All posts by Jennifer Stevens

Hi, I’m Jennifer, a native Floridian who left the Sunshine State in 2009 to travel the world as an international school teacher. I’ve since lived in Seoul, Bogota, Shanghai, and now Bucharest, eating my way through each city, and traveling as much as possible.

Why Teaching Shakespeare at an International School is Uncomfortably Punny

Teaching Shakespeare is never easy. But teaching Shakespeare to a classroom of mostly English Language Learners? It’s not only difficult, but hilarious.

This morning I began reading Romeo & Juliet to my ninth graders. We had already gone over the history of Shakespeare’s life, the history of Elizabethan England, and what was considered popular entertainment at the time (think bear baiting, public executions and cockfights–and yes, “cockfights” evoked some serious laughter from the 14-year-old boys in the room.) Now it was time to discuss puns.

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The Prettiest Beach I Ever Did See: Hong Island

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Look at this place. Seriously. The white sand, the limestone cliffs, the turquoise water, the perfect mix of shade and sun.

Years ago, I interviewed a man named Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, a professor and the director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University. I was writing an article on Tampa Bay’s best beaches, and wanted to know how the man known as “Dr. Beach” chose his ten top American beaches each year. He went into specifics about beach conditions, sand softness and color, the presence of wildlife, the views, water temperature, safety. He actually had a list of 50 criterion.

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Daytripping in Krabi Part 2: The Phi Phi Islands

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You’ve seen it. Or, at least, you’ve heard of it. Playing on hostel screens all across Southeast Asia, the movie “The Beach,” starring Leonardo has been declared a “must-see” for all travel enthusiasts.

The premise is that a young American man with a longing for adventure arrives in Bangkok, Thailand. He walks through frenetic Kaosan Road, through the neon-lit streets, past drunken backpackers and street vendors. He’s yearning for something different. At his guesthouse he comes in contact with a mentally disturbed man who tells him of a secret paradise–a pristine island, hidden by limestone cliffs–hidden from tourists.

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Daytripping: Aonang to Railay Beach

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I recently returned from a week in Krabi, Thailand with my parents. I hadn’t seen them in eight months, and we decided a reunion at the beach was just what the doctor ordered.

I was of course responsible for choosing which island we would go to, since apparently being an expat in Asia makes me an expert on all Asian countries. And while it’s true that I have traveled quite a bit in the region, I’ve done it a little differently than my 65-year-old parents would want to (i.e. staying in non-air conditioned bungalows for $10 a night).

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Time flies, but the travel bug remains

Where does the time go? Seriously.

I remember rolling my eyes when “old” people used to say this to me. And now, all of a sudden, I’m the old one saying this. (Well, not old, but “old-ish” according to my teenage students). It seems like overnight all of my friends got married and had babies, and my bedtime became something of an embarrassing topic of conversation. I’m also about to wrap up my fifth year teaching abroad. It just doesn’t make sense.

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Tips for Hosting Visitors Abroad

As an expat, there’s nothing more exciting than having friends and family visit. You get the opportunity to show off your new home, introduce them to a new culture, and hopefully convince them that you’re not completely insane for living abroad. However, there’s also a flip side. It can be quite stressful having guests, especially if you live in a non-English speaking country and plan to spend some of their vacation working, leaving them to their own devices.

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Everything you need to know about Shanghai Restaurant Week + Unico Review

I love living in a big city. There’s no need to own a car, there’s always a new bar to try, or art exhibition to see. But most importantly, there’s the opportunity to participate in Restaurant Week.

Restaurant Week is a concept that originated in New York City by Zagat Guide founder, Tim Zagat, and late restauranteur, Joe Baum in 1992. In brief, it’s 1-3 weeks of prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus, offered for a fraction of the price. Not all restaurants participate, but many do, and it’s an opportunity to get a 3-course meal for as little as $20. It’s most well-known in New York, but the idea has caught on globally, and now takes place in many major cities around the world.

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Living in Kangqiao: A Photo Essay

Earlier this week, my friend Matt, a reporter for China Daily, asked me to provide some quotes for an article about life as an expat in Shanghai. I gave him my views on the easy transition and the similarities and contrasts from my time in Colombia.  I thought nothing of it and assumed he would weave a line or two into his text; but apparently I was quoted heavily enough to warrant a picture in the paper. Not having any solo pictures of me galavanting through the streets of China, I scrambled to get something together and asked a coworker, Maja Kelly, to take some photos after work, around the neighborhood.

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Why you don’t need an alarm clock in China

I am not a morning person. I never have been. I never will be. But the fact that I’m now a high school teacher means I at least have to pretend.

So Monday through Friday, I set my alarm for 6am, giving me a solid hour to quietly enjoy a giant cup of coffee. I make breakfast. I cake concealer under my eyes. I bike to school to get my blood pumping. By the time my students enter the classroom at 8am, I fake a smile and actually resemble a human being.

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How to survive a long flight (and what to bring)

Well, it’s official: I am certifiably crazy. During the last seven days I hopped on two 14-hour flights, adjusted to the 13-hour time difference not once, but twice, and now I’m back at work, teaching teenagers. But that’s not all. I did all this traveling for a guy. And not just any guy, but a guy I met on Tinder, in Shanghai, six months ago, who now lives in New York.

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