page_refresh Playlist: Christmas Cheer

Culture and Lifestyle

As the great Elf (in the form of Will Ferrell) once said ‘’the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear’’, so what better way to get you all in the Christmas mood than to share an Xmas playlist. With a host of classic tunes, and a sprinkling of new hits, it’s time to crack open the mulled wine and hit play on our page_refresh Christmas Cheer playlist!

  1. Mariah Carey — All I Want For Christmas Is You (1994) 
  2. Darlene Love — Christmas (Baby Please Come Home (1963) 
  3. Kylie Minogue — Santa Baby (2000)
  4. Paul McCartney — Wonderful Christmas Time (1979)
  5. Wham! — Last Christmas (1984)
  6. Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan — Baby, It’s Cold Outside (1949) 
  7. Justin Bieber — Mistletoe (2011) 
  8. Bing Crosby — White Christmas (1942) 
  9. Sam Smith — Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (2014) 
  10. Micheal Buble — It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas (2011) 
  11. Ariana Grande — Santa Tell Me (2013)
  12. Louis Armstrong — Christmas in New Orleans (1955)
  13. The Ronettes — Sleigh Ride (1963) 
  14. Elton John — Step Into Christmas (1974) 
  15. Chris Rea — Driving Home for Christmas (1988) 
  16. Nat King Cole — The Christmas Song (1961) 
  17. Frank Sinatra — The Christmas Waltz (1954) 
  18. Jackson 5 — Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (1970)
  19. Elf — Main Title (2003) 
  20. The Pogues — Fairytale of New York (1987) 
  21. Bobby Helms —Jingle Bell Rock (1957)

York: A Saturday to Explore

Travel

York, a gem tucked away in the North of England, nestled not far from the East coast of the country. The pearl of North Yorkshire, some might even say, the city has been the centre point of many historical tales — from the Vikings to the War of the Roses, and later Rowntree’s chocolate empire  — York’s beauty lies in its varied architecture and its reflection of its rich past.

The minster stands tall in the centre of the old town, protected by what were once the city’s guard walls. With intricate patterns, illustrations, and carvings, the limestone structure whether set against a clear blue sky or malicious grey clouds,remains majestic, towering over the sea of tourists below, each equipped with smart phone in hand.

The winding streets that lead from behind the sacred site echo a treacherous time in English history: the War of the Roses and Tudor England, a period of violence,religious reform and civil unrest … all seems peaceful now until the whistles begin to blow and a wall of voices fill the streets. Protesters declaring “Bollocks to Brexit” wave flags and smile, they still have hope that others may come to their senses. As we watch,some of us with pride, others in awe, and some with unwavering cynicism, we drift down the side streets.

Further awayfrom the protest we come to the Shambles, a street distinctly mystical in its make-up.The oldest shopping street in Europe or so the guide book says, the shops todaylook to a different world to entice their customers: a magical world and afamous boy wizard. Fans seem to come from far and wide to take a stroll downwhat many claim was the inspiration for Diagon Ally. Looks of wonder and joyfill the faces of those who spent their childhood under J.K Rowling’s magicalspell.

Across town the station is busy with commuters and tourists, some rushing to catch their next train, others staring up idly at the large departures board. Just next to the old Victorian structure stands a museum filled with trains from every decade: a train spotter’s delight, and a Grandfather’s favourite destination to show off his niche knowledge. Some children sigh as the wonder why they’re spending their weekend learning which engine fits in to which train, they would rather be in the realm on Instagram, some lean in eagerly, “maybe this place isn’t so boring after all?” they think to themselves.

Outside it’s getting dark and people make their way into the centre of the city. Whether an evening meal spent with friends, a few drinks at the pub, or a couple of cocktails on an awkward first date, the city flickers with energy as the night is set in motion ready for the next day to dawn in the historical city of York. 

