London for Foreign Students: 8 Things to Get Set Up Before Moving

london-westendIf you’re moving to London as a foreign student, there are some things you should probably tend to before you arrive in Great Britain. Here, find a list of some of the most important things to take care of in advance before your move.

1. Find an international students club to join. Your school is an excellent source for finding or forming such groups, and joining one can ease your anxiety about life away from home.

2. Set up a bank account before you head abroad. This can be done once you arrive, of course, but you will likely find greater peace of mind knowing you are already financially established, at least in terms of being able to use bank services. Having an account where you can instantly access your savings is an easy way to get set up before your move and should help ensure you don’t get into any tight financial situations.

3. Figure out your phone situation. Will you be adding global roaming to your plan? Does your carrier offer this service? Roaming cell service can be costly, so you might want to consider long-distance phone cards as another good option for staying in touch with friends and family back home.

4. Tie up loose business ends. Anything that you’ve signed a contract for previous to your move must be addressed. From apartment leases to gym memberships, don’t just assume you can cancel services you’ve signed up for anytime without penalties. You’ll need to be sure you’ve fulfilled your contract, have an out-clause or be willing to pay what are likely to be high fees.

5. Be sure all personal documents and account information are correct and valid. This includes any identification, your visa, social security card, credit cards, and contact information for any important people or entities you may need to speak with while abroad.

6. Update your mailing address. Before leaving for London, advise your current local post office, friends, family and account services departments for any accounts you have of your new address and phone number.

7. Make a list of your personal London goals. Before you leave, make a checklist of all the places you want to visit, things you want to do and foods you want to try. As you live abroad, check things off and add new items as you accomplish them.

8. Pack smart. Find a suggested packing list specific to London here.

Happy travels, and “cheers” to your new adventure!

Guest Posting from Victoria Moretti, a professional writer from the UK who contributes to Abroad101 from time to time. Victoria loves to write about businesses and macro economic affairs that move the needle. Her other loves include travel, long walks and flat whites.

Get Ahead of the Pack: The Career Benefits of International Internships in China

China-shanghai-Alliance_350_Photo__cd26For college students today, study abroad programs are becoming more available and encouraged. In 2013-2014 about 290,000 students were part of international education programs, and that number is projected to continue to grow through focused initiatives to increase international education in the US. However, as study abroad begins to feel more commonplace, many students have turned to international internships as a way to differentiate themselves from the pack.

More than just a standard cultural immersion program, international internships allow you to learn about how other cultures do business, gain practical skills in an international setting, and make professional connections all over the world. We see specifically that more and more students are flocking to China to get a competitive edge.

So, why China?

China is Relevant. China has become a hotspot for professional experience due to the country’s booming economy and desire for an English speaking workforce. In addition to the contributions of successful Chinese corporations, China’s economy gets a boost from multinational companies–giants like Coca-Cola and KPMG– relocating their Asia headquarters to China. As traditional Chinese business ventures continue to succeed, new sectors such as green technology and engineering are also developing as international and local Chinese companies flock to China to innovate. Chinese business culture has become a part of many multinational companies, making this culture an important one to understand. Interning in China allows students an opportunity to experience first-hand Chinese business culture and the country’s influence on businesses all over the world.

You get a multicultural experience. The flux of international companies establishing themselves in China has been a huge draw for people all over the world and has made the country a desirable international hub. In a recent survey, an estimated 7,000 international expatriates recently ranked China as the best overall destination for work and 85% of expats in China are working for international companies in sectors such as business (sales and marketing), banking and financial services, and engineering. Popular expat destinations include Shanghai and Beijing, with Hong Kong an attractive choice for the financial services sector.

You will learn a language spoken by more than 1 billion people. Mandarin, the main language for business in China, is spoken by around 1.4 billion people as a first or second language. This makes Mandarin the #2 most spoken language in the world, followed next by Spanish. Being exposed first hand to this language is extremely valuable. Some internship programs to China also offer Mandarin lessons to enhance your experience in China. Students taking advantage of an opportunity to learn Mandarin firsthand in China immediately give their resumes a boost with a hard language skill.

Professional experience in China has helped many students achieve success. CRCC Asia, a company specializing in international internship opportunities in China, has sent over 5,000 interns to China and 89% have found employment in a graduate level job after returning to their home country. More universities are recognizing the significance of internship experience in China, and China internship programs are regularly being added to international programs.

If you are looking for a study abroad experience that will help you gain a competitive edge in the job market, perhaps an international internship in China is the right fit for you.

Begin your search for internship programs in China:

CRCC Asia’s China Internship Program

ISA Internships in Shanghai

CAPA Part-time Internships in Shanghai

-Check with your university’s Study Abroad Office for internship program offerings!

For information on funding your internship abroad:

100,000 Strong

Gilman/Freeman Scholarships


-Check with your university’s Study Abroad Office for other possible scholarship resources!


