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MBV’s Destinations of 2019: Lessons and Memories

What a year to share the destinations of 2019, eh?! This year has been full of adventures, laughter, getting out of my comfort zone and lots of tears! From, wedding destinations, Bali swings to my arrest in Greece. I have to say this has been a year of making and breaking this wanderlust.

I will be sharing how to make 2020 the year of travels, but for now, read on my destinations of 2019.

Please note you may see some destinations I have already been to already this year – sorry not sorry!  

1. The first destinations of 2019 – Copenhagen

I started off the year with a day trip to Denmark, Copenhagen in February this year. This was a collaboration with Travel Eat Slay and Black Travel Creators. I had never been on a day trip before. So was surprised to see so much and be around such great people! I couldn’t believe how much I was able to see from trying vegan waffles to seeing the colourful house and Christiansborg Palace. I was totally impressed by the day. So impressed that it only led to the birth of my series – Series: A Day with MBV…

destinations in copenhagen
Copenhagen
Memories in Copenhagen: Listening to music and meeting amazing people in just one day.

2. Another day trip to Prague

In May 2019, I joined Travel Eat Slay for another day trip to Prague, Czech Republic! Again, not knowing what to expect with such a big group of people. I went along to see some of the most beautiful sites in Prague. The city has such fantastic street art and is hella cheap! The city is known for its Old Town Square, the heart of its historic core, with colourful baroque buildings, Gothic churches and the medieval Astronomical Clock. Want to know how my day went? Read: A Day with MBV In Prague

Destinations in Prague
Views of Prague

3. Returning to my second home – Singapore

One of those destinations that will last in my heart forever. There are numerous famous attractions within the city-state, notably the Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands, Sentosa Island, Orchard Road, Jewel Changi Airport and the Singapore Zoo and more of which I will be touching on next month! 

Arriving in Singapore made me very emotional and brought back so many damn memories of a study abroad/exchange student. The modern city-state fed me memories of a time when I travelled more than ever (which I still need to write about). The fantastic food and late-night chats and early morning flights around South East Asia are only good memories!

Lessons learnt in Singapore: Don’t be afraid of moving away from home, take the opportunity when it arises.

4. Another place I call home – Malaysia

A quick trip to be a Dulung girl (a bridesmaid) for a special friends wedding. Another destination that I am yet to write about. Johor Bharu is one of those destinations that I will forever consider another home. The Malaysian state of Johor sits at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. With a causeway across the Straits of Johor connecting it to Singapore, it’s a gateway for exploration of that island nation.

The city holds a special place in my heart because again, it was a country that welcomed me and fed me well! Hahaha! Stay tuned for content!

A Dulang girl at a Malaysian wedding
Me with the Bride and Groom in Malaysia

5. The Instagram Island – Bali

Still, in South East Asia, I decided to continue my destinations to Bali. I have always dreamed of going to Bali and regret that I only went for the 4 days. The Island is home to religious sites such as cliffside Uluwatu Temple. To the south of the Island, there is the beachside city of Kuta has lively bars. The Island is also known for its yoga and meditation retreats.

The culture, learning about the locals, drinking natural avocado coffee, eating their food and breathing their air made me fall in love with this Island. Bali. I will certainly be coming back again! Thank you for the welcomeness and for allowing my solo destinations memorable.

The hotel I stayed in
Lessons learnt in Bali: Don’t allow anyone to stop you from taking that solo trip. Make next year your year of destinations.

6. Solo Day trip to Ireland

I continued my solo travels with another day trip to Ireland. Dublin is the birthplace of writers like Oscar Wilde, and home of Guinness beer and has the famous prison called Kilmainham Gaol.

It was a much-needed break where I learnt so much history about Ireland and the views they have of the British people – eek! I will touch on this on MBVs Day Series (maybe next year). I enjoyed this solo day trip because it was cheap and I could do what I wanted when I wanted. I decided to get Airbnb Experiences and was glad I did. Stay tuned for my day trip to Ireland. Read 7 Fantastic Tools That will Have You Solo Travelling with Confidence.

Me in Ireland

7. Tears in Greece

When I think about Athens, Greece, my stomach turns upside down – literally. A trip that was supposed to be a smooth run, where I met my partner’s parents and enjoyed the sites of Athens. It instead turned nasty when a guard was malicious to make up a lie, a false accusation against me. I will never forget this trip because it was the first time that I was reminded I was a black female. The positive on this trip was the truth came out and the support I received from my community. 

It was a time that you all came together for me and supported and prayed for me. I will never know how to thank you all for your support. There are so many people to name and be thankful for. But trust and believe me, you will forever be in my heart.