6 Ways to Explore Munich Like a Local

Travel

Munich is a city that welcomes millions of tourists every year  and is known as city of beer, pretzels, and German tradition. But there so much more to Munich than meets the eye, especially if you’re just in the city for a flying visit. From venturing into the mountains, to experiencing the alternative nightlife, here my 6 tips for exploring Munich like a local.

The Isar

An integral part of Munich life, especially in summer, is relaxing by the Isar. Whether you choose to BBQ or grill along the Flaucher, or lounge on the riverside by the Reichenbachbrüke, make sure to bring a couple of beers along with you (well, you’re in Munich after all). The location is perfect for meeting up with friends for a chilled afternoon or evening, or just sitting reading, writing and clearing your head of all that stress.

In the summer months the main section along the Isar which runs close to the city centre tends to get pretty packed with everyone trying to get a little piece of the Isar action. To avoid the crowds just try walking further along the river past the Tierpark to the west, there is no doubt you’ll find a perfect spot to unwind and enjoy all that mother nature has to offer … along with the few canoe boats and inflatable dinghies that may even pass you by.

Coffee, Cake, and Ice Cream

Caffeine and sugar what’s not to love? Munich has a host of independent cafés and ice cream parlors. The area around Universität has streets full of coffee spots, including a British themed tea room. Throughout spring to late autumn tables and chairs line the streets and in the winter the cafés are all the the more cozy yet chic.

If you’re crazy for ice cream, well Munich is for you. Check out the Der verrückte Eismacher for some great ice cream and some truly unique flavours … did someone say beer flavored ice cream or maybe even a scoop or two of brie flavoured ice cream if you’re feeling brave! So if you want to fit in around town make sure you designate some time to explore the local coffee scene, have yourself a slice of cake and find your favorite ice cream flavor!

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The Alternative Scene

Munich has a pretty cool alternative scene going on. From an abundance of techno to some new funk and disco, the bars and clubs in Munich will not disappoint. Take a look around Sendlinger Tor for some great bars, one for every mood and group.

If you’re looking for some funky beats there is no place like the Goldener Reiter, it’s chic yet edgy with a bit of grunge thrown in. Forget the pretentious PI or the mainstream clubs like 089, the Goldener Reiter has something different to offer, and with no cover charge (at least last time I checked), what have you got to lose?

If you’re ever in Munich and looking for memorable night out be sure to check out Bahnwähter Thiel, a hub for techno located in a series of shipping containers… complete with an ubahn carriage in the club’s outside area. Even if you’re not a techno fanatic, hey not all of us are, this spot is still worth a visit! The atmosphere here is always fun and the design of the venue is truly unique, it’s almost like an adventure playground disguised as a club.

Hit the Mountains

If you’ve ever been to Munich you’ll know that on a clear day you can see the Alps from the city and if you want to explore the Munich and the surrounding area like a local then you should take a trip to the mountains. If you love skiing or hiking, or just looking at some truly stunning scenery then what are you waiting for? For the child inside all of us the Rodelbarns (best described as tobogganing tracks for the summer months) scattered throughout the hills, are the perfect weekend treat.

The best part of any trip into the mountain (apart from the views) is of course the Alms (hilltop restaurants) on the side of the mountains. Traditional in every way, this is the best place to sample some the area’s delicacies. My number one recommendation has to be Kaiserschmarrn — chopped up pancake usually topped with apple sauce and icing  sugar.

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Museums on Sundays

On Sundays a number of museums in Munich lower their entry fee to just 1 Euro. Shops are closed and the city has a distinct calm about it. The Alte, Neue, and Moderne Pinakotheken offer the chance for art lovers to view some of van Gogh’s  most famous masterpieces and well as a very vast collection of chairs (ok, maybe the chairs were not the most exciting part of gallery). Other museums that are just 1 Euro on Sundays include the Museum on Egyptology, Museum Brandhorst, and the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum.

Enrich your mind and spend the day gazing at some of the art world’s most famous masterpieces.

