Losing And Finding Yourself

“As we drive along this road called life, occasionally a girl will find herself a little bit lost… she has to let go… and just keep going” – Carrie Bradshaw

Alicia Rank, Germany

Did you ever find yourself in a situation in which you didn’t feel like yourself? I think we all have. But why does this happen? Maybe, we find something in someone else that we don’t have. Maybe, because we admire someone’s style or even more simple, their way of dealing with a specific situation. The only thing we have to be careful with, is not loosing yourself while trying to make this charateristic your own.

But, if we do lose ourselves a little bit, we feel kind of lost. We don’t really know what happened and how this situation could have gone so far. We have to realize that we cannot always change who we are, even if it might be for the better. Remember, that nobody in this world is perfect in every way, so why should you? Accept your flaws. They make you beautiful and unique, so why change?

You want to find the one unique thing again which reminds you of yourself. You relate everything to this one object and without it you think it is impossilbe to go back to your usual self. But all of this isn’t quite true, maybe we feel like our personalities depend on this one thing, but let me tell you, that you have to get past projecting and relating it to that object. You can do it without it, I promise. Surround yourself with those freinds who remind you of who you really are and find the confidence again that you used to have. While trying to be something you’re not, you might lose a piece of this confidence. As soon as you realize that you’re still the same person, you get this confidence back and you will feel like yourself again. Accept that this was a lesson of life. You might feel as if you have failed, but you learned from it and that that’s what matters.

Love, Alicia

 

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

You Want To Be a Cool Parisian Guy ? Follow my Advice

Rudy FRANÇOIS-MÜLLER, France

1- The Style

  • A lot of big luxuous companys come from France, like Louis Vuitton, Chanel or Yves Saint Laurent. Parisian guys are inspired a lot by the street mode. For exemple, when people wait at the pedestrian crossing, it’s time to find your inspiration.

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Paris fashion week 2018.

2- Good Place to Be!

  • Paris is a big city, but not so big when you want to discover beautiful areas without a lot of tourist. The district of Saint Germain des Pres is a really good place to be! I really like to seat in the “Cafe de Flore”. This is an really expensive coffee, but I can see a lot of celebrities (from France or Internationnal) and thst can inspire some people!

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3- Are You Really Already Going to Paris?

You can’t say that you are going to Paris if you have not made these trips:

  • The Eiffel Tower is one of those must sees! I don’t recommend it to anyone who is afraid of emptiness but when you are in the Tower, we can see a beautiful view of Paris! And for the richest you can even eat in a starred restaurant in the first floor.Image result for tour eiffel
  • The Champs-Elysees is the most beautiful street in the world. They are many shops for all budgets. In the winter, all the trees are illuminated and this makes the street even more beautiful!Image result for champs elysees illumination
  • Montmartre is a very old district in Paris. Hilltop Montmartre district is a former artists village once habited by Picasso and Dali, and home to the domed Sacre-Coeur basilica. There are sweeping views of the city from its steep, winding streets, while the iconic Moulin Rouge cabaret below draws tourists and night clubbers.Image result for montmartre

4- The French Food

During your trip you should try the beef Bourguignon in a restaurant! It’s a beef stew braised in red wince, often red Burgundy (very delicious), and beef stock, generally flavoured with carrots, onions, garlic and a bouquet garni, and garnished with pearl onions, mushrooms and bacon.

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I hope you will soon discover the city of Paris and share your experience :).

 

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.

How to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Luna, Belgium

Having a healthy lifestyle starts with a healthy mindset. You need to be in peace with yourself to be able to have access to that stable lifestyle you want. It’s all about finding that balance between self-care and allowing yourself to have a treat. It is important to know how your body works and how to improve your way of living.

The motivation and will to become healthy comes from within and you are the only person controlling your body. If you really want it, go and get it. It is as simple as that. You have to find certain sources of motivation to keep track of that lifestyle you want to achieve. As long as your mindset is in a good place, you will be, too !

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One of the first things that is crucial to know and that you’ve probably heard a billion of times is drinking water. It makes you feel cleansed 24/7 and it is recommended to drink 180 ml per day. It will keep your system going and your skin clear!

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Eating healthy always sounds so boring and like it’s something you have to endure, but it is way more easy and delicious than it sounds. You can find tons of easy recipes online that are so healthy and really tasty. Another way to achieve health in general is finding healthier options for things like butter, sugar and other harmfull products we might use a little too much. Coconut oil, Agave syrup are way better options for those two examples. Try to include plant-based products as much as you can in your diet because those are the most beneficial food sources you can eat. Vegetables and fruits are really important but, they’re not the only ones out there ; quinoa, all kinds of rice, grains, beans, lentils … are  fibers and protein sources that are so easy to make, way healthier and better for the environment than meat or fish.

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After you get your diet down and decide which kinds of food are working for you and your inner body, you need to focus on your body image. That is where exercise will become part of your routine. Try to find ways you like to exercise because going to the gym is not always a pleasure for everyone. Dancing, hiking, yoga, swimming sounds like fun to me and are really nice activities you can do with other people.

Finally, you need to see this as a better way of living and not a restrictive way of living. You need to enjoy it in order to maintain it. That’s why balance is the most important thing. You should be able to treat yourself, but have a healthy lifestyle in general.

https://www.pickuplimes.com/

 

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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Looking for Our Identity

Sayen Antil, Chile

What makes me be me? Do I have an answer for that?

