Posts Tagged ‘college discounts’

Love and Other Problems: The First Step

Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

The First Step

I hadn’t really planned for my life to go in this direction, though I guess I should have expected that, because life and expectation have a discrepancy. It’s not supposed to necessarily be a bad change, but my life now is a cutting contrast to when I used to sit in the dingy, dry cafe outside of school, gossiping in hushed tones with the soft faces I had known for years. Now I sit in aptly-sized and aesthetic cafes with their overpriced coffee, and notably alone. I never gave extensive thought to how things would change and how strange that would feel. Now sitting here as I am on my cold, marbled floor, surrounding me are unseeing strangers with lips stretched around unfamiliar smiles and roads and alleys I could take one step into and find myself lost even with every map in the world. 

In hindsight, I should have known that the thrill I felt to leave the place I had walked through for 18 years to go to college, would grow into the gnawing dread that had come to possess my lungs when I stepped foot in the airport the first time. The airport was like a limbo, the place people stopped to look through tall windows overlooking larger-than-life planes, looking at other people flying off to better or worse lives and wondering which one they’d belonged to. High school was a simpler time even if it had felt like university was the key to figuring everything out all at once. It had been the same people, same building and same structure for years, and though I felt like a dancer then, performing one routine over and over and ready to step out of the cradle of my stage, it was still a comfort. I didn’t think about how much of a comfort it really was until I started to feel the absence of my shiny rehearsed performance and polished stage floors and the faceless crowd cheering me on. 

One thing that had felt difficult in particular was love. Love in all its forms and with all its nuances felt more out of reach. Youthful love and hate and heartbreak and drama had existed in a buzzing sort of confinement, not dissimilar to an agitated bee hive, and had been easier to find and keep. Moving to another city and leaving it all behind just felt like it meant letting go of every attachment I had with my favorite restaurants, my favorite spots at my favorite time of day and my favorite people. It was strange because even the kids I never really liked were part of a constant I had stickily attached myself to, and being uprooted from that was disorienting. Of course I had been merrily packing my whole life and never thought about it, until I was at the end of a hastily written chapter and facing my two best friends who seemed a grave sort of upset to my eerie calm. The moment I stepped through the gate and looked back at their weary faces, I knew we had taken our last picture together, smiling and heavy-hearted, because they would be moving soon as well. With that thought, I got through immigration blankly, a silent cacophony dancing in my head until I was at the gate, and then waited for my flight crying in the bathroom. 

And then I sent my friends pictures of me breaking down to poke fun at myself as some sort of odd, ludicrous way of coping. 

The flight overlooking my city

Perhaps it will get easier as I slowly integrate myself into the structure of this new community and the challenges and new comfort it brings. Maybe there will always be a part of me that will miss the ease that came with knowing what to expect and being told what to do, and the unadorned confidence in the knowledge that the people around me would stay the same. I had time back then, to get to know these people. The time we thought about was never in the context of workload, it existed with simple routines and little choices. Back then, my routine and method in befriending or getting to know someone was entirely based on knowing when and where I would see them; and that usually just consisted of either class, lunch, or after school. Now, that range is broader, so broad I could never list out every place or time or possibility if I tried –– and it makes keeping someone a constant harder, because one day you may see them regularly, but then the semester is over and you don’t have the chance again. Both of you forget about each other. 

I recall going through notes for my chinese exam in a line at the Starbucks inside university during my first semester, and a tall, soft-eyed guy had struck a conversation with me on the course. It was a nice conversation, until afterwards when I had gotten my drink and walked to my table and promptly realized I forgot to ever get a name or anything, and being as bad with faces as I was (am), I knew I could be found looking him right in the eye and not have a lick of recognition. If this was school, I could ask anyone about who that was (because everyone knew everyone) and strike an easy friendship. Mildly disappointed, I had huffed and sat down, sipping miserably on my overly sweet frappe. Tough luck. 

