Australia’s calling, Graduates travel down under

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Feb 262013

Author: Cassandra Whelihan


Meagan Cassily prepares her backback to travel. Backpacking across a foreign country is a popular way for graduates to travel. Photo by Cassandra Welihan.

Your toes are playing peek-a-boo through the crystal white sand transparent against the blue sea. The warm breeze kisses your skin delicately as the sun sinks further into the sky. A palette of colors streak and blend in a mosaic as if created by the gods… heaven? Not quite, this describes Australia.

“Australia has a very good economy right now and you can go and make a lot of money working in the seasonal tourism position, hotels or any seasonal position like we have here in Colorado,” said Dustin Kovac, a senior biology major. “They also have a harvest season where they’re looking for work and they pay the clients per hour plus overtime.”

Planning to travel for half a year, Kovac and his girlfriend Maeve McGranahan have begun planning the ins-and-outs of their expedition.

“The plane ticket is going to be the main cost so it kind of depends on what’s up with that,” said McGranahan, a junior HDFS and philosophy double major. “Hopefully we can find somewhere to make some money after that to kind of compensate. But I’m kind of planning on tailoring the trip to how much money is available.”

Saving $20 a week, the couple estimates the plane tickets to cost between $2,000 to $3,000. Upon arrival in Australia, they plan to make money along the way and plan some adventures during their off time.

“We would probably be housed where we were working and then we would be on the road when we were traveling,” Kovac said. “I think ideally we would spend some time backpacking in New Zealand and island-hopping in Fiji.”

Kovac and McGranahan have some friends that are in Australia so they have being asking them for more information. In addition, the internet is a good resource for planning a post graduate odyssey.


Admiring the scenery, Cassily contemplates what a similar view would be in Australia or Guatemala. Photo by Cassandra Welihan.

Sites such as and are informative, affordable and safe. These resources offer online listings of farms, ranches, hostels and home-stays that invite volunteer helpers to stay short term for food and room in exchange for a few hours of help per day.

The reasons for traveling are bountiful. Responsibilities are minimal and cultures are waiting to be discovered.

“I was planning on studying abroad, but then it just seems like it made more sense to travel if I had somebody to travel with,” McGranahan said. “I wouldn’t have to be worried about being kidnapped as much and I wouldn’t have to do school while I was traveling.”

According to Kovac, “It’s just a place I’ve always wanted to go. It’s ideally a good spot to go right now because the economy is doing so well, it wouldn’t be hard to find work.”

Adventure vacations with fitness as the key

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Feb 252013

Author: Tony Vessels

As the countdown draws closer to the coveted week off , the excitement of every student can be felt as we hear the words, “I can’t wait for spring break,” more times than anyone cares to count.

So what do students do during this brief respite?

Families will be reunited, people will bless themselves with the concept of sleeping in, brains will be melted by a week of TV and/or video games. But many also turn their spirits to the wind, and choose to take this week to travel throughout the country and even the world.

We all go on vacation for many reasons. One of the most popular reasons is to go and experience a new culture, learn the history of another place. It can be incredibly interesting to walk through a museum or to take a tour around the oldest building in the oldest town in the country. One should be so lucky to even be able to see the biggest ball of twine in America (there are four claims to that title, just so you know, but that’s a whole other story).

But history and tours and museums aren’t everything that you can do on a vacation.

“You see one 300-year-old church, you’ve seen them all,” said Brian Green, a Fort Collins native. “And honestly, staring at all those paintings just bores me. When I go somewhere, I want to get outside. I want to move and try things that I’ve never tried before.”

Surf lesson distractions

Surf lesson distractions (Photo credit: Brett L.)

There are many destinations that people seek out purely to try new things.

“I was born and raised in Fort Collins, so last year when my girlfriend and I flew out to California for a week, we spent the entire week on the beach and my uncle taught us how to surf,” Green said. “I’d never done it before and I absolutely fell in love with it. Now that was a vacation worth remembering.”

