TAPIF | Setting up support systems before going abroad

What happens if you get sick?

Who would you contact if you have problems with your employer?

What’s the equivalent of 911 where you’re staying?

It’s impossible to plan for everything that can go wrong, but having some basic idea of what to do beforehand can bring a little bit of peace of mind! Here are some ideas for how to set yourself up to deal with whatever comes your way:Read more

How to start your own group

If you’re wondering “What can I do?” this post is for you, whether you’re doing TAPIF or back in your hometown.

One of the best things I ever did was starting up my own environmental club and recycling program in my high school, which set the stage for a lot of the work that I continued to do later. I didn’t have any leadership experience before that, but I figured things out as I went along with tons of trial and error.

This post was originally targeted towards students looking to start up an environmental club at school, but these ideas can be applied to whatever issue interests you. I’ve used the same basic concepts to start groups during my TAPIF lunch break and in my village, so they can also be used in a variety of settings.

Please note: This guide is intended for anyone who has the energy and space to be able to start something new but is unsure of how to get going. If you need to be focusing on your own well-being right now, this is not meant to guilt you into action! 

Starting up my own club did seem daunting at first, but I found that it was a lot less scary than I expected once I got started! Here are some of the things I did (or wish I had!):Read more

How to get through a house of horrors

(Probably super obvious to anyone who’s not me, but just let me have this.)

I’ve had this bopping around my head for a while and was going to post it during that holiday week before the election (Sleepy Holloween? Diwaloween?), after taking a walk past the skeletons of the local haunted hayride. But somehow, this seems even more relevant now…

All photos credited to Lost Souls Alley in Krakow, Poland.

I hate scary things, ironically enough considering where I live. The last horror movie that I remember seeing was The Ring at a Girl Scouts slumber party.

So when my friend reaaaally wanted to visit a haunted house in Krakow, I reaaaally didn’t want to go.

But we’d spent most of the week hacking our lungs out, and it was conveniently right across the street, so we went. We were told that we couldn’t go in with just two people, so we’d have to wait for the next group. A bunch of guys were there, joking around, getting ready to go in.

We came back later to find the same group of guys, faces frozen with terror, muttering about how one of them had freaked out so badly he’d hit one of the monsters and they had to leave. Now I was definitely wondering what I’d gotten myself into.Read more

Anaelle and Carolina: Leadership in a changing world

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I wanted to speak with young women environmental leaders about their experience organizing COY 11 Montreal (a climate change conference for youth). What resulted was tons of laughter and a fascinating conversation not just on how to change the world, but also “multipotentiates,” French words with no proper translation in English, and so much more.

You have to have your own trigger, your own thing, and the day I found this out, I was like, “Ok, so if I have to work on something, I have to work on triggers in people.”

But even this, this is saying that, “Oh, I can give you triggers.” That’s not true.

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TAPIF | Staying fit while living abroad

The past few months have been full of moments where I’ve thought to myself, “I really wished I’d thought of/known about that last year!”

You, my friends, get to profit off of my missed opportunities.

Or hiking up mountains of coal waste!

Or hiking up mountains of coal waste!

Aside from climbing beffrois and taking long walks across town to Auchan, here are a few ideas for staying fit while living abroad, with little to no equipment, and from least to most expensive:Read more

This is Sleepy Hollow | Kykuit

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to “act like a tourist” in Sleepy Hollow. Partly because it seemed silly that I’ve lived here most of my life without seeing a lot of its attractions, partly to do more local/low-impact travel, and partly to reclaim this space as my own.

I’ve been questioned a lot over the past week about “Where I’m really from,” and I always staunchly answer “Sleepy Hollow,” perhaps in the hopes that discussing the headless horsemen will stave off thinly veiled (or pretty blatant) questions about my ethnicity. I remember one of my professors in college wondering with us, well, when does your “history” start if you’re the child of immigrants? Isn’t the history of this land also your own? So out of some kind of defiance – and the fact that a lot of tours end this week – I decided to finally go for it and explore.

Sleepy Hollow Skeleton

Helloooooo

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TAPIF Finances | How to open a bank account (not!)

I thought that opening a bank account was going to be no big deal; after all, my host teacher was kind enough to make an appointment for me at her bank and was going to be coming with me, and the last assistant had successfully opened an account there as well. I had plenty of time before the deadline to turn in my paperwork so that I would get paid for the first month.

Or so I thought.Read more

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