NYU Campus at Abu Dhabi

Since I realized how hard it was to keep in touch with people, and realizing how little people liked to follow routines, never being able to make friends or getting close enough to someone to love them has gradually grown into a crawling fear. Love, in all its forms of romantic and platonic and everything in between, suddenly wasn’t so simple. It was a challenge, a challenge I wasn’t exactly sure how to deal with. I was prepared to adjust to homesickness, to the difficulty that accompanied high-level academia, but I didn’t think love would be something that I found difficulty in. It had always come so easily to me. 

I understand that love as a concept is complicated –– like the life that I shouldn’t expect to keep to a routine, love is like tides refusing to bow to the pull of the moon; rebellious, exhilarating and unpredictable. I thought it was something that would easily fall into place, that it would find me as easily as it did before, but I felt lost when it didn’t. But, as I knew about the discrepancy between life and expectation, I should have known of the discrepancy between love and it too. Love in all its appearances has been unexpectedly hard but taking control of it has been the solution that I have discovered. Leaving love up to fate does not seem to be the answer, so I am taking love out of fate’s palms and trying to do the best I can with it in every way available to me.

Like I used to have good food with my friends at cafes and restaurants, you can use this coupon to do the same and save money with a student coupon at the same time:



Mahrukh Shaikh is a student at New York University studying Business and Finance with a Marketing concentration. She has been writing and creating literature for years and is fond of various artistic mediums and social issues.


For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services. At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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Refreshing Tea at Möge Tee

Thursday, June 2nd, 2022

When hot weather hits, one of my favourite things to do is get some refreshing cold tea. Today was no exception; after a long walk in the blazing summer sun, I stepped into Möge Tee for a moment of rest. Located a few blocks from SVA, this small trendy shop offers a variety of food, sweets, and drinks for patrons to choose from.

While I am a fan of bubble tea, I have never ventured far into the world of “new style” tea. Under the guidance of the friendly gentleman at the cash register, I ended up getting a fresh black grape tea. To say the drink was revitalising would be an understatement! I am often hesitant to try grape-flavoured things, but I am so happy that I gave this a try. It lacked the artificial nature that fruit drinks often have, instead relying on a fresh fruit taste. The boba at the bottom paired well with the subtle tartness and overall sweetness of the flavour profile. It wasn’t too sugary, making it ideal for a day marred by thick hot weather.

Pudding happens to be one of my favourite desserts, so I was thrilled by the softness of the (very cute) tofu pudding. The surface had a little bounce that gave way to silky softness. I enjoy custard and I enjoy tofu and found that this pudding happens to be a good middle ground. The tofu helped lighten the dense sweetness of the custard, allowing it to be a nice airy snack!

Growing up, I’ve eaten my fair share of eel. It’s always been something I’ve greatly enjoyed– a taste I’ve certainly grown fond of because of my father’s love for it. Eel rice balls have thus been one of my go-to bites. I have to admit that Moge Tee’s might be a new favourite of mine! It was hot, the rice perfectly sticky and the seaweed crisp. The eel was tender and the kabayaki sauce wasn’t overwhelming. Each element was balanced and ended up being a great way to end my stop. 

I can say I’m a fan of “new style” tea now! Thus, I want to go back to Möge Tee soon so I can experiment with other options. I’ll also certainly be picking up a few pudding cups and rice balls to go. If you would like to drop by to try their food and drinks, bring your student ID and the coupon below for 15% off your order.


By: Ehani Schneiderman

Ehani Schneiderman is a senior studying literature and anthropology at The New School. She hopes to connect with others through writing, poetry, and cultural exchange. When she isn’t nose deep in a book or word document, you can find her paddle boarding in a bay or scuba diving out at sea.


