02 Jun 5 Classes to Take in Your Second Language

Studying abroad is a hugely enriching experience, which deepens your understanding of your host country and yourself. Before you leave home you’ll picture yourself on your new campus: Making new friends, settling into new accommodations, trying new foods, and gaining fluency in a language previously foreign to you. All of these things will happen. You’ll make more friends than you can count, the food and housing will initially frustrate and then enchant you, and little by little that language that was always confined to the pages of your textbooks will come alive. It’s a crazy, humbling experience and you’ll never, ever regret it. However, there will be aspects to your overseas program that you might not be able to anticipate so accurately. For example, most of your friends will probably be other exchange students. Odds are you will be housed with other international learners, you’ll all be in the same language classes, and during the evenings and weekends you’ll form an amazing group of adventurers. They will be some of the best friends you ever make, but they will also be in the same boat as you. They will also be “other” in this adopted country and therefore not much closer to linguistic fluency OR local savvy than you. This can be frustrating if your ultimate goal is to acclimate to your surroundings. So what should you do? It’s always a good idea to become involved with your local community, whether through volunteering...

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09 Apr Why I Applied for Dual Citizenship

Let me be the first to say that I am a proud American. I have lived here for 32 years and been though the prosperity of the Clinton administration and the subsequent disaster of the Bush administration (financially speaking). I take a rather poignant been there, done that attitude when it comes to travel and landmarks within the States. I have lived in San Francisco (twice), Washington, DC, and Tampa, FL; and I am about to relocate to the Netherlands as part of Panrimo’s plan to open a European office and continue to provide the best programs in Europe. [caption id="attachment_1704" align="alignnone" width="960"] Canal in my town of Utrecht[/caption] Before I introduce the benefits of being a dual EU/US citizen, allow me to share how I obtained my Italian citizenship (Disclaimer: This is meant for educational purposes only and not as an official authority on how to obtain citizenship. The fact that I even have to state that gives you an idea of why I am heading to Europe). Step 1: Do I qualify for Italian Citizenship? Yes. My grandfather was naturalized in the US after my father was born. Step 2: Obtain Grandfather’s Birth records from Italian Comune This was located in his birth town of Terrasini, Sicilia. Step 3: Search for Index Number of my Grandfather’s upon arrival into the USA The USCIS website allows you to look up the index number Step 4: Order Grandfather’s US Naturalization forms (certified) from USCIS Not too...

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06 Apr Path Less Traveled

Avoiding the Beaten Path in Prague Prague is best described as an eclectic mix of old and new, where history can be seen and felt no matter where you are. Whether you are dancing the night away in a modern club housed in a two hundred year old building or eating traditional Czech food in a centuries-old restaurant along a winding, cobbled street, you will feel the past merging fluidly with the present. In the last few years people have begun to recognize Prague as a melting pot of culture, entertainment and beauty, which has increased the tourist traffic dramatically. For those of us who want to experience all that Prague has to offer while avoiding the crowds of people flocking to the most well-known venues, here 4 alternative experiences that can only be found in Prague.   Vyšehrad (High Castle) Though much less well-known than the Prague Castle, Vyšehrad is a favorite spot for locals because of the amazing view of the city, the popular beer garden located on the grounds, and the castle cemetery which is full of famous Czech people. At Vyšehrad you can drink like a local while looking at the graves of the more permanent locals.   Františkánská zahrada (Franciscan Garden)   Experience a peaceful oasis just off the famous (and famously busy) Wenceslas Square. The Františkánská zahrada is a small garden that was established in 1348 and which offers an ideal escape from the crowds without being completely removed from the energy of...