Guest Blogger:


Thao Le

Travel enthusiast and international education advocate, Thao works as University Partnerships Manager at CRCC Asia in San Francisco, where she helps connect universities and individual students with international opportunities in China.

Abroad101 Provider Newsletter – August 2015

Abroad101-reviews-logo-webIt’s the exciting back to school time.  For Abroad101 we start to see a surge in traffic and program inquires as students return to campus.  Thanks to the providers who have updated and fine-tuned your listings.  For the others, there’s still time for those last minute updates.  The following is an update as to what’s new with Abroad101 for Fall 2015.

It’s All About the Reviews:

Abroad101 is known as the Trip Advisor for Study Abroad because we were the first study abroad review website.  Today we host the largest collection of program reviews, in part because a number of colleges and universities use Abroad101 as their program evaluation software.  Abroad101’s software gives university administrators a nice set of tools including:

  • ability to manage the publishing of reviews
  • capacity to add custom questions
  • measure their students’ results against other universities
  • generate performance reports
  • export reviews for further analysis

There are also new tools to encourage integration of the reviews into enrollment management software, making the Abroad101 platform an integral part of study abroad.

We have started expanding the utility of Abroad101 as the program evaluation tool for providers of programs as well.  Providers have always been encouraged to invite reviews and that has generated a sampling of student responses.  With the added provider access to the tools, we hope to see more organizations embrace the Abroad101 system and standard set of review questions.  Students have long complained that they are over-surveyed, however by combining the university and advisor process, you can help reduce the survey fatigue that exists today.  If you are interested in exploring how your organization can utilize Abroad101 for its “Re-entry in a Box” please contact:

What is the Perfect Review?

This is the million-dollar question that contains components of marketing, outcomes assessment, customer satisfaction, alumni relations and student success.  Add the issues around transparency and shifts in technology and you get the dilemma that exists today.  Students today, who are less responsive to email than they were before, instead communicate with their mobile devices and social media.  The interest in “being heard” through a survey is fading as just about every transaction that occurs for a student today is followed by a survey prompt, often with promises of reward (sweepstakes, reward points, etc.) 

At Abroad101, we have found that the best reviews are when the review is more about the student than the program.  “Reviews are good for the student” is a theme we push to advisors, emphasizing that the Abroad101 is simply a template for the student to build a showcase for their discoveries and successes while abroad, their place to shine.  When reviews like this come through, they reflect well on the program and give future students and parents what they want, a glimpse into what to expect from study abroad, and a particular program.  That becomes a powerful statement about the program and when combined with similar sentiments, can reassure folks who are skeptical at the one-sided picture painted by promotional brochures, websites and presentations.

This means that the reviews with the most impact aren’t perfect.  In fact, we see that reviews that aren’t perfect draw the most clicks.  Since people come to a review website to move toward a decision, it is the candor that can move a family toward final approval.  We suggest alumni ambassadors and other advocating participants read “why imperfection is ideal.” 

Revisions to the Display Algorithm:

To deal with older reviews and to recognize the importance of new review volume, we have adjusted the algorithm that drives the display order of our Free Listings.  You will notice that in the program listings, reviews older than 2012 have had the date removed and simply say “Past Review” We have revised the sort order so that these reviews no longer impact page positioning.  We have also given added weight to the count of recent reviews to encourage the submission of more candid reviews and decreased the impact of a 5.0 overall review score.

Student Inquiries:

As a reminder, the primary mechanism for prospective students to interact with providers is through Abroad101’s inquiry form.  When you get an inquiry from Abroad101, you will notice a “lead type” in the message.  These are:

  • Favorite – student tags your listing as one to consider later, not a formal inquiry 
  • RMI – the standard Request More Information inquiry
  • Apply – student states they want to apply for the program listed.

Often people will visit review sites to do further research, so when you get an inquiry marked Apply there is a reasonable chance that that student is already known to you and has come to a decision to apply to the program while on Abroad101.  Please don’t view these as duplicate leads, instead think of them as conversions.

For those of you who advertise, expect to see a further increase in inquiry volume as Abroad101 implements its new LeadMatch process.  LeadMatch is a new feature that gives students three additional programs to consider after they have sent an inquiry to a non-advertised program.  These additional programs are drawn from our pool of advertised programs, matching on city, country and/or subject.  It’s modeled after the popular recommendation feature on sites like  There is nothing you need to do to implement this, but please do make sure that your listings are updated to include the academic subject areas so that your programs can match as often as possible.

Added Benefits of Advertising:

Advertising on Abroad101 is designed to bring you more inquiries, improve your conversions and raise the brand and visibility of your programs, all at a price that won’t blow your budget.  Featured Listings start at $500/year and we offer generous volume discounts for multiple programs and display advertising. 

For directories with more than 10 ads, we recently adjusted the Featured Listing display so that ads now appear in groups of 5 instead of 3, separated by blocks of 12 Free Listings.  For Featured Listings yet to receive a review, we removed the resulting “0 star” icon to help improve click through rates.  Some advertisers are choosing to have their new programs also link to their website when no reviews are present, an option for our advertisers.