For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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Chapter Five: Looming Graduation & Lingering Uncertainty

Friday, September 10th, 2021

In my previous chapter, I discussed the importance of being intentional with your time. I only began to realize this in senior year– far later than I would have preferred. I spent a good chunk of my undergraduate years suffocated by insecurity, which prevented me from pursuing certain social opportunities. Once I gained at least some confidence (it’s a lifelong process, isn’t it?) I began to go out more with friends, and I wasn’t overly concerned with how I looked or how much I ate that day. Graduation time crept up on me as I realized I only had a few months of school left. 

Then, COVID-19 upended everyone’s lives. Amidst all of the existential dread of graduating and parental pressure, I decided to take the LSAT in the fall with the aim of becoming an environmental lawyer. (This seems to be a right of passage for humanities majors.) When I took the actual LSAT in September, it was far from reflecting the best score I had gotten in practice, and the kicker was that while it made me feel dumb, I didn’t want to be a lawyer anyway: I only wanted to be a better writer.

The reason I decided to pursue Media and Communication again was not only to have some closure after not being able to graduate in the traditional sense, but to do what I’ve always wanted to do: comedy. I am studying Communication because of the dual interest in politics and comedy that The Daily Show with Jon Stewart sparked in me in high school. After the 2016 election, I felt extremely anxious and decided to pivot explicitly toward politics for a few years after completing my first internship at a comedy club. 


Nikki Glaser performing at Gotham Comedy Club during my internship

I think I lost the plot along the way. I became embroiled in the world of politics, when that too never felt like the perfect fit for me. I applied to some Political Communication programs and, although I was accepted, I knew I wanted to go back to NYU. Of course it’s a very different conversation to have with your parents that you want to be a comedian, than the one about wanting to be a lawyer. But if the latter is a lie to yourself too, then why pursue it? 

School is a way to grow your network of relationships, and try new things within the support structure of academia. If you’re looking to pivot careers, especially in the middle of a pandemic, going back to school can be a good place to start, depending on your financial priorities. 


Fall near NYU Campus

There’s a really pretentious phrase I recently heard an actor say in an interview that I want to share: “Don’t act unless you have to.” I think you could apply this philosophy to a lot of jobs that may involve constant rejection and (job) insecurity, even though it is pretentious. It took me a long time to finally decide to pursue comedy for myself, which I’ve always loved above all else, and which catalyzed my passion for other fields like public service. But what if I fail? That would be embarrassing. Nonetheless, I now feel that I have to try anyway because I already regret not starting comedy when I was younger. I don’t regret my years in politics (which frankly gave me great comedic material) because I still felt a sense of purpose, but that sense has been relatively fulfilled. 

What I hear in “Don’t act unless you have to,” is that if you know you will be rejected often and are going against all odds, but still want to pursue a passion that people scoff at or cringe at behind your back, then you have to do it. For yourself. 

For me, that’s comedy. What do you have to do? And who cares how long it’ll take! When it comes time to think about what comes after college, you may be overwhelmed by your options. My advice is to consider: what’s your comedy? What do you have to do?

My advice for figuring it out:

  • Don’t wait until Senior Year to have a social life; build your network of relationships professionally and personally 
  • Consider what you love doing above all else, if money weren’t an issue
    • You can do this thing as a hobby, and perhaps work up to doing something professionally if appropriate, or you may prefer to keep it as a hobby
    • Your life should not be centered purely around autopilot labor for income
  • You will be uncertain about pursuing certain passions until you actually start pursuing them; the “what ifs” will weigh on you in a few years so get ahead of them
    • And it is *never* too late or too soon to pivot professionally if you crave something new
  • Good luck!!!


By Anna Matefy

Anna Matefy recently graduated from NYU with a Bachelor’s in Media, Culture, and Communication. She has been working in politics for the past few years, and wants to transition into a career in media entertainment/comedy. She will be attending NYU as a graduate student in Media beginning in 2021.


For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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How to be a Comedian: Week 6: Meet the Right People – And Check Out the Right College Student Discounts Below!

