Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 14 other subscribers

5 Perks to Studying Abroad in College

Throughout the past year, I have been pondering the idea of studying abroad. Due to my love for traveling and meeting new people, my interest was sparked when I heard about how awesome Winona State’s study abroad and travel abroad programs are. However, the thought of studying in a foreign country with the likelihood of a problematic language barrier quickly put a negative spin on this idea. Therefore, just as any good Rori Gilmore imposter would do, I started to create a pro/con list of the perks and disadvantages of studying abroad in college. So far, I have found that the positives vastly outweigh the negatives. You may find it strange that I am writing about the positive aspects of studying abroad when in fact I have never actually studied abroad. However, I have traveled out of the country and have experienced what it is like to live fully submerged in an unknown culture. This leads into my first perk of studying abroad in college…

1) Experiencing a new culture

Submitted for the 2013 travel study contest by WSU student Darian Peterson who studied abroad in Mexico.

Submitted for the 2013 travel study contest by WSU student Darian Peterson who studied abroad in Mexico.

Studying abroad provides a unique opportunity for you to experience a different way of life. People all across the world engage in unique social activities, have diverse beliefs and customs, follow dissimilar daily routines, communicate differently and eat peculiar cuisine. Experiencing first-hand the different ways in which others live is a chance for you to find new interests and live a more culturally diverse life, too.

2) Seeing the world

Submitted for the 2013 travel study contest by WSU student Amanda Burgaff who studied abroad in New Zealand, along with these other students.

Submitted for the 2013 travel study contest by WSU student Amanda Burgaff who studied abroad in New Zealand, along with these other students.

When you go abroad, your eyes are opened to new ways of life, and you lose the U.S. centric mindset in which you have lived by your whole life. When you experience a different culture, see new terrains and experience the dissimilar ways people live their daily lives, you take on a new perspective of the world; a global perspective.

3) Meeting new people/make new friends

Submitted for the 2013 travel study contest by WSU student Kylee Homewood who studied abroad in Costa Rica.

Submitted for the 2013 travel study contest by WSU student Kylee Homewood who studied abroad in Costa Rica.

Typically, when you study abroad you stay with a host family. Doing so opens the doors to meeting new people and creating friendships that will last a lifetime. Also, when you choose to study in another country, verses just traveling there leisurely, you have the opportunity to sit in classes with many students your age. Having this opportunity makes it a lot easier to make friends who are the same age as you.

4) Learning a new language

Submitted for the 2013 travel study contest by WSU student Daniel Schmid who studied abroad in Shanghai, China.

Submitted for the 2013 travel study contest by WSU student Daniel Schmid who studied abroad in Shanghai, China.

I believe that everyone should, or at least attempt to, learn a second language. In fact, there are many benefits to learning a second language. A few of them are enhanced brain health, creating better job prospects, more opportunities for travel and leisure, and experiencing new cultures. Yes, it is extremely difficult to learn a new language and it requires much dedication and effort, but mastering a new language is an accomplishment to be proud of.

5) Gaining life experience (perfect to go before you get a job/career/family/etc.)

Submitted for the 2013 travel study contest by WSU student Elizabeth Murphy who studied abroad in Australia and New Zealand through the program Pacific Challenge.

Submitted for the 2013 travel study contest by WSU student Elizabeth Murphy who studied abroad in Australia and New Zealand through the program Pacific Challenge.

Overall, studying abroad in college is an opportunity to gain great life experience. Taking a semester to live abroad, away from your family and normal life, forces you to step outside of your comfort zones and really makes you grow as an individual. I have heard from many college graduates that their only regret in college is that they never studied abroad. They say they wish they had done it while they were in college because it is the perfect time in life to go. College is when you have the most freedom to go wherever you want before you get married, start your career, have a family, and so on.

Therefore, studying abroad in college has many perks and is definitely something that I would encourage you to look into for yourself. If you can, be sure to make every effort to seize this opportunity and gain life experience you will remember forever.


If you don’t follow Winona State on Snapchat yet, add winonastateu and tune in for live snaps of traveling Warriors this week as they embark on their travel study adventures in Paris, Thailand, Spain, St. Croix and many more!