Many people want to go on vacation just to get a chance to be athletic and explore the sports that they can’t really do at their native lands. Lord knows how many Texans we have skiing in our mountains every winter.

English: Whitewater Rafting at the USNWC

Whitewater Rafting at the USNWC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Our family is actually nearing the end of saving up for a big trip down to Peru,” said Eugene Thomas, a CSU student who grew up in Denver. “We’ve been saving up for about a year now, and this summer my [family] and I are going to be flying down to Peru for three weeks, and we’ll be whitewater rafting for about two. This is the vacation of a lifetime, and I couldn’t imagine anything being more fun than this.”

As amazing as seeing the Louvre in Paris would be, some people just need to take a break from their world by doing something much more athletic. Like whitewater rafting or surfing. For some, a great vacation could be just strapping on a pair of reliable hiking boots and exploring our own backyard that is the good ol’ Rocky Mountains.

Get outside for your next vacation. Have fun. To quote a very successful American multinational corporation, “JUST DO IT.”

Tricks to travel cheap

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Feb 252013

Author: Nicole Beale

Anyone that has ever traveled knows about the hassle and expense that traveling comes with. Being a college student doesn’t lend much room to hidden expenses and overcharging. However, there are some tricks that can help you avoid some unnecessary charges and get things at a cheaper price.

Colorado State University is home to a significant number of out-of-state students. Experienced traveler and out-of-state student Natasha Kersten is from McLean, Virginia.

“Flights are really expensive especially from the East Coast. I like to travel on Wednesdays because it is the cheapest day to fly,” Kersten said. “Picking what day you travel changes the price of the flight dramatically. Flights on weekends and Mondays are not only more expensive but the airports are generally much more crowded.”

“Flight prices fluctuate, so don’t book your fights right away. Make sure you are getting the cheapest price,” said Charlie Mitchell, an out-of-state student from Texas.

If you know what day you would like to fly out, check multiple websites and price watch. You could check one week and the next it could be $100 less. It is worth it to wait. If you are flexible on what day you want to leave, make sure you check out Southwest Airlines’ ‘wanna get away deals.’ They are cheap flights for people who decide to travel last minute, according to Mitchell.

Another way to get a cheap flight would be to check a site that compares multiple airlines, such as Orbitz or Priceline. When comparing airlines, you can see what airlines are offering the cheapest flights. You can also check if they charge extra for bagging or have specific seating.

The cost of flying is continuing to rise and they seem to keep adding on charges, according to Even bringing an extra bag can cost you a pretty penny. You can look to alternatives, such as driving. However, driving has its pros and cons as well.

When driving, you must worry about any sort of car troubles and fluctuating gas prices. In the United States right now, gas prices range from three to five dollars. will tell you the gas price you will pay in any area of the United States. It is a great resource to help you plan out any road trip.

Traveling will always be expensive, however, there are ways to make it cheaper so it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Students reveal bad travel experiences

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Feb 202013

Author: Michaela Koretko

“I’m from Mexico, and one time, on the way back from Mexico they thought my mom wasn’t my mom and that she was sneaking me into the country. We got isolated, and they held us for a while. It was scary. It’s really funny when I think about it now.”

-Julia Miranda, Freshman

“In Japan, we had just been to a restaurant and were posing for a picture.  I half back-flipped over my friend’s great-aunt who didn’t know any English. I was so embarrassed that even though I knew the word for ‘sorry’ all I could say was ‘Sorry, sorry, sorry!'”

-Kristin Long, Senior

“My family chartered a boat in the Bahamas, and there were squid everywhere. They were flopping and jumping all over. One was on the boat, so I picked it up. It inked all over me. Yeah. Don’t pick up squid.”

-Liesel Schiffhauer, Sophomore

“Music and Peace” Still Sets Stage for Music Festivals

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Feb 182013

Author: Mary Willson


Fans soak in the sun at Wakarusa music festival. Wakarusa is a week long music marathon, where the sun and heat adds to the festivities.



A sea of tents is a common site at any camping-centered music festival.