Lessons learnt in Athens: Travelling Perceptions & Safety: Why I don’t Allow the Experiences Stop me From Seeing The World?

8. Back to Copenhagen AGAIN!

A much-needed trip after the experience I had in Greece, Athens. It was a very different trip to Copenhagen when I visited in February this year. I arrived with my boyfriend and met up with family and friends to be a bridesmaid yet again! I was a little anxious from Greece happening so soon before but felt safe with my friends and family around me. 

If you are looking for Danish fashion and design, culture and the Nordic cuisine then you need to head over to Copenhagen in August (the best time to visit in my opinion). I haven’t written about this entirely, but I have said it’s a destination to go with a friend, solo, or with a partner. Read: 4 Romantic Weekend European Getaways for Couples

Copenhagen in a yellow dress
In Copenhagen

9. Sweden for the first time

From Copenhagen, I woke up early and got a train to a small and beautiful village called Arild in Sweden. Historically the village was mostly concentrated around the chapel and the shoreline. However, it has recently been extended uphill towards Kullaberg, which has now created height differences between the various parts of the village.

We got the train to the wedding with Omio because it was closer to Copenhagen airport. One thing I will say is Sweden has to be one of the most expensive countries I have ever been too in my life ( a bottle of water was £2!)! I will, of course, be writing about this for you, so be sure to subscribe and stay up in the mix.

Arild by the sea
Views of the town in Arild
Memories in Sweden: Being a bridesmaid in Sweden and giving a speech to my beloved friend, which made me cry.

10. The City of Love Paris to celebrate my Birthday

I have been celebrating my Birthday abroad for the last 8 years! I go on and on about how to Turn Your’ Birthday Into A Lifestyle With These Tips. My trip to Paris was a lovely weekend getaway for me because I was able to behave like a BIG KID and head over to Disneyland Paris!

The city is the 19th-century cityscape is crisscrossed with wide boulevards and the River Seine. Want to find out more about the trip to Pari? Read France Paris: A 3 Day Romantic Trip In Paris.

disneyland paris

11. Bologna for a day!

Another day trip! I think you can tell I went on a lot of day trips this year! The city of Bologna was absolutely beautiful known to be lined with arched colonnades, cafes and medieval and Renaissance structures such as City Hall, the Fountain of Neptune and the Basilica di San Petronio.

It has so much culture, history and PORK! The first-day trip that I where I saw some sun and was introduced to a tour guide. Again another piece that is waiting to be tweaked and published for you all to read. For now, enjoy the photography!

lake in bologna little venice
La Piccola Venezia
Lessons learnt in Bologna: That the fountain of Neptune in Bologna has an optical illusion. 

12. Oslo for another day trip haha

A day trip that I was not expecting even to happen, but was glad to be asked! When Jenna of Jennas World Views asked me to come along to Oslo, I couldn’t really so no could I? Ha! To be honest with you I was itching for another trip! Another capital city which is known for its green spaces and museums. Not necessarily on the cheap side but has some fantastic sites. Content again will be coming to you soon, so head over and subscribe.

I was starting to believe that I had no content written for any of my destinations of 2019!  

black ladies in oslo
Liz and Jenna with me in Oslo

13. Riga for a travel conference

Riga I thought would be my last destination of 2019. A city that is considered a cultural centre; home to many museums and concert halls. This was a very different trip for me – my first ever travel conference abroad. I had never been to Riga, Latvia and thought it would be good to experience both in one go! You know kill two birds with one stone or flight! 

Want to know how the travel conference went? Then head over to read: My Very First WitSummit In Riga, Latvia

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?? ??? ???? ???? ???? ??? ?? ??? ?????? ?????? ??? ???? ?? ? ??????? Hard questions to answer but one that you should. ⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ As the year draws to end. I have started to think about all the things I do for myself as an individual. ⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ I often watch people not go after what they want. I see people settle because that is what is easiest, myself included (honestly). We stick with what is comfortable. We stay in our bubble.⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ Our bubble is what makes us comfortable. It's what we have learned, it's the known. But the known is not always the right way to live. We all have our own bubble. Everyone's is different, it's formed by our life experiences. Your bubble is easy to stay in, but difficult to get out off. ⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ Every time we do something new we step outside of our bubble and we become comfortable with it. The bubble gets absorbed and becomes a bigger bubble. Eventually, our bubble will become big and strong enough that we will no longer feel limited by anything. ⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ People naturally look up to people with bigger bubbles than them. They aspire to be like them, they are amazed or simply intrigued because they live a different life from them. However, very few people take the steps to live outside of their own bubble and experience all the amazing things the world has to offer. ?⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ If you never step out of your bubble then you will never learn to live your dreams. ? So, I'm here to tell you it's not as scary as it sounds. If you can imagine it it's possible. Your life is limited to your own imagination.⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ I would like to thank @huesofdelahaye for capturing this image ???