Move Over Oktoberfest

Ok, so we all know that Munich is famous for its Oktoberfest, and don’t get me wrong you should definitely  pay the word’s most famous beer festival a visit if you get the chance, but be aware of the masses of tourists that swarm the city during the final weeks of September. For a more authentic experience it’s worth spending the day at Frühligstfest, held towards the end of April.  Although there tends to be a fair amount of young sixteen year-olds, and fewer tents, there are far less tourists, and the atmosphere is a little more easy going.

If you’re looking for a true traditional beer festival it’s worth exploring the smaller festivals in the surrounding towns and cities, from Friesing, Rosenheim to Dachau, there is no better way to experience a true German beer festival.

Just make sure you take your Tracht seriously and buy yourself a traditional pair of Lederhosen or a genuine Dirndl…fancy dress costumes are not welcome here!

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7 Ski Resorts that Bring the Hype

Culture and Lifestyle, Travel

Winter is coming…and so is ski season! Whether you’re a snow boarder, a skier, or just love the snow (who doesn’t!?), the perfect ski destination is waiting out there for you. But winter sports are about more than just hitting the slopes, the Après-ski and nightlife are key to any ski resort! So here are 7 top ski spots for the best high altitude vibe!

Tinges/Val d’Isère

The resorts of Tinges and Val d’Isère are super popular amongst the Brits. Why you ask? Well, because we love a good party and these resorts do not disappoint! From the famous La Folie Douce, the coolest most extravagant Après-spot on the side of the slopes (complete with live shows, flying champagne bottles and some amazing costumes), to the laid back a vibe of La Queue de Cachon, these resorts have something for everyone! Be sure to check out the town of La Lac (2100m), which has a tonne of cool bars and clubs. The Loop Bar is a favourite with tourists and locals, offering live bands and a theme parties.

Take a visit to Bananas on the Val d’Isère side of the resort or Cocorico with its skilled DJs, live music, and late night parties.

Of course Tinges and Val d’Isère offer more than just some amazing nightlife options — the pistes are also top quality. With over 80 lifts and 300km of runs, the ski resort is great for beginners but offers enough challenge for all you winter sports experts out there!

Whistler

One of the biggest ski resorts in North America, Whistler, which is linked to Blackcomb with a new gondola, is world famous, offering great international vibes in the beautiful setting of British Colombia.

This Canadian ski destination is also a top spot for the Après-ski life as well as general nightlife. Whistler village provides a vast array of bars, restaurants, and party options: from Garfinkel’s, with its own mini ramp in the bar, to the Moe Joe’s Nightclub a popular spot where you can expect to find live bands and international DJs!

In April the Whistler World Ski and Snowboard festival (WSSF), takes place. A week of ski and snowboard competitions as well as art, music, and culture, the hype is not to be missed!

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Verbier

Expect a great Après-life, excellent pistes, and high prices… well it is Switzerland after all. End your ski day at Bar 1936, located just on the side of the piste, this is a good place to chill in a deck chair and enjoy that alpine sun. Big Ben Pub (they like their British themed bars on the Alps) and Pub Mont Fort are also worth a visit.

If it’s clubbing you’re looking for Casbah, may be for you, but be prepared for some good old rock and pop. Another option is of course Farm Club, but be warned, prices here are through the roof. Take a rich relative, marry a prince, or put your car on sale, long drinks will cost around 20 CFH and if you happen to be rolling in it, you can purchase a lovely bottle of champagne for a meagre 220 CHF!

Livigno Italy

Looking for le Dolce Vita? Take a trip to Livigno in Italy. Alegra is one of the most popular Après-ski locations in the resort and is not to be missed, while Kosmo is a great low-key option — it’s most popular in the late afternoon.

In the evening look to Daphne’s pub for the perfect chill evening, or if you’re looking to really live it up stop by Micky’s Disco Club, popular throughout the week with a variety of different music on offer. If you are feeling particularly adventures why not explore the resort on an organised bar crawl. Well, we all love a bit of organised fun!

