Monthly Archives: February 2015

Stephan Brown, Study Abroad-Nicosia, Cyprus Week 5

“Home is where your friends are” – Miguel Olivares

     It has been over a month since I have been in Cyprus and so far I experienced little to no homesickness. Occasionally I think about my family, friends and what I used to do with them back home, but I never felt sad about any of my thoughts. During our daily bro talks, my good friend Miguel told me that, ” Home is where your friends are” .This quote made me realize that home is not just the place that you lived at all your life, home is anyone or any place that makes you happy.  Thanks to all my friends from everywhere for making me feel at home, I love you all!


(Miguel and I)

This week was a very special week for me because I got to experience my first carnival ever in Limassol, Cyprus! Carnival is a yearly festival that happens a week before Lent in most Roman Catholic countries and includes  lots of costumes, music, dancing and drums. Majority of the Global Semesters decided to stay in Limassol from Friday to Monday and we all generally stayed in apartments that were within walking distance from each other.

Our trip to Limassol began bright and early at 8:30 am so we could pack and eat before our bus left at 10:30 am. About 2 hours later we arrived in Limassol and the first thing you notice when you get off the bus is a beautiful beach



(Augustas from Lithuania!)

Now before I continue I would like to mention that every time we travel there is always a struggle before we reach our destination and when we leave our destination( Literally every time! LOL). After a brief moment of happiness from taking in the beauty of Limassol we realized that we had no idea where our apartment was and how far it would take to find it….and BAM! the struggle begins!.. 2 hours later, a million footsteps and many conversations with locals we finally found our apartment! (I think I literally died from dragging my luggage and walking everywhere, but I enjoyed the sights :))

Once we got settled into our room the guys and I decided to go on a hunt for food…We discovered that many restaurants do not open during the day and we ended up eating at McDonald’s (European McDonald’s taste very different from America but it was still enjoyable).

Later that day we ended up exploring the main street where we ended up stopping at a new store on every block. Our first store sold costume supplies for carnival and of course we had to stop in to try on everything,

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(Miguel rocking the Jigsaw mask)

Our next stop was a tattoo shop where Caleb and Aaron priced some of their tattoo ideas. The shop was very dark, had a demonic looking throne and an awesome guard puppy. I really wanted to take that puppy home 😦

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(Joey AKA the dog whisperer)

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(Miguel AKA King Tequila )

Later on the girls finally arrived and we all came together to explore the nightlife down in Old Port!

I also want to take the time to give a special shout out to Bethany and Abby. Bethany you are now my favorite southern bell with a heart of gold and you know how to have a hell of a good time. Abbey you are beautiful with an awesome smile and you know how to have fun as well! I am really glad that I met you girls and I look forward to all of our future adventures together! 🙂

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(Bethany, Myself and Abbey)

Old Port was filled with hundreds of people dressed in every costume you could think of. Every pub was filled to the max with people and the whole town was just one big celebration. Friday night was a successful night and it was a great start to our Carnival weekend…BTW this was the scariest clown statue that I ever saw, but we had to take a picture with it.


    (Myself, Miguel, Aaron and Augustas)

The next day started out with all of us getting brunch at a British restaurant called Shakespeare. We all ordered the British breakfast and It felt like home when I took a bite out of the pancakes I ordered (Thanks Shakespeare for the awesome food!)

SAM_1214(Caleb, Myself, Nora, Ellen and Bethany)

For the rest of the day we all decided to get wine and go to the beach to enjoy the nice Mediterranean air and sea.  We were at the beach for the rest of the day and it was honestly the most peaceful thing we did all weekend :). I felt calm, peaceful and most importantly I felt happy to even be at such a beautiful place. Augustas and I also made a new feline friend at the beach as well. We named her Tiger; The cat queen of the beach!


(Meet the King of the Go Pro and The Ice Man aka Caleb and Joey!)