-Erin Kloepping

Must-Follow Wellness Vloggers

Blogging has really exploded in popularity, and they are a great way to learn about others and gain new ideas and perspectives on things. There are many different websites to develop a blog and followers, and YouTube happens to be one of my favorite sites. I love following different vloggers (video bloggers) and hearing their stories, and I’ve composed a list of different YouTubers who talk about wellness and promote positivity while doing so. Aspects of health can be hard to get good information about because of all the negativity and close-mindedness on the internet. These three vloggers talk about different areas of wellness including mental, spiritual and sexual health.


Ashley Mardell

Ashley Mardell discusses sexuality including homosexuality, asexuality and being demisexual. If you don’t know what some of these terms mean, I guarantee that she will clear up the confusion. I really like her videos discussing sexuality because sexuality isn’t just straight or not. Sexuality is a lot more complicated than that. Sexuality is something that’s not really talked about so if you have questions, you really have to do this research on your own. Ashley also promotes her followers to ask questions. Ashley also has a video detailing her depression so she is also a good resource for mental health as well. If you want to know more about sexuality, gender and depression, Ashley is someone you need to subscribe to and follow on Instagram.



Loey is more active on Instagram than she is on YouTube, but she promotes body positivity. She is someone who is unapologetic about her body and her goal is to let other women know that if you’re not a certain size, you’re still beautiful. She’s also trying to eliminate fatphobia because it’s rather horrendous to judge someone based on weight. She shares pictures of herself in swimsuits and other clothing to inspire women that nothing is off limits. If you are someone who struggles with body image and/or has insecurities, then she should be someone you should follow.



Zoella is a vlogger who discusses her anxiety and panic attacks. Although I haven’t dealt with anxiety and depression myself, I know friends who have been diagnosed with anxiety and depression and I try to be there for them. Watching Zoella helps me be a better friend to them because I will never understand what they are going through. Her videos are great for people like myself to try and better understand mental illness because there’s a lot I still have left to learn. In addition, if you’re someone who has anxiety, she may be a great resource for you. She is also present on Instagram!

YouTube is a great resource because it’s great to hear about people discuss topics that directly relate to you or loved ones. There are many aspects to health, and YouTubers do a pretty good job of sharing their stories and educating followers. I highly recommend these vloggers because they are open, honest and nonjudgemental. If you have a different blogger or vlogger you follow for wellness; let me know in a comment on this blog post!

Mariah Kaercher

6 Summer Study Spots

Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean classes have ended! Many Warriors are still in Winona attending summer classes. For these individuals, finding the perfect study spot can be crucial to be able to focus and be productive. Some people like complete silence while studying while some like music or some kind of background noise. Here are some great study spots on and off campus for any studying location preference, especially in this beautiful summer weather!

1) Third floor of the SLC


Believe it or not, some people don’t even know this exists. It is a secluded and comfy place to get work done! It has many comfortable chairs and different tables. It’s never been loud to the point where you can’t focus. This area is cozy and awesome for working on homework when it’s rainy or too hot out.

2) Around the gazebo

There’s plenty of benches and grass to study on and get some schoolwork done in the sun. Around the gazebo is a great area to get fresh air and enjoy the weather, with reliable wifi of course!

3) Around Lake Winona


Not every college has beautiful scenery like WSU has with the bluffs and lakes. This is a super relaxing spot to crank out some studying. Bring a blanket to lay out and take advantage of the spots around the lake. There’s also free wifi, but remember that is can be spotty!

4) In a hammock


It’s a great idea to invest in a hammock and hang out on campus, or around Winona, to study! Many students have done this once the weather starts to warm up. Give it a try!

5) Outside of Blooming Grounds or Mugby Junction


Settle yourself outside one of Winona’s many coffee shops such as Blooming Grounds or Mugby Junction. These cute and comfortable spaces provide wifi and sunshine, as well as refreshers and snacks.

