Monthly Archives: November 2015

How Do You Want to Enter the World?

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Over the holiday weekend, I asked my dad a simple question about what to wear when we were going out to dinner. He responded, “it’s up to you how you want to enter the world.” At the time I took the response for what it meant and chose an outfit. Later on, I thought further about the significance of choosing how I want to enter the world.

Every day, we have a choice about how we enter the world. We can be optimistic or pessimistic. We can be happy or sad. We can be nice or mean. We can be ethical or unethical. We can be a friend or an enemy. We can be open minded or close minded. We can give or we can take. With each of these choices, we adjust our actions to align with how we feel, how we are perceived, and how we impact the world.

My Alex and Ani bracelet is one way that I answer the question about how I want to enter the world. The bracelet serves as a constant reminder for me to make my mark on the world. My goal is to have a positive impact by helping the world foster intercultural acceptance and understanding. I wear the bracelet often and remind myself of its meaning:

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Source: Make Your Mark Bracelet, http://www.alexandani.com

“You have the ability to leave a positive imprint on the lives of others. Inspire others with thoughtful actions. Discover your passions and act on them. Lead a life that you can be proud of. Make your mark to better the world and leave a legacy of love for generations to come.” -Make Your Mark Bracelet, Alex and Ani

Symbols like my Alex and Ani bracelet keep me focused when I  enter the world. I encourage you to challenge yourself by asking: How do you want to enter the world? What symbols do you have that will keep you focused as you answer this question every day?

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Source: scoutmob.com

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inspirNational Music: Good to Be Alive (Hallelujah) by Andy Grammer

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Next up on the inspirNational music playlist is “Good to Be Alive (Hallelujah)” by Andy Grammer. I first heard this on Siriux XM Radio while driving to Atlanta to get my student visa for France. With all odds seeming to go against me in the visa process and my goal to study in Paris, this song reminded me to have faith and feel grateful.

Below are some of my favorite lyrics:

“And if there’s a man upstairs, he kept bringing me rain
But I’ve been sending up prayers and something’s changed

I think I finally found my hallelujah
I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life
Now all my dreams are coming true, yeah
I’ve been waiting for this moment

Feels good to be alive right about now.”

I’m inspired to have faith with any challenge I face. And this strong faith has helped me obtain my visa to go to France this winter! With a long weekend ahead and Thanksgiving with family and friends, it feels good to be alive right about now.

With Tragedy Comes Hope

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To all inspirNational readers directly affected by the Paris tragedy and other worldwide tragedies over the past week, I am sending you my condolences, thoughts, and prayers. The recent events in Paris have left me feeling a whirlwind of emotions, from grief for the Parisians, anger towards terrorism, and fear as I am about to live and study in Paris. Combining all of these feelings and insights I have read and heard on the news and from loved ones, I am comforted with a sense of hope. I wanted to share some of the powerful thoughts with you that I have seen over the past few days.

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1. Good will prevail.

“In times like this, it’s important to remind ourselves that despite the alarming frequency of these terrible events, violence is actually at an all-time low in history and continues to decline.

Deaths from war are lower than ever, murder rates are generally dropping around the world, and — although it’s hard to believe — even terrorist attacks are declining.

Please don’t let a small minority of extremists make you pessimistic about our future.

Every member of our community spreads empathy and understanding on a daily basis. We are all connecting the world together. And if we all do our part, then one day there may no longer be attacks like this.”

-Mark Zuckerberg

2. Let your faith be stronger than your fear. Fear is what fuels evil in the world, and we must not let our fears conquer our thoughts. With strong faith we can overcome anything.

3. Our youth serves as a powerful source of change. We can teach them peace and hope as they form their values, world beliefs, and dreams for the future.

May all of these thoughts remind us that with tragedy comes hope!

