7 Back to School tips for Students Abroad

The biggest takeaway I got from studying abroad was: it’s easy to get overwhelmed, push past it. I wish I had asked some students who had studied abroad for their tips. I guess I just wanted to figure it out on my own.

Keep reading my tips that I learned along the way while studying abroad in Shanghai.

1. Take risks

Try that ‘weird’ food, go out on that Tinder date (safety first!), sign up for a course you know nothing about...live a little! Sure you’ve decided to skip town and live in another country. But don’t let that be the only risk you take.

2. Get Organized

I found that when I started language school in Shanghai I was in my prime when I kept organized af! But then of course that all went downhill. I started wearing less and going out more and made friends in the city and was almost never home. An agenda (like this one) would have been a step in the right direction. 

3. Self Care

Pick a day and make that the one day you don’t do a thing other than spoil yourself. If you don’t have the privilege of time to do so, then spoil yourself in other ways. Soak with a bath bomb, say no to that favour you don’t want to do or paint your nails a fresh nude colour.

4. Be Nice

It seems simple, but be nice. Sure it’s easy to get in a slump. To think that you feel so alone and that no one gets your life. Guess what: everyone else feels the same way (especially at school abroad). Suck it up* and go meet someone new and really listen to them.

5. Talk to Someone*

Ok the little asterisk above is for the anxious student. The one that feels like leaving their campus or meeting new people is an impossibility. Whether it's medical or other factors, sometimes people feel that block. The best tip I can give to you is the one you fear the most, talk to someone! It might be a professional counsellor at your school (or online) or it might be someone down the hall. Use your voice

6. Getaway for the weekend

While in Shanghai I had the chance to visit Beijing with my roommate and her friend. I had already planned on visiting Beijing, but to do so with people I knew was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. So I hopped on the bullet train with them and had one of the best times of my life! Pack up a cute weekender bag and #Justgo!

7. Record your experiences

Experiencing a trip through a screen might be my job, but it’s not always the best way to do it. I don’t believe in holding my phone up the entire time I’m away. Keeping a travel journal or a secret Tumblr could be a great way to record your experiences. It could be so you can share them with friends later or look back on them on your own.

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Elaisha Goes…to the Yu Garden

The Yu or Yu Yuan or Yuyuan garden in Shanghai was pretty dreamy. I crossed different thresholds and it felt like I went back in time. I was excited to edit this video to show you how lush and green it was! Check it out below 👇🏾👇🏾👇🏾

Want to visit Shanghai? Ask me any questions you may have in the comments below!

Amazon Prime Day Travel Picks

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Hurry! Until July 11th at 11:59 p.m ET you can get your hands on my favourite deals from Amazon Prime Day. I've rounded up my favourite picks from the ultimate sale for all of you little travellers.

The Best Bag Deals

Best Tech Deals

How to Shop Online for Your Next Vacation + Prime Day secrets

I have a shopping problem. But it's totally ok because it means I can give you my ultimate tips for How to Shop for Your Next Vacation. Sometimes we get so caught up in the excitement of a trip that we forget to purchase key items and end up buying things we don't need. Keep reading for how I get the best deals and avoid useless buying.  

Make a List (and Check it Twice!)

Sure you might need those green ostrich leather biking gloves someday, but not today. Ensure that every purchase you make is intentional. I've been guilty of

Set a Budget

The worst B word. I hate sticking to a budget but my wallet is always grateful. After deciding what things I need and want for my trip, I set a budget and cry a little. Then I feel a little less guilty when shopping. Instead of thinking 'I can't afford this!' I think, 'Is this on my list? Did I budget for this purchase?'

Price Match

I am a firm believer of getting the best price for whatever I'm purchasing. Makes sense right? Not to everyone. Some people just want the first thing they see and check out quickly. I'm like a lioness waiting in the grass for its prey. I'm very patient when shopping. I use things like the camera option on Amazon Canada's app to upload pictures of whatever I want to purchase from other websites then I compare the pricing and check out if it's a winner.

Catch the Sales

When I know an event like Prime Day is coming, I don't waste my time shopping before it. I know regular prices will stay the same. If the item I really want isn't on sale then I can always purchase it at the list price later.

Can you believe that it's almost Prime Day? Tomorrow check my blog for the ultimate Prime Day Deals post. I've had a sneak peek of the deals and I'm beyond ready for the amazing prices to come. From $40 off of the Kindle Paper White to up to 70% off of Samsonite Luggage (omg!) I am beyond ready to update my travel gear. 

Tomorrow, read my post to save some time (and to feel less overwhelmed) when it's live. 

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Great Wall of China Photo Diary + Guide

When I visited the Great Wall I felt so privileged to be a part of something so big! Keep reading for my guide on the Great Wall of China.  

When to Go

As early as you can especially on the weekend. Beijing traffic was no joke. We luckily left at a great time (8am from Qianmen) and even then we ran into traffic. I took a little nap while on the drive up and listened to an audiobook.

We got there at about 9am and people were already on their way down as we headed up! They avoided the humidity and crowds. 

Where to Go

Did you know that the great wall wasn't just one huge wall?  I learned a few years ago in my Chinese studies course that the Great Wall was several sections built over many centuries. 

According to our guide, we visited the prettiest and most quiet part of the Great Wall. The Mutianyu (or Mu Tian Yu) section was further out than the most popular part of the wall. So, we beat the crowds when we got in early and got some amazing pictures. As well that part of the wall was restored beautifully!  

What to Do

Take the Cable Car

A nice warm up to the grandeur of the Great Wall was when we took the cable cars up. We viewed lush greenery below us as we ascended to the top.

Hike the watch towers

If you won't have a guide, before you go, ensure that you check out which area of the wall you'd like to explore most then prioritize it. The humidity was intense as we trekked up the steep steps between each watch tower. It made each step hard as brick path wove into each check point. I loved it!

Take the Slide Down

The most fun part about the Great Wall for me wasn't actually the wall. It was when we left and took the slide down the Great Wall to the bottom. It was an absolute blast and I would do it again. The loops, hills and turns in the middle of the green landscape felt like a dream. On some parts we moved so fast it felt like a roller coaster. It went by pretty fast but I was happy we did it. *Tip: get on the slide before 11:30. The line up got pretty full as everyone was ready to trek down the wall for lunch. 

What to Eat

After our descent down the slide, we were super hungry. Our lovely guide called ahead and ordered us an amazing lunch. We drove for 10 minutes to Xiao Long Pu a 

She ordered us a spread of sweet and sour pork tomatoes, greens, cod and fried rice. 

I was beyond excited to have crossed the great wall off of my bucket list. Are you planning on visiting the Great Wall? Let me know in the comments below.