A sea of tents is a common site at any camping-centered music festival.

“Three days of Music and Peace,” the honed motto of the epic Woodstock music festival, still guides the passionate community and artists that come together for marathons of music, art, and human celebration.

As the reality of warm weather turns the corner, there is little more freeing, passion-building, and exciting as a music festival to truly unwind from the grind of the past semester.



A festival attendee focuses on a stage, as the crowds swell, the community still feels close through a shared bond of music.

“It is an exprience unlike any other planned ‘vacation’ just because of the ultimate freedom you have at festivals,” said freshman finance major, Ryan Fergen. Fergen spent his senior trip at Mulberry Mountain,in the Ozarks of Arkansas at Wakarusa music festival. “It is enlightening to see the way people connect through music and how complete strangers from around the country can become instant friends through a common band or show.”


Music festivals are a golden reality, which pushes attendees into a wonderfully accepting community, while enjoying the passions that music can bring. For this reason, festivals have grown in popularity and stay on the top of the list for rallying through warm weather experiences.

“The biggest difference between festivals and shows is you actually get to live the music. When you are surrounded by thousands of people that are doing the exact same thing you are doing and living out of a tent and eating [bad] food it makes you appreciate the lifestyle so much more,” Fergen said. “Things happen at festivals that you would never even think about doing at a normal show. My friends and I discussed the feeling that once we walked into the ‘boundaries’ of Wakarusa it was like we walked into another country with no rules and different expectations for society.”

Wake up in a tent, slap some sunscreen on, eat anything you can find, grab a drink, go to your first show; rally until early in the morning, back in the tent; repeat. This is the daily grind when on break and at one of the outdoor paradises of music festivals, a complete juxtaposition of life in a student’s society.

Woodstock, the ultimate, historically epic mega-festival from Aug. 15 to 18 in 1969 sets the stage for modern music marathons.  Thirty two acts took the stage including Santana, Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead—all with a crowd of 500,000 watching. As 44 years have passed and technology has increased exponentially, festivals generations behind its day-in-age were truly raw, and community oriented.

As technology has swept into daily lives, spontaneous moments such as this have dwindled. Music festivals bring those feelings into the center-stage, because through lack of outlets, wifi, and cell-phone service, being present in the moment becomes ever-exceedingly the current reality. This, coupled with energetic music and artists who are excited to be at the festival, creates a blissful show experience.

The kindness and community at festivals is felt whether one is at an electronic festival, a diverse music festival, or a bluegrass festival—the atmosphere is the same. Everyone is there to live the music.

“It’s all about the energy. Unlike a lot of concerts, at electronic ones everyone is nice to each other,” said Zaid Hassani, electrical engineering sophomore. “You rarely see fights, everyone is there for the same cause and just give off positive energy.”

Hassani made the journey to Electronic Dance Carnival (EDC) last year, and is preparing to go again. He also is an electronic DJ.

There are thousands of music festivals throughout the nation, and thousands more abroad. The largest festival in the US is South by Southwest (SXSW) with 20,000 visitors.

Popular ones within the festival season include Coachella in California, Sasquatch in May, Lollapalooza in Chicago, Firefly in Delaware, Governors Ball in New York, Bonoroo in Tennessee.

“It’s crazy because there’s thousands and thousands of people there, but you’re all there for the same reason,” said freshman Charlie Anderson, international studies major. Anderson went to Wakarusa least year, Mile High in 2009, and is getting ready to head to SXSW this March. “It feels like you’re a part of something that’s solidified in music.”

The music festival trend is truly timeless, as music is a passion that will be ignited throughout the generations to come. As our society becomes more controlled by technology, pressures of jobs, families and the like, weeks of giving it all up for the pleasure of music is something to experience.

Students Prepare for Alternative Spring Breaks

 News  Comments Off on Students Prepare for Alternative Spring Breaks
Oct 172012

Author: Tom Mullen


The CSU Alternative Breaks program allows students the chance to travel nationally and internationally to perform service projects while learning about  the social issues affecting the area.

