Days Like These

This is pretty much how I feel everyday at SENA, except, thankfully, my classrooms are pretty large and have good ventilation.

One More Detour

As I’m nearing the end of my stay in Colombia, a lot of my time lately has been spent feeling a lump in my throat. My heart sinks when I look out the bus window and see the beautiful landscapes and mountains in the distance, when I’m laughing with my friends and realize we only have a few more weeks together before I move to a different continent, or when my students tell me “Teacher, no te vayas!” Even as I write this, I’m trying to hold back the tears.

But there are days – not even days, more like hours – when leaving seems a lot easier. Those hours are usually from 10-12 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday when I teach my Multimedia Production group. I started working with this class after semana santa. They were brand new, just beginning their studies at SENA, which means most of…

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My Hunt for the Perfect Grad School

I decided earlier this year that I want to attend graduate school. After thinking it about it for some time I decided to research programs in the areas of language, linguistics, education or translation.  I plan on becoming an official translator in Colombia by the end of the year and, in addition, I plan on teaching English after I complete my CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) in December.

Now that I’m in Colombia and no longer in the USA I have been researching the programs and loans through ICETEX which is a Colombian governmental organization which offers grants and loans to students who wish to complete their studies overseas.  In addition to ICETEX, I am also researching ColFuturo which is a non-profit organization that chooses students every year who wish to complete their graduate and Ph.D. studies overseas and also offers grants and loans. In addition ColFuturo has a number of agreements with international universities that offer Colombian students tuition discounts anywhere from 10% to 100% of the current tuition fees at that particular university.

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How to Watch American TV Abroad

I’ve been in Colombia only four days now but one of the things on my mind before I moved was about how exactly I was going to continue watching American television once I’m outside of the country because while some Colombian shows are very good, I still want to be able to watch HBO, Netflix and Amazon Prime movies IN ENGLISH! If there’s one thing I can’t freaking stand is watching movies or shows that are dubbed whether it’s in English or Spanish.

So what’s a girl to do when she’s in another country and needs access to Game of Thrones and Orange is the New Black? Sign up to a VPN service of course! What is a VPN? It’s a virtual private network and basically the only way to watch American television while living overseas.

northamerican tvIf you’re already thinking this is difficult, it’s not. There are some online companies out there that are already set up to help you out. I must have reviewed about four of them before settling.

1. Zoog TV.  Zoog has different pricing plans from $35.99 for 12 months to $4.49 for 1 month.  They accept credit cards and paypal.  Zoog can be installed on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.

2. PureVPN.  PureVPN has many different server locations in a whole lot of different countries. Is there a show you just love that comes out of Moldova that you just have to watch which you can stream from a Moldovan website? Great, you can sign in through a Moldovan server to watch the show!  They offer lots of different payment methods including credit cards, paypal, and even Bitcoin. A 1 month plan will run you $9.95 and a 1 year plan $49.95.

3. UnoTelly.  UnoTelly only has monthly plans at $4.95 and $7.95 per month for the Gold Plan. Unlike many of the other VPNs you can use UnoTelly on even more devices such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Nintendo Wii U and Xbox 360 and One + many more.  If you have devices you’d like to be able to stream to this might be a good option for you.

New-TunnelBear-designOf these three that I looked at I ended up choosing none. Instead my sister told me she uses a VPN in Canada to stream American shows which is called TunnelBear. In my research TunnelBear didn’t come up so I hadn’t heard of it but she did give me her login information so that I could download it to my computer and set it up.  Guess what? It works like a charm! I tested it with HBOGO, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix and it works great! During the first week it was working just fine with as well but I think they caught on and now I get a notice saying that it appears I’m using a proxy and to please disable the proxy if I’m in the USA.

Thankfully I have some friends who have been kind enough to lend me their account information for some of these sites, such as HBOGO.  I can now rest easy knowing that I’ll get to watch Game of Thrones when it returns in 2015.  Happy Channel Surfing!


My Life Fits into Four Boxes

That’s right, after selling everything I own and packing up what I’m sending ahead of me to Colombia, it looks like everything I own fits into four cardboard boxes and two suitcases which are the ones I’m keeping and flying out with.

Two of them are desktop computer sized boxes since since one of them actually contains my desktop computer and peripherals along with a few other items I was able to squeeze in.  The second computer sized box contains items such as five photo albums (which took up the most space), my college degrees and school documents, a monitor, a couple of small kitchen items, a few miscellaneous items.

The other two boxes are taller but a bit narrow and they contain the rest of my clothing and shoes, handbags, hangers, another monitor and Nintendo Wii U.  That’s right, I need to play some Mario Kart even in Colombia!

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My Experience with the CELTA Application Process at IH Bogota

A few months ago I decided to move to Colombia where I was born and obtain my CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) in order to gain a basic qualification to teach English and gain a much better understanding of English grammar and teaching methodology.

There are two different institutes that offer the CELTA in Colombia, International House and the British Council. I opted for International House due to the cost of the course ($1,795 USD to $2,280 USD (approximately)). These are the steps I took in order to qualify for the CELTA course.

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Planning a Move Overseas

Planning a move overseas takes months of planning. I assume if someone is moving because their company is sending them overseas to work they most likely hired an overseas moving company that does most of the work and planning for them.

Some of us, like me, don’t have that luxury and have to plan this type of move alone.  So what’s on my list of tasks to complete for the move? Continue reading