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25 Mar Party the Year Away

So you’ve decided to embrace your inner romantic with a season or two under the Tuscan sun? Contrary to what the movies would have you believe, you don’t have to come of age or have an illicit romance to appreciate the region’s extraordinary culture and countryside. But if illicit romances are your thing, go for it! However, we believe it’s semi-compulsory to get to one of the many festivals. They take place throughout the year in and around the rolling Tuscan hills and craggy Tuscan coastline. Some Tuscan festivals have traditions stretching back as far as the 6th century. And if you don’t think that’s cultural enough, you could always check out some local frescoes or architectural masterpieces after the festivities! Here are our picks of the major Tuscan festivals happening in each season. +++ Summer Luminara, Regatta of St. Ranieri and Battle of the Bridge - Pisa This two-day candlelit extravaganza of Luminara celebrates Saint Ranieri, the patron saint of Pisa. The city is best known for its structurally unsound tower, but Luminara beats that for pyrotechnic drama. It kicks off on the evening of June 16, with more than 70,000 candles lighting up the palaces along the Arno river, and a fireworks display. The following day, four boats representing the city’s oldest districts compete in the Regatta of Saint Ranieri along the Arno river. A week later, on the last Saturday of June, Pisa locals parade through the city in their best medieval costumes. Even better, some then join the Battle of...

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23 Mar When travel goes wrong, because sometimes it does

Let's face it, traveling doesn't always go as we expect, despite our best efforts to think ahead and plan our itinerary down to to the minute. Most of us can recall a situation when a train was late, we missed a flight (or in my case, didn't really have a flight and lived in the airport for three days - more on this later), or we just ended up in the wrong place, and these are only the most common of travel inconveniences. The best thing about travel misadventures? They're learning experiences, and they're part of the adventure itself, often making for great stories you'll find yourself telling over and over years later. Read about our very own travel-gone-wrong experiences from the Panrimo staff and how we survived to tell about them! Ellen Knuth - University Relations Manager, Kyoto, Japan   What was supposed to happen: I was supposed to have a nice night out with friends, which I did, but with a slight hiccup. What actually happened:  I was working in a rural area in Japan, but on a long weekend, traveled to the cultural capital of Kyoto to meet-up with some college buddies. After a very long, very late evening of revelry, everyone hugged goodbye and went back to their hotels. Everyone except me, of course. Because I hadn’t booked a hotel. Resolution: With another friend who had also neglected basic travel prep, I got a room. Not in a hostel or business hotel, but in a 24/7...

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16 Mar Sláinte!

Looking for cosy wooden booths, Gaelic beer on tap and a friendly, no-nonsense bartender who will spin you a yarn? There’s a reason Irish pubs have become a worldwide phenomenon. You’ve doubtless been to one in your own city, but what about in Ireland? What are the best Irish pubs and where can you find them? Glad you asked… +++ O’Loclainn’s, Ballyvaughan This non-descript bar, tucked away in the back of an alley, is a popular haunt for long-time locals. While it’s just a small room with a stove, this little pub has one of the city’s most impressive selections of whiskies.   Hi-B, Cork No larger than a living room, Hi-B is notorious for its stringent upkeep of Irish traditions. The tiny bar is virtually unchanged since it first opened 90 years ago. Mobiles are banned and whisky is welcomed.   O'Riada’s, Kilkenny This small, often overcrowded pub is a lovably shambolic place to stop and have a pint. Enjoy a strong Guinness or get lost in its labyrinthine corridors to get a taste for this real Irish pub.   Mulligan’s of Poolbeg St, Dublin Considered one of the last big-name Irish pubs that has not bowed down to commercialism, Mulligan’s is a time-warp to the Ireland of the 1850’s. Ignore the television – its only modern addition – and appreciate the hand-carved wooden paneling and cozy rustic interior.   Tigh Neachtain's, Galway What could be better than snuggling by an open fire with a large glass of stout? If you’re after an authentic Irish...

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25 Feb Like a Local

Firenze! For anyone visiting Italy, it’s impossible to resist the appeal. You may even feel like you’re becoming Italian! To complete the immersion, why not hang with the locals in this iconic Renaissance capital? Here are our picks for the best local Florence haunts:   Le Cascine ParkOriginally owned by the Medici family (at one time the wealthiest family in Europe) Florence’s largest park was once used for game hunting and later, to grow fruit and vegetables. Today it’s a popular local spot for jogging, bike riding, bird watching, lazing around with friends or playing a friendly game of soccer. It’s also home to Le Pavoniere, an outdoor aquatic centre that transforms by night into a poolside bar and restaurant, serving up cocktails, pizzas and live music.   Crazy Bowling. So it doesn’t sound classically Italian, but you are sure to find lots of Fiorentini in this American-style bowling alley, just a short bus ride from Florence’s historic city centre. But’s it’s not just bowling - there are also arcade games, billiards, a casino and eateries. Catch tram 1 from outside Florence’s central train station, Firenze Santa Maria Novella, to the Nenni–Torregalli stop.   Dancing spots and discotecas Late night dancing is a popular pursuit in Florence and there are tons of great venues for discos and live music, many of them in ancient, underground cellars. Stalwarts for the younger crowd and lovers of house music include Tenax, Club TwentyOne and Space Electronic. Also check out Flò Lounge Bar, an...