The resort itself is located in the Alta Valtellina region in Lombardy Italy. Its 115 km of slopes providing varying levels of difficulty. What more could you ask for?

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Kitzbühel

Synonymous with downhill racing, Kitzbühel hosts the famous Hanenkamm race, one of the most famous ski races in the world. The route, known as the Streif, has gradients reaching 85% and jumps of up to 80 metres, and sees racers hit speeds of up 140 km/h.  No wonder this is one of the most challenging and demanding courses on the racing circuit. If you find yourself in the area on a race day, lucky you! Not only is the atmosphere described as electric, watching the racers test their skills and the boundaries of speed is a true privilege. Post-race parties are of course always an added bonus, although many  events will no doubt be VIP only, given the prestige associated with resort.

Never fear Kitzbühel caters to the every-man as well! There are three main clubs in the town – The Olympia, the Royal and Club Take 5 (you’ll have to overlook the name…). Other popular spots include the Mockingstube, the Londoner, or the Highway Bar.

Les Deux Alpes

Les Deux Alpes has a total of 47 lifts and 222km of pistes, with guaranteed skiing during any winter thanks to the glacier and the top altitude of 3,568 m.

When it comes to the Après-ski life there are a number of bars and clubs on offer. From the token British pub, Pub Windsor, with an impressive choice of beer, to the mountain top Le Pano Bar, the perfect day drinking affair. L’Avalanche Club is a good clubbing option although the town itself has a number of different bars to explore, which means there is always a lively atmosphere!

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Obertauern

Obertauern offers more than 100 km of pistes, as well as its very own Après-ski vibe. The setting for the Beatles Help! video, the area is very popular amongst Austrian and German tourist given its perfect location close to Salzburg and Munich.

If you ever find yourself in Obertauern, be sure to explore the Edelweissalm Chalet, an afternoon delight — get ready to dance on some tables and get down to some classic euro-pop. Then stop by Monkey’s Heaven or the Lürzer Alm Ski-Hut as the evening progresses!

Why not check out the Krampuslauf in early December? The event which is followed by evening parties, sees hundreds of people dressed as Krampusse (a devil like creatures who comes to punish naughty children) descend on the town. It’s a great way to experience traditional Austrian culture and will make for some great photos!

Kavanaugh vs. Believing Women: A Supreme Court Precedent

Opinion

First Published 18th October in The Palatinate (Print Edition)

6th October 2018: Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the US Supreme Court. The appointment was marred by weeks of testimonials, committee hearings and press coverage focused on the allegation made by Dr Christine Blasey Ford, that she had been sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh whilst they were in high school.

What does this case tell us about society’s attitude towards women, and how we engage with allegations of sexual assault?

Accusers such as Dr. Ford are treated as suspects in their own cases.

In many societies there is a tendency to disbelieve women, to conclude that it is the victims of sexual violence, who must be the ones lying, never those accused. Our society, and its leaders, motivated by power, wealth and influence don’t understand why a woman would be willing to come out in public, recounting their past trauma and risking their professional and personal reputation, simply for justice and for closure. Surely, they think, there must be something else they have to gain?

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page_refresh Playlist: Funk & Disco Edition I

Culture and Lifestyle

Funk & Disco — the soundtrack to the 1970’s. Funk with its combination of soul, R&B, and jazz, developed in the 1960’s, when artists such as James Brown started to experiment, creating what is known as the “funk beat”. Bands such as Sly and the Family soon followed. From Funk, came Disco, with clubs like Studio 54 leading the charge. Donna Summer is classed as one the most celebrated disco artists, her song ‘I Feel Love’ was the first disco track with an entirely synthesised backing track (soon techno and electronic music would follow). Here are 20 top funk and disco tracks which showcase what an amazing period the 70’s were for music.