Why Travel? Part Seven

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As I have said in my Why Travel?, Why Travel? Part Two, Why Travel? Part Three, Why Travel? Part Four,Why Travel? Part Five, and Why Travel? Part Six posts, there are SO many reasons to travel. Each of the quotes in these posts makes our wanderlust grow stronger.

In our pursuit of happiness, it is interesting to think about travel as a source of happiness. With new sights, perspectives, and encounters during our adventures, travel can strongly encourage happiness in our everyday lives. I came across an insightful Huffington Post article that shares 11 Reasons Why Travel Makes You A Happier Person, outlined below:

  1. Find your self-confidence by dealing with unexpected situations.
  2. Happiness is infectious.
  3. Being away makes you appreciate family and home.
  4. You make new friends.
  5. Detox from social media.
  6. Getting some “you” time.
  7. Education, education, education.
  8. Get a Vitamin D boost.
  9. You’re more interesting…especially in travel conversations!
  10. New experiences give us moments to remember.
  11. The effects of travel aren’t just short-term.

Read the full article here! Don’t hold back- go on another adventure and be inspirNational!

I Am Grateful For…

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With a little over two weeks until Thanksgiving, I am reminded about the importance of gratitude. I have decided to start the month by thinking about what I am grateful for every day. When I think about one new thing that I am grateful for every day, I am reminded about how lucky I am and I feel a boost of optimism in my daily life. I have expanded this reflection into a daily discussion with my boyfriend, which has been very enjoyable to reflect and think about everything that we love about each other. While many of our thoughts are personal, the effects have been so powerful, and I wanted to share the experience with you!

Source: thechineseconquest.com

Source: thechineseconquest.com

This post is an invitation to say “I am grateful for…” every day until Thanksgiving. And better yet, it is a challenge to think this way throughout the year. Where to start? Think about your health, your family, your friends, your job, your daily conveniences, your hobbies, your guilty pleasures…and you will easily create a list. Try discussing what you are grateful for with your loved ones. You will be amazed by the joy, healing, and memories you will experience!

For more inspiration, check out my previous post, Attitude of Gratitude!

Best Places to Study French in France

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Check out my latest feature on One World 365, with a sneak peak below!


 

As 2015 nears the end, I cannot help but think about one of my most exciting life adventures ahead. In January, I will be living in the heart of Paris, France as part of a language and culture immersion in my International MBA Program at the University of South Carolina Moore School of Business!

Preparing for the adventure, I have researched the best places to study French in France, which I have shared below. I look forward to hearing any other ideas from you and adding insights when I live in France this winter!

Paris: As the most famous, cosmopolitan, trend-setting, and romantic city in France, you will fall in love with Paris while studying French. Paris provides you with the perfect combination of history, art, fashion, food, politics, and culture to keep you engaged and learning every minute of every day.

My first trip to Paris, August 2011

My first trip to Paris, August 2011

Nice: The French Riviera provides some of the most scenic views in France, with beautiful beaches along the Mediterranean coast. You can easily travel to other French Riviera cities, including St. Tropez and Cannes. Nice is one of France’s most visited cities, attracting four million tourists per year.

My trip to Nice, August 2011

My trip to Nice, August 2011

Lyon: Famous for being the gastronomic capital of France and the world, Lyon provides great opportunities for students to learn about French cuisine. Lyon is also one of the business capitals of France, providing excellent internship opportunities for students.

Lyon Bridge, August 2011

Lyon Bridge, August 2011

Aix-en-Provence: With a central location, Aix-en-Provence is popular for students looking to be close to the Alps, the coast, and Mediterranean countries. Aix-En-Provence was once a European Capital of Culture, with several museums, theaters, and rugby clubs to entertain the locals and tourists.

French musician in Aix-en-Provence

French musician in Aix-en-Provence

I have also written more details about Rennes, Bordeaux, and Grenoble, which I look forward to visiting when I study in Paris! Read my full article on OneWorld365.

Where else do you recommend that students go to learn French in France? Feel free to leave your ideas and comments below.