6) The Solarium


Located right above the Smaug, the Solarium connects to East Hall and overlooks WSU’s beautiful, green campus! Here you’ll have air conditioning, wifi and outlets, as well as that outdoor feeling and view.

Hopefully these suggestions inspire you to try out some new and awesome study spots in Winona! Also, keep in mind that the Student Union and Krueger Library are open during the summer and still serve as great areas to get studying done! The summer hours are as follows:

Student Union:
Monday-Thursday: 7:30am – 9pm
Friday: 7:30am – 6pm
Saturday & Sunday: Closed

Krueger Library:
Monday-Thursday: 7:30am – 9pm
Friday: 7:30am – 5pm
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: 1 – 9pm

Allison Mueller and Kassidy Jackson

6 Things You’ll Miss About Your Roommate

The school year has come to an end and your weekly routines won’t be the same anymore. If you’re not graduating, most of you will be heading back to your hometown and living with family for the next three months before returning back to school. Some of you may even have internships that’ll take you many miles away from home. This means not living with your friends anymore, and that is something that will take a bit of time to adjust to. Here are 6 things you’ll might miss about your roommate this summer.

1) Long life chats


Whether it’s to catch them up your day, life, vent, talk about a TV show you’re currently obsessing over or to rant about any random thing going on in your mind…it’s so nice to have friend close to you to word vomit on. They are always there if you need to talk. Just remind yourself they are just a text or phone call away this summer!

2) Spontaneous trips eating out


Sometimes you just needed a change from the cafeteria and or eating Easy Mac, so you’d run to your roomie and ask to go out and get some grub. Your roommate is the first person to agree with you 100% and say, “Let’s do it!” Your meals may not be the same without your roommate these next few months, but just think about the calories you’ll probably be saving.

3) Having someone to handle you in all your moods


After living with someone, you begin to know that person better than most people. You pick up on their habits, mannerisms, and can sense when something is wrong. You can sense when they want someone to talk to or if they just need space after a hard day. You’ll be missing that support this summer, but again, they’re only a phone call or Skype chat away!

4) Jamming to music


Whether it’s in the car or in your room as a mini dance party, I know I’ll miss sharing my latest favorites of new music with my roommate until we are both singing along. Just think about all the music you’ll have to rock to when you reunite!

5) Borrowing their clothes


Some days your clothes just don’t do it for you, and it’s so convenient to be able to borrow from your roommate. They can borrow from you also, and it’s like you have two closets! It’s a great deal. Now it’s time to get some use out of your own clothes for a while!

6) TV/movie nights


Who else are you going to make comments to immediately after something happens during new TV episodes and movies? Yes, you can text, but it’s not the same as having them right there with you.

There’s no doubt about it that it won’t be easy learning to live without your other half this summer. Tell your roommate how much you appreciate them before you go your separate ways and how much you’ll miss them. Even though it’ll be hard not having them so close, remember that they’re always there for you!

Kassidy Jackson

How to Pick the Perfect Workout Shoe!

If there is one thing I hate buying, it’s shoes. For some people, shoe shopping is a lot of fun, but it’s really not for me. If I could go barefoot and walk around and get away with it, I definitely would. One reason I hate buying shoes is how expensive shoes can be. So when I looked at my two pairs of workout shoes and saw they were breaking down, I knew I had to suck it up and buy workout shoes. I dreaded going because I had no idea how much I was going to pay. I ended up only spending $75 on two pair of good quality shoes, which I have to say is a pretty good deal. If you’re looking for new walking shoes/physical activity shoes, here is a short guide on how to not break your bank account when shoe shopping.

