Education Abroad: University of Kentucky EnKompass Blog


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I was on loan last week to another blog! My internship in the University of Kentucky Office of Education Abroad has provided yet another blogging platform for me. I am currently on a team that collaborates and writes about our … Continue reading

Back to School Safety with SABRE

9:37 p.m. Tuesday. I am walking from my car to my residence hall, less than a quarter of a mile. The sidewalks are well-lit, but it is already dark in mid-September. I clutch my keys between my knuckles. There are several students walking on both sides of the street, yet I still feel like I have to be on-guard at all times. Anyone would, after the latest crime bulletin which always arrives hours after the fact via an email account few students check. Last night’s email recounted a strong-arm robbery with one female victim and three female assailants. I shiver at the thought of such an altercation; I can only pray that I could muster some strength for self-defense if I ever found myself in such a situation.

Violence on college campuses is at an all-time high. Despite safety precautions taken by universities to protect students, especially those that have to commute to and from campus alone at night, instances, both reported and undocumented, continue to occur to both men and women. In general, 1 in 5 women will be a victim of sexual assault on their college campus. That is to say, more than 20% of the more than 12 million women expected to attend college this year will be a victim of sexual assault. Furthermore, the 2014 Presidential Task force estimates that more than 10,000 college students will experience aggravated assault or robbery each year on college campuses. September and October, in particular, are highlighted by law enforcement and recognized as the most dangerous time for students on college campuses. These two months have the highest amount of injuries, accidents, and deaths than any other time of the year. During these crucial first two months of school, it is essential for students to be extra cautious as they take night classes or while learning the campus layout, especially for new students who may be less familiar with campus safety resources.

Recently, I have had the pleasure of working with and using the products of SABRE, the leading provider of personal safety tools worldwide. SABRE is trusted as the #1 choice of law enforcement professionals and recommended by campus safety officers at my home university. SABRE has a mission to educate and advocate for the personal safety of college-aged students by empowering them to take control of their own personal security. Additionally, the company wants to help college students to be free to enjoy and maximize their experience on campus by providing them with the tools and knowledge they need to be informed. I have utilized SABRE Pepper Gel, in addition to the dorm alarm system, to help protect myself in the event I encounter a violent situation on campus. These products, shown below, are incredibly affordable and are specifically designed for collegiate women for their ease of use and effectiveness.

Not only does SABRE design products for campus safety, the company has created a College Safety Program that brings representatives from the company to YOUR campus to talk about personal safety during college. Use the following link to find out more information on how to bring a SABRE program manager to campus for an engaging personal safety education presentation:

SABRE is helping women “be prepared, not scared” on their college campus this year, as are numerous other campus organizations working to combat increased violence, robbery, and sexual assault of students. Being mindful of the times you choose to walk alone on campus, events you choose to attend at night, and considering options offered for student safety by your university are all steps students can take to avoid becoming a victim of campus crime. SABRE products offer an additional sense of support for intelligent students who make wise safety decisions, yet are still at risk of victimization.

Be sure to follow SABRE on their various social media accounts for up-to-date product information and additional college safety tips:

Facebook: SABRE-Security Equipment Corporation
Twitter: @SabreRed
Instagram: @SabreSafety


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In the meantime

“How weird and wonderful you are”
How special you are for your own experiences, your trials, your tribulations,
How unique your confidence and exhibition.
Fervent, but satisfying,
Covert, but beguiling.

What beautiful, intimate desire you have,
For feeling, for belonging, for acceptance,
For what I can offer you, with no admissions.
I’m sorry my collar is a little damp,
I’ll cry quietly from now on.

We’re catching feelings like fireflies.
Yet you found me there,
Sitting in the cheap seats of the summer,
Windowless, but not without conviction.
Is love as blind as faith?

I surrendered my beliefs in expectation,
You snatched them up and buried them.
I am falling, falling,
What a cosmic attraction.
Falling in and out of love, like I got on and off the bus,
To and from the authentic cheap seats.

But mine is just one voice,
Tell me not what, but how you feel.
This isn’t a time to discuss authenticity.
So place your curve on mine,
And we’ll twist and mold til morning.

Best YouTube Zumba Choreography Videos

Everyone says that when summer comes around, it’s time to get into shape. For me, my time to kick start a new workout regimen is fall when school starts. My life gets so busy and hectic that I hardly ever have time to eat right, let alone make it to the gym. This fall, I’ve been consistently doing Zumba, my favorite workout of all time, and I’ve found some super awesome videos on YouTube (free!) that you can do wherever you are, at your own pace. Whether it’s 8am or midnight, Zumba is convenient if you’ve got the space and energy, and love to dance like me. I even motivated myself to keep this up by getting some new workout gear. Target was having a GREAT sale last weekend, and I got everything here for just $40! Whatever it takes to motivate yourself, do it! It’s worth it not to let your body fall to the wayside in such a busy time, even though winter clothes might hide the parts of you that need a little love! Stay fit, XOXO.