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Identity is by definition the distinguishing character or personality of an individual, so I’ve been thinking which things about myself make me who I am. For me, it’s a struggle, but why? Why is it so hard to think of all those things? I think its mostly because when we are trying, aspects of us that we have denied arise. But what we should do about it? Just stop trying and continue living like we have been?

I started reading many different quotes of different philosophers  or even current writers. The psychologist, Camen Duran, said that changing our being is changing our lives,  but changing our lives is not changing our being. At first I didn’t get it, but when I did, I thought about changing  the way we live for changing ourselves is just a transitory change, mostly because our inner struggles will keep coming back to our lives.

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So where am I heading to with all of these? I want to know myself, and I am going to do it through these steps. First of all, I’ll stop comparing myself with others. Everyone does this to try to know themselves, but this is actually the worst thing to do, because we get so distracted in trying to be someone else. Maybe it’s good to look up to someone, but we’ll do this without losing our true identity,  trying to be the best version of ourselves.  I’ll be objective, if I refuse to accept some of the things I don’t like about myself, I won’t know what kind of person I truly am. I’ll try my best to identify my emotions and act according to them, that way I’ll know what  my character is like.

Once you identify how are you, you’ll be able to identify others. It will help you to improve your relationship with yourself and therefore, improve it with everyone around you. And let’s keep it honest, when you are happy with the environment of your interpersonal relationships, your entire life feels so much better because good relationships are the basis of a good, happy life. So knowing yourself, in other words, can lead you to live a fulfilling life.

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Self Driving Cars, Are They the Future?

Leonard Storch, Germany

Think of the self-driving car, an idea that seemed impossible 10 years ago and yet it’s already a reality on some highways.  It is not like they are regulary on the streets, but although some of them are being used by companies like Tesla or Uber. These companies are seeing like many others the future of traffic and cars in these autonomous vehicles. So, in case you are asking yourself why these cars aren’t used much more on a daily basis, it is because with every new invention comes also a new danger. Even though  the vehicles have an impressive safety record compared to the carnage wrought by human-driven vehicles, their excellent performance is largely enabled by machine-learning algorithms that have been trained on torrents of data about roads, intersections, street furniture, etc. But sometimes there have been fatalities. In 2016, for example, a  self-driving Tesla  drove into the back of a white tractor-trailer; in March this year, a self-driving Uber car killed a woman pushing a bicycle and so on.  These accidents are called “edge cases” because the cars’ software encountered scenes or objects that it didn’t recognize for the simple reason that they had never appeared in the software’s training datasets. Given that the real world is full of things that cars’ sensors and software have never seen before, these edge cases will continue.

So in the end I would say that there is certainly a need, and many benefits, for autonomous cars, but on the other hand, the current technology doesn’t quite seem ready for full autonomy all the time.

 

Living in a Host family

by Sophia Zimmermann, Germany

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In a few days, I will be back in Germany and will talk about the amazing experience I had with my host family here in Santa Barbara.

It is my first time in the US, so I was really afraid what it would be like living in a new family. You don’t know the people that you are going to live with, but you have to live with them. It’s a whole new culture, especially when you’re from Germany living with a Mexican family in the US.

All my fear was taken away when I saw my new family for the first time. When I got out of the car they were waiting for me at the door. They hugged me, brought my suitcases upstairs and showed me the whole house. Since the first moment I was a part of their family.

They took me to family parties, they went shopping with me, they cooked the meals I like, they made me feel so welcome in this family. I couldn’t be more grateful to call this people MY American family.

My American family is like my German one. Three children, a son and two daughters, mother, father and a pet. All family members didn’t treat me like someone they barely knew, they treated me like one of them. It was so nice to see that they cared for me and that they did everything for me so I felt good. And I did, it felt like home there and I think that is the most important thing.

But I also heard a lot of other students say that they don’t like their host families because the parents didn’t care much about the students. I feel so sad for them. You are miles away from your home and when you don’t feel comfortable or welcome your whole experience won’t be as you would like it to be. When I hear about their experiences, I feel even more grateful to have such an amazing family.

After one month in California, I will go back home with a lot of memories and new experiences. On the one side I don’t want to leave Santa Barbara, but on the other side I am really excited to go home and see my family and friends again. It will my host sister’s quinceanera in four years and I definitely will be here and celebrate this big party with her.

Santa Barbara stole my heart and I will never forget the wonderful time I had here!

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Soccer Culture

By Simon Kjellgren, Sweden

For Americans, soccer is just something you drive your daughter to. A world cup they always think they’ll win despite just being no.28 on the FIFA world ranking. For the rest of the world, it’s more than a sport, it’s a lifestyle. We live and breath soccer, some fans even kill and die for their club. The club is our god, the fans of that club is our family and the stadium is our home, our church. Soccer is a religion, a religion with thousands of gods. The leader of all those gods? Sadly FIFA. I’ll explain later.

tifo2Borussia Dortmund TIFO

The fans are the most important thing a club can have. It sounds cheesy I know, but there’s a reason fans are called “the 12th player”. They provide atmosphere around the stadium; they provide electric chants that energize the players. Most importantly, they provide TIFOs. A TIFO is a synchronized display before the game starts, with banners, flags and songs that the team march in to.