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Monthly Archives: November 2017

Fall for the Colors of Fall

Fall is a confusing time of year because really it’s just a transition between summer and the holiday season. It’s very similar to what Spring is, yet another transition. So, we are all now in this transition period and most of us are like “What do we blog about now?” Well today I am going to blog about the colors and activities of fall.

In the fall we see a lot change in nature from the colors of the leaves to eventually a bare tree. We also see an extreme dip in the temperature, but that doesn’t mean to abandon the outdoors for good in November.

Especially in Virginia, we have activities for all types of people during the fall months! One of my favorite activities during a Virginia Fall is hiking and exploring nature. We cannot neglect the idea of bundling up under an arctic sleeping bag for a night in Shenandoah.

However, if you are more of a day-hiker I recommend Stony Man. This trail is a a short and pleasant hike, and has some of the best views in the Shenandoah National Park. The peak, has a popular rock wall with local climbers. You can witness here some of the most spectacular fall colors from about 1000 ft.

Stony Man in the fall. A beautiful woman and changes in the foliage, beautiful scenery

When you are on the trail and ushered off by The National Park Service for a six-acre wildfire. A 3 hour hike turns into a 9 hour hike because the car is in the fire zone. We made it off the trail and the fire was contained in the late evening hours. Great job and thanks to the National Parks Service for keeping Virginias’ trails safe to use.

The National Park Service prepping to fight a wildfire with hand tools.

A brief introduction of what trails Virginia has too offer:

Winding 469 miles from Afton to the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Parkway was born out of President Roosevelt’s desire to create jobs in the midst of the Great Depression. Construction of the Parkway was started on the Virginia/North Carolina border in 1935 and was completed in 1983, connecting Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Shenandoah National Park.

The Shenandoah Valley is known for its spectacular display of fall foliage and Shenandoah County is no exception. Home to 178 miles of trails making their way through lush National Forest, hiking is one of the best ways to experience the spectacular colors with views of a Virginia Fall.

After a hard day of exercise and exploring nature, a nice fall evening includes a warm fire!

A Shannanoah Fire

Another favorite activity of mine during the fall is situated on a swing around a warm fire while you keep your toes warm!

How about a swing on this leaf covered swing?

Our geographical position puts us at a great advantage to take in all fall has to offer in the state of Virginia, if you don’t take advantage you would be remise to do so. The colors of Fall are absolutely breathtaking and listening to the wildlife chirping outside your window is calming.

What is your favorite fall activity in Virginia? Please leave a comment below and share your insight!

Poverty and Inequality

I created a video about poverty and inequality in the world. We must use this educational tool as a lesson and an awakening to how fortunate we are. Hundreds of millions of people live every day without shelter and without knowing where the next meal will come from. You can view my “call to action” here.

World Poverty

Natural Nature Video

Dear Readers:

This week I created an iMovie in the digital lab. The video is a mixture of nature and everything else. It took me a while to create, but definitely a very nice video. I hope you like it, please let me know your feedback. You can view my video here.


Lessons from Abroad (Study Abroad Conference)

This past weekend I attended a conference about learning abroad and taking those skills to the next level!

The conference was held in a very Silicon Valley type of environment. My definition of a “Silicon Valley” environment is a modern work space with a lot of freedom in architecture and mass creativity. You may still not understand what type of environment I am talking about. Don’t fret! I will be incorporating digital imagery from the conference into my post.

This year the keynote speaker was Fanta Aw from American University. Aw provides senior executive to 15 departments in Campus Life at American. She focuses on issues of campus  internationalization, issues of inclusion, diversity and equity, and student engagement.  The title of her talk was “What is the title of your book?” Literally, she had the attendees critically reflect on what the title of their book would be from study abroad experiences. The title of my book was “The Adventure of the Unknown,” this title symbolizes that one must step out of their comfort zone while abroad and take every task as an adventure. If you remember from earlier in the semester I shared with my colleagues that I got a tattoo of one of the Basque Country mountains. The experience played into the title of my book.

I was able to network and talk to other attendees about their experiences from the countries they represented. The common buzz word was “challenge,” a challenge to transplant and adapt into the culture, understand, breathe and live the culture. The talk about transplanting oneself into another route of study and culture. We received buzz words like “irritation, happiness, challenge.” We had to use these buzz words and describe a situation to our fellow peers that embodied the word. The word I received was irritation, so I told a story were a store clerk sold me 5 FAKE stamps at a cost of 22€ or $25, and there is no such thing as return polices at a gift shop. So I was out $25 🙁 . I shared the story with my host mom one evening over dinner and she began to cry because she felt I was insulting her and her country. I was just sharing with her the fact about the differences between a fake stamp and a real stamp, showing her the differences while conversing in Spanish.

I was able to network with professional government and non-profit organizations that seek students who have studied abroad. The organizations like the Department of State and the Peace Corps seek out those that have international experiences and can speak multiple languages.

Networking Fair

The above picture shows the space where the Networking Fair was held. You can see the space is very old, yet modern. The location is the Wonder Bread Factory Event Space, what a creative name!

Reach abroad: Teach, Work, Volunteer

The above photo was before the panel on Reach abroad: Teach, Work, Volunteer. The panelist are from all walks of life including Peace Corps, Fulbright, and The French Embassy! It was an enriching professional and personal experience!’

In conclusion, I recommend that if you have the privilege to study abroad JUST DO IT! This concluding picture really emphases the experiences of an international education.


What international education is all about, loosing yourself in time!

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and if I can be of any assistance if you choose to study abroad, please let me know or you can also reach out to The Center of International Education (CIE).