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Before I start, I’d like to give a quick shout out to the Campus Clipper. The Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the Upper East Side to Greenwich Village. The company helps support students in so many ways, from their coupon booklet to their Official Student Guide. Now, on to the blog!

Without a community of supporters, you won’t make it anywhere besides a counselor’s office and your parent’s basement.

Befriend fellow comedians at open mic nights and comedy classes. The few people who I’ve befriended at open mics have become supportive friends and offer me their much appreciated constructive criticisms. One of my open mic buddies even offered me a spot on one of the upcoming comedy shows he was producing.

A bond with fellow comedians creates an opportunity for you to keep each other accountable – to go to open mics – the expectation that you’ll both be there. Having someone to keep you accountable in going to shows will force you to not let any excuses hold you back, because you know there’s someone at the show expecting you to perform. You’re all in the same boat, so banding together to encourage one another and laugh at each other’s jokes will help push you towards your goals, and build confidence in your talents.

comedy 6

Don’t be afraid to approach big name comics after their set and shake their hand. Sometimes a big name comedian will watch someone perform, like their style, and ask them to open up for them at a few shows.

Go shake some hands so more and more people know who you are, and have a face with a name.

comedy 7

Meet club owners, talent managers, and comedy producers. Introduce yourself to these people and ask if they would have any time to talk with you about the industry, or ask if they need any help at their events. Offering free service is a great way to get people to love you, and you never know where that connection may lead you! The great connection that I’ve made was through my internship with a comedy producer at one of the clubs. He pays me in stage time and allows me to sit in on seminars and meet other comedians. It’s a very valuable connection because he has a strong network in the industry and is willing to help me grow as a comedian in return for helping him with social media and planning events.

comedy 8

A few words from the Campus Clipper –

The Campus Clipper not only help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create these amazing E-Books, but we give them a platform to teach others. Follow each new blog post to read a chapter of our various books and to learn how the Campus Clipper can help you follow your dreams!

Craving student savings while you catch up on your reading? Click on the link to download the Official Campus Clipper Coupon Booklet! And check out our newest YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during this year’s Welcome Week!

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How to be a Comedian: Week 5: Teach Me How to be Funny – And Learn About College Student Discounts Below!

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Before I start, I’d like to give a quick shout out to the Campus Clipper. The Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the Upper East Side to Greenwich Village. The company helps support students in so many ways, from their coupon booklet to their Official Student Guide. Now, on to the blog!

If you’re funny, you’re funny; but trust me, it’s extremely helpful to have veteran comedians guide you and teach you how to harness your funny bone.

7th Annual "Stand Up For Heroes" Event - Inside

So, sign up for a few comedy classes. Don’t be afraid to break out of your comfort zone or comedic interests. Take some stand up classes, like at the Manhattan Comedy School; but also take some improv classes at a renowned place like the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. It will only benefit you to learn different forms of comedy, and it also might help you find out what you enjoy more and for what your talents are best suited.

comedy 4

The only way you can become a master of comedy is to practice your material and watch others perform. If you really love stand up, then go to stand up shows every week to familiarize yourself with other comedians’ styles and how they interact with the crowd – you might learn something from them. If you’re interested in improv and sketch comedy, go to an improv show every week (go a few times a week if your budget and time permits).

Making comedy shows a weekly part of your schedule will help you stay focused on pushing yourself to the next level in your own career and will make you a lot more comfortable with the business. Watch shows, watch shows, and watch more shows.

comedy 5

I find that the funniest comedians are those who I trust. What I mean is that I trust their ability to make me laugh – they’re reputable. They have confidence, which makes me have confidence in them. I’m not constantly anticipating them to mess up or break into a nervous fit. You have to gain people’s trust for them to believe that you’re funny, so it’s important to show confidence when you’re on stage to let everyone know that you’re in control. When I don’t feel confident on stage, sometimes I have to convince myself that I am confident, or at the very least act like I’m confident.