(Myself and Augustas)

SAM_1254(Augustas and Nora)

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(Tiger was the nicest cat ever! Miss her already :D)

The next day and our last night in Limassol we got to experience the Carnival Parade. As we walked along side the parade we got to see thousands of people dressed in every type of costume you could imagine. All of the floats were super colorful and everyone in Limassol was filled with enough energy to power the whole country of Cyprus. The streets were filled with silly string and confetti and the music was blasting to the highest volume. My friends and I even jumped into the parade and managed to get the crowd to cheer us on and Caleb’s Go Pro made everyone want to take selfies with us.  We danced with many groups in the parade, we took pictures with everyone and Miguel even managed to ride on a float! After the parade was over the whole city center turned into one huge party with EDM music, food and lots of lights! I ended up meeting so many new people and I ran into a lot of familiar faces as well. We ended up concluding our night by laying on the beach with our Lithuanian friends were we talked about life and stared at the stars. Carnival has truly been my favorite experience so far in Cyprus and I am so sad that it is over!

Limassol Carnival 2015 will always be in my memory 🙂


(Lithuania, Jordan, Venezuela and the United States all in one Go Pro Selfie!)

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 (Augustas, Aaron, Miguel, Myself)

Limassol Carnival 2015 will go down in history as the best parade/ party I ever got to experience!

P.S. For everyone who did not experience Carnival before, you need to make it a priority to go at some point during your life! It’s an unforgettable experience.


The Dreaded “Tell Me About Yourself”

Many candidates who go into interviews know this question is coming, and have a fear of it.  For many, it feels too open-ended, and there’s also a concern of “what should I say? How do I know when I’ve told them enough?” In an article for Careerealism, Margaret Buj outlines a simple, 3 step process to know what to include in your answer.  By having your 3 steps planned out in advance, you’ll be ready for any interview or networking event.

  1. Talk about your professional attributes, not your personal interests.  Although the interviewer may be amicable, they ultimately want to know about you as an employee. Give them a brief overview of your work history and what you have learned in your career so far.
  2. Keep their interest by telling them about a recent accomplishment.  Use this opportunity to show from the the very first question that you have the skills and qualifications to meet the needs of the job.
  3. Wrap it up with a look ahead.  Tell them what you want to do next, or why you’re particularly interested in this opportunity. Again, it doesn’t need to be a specific, long-winded count of every project you hope to complete before you retire, but a chance to show your interest in your own professional growth.

Remember to keep your response short.  One of the top skills employers are looking for is verbal communication, so this is a perfect opportunity to show your ability to get a point across in a concise, prepared way.  2-3 minutes is ok, but don’t ramble on for 15 minutes! Having your key points written down will also help you stay focused.  To read all of Ms. Buj’s article, click here:

Victoria Sweeney, Internship – Fromm Electric

Blog PhotoFromm LogoA couple of weeks has passed, so time for another blog! Remember how I was supposed to be finished in accounting and moving onto another department? Surprise! I’m still in accounting! I didn’t realize that they had scheduled me for about six weeks in accounting and the rest of the departments rotate around a three week cycle. Although I was excited to go to a different department for a different experience, I have found that the last few days in accounting has tied together everything that I learned in the first three weeks. I have been trusted with some more “complicated” tasks that involve working more with their system and their spreadsheets. I’ve done a lot of billing and receiving of products to and from our manufacturers and customers, which I was hesitant to do at first. I kept thinking in my mind, “What if I receive the wrong product or bill at the wrong price? How hard will it be to go back and change it?” Then I had to figure that if my supervisors trust me with this then I will be fine and it shouldn’t be too hard to fix if I were to make a mistake.

The department is still working on completing their 2014 Audit and making sure that the bank has everything that they need. Because this is a pretty important task I haven’t been doing too much more than billing, sorting, receiving, and some other excel work. Outside of business majors this may sound tedious and boring, but it is important for business majors to have this type of experience.

Until next time!

