Posted by: claire.mangine | March 7, 2013

My Study Abroad Website

My Study Abroad Website      <<<< here’s the link!

Now that you have all seen the work I can do on a blog, I want to make this Wednesday post dedicated to showing what I’ve done on a website. Not only have I written all the content on this site, I also designed it! A huge accomplishment in my eyes 🙂

I made this site dedicated to the Perugia, Italy Study Abroad program at St. Bonaventure University for a Web Communication class last semester. I included a bunch of pictures, tips and information about the program for prospective students.

Take a look! I hope you like it, and hey, maybe it will inspire you to think of studying abroad in Perugia, Italy?!?!

Posted by: claire.mangine | March 1, 2013

Post Five- City Review of London by Mike

Happy Friday, WordPress! My week long London kick is coming to the end. with the help of my good friend Mike, a fellow Bonaventure student who also studied abroad in London and has tons of tips to share!


Home University: St. Bonaventure University ’13
Study Abroad Destination: London, England
When traveled: September-December 2011
Program Traveled with: St. Bonaventure University and Montana State
University Attended: Kingston University, London

Claire: Tell me about Kingston is like and where is it compared to London city center.
Mike: My neighborhood was in the outskirts of London in the borough of Kingston-upon-Thames, which is different from Central London. Kingston is more of a residential area with a town center that was more urban, and Central London is where Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, etc. is located. When you think of London, you think of the center of the city. For me, there were two different Londons because Kingston and the city center were so different.

One thing to keep in mind is London is a sprawl that covers a lot of ground, making many different distinct neighborhoods. 


C: What was your favorite part about being in London?
M: Touring Parliament. As a political science major, seeing the House of Lords and House of Commons was very interesting. The British Parliament was the seat of power for one of the world’s greatest empires and seeing where so many important decisions were made was surreal.

C: Tell me some things you HAVE to do and see while in London.

M: Obviously you also have to see Buckingham Palace, which is within walking distance from Big Ben. The most scenic way to get from Big Ben to Buckingham Palace is through St. James’ Park, which is one of London’s many parks. London is much greener than I had expected.

If government isn’t your thing, London also has great shopping. Harrods Department store in Knightsbridge covers two city blocks and has six floors. Every designer imaginable, from Gucci to Prada to Armani, is available at Harrods. Another interesting place to shop, and one of my other favorite parts of London, is Camden Town in north London. Camden Town is a string of markets and stores that sell everything under the sun. Camden Town is associated with the British counter-culture of the 60s and 70s and you definitely get the feel for the London of that era when you visit.

Also, visit an old school British pub; they’re all over the place. Go for the cliché and order a pint of ale and some fish and chips or bangers and mash. London is a multicultural city and the new British national dish is Indian chicken tikka masala. Make sure you try the traditional British seafood, but also the new dishes brought from all over the world.

C: What is the weather like? What should you pack if headed to London?
M: The weather is cold, but not in the same way we view cold at Bonas.

              Please note, it is constantly cold at St. Bonaventure. During our school
           year, besides from about 
end of August-October, then April-May…it’s.                                               cold.                               And snowing. And raining. And cold.

London has a moderate climate and rarely gets snow due to its location near the English Channel. You’ll be OK 90% of the time in a North Face fleece jacket, so don’t pack a heavy winter coat. Definitely pack rain gear because London gets a lot of rain, the stereotype is true

C: Any other tips you can share about going around London?
M: One thing to remember when walking around London is they drive on the left side of the road, so pay attention when crossing the street. Sometimes the crosswalk will even tell you, “look left” or “look right” so pay attention.
Also, people will tell you to buy an Oyster Card to use the London Underground (the Tube) or the bus service. You put money on your Oyster Card and it charges you per ride, however, this can get expensive. Instead, buy a day travel card for 8 pounds that will give you unlimited rides. 


C: Where else did you travel while abroad? 
M: I went to Paris, Rome and Barcelona. Those cities are world class in their own right, but I spent the most time in London.

