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9 Lessons From Study Abroad in Italy
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I have been so very blessed in my life to have been able to travel as I have. Everyone needs to travel – and not just within their own country! Sure, there’s so much here on my own homeland that I need to see and experience before I die … But there are things you learn when you travel abroad that you really can’t learn at home — especially in the United States (sadly).
I believe I first got the travel bug the summer between my junior and senior year of college. It was a requirement of my Italian minor that we travel to Italy and study the language for 5 weeks.
And it. Was. Glorious!
I’ve since joined this really cool club that not only allowed me to take 15 vacations from 2010 to 2014 [with a few being out of the country — and many more to come!], but I’ve also been introduced to a new world of people and a transformational way of thinking.
Through my travelling, I’ve learned so much about myself, other societies, other cultures and religions … I may not be able to go into all of it at this time, but I felt that these lessons have made the biggest impact on me:
1. Enjoy The Time You’re There
At the time I was in Italy, for the most part I enjoyed what I was doing, but I had a significant other back home that I missed very much … And unfortunately it was a major focus when I wasn’t doing anything (sightseeing, going to museums, etc). It was a cause of stress and duress that cut into the time I spent there.
The reason I wish to stress this is because in this day and age, with the way the world is … you never know when you’ll get the chance to go back. You don’t know if the wondrous works of art and architecture will be there in a few years.
It could all be gone in a moment … Or you might not have that “next time” to look forward to.
So wherever you are, IMMERSE yourself! Soak it all in. Let it permeate your entire being so that when you think back on it, you can physically see, smell, hear, feel everything you experienced.
2. Be Wary of Oddly Dressed People (Or Just Expect to Tip)
So … funny story. While I was in Rome, I saw this guy dressed up as a Roman centurian near one of the ruins. I took a photo of him cause I thought he was cool … He then proceeded to stalk me and follow me around, telling me I owed him $5. — It was kind of scary!
I finally gave him the $5 (euro – so it was more in US dollar) so he would leave me alone, and then he got all, “Oh you American! You so pretty. You have un boyfriend?”
That guy truly had no people skills …
But the gist of it is this … When you see someone dressed up like that, or living statues, or whatever the case may be … Keep in mind they are not just there for your enjoyment (usually). While the $5 photo requirement was RIDICULOUS, at least tip those people. And if you’re like these guys, tip a LOT!
This was a human statue … Completely painted and scared a couple people when he finally did move! Absolutely loved this guy ….
A little dark, but this guy was phenomenal as well. That tie that looks like he’s running or it’s really windy? Nope. He got that thing to look like that and stood in that position. Living statues, dude …
3. Know Enough of the Language to Get Around
I think this one speaks for itself. (haha)
Most countries have English as a main language so this isn’t usually an issue, but the people generally appreciate it when you take the time and effort to try to learn their native speech.
4. Purchase the “Let’s Go (insert country here)”
This book was absolutely incredible for me while I was abroad! Our Italian professoressa told us to purchase it and I’m glad I did! It had all of this and so much more:
- key phrases in the language of the land
- tour information (like a tour around the volcanoes, etc)
- places to eat or shop
- places the locals go (that visitors might not know about)
- price range on places
So whenever you’re going to another country, I would highly invest in purchasing this book before you go so you can do some research and really take advantage of the things available to you. If you do so, you can maximize your time there.
5. Don’t Just Take Photos – Drink in the Experience
I took over 1,000 photos while I was in Italy. And while photos can help to trigger memories, don’t be lost in taking those photos so much that you’re not actually experiencing the things you’re doing.
6. Take Advantage of Everything That Interests You
This would seem like a no brainer, but here’s why I put this here.
When I was in Italy for 5 weeks, it was with my Italian class (or at least some of my classmates). And the 2 main reasons we were there was to immerse ourselves in the language and learn more about the culture … But every time I hung out with the rest of my classmates, I felt like my voice was never heard. They rarely spoke Italian except when our professor was around and it seemed like all they wanted to do was shop, party, or go to the beach.
So I went off by myself — and I’m so glad I did! While I did miss out on hanging out at a few beaches, I got to see things other people didn’t.
I was at the Heineken Festival when the freak storm blew through …
I was a patron at some little bitty place that was showing the history of serial killers … (creepy and fascinating, let me tell you)
I got to spend more time with our professor and meet her friends, ride on a Vespa, and so much more.
And this lesson really can be applied to anything, not just when you’re travelling.
7. Meet New People (Make Pen-Pals)
It’s wonderful having friends all over the world! My lifestyle & vacation club taught me that. Unfortunately, I wasn’t introduced to my club until a few years after my trip to Italy … but it still holds true.
When you have friends in other countries, you not only have friends … but they’re in another country! Someone you can call on when you’re “in town” or can try to meet up with if you’re kind of near the area and can take the train or whatever.
And it’s always good to simply have someone to bounce ideas off of, find out what’s going on in their country, etc.
8. Spend Time With People You Like – Otherwise Go It Alone!
Just like in #6, this applies to everyday living. Not everyone will want to do what you want to do. But don’t stop yourself from living your life in such a way that reflects who you are just because the people around you don’t want to.
And DEFINITELY don’t hang around people you don’t like or who will bring you down.
Life’s way too short and there’s so much out there for you not to enjoy it.
You’d be amazed at what you can find when you just walk around and enjoy the things about you.
10. Check Out Any Ruins in the Area
It’s absolutely fascinating what you can learn about a culture through it’s history.
11. Check out the Architecture & Sculptures (Even the Churches)
Cause … well … this:
So that’s basically it. Travel. Have fun. Enjoy yourself. LIVE!
~ To Your Success ~
Commitments And Decisions
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Mirriam Webster defines commitment as “a promise to do or give something”.