Stephan Brown, Study Abroad-Nicosia, Cyprus Week 4

“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life – and travel – leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks – on your body or on your heart – are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.” – Anthony Bourdain

It has officially been a month since I have been in Cyprus and I can honestly say that I am starting to witness the change in myself . I do not judge people as much as I used to, I try to be friendly with everyone instead of specific people, I am willing to try new things and I am not afraid to explore unfamiliar territory. Being in another country makes you more aware with what’s going on in the world and it unlocks certain personality traits that you never thought you had. Everyday I lose a piece of my old self and gain a replacement piece that is helping me grow into the leader that I always wanted to be.


Well this week started off with the Global Semesters crew coming together for a pre Valentine’s Day get together in the town. It was the first time in a few weeks that we all came together in the same place for an event so of course we enjoyed ourselves.


        (Vern, Laura, Tiffany, Miguel, Myself, Keenan, Caleb, Ellen, Joey, Aaron)


On Valentine’s Day we had to wake up bright and early for our day trip to Northern Cyprus. Our first stop was the St. Nicholas Church located in Famagusta. The St.Nicholas Church was converted into a Mosque in the 1500’s but they included a section for Christian people to pray as well. The architecture of this mosque was amazing and when you enter you automatically feel at peace.



(St. Nicholas Cathedral)

On our next stop we went to Famagusta Bay where the water is crystal blue and the beach is perfectly clean. The ocean air smells amazing and I even got a chance to see some locals go for a swim (It was pretty cold that day so good for them!)…If I had my swim trunks I would have jumped in with them in a heartbeat.

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(These guys are the real MVP’s for swimming in the cold)


Our day trip concluded in Kyrenia where we got the chance to explore the Kyrenia Castle.  Once you are at the top of this castle you get a 360 degree view of epicness. Everywhere you turn you want to take a picture and every angle you look at is beautiful. We even did a group happy valentines day video while we were at the top as well :).

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(We are on top of the world!)


(Kyrenia Castle)

The next day a local Cypriot that I met at my university invited my friends and I to a local soccer match between Omonia and Apollon. This was the first time in my life that I went to a soccer game and now it tops the list on my craziest sporting event experiences. Within 15 minutes of arriving at the stadium and sitting in our seats, it began to rain. Neither Aaron, Joey, Miguel or myself brought an umbrella and we did not wear rain coats. Within seconds the rain poured harder and we all decided to run under the stadium entrance until the rain calmed down. Now imagine hundreds of people crowding under the entrance of the stadium trying to stay dry(I felt like I was at a standing room only concert for my favorite band). Eventually the rain turned into hail and by that point we were all soaked, cold and tired of waiting so we decided to just watch the game in the rain( Actually Joey aka the iceman led the pack and influenced us to not to miss our game because of the rain). Two hours later Omonia lost to Apollon and the crowd went crazy in disappointment (Omonia is the local team of Nicosia!)… I never got so into a game then on that day and although everything that could possibly go wrong happened, I still had an awesome time! #IceColdWarriors

10952089_10203445650648824_3100240585501216172_o(Omonia Fans!)

I also got the opportunity to spend the day at the largest Public Relations and Communications firm in the Mediterranean; Action Global Communications. They operate in over 40 countries across Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Baltics, Russia, the CIS countries, Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean.  I got to meet the Local PR team as well as Global PR team. I even got a chance to work with the digital communications department on an email campaign for their new website called My Cyprus Insider.

(The Actions Global Communications Team)

Please be sure to check out My Cyprus Insider for all the news regarding places to travel, eat and events that are held all over the island of Cyprus!

“There and back again” Made it back safe and well traveled!

Hey Everyone,

After an amazing Winter break and seeing parts of the UK that I have never seen before, and also finally stepping into Europe for the first time, it’s now time to get back to the books! I’ve been back in Edinburgh since January 12th and I realized why usually people go home for break ha ha. I had an extremely amazing time traveling this Winter, but a forewarning to those of you studying abroad for a year: Make sure you get enough down time to just relax and chill out, because constant traveling (even though fun) can definitely wear you out. And then having to jump right into work and the social arena again can be a rough ride ha ha.