Sometime in my last two weeks abroad, I realized I had only scratched the surface of London. You could spend a lifetime there and not do everything. My best advice is to find something about London, a neighborhood, place, museum that really interests you and explore that. There are the obvious things that you have to see, such as Big Ben, but there is something for everybody there.

I think the best way to end my response is to quote British writer Samuel Johnson, “if you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life.”

That is VERY well said, Mike. Thank you for your time!!

(photo credit ton all pictures: Mike Terry)

Posted by: claire.mangine | March 1, 2013

Thank you “For the Love of Wanderlust” for these amazing travel quotes. I hope you all enjoy them as much as I did 🙂

For the Love of Wanderlust

Quotes, quotes and more quotes! Even on post number 15 I’m not getting tired of travel quotes and I hope that you guys feel the same! Here are ten new quotes- I hope you enjoy!

Roam If your Want To


Please be a traveler, not a tourist. Try new things, meet knew people, and look beyond what’s right in front of you. Those are the keys to understanding this amazing world we live in.”

-Andrew Zimmen-


They should tell you when you’re born: have a suitcase heart, be ready to travel.”

-Gabrielle Zevin-


I always wonder why birds choose to stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on earth, then I ask myself the same question.”

-Harun Yahya-


For me, a place unvisited is like an unrequited love. A dull ache that- try as you might to think it away, to convince yourself that she really wasn’t the…

View original post 199 more words

Posted by: claire.mangine | February 27, 2013

My review of London

While I’m on a London kick here on my study abroad blog (please see last Friday’s post featuring Lauren’s experience in London, and look out for this Friday’s post that will feature Mike) I thought I would share my opinion of the city. Because I went there too, you know…..

Literally on this exact date this year I landed in London with my two roommates to explore the city while on Spring Break. A YEAR AGO? Doesn’t seem real. We chose to stay in a hostel in Victoria called The White Fery, (with recommendations from friends who previously visited) which I think we all decided was not the best idea in the long run. We somehow never took advantage of the Tube (subway) which I sure would have lead us to an awesome club in another part of the city.

This hostel did offer a free breakfast, but was PACKED with students from all over the world. We were the only Americans and stayed in a closet-size room with three tier bunk beds-with nine people stuffed in there. It wasn’t in a very central location and there was no nightlife or attractions located close by. We took full advantage of the three day open-top bus tour to see the rest of the city.

If you’re going to be in London for a short time, I suggest buying one of these bus passes. They’re hop-on-hop-off so you can stay on for however long you want, get off at a location, then get right back on. It’s pretty fun and the recording that plays the whole time describing what you’re passing is very informative! Bus routes took us right to, or close to, destinations such as Big Ben, Abbey Road and Buckingham Palace–PS We saw the Queen here during the Changing of the Guards! TOO COOL. 

I also suggest checking out a musical, if you want to have a low key night. Because we gave up on trying to find a cool bar/pub/club near by, we settled on seeing Wicked. London is the Broadway of Europe, or so I have heard, so they advertise show tickets everywhere! It was a great production.


I really liked London, as I said it was a welcome change to constantly hearing/trying to speak Italian, but if I were to go back I definitely would stay in a different location than Victoria and NOT at that awful hostel!

xo/ crm

Posted by: claire.mangine | February 22, 2013

Post Four- City Review of London by Lauren

Happy Friday. I’m so glad to finally be posting a city review! I thought these would be interesting to post to get people’s opinions of cities they traveled to or stayed in while abroad. This week: London.

Have you ever been? Did ya love it? Did ya not?I was in London over our spring break which was actually about a year ago today

 (wahhh 😦 ). We were there for three nights, stayed in Victoria in a hostel with
three-tier bunk beds (awful, yet hilarious), saw The Queen at the Changing of the Guards
and ate fish and chips (which was all I really wanted to do, anyway). I found England to
be a 
welcome change of pace because everyone spoke ENGLISH and after struggling
with Italian for 2.5 months, I embraced the fact that I could carry on a conversation
with anyone we met without any difficulty or language barrier. It was a great and
no-stress feeling.

Anyway, enough about me. Please let me introduce someone I’ve known for almost my whole life, and is basically another family member…Lauren.