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Memories in Riga: Playing with bubbles in Riga and realising how much meaning it has in real life. 

14. Finally to end the year brunch in Gdańsk

Oh my! The coldest country I have ever travelled too in my life! It was -2 degrees! Although it was cold, I was glad to experience the Christmas markets and have brunch with a few amazing ladies that I usually only speak to on the socials lol. 

Gdańsk is known for having several historical attractions, such as the Royal Way, a famous promenade street of Polish kings, along with historic cathedrals, medieval ports and heaps of cool cafes. I will be doing a Christmas special on my Instagram so head over and don’t be shy to say hello!

Destinations with Christmas
Christmas in Poland
Lesson learnt in Gdańsk: Don’t be afraid to share your experiences and lessons learnt with people.

Thank you to you all… 

Thank you to all of you for the support you showed me while I was in Greece, Athens. I will never forget what you all did, and you all have a special place in my heart. I love you all.

And

Thank you for planning most of my day trips Caroline of Travel Eat Slay they have allowed me to see Europe in a different light.

Final Thoughts on my destination of 2019…

And to you, all, thank you again for reading my destination of 2019. I visited 14 countries this year! Wooow impressive I will say. 

I have left each country with a memory or a lesson. Every destination has opened my eyes in one way or the other (some more than others for obvious reasons). Would I change anything? Maybe. Yes? Actually No. All these things happened for a reason. I don’t exactly know why, but God does. I have also met some fantastic people (online and in-person) along the way which I will never forget.

I hope my journey tells and shows you that you can travel and you shouldn’t ever allow anyone to stop you from seeing the world. You are in charge of how you see the world. I hope you subscribe and stay tuned for my post coming on How to make 2020 a Year of Travels.

What about you where did you go this year? Let me know in the comment section below. Do you have any regrets this year/ what was your fave destination of 2019?

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The Perfect Tools on How To Apply for a Study Exchange

Are you thinking of applying for a study exchange?

I always say ‘studying abroad is such an amazing opportunity’. You meet people from around the world, embrace a new culture, and possibly even learn a new language. There are so many advantages to studying abroad before you can get to that once in a lifetime experience. I have to be honest and say there is a lot of work to be done. Applying for a study exchange can be daunting, especially if you don’t know where to start.

studying abroad is such an amazing opportunity

I remember the application process being quite long, hard and complicated. However, in all the longness, I still managed to get through the process, and honestly, if I can do it, anyone can.

Assess your degree plan

I didn’t know anything about a study exchange when I started university/college, but when I was told about it, I JUMPED on it like a HULK! If you want to do a study exchange, I would definitely suggest assessing your degree plans. Talk to your tutor/advisor from the minute you start.

You want to be sure that whichever study abroad program you choose has classes that can fit into your degree plan. You don’t want your study exchange to delay your graduation – unless you don’t mind.

Pick the right location for your study exchange

This, in my opinion, is the most essential thing to think about on your study exchange. It can also be one of the hardest decisions you make. I was only given 4 options which where:

  1. Hong Kong
  2. France (had to speak French)
  3. America
  4. Singapore

I originally went with Hong Kong, but changed my mind at the last minute and decided Singapore was the best option. Looking back now, I was grateful I picked Singapore because it was so easy to travel around Asia from. In selecting your location, I would ask myself the following questions:

  • Can you speak the language?
  • Do you enjoy the food?
  • Do you want to travel?
  • How far will you be away from home?
  • Would you be flying back home regularly?

Picking the right type of program

There are many different ways to do a study abroad. I don’t know every single programme and I am pretty sure it’s changed since I did mine. Check out what your university/college has to offer and don’t be afraid to talk to the program advisors! In fact, bug them from the minute you start.

As I said before, I didn’t know about study exchange/abroad programmes, but after speaking to the relevant people, I was confident enough to know what I was doing.

Picking your courses

I’m sorry to say this, but this too can be one of the hardest parts. You want classes that are challenging, yet that you will understand easily. Remember you will be in a new and different country. I picked courses that I felt wouldn’t cause me too much trouble to get into.

Also, check with your university/college on how credits are converted. I was upset when I was told that my grades would be counted as a grade lower than the original grade – for example, an A meant a B for me. This may impact your overall grade, so find out all the small details.

Finally, Apply for that Study Exchange!

If you’ve answered those questions successfully, then you know what you are doing. You may have to get a particular grade to pass for the study exchange, so be sure to study hard!

I hope you find those tools helpful. Have you done a study exchange, or would you ever consider doing one?

