Cecilia Haynes

Cecilia Haynes

Go Overseas Writer

Member for

5 years 5 months

Cecilia is a Third Culture Kid who is currently based in Florida. She hopped on her first plane when she was three months old and has yet to stop flying. She has lived in China, India, the U.S., the Philippines, and Turkey. After saving money by working as an English instructor in Hong Kong for a year, she backpacked around the Tibetan Plateau, western China, and northern India. Follow her adventures on her blog, on on Google+, and on Twitter @unsettledtck.

Travel Experience
0-5 Countries
Twitter Personal Site
Reviews
Cecilia Haynes
Cecilia
10/10

I begin this review with a word of caution. Do not, I repeat DO NOT, enter into this world without a lot of prior research and preparation. Likewise, do not enter into this world while in the thrall of any sort of sin or negative personality trait. You will meet a sticky end (literally).

I thoroughly enjoyed my time here. However, I had to get in good with the Oompa Loompas in order to avoid Willy's capricious moods. It's a great character booster to be able to survive a psycho hopped up on sugar. Don't get me wrong, he is whimsical and fun but he can get a bit loopy.

If you end up on this program, I would completely recommend taking a trip on the chocolate waterfall while semi-comfortably ensconced in a candy boat. Avoid drinking out of this chocolate river, you might get trapped in a tube.

How can this program be improved?
It would have been nice to have had a secondary mentor since Willy Wonka occasionally became an introverted recluse.
Yes, I recommend this program
Cecilia Haynes
Cecilia
7/10

Within the Fantasy Programs Abroad section, this was one of the few programs open to high school students. Since I was limited in my choices but still fond of choir groups, I decided to give it a try.

My one piece of advice is if you choose to attend McKinley High is to never ever allow anyone to throw a frozen slushie at you. It is a truly humiliating (not to mention FREEZING) turn of events. I ended up getting on the bad side of the Cheerios and made a firm effort to never give them reason to look at me again.

I do have a slight confession... Since I knew this was a temporary year long study abroad, I actually engineered revenge against all of the "popular" kids at school who had ever given a slushie facial. I got all of the Glee kids as well as the rest of the disenfranchised students to surprise this group with a gigantic slushie shower. If you decide to go with this program, learn from my antics!

The hardest thing for me to adapt to was the constant breaking into song. It's a bit disconcerting to suddenly feel like you have entered a Disney musical crossed with Lady Gaga. Be warned.

How can this program be improved?
There needs to be more of an effort to crackdown on slushie facials.
Yes, I recommend this program
Cecilia Haynes
Cecilia
10/10

Okay, what you need to understand about this program is that you will learn nothing about banking and finance. You must be accepting of the fact that you will put in as much time (if not more) as a regular intern at any bank, but you will not do any of the regular jobs (except fetch coffee).

Instead, you will learn how to participate in shenanigans. You will also learn how to pick up women (even if you are a woman). I spent hours, if not days, crafting the perfect modes of revenge against Clark Butterfield. Mr. Stinson roped me into this after Marshall bowed out.

Safety was not of high consideration and I risked my life many times over. However, over and above this rather extreme demand, I grew to despise the voice over. If I have to hear, "Kids," one more time, I will lose it.

How can this program be improved?
Get rid of the voice over or just let us meet the mother!
Yes, I recommend this program
Cecilia Haynes
Cecilia
10/10

Ever since I saw the documentary on the animated world of monsters, I was so excited about entering their universe. I am so glad we lived in the enlightened time of realizing that there are multiple worlds of all types piled one on top of the other. I decided on this program for two reasons. I really wanted to try my hand at being terrifying and I wanted to see what it would feel like to be transformed into a cartoon.

The college life was pretty amazing. Monsters sure know how to party hard! They were also very welcoming of me since I didn't look like a human any more. I was even invited to participate in the annual Scare Games! They put me with Oozma Kappa, a fraternity that more than made up for their lack of scariness with their multitude of hidden talents.