This semester I’m taking three courses: The first is the continuation of my European Theater course. Last semester in that course we had studied many French, German, and Samuel Beckett plays. This semester we’ve done German, Swedish, and Spanish plays with still some Italian, Czech, and German plays to go! My second course this semester is an Ancient Roman class starting with Augustus Caesar and ending with the fall of Rome. I have never gone in so in depth into such a specific topic before so I am thrilled to take this course. My third class is one called, Visualizing Scotland. In this class we study landscape and cultural paintings and photographs and see how they portray the Scottish nation, life, society, and traditions. This is a very Scottish class and something I could only take here so I’m very happy to soak up all the culture and Scottishness I can! But getting back into the groove of things has also given me a chance to see all my friends from Edinburgh Uni again and hang with them all. I’ve gotten a new flat mate from Washington DC named Benjamin who replaced our Singaporean roommate. We all really miss that guy, he was older than the rest of us, being about 23, and was a bit of the father figure in the flat, and he also cooked really well. We really miss his cooking and his friendship, but we all plan to go visit him in Singapore one day.

And now for one big tip for studying abroad: It is a very important to stay healthy as best you can at the beginning of semesters. In my first semester I got the “Freshers Flu” that practically ravaged the student body, everyone was sick and it was hard to escape, especially with everyone trying to meet new people. This is because you have 30,000 students coming together from different parts of the world and spreading germs that your body is not accustomed to. So try and stay clean and remember to get a lot of sleep. I didn’t follow these rules when I returned, so for the second time, at the beginning of this second semester, I came down with the flu. It seemed to start in the new students coming that semester and then spread to the returnees. So for a week I remained bed-ridden, just lifting out of bed long enough to attempt to get to classes; then another week followed that with just feeling terribly weak from combating that cold. So top priority while studying abroad is staying healthy, because it can really demobilize you and restrict you from traveling and seeing new things. And that is the last thing you want while studying abroad.  But even though I’m still feeling pretty drained from a long none-stop touristy break and a week to two week long flu, I’m still ready to hit up this semester and see new places and gain new experiences, because I know this is my one chance to get it all in! Here’s to a healthy semester hopefully!

Cheers, Alexio

This is my flat sitting down to a nice dinner. But 3 people, including myself, are dying from the flu and fevers. The 2 wearing masks are attempting to stay healthy from all our germs. So as I spoke about above in the blog, make sure to stay healthy or else you’ll end up like the three of us haha!

Victoria Sweeney – Internship, Fromm Electric

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Hey Again! To remind everyone, my name is Tori Sweeney and I am completing my internship this semester at Fromm Electric here in Reading, PA. I have spent the last three weeks interning in their Accounting Department. The last few weeks have not been the most exciting of work, but I learned a lot about the company. I was able to take the knowledge of my accounting, economics, and finance courses and see how it really works in the “real world”. The point of this internship is for me to find out what type of department I would (or wouldn’t) want to be in for the future. Although I have found out that working in an accounting department isn’t exactly for me, I still learned a lot! Below is a picture of my little cubicle that I have spent the last three weeks in. Nothing special, but it was my place for a while!


Even though I am not an accounting major, I learned a lot and am glad I had the chance to meet and work with everyone in accounting! They are a group of great people, but it is time for me to move on to another department! Starting next week I will be interning in the Marketing Department. Maybe I will find my calling over there? Stay tuned to find out.

Stephan Brown, Study Abroad-Nicosia, Cyprus Week 3

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” – Maya Angelou


What worried me the most about coming to Cyprus was how difficult it was going to be to make friends in this foreign country. Although it is nice to have friends from global semesters, I wanted to eventually branch out and expand my friendship circle on a more international level. This week I finally made friends not just from Cyprus, but from all over the world.