Shop around! 
So, you found this really cute pair of bright blue Nikes for 90 bucks and you’re considering buying them. The biggest advice I can give is shop around. I can guarantee you can find a better deal on Nikes than spending 90 bucks. Shopko is a really good place to start. They have deals all the time on shoes. That is where I purchased my newest pairs of sneakers and I can’t recommend it enough. Otherwise, I have heard TJ Maxx is another cheap place to get shoes for a lot less. You don’t have to spend a lot on workout shoes; you just need to know where to shop and how to find the deals.
When it comes to actually buying workout shoes, here are some considerations to keep in mind:
What are you going to do in these shoes? Are you going to run and walk? Are you going to do weight training? Figure out what activities you are using this shoe for. If you’re a runner, you should probably buy a shoe that fits running. I typically purchase cross training shoes because that way I can pretty much do everything in one pair of sneakers.
Where are you going to be using your shoes? 
Are you going to be working out outside or inside? If you’re probably going to be working out outside you shouldn’t buy a white pair of sneakers since they will get dirty faster. Where you perform each activity will be something to consider, especially when buying shoes.
Buy Inserts! 
Your shoes should feel comfy. If you’re going to walk in shoes, they should be comfortable for your feet. If they aren’t, you can get blisters and foot pain in general. I recommend buying some sort of inserts that give your feet some more support. My current pair of gym shoes honestly feel like I’m walking on clouds.
Having a good pair of workout/physical activity/walking shoes that you love is super important. If you have comfy shoes, you’re more likely to walk places than to drive or take a bus. They are worth spending the money on, but you don’t have to spend a lot. I was able to save a lot of money by shopping around and finding discounted pairs of shoes. However, that still doesn’t change the fact that I hate buying shoes.

I Just Graduated, What Next?

Photo by Ka Vang '16.

Photo by Ka Vang ’16.

As we’re nearing graduation, if you’re graduating like me, you’re probably wondering: well, what am I doing next? That’s a good question, and I know I can’t answer that for you, but I can tell you what I’ll be doing next in order to improve the community (and world) of Winona, Minnesota!

During the next academic year, I’ll be working with Minnesota Reading Corps, which is a non-profit organization that aims to help all Minnesota children become proficient readers by the end of third grade. I’ll be doing this in Winona itself to help the Winona elementary children become better, passionate readers! In addition, I’ll be volunteering in the Winona community as much as possible!

If this is something you might be interested in, but you’re not comfortable with reading and you’re better at math, there’s also the Minnesota Math Corps, too!

There are plenty of other organizations that are good candidates for “gap years.” People often get involved with Peace Corps to go overseas and help people in need. The Peace Corps is aimed to help the people of interested countries meet their need for trained men and women, to help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the people served, and to help promote a better understanding of other countries and people.

If you don’t want to travel overseas and want to stay in the United States, consider AmeriCorps!

Why consider organizations like this? Well, they usually offer some kind of loan forgiveness and typically put your student loans on hold while you’re serving the community you’re in! All the organizations mentioned above do offer loan forgiveness and freeze at the end of your service. Not only that, you get to serve in areas of need on both a local and global level, and improve living conditions for everyone you come across. Besides, if you’re unsure of where you want to work in the future, or if you’re considering grad school, taking a year off to serve is a good way to do extra research on your next step! Giving back is one of the many ways that we can best serve our communities. You don’t need to have money to volunteer and serve!

Photo provided by PopSugar's post "61 Creative Ways to Decorate Your Graduation Cap."

Photo provided by PopSugar’s post “61 Creative Ways to Decorate Your Graduation Cap.”

Wherever you go, Warriors, think about how you can serve the communities that you’ll be in for either a few months or even years! You will make an impact in every area you’ll be in, so make sure it’s a positive one!

-John Otis

8 Reasons to Get Excited for Einstein Bros. Bagels & Caribou Coffee Coming to Campus!


Not that we don’t absolutely love Mugby and our Smaug right on campus for quick pick-me-up options, but what’s better than MORE options?! Einstein Bros. Bagels and Caribou Coffee are teaming up to bring the ultimate store to locations all over the country. And WSU campus is lucky enough to be one of the chosen locations! Next school year this addition will be added to the Darrell W. Krueger Library. Here are 8 reasons why this new addition is truly one to be thankful for.

(All photos taken from Caribou Coffee and Einstein Bros. Bagels websites)

 1) Endless breakfast options


Breakfast is ready to fit everyone’s morning cravings from egg and cheese bagels, to muffins, scones and oatmeal. No matter what you enjoy starting your day with, it’ll be available!