Related Posts:

7 Things I Wish I Did Differently for My Study Exchange Abroad

8 Things To Know Before Studying Abroad

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7 Things I Wish I Did Differently for My Study Exchange Abroad

I like many other study exchange students, wasn’t prepared for my study exchange. Back in 2013, I flew out to Singapore for seven months and studied at the National University of Singapore. While I had done a little research on Google I didn’t really know that much about the country. I was flying abroad blindfolded with no plans for what I wanted to do while I was in Asia. I was blessed enough to meet people who pushed me to go on trips.

Sometimes I look back now and have some regrets about things. Things I wish I knew and did before and during my stay.  

Created a list of things to do in Singapore 

I know I mentioned earlier, doing a bit of research on Google, but my research was limited. I had heard that Singapore had a number of laws and was a lot stricter than the UK. This scared me to memorise all the laws. Things like not bringing chewing gum or eating on public transport where things to note. I spent ages going on about the injustice of not being able to have chewing gum that I didn’t make time to think of the things I could do whilst living in Singapore.

Don’t get me wrong. The first month or so I did the Singapore Sling, ate some amazing street food. And when my family came down, I went to the Singapore Zoo. I still wish I did more. I recently went back to Singapore this year and realised how much more of the country I could have explored. Taking the time out to read up on some blogs may have helped me see such a beautiful country.  

Here are a few things I wish I considered before moving to Singapore:

Packed what I needed  

When my airline told me, I was only allowed one suitcase. Nearly grabbed my chest! I was so upset how can I only take one suitcase! I, of course, shipped another suitcase to meet me in Singapore.

At the time it felt like it was needed but in reality, I wish I had thought through what I needed to take. Maybe ask questions like ‘Ade are you really going to wear this?’ There were a number of things that I didn’t end up wearing and didn’t actually need. Depending on how long your study exchange is. You will need clothes to cover your time whilst you are out there. Pick clothes or things you can layer for any climate.

I say this because I spent a few days in Australia and met quite a cold country. Well for someone who had been living it a hot climate. Think about things you have to take and stock up. As a black girl, there may be products you won’t find abroad so stock up on them also.

Don’t make your bag heavier than it’s needed.  

Started a YouTube Chanel or a Blog  

This is something I have mentioned in my previous post like ‘Feel the Fear & Do it Anyway’. I do wish that I started a YouTube channel. My study exchange was a period of my life that should have been shown, but like every young person, I allowed fear to stop me. Don’t get me wrong I am so happy where I am with my blog now. However, it doesn’t stop me thinking about how cool it would have been if I started My Breaking Views back then. I could have talked about all the countries I visited in South East Asia. Even if you don’t want to have a social media platform it’s a good idea to keep a journal. That way you can look back at your experiences.  

Knew when to stop  

There were a few times like other study exchange students, that I let a little too loose studying abroad and ended up regretting it the next day. Wish I had known my limits and understood that going out didn’t have to mean doing the most. I remember a study exchange student going out every single night! I wish I had the energy to do that myself.

Taken that job  

I was in the final year of my degree whilst living in Singapore so I had a lot on my mind. One was looking for another job! Funny enough I did actually get a job out in Shanghai, China. Unfortunately, my mother was adamant that it was a bad choice and put me off it instantly! I wish I had a bit more backbone then and decided that it would have been a good move for me.

Abroad you will be introduced to a new set of people from around the world. Take it in and use the time to network and connect with people.  

Taken a photography class and invested in a good camera  

Back when I moved to Singapore, I was terrible with the camera. I had a little small iPhone 4s and thought back then that I was doing bits! Wish I knew then the importance of good quality pictures. I started to become more and more concerned with how I looked in a picture. And almost half the pictures (if not more) I took were of me standing in front of this or that doing the same pose!

I wish I had learned more about photo composition and what makes a good quality photo before I moved abroad. Singapore has some absolutely amazing photo opportunities that I see people taking even today. I missed the opportunity.

Chilled out a bit more  

I don’t know if I ever told you the story. The one where I had a break down in the middle of a jungle.

No, I haven’t? Well to cut the story short me and four of my friends decided to go hiking to see a waterfall. My friend fell and had a minor concussion and I literally panicked for my dear life and experienced a breakdown. Thankfully, my friend came around and to my surprise wanted to keep going. Once we got to the waterfall it was like nothing ever happened. I wish I was just a bit calmer sometimes.

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These are the seven things I wish I knew before going on my study exchange. I try not to dwell on things too much. However, I sometimes wonder where I would have been today if I had started my YouTube channel back then or even started the blog.

At the same time, I think I can still learn from my mistakes and encourage someone not to make the same.

I tend to only speak positively about my study exchange hence why this post wasn’t the easiest. I guess it only means another post is coming up!  

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