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Must-take side trips from top study abroad destinations

To help those studying far from home pack more travel into their adventure, the experts at Cheapflights.com have pulled together their picks for getaways that are a short flight or train ride away from top spots for overseas studies.

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Ah, the student life. Is there anything better than combining work and play by studying abroad? How about adding to the experience with more travel. Many of the top study abroad destinations are also good jumping off spots for exploring other fun, student-friendly locales.

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To help those studying far from home pack more travel into their adventure, the experts at Cheapflights.com have pulled together their picks for getaways that are a short flight or train ride away from top spots for overseas studies.

Study abroad programs offer the chance of a lifetime to get to know a city over a stretch of weeks or even months. And, when it comes time to take a break from your home away, more destinations await. Check out some of the suggestions for where to go for more adventure:

  • Studying in Rome, Italy; get away to Dubrovnik, CroatiaWant to eat your fill of delicious pasta and be surrounded by awe-inspiring art and history? Then studying in Rome, Italy is probably a great idea for a semester abroad. There are 24 Italian and international colleges and universities in Rome, including Università la Sapienza, the largest in Europe. When you want to step away from the carbs, consider a getaway to Dubrovnik, Croatia, about an hour flight from Rome. Trade perfectly cooked plates of pasta for beautiful beaches set against the vibrant blue Adriatic Sea and the endlessly charming pedestrian-only Old Town. Dubrovnik also happens to be the main filming location for a little show called Game of Thrones.
  • Studying in Edinburgh, Scotland; get away to Brussels, BelgiumEdinburgh might not come close to London in terms of size, but there are still many top-rated universities in the Scottish capital, making it a good option for studying abroad. The easily walkable city is rich with history and culture and offers a unique blend of ancient sites with modern amenities and attractions. It’s also an easy 90-minute flight away from Brussels, another European capital with its own line-up of treats. If a love of history attracted you to Scotland in the first place, there’s more where that came from in Brussels. However, there’s plenty that sets the city apart from Edinburgh too. Cutting-edge museums, exciting nightlife, plenty of green space, outdoor markets and amazing shopping are just a few reasons to visit. Oh, and of course, there’s the chocolate. Remember to stock up on the chocolate.
  • Studying in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; get away to Toronto, Ontario, CanadaMontreal is home to several international universities including McGill, Concordia and the University of Montreal and is popular with undergraduate and graduate students alike. The second largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris, it offers a European feel and plenty of arts and culture without heading overseas. And it provides the perfect opportunity for weekend getaways to Toronto. Reached via affordable, one-hour round-trip flights, Toronto makes for a quick, easy and relatively cheap excursion. With tons to do that won’t set your budget back, including museums, art galleries, a lively comedy and theater scene, hip restaurants and bars and breathtaking views from atop the CN Tower, there is no shortage of ways to spend your time.
  • Studying in Tokyo, Japan; get away to Taipei, Taiwan Tokyo offers international students a fascinating mash-up of old and new, ancient history and ultra-modern, all in one place. Japan’s capital is an ideal study abroad option for anyone who wants to experience a high-energy destination with cutting-edge fashion, art, design and food. In addition to the University of Tokyo, there are over 100 other universities and colleges in and around the city. When you want to do more traveling, think about a visit to Taipei, Taiwan, for some equally good food, fun and shopping, as well as the chance to soak in nearby hot springs, browse and snack your way through many a night market, get back to nature with some scenic day hikes and temple hop through the city.
  • Studying in Melbourne, Australia; get away to Auckland, New ZealandSeveral universities in Melbourne make this culturally rich city a popular study abroad destination. Any time not spent hitting the books may well go to exploring the city’s many laneways, which are filled with a plethora of funky street art, cool cafés, bars and boutiques. And that’s just scratching Melbourne’s surface. But if you want to hop on a plane and do some more traveling, why not add Auckland, New Zealand, to your list? A three-and-a-half-hour flight puts a new country stamp in your passport and lands you in close proximity to wineries, scenic hiking spots, beautiful beaches, volcanoes and loads of opportunities for getting your adrenaline pumping with activities like bungee jumping, skydiving and canyoning.

More study-travel combinations include: Studying in Dublin, Ireland; get away to Cardiff, Wales; studying in Beijing, China; get away to Seoul, Korea; studying in Paris, France, get away to Prague, Czech Republic; studying in Barcelona, Spain; get away to Lyon, France; studying in London, England, get away to Amsterdam, Netherlands.

To get the full list of recommended study abroad destinations, check out Cheapflights.com at www.cheapflights.com/news/youre-studying-abroad-take-quick-weekend-trip.  To see the full line-up of ways to stretch your student travel dollar, visit www.cheapflights.ca/news/10-ways-stretch-student-travel-dollar.