Home University: St. Lawrence University (class of 2011)

Study Abroad Destination: London, England

When traveled: January-May 2010, junior year spring semester

Program Traveled with: SLU London Programme

University Attended: The St. Lawrence University London Programme 

Claire: When did you go to London? How Long where you there?

Lauren: Junior year spring semester. This was the best time to go because the end of winter was mild and the spring was BEAUTIFUL.

C: What was your favorite part about London?

L:The culture difference and freedom I felt there. There was always something different to do because London is such a big and diverse city. Each part of it is completely different and I never got tired of exploring. There are parts of London that I didn’t even get to that I still want to check out.

C: What was your least favorite part about it?

L: Going home and not being able to travel anymore!

C: What’s the weather like and what are some necessary things you need to pack if headed to London:

L: The weather was mild…it was a maritime climate so there was a lot of moisture. It made my hair look nice! It really didn’t rain as much as people said it would, but it was foggy…”Foggy Londontown.” I packed all normal clothes that I would wear here in New York State, except not a parka or heavy boots.

C: What did you pack/bring that you found unnecessary and why?

L: Hairdryers and straighteners. Even though I had energy converters and adapters, my hair tools still blew up!

C: Tell me some things you HAVE to do and see while in London?

This is why Lauren is awesome: she attached a whole list to an email of places in
London one should know if staying for a whole semester, or just a few days. It included grocery stores, markets, bars, clubs, restaurants, pubs and places to see, along with how to get to each place. She said she made it for some friends who were travelling there a year after she went. Here are just a few places she mentioned:

L:  Shopping:

Selfridges- A department store that is  bit expensive but worth looking at. It’s on Oxford Street, I would get off at the Bond Street tube stop on the Central Line

Harrod’s- Get off at the Knightsbridge Tube stop and Harrod’s is right there. It’s pretty close to Hyde Park. This is a famous department store that you have to go to just for fun, It has a market place for food and an ice cream bar that is DELICIOUS (but overpriced).

 Places to go and see:

Alexandra Palace- In the very back behind the building, there’s an open park area with a big hill and you can see all of London. Go with friends, take some beer/wine/snacks and lay out all day.

Hyde Park – has the Peter Pan statue and Princess Di memorial


Buckingham Palace

Tower Bridge/ The tower of London

Westminster Abbey

Parliament and Big Ben

C: Did you do/see anything that you thought wasn’t worth your time?

L: Never! Even when I got lost, it was an adventure, something new and exciting, even if I didn’t mean for it.

C: Name some other places that you traveled to outside of London.

L: The other places I traveled to and loved were Brussels, Naples, Pompeii, Rome, Florence and Venice. I was always excited to come back home to London.


C: Anything else that you would like to share about London for first time visitors?

L: It changed my life and I cannot wait to go back and visit. I still think and talk about it every day. I love watching movies such as Notting Hill or Love Actually so that I can see all of my favorite places 🙂

So folks, there you have it! According to Lauren, London is amazing (I agree!) and she can be your travel guide of the city.

Thanks, Lauren!

(photo credit on pictures: Lauren Drozynski)

Posted by: claire.mangine | February 19, 2013

Check out this view

Check out this view

Can we all take a second to look at this picture? I can’t stop staring at it.

Also, can we all guess who sent it to me?? MY PARENTS. Yes. They are on a week long trip exploring Paris and London as we speak, while I sit here in the middle-of-no-where-NY. Thanks for the invite…

This picture is the view from their hotel in Paris. I think it’s absolutely stunning! It screams Paris.
Paris was one of my favorite places I visited while studying abroad and I find myself wanting to go back more and more every day.

Have you been to Paris? Some people love it (me) other think it’s a little snobby… what’s your opinion?

Posted by: claire.mangine | February 15, 2013

Post Three- meeting with Director of International Studies at SBU

On Wednesday of this past week I was able to sit down and have a great conversation with Alice Sayegh, Director of International Studies at St. Bonaventure University.

Although her schedule is usually packed, I was fortunate enough to score a slot in her day, and we chatted about the position she holds and what her job entails. Here’s what she had to say:

Claire: Tell me about your position? What does it entail? What programs are you in charge of?