2) Lunch just got a little more interesting


Hot sandwiches and cold sandwiches along with a choice of soup and salads will have you excited to indulge in your favorite meal. The options are endless whether you want veggies or your fill of bacon – it’ll be ready within minutes!

3) More than enough ways to get your caffeine fix


Between Mugby and Caribou, you are sure to find your favorite coffee, tea or smoothie. There’s no wrong turn when it comes to a morning or mid-day boost to get you through those long, busy weeks!

4) Need a snack? No problem


Whether your snack consists of a sandwich or a sweet treat, Einstein’s and Caribou are sure to give you exactly what you need!

5) Something new and refreshing


During those weeks when you feel like you live on campus, it’s always nice to have a change in what you consume, am I right? These added options will definitely make it easier to call campus “home!”

6) The changing menus keep you on your toes


As seasons come and go and menus change, there will often be new and improved items for you to try! It’s easy to get sick of the old stuff after a while, but be it no more as both stores have forever changing or limited time options that really just make for a better excuse to spend money!

7) Something for everyone


No matter the allergy, religious practice or personal diet, there is sure to be something for each and every student at Winona State. Growing options don’t mean to take away from our previous choices, but rather make more accommodations for those who need them!

8) Perks and points rewards



As poor college students, nothing screams louder than “free!” or “discount!” So take advantage of both Caribou and Einstein’s reward programs. You get free birthday rewards along with special discounts and savers throughout the year.



-Lauren Reuteler

10 Reasons Why Trees Matter: Celebrate Arbor Day

Trees are tagged around campus promoting Arbor Day and the benefits of trees. (Photo credit: Jesus Cazares '17)

Tagged trees on campus promote benefits and the celebration of Arbor Day. (Photo credit: Jesus Cazares ’17)

As the trees begin to bloom into the beauty that engulfs our campus, it’s important to realize that they do much more than stand tall and look pretty. Without trees, the world would not be in existence. Recognize Arbor Day today and learn about what our trees do for us each and every day! #WhyTreesMatter

(All of the following facts provided by the Arbor Day Foundation)

1) Trees help clean our air


  • Trees remove pollution from the atmosphere, improving air quality.
  • Roadside trees reduce nearby indoor air pollution by more than 50%.

2) Trees contribute to our health


  • In New York City, trees save an average of eight lives every year.
  • Office workers with a view of trees report significantly less stress and more satisfaction.

3) Trees provide us with oxygen


  • One large tree can provide a day’s supply of oxygen for up to four people.

4) Trees help clean our drinking water


  • Forested watersheds provide quality drinking water to more than 180 million Americans.

5) Trees provide much-needed cooling


  • Trees lower surface and air temperatures by providing shade. Shaded surfaces may be 20-45 degrees cooler than the peak temperatures of unshaded materials.

6) Trees help reduce the effects of climate change


  • Trees absorb carbon dioxide, removing and storing the carbon while releasing the oxygen back into the air.

7) Trees help us save energy


  • Trees properly places around buildings can reduce air conditions needs by 30% and can save 20-50% in energy used for heating.

8) Trees provide vital wildlife habitat


  • In British Columbia, Canada, more than 80 wildlife species depends on trees.

9) Trees help reduce crime


  • In Baltimore, a 10% increase in tree canopy corresponded to a 12% decrease in crime.
  • Among minor crimes, there is less graffiti, vandalism and littering in outdoor spaces with trees as a part of the natural landscape than in comparable plant-free spaces.

10) Trees are a good investment of our public dollars


  • Every dollar spent on planting and caring for a community tree yield benefits that include cleaner air, lower energy costs, improved water quality and storm water control and increased property values.

Arbor Day

To get involved in the Winona community, join the 2016 “Why Trees Matter” event that will be held Friday, April 29 from 9:30am – 3pm on the WSU campus.

WSU’s Arbor Day events includes learning how to plant and protect trees, and celebrating the recognition of the Landscape Arboretum at Winona State. School children are also invited to take part in numerous hands-on activities, and participants will have the chance to take home a tree or shrub!