Things to put on your comedic to-do list:

– Practice in front of the mirror

– Practice jokes in front of your friends

– Record yourself and analyze the video

– Write, rewrite, edit, practice, rewrite, practice, rewrite, practice

– Open mic

A few words from the Campus Clipper –

The Campus Clipper not only helps our interns learn new skills, make money, and create these amazing E-Book, but we give them a platform to teach others. Follow each new blog post to read a chapter of our various books and to learn how the Campus Clipper can help you follow your dreams!

Craving student savings while you catch up on your reading? Click on the link to download the Official Campus Clipper Coupon Booklet to enjoy some great student discounts! And check out our newest YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during this year’s Welcome Week!

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How to be a Comedian: Week 4: Finding Your Funny Bone – And Find some College Student Discounts Below!

Monday, November 16th, 2015

Before I start, I’d like to give a quick shout out to the Campus Clipper. The Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the Upper East Side to Greenwich Village. The company helps support students in so many ways, from their coupon booklet to their Official Student Guide. Now, on to the blog!

Go to the store and buy a few pocket-sized notebooks and a pencil. Carry these tools with you everywhere you go, even if you’re just taking out the trash. As a comedian, you have to constantly write out your thoughts and scribble down jokes as they occur, or else you’re going to forget them and you’ll be left trying to remember “that funny thing that happened yesterday.” Write down everything funny from your everyday life as soon as it happens, because when you react to something instantly your senses are heightened and you have the in-the-moment perspective that will fade with time.

comedy 1

Personal experiences are where you get your material because it’s unique to you and no one else could possibly capture the way that you see things occur. Your friend sees someone spill coffee on their shirt, but you see a hilarious situation of a man who now has to deal with hiding an embarrassing coffee stain and he’s probably on his way to an important meeting. You have the ability to conceptualize a funny story or extract a joke out of a seemingly ordinary situation. Write down all of your funny insights because later you might be able to develop them into a stream of jokes or an elaborate anecdote.

comedy 2

Find your sense of humor – goofy? Dry? Sarcastic? Physical? Cynical? Theatrical?

Watch shows, movies, and performances that use the humor that compels you the most and soak up the style.

Whatever type of comedy you most enjoy combined with the style of your sense of humor is how you need to shape your material. Sink into your comedic persona and take on the characteristics of humor by practicing in front of the mirror and writing down jokes in a way that reflect your personality.

Don’t try to copy or steal another comedian’s persona, because it won’t seem natural or funny, and will only make your jokes seem out of place. Do what comes naturally to you, and stay true to the funny bones in your body.

A few words from the Campus Clipper –

The Campus Clipper not only helps our interns learn new skills, make money, and create these amazing E-Books, but we give them a platform to teach others. Follow each new blog post to read a chapter of our various books and to learn how the Campus Clipper can help you follow your dreams!

Craving student savings while you catch up on your reading? Click on the link to download the Official Campus Clipper Coupon Booklet to check out some awesome student discounts! And check out our newest YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during this year’s Welcome Week!

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How to be a Comedian: Week 3: Go up There and Bomb – And Check Out some Bomb College Discounts Below!

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Before I start, I’d like to give a quick shout out to the Campus Clipper. The Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the Upper East Side to Greenwich Village. The company helps support students in so many ways, from their coupon booklet to their Official Student Guide. Now, on to the blog!

Nothing beats experience. It’s incredibly important to get as much time as possible in front of a crowd. Unless you’re the reincarnation of Bob Hope, then you’re going to bomb the first few times you get on stage. We all do. It’s just one of those obstacles that you have to overcome; but don’t worry, it always gets better.

When you start out, you’re nervous, doubtful, and go up there and totally bomb – fumbling over your words, forgetting punch lines – but each time you do it’s a learning experience that will help you progress to the next level.

stage fright

In comedy, you have to have thick skin and roll with the punches. The best way to toughen up your emotionally fragile skin is to endure several cold audiences (most open mic crowds). Few situations make my lip quiver and face turn red like a stale room while I’m telling jokes. Blank stares, silence, and the sound of your heart beat. I hate performing for a cold crowd – I’m up there baring my soul and sometimes the best reaction I get is a lady sneezing.

