Our Relationship With Our Phones

Smartphone Addiction

Have you heard of nomophobia? Probably not. I haven’t heard of it until I found it used on a CNN article on the dangers of smartphone addiction. Nomophobia is an abbreviated term for “NO MObile PHOne phoBIA.” According to CNN, it’s “a 21st-century term” to indicate fear of not being able to use a cell phone or other smart device.

smartphone addiction

A statistic from 2016 revealed that millennials check their phones over 150 times per day. Perhaps its due to the fear of missing out aka FOMO that has people glued to their screens. It could also be the release of dopamine, the main chemical of pleasure, that people get from likes on social media posts.

“Young people are interacting all day but almost entirely through a screen,” Priceonomics says. While there are dozens of articles calling teens out on their smartphone usage, we wonder if adults are just as addicted as their younger counterparts.

Email Addiction

Priceonomics sheds light upon “adults’ email addiction”– an addiction to checking your email wherever you are. The following chart by GFI highlights the events where adults have admitted to checking their emails.

cell phone addiction

Source: GFI

Could you imagine checking your email while you’re in labour? That’s a scary thought.


Why are people supposedly obsessed with checking emails?

Nowadays, it isn’t just an email addiction anymore. Adults are increasingly getting addicted to social media. Why? Monetization. Marketers are turning to Facebook, Instagram, etc., and recruiters to LinkedIn. Once using social media tools became profitable, businesses have flocked to it like a moth to a flame. Now, you’ll find positions such as social media manager or freelance social media specialist–jobs that haven’t existed until the 21st century.

Curious about your relationship with your smartphone? Take this simple quiz and find out!

How Addicted Are You?

iPhones have recently updated to give you a rundown of your screen time and your average time spent on your phone. Have you checked your recent average? How would you describe the relationship with your phone?

How To: Build Confidence

Be confident. Act confident. It’s something you always hear when going for a job interview, date, presentation, etc. But it still remains a challenge to do so. If we are really confident, it’s likely we wouldn’t need the extra encouragement. So, how can we build confidence and stay confident?

Acknowledge It

Speaking from experience, when I acknowledged that I wasn’t confident in a situation, I felt slightly better, albeit not by much but it alleviated some stress. I realized my weakness, and I could build my confidence little by little with each similar experience or understanding and learning what went wrong in a situation.


Sometimes we try to deny insecurities and keep telling ourselves to feel confident in a situation. That sounds stressful and takes a lot of energy–energy that could be better-spent toward controlling emotions. However, acknowledging or being at peace with our insecurities is easier said than done. It requires time and being comfortable with ourselves–the good and the bad.

Staying Confident

No one can stay confident their whole lives. We’re going to be put in new situations and tackle new challenges that put ourselves outside of our comfort zones. But isn’t that how we grow?


There’s no formula in staying confident in new or certain situations. And sometimes we may never get comfortable with a situation no matter how many times we encounter it, but we’ll get a better understanding of how to tackle it.

How Do You Tackle Confidence?

Share with us on how you handled a situation that you weren’t confident in. How did you build your confidence?

Banish The Stigma Of Mental Health

What is mental health? According to U-Dictionary’s definition, mental health is “a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being”. Mental health awareness has grown in popularity as more people become aware of the importance of taking care of their emotional and mental well-being.

In light of Mental Health Awareness Day, we’re going to talk about the stigma of mental health and the benefits that come with discussing mental health.

The Stigma of Mental Health

People often have difficulty talking about mental health. According to the journalist, Andrew Solomon, “people still think that it’s shameful if they have a mental illness. They think it shows a personal weakness. They think it shows a failing. If it’s their children who have a mental illness, they think it reflects their failure as parents”. This stigma surrounding mental illness makes people reluctant to talk about it as it shows their vulnerability.

As mental health is not a visible thing, it can be difficult to understand why someone is suffering from it. For example, a physical injury such as a broken knee or wrist is a problem that can be identified and understood. However, as our mind is an association of who we are, no one wants to be labeled as depressed or miserable. The existence of the stigma makes it difficult to have and engage in conversations regarding taking care of mental health.

Why Mental Health Awareness Is Healthy For Everyone

By doing a quick Google search, you can find so many reasons why it’s beneficial to talk about mental health. The most important being suicide prevention and to identify and address problems early before they become unmanageable. It also encourages others who are afraid to speak up to seek help and spread the word about mental illnesses.

