Posts Tagged ‘World’

College Savings Experience by Studying Abroad

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

Photo op with some monks my friends and I met on the Great Wall of China.

I like chicken soup. Wǒ xǐhuān jītāng.

It’s probably one of the only phrases I learned to say correctly in Mandarin while studying abroad in China and it still makes me laugh one year later.

No matter what college you go to, even if it’s only a few psychology courses online, everyone should go on a study abroad program at least once in their lifetime. Study abroad is a rite of passage and the college discounts you get is worth the experience. It’s the ability to say that during your young adult life you did something different and learned about a new place. It doesn’t matter what you do or where you go. What’s important is that you get out, see the world, and learn about a country that isn’t America.

One of the best benefits of studying abroad is that your early 20s is the best time to travel. Besides school, and maybe a part-time job, you don’t have that many obligations. Once you’re working the 9-5 grind you’ll find it’s extremely difficult to snag any vacation days right away. Studying abroad provides you with a way to get college credits without sitting in a classroom for an entire semester. Study abroad programs usually offer a variety of courses that range from common core classes to specific credits that can be used towards your major.

Studying abroad through your school is a great way to make friends that will be there after the trip. Most of the people that go on study abroad trips go to the same school. It’s very easy to form close friendships in a short amount of time on these trips. Walking across campus and seeing a familiar face is always a nice surprise in the middle of a hectic day.



New friendships only grow stronger after hours of hiking the Yellow Mountain (Mt. Huangshan) in the southern Anhui province in eastern China.

People don’t just travel because of the boredom from living in the same place. People travel because they thirst to see something new. It’s one thing to see a picture of a famous landmark; it’s quite another to actually see that landmark with your own eyes. Ask anyone that’s ever traveled anywhere, or ask anyone with a smartphone camera; no photo or Instagram filter can truly ever beat the real thing. When you go home and change your profile picture on Facebook to a picture of yourself standing on the Great Wall of China—that’s something to brag about.

To learn about a culture that is foreign from your own is a truly important experience. There are so many different cultures in the world that it is impossible to count. To go through life ignorant of the world around you is a foolish mistake. Hear a different language slide past your lips. Eat a food that you can’t identify. Engross yourself in a way of living that you’ve never experienced.

A study abroad trip is more than just a trip. It’s a chance to take an adventure, fill a scrapbook with memories, and tell stories to your loved ones that will last a lifetime.


Group picture of the 2013 Summer CUNY China trip in front of the Monk Xuanzang statue in Xi’an, 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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You not only have to be there, you have to act there.

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

The idea of participation comes to us at an interesting time, especially since the idea of individuation seems to have flooded the mindsets of all college students. And that’s just the thing; college discounts and college savings won’t just come to you. Participation is required.

When thinking of the readers of a text, there are two discernable readers; the ideal reader that the author conceived of while writing the text, and the plurality of actual readers that encounter the text. However, neither one of these actually exist in a single construction. The ideal reader does not exist outside the mind of the author, and is, in a certain sense, useless. The ideal reader would have the exact same understanding as the author, “and identical code to that of the author”,[1] and would share the intentions of the author as well. If this were the case, the act of reading would be superfluous because any meaning or idea to be conveyed would already exist in the mind of the reader[2]. There would be nothing gained or changed by the act of reading. The other reader that exists is the actual reader of a text, and the experience of this reader is specific to that one reader. One may attempt to generalize texts in regard to how they affect readers, but every reader reads a text at a time, state, and mentality that cannot be replicated, not even within the reader himself. The response and construction of the text that is produced is based not only on the text itself and its possible constructions, but also the different values and moods of the reader. This is why readers can describe two entirely opposing constructions of the same text. Because of this, the phenomenology of reading can only be described by an individual, most often in regards to a specific text; it is much harder to generalize.

It is also in this way that it is somewhat superfluous to try to grasp what the objective world is, behind the veil of sight. If one saw the world as it were, so to say, intended, there would be no point in participating in the world; you’d already know everything. Instead, it seems to be more useful to focus on the relationships created by the participation, just as a text is only as much as a reader constructs it to be. Participation and action are the most important parts of the formula, because if one chooses to exist solely in the world of thought, he/she essentially wants to obtain all the knowledge without the actual action of obtaining. He/she wants to be a god; to pick up a book and know what it is about without going through the actual process of reading it and putting all those letters and words together through one’s own lens.

One’s entire life can be boiled down to the importance of participation. Certainly, if you are spending time with your friends, it is easy to sit back and watch the conversation and exchanges happen around you. You’re there, but you’re more of a spectator than an actor—a spectator in a play that you should be playing in. The best reality is one that is created by you, and creation can only happen through your own actions. One cannot dwell in the realm of thought forever. Otherwise you’ll end up like Hamlet.

[1] Iser, Wolfgang. The Act of Reading. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978. 29. Print.
[2] The Act of Reading, 29



Marina Manoukian, Sarah Lawrence College

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Interested in more deals for students? Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter to get the latest in student discounts and promotions  and follow our Tumblr and Pinterest. For savings on-the-go, download our printable coupon e-book!