For more information on this year’s event and about WSU’s trees on campus, read the Winona Daily News article contributed by Jim Reynolds, co-chair of the WSU Arboretum and Land Stewardship Committee and Winona State Professor Emeritus of sociology.

-Lauren Reuteler

Enjoy Outdoor Activities in Winona!

The weather is heating up and there is no better way to take advantage of it than to go outside! The changing season brings more options to get active outdoors rather than staying cooped up inside. Here’s a list of things you can do this summer that are great for your health and will help you fully enjoy the sunny and warm weather:

1) Take the wheels for a spin


This is my personal favorite thing you can do outside because it’s an effective and amusing workout. You can bike in the nice weather as both a form of transportation and leisure. This way of transportation is good for the environment, an awesome calorie burner, a muscle builder and something you could do to cut down on gas money as well. Check out Winona’s map of city bike trails, other bike trails and Winona County bike loops!

2) Take a stroll


You could have a friend tag along on a walk and just talk about life or you could go by yourself and listen to your favorite playlist. It won’t even feel like you’re exercising. Otherwise, power walking is a great workout option! Hiking is also a fun activity as well! The Sugarloaf hiking trails provide a way to get some fresh air and a workout all at the same time, and you can enjoy the beautiful nature and scenery!

3) Run, Forrest, Run!


Some people would much rather go for a run or a nice jog over a walk. It’s another wonderful way to get active outside with plenty of positive benefits. Keep in mind running is a major stress reliever when you’re feeling the weight of life stressors. On May 14 there is a Bluffview Explorer 10K Run and 5K Run/Walk in Winona to raise money for the Bluffview Montessori School PTA. Sign up online, and mark your calendars for other races in Winona this summer and fall!

4) Go to the park


Many local parks, including Winona’s, have basketball courts, soccer fields, baseball fields and tennis courts available to the public to use. Playing sports as a hobby is an amazing way to get a workout in and have a blast with your friends while doing it. Throw around a Frisbee or play some football…the choices are endless if you have the space. The Willows Disc Golf Course provides an 18 hole course on East Lake Winona and a 9 hole course on the West Lake. Grab some friends and play!

5) Channel your inner mermaid/merman


Whether it’s a community pool or a waterpark, swimming laps or running around a waterpark is entertaining way to burn some calories while getting vitamin D. In Winona, the Bob Welch Aquatic Center is open in the summer for swimming for $5 a day, and there will be a FREE pool party concert Friday, July 15!

6) Pick up a paddle!


If you want to take to the waters, the Lake Lodge Recreation Center in town offers canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding for a year-long membership of $15.

7) Get your blade or board on


Going for a rollerblade or skateboard ride is another excellent way to get moving in the nice temperatures. If you don’t know how to, give it a try and learn! Who knows, it might end up being one of your favorite activities. If you’re looking for a fun location to blade or board, the Winona Skatepark is a great option! The new Anthem Skatepark and Board Shop is located at 800 West 5th Street.

I hope this gives you inspiration for some ways to get out of the house and get some exercise. For more options, visit the Winona Park and Rec website. Enjoy the beautiful weather, Warriors!

Allison Mueller and Kassidy Jackson

Inclusion at WSU: A “Project of Choice” Showcase


​In March, WSU students in SPED 425 (Inclusion in General Education Classrooms) had the opportunity to showcase their “Project of Choice.”  Students picked a topic related to inclusion and a format in which to share the information. The Inclusion Event was an opportunity for WSU students to share their projects and discuss inclusion with other WSU students, professors, community members and local educators.

A few reflection quotes from students after the event:

“I also loved sharing my work with everyone, it allows me to gain greater ownership for my research and feel as though I am truly advocating for inclusion.”

“It was worthwhile to inform others on a topic that they may or may not have known before, especially when the audience members asked questions that led to discussions.”

“I just really appreciated this opportunity to share ideas and concepts with a broad audience and to get so much positive feedback was an added bonus!”

“It was really interesting to walk around the room and see people’s passions and beliefs come alive in their project and information that they shared.” ​ 

-Amy Olson, assistant professor