Author Archives: Krista Cox

About Krista Cox

Poet, amateur Zen master, single mom, full-time paralegal. Overly empathetic, unexpectedly snarky, unfailingly immature yet soul-crushingly responsible.

The Continued Adventures of the Foreign Local

Intern Staci Barke is still in Japan doing independent research, and she has several new posts about her experience up on her blog, The Foreign Local. Here’s a list of her posts to date, by date:

May 17:
The Foreign Local
Onward to Tokyo!

May 18:
Taking the Backstreets

May 22:
Party Time! Oh, and Possessed Dolls 
Antiques, Festival, and 2nd Tallest Structure in the World
Strangers? Never Heard of Them!
Let it Go, it is Only Honey

July 21
The iPad Struggle is Real…
Osaka Pt. 1

Take a look at her posts, and get a taste of life in Japan.








The Foreign Local

In mid-May, blog contributor Staci Barke traveled to Tokyo, Japan to do independent research for two months. She’s been posting updates on her blog, The Foreign Local. We’ll be cross-posting her posts here for our reader’s information and enjoyment!

Here’s her first installment, from May 17:

I have always been a last minute traveler. The night before I moved to Korea was when I began to pack. And I packed the morning I left for Germany. Traveling is in my blood, it has always been a passion of mine. The first time I traveled abroad was one month after I turned 15. This was to travel around Japan for 3 weeks with my Japanese teacher and upperclassmen; I was the youngest allowed to go. The next time was 2 years ago in February of 2012 when I moved to South Korea to become an English teacher. This happened on a whim when my boss asked me one morning if I would like to teach in Korea, of course I said yes and 2 months later I was on an airplane. While in Korea I went to Osaka, Japan for a weekend. The following year I was looking at airline tickets to Germany for no apparent reason one night. I found tickets for 50% off! Of course I bought them. And now, summer of 2014, I am back to my first love: Japan. I will be staying here for 2 months to do research on the old districts of Tokyo and the globalization effects the Skytree, the recently built broadcasting tower, has on these areas.


Skytree Tower, Tokyo

When I travel, I try to break down the language and culture barriers. I take the backroads, go where the locals go, and avoid other foreigners. I immerse myself in the language and culture of the country I am in. Because of this, I get accepted into the communities I stay in. This is how I came up with the name for this blog. I want to share my experiences with everyone, which is the reason for this blog. Follow me on my adventures around the world! Hopefully you, too, will be bitten by the travel bug.

Around the World Without a Plane

In late 2012, Graham Hughes of Liverpool, England, became the first person to travel to all 201 countries without using an airplane.

Graham Hughes in Saudi Arabia

He traveled about 160,000 miles in 1,462 days on a budget of $100 per week. Some highlights of his journey:

  • He spent 4 days in a leaky boat to reach Cape Verde.
  • He was arrested and jailed in Congo for being a “spy”.
  • He was captured by Muslim fundamentalists, and rescued.
  • He said that the countries you’d think would be most difficult to get into (North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan) were actually easy, and it was some of the outlying islands (Nauru, the Maldives, the Seychelles) that were the mot difficult because of the threat of pirates.
  • Hughes filmed the journey for a National Geographic documentary, the 8-episode Lonely Planet: The Odyssey.
  • Hughes raised money on the journey for WaterAid, an international charity that helps secure access to clean, safe water, hygiene and sanitation.

This video compilation of Mr. Hughes in every sovereign country on Earth is oddly engaging. It must be his accent.

You can find the trip’s website here, and Graham Hughes has an excellent Youtube channel documenting his journey and even offering tips for cheap travel. A few days ago, he even did a TED Talk.  He also set a Guinness World Record for the most countries traveled in one year by scheduled ground transport.

So…ready to start your international adventure?

Application Deadline for Florence/Costa Rica is Feb. 24

The application deadline for both the Florence Painting & Sculpting program and the Costa Rica Health Promotion and Disease Prevention program is February 24, 2014.

Here are a few details about the programs; more detailed information can be found at the links above.

Costa Rica

  • July 5-19, 2014 in San Jose and Shiroles, Costa Rica
  • Course No. DHYG-N390, which fulfills the Natural World Common Core requirement
  • $2,500, plus airfare, plus 3 credit hours tuition
  • Great opportunity to do some good for a local Costa Rican community!