One of my worst bombs was my second time ever performing stand up. A comedian I had befriended, Steve Brown, offered me a 5 minute opener spot at one of his shows at the Nashville club “Jazz ‘n Jokes.” I was the only white person there and felt extremely intimidated because I was most certainly not the person whom the audience paid good money to come see. I hadn’t rehearsed and my delivery of jokes seemed like I was trying to tell everyone about a dream I could barely remember.

The result: blank stares and a few pity laughs. Lesson learned: always be prepared! Any reaction is better than no reaction though, because you’re trying to create a dialogue with your audience and get a response from them. If you can start off with a strong opener and get a laugh in the beginning, then the rest of your set will run more smoothly – you broke the ice and they trust you. To gain the trust of the audience, I use self-deprecating humor to humble myself and let them know that I’m confident as well as comfortable talking to them.

There’s hope from these grueling moments though, because you’ll find that you continue to grow more and more jaded to a cold crowd. The less you allow cold audiences to affect you, the more you rely on yourself and the less you rely on their validation. Plus, each time you bomb, you become more aware of what areas in your routine need improving. Also, you know that the next time can’t possibly be any worse!

My best advice to avoid letting a cold crowd affect your stand up, is to fully immerse yourself into your monologue and become so consumed by your jokes that nothing can damage your mojo. I’ve found that when I’m fully consumed by my monologue, I believe in myself more. You’ve got to sell yourself on your act. If you can’t sell yourself on your own jokes, then you can’t expect anyone else to buy them.

How-to-Get-Stand-Up-Comedy-Gigs1

There’s no shortcut to gaining confidence on stage and becoming famous. Everyone I’ve talked with has told me the same thing: get up on stage as often as possible.

A few words from the Campus Clipper –

The Campus Clipper not only helps our interns learn new skills, make money, and create these amazing E-Books, but we give them a platform to teach others. Follow each new blog post to read a chapter of our various books and to learn how the Campus Clipper can help you follow your dreams!

Craving student savings while you catch up on your reading? Click on the link to download the Official Campus Clipper Coupon Booklet to check out some awesome college discounts! And check out our newest YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during this year’s Welcome Week!

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College Savings: How to Afford a Study Abroad Trip as a Broke College Student

Friday, September 19th, 2014

Whether my friends ask me if I want to go to the movies or out for an expensive meal, my answer is always the same: “I’m a college student.” This is the universally known phrase meaning, “I’d love to, but I can’t. I’m broke.” College expenses can really weigh down on my desire to have a social life. Between tuition, books, Metrocard fare, and food, there’s really no wiggle room for anything extra and I’m always trying to find college discounts wherever I go. When I learned about study abroad options through CUNY, my friends asked me where I wanted to go. “China,” I replied smiling. “But I’m a college student.”

Eating a bowl of noodles in Nanjing, China that cost 7¥ (yuan): less than $1.50!

Eating a bowl of noodles in Nanjing, China that cost 7¥ (yuan): less than $1.50!

Studying abroad, although costly, is not necessarily as impossible as one might think for the ‘poor’ college student—and it certainly has its perks. One way to help pay for your study abroad trip is to get scholarship money. Just like when you were applying for college, scholarships are diverse, obscure and available to a multitude of people. You just need to be willing to look for them. One great place to start is CEA Scholarships, which are scholarships specifically for students who want to study abroad. There are multiple merit based scholarships available and also financial need based scholarships.

Often times when applying for these scholarships you are required to write a personal essay. In order to get the money you need to make yourself stand out. Write several different essays, share them with your writing major friends, revise, and edit. The more work you put into your essay, the better chance you’ll have at getting that money. Other scholarships to look into for studying abroad are the SIROCS scholarship and the SASA Travel Abroad Scholarship.