But it’s not just a promise. When you make a COMMITMENT to do something, you make the decision to do what you say you’re going to do, regardless of how you feel later.
Decision — from the Latin word dēcīsiō, literally: a cutting off.
When you make a commitment to someone or something, you are making the decision — the conscious choice to act upon something and cut away everything else.
When you make a commitment / decision to be somewhere, to meet someone, to have that business meeting, to put away laundry, to get in shape, to invest in yourself & work on personal development, to start that new business … you have cut yourself off from anything else that would deter you from that.
If you do not follow through with your commitment, then you may be seen as lacking integrity. Perhaps someone who cannot be trusted to keep their word. You run the risk of people being taught not to trust you.
Yes, things happen. And sometimes they can’t be avoided. [In which case it’s courtesy to call that person immediately so they can make other plans, if your commitment is to someone else.] But if you make the commitment for anything and then don’t follow up with it because you’re tired, you forgot, or whatever lame excuse you come up with to avoid it? Then the thing or person you made the commitment to wasn’t important enough to you to ensure it happened.
So the next time you make plans with someone, the next time you begin to think about starting a business, or the next time you make a commitment to yourself, take a step back and think about this:
If I decide to do this, will I actually do it?
Do I have time to make this commitment?
If I don’t have the time right now, is it important enough to me to MAKE time?
Be honest with yourself AND the person you are about to make a commitment to (even if it’s just hanging out). It’s ok to say no. It’s better to say “no” or “not right now” than to say “YES” and then not follow through.
So make the decision today that when you commit to doing something, that NO MATTER WHAT you’ll do it or you won’t commit to it.
~ To Your Success ~
Cash Flow Quadrant
Cash Flow Quadrant
Hello my prosperous hearts!
A couple of days ago, I provided information on my favorite money management system (and even gave you the option to receive a FREE tool) … I thought I would continue my 21 day blog challenge by providing information on something else that changed the way I think about money.
When I started my first network marketing business, I was introduced to some of the most incredible, compassionate, intelligent, & success minded people … And one of the first books they told me to read was Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.
This book completely made me change the way I think about money. And it all started with this fancy little “Cash Flow Quadrant”:
The YouTube video attached with this post will go a little more in depth about this odd little photo (as well as some of the differences between a rich person’s income statement and a poor person’s) but I’ll break it down pretty quick and easy for you here.
The Cash Flow Quadrant defines how different people generate their income (money).
Cash Flow Quadrant Breakdown
The left side (Employee, Self-Employed):
focuses on earning income
greatly value a safe, secure job or career
trading time for money
95% of the population
5% of the wealth
The right ride of the cash flow quadrant (Business Owner, Investor):
focuses on creating assets to provide their income source
use OTHER PEOPLE’s time & money
values financial freedom
5% of the population
95% of the wealth
The following photo really helped put things into perspective for me:
This is one of the many reasons why the “98%” movement really gets my goat, but that’s another blog for another time.
I would highly suggest you pick up this book and begin the wonderful journey of increasing your financial knowledge. You’ll thank yourself in the long run. It’s really the only kind of knowledge you need to become wealthy, honestly. — But don’t take my word on it. Every wealthy person I’ve ever met or read about has said the same thing.
INCREASE YOUR FINANCIAL EDUCATION!
So what would you like to do? Work 40+ hours a week for 40+ years to “retire” and live off of 40% of what you were making before? Or would you like to determine the level of income you have and be master of your life?
John Paul Getty (who at his death was worth $2 billion) said, “I’d rather have 1 percent of the efforts of 100 people, than 100 percent of my own efforts.”
Can you guess which part of the cash flow quadrant he was in?
Thank you once again for joining me today! If you liked the information I provided here, please be sure to join my mailing list to receive money management tips, ideas on debt reduction, information on increasing your wealth, and so much more! — You’ll even receive that FREE downloadable money management tool as a thank you.
(And be updated when I update the tool, since I’m planning on improving it here soon.)
CLICK HERE to sign up for Prosperity Tips!
~ To Your Success ~
Tech Tip – HOW TO: Get an RSS Feed to Your Email
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First off … What is an RSS Feed? Basically it enables publishers to syndicate (update) data automatically to multiple places.
With all of the tools out there for reading RSS feeds, it can get downright confusing or frustrating finding the right one(s) for you!
When Google Reader went away, a very easy and easily accessible RSS reader went the way of the Do-Do. Fortunately, I was introduced to Feedly and it’s got a lot of features that make it easy to use — AND it has an application for iPhones, Androids, and regular website access.
Problem with Feedly is that it doesn’t update you when an RSS feed has been updated (at least not that I know of). And I know I for one check my email a lot regularly than I do any app on my phone, so I went in search of a way to be updated/emailed when a feed has a new entry.
And I found one.
It’s called “IF This Then That” or IFTTT. The programmer side of me just absolutely adores the title, and it’s a fairly simply tool to use. You just need to be careful about how you create these IFTTT rules, as some of them require a monthly fee.
The video above walks through the steps to set it all up, but here are the basic steps to set up a free handoff from an RSS feed to email via IFTTT:
- Click on your username and then click “CREATE”
- Click on “this”
- Type “feed” in the field and choose the RSS feed – don’t click Feedly because it’ll ask you to pay monthly to use it
- Click on “New Feed Item”
- Put in the RSS feed URL
- Click “Create Trigger”
- Click on “that”
- Type “Email” in the field and choose the Email icon — don’t do Gmail as it’s the same issue as Feedly
- Choose the “Send me an Email” option
- Change the fields as you see fit for when the email is delivered
- Click “Create Action”
- Name the action
Voila! Next time that feed updates you’ll get an email about it.
If you would like some more information or other ideas, feel free to check out this article, which was where I first heard about IFTTT!