When study abroad students set out to explore a CAPA global city over the course of a summer or semester program, they have plenty of resources to help them along.
One of these is CAPA's MyEducation events, bridging the gap between classroom learning and the life on the real streets around them. Another is the knowledge of our local staff like Lorenzo in Florence, Debbie in Sydney, Monica in Beunos Aires and Colin in China (among many others). There's also CAPA's own social media, like this blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram (come find us!).
But our students also benefit from the local knowledge of other bloggers in CAPA cities and so we've set out to identify some of the best through our annual CAPA Top Blog Awards. This is our second year and below are our winners, listed alphabetically, and the reasons why they deserve a CAPA Top Blog Award 2014.
Congratulations to all of you!
An American Girl in Shanghai
Why An American Girl in Shanghai deserves a CAPA Top Blog Award:
Anne Marie packed up her cozy life in South Carolina to move to Shanghai with her husband after his job was relocated in 2012. Her blog looks at the city through the fresh eyes of an expat, starting with her first impressions ("Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore") to some of her favorite things in Shanghai (hidden alleyways, spectacular people watching, KTV) to a creative post about the sounds of one of her days in Shanghai with clips you can listen to as you read. Anne Marie has been in Shanghai for almost two years now - plenty of time to get acquainted with this metropolis. An American Girl in Shanghai is a look at the city through American eyes, much like CAPA students will be doing when they study abroad.
The Beijinger Blog
Why The Beijinger Blog deserves a CAPA Top Blog Award:
With a host of different contributors, The Beijinger Blog is updated often, sometimes as many as 10 times a day, so there's always plenty of new content. It ranges from reviews of the newest restaurants and coffee shops to pop up in this global city (like Soloist Coffee, for example), ticket giveaways to events like the NFL Superbowl celebrations in Beijing, local news, observations and suggestions on other places within China to explore. There's other fun topics American students studying in Beijing will relate to as well, like a recent post the origins of Chinese food in the United States.
Come Here To Me
Why Come Here to Me deserves a CAPA Top Blog Award:
"'Come here to me’ is Dublin slang used to mean 'Listen to this' or 'I’ve something to tell you'", the About page explains. It implies a certain secretiveness and that's exactly what Sam, Donal and hXci make you feel you've discovered when you scroll through their site. This is a group blog about exploring the layers that make up the city of Dublin generally and more specifically, topics like music, history, football, politics and pub crawls. With special attention to this global city's growing graffiti scene and the history of local gems like Cabra Grand Cinema, it's a blog that digs deeper than your usual headlines.
Florence for Free
Why Florence for Free deserves a CAPA Top Blog Award:
Bloggers Hannah and Meg are on a mission to make the best of Florence accessible to those on a budget - which is just about all study abroad students. This is a wonderful resource that even has a section of printouts with some walking tours like "Fashion as art on display" and "Florence's Last Supper Scenes." Some posts we love are the cafe crawl, Florence's best markets by neighborhood and a walking tour of Dan Brown's Inferno. Hannah and Meg also post tons of upcoming events so they'll help students stay in the loop as they discover their new host city. To stay organized, they even have a handy calendar.
Inside Buenos Aires
Why Inside Buenos Aires deserves a CAPA Top Blog Award:
Locals know best, right? Inside Buenos Aires is written by the staff at the Fierro Hotel, so they do indeed have the insider knowledge of this sprawling city. Buenos Aires is famous for their steak, but check out the post about Argentine cuisine, beyond asado and you'll see there are plenty of other options for dinner. They keep track of upcoming events each month. Here's February's! They also list events week by week with more detail. Looking for a restaurant to try? Inside Buenos Aires checks out all the newest ones as they pop up around the city. Their latest? Olaya. They also write about architecture, theater and local stories like the legend of the ceibo tree.
Why London Living deserves a CAPA Top Blog Award:
A brand new neighborhood called the East Village sprung up in London after the 2012 Olympics. This is their blog and it's quickly become a London favorite reaching way beyond the village to the depths of the city on every tube line. Here are some mid-winter motivators every Londoner needs to know about, top five non-alcoholic bars in London (yes, that's a trend these days), and the top five unusual ways to get fit in London. Occasionally, they do post news about the East Village, like this post about a 22 foot high topiary statue of a woman that's just moved in. London Living is entertaining and contains a wealth of knowledge about this global city that goes well beyond the tourist traps.
The Study Abroad Blog
Why The Study Abroad Blog deserves a CAPA Top Blog Award:
Nate Nault is the study abroad guru behind this blog that covers all aspects of the student experience from saving money before you leave, to packing, to making the most of your host city once you're abroad and how to capture your memories. Nate's blog is about five years old now, so the archives are packed with useful posts and it's broken into categories like travel tips, money saving advice and study abroad support. Check out what not to pack for study abroad, top 10 reasons to study abroad, and his entry on reverse culture shock and what to expect when you return home.
Sydney Moving Guide Blog
Why The Sydney Moving Guide Blog deserves a CAPA Top Blog Award:
The Sydney Moving Guide Blog may be aimed at those who are relocating to the city a bit more permanently than study abroad students, but it's full of wonderful and informative posts about Sydney. For example, we love this list of 101 things to do in Sydney your first year as an expat. There's a great post on finding free wifi in Sydney, another on the top cafes in Sydney and one on free walking tours in the city. This blog is written by American expat Lauren Kicknosway, who moved to Australia because of her husband's job. She's been writing the blog about her experiences in Sydney since 2011.
Why Valirie Morgan deserves a CAPA Top Blog Award:
Valirie is a Missouri School of Journalism student studying in London this semester with CAPA International Education. Her brand new blog tracks her adventures and misadventures while she becomes familiar with the city and the British culture during the Spring semester. She writes about every day life situations like doing laundry in London (completely different to doing laundry in the States) and her internship writing for Beauty and the Dirt. This is a blog other study abroad students - in particular, CAPA London students - will relate to and we're looking forward to reading on as the semester progresses.
Why Witt Magazine deserves a CAPA Top Blog Award:
Written by the folks at Witt Hotel, this blog is packed full of local insight on the CAPA city of Istanbul. There's some important information like how to avoid common tourist scams in the city and how to bargain like a pro in the Grand Bazaar and elsewhere. They love to write about food with a post on hot and cold street foods, top 10 fish restaurants and a more general post about the top 10 things to eat in Istanbul. And there's a series in which every month they ask an Istanbul local 10 questions about their neighborhood, their favorite experiences and the best souvenirs visitors should take home.
Congratulations to all the CAPA Top Blog Award 2014 winners.
Keep up the great work!