  • June 19 – July 18, 2014 in Florence, Italy
  • Designed for, but not limited to, IUSB art students
  • Classes:
    • Sculpture: FINA-S497 Independent Study in Studio Art, (1-6 CR).
    • Painting: FINA-S497 Independent Study in Studio Art, (1-6 CR).
    • FINA-A399 Art, Aesthetics and Creativity
  • $4,730.00, including airfare, plus six tuition credits, plus $250 refundable housing deposit


  • You can use financial aid to pay for overseas programs.
  • You don’t need to speak a foreign language.
  • Studying abroad is a fantastic opportunity with tons of long-term benefits!

Download and submit your application today!

Talk Study Abroad! Eat Free Pizza!

Don’t miss the chance this Wednesday, February 12 to eat free pizza while you talk about studying abroad!  Members of the International Programs Department, as well as students who have traveled abroad, will be available to talk about the myriad opportunities IU offers for studying abroad.

When: Wedsesday, February 12, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
University Grill, Fireside B

Drop in any time during the event to grab a slice and have a word!

Berlin/Prague Program Jan. 31 Deadline Approaching

The deadline to apply to the summer program in Berlin and Prague is just 10 days away, on January 31, 2014.  Here are some details:

  • Travel is from June 8 to June 24, 2014, with classes meeting from May 19 to June 30, 2014.
  • 6 credits for HIST-T190 (Literary & Intellectual Traditions) and ENG-A399 (Art, Aesthetics and Creativity), which count toward degree requirements for History Majors and Creative Writing Minors, and toward General Education electives for all students.
  • You do not need to speak a foreign language to attend. All classes are in English.
  • You can use financial aid, including loans, grants and scholarships, to pay for the program.
  • Submit the application to Prof. Lisa Zwicker or Prof. Kelcey Parker by January 31, 2014.

For more information, including a video about the program, click here.

Not sure if these cities suit your fancy?  Check out what had to say about Prague:

[T]he City of a Thousand Spires has become one of Europe’s hippest travel destinations — a cosmopolitan city where culture buffs and pleasure seekers mingle happily in chic cafés and Gothic cathedrals. Whether you’re sleeping at a former monastery turned five-star hotel or dancing in a onetime nuclear bunker, you’ll quickly realize that in Prague, the unconventional is conventional: after all, this is Bohemia.


Prague, Czech Republic

If that’s not enough for you, the Huffington Post calls Berlin “the most interesting city in Europe“; HuffPo blogger Melissa Biggs Bradley says, “Berlin is one of the most exciting, provocative and stimulating places I have ever visited.”

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany

This is a fantastic opportunity for students of any major.  Download and submit your application today!

If this trip still doesn’t pique your interest, submit your application for the Florence, Costa Rica or Mexico trip instead!

Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social – Healthcare in Costa Rica

Next July, the International Studies Program is hosting a trip to Costa Rica entitled “Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Costa Rica.”  As a part of our continuing Healthcare Series, and because it’s so germane, today we’re taking a look at Costa Rica’s healthcare systems.

Costa Rica offers universal healthcare coverage, with an individual mandate, under both public and private insurance options.  The cost for public insurance is split among the one’s worker, his employer, and the state, with the worker contributing approximately 10 – 11.5% of one’s income.  Private insurance is slightly more expensive, but it’s still significantly less expensive than healthcare in the United States.  In fact, private medical insurance costs, on average, $60 to $130 per month — about one-third to one-fifth the average cost of care in the U.S.  Still, private insurance is only carried by about 2% of residents of Costa Rica.

The quality of care is considered to be excellent.  Facilities are well cared for and receive regular upgrades.  Many doctors were trained in Europe, Canada, or the United States, speak English, and will even make house calls for a reasonable cost.

Medicine is handled slightly differently in Costa Rica.  Many drugs that require a prescription in the U.S., like birth control pills and migraine medication, are sold over-the-counter in Costa Rica.  Often, the first trip someone who isn’t feeling well will take is to the pharmacy to discuss it with his local pharmacist.  If the pharmacist can’t help or believes it’s a more serious problem, he or she will send the patient to the doctor.

The low cost, high quality care in Costa Rica has led to a rise in medical tourism in the beautiful country:  around forty thousand people traveled to Costa Rica in 2011 for the primary purpose of seeking medical or dental care.  Often, even when considering airfare, lodging, and other travel-associated expenses, they save money on their treatment — and get to see some beautiful scenery while they’re at it.