With love from the cave,

Sarah Alexandra



Sarah’s YouTube Zumba Favorites:

An Open Letter to the Fall 2014 Pledge Class

Dear new members,

After a strenuous week of parading around campus in heels, smiling your biggest smiles, and shedding a tear or two during preference, I hope you’ve come to find your second home. In your new sorority, you have a new set of sisters to lean on that will support you unconditionally. You might not think you need that support, but there will come a time and your sisters will be there for you like you never imagined.

I hope you ran home on Bid Day to be greeted with love and appreciation by your chapter actives who selected YOU for membership in this national organization. Your unique qualities stood out to your new sisters and you were selected with a purpose. Revel in this idea, because you are appreciated more than you know. Do not take your new membership lightly, however. Your coveted attributes and talents will be put to use to enrich your new sisterhood. You will be expected to contribute and participate actively in chapter activities, academic, philanthropic, and social, if you want your chapter to give back to you.

In just a short time, you will receive your very first letters. Whether stitched onto a jersey or etched into a pencil, your new letters represent this organization locally and nationally. Wearing letters is a privilege that unites us across the country and further promotes solidarity among members. Your actions and attitude while wearing letters should reflect the pride you feel for obtaining membership in this organization. You are not entitled to your letters, they are a gift given graciously to you when you were selected for membership. Should you choose to disrespect the tradition and values of this sisterhood, your letters can be revoked. Be mindful of what you say, do, and promote in and out of your letters because they are now a reflection of more than yourself.

As an active member, I promise you the following things:

A life-changing experience — if you let it. Sorority membership might offer you certain social status on your college campus or networking opportunities in your future career, but most importantly, your pledge to this sisterhood and to your new sisters is a bond for life. Utilizing traditions upheld for hundreds of years, your pledge to this sorority serves as your commitment to preserve history, in addition to joining an empowering organization of collegiate women. Your affiliation with this sisterhood is life-long, and from it you can reap the benefits of support, friendship, prestige, and dedication.

To offer guidance as I see fit. As an older, active member with much more insight and experience with chapter business and workings, I promise to never undermine your age, opinions, or status as a sister. I promise to never call you a “baby” during your pledging process. You are a valuable new member, and beautiful, young adult who will be respected during the new member education period. Although this affiliation may seem foreign at first, I promise to earnestly answer any questions you have and to do my best to lead by positive example.

Opportunity to find your niche. Whether your new chapter has 50 or 300 members, there are responsibilities for everyone. While our organization must answer to Nationals, we operate as a largely independent entity that is internally responsible for our own activities and events. There are numerous leadership positions, both in front of and behind the scenes of chapter members and events that require special women to execute various tasks. In this sisterhood, you have the opportunity to explore various chapter operations and apply your personal strengths as you see fit.

Ultimately, you have been selected for your potential to positively contribute to this sisterhood. You will pay for membership, yes, but your dues fund the local and national maintenance of this organization and contribute to the events hosted by your chapter. As a new sorority affiliate, you have immense responsibility and likewise immense potential to enrich your sisterhood. In your new home, I hope you take the time to learn about the history you are now a part of and are working to preserve. You are embarking on an incredibly unique experience, one that you will share with the other special members of your pledge class. Enjoy this time and take every chance you have to meet older members; their experiences and wisdom may shock you. This membership, though cliche, is certainly more than just four years; it is for a lifetime. With this, I welcome you with open arms to your new family and home away from home.

Your chapter

In loving memory

Of all the frailty and preciousness in the world, we cling to that which serves as a pillar of strength. A steadfast hand, a guarded heart. But when circumstance sheds light on that frailty, we are brought to see weakness, innocence, sincerity. We dance around this visibility until it can be ignored no longer, and then we are left only with what we remember, when we remember to miss it. I am touched, as are you, by that which has been taken from us in due time. Yet, no preparation feels sufficient and each heart breaks in its own way. Quietly, passively, selfishly. We lament only to comfort one another, rather self-serving in our organization. It is not our folly to forget our purpose, but rather our duty to congregate and foster the hearts, broken, vacant, and sinking. We leave ourselves once and once only, leaving in our wake, we hope, counsel, conviction, and most of all, love.

Back to College with Brita®!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Brita for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I can’t believe August is already upon us! College is right around the corner and I just got moved back onto campus for my third year! Thankfully, back-to-school shopping for me hasn’t been too hectic, but there have been a few things I couldn’t live without. I’ve been staking out stores and fighting the crowds for my last minute essentials before move-in day and I think I found some great deals on everything I needed. This year, I purchased a stackable shelving system and a hand-held steamer for my dorm room. These purchases definitely make cramped dorm life much easier and are super convenient when it comes to organization and professionalism. I also couldn’t forget to bring my Brita® products back to the dorm. I have a water bottle and pitcher that makes it so easy to take water to my classes and feel like I’m drinking something clean and healthy even though it came from the dorm room sink! I’ve spent way too much money on plastic water bottles in the past that take up space and are really wasteful in general. With my Brita® pitcher and water bottle, I don’t have any guilt about waste and I know that my water is purified even when I have to fill up at a random sink or water fountain. As a college student, I don’t have tons of money to spend on water bottles and drinks nor do I have time to run out and buy a new drink between classes. Brita® products are affordable and a reusable investment that make college living comfortable! #BritaBackToCollege

