/Maria Riley

About Maria Riley

Maria's wish was to create a community of individuals who believe in international education as a means to global understanding and peace. Through this website, she wants to share her passion and commitment to making a positive difference in the world for the betterment of the planet and its people through education and travel.

Your Study Abroad Experience

Many students return from studying abroad on fire with new insights and new perspectives. There’s a place for fresh ideas gained from unique vantage points—the op-ed pages of local, regional, and national newspapers.

If you’ve ever worked for a student newspaper, you know that the search for good copy—for solid, interesting, unique stories about the news and about other subjects—is neverending. Editors of major newspapers must fill many pages each day, and they hold even more articles in reserve in case a big story falls apart or events shift in a new direction. Professionals write most of these articles, but on the op-ed page (the page opposite the in-house editorial page) guest writers deliver brief opinion pieces on topics they know better than anyone else. The expansion of news on television and on the Internet has only increased the vitality of this part of the newspaper—the page where debate and controversy reign.

Did your study abroad experience prepare you to be one of these guest writers?

study abroad experienceFor an editorial to be successful, the writer must have a compelling perspective that transforms mere opinion into informed insight. Residence abroad is a wonderful starting point for such insight: you’ve lived, studied, perhaps worked in another culture, learning its outlooks, understanding its particularities, and absorbing its rhythms. Whether the issue is an international one involving your country or a local one specific to your village or town that has larger implications, you will have a perspective that most readers won’t have, an outlook that will expand most Americans’ view of the world. Everyone knows that there has been tension between France and the U.S. over the invasion of Iraq, for example, but someone who has lived in a French town where there is a large population of Muslims might have a very original way of looking at this controversy. That story could become an editorial.

A unique perspective or a clear opinion is only a starting point for an op-ed piece. The goal of an editorial is to persuade readers to change their minds on an issue, or to take action, or both. Mere opinion is unlikely to lead to those results, however; editorial writers must hone their knowledge of the situation, making sure that they have assembled facts and other concrete evidence to back up their main ideas. An editorial essay presents opinion, but it is always informed opinion—clear arguments that spring from solid facts. Your ten months in Seoul will give you an angle on relations between North and South Korea, but don’t forget to find out what’s happened since you left and to corroborate everything you learned while abroad. Once you’ve thoroughly studied the topic you want to write about, think about aiming your essay at one well-defined part of the problem. It’s tempting to blurt out everything you think about healthcare in Ghana, for example, but more reasonable to focus on one health issue.

Are you ready to join the debate?

Editorials tend to follow a fairly standard structure. Unlike research or other types of papers required in most college courses, editorials build from beginning to end toward the most dramatic and complete version of their main point, which is usually stated in the last paragraph. The first paragraph of an editorial announces and defines the problem and suggests the direction of the main argument. Subsequent paragraphs present supporting points and refute key opposing points, building a convincing case with the best argument saved for last. The concluding paragraph makes the clearest and most eloquent statement of the author’s point of view: ideally, readers should look up from the editorial with those last powerful words echoing in their minds.

Another expression of opinion, letters to the editor respond specifically to an article, an editorial, or even another letter published in the newspaper during the previous week. Cite the earlier piece in your letter’s first or second sentence: the letter should spring from that reference but move on to present its own well-defined perspective. Letters are shorter than editorials, of course, and since newspapers publish lots of them every day, letters offer the best chances for breaking into print. To insure that your letter is current, send it by email and include a phone number; if your letter is chosen, the editor may call you to confirm your identity and finalize the agreement to publish.

Start by studying the op-ed page for several weeks. What are the characteristics of the best work? Most newspapers are looking for editorials of about 700 words and for letters of about 100 words. Check the paper’s Web site or call the editorial office for guidelines. The closer your work adheres to the published form in length, structure, and format, the more likely it is to be accepted.

Putting your ideas out there in published form is a bold but very satisfying step that usually generates responses. While you are likely to hear from people who agree with you, you might also inspire others to write letters or editorials that attack what you’ve said. That dialogue is what makes an op-ed page great. Turning you study abroad experience into an editorial or a letter to the editor creates an opportunity to reflect on what you learned and to engage others in discussion. It’s also an exciting way to bring your experiences home.

By |August 30th, 2016|Categories: Other Destinations|Comments Off on Your Study Abroad Experience

Top Seven Reasons to Take a Trip Abroad and Understand Different Cultures

There are so many reasons you need to travel abroad and experience an array of cultures. Depending how you organise the list, it could go on and on — probably forever… At times, you just need to travel as far as possible and get away from the business or off the day-to-day schedule.

Without a doubt, living off the grid is refreshing. Regardless of the case, you ought to try taking a trip abroad at least once in a lifestyle. Are you short of concrete reasons to go abroad?