Alice Sayegh: I hold a combination of three positions. My main purpose here was to be an international student advisor for foreign students who came to SBU. A few years later they (SBU) asked me to add a study abroad component to the office. We also sell our programs nationwide that are marketed to other students at colleges and universities.

The programs I market include three in Northern Ireland, five in Australia, one in Seville, Spain and one in Switzerland. There’s also the Northern Ireland exchange program with five exchange sites. These students are body for body meaning we send someone over to Ireland and an Irish student comes here, both are tuition free (meaning equal tuition exchange, nothing extra needs to be paid).

CM: Describe for us a day in the life of a Director of International Studies.

AS: I try to discipline myself to come in and check everything going on security wise in government sites, news sites, and agencies to see if anything is going on around the world. I do a financial update to check foreign currencies because we buy on the cheap to keep expenses down for students. I’ll check the British Pound, Euro, Australian dollar…

After all that I’ll start advisement at 9:30am. I see both foreign and study abroad applicants. We have a grad assistant and an intern to keep busy so they’ll work on our Facebook page and websites and respond to non-Bonas students so they’re up to date each week.

CM: What is the procedure to get a student who is at St. Bonaventure to where they want to study abroad?

AS: First they’ll bring in their audit and financial aid package to see how much money won’t go with them. Sometimes, they come in and say they want to go to Switzerland, but have a Costa Rica budget (the cost of living is much cheaper in Costa Rica). They need to know how to read their budget and talk with their parents about what they can afford. We’ll work to the academic piece to see if the program is academically relevant to the students’ major.

Two of my biggest challenges are making students understand that someone has to pay the bill if they want to go abroad and that the program has to be academically relevant so they graduate on time. I have to bring them to reality to what it really is. We’ll meet four to five times 1-on-1 before orientation and getting their ticket and visa and getting on the plane to wherever they’re off to. Students will send post cards or an email or two for little things, and we’ll poke bloggers to keep active and current (check out student bloggers abroad right now!  )

I’ll have lots of conversations with parents in the planning process. Sometimes I meet with them if they can make it here. I like meeting with parents because then there’s no surprises for either of us, whether it’s an unpaid bill or something like that.

CM: You mentioned some difficulties your job entails, like having students see the bigger picture when it comes to picking a program, but tell me some things you really enjoy about your job

AS: I love every day of my position. I like dealing with students who are motivated to study abroad. Also with the foreign students who need things like bed sheets, a trip to the bank, it’s always a surprise. I probably see more students a day than anyone on this floor, even more than the Career and Professional Readiness Center. I find it easier to have a conversation face to face. (Hey Bona students! Alice’s office is located on the second floor of the RC, room 221 if you’re interested in meeting with her about studying abroad!)

CM: Have there ever been any major or minor emergencies when it came to a student who was going or already was abroad? How did you handle the situation?

AS: (knocks on wood) Thank God no we haven’t!! One time in the 90’s a student called my house in the middle of the night, woke everyone up, but got mugged when she was in Amsterdam and had her passport stolen. I was the only one in the whole world who had a copy of it so we were able to fax everything over and get her back to Ireland where she was for the semester. We have a crisis plan in place for emergencies like this. We’ll call the students home institution and parents but 9 times out of 10, the parents already know.

I had such a great conversation with Alice this week and I thank her again for her time!!

Have a good weekend everyone : )


P.S. please enjoy this picture I took while at the Leaning Tower of Pisa 🙂


Posted by: claire.mangine | February 8, 2013

Post Two

See, guys?! I told you there would be a post soon! Thanks for your patience.

Let me introduce to you…Kelsey. My first official student interview.

