So far 2011 has been an incredibly exciting year. The last several months have set the stage for wonderful new adventures and drastic lifestyle changes. These changes and accomplishments have been both personal and related to VirtualWayfarer and the Travel Resource Network.
Moving to Denmark
As some of you may be aware, I’m currently based out of Scottsdale, Arizona where I have worked as a Corporate 9-5er since January of 2008. When not on the road or blogging about it, I’ve served as Director of Research for a mid-market, boutique business sales, mergers & acquisitions company. I’ve had a wonderful time working with my current team and have the utmost respect for them. That said, I’m excited to announce that Tuesday July 12th will be my last day with the Company and July 19th will be my last day as an Arizona resident.
Just under a year ago I made the decision to start exploring a return to higher education in pursuit of a Masters degree. Eight applications and several letters of acceptance later I found myself considering two choices: Georgetown University in Washington, DC or the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. Ultimately the University of Copenhagen offered me a tuition waiver and the opportunity to realize one of my dreams – to live (and study) abroad.
I’ve accepted a position as a two year Masters student in their Communication and Cognition program where I hope to focus on studying the impact of social media, the web, and virtual worlds on education, travel and social interactions. The program is taught in English and will serve as an exciting continuation of my undergraduate studies at Arizona State University in the department of Human Communication and as a graduate of Barrett, the Honors College.
About the University of Copenhagen (from Wikipedia):
The University of Copenhagen (Danish: Københavns Universitet) is the oldest and largest university and research institution in Denmark. Founded in 1479, it has more than 37,000 students, the majority of whom are female (59%), and more than 7,000 employees. The university has several campuses located in and around Copenhagen, with the oldest located in central Copenhagen. Most courses are taught in Danish; however, many courses are also offered in English and a few in German. The university has 2800 foreign students of which about half are from Nordic countries.
The university is a member of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), along with University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Yale University, The Australian National University, and UC Berkeley, amongst others. The Academic Ranking of World Universities, compiled by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, sees Copenhagen as the leading university in Scandinavia and the 40th ranked university in the world in 2010. Moreover, In 2010, according to University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP), University of Copenhagen is the best university in Denmark and 47th university in the world. The university is generally understood to be one of Europe’s leading research institutions. The university has had 9 alumni become Nobel laureates and 1 Turing award recipient.
As someone who was born in Colorado and has lived most of his life in the United States the opportunity to attend an academic institution which pre-dates Columbus’ re-discovery of the Americas is a pretty exciting prospect. As an avid traveler, the opportunity to return to student life while re-locating to another country is positively exhilarating. It is my hope that this shift will allow me a significant increase in flexibility and travel opportunities. Over the past several years I’ve managed to do a lot of traveling. Still, the lion’s share of that travel was confined to two 18-20 day trips a year where I leveraged weekends, holidays, and unpaid time off to stretch my two weeks of paid vacation to the max. On a student’s schedule and based next to one of Europe’s most modern and central airports, it is my hope that I will have easy (and cheap!) train, plane and ferry access to all of Europe.
What does this mean for VirtualWayfarer? Only good things! It means I’ll be traveling more, writing more, and that in addition to my standard travel advice and travelogue-themed content you can expect additional articles about living, studying, moving, and work internationally! It also means that I hope to ramp up the time I have available to dedicate to VirtualWayfarer and the Travel Resource Network. That should translate into more posts, more photos, and more advice! As always, know that I love your questions and am happy to respond to them either by e-mail, twitter, or in a comment here on the blog. But that’s not the end of the good news!
VirtualWayfarer in the News
The past month has been a very exciting one for VirtualWayfarer and the good news and exciting opportunities are continuing to roll in so expect continued updates and developments.
On the Airwaves
I was recently approached by Portland-based Radio Station KPAM’s Azumano Travel show to do an interview. The interview was my first radio interview and featured discussion about Iguazu Falls, Argentina and solo travel. You can listen to the 6 minute interview: Alex Berger Radio Interview on Solo Travel, Iguazu Falls and Argentina. The team at the Azumano Travel Show were professional and a pleasure to work with. I look forward to doing future radio pieces as the opportunity permits.
Becoming A Top Travel Influencer
While I’ve been a vocal voice in the travel social media scene for a long time, I’ve only recently broken into the top rankings. I’m excited to announce that I’m currently fluctuating between #14 and #20 on the Top 50 list of independent travel influencers in social media. A rank which is connected to a recent increase in my Klout score which is now fluctuating between 69 and 71. Klout is the leading social media metric company offering insights into social media engagement, activity and influence.
I’ve also taken steps to actively correct the incredibly inaccurate scores for VirtualWayfarer which traffic ranking sites Compete and Alexa had on file for this website. This should result in increased visibility for the site and provide the opportunity to break into several other top lists.
I was recently interviewed by CheapFlights as part of their Waiting to Board Q&A. You can see the interview here. I’ve also been approached by several other groups interested in Q&As which should be published sometime over the next few weeks. I’ll let you know as they go live!
Website Changes and Updates
In addition to working on improving the accuracy of my Alexa and Compete scores I’ve also made a number of important changes to the website. You may have noticed that there is a new link on the website’s main navigation. I’ve added a “Press, PR & Advertising” page to the site to make it easier for interested parties to contact me. I’ve also updated and re-worked the “Alex Berger” AKA ‘About Me’ page with more in-depth information about who I am and what I’m up to.
You may also have noticed the addition of a new free resource to the sidebar. In response to some of the travel-centered e-mail slideshows I’ve received over the last few years I decided to make my own and offer it to my readers for free. If you enjoy my photography I invite you to view, or download and save, the powerpoint-based travel photo slideshow. If you would like to save it for later, just right click over the link and select either save as or save link as. The slideshow is designed for e-mail and I hope you’ll enjoy it and then choose to forward it on to your friends and family.
I’ve also added a social media bar to the right hand screen, and a visually appealing related posts element which now displays 5 similar posts under each blog to make it easier for you to discover old topics. You’ll find several new categories on the sidebar which will sort older posts by region (eg: Europe, South America, Scandinavia etc.).
I am also in the midst of populating content for my new Travel Resource Network website: AirfareBasics.com which is coming soon. Keep an eye on it and stay tuned!
Comments? Suggestions? Questions? I value your feedback! As always, thank you for reading and making this site and the rest of my network of sites what they are.