  1. George Benson – Give Me the Night (1980)
  2. The Four Seasons – December, 1963 (1975)
  3. Chocolate Milk – Blue Jeans (1981)
  4. The Bee Gees – Night Fever (1977)
  5. Biddu – Summer of 42 (1975)
  6. Tavares – Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel (1986)
  7. Average White Band – Let’s Go Round Again (1980)
  8. Chic – Everybody Dance (1977)
  9. Diana Ross – Upside Down (1980)
  10. Rodney Franklin – The Groove (1980)
  11. KC & The Sunshine Band – (Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty (1976)
  12. Carl Carlton – Everlasting Love (1974)
  13. Thelma Houston – Don’t leave me this (1976)
  14. Donna Summer – I Feel Love (1977)
  15. James Brown – Get Up (I Feel like Being a) Sex Machine (1970)
  16. Earth, Wind & Fire – September (1978)
  17. Mcfadden and Whitehead – Ain’t No Stopping Us Now (1979)
  18. Gloria Gaynor – Never Can Say Goodbye (1975)
  19. Jimmy McGriff – Tight Times (1970)
  20. Sly & The Family Stone – Thank You (Falattinme Be Mice Elf Agin) (1970)

Is European Patriotism the Answer to Far-Right Nationalism?

Opinion

By Sophia Obrecht

First published in The Palatinate, October 12th, 2018.

For many months now, far-right nationalism has been rearing its ugly head across Europe. In the meantime, the impossible riddle that is Brexit has been dominating the news in the UK — leaving a lot to be desired when it comes to a feeling of pride both on the continent and at home. Europe and the UK are at odds, while the UK itself is divided, not only between leavers and remainers, but between those who want a deal, a no deal, a second referendum, no referendum, and those who would just like to go back in time before this whole Brexit business began.

So the question remains, what kind of relationship will the UK have with Europe following Brexit? And with this what does the future hold for the EU, given the rise of nationalism across the continent?

With the European success against the US in the Ryder Cup, I began to feel a strange sense of pride … those cool collected Europeans, the underdogs, coming back to take the win against those arrogant Americans. A victory on French and European soil. This got me thinking, what if it was possible to foster some sort of European patriotism through sport and sporting success, in order to counteract the growing rise of extreme nationalism across Europe, and in order to reunite the UK with the continent after all this ugly negotiating?

What if it was possible to foster some sort of European patriotism through sport and sporting success, in order to counteract the growing rise of extreme nationalism across Europe?

I know, I know, this opinion might seem unpopular, especially to all those Brexiteers, and Eurosceptics out there, and especially after the wave of pure patriotism felt across England during the World Cup. But think about it for a second, what if we could harness some sort of European identity and set it against rivals such as the US, Russia, or China in a sporting setting not exclusive to the Ryder Cup?

At its core, a nation is built on a common heritage and shared goals. Following this, identity, and pride is founded on the presence of an ‘other’, a rival, or outsider, against which a community can create their own set of values. In Europe, it was easy for a nation to find its own common national history and therefore memory: with its many wars and conflicts Europe’s nations experienced victory and suffered defeat at each other’s hands. Rivals and enemies were created and a national heritage followed. However, as a continent, it was, and is, much harder for Europe to find a defining moment in political or social history that could function as a shared heritage, a shared victory or even defeat… a moment when Europe in its entirety was on the same side.

Just look at the way the country came together this summer, following England’s performance in the football World Cup – despite its deep divisions over Brexit

But what if this could be created in sporting history? Sport, at its core, has a great power to unite people, sure it can also prove divisive, but played out in a setting such as the modern Olympics, a common sense of pride and identity becomes easier to foster. Just look at the way the country came together this summer, following England’s performance in the football World Cup – despite its deep divisions over Brexit. Remember the pride associated with the London 2012 Games, or in Germany’s case the World Cup victory in 1990. The memory of these shared experiences has worked to strengthen national identity. Sports also produces rivals and inspires healthy, and peaceful competition (aside from the odd football hooligan). Now imagine if there were regular sporting tournaments or championships, whether it be football, athletics, or winter sports, that focused on teams grouped not by nation, but by continent?