According to LIFE, thousands of young adults and teens die by suicide which is the second leading cause of death for 15-24-year-olds.

Vocabulary With News: Studying Abroad

Learn Vocabulary With News

Vocabulary with news will mention and reference different news articles regarding a specific topic. For this blog post, the topic is studying abroad. As you read, you will come across bolded words which their meaning will follow.

All meanings you read will be taken from the U-Dictionary app, an all-encompassing education app equipped with various dictionaries, works as an accurate translator and provides helpful English learning resources to enhance your language skills.

Download the U-Dictionary App for accurate and helpful definitions accessible online and offline! Available on Google Play Store & App Store!

Studying abroad is an attractive idea for many students as it’s an exciting opportunity to travel, live, and immerse yourself in a different culture. However, many face financial obstacles (an object that makes it difficult for you to go where you want to go) such as tuition fees, books, health insurance (arrangement where you pay money to a company and they pay you if something unpleasant happens), housing, and meals that deter students from taking that step.

While schools vary in terms of tuition, insurance, and accommodation fees, the ultimate question students and parents ask is “is it worth the investment?” According to Reuters, Brown University students “must pay $24,136 for a semester in such locations as London and Kyoto, Japan, excluding health insurance, travel, housing, meals, books, and miscellaneous (different things that are difficult to categorize) expenses.”

So, is it worthwhile to invest in studying abroad when local schools are just as good or prestigious (respected and admired by people) as others?

Studying Abroad – Yay Or Nay?

According to the Canadian Bureau of International Education (CBIE)’s World of Learning: Canadian Post-Secondary Students and the Study Abroad Experience report, 91% of employers believe studying abroad reap numerous benefits such as understanding cultural differences in the workplace.

An online survey, reported by universitystudy.ca also revealed 93% of students who have studied abroad felt more comfortable to work in a culturally diverse (made up of a wide variety) environment “and had increased their knowledge of international affairs”. A news report by the South China Morning Post also detailed the salary (money someone earns each year) benefits to return Chinese students.

While there are numerous blog posts and news articles detailing how great it is to study abroad, how can you evaluate the costs of studying abroad? In 2015, Reuters published an interview with Stacie Berdan, author of “A Parent Guide to Study Abroad” to clear up some complexities and financial difficulties of studying abroad.

Where Would You Want To Study?

Did you know that the United Kingdom has the most international students in their schools? According to The World University Rankings, United Kingdom dominates in the most international students. Let us know where you would like to study!

Differences Exposed: To Know Vs. To Understand

To know something and to understand something are related concepts. However, they shouldn’t be used interchangeably. According to Quartz, “each is a distinct mental state involving cognitive grasp.” Knowing is static, a passive process as one refers to discrete facts. Understanding, on the other hand, is an active process. To understand is to analyze and place facts in context.

Without facts, understanding is impossible. However, having knowledge does not mean one understands the bigger picture. Without attempting to undergo the active process, this could lead to frustration and misunderstandings of both parties.

To Know

You know how you’ll try to communicate something important or describe an experience to a friend and they’ll reply often with an impatient, “I know, I know” or “Yeah, I get it”. This is knowing: they understand the basics and don’t have to think twice. Knowing something doesn’t require an extra cognitive step that people often overlook.

Knowledge itself is not static. Knowledge is continuously changing and evolving and introduced to the world in different forms and attitudes. Therefore, to assess new information, understanding is an important skill.

To Understand

Understanding is a “tool” as described by Quartz. “It helps people assimilate new information and continually refine their worldview by seeing connections”. We live in an era with so much information available at our fingertips. Therefore, it’s cognitively tiring to digest and evaluate the information we’re given. By exercising our ability to understand, it’ll help us be more open-minded and less likely to fall into manipulative language, propaganda, poorly sourced stories, and much more.

According to Pinola, a writer for Lifehacker, the difference between understanding and knowing is empathy. “Understanding is deeper because it comes from empathy or identification”. She used the example of racism where a white man, Zoller Seitz, was spared arrest despite being at fault while the Hispanic man he was fighting with got arrested. While racism isn’t new, Seitz reflected “that to truly understand another person–in any situation–we have to try to look at things from their perspective.” While cliché, it can help us to become less temperamental and to solve problems with a clearer mind.

Knowing And Understanding

“Your life will change when you change your mind,” Paul Jun, a writer at MotivatedMastery, writes. By remaining curious, seeking to understand rather than being right, and “to find knowledge that helps us become better humans”, are all processes to help rewire our minds.

Comparing Cultures: Comic Books Vs. Manga

Comic Books And Manga

There are profound (very great) differences between American comic books and Japanese manga besides the obvious country distinction. Comics are thought of as a staple of Western geek culture; manga also has a similar feeling in the East.


Yet, comic books have spawned famous characters such as Batman and Superman while more notable characters of manga include Naruto and Luffy from One Piece. In light of National Comic Book Day, here are some notable differences between comic books and Manga.

Comparing Comic Books and Manga

If you’re familiar with comic books and manga, you’ll notice manga is read from right to left while comic books are read from left to right. The text for comic books is also read horizontally while manga is read vertically.

Comic books are often printed in full color while most manga is printed in black and white. However, sometimes you will find a few pages of manga printed in color. This usually depends on the manga’s popularity.

comics book

Manga has long story arcs which means the plot can span volumes. Comic books, on the other hand, are often standalone and are finished within one volume.

For comic books, the story and art are jobs done by different people. However, for manga, the story and art are done by the author. In terms of artwork, comic books are often more realistic than manga.

Comic Book Recommendations

While not a big fan of comic books, the Archie series was a popular comic book that has an American TV show based off of its characters. Riverdale, anyone? Marvel and DC are also popular genres of the American comic book genre. If you’ve heard of Stranger Things, an original science fiction Netflix series, the show will be having its own comic series.

Manga Recommendations

While not having read a ton of manga, I am a fan of animé, Japanese cartoons usually made from manga. My personal favorites include Blue Spring Ride and Kuroko No Basuke, a romance and sports manga respectively.

Which Do You Prefer?

Comic books and manga have their unique differences and are catered to different tastes. Which do you prefer to read? Which comic books and/or manga would you recommend?

How To: Celebrate Golden Week

Golden Week

Golden week in China is the first seven days of October. It’s an annual holiday where there’s heightened short and long distance travel activity. Regardless if you’re traveling or staying home for the week-long holiday, here are some tips on how to celebrate efficiently!

1. Travel Light

Streets will be more crowded than usual which means increased chances of theft. So, we highly recommend traveling with only what you need. Especially if you’re traveling to Beijing’s Tiananmen Square for the National Day Celebration, it’s best to keep your bag light as you’ll be in for a tight squeeze!

2. Book Shipments Early

Make the best out of your holiday by getting your important shipments delivered on time and within your budget. Shipment prices increase during this time. Therefore, for ocean shipments, it’s recommended you book 2-3 weeks prior to Golden Week. However, for air shipments, it’s recommended to book 1 week prior to Golden Week.

3. Plan In Advance

Planning in advance to avoid the crowds is always a good idea. While tourist attractions will undoubtedly be notoriously crowded, try planning your schedule accordingly to avoid the price hikes and crowds.

Interesting Facts About Golden Week

One of the most famous attractions during this holiday is the flag raising festival that happens in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Other celebratory activities include a National Day reception, variety shows, and the fireworks display.

Technically, Golden Week is officially three days. However, its usually extended by bridge holidays compensated by working on weekends.

In December 1949, the Chinese Government passed the Resolution on the National Day of China. A year after, grand rallies and massive military parades were held to mark and celebrate the National Day. This lasted for nine years until 1959.

Does your country have something similar to Golden Week? What would you do with a week off?

Traditional Customs Of The Mid-Autumn Festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival

Besides the Spring Festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the biggest holidays in China. It’s a traditional holiday that annually falls on August 15th of the Lunar calendar which corresponds to September 24th of the Gregorian calendar. The Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as the Mooncake Festival as mooncakes are a delicacy enjoyed by family and friends during this time.

Traditional Customs Of The Mid Autumn Festival

There are two major customs during this holiday: praying to and admiring the moon. While it sounds odd, the moon is one of the biggest hallmarks of the holiday as it represents unity and reunion.

Traditionally, the Chinese associated rejuvenation with the moon and water. They connected this concept to the menstruation of women. For example, the Zhuang people, have an ancient fable of the sun and moon being a couple, the stars being their children. When the moon is pregnant, it becomes round and becomes crescent after giving birth.

These traditional beliefs made it popular among women to give offerings and pray to the moon on the evening of the Mid Autumn Festival. Additionally, they will take mooncakes and pray for family harmony as the delicacy also represents unity.

Will You Be Celebrating?

The holiday began during the Tang Dynasty and gained popularity throughout the Song Dynasty, Ming Dynasty, and the Qing Dynasty. Currently, the countries who celebrate this holiday are China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

In Korea, the Mid Autumn Festival is called “Chu-sok” and a time to eat rice cakes. In contrast, Japan celebrates by eating rice dumplings that are also called “tsukimi dango”.  While in Vietnam, eating lots of sweets is widely accepted on this day.

How does your country celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival? If not, what specific holidays does your country celebrate?

How To: Fix Run-On Sentences

Run-on sentences are two complete sentences fused into one without using coordination conjunctions or proper punctuation. They can be short or long; a long sentence doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a run-on sentence.

Here are three examples of a run-on sentence:

  1. She decided to have dinner with Min however it was cancelled last minute.
  2. She prefers roses to tulips John didn’t know that.
  3. He loved playing games she did too.

Run-on sentences are tedious to read; the reader doesn’t know when or where to stop to absorb what they read. Additionally, your ideas can easily get lost in the flow of information.

Here are the corrected examples of the run-on sentences above:

  1. She decided to have dinner with Min; however, it was cancelled last minute.
  2. She prefers roses to tulips, but John didn’t know that.
  3. He loved playing games. She did too.

Based on the corrections, did you already catch how they can be corrected?

How To Correct Run-On Sentences

The best way to avoid run-on sentences is to see if there are multiple ideas communicated by two or more complete sentences.

Referring to the first example above, “Dinner with Min” and “cancelled last minute” are two ideas. Therefore, you can separate them using a period or with the proper conjunction and punctuation.

However, be careful of punctuation. By placing a comma between two complete sentences doesn’t eliminate the run-on sentence problem. Refer to the example below:

The concert has started, we should hurry inside.

The above example is still a run-on sentence. This kind of run-on sentence is a comma splice. Comma splices can be fixed with the same solutions as normal run-on sentences.

Test Your Knowledge

Ready to test your knowledge on correcting run-on sentences? Take this quiz and find out!

Differences Exposed: E.g. Vs. I.e.

Were you ever reading and came across these two abbreviations and wondered what the heck they mean? E.g. and i.e. are Latin abbreviations and mean “for example” and “in other words” respectively.

They are often mistakenly used as interchangeable terms. Let’s break down their differences and get into the nitty-gritty of what every student to professional should know about these two terms.

What Does E.g. Mean?

E.g. is short for exempli gratia, a Latin phrase meaning “for the sake of example.” Again, it’s used to say “for example.” E.g. is used when you want to introduce one or more examples. You do not need to list every possibility. Rather, it’s used to suggest a few examples and not an exhaustive list. It can also be used to say that you’re seeing or listing one or more possibilities.

Here are a few examples of e.g.

  1. She needed to buy her groceries (e.g., eggs, milk, and juice) for the month.
  2. The city is looking to invest in more forms of sustainable energy (e.g., solar and wind) for the year.

E.g. is written in lowercase when used in the middle of a sentence like the examples above. You also do not need to italicize them.

What Does I.e. mean?

I.e. is the abbreviated form of id est. It also has Latin origins and means “in other words.” In contrast to e.g., i.e. clarifies information or narrows possibilities rather than giving more.

Here are a few examples using i.e.

  1. She is going to a concert held at the new arena, i.e., Citydome.
  2. He is thinking of going to the restaurant (i.e., MTA) next week with his family.
  3. I enjoy playing these card games, i.e., bridge and crazy eights.

As you can see, i.e., gives a specific example and clarifies where she’s going and which restaurant he is thinking of going to. Additionally, because I used i.e. in the third sentence instead of e.g., those card games are the only ones I enjoy.

More Examples Of E.g. and I.e.

To recap, e.g. is used to give one or more examples. I.e. is giving more precise information. Below are some sample sentences that compare e.g. and i.e.

You are thinking of going outside the country (e.g., New Zealand or Switzerland) for vacation.
You are thinking of going outside the country (i.e., New Zealand) for vacation.

In the first example, you are thinking of visiting New Zealand or Switzerland for vacation. In the second example, New Zealand is the exact place you are thinking of visiting.