This week started off with Caleb and I traveling to the northern side of Cyprus with our new friends from Lithuania. We went to the local marketplace to get some fresh produce ( The pistachios from here are amazing!), ate food at a local Kebab place where I tried my first kebab (it was love at first bite) and then we got lost and explored the town. I never in my life met anyone from Lithuania so this was a pretty awesome moment in my study abroad experience. They listen to the same music as us, love to have fun and they always put a smile on my face when I am around them :). Hopefully I get to travel to Lithuania at some point during this semester….Shout out to Adrijana for knowing the song and the dance to the “About a week ago” song!


(Miguel, Gitana, Adrijana, Augustas and Aaron)

The next day we traveled down to old town and decided to go sightseeing around the area. We searched for the tallest building around town and found an awesome view that perfectly depicts the modernity of Nicosia. I think Caleb was in photographers heaven again at this moment.

Old Town view

Old Town Nicosia!


As the week continues, we decided to go on another adventure in Northern Cyprus. This time we went with Vern and Ellen who are always a good time(Seriously Vern’s humor is priceless). We explored the local neighbourhoods and then discovered Buyuk Han.  The Buyuk Han is the largest caravanserai on the island and has many shops and restaurants to see. We ended up eating at a Turkish restaurant and  the waiter told me that I look like Barack Obama’s younger brother and that I should pay for everyone’s food as well as buy all my friends a country of their choice. We also got free dessert and Vern received complimentary tea.  Every trip we take to the north ends with great hospitality and a lot of compliments from the locals…I wanted to go to this place for a long time so it was crazy how we just turned a corner and ended up there.

north side selfie

(Veronica, Ellen, Joey, Myself and Miguel)


Once the weekend arrived the guys and I decided to take a day trip to Larnaca to see the the Stavrovouni Monastery. This monastery is open to guys only and you can see all of Cyprus from here. The view from this monastery not only took my breathe away, but it perfectly answered why I decided to study abroad in the first place. You can see the entire island from here and you are surrounded by peace and silence.  The monks even  gave us a snack and told us a few stories about the monastery’s history. This was a life changing experiencing that I will always remember and I recommend that every guy comes here during their stay in Cyprus. The Stavrovouni Monastery is officially my favorite place in Cyprus so far.

Stavrovouni Monastery

Stavrovouni Monastery

(Miguel, Myself, Aaron, Joey)

Monastery View(The view from the monastery!)


As my week concludes, the last thing that we did was explore some more unfamiliar territory, took more rooftop selfies, went inside the creepiest buildings and as always got lost.

Rooftop Selfie

The best adventures are always the ones that are spontaneous, just pick a place to go and explore it until you have been everywhere. -Stephan Brown


Shout out to the Global Semesters crew for making every weekend an epic one and I look forward to the future memories.

Cyprus crew



(This was done in our Photography 1 class!)

Your Presentation CAN Be A Success!!

Last week we discussed two qualities that employers want their employees to have- likeability and trustworthiness. Today we’re going to shift gears a little bit and focus on a skill that all employers want, but candidates often hesitate to talk about: their presentation skills! Few people seem to enjoy public speaking, and because of that, typically lack confidence in their ability to have a successful presentation. Steve Knight wrote an excellent article on the 7 keys to a successful presentation. By using those tips and having more successful presentations, you’ll gain more confidence in your public speaking abilities and, in turn, feel more comfortable marketing this valuable skill to potential employers.
1. Assess your audience- What do they need to hear from you? What will inspire them?
2. Bring positivity- No one wants to be dragged down. Be positive, and the audience will be positive with you
3. Breathe to project- Use your diaphragm to add more “oomph” to your voice and exude more power into what you’re discussing
4. Body language- Make sure your actions match your message. An excited presentation won’t seem as exciting if you’re standing stiff as a board and not making eye contact
5. Voice visualization- Use tone and inflection to bring your words to life
6. Leadership Presence- What public speaking qualities do your role models have? How can you share those qualities in your presentation?
7. No PowerPoint Overkill- Use it strategically. Use pictures and images, and only show text when YOU are ready to talk about it.
What other suggestions do you have for a successful presentation? How would you explain your most successful presentation to an employer during an interview? You can read more about Mr. Knight’s tips here: rules-