While I am not suggesting Europe become a federal republic, or demanding greater centralization within the EU, I do think it is high time that us Europeans stuck together. If we were to bring a continent together, moved by a common support for a sporting team, the process of European integration and better yet the project of the EU may still survive the nationalist rhetoric prevalent across Europe, in states such as Austria, Poland, and now Germany, to name but a few. In many ways, the idea may seem just too simplistic, too naïve, too pure of heart. After all, the EU, and Europe geographically speaking, has a lot of issues to solve, not least regarding the refugee crisis, and the general need for reform. But if we could foster that same patriotism and pride, experienced in England during the World Cup, maybe, just maybe, Europe could step back from the brink.

 

Brexit or no Brexit, the UK will always be part of Europe, just as the countries, currently dominated by nationalist rhetoric will remain firmly on the European continent, whether they like it or not. It’s time we appreciated our shared European values which date back for centuries: from culture, art, to sporting prowess, from values such as tolerance, and equality …. From the iron curtain dividing the continent to the fall of the Berlin wall, the European experience is unique. It would be a shame to throw it away for some short sighted nationalism, for a no deal Brexit and an ugly divorce.

Mental Health: More than Just a Buzzword

Culture and Lifestyle, Opinion

World Mental Health Day, a day to encourage everyone to take care of their own mental health, as well as the well-being of others around them. Campaigns such as the ‘Its OK not to be Ok’ movement, have been growing steadily with the aim to support everyone dealing with mental health problems, encouraging people to speak out and share their stories. But beyond these buzzwords and campaigns, understanding mental health, whether that’s because you yourself are suffering from depression or anxiety, or because you have a loved one, a family member or friend who is suffering from a mental health problem, is one of the hardest parts of the battle — getting your head around mental illness is like climbing Mount Everest without a rope.

Almost impossible – right?

This topic is one that has recently been affecting my life more than I ever thought it would, and not because I myself am suffering from any serious mental health issue. Over the past three years my Dad has been suffering from a serious anxiety disorder, which now has also developed into depression. After having a series of panic attacks while he was at work three years ago, the anxiety took hold. At his worst, he couldn’t leave the house, couldn’t be left alone, and had serious trouble sleeping. After counselling and medication things got better, and he went back to work (he works in Germany, so commutes every week or so back to the UK). It seemed like I had my Dad back, the open happy Dad I used to know: my tennis partner, the funny man that laughs at all of his own jokes (I think that’s a Dad thing).

Almost exactly a year later though the anxiety resurfaced, and battle number two was about to commence. After another few months of tears (from the whole family) and work with a psychiatrist, again it seemed my Dad had conquered his demons, and the past year has been great. We got to go on holiday as a family again for the first time since the anxiety had started to dominate our lives, and he was able to come visit me in Munich!

But that’s the thing about mental health, you never know when it will strike again, or in fact how many times it might hit you. So, again my Dad is suffering, and the worst part is, part of me just doesn’t know how to help, and I can’t understand. I know he’ll get through it, he always does, but it’s just a matter of time and patience from himself and the people around him.

I find it hard to write about how my Dad is feeling, and about what he is going through, because he is the only one that really knows. The rest of us just have to listen and learn and hopefully find some clarity. The most important thing is to be aware of people around you, look out for each other, and remember you never really know what someone is going through, so be open and patient, even when it might seem like really hard work.

5 Things I Learnt from Living Abroad

Culture and Lifestyle, Travel

Last September I stepped off a plane in Munich, Germany, ready to start my year studying and working abroad. Munich, Germany’s 3rd largest city, the beer capital of the world, lies in southern state of Bavarian, with the rolling views of the Alps in its background. The year that followed was beyond doubt one of the best experiences of my life so far. That’s not to say that there were of course some ups and downs. But instead of recounting every great, or challenging time of my year in Munich, here are five things I learnt on my year abroad…Enjoy!