You never know when you're going to stumble upon some interesting souvenir like a Communist Obama Tshirt!

You never know when you’re going to stumble upon some interesting souvenir like a Communist Obama Tshirt!

Don’t be afraid to go and contact the financial aid office at your college. Even if you don’t think you qualify for financial aid, go anyway. Sometimes the financial aid rules and regulations differ for certain study abroad programs and it never hurts to ask! Taking out student loans might also be a viable option to look into. Loans are a really great way to give yourself some time to save up your money after you take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Start saving up now! Even if you get fully covered by scholarships or financial aid, there’s still the matter of having spending money in a foreign country. Whether you want to buy a cheap bowl of noodles, or a memorable souvenir, you’re going to end up wanting to spend some cash on your trip. In Shenzhen, China I came across an amusement park called Windows of the World. I was definitely glad that I had some cash to pay for the admission. Get a part time job while you wait for the start of your program and put that cash aside. You’ll be happy you did once you get to your new temporary home. You want to be able to take care of yourself while you’re away and have some fun too!

 

 

My friends on the train ride at Windows of the World in Shenzhen, China.

My friends on the train ride at Windows of the World in Shenzhen, China.

Sam Levitz is a graduate of Brooklyn College and went on the CUNY Study Abroad trip to China the summer of 2013. Follow her on Instagram: slevitz

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Finding the Perfect Place to Stay

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Accommodations

One of the biggest costs of a trip will always be the housing costs.  Food costs, the second biggest enemy to a wallet, will seem small compared to the daily rent payment to a hotel.  This creates a big issue to all travel plans.  So how can one overcome this obstacle?

Hostels

Being a youth and a college student, hostels and guest houses are the cheap option to hotels.  Hostels and guest houses are cheaper living alternatives which might sometimes include shared rooms and bunk beds.  Shared bathrooms, shared showers, old living quarters and poor guest services are sometimes the tradeoff for a discount living accommodation.  Normally, hotels costs range from $100 to $300 per night while a stay at a hostel or a guest house would only cost 1/3 of that!  Although definitely not as luxurious or as comfortable as a hotel, remember that the goal of travelling is not to live in a luxurious hotel but to rather see a new place.  Check out hostels.com to find all the housing options hostels have to offer!

Hotels and Inns

Hotels and Inns can be a viable an option for many travelling.  Although a little more expensive than hostels, hotels are usually more enjoyable and comfortable.   Sometimes there are discounts and deals which might cut some of the high costs which come along with staying at a hotel.  Search for discount deals and promotions online for great discounts.  Call a hotel beforehand and asking the management if there are such options can open doors for discounts and deals!  There are many low priced hotels, usually ranging from $50 to $70 a night, but risk being a very poor accommodation (bed bugs anyone?).  Of course, if there really is a desire to stay at a hotel while being budget conscious, travelling with a buddy or two can easily cut hotel costs.

Your hotel room won't always look like this

Your hotel room won't always look like this

Staying with Friends

Remember that one Swedish exchange student or that person from California in that Statistics class from a year ago?  Well, go and call them up!  A great option to budget travel includes staying at a friend’s house.   Staying at a friend’s place cuts down on so many costs that sometimes it is downright stealing! Not only that but friends can prove to be very good tour guides.   However, remember to be courteous and not to overstay your welcome.   Be considerate of the friend’s own schedule and remember that they have their own lives to worry about.  Even if a friend offers to provide free lodging, bringing a gift and leaving behind a small token of appreciation (like $20 a night) can make a big difference from being a friend and a great friend.

Couch Surfing

Although I have never actually done this before, another option for the budget conscious traveler is couch surfing.  Couch surfing is a way to stay at homes for free by allowing travelers to “”surf” on couches by staying as a guest at a host’s home, host travelers, or join an event.”  Usually free of charge, couch surfing is the least stable of most accommodations as there are many risks associated with it.  Conflicting schedules with the host, potential creepiness, awkward situations or unsafe situations might arise with this method.  However, if this is an option for consideration, check it out here.