While I thoroughly enjoyed my time and everything that I was learning, I will warn you about Dean Hardscrabble. You want to talk about terrifying? She is the definition of nightmare. She did go out of her way to make sure I was settling in comfortably, but she couldn't help sneaking up on my accidentally once in a while. I had to change more than one pair of pants, if you know what I mean.

Keep sharp eyes and ears out for her! The more the merrier, especially if you can get eyes on all sides of your head.

How can this program be improved?
I would have liked more cross-cultural exchange. While I got to know the monster world, I didn't get to share my human world.
Yes, I recommend this program
Cecilia Haynes
Cecilia
10/10

I pulled a Jeff Winger and faked my degree. I claimed to having a teaching certificate and I'm just lucky it took them as long as it did to figure out my deception. Attending a "real" university was cramping my style, so I thought I would take a brief break at Greendale, home of the Greendale Human Beings.

For those who want to engage in unlikely antics while slacking off to the max, this is the program for you. I had the most fun building the longest blanket fort (long live Blanketsburg) and then warring with the dastardly Pillowtown.

While I was cruising through the year, I ended up hearing about Winger's made-up Conspiracy Theory class with the equally made-up Professor Professorson. At that point I went a step further than Winger and faked a legitimate Greendale night school. You are welcome, all who decide to go with this study abroad program.

Now I have most of my credits done and shortened my degree by an entire year. I could not have done this without the bumbling support of Dean Pelton. He really made my year and I will continue to keep in touch with him.

How can this program be improved?
Shirley really needs to offer more sandwiches at her shop in the cafeteria.
Yes, I recommend this program
Cecilia Haynes
Cecilia
10/10

When I discovered Fantasy Programs Abroad, I admit I was torn. Do I explore Middle Earth or do I head to a winter wonderland? I chose winter wonderland since elves and dwarves are so passe. I admit I was a little put out when I saw that there was only an option to study at Cair Paravel.

I frankly wanted to live in a world of perpetual winter. Christmas is overrated because you could live every day like it was Christmas and just buy gifts for yourself. Instead, as a snowboarder, I couldn't think of anything better than snow, hills, and the warming drink that the White Witch provides. Since this option was frustratingly removed from my choices, I made do with what I was given.

I learned a fair amount of archery, politics, and riding and conversing with lions. I did like the fact that we had a lot of field trips so that we could explore different areas of the nation.

How can this program be improved?
This program definitely needed to provide more options for destinations to spend the year.
Yes, I recommend this program
Cecilia Haynes
Cecilia
9/10

I'm not going to lie, as soon as I saw one of the many documentaries detailing the heroic exploits of Captain Kirk and Mister Spock, I was mad to get into the academy. I heard about how daunting the class load was and wanted to give a study abroad year a try before committing to anything longer term.

I went in a total fangirl and came out with a life purpose. My time here literally changed the course of where I will head in my future. I am now planning to transfer full-time in order to major as a xenolinguist.

My time in this program was tough. They challenged me in ways I didn't even know were possible. However, there were certain groups that worked hard and partied harder. I had never been to any cross-race mixers before and now I find gatherings of only humans to be quite dull.

Remember to read the fine print for the program before you join. If you find yourself squeamish about near-death experiences, this might not be for you.

How can this program be improved?
I agree with a previous poster that I wished they had covered more races during our orientation. I wished I had been more well-versed on the foods and customs of the different races that make up our universe.
Yes, I recommend this program
Cecilia Haynes
Cecilia
10/10

From the second I walked into Diagon Alley, I felt like I had been given a powerful dose of ever-lasting Amortentia. I nearly swooned in Ollivander's and I literally sleep with my wand. The beauty of this study abroad program is that the orientation starts with the mandatory purchase of classroom essentials before the actual school term so that muggles can ease into this overwhelming world.

The Platform at 9 3/4 is everything you could ever wish for (I even dashed back to the other side so I run through a second time) and the snacks on the snack cart were out of this (muggle) world. I was a little disappointed with the surprisingly uncomfortable seats on the train. I haven't the faintest idea how Professor Lupin could have napped on those rock-hard, sorry-excuse-for-a-cushion seats.