1. It’s OK to be Homesick

No one can be expected to be happy 24/7, it’s not possible. But it’s the ups and downs in life that make this roller-coaster worth riding. Yes, you are having this amazing experience of living in a new city, exploring its hidden secrets and getting to know people around you…what’s not to love? But sometimes we simply crave the comfort of home, of sitting in silence with your long term bestie, of not having to socialize. We miss are family, our cats (or dogs), we miss the familiarity of the safe, predictable space back home. It is ok to feel like this, but it’s also important to realize it’s also ok to fight back, to acknowledge how you are feeling but look to the positives…keep yourself busy, develop those friendships and go out and make those memories. Feeling homesick is part of living abroad, but just try not to let it ruin your time away!

2. The World is Wide

Living in Munich for a year, studying and working with people all around the world, makes you realize just how far and wide you can go. All the amazing experiences people share with you, from that friend who travelled around South America for a year, or the colleague that worked in every corner of the world, from meeting an amazing mix of international people from all walks of life and getting to learn more about their culture. What’s not to love? There’s always something to talk about, something to learn, and cultural quirks to share. From living in a small North Yorkshire village, where having an Austrian Dad was out of the ordinary, to coming to Munich this international hub, I learned that living and working abroad is something that I would love to do again, and sooner rather than later!

3. There are 24 Hours in a Day

In practical terms, my year abroad taught me that the day is long (in a good way) and there is so much you can actually achieve if you set your mind to it. I’m not saying you should over-work yourself, but having to work full-time, as well as finalize a year abroad project, made me appreciate that my time is precious, and I should spent it wisely. There are so many things you can accomplish when you get up and out, and leave Netflix behind! I’ve always been a pretty motivated person, but since my year abroad I have become even more determined to achieve my goals, big and small, which also spurred me on to get this blog up and running!

4. The More Your Share, the More People Can Care

Living abroad, and living alone for the first time was both a challenge and an amazing experience for me. At times though, especially during periods where some of my international friends moved away or finished their internships, I did feel a little lonely. For me it takes a while to really let people in and get me talking about my feelings (I find it easier to write those down in a diary). But being away from home and away from those friends I had known for years, the friends I trusted with everything, I realized that it really is important to let people in! I have made some truly incredible friends in Munich, and all because I took that leap and shared what I was really feeling and thinking. I believe the experience made me a better person, and being able to return the favour when someone else needed that support was also pretty cool!

5. Making Mistakes is Part of the Game

Failure leads to success. That might seem like a strange statement but it’s true. Without mistakes we can never learn, and without pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone we’ll never experience anything new. While I am not suggesting you out of your way to mess things up and make mistakes, you should never be afraid of trying — always be open to the risk of failure. Whether it’s learning a new language, or taking up a new hobby, no one is perfect straight away. It takes a lot of work, determination, and mistakes until you master your goals. We learn from our mistakes so just keep looking up, aiming high and growing from your experiences. My year abroad has made me realize just what I am capable of, overcoming mistakes and growing, I now have a wealth of personal and professional experience to take with me into the future.

5 Must-Watch 80’s Teen Movies

Culture and Lifestyle

They don’t make films like this anymore…that classic 80’s teen movie. Directors such as John Hughes or Cameron Crowe brought teen angst to the big screen, with messages on life, love and growing up. Coming of age was all the rage. The actors were young, fresh, and compared to the perfect Hollywood look of today, appeared decidedly normal.  Here are five must-watch 80’s teen movies, with meaning and heart, how many have you seen?