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Travel

Travelling farther away from home linked to better health

How often people travel and the range of places visited are important, with those who regularly travel more than 15 miles away from home more likely to report being in general good health.

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People who travel more outside of their local area feel that they are healthier than those who stay closer to home, finds a new study led by UCL researchers.

How often people travel and the range of places visited are important, with those who regularly travel more than 15 miles away from home more likely to report being in general good health.

Those who travel to a wider variety of places are more likely to see friends and family. This increase in social participation is then linked to better health.

Researchers say the results provide strong evidence of the need for investment in medium and long-distance transport options, such as better serviced roads and access to trains and buses.

For the paper, published in Transport & Health, the researchers analysed travel in the north of England, where residents face worse health outcomes than the rest of England and many rural and suburban areas suffer from poor transport accessibility.

Specifically, they looked at the links between perceived constraints to travel outside of the local area, such as a lack of suitable public transport, and self-rated health, considering trip frequency, the number of different places visited, distance travelled, car use and public transport use.

Lead author Dr Paulo Anciaes (UCL Bartlett School of Environment, Energy & Resources) said: “We expected to find that restrictions on travel through a lack of access to suitable public transport or to a private car would be linked to residents’ perception of their health because of the lack of social participation.

“We explored the links between constraints to travel more than 15 miles from home, demographics and location and social participation in how residents perceived their own health, finding that the key variable is the number of different places people visit outside their local area. This links to more social participation and better health.”

The researchers conducted an online survey of 3,014 nationally representative residents in the north of England. Constraints to travel have previously been identified as contributing to economic disadvantage and a lower sense of wellbeing in the region, but the impact on health hadn’t been analysed before. The team used a research technique called “path analysis”, which uncovers the direct and indirect effects of constraints to travel outside of people’s local area.

The study found that the links between travel constraints, social participation and health are stronger among those aged over 55. Among this group, constraints to the number of different places people can travel to is linked to less frequent contact with friends and participation in clubs and societies.

Dr Anciaes explained: “Those aged over 55 are more likely to face other constraints to travel such as limited mobility. They are also more likely to suffer from loneliness. In the north of England, rural and suburban areas with limited access options are more likely to experience population loss as young people move to the cities in search of work and good travel options. Meanwhile, older generations are left behind in these areas with limited transport options. The range of places they can visit is low, leading to less social participation and lower levels of general health.

“The results of this study emphasise the need for public policies that reduce constraints to travel in the region, by providing better options for private and public transport that allows for more frequent and longer trips.”

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Destinations

The one-and-only Hobbiton from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is now on Airbnb

With access to 44 Hobbit Holes, The Millhouse, The Green Dragon Inn, and other beloved locations from the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, guests will take an unexpected journey into Middle-earth for an experience unlike any other.

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For the first time ever, fans from around the world can explore the faraway lands of their favorite holiday films with an exclusive overnight stay at the original Hobbiton™ Movie Set. Russell Alexander is inviting guests to his family’s property to live like Bilbo Baggins and retreat to The Shire for an overnight stay at Hobbiton, as featured in the famed The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies.

Nestled in the picturesque pastures of New Zealand’s Waikato region on a 2,500-acre working farm, the property’s rolling, green hills – bear a striking similarity to The Shire as described by J. R. R. Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings, and captivated Sir Peter Jackson’s movie scouts more than two decades ago. The team quickly realized the Hobbits had found their home – and this holiday season, it could be yours.

Alexander will host three individual two-night stays for up to four guests at NZD $10 per night* as an homage to the 10th anniversary of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, courtesy of Airbnb.

With access to 44 Hobbit Holes, The Millhouse, The Green Dragon Inn, and other beloved locations from the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, guests will take an unexpected journey into Middle-earth for an experience unlike any other.

With sweeping views of The Shire, they’ll enjoy:

  • Cozy overnight accommodation curated by the trilogies’ Creative Director Brian Massey, including a writing nook fit for Bilbo Baggins at The Millhouse.
  • Private access to a personal Hobbit Hole, set up for relaxing moments of Preciousss  downtime and afternoon tea.
  • An evening banquet in The Green Dragon Inn with a feast featuring beef and ale stew, whole roast chickens, freshly baked breads and plenty of ale, plus Second Breakfast and Elevenses served daily.
  • A behind-the-scenes private tour of Hobbiton Movie Set.

Now, one does not simply walk into Middle-earth. There are rules.