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20 Things I Learned in Costa Rica

  1. Locals are called Ticos and Ticas
  2. You can’t flush toilet paper…like ever.
  3. There are 8 digits in a Costa Rican phone number.
  4. If the leading 3 digits of a bar code are 744, the product was made in-country.
  5. Rice and beans are Costa Rican staples and they do not cook with many spices.
  6. Ecotourism stimulates the majority of the Costa Rican economy. You can almost always pay for items in US dollars.
  7. Ice is considered a luxury and is very, very rare.
  8. I did not see one square inch of carpet while in Costa Rica.
  9. Mother’s Day is celebrated in August in Costa Rica, which is coincidentally the middle of their winter and rainy season.
  10. Rum is the cheapest alcoholic beverage available.
  11. You can be in what seems like the most poverty-stricken neighborhood, and every home still has a satellite dish atop its roof.
  12. This country appears to be 5-10 years behind at all times. The mall still sells Aeropostale, Swatches, and Jordache Jeans with great enthusiasm.
  13. Costa Rica has street signs yet they do not use them to give directions. Instead, they use landmarks and cardinal directions to give addresses.
  14. Rainy season is during the summer. You need an umbrella on your person at all times.
  15. Costa Rican currency uses colones and the conversion is approximately 500 colones for every 1 USD.
  16. If you go out to clubs, you will learn to salsa. It’s pretty much a given.
  17. I ate probably 15 fruits I have never heard of before that do not grow outside of this region of Latin America.
  18. There is a national campaign to make every public space accessible to all citizens, including the handicapped.
  19. Costa Rican natural landscapes and national parks are protected by mandates and legislation, and money for upkeep is drawn from steep entrance fees and taxes.
  20. Gratuity is included in all prices in addition to a tip for service. Every meal costs 15-20% more than the list price when all is said and done.









Life & Literature

La literatura y la vida se entrelazan de manera indefinida. La literatura se deriva de las experiencias de vida y estas experiencias se conservan en las palabras. Las palabras, ensambladas con gracia, relatan nuestros triunfos, nuestros fracasos, nuestras lamentaciones, y nuestros momentos más preciosos. La literatura, entonces, surge cuando estas palabras se transmiten de persona a persona y las emociones, las acciones y las experiencias se registran al estar compartiendo con otros. Creamos la literatura porque los humanos poseen una clara necesidad de explicar toda la formación y las experiencias destructivas que tenemos en la vida. Mientras que la información alimenta el cerebro, la literatura trasciende los modos primitivos de comunicación y nutre nuestras almas con las historias y las experiencias con los que podemos sentir empatía. La literatura abarca las experiencias y los desafíos de la vida privada y pública y la mayoría ofrece las explicaciones a los problemas en las escalas personales y mundiales.

Por otra parte, la literatura actúa como un espejo en el que podemos vernos a nosotros mismos en la actualidad, quienes solíamos ser, o quienes queremos ser en el futuro. Por la crónica de experiencias, archivamos nuestros recuerdos más dolorosos y más valiosos que pueden servir como hitos de progreso a medida que maduramos. A través de la literatura, podemos expresar nuestras más profundas emociones, directa o indirectamente. Del mismo modo, podemos utilizar la literatura para desprendernos de dificultades actuales y perderse en un mundo ficticio. El tema de la literatura puede variar dependiendo del autor y la belleza de esta variedad es que sólo se necesita la reacción de una persona a dar significado y propósito a una obra literaria. En este sentido, la literatura es una forma de arte, y nuestras experiencias vividas proporcionar material de la asignatura y las herramientas con las que podemos moldear la ficción. El concepto de mimesis da la bienvenida a la creatividad y elimina las connotaciones negativas asociadas frecuentemente con las reproducciones de la obra. Las experiencias humanas se superponen de manera significativa, pero son igualmente única como toda la literatura producida como un producto de la mimesis.

Existen la literatura oral y escrita para dar a la gente una variedad de maneras de expresarse y de compartir sus experiencias vividas con otros en numerosos modos comunicativos. Los campos de estudio y de información sobre el rendimiento de investigación que enriquece aún más la literatura y la ficción desarrollado que los lectores acepten como la verdad. La literatura puede ser utilizada para justificar las acciones en retrospectiva o los que aún no se ha ejecutado. Una vez creada, la literatura puede ser una fuente constante de consuelo o un recordatorio constante de dolor o un obstáculo superado. La literatura puede promover el cambio social o motivar a la gente a cambiar sus acciones cotidianas y, por esta razón, la literatura es una herramienta para la organización, la colectivización, y la comunión. La complejidad o la simplicidad del lenguaje en la literatura invita a las personas en todas las etapas de la vida para leer e interiorizar los mensajes y las experiencias. Al convertirse en empatía con las situaciones y experiencias de los demás, la vida, en general, se enriquece y la complejidad del pensamiento y la expresión profunda se amplían. Por lo tanto, la creación perpetua y la preservación de la literatura existente son cruciales para el desarrollo humano y la mejora de la calidad de la vida y el pensamiento.