During the Sorting Ceremony, I was placed in Hufflepuff. Unlike a fellow reviewer, I was actually pretty pleased with my selection. Everyone was super friendly and not the least bit arrogant unlike certain houses *cough cough Gryffindor cough cough*

I was incredibly pleased with my academic load which I found challenging but not overwhelming. I wisely steered clear of the History of Magic course and that made a great difference. I know some fellow study abroad cohorts who definitely dabbled in some exorcist spells in an attempt to rid themselves of Professor Binns.

The biggest tip I have is to fake it until you make it. This is especially the case for the Divination class. No one ever has to know that you lied about the shape of your tea leaves!

How can this program be improved?
I loved my time at Hogwarts, but I could have done without the constant danger to my life. There are a million and one ways that you could end up seeing Madam Pomfrey and not many professors seemed to care.
Yes, I recommend this program
Cecilia Haynes
Cecilia
10/10

First and foremost, I would like to respectfully disagree with one of the reviews of this program entitled, "Yoda is a jerk". Of all of the various Jedi Masters at the academy, Yoda was actually the kindest and, surprising, the most well-spoken. Clearly the reviewer bought into the surface persona that Yoda projects and did not delve deeper.

My frustration was with the blind stupidity of the other so-called "masters" who were shocked at the fact that the power-hungry Jedi ended up being evil. Seriously?! Come on guys, we all know greed paves the road to the dark side. Let's not be like that architect who built a massive flaw in the Death Star and then hoped no one would notice.

However, Yoda clued into this. He even specifically told Anakin that the "fear of loss is a path to the dark side." Another point for Yoda.

The main reason that I am so attached to Yoda is that he knew the moment I arrived that I would not last in the academy. Looking up to Han Solo as my idol did not prepare me for the mundane aspects of learning to control the Force.

Midway through this year-long study abroad, Yoda took me aside and recommended that I switch programs. He could tell my heart just was not in it and that toughing the year out would just lead me to the dark side. He even submitted my transfer papers and surprised me with a spot on the Millennium Falcon.

He knew that my heart's desire was to return to the experiences of episode 4 (the TRUE episode 1) and leave a situation that had fast become my Jar Jar Binks.

How can this program be improved?
This program definitely needs to advertise the other placements that they provide within the Star Wars universe. By concentrating on the Jedi Academy, there is a very real possibility that disgruntled students may just have to pull a Darth Vadar.
Yes, I recommend this program
Cecilia Haynes
Cecilia
10/10

Rivendell was my number one choice for my fantasy study abroad year. Who in their right mind would not want to be surrounded by gorgeous beings who are not ageist? Plus, Rivendell is by turns a delightful forest and a tropical paradise filled with waterfalls. I got the best of both worlds and I was able to expand my horticulturalist knowledge.

The highlights were language immersion, lessons in Elvish architecture, and nightly poetry recitations featuring the estimable Bilbo Baggins. Their library was beyond compare and I cannot even begin to convey how mind-blowing it was to take equestrian lessons with Glorfindel. Plus, watching Elrond flood the River Bruinen was pretty spectacular.

The main drawback of the program was frankly how aloof the Rivendell elves could be. I understand that they are beings of immense age, knowledge, and beauty, but there was no call for them to be so formal all the time. It made it a little hard to cut loose and enjoy myself, as I heard others did during their time at the Hobbiton site.

They also had a disconcerting habit of falling silent and staring intently at each other. I presume their were communicating telepathically but, honestly, it just looked like an impromptu staring contest.

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the elves and you cannot beat the price of the program. All they needed was for my life to be in mortal danger so that they could rescue me and give me succor. I just had to put myself in the way of some ringwraiths near Rivendell et voila!

How can this program be improved?
Mortal danger aside, Rivendell elves need to incorporate some meat into their menu. This is a paradise for vegans but I daresay even some vegetarians would have trouble with the elves' repetitive fare. Even if meat is not an option, at the very least they need to beef up on their tofurkey and other tofu-meats.
Yes, I recommend this program