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has to be my all-time favorite film. It’s funny, sweet and it’s guaranteed to lift your mood. The plot follows Ferris (Matthew Broderick), as he attempts to get away with skipping school for the 9th time in a year. Along the way he drags his friend Cameron (Alan Ruck), and girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara), along for the ride, which sees them ‘’borrow’’ Cameron’s Dad’s 1961 Ferrari 250GT California, perform in a street parade, and dodge their school principle through a series of creative and scheming methods (perfect if you need any ideas on how to skive school kids).

It might all seem like fun and games, but the film carries a mix of messages, from learning to let loose once in a while, believing in yourself, to learning to grow up at your own pace. It’s about taking in the world around you, the good, the bad, and discovering that occasionally rules are made to be broken.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

The Breakfast Club

The classic teen movie, the Breakfast Club, tells the story of five high schoolers and their day in Saturday detention. All the classic teen tropes are represented in the characters, Claire, the princess, Bria, the geek, Allison, the freak, Andy the jock and Bender the juvenile delinquent John Bender.

The film, which was written and directed by the genius that is John Hughes (Pretty in Pink, Home Alone), featured a group of young actors, nicknamed the Brat Pack, who would go on to star in a number of coming of age films together throughout the 80s. The elite club included actors such as Molly Ringwald and Judd Nelson.

The film made an impressive $51.5 Million dollars, its budget was just $1 million. Its success was due to realistic portrayal of teenage friendships, fears and pressure. Topics such as virginity, drugs, and relationships with parents all came into focus, with the character realizing that they have more in common with each other than they might have thought. If you take anything from this film, it’s that everyone has their own story, but it doesn’t mean they don’t share the same emotions and anxieties as you.

“We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.”

St Elmo’s Fire

So technically this is not a teen movie, given that most of the characters are in their early twenties, but if you’ve recently graduated university or just starting your final year and are feeling a bit lost about what comes next…well this film is for you. St Elmo’s fire centres on a group of college graduates, played by (you guessed it) members of the Brat Pack. The plot follows the characters as they get to grips with the real world, and how friendships and relationships can change and develop. In short the move is about learning to understand that not all people are good for you, and you might not be good for them. Its learning to let go, that memories are memories and you can’t hang on to them you’re whole life.

This film is full of comedy but also drama, so get ready for the emotional roller-coaster that young adult life. I guarantee that you will feel wiser for watching this cinematic gem.

“She is the only evidence of God I have seen with the exception of the mysterious force that removes one sock from the dryer every time I do my laundry.”

Say Anything

A classic tale of romance, young love and family betrayal, Say Anything is jam packed with emotions and romantic gestures for the modern age; aka standing outside someone’s window holding a boom box, blasting out a classic 80s tune…who said romance was dead?

The storyline follows the geekishly charming Lloyd (John Cusack) as he tries to woo the Diane (Ione Skye), the class valedictorian and all round beauty. In his pursuit of Diane, he has the challenge of making sure Diane’s father Jim approves. But there is more to the story than just a teen romance, as the future nears and family secrets reveal some shady behavior from Jim (that’s all I’ll say). From first loves to heartbreak the film is beloved by many and critically acclaimed. If you haven’t seen it…what are you doing still reading this article? Say Anything is a must-watch.

“One question: are you here ‘cause you need someone, or ‘cause you need me?”

Footloose

Oh yeah, baby… You didn’t think I would make a list of 80s teen movies and not include Kevin Bacon in the mix…Picture this a sleepy middle American town, a priest, an outsider, a rebellious daughter…and a law that prohibits dancing! The combination makes for a masterpiece (in my opinion).

Ren (Kevin Bacon), the new boy in town, can’t seem to understand why music, and dancing are banned. He doesn’t mean to cause trouble but can’t help meddling. With the help of Willard, Ariel, and Rusty (Sarah Jessica Parker), (after a series of dramatic events) he brings music and dancing back to the town. Some classic dance numbers provide entertainment throughout — what’s not to love?

“I just don’t know that I believe in everything you believe in. But I believe in you.”