Students can choose from fourteen different locations this year. The deadline for applications is Tuesday October 23. Students are encouraged to participate for a unique and rewarding experience.


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Student Abroad: Leap of Faith

 Blogs, Student Abroad, The Well  Comments Off on Student Abroad: Leap of Faith
Aug 292012

Author: Anna Palmer


Bungee Jumping Appareil
Bungee Jumping Appareil (Photo credit: mtsofan)

As my feet edged closer to the ledge, I took one deep breath, threw my arms over my
head, and hurled myself 43 meters off of the bridge. What exactly was I thinking at that
very moment? I cannot tell you. All I knew was that there was no turning back. And the
funny thing was, I had no desire to. I had come this far, worked up the courage to take
this plunge, and for the amount of fear I had anticipated, I felt surprisingly calm. The
excitement coursing through my veins was enough to get me over that ledge, and as I
dove toward the brilliantly blue water of the river coursing beneath me, I realized that I
had done it. I had overcome my fear.

Never in all my life had I imagined myself willingly taking such a huge leap of faith. It
was as if I was a bystander, an observer of the whole scenario, simply watching this
assured girl hurl herself off of the bridge. It was as if I had floated out of my body,
momentarily, gaping at the spectacle before me. The best way to describe this experience
is to compare it to that of a dream, a far off reality, but a dream so tangible and reachable
all at the same time.

Since coming to New Zealand, this dreamlike feeling has enveloped me, leaving me
with a sense of wonder and disbelief at where this dream has taken me thus far. Before
coming here and as much as I hate to admit, I did not view myself as the adventurous, go
get em’, live in the moment type. Sure, I have imprinted myself with a tattoo as a subtle

reminder of this motto I am ever-striving to live my life by, but this simple inscription
on my shoulder has never felt real until now. Living for today, in all its simplicity,
has come to take on a whole new meaning for me. I have already begun to notice a
change in myself, a change I can say I have welcomed with open and excited arms. I’ve
noticed myself taking more chances, being more adventurous, and really living out this
life mantra. A simple mantra…yet one that takes conscience choosing and constant
reminder. To live in the moment means to trust yourself fully and completely. It means
to trust the choices and chances you take each and every moment. This trust extends into
all aspects of life: trusting others, trusting God, trusting the universe, trusting the unseen,
and finally and often times most difficult, trusting when the outcome, the result is not yet

Yet, this ever-pervasive fear in our society and within ourselves has prevented us from
fully embracing all that life has to offer. We hold so tightly to this fear, whatever that
fear may be, and we try to control each and every aspect of our lives. This control gives
us a sense of security but what is lost in the process is the natural flow of life. We are
meant to flow with life, trusting in every which way it sends us, but more often than not
we are unable to loosen the tight grip. We hold tightly to every routine, to everything
that makes us feel safe, secure, stable. But each day this stability is compromised even
by the slightest hiccup in our path. So what do we do? We hold on even tighter. But
what would happen if we were to just let go? To let go of this apprehension, this fear of
not being in control? I can say from experience that the feeling of not being in control
is a scary feeling, so scary that I find myself fighting to regain my grip on anything I can
get ahold of.

But what if I was to push through this initial fear? Would I find myself trusting in the
process as time went on? In all honesty, I do not have the answers to most of these
questions. I think all that I can do is continue to acknowledge the moments when this
fear arises and consciously choose to sit with that fear. Then, in doing so, I can either
choose to turn back or keep on going. As past experience has shown me, to keep on
going, heading into the unknown, taking that leap of faith, has led to experiences far
beyond my imagination. Coming to New Zealand was a huge leap of faith in and of
itself. Not only that, but the experiences thus far have been far beyond the bubble of
my comfort zone. Each leap of faith I’ve taken has led to such a feeling of euphoria,
accomplishment, and confidence that I can only trust that those to come will do that and
more. So in this moment, I choose to trust the path I have taken, to loosen the grip of
control, and to keep moving, plunging ahead into the thralls of this spectacular adventure.