This couch was probably more expensive than a bed

This couch was probably more expensive than a bed

With these options to consider for a trip, don’t forget to be flexible!  If the stress of living in poor living conditions or urge to sleep on a really comfortable bed does come up, a plan for 4 nights in a hostel and 1 night in a hotel during a week vacation can be an option!  Don’t forget, travelling is an experience, not a chore!

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This was written by Gary Chen of Stony Brook University

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Giving Back: Think Outside the Box

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

I would like to take a moment to disclose a secretive piece of advice to you. Are you listening? Okay good. Giving back doesn’t have to involve working with an organization. Now I know you’re thinking, okay cool Sam, thanks for making me read all these articles on different organizations that don’t even matter. Well don’t think that. They do, but there are so many different ways to give back and help mankind. Use your own brain to think of creative outlets to show love every day in the city that never sleeps. But as always, if you need some inspiration, here are some ideas from other students.

 

In 2000, the movie Pay It Forward impacted and challenged viewers to realize the importance and effectiveness of doing good deeds for three people, without expecting anything in return. Although viewers were inspired, this challenge was forgotten once the business of life was piled on them. Don’t let this happen to you. Bring it back! As a person who is addicted to caffeine, I need my coffee fix every time I venture into the city, and maybe you feel the same way. The long lines never bother us as we wait for our delicious treat. But maybe instead of using our racked up Starbucks rewards for ourselves, lets “pay it forward” and use it for the person behind us in line. They don’t need to know it was you, as you slip past them with your coffee in hand and out into the city. The point is to help someone in a little way, that can change his or her whole day. Upsizing from a tall to a grande can change my mood enough. Now, if it was magically paid for, wooaaaah, even better.

 

"I see dead people"....no wait, wrong movie.

Wanna help your friends first before diving into helping others? Okay fine. Invite over friends or coworkers to your place for a homemade dinner. It’s a generous way to show them that you care. I mean forget cooking for them, the fact you clean up your house for visitors is a loving sacrifice in itself, am I right? A good meal and great conversation is a perfect way to show you care for your fellow NYC friends.

 

When I was living in Florida the summers were hot, like super hot, like no one should EVER vacation in Florida when it’s August because you gunna melt. So whenever I saw the Homeless Voice newspaper on the side of the road asking for donations I always felt bad that for 8 hours of work they may only have one drink with them. I began buying water bottles and tried giving them out every day on my way to school. In fact one guy saw me so much he called me “water bottle girl”, I guess I forgot to ever tell him my name. Other than the one time I learned, after giving out some water bottles I left in the car, that the water can become toxic once the plastic overheated, and freaked out that I could be the reason of death to homeless people in south Florida, it was pretty much a success. I mean who doesn’t want free water on a hot day?

 

Because I was handing out water bottles multiple times a week, I saw the same workers for the Homeless Voice every day. This allowed me to spark short stopped-at-a-red-light conversation with them. You never know what you can learn about someone until you speak up. Who knows, I might have been the only one to say something more than a “no thank you”, out the window of the car, or a sympathetic nod. So why not try it yourself. You don’t need to seek out the scariest homeless person in the neighborhood, or go into strange areas to do this, just be aware of who you see every day on your commute. More often than not, you see someone that could use your help. Be creative in how you can help them, whether it’s a water bottle in the summer or coffee in the winter, you can always reach out on your own and help one relationship at a time.

 

One of these water bottles is good, one is toxic. You would think it's the fallen one, but no! It could be either, dun dun DUN!

 

Think outside of the box!  Can you knit scarves? Do you have some extra coupons at a burger joint? There are so many ways to give back that don’t require you to serve in an organization. Start now!

 

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Samantha Bringas

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