing and traveling
    - Casual professional attire for class
    - Business casual attire for professional visits
    - Clothing for occasional cooler weather (ex: 1-2 pants, 1-2 sweaters or long sleeve shirts)
    - One nice outfit for the graduation ceremony in Rhodes
    - Active attire for swimming, exercising, etc.
    - Comfortable walking shoes
    - Comfortable dress shoes
    - Athletic shoes
    - Undergarments
    - Socks
    - 1 light jacket (consider a rain jacket for multi-purpose ware)

Pro-tip: There are laundromats in all host cities to wash clothing

  • Toiletries
    - Toothbrush and toothpaste
    - Brush/comb
    - Advil or Tylenol and any prescriptions
    - Razor/shaving cream
    - Hair products/hair styling tools*
    - Shampoo/conditioner**
    - Body wash**
    - Sunscreen
    - Feminine products

Pro-tip: Toiletries will be available at local markets and stores. Save room and pack light!
*Most hotels offer hair dryers
**All hotels offer travel-sized shampoo/conditioner and body wash/soap

  • Class supplies
    - One notebook or binder with paper
    - Writing utensils
    - Required textbooks
    - Pre-Program Assignment, printed to submit on the first day of class

Miscellaneous

- Converters/adapters for all electronic items
- Chargers for electronics
- Money converted to Euros (we recommend bringing 200-250 Euro to start with, and using an ATM for additional transactions once in Europe)
- Main credit/debit card and a backup card
- Passport
- Scanned copies of credit cards, IDs, passport, etc.

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Non-Essential Items to Consider Packing

- A small fold-up umbrella
- Fold-up plastic or cloth bag for grocery shopping
- Sunglasses
- 1 hat for shade while walking around and sightseeing
- Laptop/Tablet/iPad recommended for classwork and personal use
- Hand sanitizer
- Camera
- Neck pillow for travel
- Portable charger/battery pack
- Water bottle for refilling
- Travel journal
- Headphones
- Laundry detergent packets

Pro-tip: Many of these items can found at most markets and stores in host cities.

Our Favorite Travel Items

- External battery, for portable phone and smart device charging
- Water bottle with filter
- Converter/Adapters
- Microfiber towel, perfect for beach/day trips
- Instant photo camera
- Travel umbrella
- Sturdy travel gear

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How to Pack

- Each student is permitted one suitcase and one side bag. Weight and height guidelines are:
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- It’s best to roll items tightly to conserve as much space as possible. Start with bulky items like pants and jackets, roll them up, and place those items at the bottom of your bag, followed by lighter items on top.
- Save room for souvenirs and gifts to bring back home.
- The best tip we can offer? Pack light! You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage.
The adventure of a lifetime awaits you. Feel free to reach out to any Forum-Nexus staff member for additional questions or recommendations. Happy packing!

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A Guide to Study Abroad Scholarships & Financial Aid 2018

If you have your sights set on spending your sweet summertime abroad, then you’ve found the right program. We’re headed to 9 European cities and 5 countries at the end of June. Want to join but are tight on funds? Let us help you get there!

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Trust us when we say that there is a ton of study abroad scholarships out there, it just needs to be claimed. Here is a complete resource guide that you can use to fund Forum Europe Summer 2018:

1) The Forum-Nexus Scholarship Program

This new scholarship program was launched to give highly motivated students the chance to study abroad, no matter their financial situation. For our final round of March scholarships, we’re awarding 12 study abroad scholarships between $500-$5,000 to students from the U.S. and other countries.

To apply, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be accepted into the Forum Europe Summer 2018 program, session A1
  • Be currently enrolled at a college/university
  • Maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • Receive financial aid at your home institution

The final deadline to apply is March 31. Be one of our 12 recipients! More information here.

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2) The Forum-Nexus Assistantship Program

It feels like an internship, but the trade-off is a scholarship instead of course credit, and less academic-based activities.

How it works: Students get to be a part of our summer team by working directly with Forum-Nexus staff and faculty in exchange for a tuition-reduction scholarship. The program typically involves 150 hours to be completed before, during, and after the summer. Student Assistants (SAs) typically receive a tuition-reduction scholarship of  $1,500. It’s the most fun and rewarding program we offer!

Details about the requirements and the application process are available here.

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3) The Forum-Nexus Refer-A-Friend Program

Calling all creative and entrepreneurial applicants – this program is for you! Students can offset program costs by successfully referring other students to Forum-Nexus.*

You can refer:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Classmates
  • Fraternity brothers/sorority sisters
  • Dormmates
  • Fellow organization members
    The list goes on!

Best part? Each additional referral earns you more $. Check out the discount here.
*Note that referral discounts are awarded when a student officially enrolls in the program.

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4) Financial Aid from your University

Good news: In most cases, you will be able to use financial aid from your university (merit or need-based scholarships or grants) toward the costs of a Forum-Nexus program. We recommend talking with your financial aid advisor to learn about the policies and requirements at your school. If you have any questions, contact us for help.

5) Financial Aid from the U.S. Department of Education

So you need a little extra funding – no worries! FYI: You may have the option to apply for Federal Student Aid from the U.S. Department of Education (aka FAFSA) to help pay for a Forum-Nexus summer. One of our partner institutions, Franklin University Switzerland, is also accredited in the U.S. and can be referenced for this process. Get more details here.

For further information, visit the Financial Aid office of your school and review the FAFSA web page.

6) Crowdfunding

If you’re on social media, you know that crowdfunding is a trendy and effective way to raise money. Let your family, friends, and followers know about your dream to study abroad! We guarantee that they will be more than willing to help.

Start by crafting your story; make it compelling and memorable. You can make a short video explaining why you want to study abroad or give them a glimpse of what Forum-Nexus is all about.

Sites to help you get started: GoFundMe, KickStarter, or fundmytravel.

7) Other Funding/Scholarship Options

Bonus: We accept most forms of external funding and scholarships!

There are numerous organizations that offer $$$ to help students cover the expenses of their study abroad experience. We recommend looking for funding opportunities on the following sites:

If you need additional information or guidance to complete any of these scholarship applications, please contact us at info@forum-nexus.com.

Happy applying, and best of luck in your study abroad scholarship hunt!

 

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An Afternoon in Como

It all started with a walking tour of Como, Italy. I have traveled through several areas of Italy before, such as Rome, Capri, Pompeii, Sorrento, Venice, and Florence, but I had never been to Como. What set this city apart for me was the close proximity to Lake Como. The position of Como was extremely important historically speaking; Como is located at the junction of the Mediterranean Sea and northern Europe. It also has a very easy pass through the Alps to reach Germany.

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I found the history behind the formation of the buildings in Como quite comical. After a long religious war between the people of Milan and Como, the people of Milan destroyed the city of Como in 1127. The only structures left were churches, convents, and the bishop’s palace. In 1158, they began to rebuild the city that now stands today. However, the people of Como got their revenge on the people of Milan by destroying their city in return.

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Courtesy of Jordan E.

A fun fact that I learned during the group tour of Como is what happened to the original fountain that used to sit in the Piazza Cavour. The fountain was purchased by William Rockefeller and brought back to New York. The fountain is now called the Rockefeller Fountain and can be found at the Bronx Zoo. I am originally from Westchester, New York, located about an hour and a half from the Bronx Zoo. I have actually been inside the zoo multiple times and have seen that exact fountain but had never known the origin of the fountain. Italy is one of my favorite places on earth, and now when I go back home to New York, I can find a little piece of Italy in the States.

During Forum-Nexus I took Professor Batia’s art class, and where we learned about the painting Mona Lisa. I also had the amazing opportunity to visit the Louvre Museum while in Paris, France to see the Mona Lisa in person. The details in the background of the painting are not drawn very clearly and are made to look hazy. If you look closely, you can see that the background landscape is Lake Como and also includes abridge found in the town of Como. I found this very interesting because most articles describing the Mona Lisa, as well as our art textbook, do not mention this fact.

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I found it very helpful that the locals of the town of Como spoke both Italian and very good English. Many of the locals were friendly and helpful with directions. There were many small food establishments that served classic Italian food options, which everyone knows and loves. I enjoyed the style of the town including the classic cobblestone roads and narrow side streets that lead to the large piazzas.

An attraction that I would recommend to future Forum-Nexus students would be the tour of the silk museum. Como is the world capital of the silk industry. The people of Como have been involved in the silk business for centuries. The trees of the region are a perfect food supply for the worms that produce cocoons of silk. The museum walks you through many of the old machines that were used for the entire silk-making process. You could see the evolution of the machines used from the earliest most basic models to some of the later machines that looked almost like computers. They also had old blocks used to print on the silks and make other design elements besides dyeing the silk.

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Overall, I recommend all future Forum-Nexus students to visit the city of Como. The city itself is very different from the appearance and atmosphere of other Italian cities on the itinerary. Milan and Rome give you the city experience, whereas Como is a gorgeous town that rests on a lake with rolling mountains, decorated with houses in the hills.

By: Jordan E., FN ’17 alumna

A Getaway to Amsterdam

My favorite city that I visited during Forum Europe Summer 2017 is Amsterdam, Netherlands. My friend and fellow classmate, Coley, and I had planned to visit Amsterdam because both of our parents told us how neat and interesting of a place it was. In addition, we both had a lot of friends who told us Amsterdam was a “must” if traveling to Europe during the summer. We stayed at the Pulitzer Hotel, which we both LOVED! It was located right on a canal and only 100 yards away from the Anne Frank House. I really enjoyed the layout of the area we stayed in. Every block we walked took us to a new canal with shops alongside them.

Two of the most interesting things we did on this weekend excursion were tour the Anne Frank House and visit the Red Light District. First, we were lucky enough to get tickets to the Anne Frank House. A family friend had told us they sell out extremely fast but to check every night since sometimes they will put out a few tickets for the next day. We checked on Saturday night with other Forum-Nexus pals, Ashley and Victoria, and there were tickets available for all of us to go on Sunday morning! Our tour was a very moving experience. We were able to see the Annex the Frank family lived in when hiding out during World War II. The house had been preserved extremely well. There were marks on the wall from where they measured their heights, and pictures on the wall Anne had glued on. Moreover, we were able to see sections of Anne’s diary and other writings she had during her two years in the Annex. Overall, the Annex was not as small as I had expected it to be, but living in there for two years could easily change my opinion. Next, we went to visit the Red Light District on Saturday night. My older sister has visited Amsterdam before and she told us it was a “must see” part of Amsterdam. Interestingly, I felt pretty safe in the Red Light District. There were thousands of people, mostly men, walking around staring at the prostitutes in the window. Coley, Victoria, Ashley and I held onto each other tight while trying to walk through the busy crowds. Visiting the Red Light District was definitely a “one and done” experience, but it was interesting to see how their government has made prostitution legal only in one area of the city. Photographs are not permitted at either location, so we were unable to document these two areas.

While in Amsterdam, we ate a lot of great food, though I’m not sure any of it would be considered specific Dutch food. We ate at two restaurants that we loved – Pancakes and Café George. We had breakfast at Pancakes on Saturday morning, where they only serve Dutch and American pancakes. A Dutch pancake is one big, flat pancake, compared to American pancakes, which are thicker and usually served in 2s or 3s. Coley got a Dutch pancake with almonds, bananas, and Nutella, while I got an American pancake served with bacon and maple syrup. On Saturday night, Coley, Victoria, Ashley and I all ate dinner at Café George. It was a diner type setting with excellent food. Coley and Victoria ordered chicken, Ashley ordered steak frites and I ordered pasta. All of our food was excellent and paired perfectly with a bottle of rosé!

In conclusion, I would recommend future FN students to plan ahead early so they can get Anne Frank House tickets (they come out 2 months in advance), walk around all of the canal streets (since there are tons of excellent restaurants and shopping), visit the Red Light District (just for the experience), and stay more than 2 nights if possible- it definitely was not enough with how much you could do! After my trip, Amsterdam has become one of my favorite cities in Europe!

 

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Paris is My Kind of Place

My favorite city that I visited during this past summer abroad with Forum-Nexus was definitely Paris. At heart, I was born to live in a city and it took me going on this trip to realize that, after visiting such a wide array of cities. My summer abroad helped me discover that I really love people; people are what make the world go round.

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The second I visited the Eiffel Tower, I knew Paris was the place for me. When I say this, I mean that literally on the bus ride to the Eiffel, I knew it would be my kind of place. I was supposed to go to London for the weekend, but I decided to cancel it because I didn’t want to spend another second away from my favorite city.

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Everything was perfect for me in Paris. I loved how pretty much everything was relatively modern in style, which is very appealing to me. Paris was beautiful in that although it has a lot of history, it wasn’t old in appearance and everything was well maintained. This is in direct opposition to a city like Rome. Don’t get me wrong, Rome was awesome, in that I love Roman history, so it was great to see everything in real life and not in a textbook. However, I really didn’t like how most of the buildings looked too old for my taste. I will most likely visit the city again (just because it’s a city), but I could never live there.

Courtesy of Jacob C.

Courtesy of Jacob C.

The locals of Paris are even more interesting than the city itself (and also the Louvre is my favorite museum of all time – like what?! How do you make something that awesome? I could picture myself going there at least once a month as a local). For these people, it is normal to buy a bottle of red wine, and then have a picnic with friends right after work along the canals or next to the Eiffel Tower…what?! In addition to this, anyone can tell that it is also a busy city, just based on how fast people walk. If you were to simply walk around the city, you could see that people have places to be in the morning (everyone was dressed so nice too by the way) and I love that. I love cities where it has, for lack of a better word, a chill vibe, and yet you would be kept busy from work. The way I see it, Barcelona is a very chill city (my second favorite city of all time), which is something I love about it. On the other hand, Milan is all work and no play. Paris is the perfect blend of the two cities, and is quite possibly where I will end up. By the way, if you didn’t know this, they also have the best healthcare system in the entire world and I want to end up somewhere in the medical field when I grow up.

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Courtesy of Jacob C.

Paris is literally the perfect city for me, offering everything I could ever want. In addition, it is in the perfect geographical location in Europe as well, with me being able to visit my other favorite city (Barcelona) on the left, and being able to visit the entirety of Italy on the right. Long story short, I want to end up here.

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By: Jacob  C., FN ’17 alumni

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Finding Inspiration at France 24

I’ve enjoyed several of the professional visits with Forum-Nexus, so it is difficult to choose an absolute favorite. For various reasons that I’ll explain, my favorite visit was to France 24. France 24 is an international news corporation that broadcasts in several languages and mediums, including both the Western and Eastern spheres. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect going into the visit, but I emerged feeling more enlightened and purposeful about my studies and my work than I had before. As for my own backstory, I graduated from Creighton University last year with English and journalism degrees; additionally, the entirety of my past work experience has been within marketing, communications, and editorial internships, so it was fascinating to witness in person how a major newsroom operates, as well as learn the various facets of the company.

Soft Edit WM-IMG_9722France 24’s initial presentation was relevant not only to my general interests but also to my experience within the journalism field and my journalism classes during undergrad. France 24’s multilingual, multicultural approach was especially interesting to me, and I found myself asking our guide by the end of the tour what would hypothetically give a new applicant an edge over other candidates. As the tour went on, I could easily envision myself working in that environment, which excited me—that is, as long as I learned to fluently speak French beyond the very little I currently know. While economics and business are interesting to me as an outside perspective, France 24 was one professional visit that directly applied to my own experiences and aspirations. Furthermore, our tour guide was kind, thorough, and informative, walking us through the various elements of the company within several departments and levels. We got to peek into rooms with control panels as well as some of the informational centers in which story assignments go out. It was intriguing to see the endless elements that go into producing reliable new content, whether that be from technical, editorial, or communicational angles. The experience overall was a neat convergence of broadcast, technological, and editorial efforts.

I think I was mostly taken aback by the company’s immensity and complexity in its operations. Other than the tiny newsroom for my university paper, I’ve never seen the workings of a newsroom firsthand, so the tour and presentation definitely expanded my interest in some of the present functions of journalism, as well as its current and future trajectory. Journalism and communications are rapidly metamorphosing fields, requiring consistent functional alteration within companies and businesses. It was interesting to see France 24’s means of keeping pace with ever-changing communication mediums—as well as their means of connecting to various audiences across various countries, within rural or urban areas.

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As for my personal experience, I’ve worked pretty much unilaterally toward my Masters in English for the last year, prompting me to neglect some of my journalistic work and interests. France 24 reignited my passion for journalism, and acutely reminded me why I studied and worked in the field in the first place; I found myself considering several times throughout the professional visit the various post-graduate jobs and careers I could pursue within journalism or communications. As I previously mentioned, France 24’s dialectical multiplicity was a key point of interest, as well as their current endeavors to expand that international presence. Ultimately, I would like to work in a company similar to France 24 at some point in the near future, even if only for a little while—even if only for the rush and experience of it all.

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Courtesy of Claire M.

By:  Claire M., Forum-Nexus 2017 Alumna

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Home, Sweet Chamonix

Chamonix was by far my favorite city visited during my summer with Forum-Nexus. I enjoyed being outside, hiking and loved the easygoing atmosphere. This town was very laid-back and athletic, and I felt as if it paralleled my personality perfectly. Many mornings when I woke up to go for a run, there were several people awake and active. Most people were waiting in line to buy tickets or getting ready for a hike.

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Courtesy of Victoria C.

The town of Chamonix is absolutely gorgeous; it felt like a fantasyland. From every angle of the town, I was able to see the snowy peak and beautiful mountains. Chamonix is also extremely quaint and has several little alleyways. The town is really well-structured and I liked the spacing of the buildings. I was able to go on a cable car all the way up to the top of the mountain. This was my favorite day of the trip! I got amazing pictures and the view was breathtaking. My friends and I were able to get drinks at the top of the mountain, which was really cool. I was also able to go on a four-hour hike and saw the waterfall and the glacier. This day was also amazing and I loved getting a good workout in. The hotel also allowed us to rent bikes which was really cool.

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Courtesy of Victoria C.

Chamonix also happened to have my favorite food while being on the trip. I ate at Big Horn Bistro Restaurant and the Monkey Bar. Both restaurants had a great salad that I craved throughout the rest of the trip. I was able to eat crepes and really good gelato, too. Oddly, they also had the best nachos. I felt as if Chamonix food had several American options. Not to sound basic, but I feel like that was one of the reasons I loved Chamonix – I felt as if I was home.

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Courtesy of Victoria C.

After exploring Chamonix, I learned that most locals speak English and that the town thrives on tourism. Every local told me I needed to come back in the winter to ski and climb the mountain. The locals were extremely friendly and informative, which is one of the reasons I loved the town so much! I recommend to future FN students that they devote a day to just explore the city and figure out there way around. There is so much the city has to offer and dozens of little-hidden restaurants and stores. I also highly recommend going on the cable cars and hiking the mountain.

By:  Victoria C., Forum-Nexus 2017 Alumna