Anis Salvesen

Anis Salvesen

Go Overseas Team Member
Oakland, CA

Member for

5 years 10 months

Anis was the Volunteer Abroad, Gap Year Abroad and High School Abroad Director at Go Overseas. A native of California, she's traveled to over two dozen countries and is passionate about connecting with people and helping in any way she can. Though she no longer works at Go Overseas, she is still passionate about the pursuit of meaningful travel.

Travel Experience
0-5 Countries
Reviews
Anis Salvesen
Anis
10/10

Frankly I was initially quite skeptical of going through the wardrobe. But then I realized that I don't fully understand the physics behind space travel and would jump at the chance to be an astronaut anyway, so I went for it! I followed Lucy full speed ahead behind the coats and hoped for the best. Worst case I'd end up with a nasty bump on the head, right? You only live once and whatnot.

I can't say enough great things about my semester in Narnia and have a ton of fun stories, but I suppose it'd be more useful if I shared some tips. First off, pack for warmer weather if you're studying there during the second half of the year. I had heard of the snow-covered landscape there, so I packed wool socks, mittens, scarfs and a coat that made me look like a deformed marshmallow. But given the absence of the White Witch, the weather was actually quite pleasant. Fortunately Cair Paravel now has a lovely store filled with all sorts of apparel. I am now the proud owner of numerous branded clothing items including a 'Nobody Told Me It Would Be This Warm in Narnia' tanktop (featuring Mr. and Mrs. Beaver in beach attire under a hot sun, holding little umbrella-topped drinks); an 'I Met Aslan and You Didn't' hat; a pair of shorts that reads 'Turkish Delight' across the bum; a 'Tumnus umbrella' (oh yeah it rains!); and a 'Sometimes I Miss the White Witch' tshirt with a smartphone screen showing 88 degrees and 110% humidity as the current weather (though I wouldn't recommend wearing it while in Narnia).

Let's see. What else? Oh yes, although most of the time you won't actually be sitting on a throne, you will have to endure some extremely long ceremonies, and the thrones are quite hard. The first time I sat for hours on the throne had no idea, and I'm pretty sure I bruised my coccyx. So be sure to bring a seat cushion. You can also buy one there, but for some reason the batch they had ordered when I was there was defective and kept making a farting sound every time I shifted. My classmate used a rented one, and that one was okay, but who wants to use a cushion other people's bums were on? Better to bring your own.

This one sounds weird but trust me: don't become Facebook friends with Aslan or let him follow you on Instagram. He will visit Cair Paravel during the party at the end of your semester there and he will be really cool, with his awesome mane and regal swagger. And he is cool. Nothing against Aslan. The dude's alright. But he basically never sleeps and has boundless energy for everything from fighting in battle to tracking activity on social media, so it will start to feel like he's stalking you. He's totally not stalking you in particular, but if you want to avoid that feeling it's better just not to engage on social media. Even on Twitter, he started following me and literally retweeted every one of my tweets for like 12 days before I blocked him. I saw him at a reunion barbecue after that and we're still friends, but save yourself the awkwardness and just steer clear of Aslan on the social media front.

Oh one last thing I would share as far as tips is that if you're one of those people who opens a bag of chips and can't stop until half the bag's gone (guilty) don't try the Turkish Delight. That stuff is like crack. Am I allowed to say that on a review site? Anyway, it's seriously addictive. I didn't realize how bad it was until I noticed that not just me but all of my classmates had gained 15-20 pounds over the course of the semester. I should have guessed when I noticed that my shorts, like all the other clothing 'bottoms' in the Cair Paravel store, had an elastic waistband. Fortunately, when you go back through the wardrobe, you look just like you did before. But all of your Narnia pictures will forever immortalize chubby you. One of my classmates is unable to put on a single pound in the 'real world,' so she was Thrilled to put on some weight. It's your call on the extra pounds - I'm just passing on the info.

The program's pretty selective, so if you're admitted, go for it! It's rare you get to go someplace that is Actually magical, so don't miss your chance. It will be one of the best semesters of your life and you'll create memories that will last a lifetime. Your friends back home won't believe you at first, but unlike Lucy after her first visit, you'll have the pictures to prove it.

How can this program be improved?
Not really. This program rocked!
Yes, I recommend
Anis Salvesen
Anis
10/10

My semester at Rydell was one of the most memorable ever. Of course it wasn't without some bumps along the way and I do have a few tips for anyone considering studying abroad here.

First - and this one is pretty obvious in retrospect - don't let Frenchy do your hair. I had spent quite a bit on airfare and a new wardrobe (including the cutest poodle skirt you ever saw), so I was excited to save money on getting my hair done. Plus have you seen the amazing hairdos all the cool kids at Rydell sport? I definitely needed a new look. Well, I got a new look alright. I got lots of looks - and comments - as I walked down the high school's halls. Luckily my host mom has a friend who's a good stylist and fixed it right away. I did have the nickname "Poodle Girl" for a while, which could have referred to my poodle-caught-in-a rainstorm-of-pink-hair-dye look. But I preferred to think it referred to my awesome poodle skirt.

Second - if you're heading to Rydell get yourself two things right away: a can of industrial strength hairspray and dancing lessons if you don't know how to dance. Actually, get yourself dancing lessons anyway. Even if you're considered a good dancer at your current school, you're probably nothing compared to these kids. My mom was a dance instructor, so I knew the basics and am a fast learner, so I did okay. I'm pretty sure some of the moves I learned I can't do back home, but even so I'm still going back a way better dancer than I arrived.

Lastly, don't be too quick to judge people. Rizzo seems as approachable as an upset badger, but deep down she's not so bad. I caught her telling off some out-of-towners who made fun of Jan for being fat once, though she made it clear I'd pay dearly if I told anyone about it. And Principal McGee is actually really laid back when she's not on duty. I saw her at my host sister's wedding and I swear she winked at me when I grabbed a glass of champagne. Sandy, who was also there, said it was because what I grabbed was sparkling cider, but I choose to believe Principal McGee has a wild side.

How can this program be improved?
This was a great program! It's definitely the ultimate American high school experience.
Yes, I recommend