Here are some of the solid reasons you should do it, like ASAP:

Have the opportunity to have out of the box experiences

philipines are an amazing destinationExperiencing life outside the box tops the list of reasons of why you need to travel abroad. At home, you might have a routine, which can get monotonous from time to time. A little adventure out of the normal is magical.

Traveling to another country enables you to experience life in a totally different way. How about you ride a train in Italy or board a bus in Peru.

Build Confidence

Travelling to a different country exposes you to different modes of transport. Furthermore, it exposes you to diverse ways of interacting with other people. Taking a trip to a foreign country, especially on your own, is an excellent way of building self-confidence. Eating out in a town and interacting with locals is not only fun but also invigorating.

When you are alone in a new environment, you learn a set of survival tactics such as trusting your instincts. You also get to learn how to read a map correctly.

Learn various fashion styles

Fashion is a cultural expression — it is self-expression. Have you ever watched the film Sex and the City II? It perfectly brings out the diversity of different cultural expressions as witnessed in fashion. New York ladies travel to Abu Dhabi to try and ‘fit in.’ From hijabs to sexy miniskirts and bright colors, undeniably, fashion across the work is meaningful and rich.

When you travel abroad, you encounter a variety of designs and fabrics.

Learn a foreign language

doing a road trip is a great way to visit a place

Doing a road trip is a great way to visit a place

For sure, learning a foreign language can turn out to be quite difficult. It applies in particular if you don’t hear the language being spoken regularly. Are you in the process of attempting to learn some foreign language, such as Spanish? If yes, then consider taking a trip to Spain. Do you want to learn more about French? Why not visit France.

Enjoy cultural awareness

Throughout the world, there is the richness of culture. You need to look above and beyond the typical tourist attractions to local events or activities. Learning about local religions, rites, or local customs increases your cultural awareness. The little gems of experience usually follow you in your entire lifetime. In fact, it influences your view or perspective of the world. In the end, you will be able to increase your knowledge about certain issues such as human rights and education.

Chance to build your resume

Travel abroad teaches you lots of new things. What is more is that it looks brilliant on your graduate school applications or resume. Some graduate schools need a statement of purpose or intent. By including your travels to foreign countries in your statement shows reviewers you are curious and anxious about the world that is around you.

Use a Drone to Capture Special Moments

DJI Drone to film holidaysEver watched a movie scene where a camera pans over stunning vistas, beautiful mountains or some wide-sweeping landscape? With drone aerial photography or filming, you can perfectly capture similar landmark footage. When travelling abroad, this technology comes in handy to helping you capture the best scenes of the dazzling landscape. Rather than utilising a film crew or your camera, the remote controlled gadget will surely help grab the best aerial shots. In the recent past, using drones to take shots has exploded in popularity throughout the world.

Before using one, it is important to check the law of the country you are visiting. Most countries have guidelines regarding the use of drones. For instance, in the United States, FAA stipulates that drones or any other model aircraft ought to stay not more than 400 feet above the ground. The same rules require drones not to be flown within three miles of air traffic or an airport.

Read this webpage to know more on mini drones, ideal for travellers

There is more good than harm that comes with travelling abroad. The above are just some of the many reasons you need to travel to a foreign land.

All the best in your next voyage…

By |July 4th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Top Seven Reasons to Take a Trip Abroad and Understand Different Cultures

Amazing Australia Northern Territory

Australia is a magical destination for both tourists and students and we would like to introduce to you the top spots on the Continent:

Northern Territory


darwin the capital of the north

Wave Pool in the Darwin Lagoon

Darwin is the capital and most populous city in the area of the North, Australia. It is located on the northern coast of the nation and has a population of approximately 111,000 inhabitants. The city has excellent infrastructure regarding maritime and land transport, and presently has day-to-day flights from major Australian cities.

Kakadu & Arnhem Land

Kakadu National Park is one of the major destinations of the regions. It is also possible to discover traces and paintings of Aboriginal populations of more than 30 thousand years.Kakadu National Park is one of the significant tourist attractions of the regions.


katherine gorge NTKatherine lies in between Darwin and Alice Springs, and its main attraction is the Katherine George.
It is possible to find cave paintings in the very same Nimiluk National Park and Forest, and the Park offers a range of activities such as fishing, bird seeing boating and canoeing and boating and tours among the surrounding wildlife.

Alice Springs

Alice Springs is the 2nd city of the Northern Territory, also overlapping as “The Alice” or “Alice”. The primary source of earnings of the town is tourism, where hundreds of companies offer trips to check out the desert and the surrounding areas.Alice Springs is the 2nd city of the Northern Territory, also overlapping as “The Alice” or “Alice”.

Uluru – Kata Tjuta

Big development Uluru and Kata Tjuta (Heritage) Rocky domes are one of the most recognised icons in all Australia and are particularly essential for Aboriginal Anangu. It lies 1431 kilometres from Darwin, and Alice Springs is 440 km.

map of australia

By |July 4th, 2016|Categories: Oceania|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Amazing Australia Northern Territory