 Kelsey, a fellow Bonnie study abroad girl, is basically my 6th roommate. She’s at our house all the time, but we embrace it. And so does she. Somehow our conversations always end up involving Europe or traveling. I can’t imagine why…


Here’s Kelsey’s story:

Home University: St. Bonaventure University
Study Abroad Destination: Galway, Ireland
When traveled: Aug- Dec 2011 fall semester
Program Traveled with: SUNY Albany exchange program
Program Rating out of 10: Very low
University Attended: National University of Ireland at Galway

Claire: What was your living arrangement In Galway? Were you in a home stay or a dorm or apartment?
Kelsey: I lived in an apartment off campus, it was considered off campus housing. It wasn’t through the school in Ireland, the study abroad office suggested it, but it was pretty much all students. It’s called Cuirt Na Coiribe.

Can I get in here and interrupt for a second, even though we’re just one
question in? Thanks. I actually stayed in this apartment complex on the first
night I was in Ireland on spring break-the semester after Kelsey was there. My
two roommates and other friend (all Bonnies) met up in Cork with another Bonnie, Chris, who was studying in Galway. Chris helped us buy bus tickets to
Galway for later that evening, but the buses just decided to stop running once
we got to Limerick and we were trapped like rats. After cancelling our hostel reservation because we knew we wouldn’t be able to make it before check in time,
we all decided to split a (expensive) cab to Galway and Chris was nice enough to
let us all stay in his apartment! It was modern, spacious, heated and inviting.
Why didn’t we have one of those in Italy?? Sigh. Back to Kelsey.

The View from Kelsey's Apartment Window

C: What was the University like? I just found on their website that there’s 17,000 students and 2,000 international students from 92 countries. Way different than Bonas, I’m guessing?   

K: So different. I wasn’t used to a campus of that size. It took me a week and a half probably to get used to it, and that’s only after a few Irish guys that were students showed us around to our classes.Mainly everyone there was Irish. There were some Europeans and Asians, but less than half of the students were American. In most of my classes I was the only American student.

C: Why did you rate the SUNY Albany program as “very low?”
K: The professors there were not as helpful as they are at Bonas. No one from the program asked us once how we were doing. They didn’t plan anything for us, unlike some other schools that sent their students out to dinners. No one even got us from the airport.

C: Well. That’s not great to hear. Moving to more positive thoughts, tell me where else you traveled to and what your favorite place was?
K: I went around Ireland to Dublin, Limerick, Cork and Belfast. I also went to Italy and The Netherlands. My favorite cities were Galway, because there were a lot of college students and it wasn’t too busy like Dublin, and Rome because there was so much to see and it was beautiful there!

Kelsey in the Colosseum in Rome

C: What was your favorite part of the whole experience?
K: I loved it all. It made me a lot more independent. I’m more willing to try different things now.

C: What was your least favorite part?
K: Probably getting used to the campus. I didn’t have to deal with a language barrier so that helped. The first day of classes I was completely lost and was 20 minutes late to class because the campus was so huge. Each class has 150 students in it. I was used to small classes at Bonaventure and knowing all my professors.

C: Anything else you want to share? Any advice you want to tell prospective study abroad students?
K: Sure. As for advice, try to meet other people who aren’t from the school you came with. I noticed that some people didn’t branch out from their school friend group and I don’t think that’s the best way to handle the new situation. Also, if you have the money to do it, do it. Why not? Studying abroad was the best experience of my life and probably favorite experience of college.

Thanks Kelsey!!!

Posted by: claire.mangine | February 6, 2013

Follow my Pinterest Page!

Hello loyal and new followers. I wanted to let you know that you should have a fresh, new post to read by the end of this week…so keep your eyes out for that.
I’m posting with a request: please check out my new Pinterest account that I’ve made for this blog. I just started it, so it’s a little on the empty side, but no worries because it’s growing quickly. I could spend hours on Pinterest, and this just give me another excuse to do that 🙂 fine with me!!!

I’m pinning cool pics, travel quotes, info and stats, and of course, my own blog posts.   << check it out! (I’ll follow you back 🙂 )

hope everyone is having a fabulous week.


Posted by: claire.mangine | February 5, 2013


American Students Studying Abroad

” title=”Interesting!”>Interesting!

I found this link on Pinterest adapted from and thought it was pretty interesting. I definitely fit these stats! White female who studied abroad for a semester her junior year and went to Italy. Real original, Claire….

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