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Invitation To The Voyage

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international

The summer I spent studying abroad

This story was published on student com.co.uk

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The world card where we all wrote down our names. 
 
Last summer, I decided to take the plunge and study abroad for the summer. From June to September, I decided to go to another country. I had already travelled before but never for so long and in a place where I didn’t know anyone.
I can still remember the feeling I had when packing my stuff the night before leaving (organisation skills!). I was mixed with feelings, in one hand I couldn’t wait to discover a new culture, new people and a new language but in the other hand I wouldn’t see my family and friends for a whole summer. Leaving your beloved relatives and best friends for people you don’t know, who would do that? I did, and so far it’s been the best experience of my life.
 
I headed for the hills, leaving my calm, French life for an exciting British one. So I landed on the cupcake island under a bright sun. I still remember that day because I always had in mind the idea of a grey country when it rains everyday and where people are quite sceptic when you start talking about the sun.
 
So many questions mingled around in my head: How are the people going to be there? Will I survive on my own? Will I be able to cook without burning the kitchen and turning it upside down? Will I get used to drinking tea and what about porridge and jelly!?
 
I stayed in Halls, I had an ensuite room and I was sharing the kitchen. I was independent, without having my parents on my back telling me what to do. This summer also enabled me to gain in maturity because I have learnt to live on my own without depending on someone.
 
During this summer, I had the best moments of my life. I met amazing people, I was lucky I was in an international college so it enabled me to meet people from all around the world:  people from Netherlands, Belgium, Brazil, Finland, Latvia, Russia and many more.  I am still in touch with most of them and I’m planning to visit them one day.
 
It was for me a once in a lifetime experience, not only did I discover a new culture; queuing for the bus for example, no one does that in France, having milk with tea, how people are open-minded and ready to help you, I also discovered a new me. I used to be a little bit shy, you know that girl who was very discreet that doesn’t talk much. I used to be that girl. But before going to England I made a promise to myself and I told myself that I didn’t have anything to loose trying to socialise and talk with people. I didn’t know any of them, they didn’t know me and if something bad happened I would never see them again.
 
I never thought that I could get so close to people so quickly; we all lived together for 3 months so we didn’t have any choice but to bond. The parties I have shared with them were the craziest ones.
 
I was lucky to find my friend soul mate, she was keen on baking and on ballet like me. I remember a day when everybody was beginning to fall apart and it ended up with a big argument, my friend and I woke up early in the morning and baked all day long. When everybody woke up
they all found baskets full of cupcakes in front of their doors, and let me tell you that cupcakes can fix more situations than you think.

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During this summer, I also took the chance to be with crazy people to tick off some of my bucketlist tasks. Like doing my grocery shopping in pyjamas.  You could never do that in France, everyone
would be staring at you thinking please go back in your asylum!

 

 

 

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It also took the summer for me to realise something I always wanted to make: a tiered cake. Unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to make a proper one but for my friends birthday I made an Impressive cupcake’ (I try to sell it as I can).

 

 

 

I am a little ashamed of this one but I even tried pole dancing, for a single session. It’s very physical!

 
This summer was so memorable: all the wonderful people I met, everything that I have done! I have spoken a lot about leisure, but I did also study there! I got my IELTS (English test) with 7 out of 9.
 
 I was so moved by England that I eventually decided to stay there for university. If you have the opportunity to travel, I would highly recommend that you take it, it’s amazingly surprizing how you can learn from something you don’t know and also from others.  We are young, it’s time to go and explore the world to broaden our horizons.

Fit as a Fiddle : The Asian Way

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Eating with chopsticks is characteristic of  Asian cultures. For the occidental world it is one of the first clichés that come to mind when they see Asians eating their bowls of rice with chopsticks. But it is more than a stereotype. Studies suggest that eating with chopsticks is healthier than eating with a fork.

Coventry hosts a large number of international students many of whom are from Asia. May, a Chinese student of Coventry, gives an insight into this tradition: ‘ I think that asian people have a healthier lifestyle than English people, there is not as much obesity problem in my country than here in England’

She argues that  eating with  chopsticks helps in moderating the pace at which we eat and the quantity we consume. This, she explains, is the reason why Asians eat small quantity of food in little bowls. But eating less does not make them  hungry. The logic is the slower the body swallows  food and the faster  it controls its appetite. More so, it enhances the rate at which the nutrients are assimilated.

But to make this work some rules must be observed when eating with Asians. For example, piercing your food with a chopstick is considered a funeral rite in Japan and discouraged.

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Obesity is a major health issue. Although eating with chopsticks does not solve the problem, it could be a step to tackle it.

Now that you know the benefits, take your time and your chopstick and enjoy your meal!

 

Reflection:Since the very beginning the reader know what the story is going to be about, and to be sure that the reader understands it I have used the appropriate style to make sense for the story. I have tried not to use passive tense; instead I have privileged the use of active forms. I also made my article shorter than the first one with the use of short sentences because according to Farhad Manjoo Readers can’t stay focused.’ The more I type, the more you tune out’ (2013 : online). I would add that for an online article, 800 words must be the maximum to keep it lively and tightly.

Online writing also includes knowing how to structure the news, this is why I have effectively made the use of the headlines and the subhead in order to give simplicity, precision, relevance, orderliness to the reader. I also broke the different paragraph so it’s clear to clear. I have referred to the inverted pyramid theory that states that a story should always go to the most general and then along with the development become more and more specific. The reader must be able to understand very quickly, you don’t want to write a scientific report with a lot of scientific notions, the use of a specific jargon. The work of a journalist is to vulgarise his knowledge in order to make it accessible to the people that would like to know more about a specific topic even though they don’t have any knowledge in it.

The information also must be accessible to any platform; nowadays thanks to all the thriving technologies people don’t only consult online news on computers, they have tablets or smartphones. I also learnt how to take advantage of the online platform for example with the SEO ( Search Engine Optimisation) I couldn’t apply them for iCov but I have tried to use them for my own blog, by using the key words. The first rule for SEO is concision; it’s a way for user to find easily your story while typing key words on Google for example.

I also used the tags in order to make it easy for readers to look a story related to their centre of interest. This article is on the lifestyle category with students and health eating because it’s a major concern for a lot student. In Aim for the Heart, Al Tomkins gives us few tips to tell a story online for example taping into local passion groups : ‘Whatever people are wild about in your area, give them virtual watering holes where they gather to talk about and share whatever they are passionate about.’ (2013 :182)

The advantage with the online platform is that we can create a link with the reader thing that you can’t do in print or in radio : on the online platform, people are able to interact with you, share your article, comment it to have more information. This is why at the end of the article I have included a YouTube video to help the reader to go further.

 

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