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24 Feb Nostalgic for Nancy

Nancy, France that is. An hour and 45 minute high speed train ride from Paris Gare de l’Est, and you’ll arrive in this beautiful, if underrated city in northeastern France. Stepping out of the train station, it feels quite like any other mid-sized city in France with its tramway, brasseries, bakeries, cafés, and shops lining the streets, but a few blocks into the city center, you’ll happen upon the real treasure of the city, Place Stanislas. Place Stan, as it’s known among locals, is the heart of Nancy and is a classified UNESCO World Heritage site. The square is almost fully enclosed by the facades of the City Hall, Opera, Grand Hotel and a few luxurious restaurants and night clubs. It’s the hosting place for community and cultural events, a common meeting place among friends, and in general, is the site to be seen. Go ahead, take a look! Place Stanislas is not only a visually stunning site, it was designed with a functional purpose in mind. The square was a project conceived of by Stanislaw Lesczynski, King of Poland and father in law of King Louis XV. It served to connect the old town of Nancy to the more modern part of the city, and walking through Place Stan today, the distinction between these two parts of town, is still quite marked. Cross through to the Vielle Ville (old town) and this is where you’ll find the tiny...

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12 Feb Love Makes the World Go ‘Round

Here it comes…the day when couples are expected to shower each with love and expensive gifts, while their singleton friends gather together to get drunk, defiant and depressed. Well that’s what happens in the States, but there are many different Valentine’s Day traditions happening in different countries around the world. Here’s an insight into how different cultures celebrate February 14. Italy Long before Juliet was meant to be blowing kisses at Romeo from her balcony, Italians celebrated Valentine’s Day as the Spring Festival. The young and romantic would stroll arm-in-arm through gardens, resting beneath tree arbors to enjoy poetry readings and music. Today on Valentine’s Day, Italians are more likely to be exchanging gifts and chocolate over a romantic dinner. And when we say chocolate, we don’t mean a Hershey Bar. Italians believe the bigger and better the chocolate, the stronger the love you will have. France France has given the world its most romantic city, most seductive accents, and it’s sometimes claimed, its best lovers. It’s even said that the first Valentine’s Day card originated in France when Charles, Duke of Orleans, sent love letters to his wife while imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415. Today, you’re more likely to find French people wining and dining each other than exchanging heartfelt cards on February 14.   United Kingdom In the UK, Valentine’s Day is when you can discover your secret admirer, or confess your secret passions for another. Sending anonymous Valentine’s cards is a tradition...

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02 Feb Beachy Keen

OK, so you have your enormous designer sunglasses and know how to order a croissant and café au lait, totally French-ified, right? Hate to burst your bubble, but there is much more to France than Parisian cafe culture, so trade your book of Sartre for swimwear and hop on a train to the coastline of Southern France. Here, you can channel Brigitte Bardot or pretend you’ve been invited onto a mega yacht by P-Diddy. Known colloquially as Le Midi, the region’s beautiful beaches (and the Cannes Film Festival in May) have made it a haven for jet setters, filmmakers and celebrities. But you don’t have to be rich or famous to enjoy the idyllic scenery. Anyone can enjoy the golden beaches, deep blue Atlantic Ocean, pine-lined headlands, and aspirational yachts bobbing in the sea. For indulgence, relaxation and a glimpse of the European high life, check out our picks of the best beaches in Southern France.   Cap Ferrat, Paloma Plage Located in Cap Ferrat, one of the richest areas in Europe, Paloma Plage is a tree-lined stretch in a small shallow cove. Swim out in the crystal clear waters for a great view of the area’s palatial mansions, where people like composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, make their summer homes.   Argeles-sur-mer, Le Racou Situated at the top of Cote Vermeille, France’s only eastern coastline, Argeles-sur-mer is the sun-drenched region where you’ll find Le Racou, a small bay set against a...

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