  • No unexpected parties, please –  unless with Gandalf and company.
  • Bare feet are allowed but wipe them first.
  • Magical rings permitted, but keep them secret, keep them safe.
  • Pony parking is provided only at The Green Dragon Inn.
  • Straying far at night is discouraged, thanks to multiple troll sightings of late.
  • No pets are allowed, except Pickles the resident Hobbiton cat.
  • Never laugh at live dragons…

“For more than two decades, we’ve welcomed millions of passionate fans to Hobbiton Movie Set, but never before has anyone had the opportunity to spend a night in Middle-earth. I am delighted to share the beauty of my family’s farm and pleased to be hosting this iconic location on Airbnb for fans from around the world,” shares Host Russel Alexander.

How to book

Hobbits, elves, wizards and others may request to book one of three overnight stays on Wednesday, December 14 from 10:00AM NZDT/5:00AM PHT at airbnb.com/hobbiton. Stays will take place March 2-4, March 9-11, and March 16-18, 2023. You Shall Not Pass! (without requesting to book, of course).

To request to book, guests must have a verified Airbnb profile, a history of positive reviews and be aged 18+. Maximum occupancy is four persons. Two bedrooms are configured, featuring one queen bed, and the other two king-singles.

Guests are responsible for their own transportation to and from Auckland, New Zealand. Round trip car transportation will be provided for the two-hour journey between the airport and the property. (And just as a Wizard is never late, it’s important our guests arrive at their stay precisely when they mean to).

Travellers looking to book should note that this stay’s rules require strict adherence with local COVID-19 guidelines. Guests are responsible for their own travel to and from Auckland. Airbnb is closely monitoring COVID-19 infection rates and government policies and will offer booking guests a refund of the booking fee ($31) and $1,000 USD Airbnb travel credit if Airbnb determines it is necessary to cancel the stay due to COVID-19 guidelines.

*Plus taxes and fees. These three individual two-night stays are not a contest. The Hobbiton Movie Set is privately owned and operated.

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Destinations

Greenfield District in Mandaluyong kicks off its holiday celebration

To mark the beginning of the district-wide yuletide merry-making, the event kicked off recently with the traditional lighting of the 60-foot Christmas tree at the Greenfield District Central Park,. followed by a magical display of fireworks and Christmas caroling by a 20-piece chorale , setting the mood for guests to get into the holiday spirit.

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Greenfield District, the smart and connected urban center of Greenfield Development Corporation (GDC) in Mandaluyong City, transformed into a holiday wonderland with the launch of GDC’s annual Christmas festivities called “A Christmas for Generations”. 

To mark the beginning of the district-wide yuletide merry-making, the event kicked off recently with the traditional lighting of the 60-foot Christmas tree at the Greenfield District Central Park,.  followed by a magical display of fireworks and Christmas caroling by a 20-piece chorale , setting the mood for guests to get into the holiday spirit.

“After two years of not having face-to-face yuletide celebrations, Filipinos are surely excited to once again gather with their loved ones to celebrate the country’s festive Christmas season,” said GDC President and Chairman Jeffrey D.Y. Campos.  “Greenfield District is a venue where different generations, from senior citizen grandparents to Gen Z kids, can bond with each other by taking part in the fun holiday activities of the District,” he added.

Ongoing  until December 25, Filipinos of all ages are in for a lot of holiday fun at the District. On December 17, families, especially kids are invited to come and meet  Santa Claus at Greenfield District’s “A Night with Santa” , which will feature merry activities and gift giving.

Meanwhile, adults can start their holiday shopping early as the Greenfield District Central Park will showcase weekend bazaars starting this month until December. Shoppers can look forward to discovering value for money gift ideas, trendy fashion pieces, delicious treats and more. While shopping, visitors can also enjoy a quick food trip and engage in Arts and Crafts activities while immersing at the bazaars dressed in colorful Christmas decorations. 

With a mission to build future-ready and sustainable communities for generations of Filipinos, GDC upholds its tradition of organizing events that promote the value of togetherness and spending quality time with the family.

“At GDC, we are committed to not only building properties for generations but also creating verdant, spacious neighborhoods where Filipino families can create beautiful memories together throughout the years. Christmas is a special occasion for many Filipinos, and we want Greenfield District to be part of their memorable Christmas experience every year,” said GDC Executive Vice President and General Manager Atty. Duane A.X. Santos. 

Located at the corner of EDSA and Shaw Boulevard, Greenfield District is accessible to the public through various routes and roadways from the main business districts of Metro Manila, making it an ideal destination for recreational activities, get-togethers, and shopping this yuletide season.

Visit the Greenfield District with friends and family this holiday season.  To know more about the activities at Greenfield District, visit https://www.facebook.com/greenfielddistrict.

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