Stephan Brown- Study Abroad-Nicosia, Cyprus Week 2

“Always go in the direction that makes you smile the most because every smile leads to your personal paradise”

-Stephan Brown


         Every morning, I open my eyes, I take a deep breath and I stare outside. I take in the fresh mediterranean air and I see the sun shining bright through my balcony window. I smell breakfast being made by my roommates along with some cheerful morning conversation. Two weeks ago I did not know any of these people and now It  feels like we have been living together for a long time. We all come from different backgrounds and its pretty cool to learn about their lifestyles and how they grew up.

        My second week started off with a trip to the Athalassa National Forest Park. The park was filled with green grass, bicycle trails, lakes and a huge park. When you first walk through you notice that you are surrounding by everything green and healthy(I never seen grass this green back home so it was great). All the lakes glisten with the sunlight hitting it and you can even see wild hedgehogs running everywhere. The air is fresh and the environment just makes you feel calm. My friends and I also got to relive our childhoods for a brief moment when we discovered the huge park, There were swings, slides, monkey bars and a zipline…I repeat they had a zip-line in the park!


Photographer: Caleb Kissiah

(Myself, Miguel, Aaron, Joey, Laura, Caleb, Bethany, Abby)

The next day we went on a Global Semesters trip to the Troodos Mountains where we got to experience winter for a few hours (The cold was awful). No one was prepared for the crazy amounts of snow and cold weather, but we somehow managed to ignore the cold and take a hike around Mt. Olympus.  To all my friends in the east coast, I now know what you all are feeling everyday! Good luck with all the snow and cold weather.


(Maria, Miguel, Katie, Caleb, Aaron, Tiffany, Joey)


          (Miguel, Myself, Joey, Caleb and Aaron)

After experiencing the cold for a few hours, we traveled to Kakopetria. The coolest part about traveling from Mt. Olympus to Kakopetria is experiencing the climate change right before your eyes. One minute it is snowing and cold and the next minute you are experiencing sunshine and warmth. The village is filled with waterfalls, lakes and many different passageways waiting to be discovered….Oh yeah we also ate food from a restaurant where the cook had one arm. He was very nice and made the best food! I wish I remembered his name and how to pronounce the restaurant’s name.




This week was also the first week for classes and so far its  different compared to back home. When you take classes here you are surrounded by not only Cypriots but students from all over Europe. You get to experience diversity on a whole other level and work with people who you would not normally work with. Most of my classes require group activities and for the first time I am looking forward to them.

I almost forgot to give a special shout out to Caleb and Joey for cooking pancakes for 21 people! In Cyprus they do not sell pancake mix so you have to make them by scratch. We ended up having a huge breakfast for dinner get together in my apartment and I became the server! Those pancakes were so great!

P.S.  Global Semesters group dinners are starting to become a weekly thing and I can definitely get use to it.


What Do Employers Want?

As we prepare for job and internship fair season, followed closely by On Campus Interviewing, we often hear from students their fear that they don’t have what employers want. The technical skills are always important- being good with numbers for accounting, writing a lesson plan for education, or knowing HTML code for web design. Then there are other soft skills that employers appreciate, such as teamwork, effective communication, and problem solving ability. However, there are two overarching traits that employers always expect to see, no matter the field: likeability, and trustworthiness. Matthew Lopez, a writer for Education Week, does an excellent job of citing why these two characteristics are imperative. Likeability shows employers that you have well developed social and emotional intelligence- you’re able to understand people and react to them in an appropriate manner. In turn, people will appreciate that you are able to effectively build these interpersonal relationships. The importance of trustworthiness is essential in any relationship, both professional and personal. Employers want to know you have good character, make moral decisions, and will always do what is right. Students should have confidence with these traits, and emphasize them at networking and interview opportunities. Skills can be taught, and job duties can be learned. Employers know it is essential to select candidates that they know are good people!

To read Matthew Lopez’s article, click here: