Why Do We Travel?

Alberte Lynge, Denmark.

I love to travel. I have traveled quite a bit already and I want to travel even more. I know that a lot of people like to travel as well. When I travel, I often think of the question, why do we travel? What’s the reason for us to get out of the environment we’re used to and where we feel safe?

I found a whole bunch of answers to this question. Of course, it’s a question to which there is no right or wrong answer, but I found 5 reasons that I think are the best.

#1. We travel to learn.
Whether it’s learning a new language or learning about a country’s history, traveling allows us to learn so many different things. We get to learn about the diverse cultures and ways of living. We learn about how our lives are intertwined and how we can impact one another.

#2. To escape.
Traveling gives us a momentary break from our daily routines and everyday lives. It provides us with adventure and excitement. When we travel and experience a new space or environment, we’re intrigued by all the new and different things that surrounds us. We forget about our jobs, our classes, and all our other responsibilities.

#3. To discover.
This goes hand in hand with the previous point, but traveling allow us to discover, whether it’s an interesting location or a new favorite dish. We travel to not only see more of the world and the people in it, but to also discover more about ourselves in the process.
Through the challenges that we face and the experiences that we gain, we discover our strengths, our limitations, and our potential while traveling.

#4. To make new friends.
When you travel, you meet people of diverse backgrounds and experiences and every single one of them has the potential to play an important role in your life, whether that is a new best friend or your soul mate, who knows.

#5. To experience.
Last but not least. We travel to experience all that we can and all that the world has to offer. We can experience the local culture by eating delicacies and dishes that are unique to the country or a certain region.
We can experience what it’s like to communicate solely through gestures when we don’t know how to speak a language. We might even realize how life in a foreign country is not that much different from our own back home.
Experiences help bring meaning to our lives. They both shape and define us.

These were the reasons I found the best and most relatable. If you have a different answer to why we travel or a point of view then please write it in the comments.

Our Past Is Who We Are

“Maybe the past is like an anchor holding us back. Maybe, you have to let go of who you were to become who you will be” – Carrie Bradshaw

Alicia Rank, Germany

For sure, our past is what shaped our personality. The decisions we made to this point and the friendships we build, define who we are. We don’t have to let go of all those memories to move forward, but that’s just what I think. We should be proud of who we have become.

The first thing to become who you will be is to accept your past. With all the mistakes you might have made, they made you who you are now. Without accepting your flaws it’s impossible to move on. Always worrying about old decisions will make you feel “stuck”. You cannot change spoken words anymore anyway, so why keep worrying about the past? Open your eyes and realize how much time has already passed by, in which you could have made decisions for the future. Don’t miss out on those opportunities; you might regret it.

Your past might have left some scars, either on your body or in your mind. Ether way, accepting them is the only way to guarantee future happiness. Trust me, once you have had your first heartbreak and you get over it, you know what I’m talking about. Life will put you in situations where you have to make choices. And you might not always make the right ones, but you will learn from them and next time you will do it better.

All of this is who you are, and you should be happy about it. Your past is a part of you that will never go away. “One moment doesn’t define you. The people around you define you. And you’re loved” – Raquel, Hit The Floor

Love, Alicia

The Effects of Cyber Bullying in Adolescents

Luciana Pesce, Chile

All the teenagers in our society have a mobile phone that allows them to be permanently connected in social networks, but if used incorrectly also can bring serious problems. Nowadays cyber bullying occurs  very frequently with teenagers. This a very substantial problem because this can lead to depression, anxiety, impotence and even suicide. Cyber attacking can be very bad for the person affected by this, because it influences their self-esteem and spreading rumors and intimidation is nothing good. Also this type of bullying is particularly worrying because it is constant, general and very, very public.

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Firstly,  cyber bullying can occur at all times and affect the mental health of adolescents  to have depression and isolate themselves from their responsibilities, family and friends, leaving them helpless to the insults directed towards them. To show that, many teenagers end up committing suicide since they can no longer live with the insults, or being humiliated, and even the harassed cannot afford to rest from the fear when they arrive at home or anywhere else away from the environment of their stalker.

Furthermore, once published, the content shared on social media and instant messaging applications become uncontrollable, making it impossible for the victim to know who the message has reached or if it will be repeated. As a result of this, the harassed person does not know when or by whom he will be bothered, generating anguish and the desire to end everything around him to feel relieved.

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Finally, the victim hides his situation as a result of the shame, until he even think that he is to blame for what is happening to him, and think what they say about him is true. This leads to parents not knowing what is happening to their child, and that they try to solve it without any positive results. If the parents knew, they could solve it with psychological or even legal help, getting beneficial results for their child.

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As I said before, cyber bullying is very bad, but there are some ways to prevent it. The first one is to talk with the kid about what is cyber bullying, if he knows someone who is being bullied and what the child should do if notices acts of bullying. Secondly, parents should monitor social media activity, including Facebook and Instagram, view all text messages, call logs and general online behavior.

There is no simple solution to cyber bullying or the best way to handle a bully, but, since cyber bullying is rarely limited to one or two incidents, it’s far more likely to be a sustained attack over a period of time. But you can handle it with not blaming yourself, do not beat yourself up, try to view bullying from a different perspective. Report the threats of harm.  Do not seek revenge or do not respond to any messages or posts.

Why Danes are The Happiest People on Earth

Louise Mohr, Denmark

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Again this year the Danish people are dominating the World’s Happiness Report and ranks among the top three happiest of 155 countries surveyed. On the other hand, the U.S. is with a four-spot drop, ranked 18th this year.

So why is it that these pastry-loving, LEGO building people are winning the happiness race? And how do they compare to the States?

The Danish welfare state works.

Danes pay some of the highest income tax rates in the world (45% on average), but, in exchange, every Dane gets free health care, free K-college education (the students are paid approx. $900 a month by the government to go to school), highly subsidized child care and generous unemployment benefits.

Some might lift an eyebrow over the high tax-rate, but the Danes don’t look at the tax rate as a burden, but as an investment in our society and quality of life.

If you lose a job in Denmark, it’s not a big deal. Unemployment is built into the system. This is in connection to the “flexibility model”, which, quickly explained, is a system built on freedom for employees. The government programs retrain workers and position them better for the job market. By doing this, we create strong connections and also provide a guaranteed safety net, giving unemployment benefits for up to two years.

The government also has a great retirement system, providing for the elders over 65+ population through a combination of state-founded pension and private employer-funded pension programs. This not only relieves the stress for the elderly, but makes them feel secure about their retirement.

Here’s a video that explains further: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=095ULhvaH5E

The perhaps most important aspect of the Danish culture is “hygge”, which they value as a cultural construct. It refers to high-quality social interactions. It’s used as as a noun, adjective or verb, and events and places can also be “hyggelige” (hygge-like). “Hygge” is most commonly translated as “cozy”, but is more an intentional intimacy, which can happen when you have safe, balanced and harmonious shared experiences.

“Hygge” is the Danish sense of well-being. Although Denmark is a highly individualized country, “hygge” promotes egalitarianism and strengthens the trust between people. It’s fair to say that “hygge” is fully integrated into the Danish culture psyche and culture.

But Denmark is not the only  country that has a concept similar to hygge – the Norwegains have “koselig”, the Swedes “mysig”, the Dutch “gezenlligheid” and the Germans “gemütlichkeit”.

The U.S. also places a high value on individualism, but there’s no real cultural equivalent of “hygge”. Income is generally associated with happiness. Even though the GDP is on the rise and the unemployment has been declining, levels of happiness in the U.S. have been steadily decreasing.

The U.S. income also continues to be an issue. There’s been a marked decrease in interpersonal trust toward institutions like the government as well as the media.

At it’s core, “hygge” is about building trust and intimacy with others. Americans could probably use a little more of that in their lives.

As a Dane in America, i find the the lack of free healthcare the most problematic. The United States reminds to be the only industrialized country in the world that fails to provide universal healthcare for all citizens. The concerns regarding this are significant and continues. Most people here are scared to get sick, and because of the high cost they avoid the doctors. American healthcare is the source of innumerable issues for many, both those withe and without coverage. These issues are not limited to the financial prospect, but has a far-reaching influence on their quality of life, psychological stability, and fundamental happiness for society at large.

After spending 3 months here, i can vouch for the rudimentary differences between America and Denmark. The divergences extend beyond policy, logistics or political agendas. There is a complete different feel to the place, a different tone to the culture on a fundamental level. I truly believe that America could learn something extremely vulnerable form the danish culture, if they had the trust to do so.

Halloween in Santa Barbara

Mohammed Alnasser, Saudi Arabia

First of all, this is the first time I have visited the U.S.A. and of course it is a nice fun and good experience at the same time. During my stay there were beautiful events and festivals including Halloween.

This was an interesting event for me because it was the first time I have been involved in this event and it was a beautiful experience in my life.

I participated in this celebration with the wonderful EF Institutes and it was a wonderful celebration. My costume was about a character in the circus. We were in competition with most of the students at the institute for the best costume and for the first time I won and I took fifth place.

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What To Do in Carpinteria

Florencia Casas Kemundris, Argentina

Elevation33′
Weather73°F (23°C), Wind SW at 10 mph (16 km/h), 73% Humidity
Population: 13,684 (2016)

Carpinteria is a beautiful place with awesome beaches near the city. It’s such a quiet city where you can chill and sunbath under a lot of wonderful palms. The weather is pretty warm. The temperature is about 73°

What About Food

Top ten best restaurants:

  1. Sushi Teri: a local sushi chain with five locations across Santa Barbara Country, this restaurant serves up tasty sushi and teriyaki in a relaxed environment.
  2. Crushcakes & Coffee: the variety of cupcake flavors offered changes everyday. Creative varieties include hot buttered rum, tiramisu and, their signature, red velvet.
  3. Lucky Llama Coffee: In the mood for a fancy latte? Stop here.
  4. Siam Elephant: They offer a variety of curries including seasonal flavors, like pumpkin curry in the fall.
  5. Padaro Beach Grill: Enjoy fresh salads, burgers and milkshakes which are blended by hand.
  6. Zookers Restaurant: Try their seafood tostada (made with shrimp and scallops), turkey mushroom meatloaf or Niman Ranch pork chop.
  7. The Palms: Order the cut of meat of your choice (steak, salmon or halibut).
  8. Giannfranco’s Trattoria: The best Italian restaurant in Carpinteria. Enjoy paninis, pasta and meat for lunch or dinner.
  9. The Spot:  Serving up delicious burgers and fries for over 90 years.
  10. Sly’s: Fresh seafood, prime steaks, and classic cocktails.

The Greatest Beaches:

Carpinteria State Beach

Carpinteria City Beach

Carpinteria State Beach Campground

Carpinteria Bathing Beaches

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A Letter to My Future Self

Dear Future Self,

You are probably reading this, maybe ten years later from the day you’ve written it to yourself. You might remember the day you were sitting in class at the EF school in Santa Barbara, and got the assignment to write about something you’d like. Then you came up with the idea to write about the most exciting experience of your life so far, to give yourself something to look back on when you’re older.

When you were only fourteen years old, you first visited the United States. After growing up in such a small country as the Netherlands, coming to the States was a huge eye- opener; it was the real experience of seeing everything big, bigger and biggest. You loved it, and from the first visit on you already knew you’d be coming back to this country one day. That whole plan started to come together during your last year of high school. You really din’t know what to study after your graduation, so you decided to take a year off from school. First a few weeks of hard work to make some money, then off to the USA for three months to take an English language course with EF.

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That’s where we are now. Let’s help you out a little: the day you wrote this letter, was your 12th day in Santa Barbara. The arrival wasn’t completely as expected; you had some struggles with your visa at the border and the welcome in your host family was not what you’d hoped for. Anyways, the first week of school was full of fun activities and you already met lots of new people, so there wasn’t any moment left to actually think about home. The second week you slowly started to settle in; the jetlag was over and you started to get familiar with the everyday school routine. You couldn’t believe that almost two weeks had already passed, and that you’d be flying to Miami Beach in five weeks to stay there for another seven weeks.

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And after that? I can’t tell you yet. I decided to take every day as it comes, and to not worry too much about ‘what will happen next.’ I can only tell you about my hopes. I hope my time in the States will be so memorable, that when you are reading this in the future, you will still look back on this time as the best time of your life. I also hope, that this year off from school helped you to figure out what you wanted to study at university in the next school year, and I hope that this trip helped you to become the person you are today. In this moment, I have already met a lot of people, but I believe there are way more people to get to know, and more beautiful places to be explored. I truly hope that all these new connections will slowly turn into true friendships that will last for a lifetime. How amazing would it be, if you can say that you’re still seeing people you’ve met during your time in the USA? I can only hope for the best.

Lot Steenvoorden, The Netherlands

 

Santa Barbara: a New Home

Francesca Vinciguerra, Italy

“One’s destination is never a place, but always a new way of seeing things,” said Henry Miller, an American writer. My destination was not Santa Barbara, but was seeing a different culture. I came here to improve my English and to become more fluent in speaking, but now that I am almost at the end of my trip, I can say I had learnt much more.

I understood that, wherever you go, you will find a new home where you feel yourself. Home is not just a pretty building, but also an ensemble of friends and people that take care of you. I have been living in Carpinteria for a month with other four lovable multicultural girls, Anna from Germany, Solene from France, Didem from Turkey, Hikari from Japan, and with a big family composed by Michael, Lucy, their daughter, her husband and their three grandsons.

Before coming here, I was afraid of leaving my family and my country completely alone. I was longing for years to come to America, but I have never thought my dream would be concretely realized. America is the many European students’ big dream because someone says that here every dream could come true. My dream is to reach my personal success: becoming a biotechnologist and helping the research to find new solutions for diseases such as Alzheimer Disease, Obesity or Infertility.

Why right in California and not in Italy? I love Italy, but no sooner had I entered in University than I had understood that I would have to move abroad to practice my lab skills.

In just one month, I have recognized that I fit well with the way of living and working. People here are open-minded, out-going and like talking with foreigners. The weather is warm and you can go hiking and tanning at the same time because there are both mountains and seaside. The only flaw is food. People here love fast food and rarely sit down to eat. In Italy, we are used to sitting down around a table for lunch and dinner and the mealtime is a sacred moment. I enjoy high-quality cookery and sharing the mealtime with friends and with my family. I prefer simple and not too spicy food where you can distinguish each different flavor and tastes rather than a mix of a hundred ingredients. Except for food, in Santa Barbara I feel at home. I suppose that the reason why nobody makes me feel as a stranger or a tourist is that in California there is a mix of people coming from all over the world, accustomed to live and work together.

I hope to come back soon to be part of this “big American team”.

Things To Do in Switzerland

Alyssa Knutti, Switzerland

Switzerland is officially the second happiest country on the planet, according to the 2016 World Happiness Report. And while you read this article you’ll soon realize why Switzerland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. There are so many things you can do in this small country from exploring the Swiss Alps to passing the spectacular Rhine Falls or sailing around Lake Geneva.

  1. Go skydiving

An amazing place where you can skydive is Interlaken. Interlaken is close to the capital city and is surrounded by peaks of the alps. It’s one of the most spectacular spots on earth to go skydiving.

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2. Take the Glacier Express

You should definitely ride with the famous Glacier Express through the mountains. Riding the train is pretty spectacular because it has huge panoramic, glass windows. If you want to take the whole ride you have to get in from Zermatt and then you go out at Davos or St. Moritz.

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3. Visit the James Bond Restaurant

The famous James Bond restaurant in Switzerland is located at the top of the Schilthorn, a 2970 meter high mountain in the middle of the country. The restaurant is called Piz Gloria. It is where the 1969 James Bond movie was set. It’s also a revolving restaurant. That means you can eat and the view changes all the time.

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4. Get soaked by the waterfalls

If you want to see one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Switzerland you have to go to Lauterbrunnen and take the one hour hike to Trummelbach. You’ll actually pass about two or three other waterfalls along the way. Trummelbach is the most famous waterfall. It has been formed by the melting snow breaking through cracks in the rocks.

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