Abroad101’s Social Media channels are a hit with students and their followers, as a solid stream of review highlights and program boosts flow through these channels.  The reviews highlighted in Abroad101’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels are those of advertisers.  Our Social Media editor uses attention-grabbing comments from reviews of our advertisers and turns them into click-drawing posts 6-10 times a day.  We encourage you to re-tweet, like and tag these as favorites to help add impact to this bonus.

Also for advertisers, Abroad101 has API’s that push inquiries and reviews directly into your CRM or student data systems. This means no data entry errors and fast “speed to lead” response time, which is why you should explore pushing leads directly into your CRM with the Lead API.  Viewing the review as a program evaluation adds a nice dimension to your CRM or student records platform. 

Download our Ad Guide for more details. 

As Seen on Abroad101:

As you visit with students and campus partners in the upcoming year we hope you will incorporate Abroad101 in your marketing.  Whether it’s awards from the rankings, badges from the Abroad101 program widget or simply links to the program pages, references to content about your programs on Abroad101 can help provide reassurance to prospective students and advisors.  We estimate that 20-25% of our traffic comes from parents and reviews can go a long way to win their endorsement.  Like the iconic “As Seen on TV” logo brings credibility to retail products, we hope you will recognize that references to being seen on Abroad101 will help bring added recognition to your education abroad program.

We’re Listening!

Much of the development and progress on Abroad101 has come from your suggestions and feedback.  If we’re not doing something you want, let us know.  If we’re exceeding your expectations, please let us know as well.  We’re ready and eager to help.

Happy Fall!

Mark Shay





Follow Abroad101 on Social Media:

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Challenging Stereotypes of “Dangerous” Locations Abroad


Celebrants dancing during the color Holi Festival

Celebrants dancing during the color Holi Festival

I wanted to go to India when I was in college, but at the tender age of 19, I was too nervous to seriously consider applying for a study abroad program there. It seemed too far away and because I didn’t know enough about the country or culture, it felt overwhelming. I was concerned about where I’d live and how I’d be received by the locals, and wondered if I would be “safe.” I did get to India many years later, ironically traveling to several cities alone as a woman– and it was one of the most memorable cultural experiences of my life. I didn’t feel nervous or unsafe as a woman traveling solo. I did my homework while planning my sojourn, knowing where to go, how to dress, and how to ask for help if I needed it. Yet, according to the World Terrorist Index, India was ranked sixth in the world for terrorist activity in 2014.

We live in a world that highlights horrific acts of terror on the nightly news, conditioning us to imagine fear at every turn. Many parents and students from the United States don’t realize is that being involved in a terrorist incident is statistically highly unlikely, yet safety from such attacks becomes a topic of conversation more frequently than one can imagine in a study abroad advising session. Statistically, a US citizen has a similar (or lower) chance of being killed in a terrorist attack than the following occurrences:

  • Being killed by a piece of furniture in your home
  • Dying in a heat wave
  • Being struck and killed by lightening

As a seasoned traveler and advisor, the metamorphic transformation that I see happening through education abroad, particularly when students go off the beaten path (e.g. not Western Europe), demands discussion. How can we encourage more students to participate in all that these countries and cultures have to offer, despite an assumption about lack of safety? And how do we address the real or implied reasons to be fearful?

Here are some considerations for education travel abroad:

  • Recognize that safety cannot be guaranteed anywhere in the world.

The reality is that no one can guarantee safety at home or abroad. What we can do, with intention, is to learn about the local customs and norms to have a better understanding of what is happening around us in any new environs and choose to be aware, not paranoid. After all, educational travel abroad is about getting outside of our comfort zones.

For example, I’m sure that if I had studied abroad in Ecuador, I likely would have been told by the program administrators and faculty not to ride in the back of a pick-up truck because it would be unsafe. When I lived there for two months, I made a point to do just that. Why? Not because I like to live on the edge and thought it was terribly risky of me, but rather because it was what people there do – and the danger of doing so at that moment seemed negligible (and it was). It gave me a different perspective, I learned, and I got home in one piece.

  • Read reviews by students who have been there

I’m fascinated by how students perceive their time abroad, especially when they challenge themselves to go to places that are less traditional for educational travel. One of the best ways to do this is to read reviews at to observe true accounts and perspectives of what is happening on the ground.

I really appreciated this student’s viewpoint of time spent in Lebanon, a country that despite offering study abroad opportunities in English, still reminds people of my generation (e.g. parents of college age students) of the 16 year Lebanese Civil War that ended over a decade ago:

“The same amount of danger that exists anywhere else in the world exists here. It’s just that the type of danger is different. I remember someone asking me if I was afraid to go to school in America because I might be shot. I asked if they feared getting on a bus for it might explode.”

This mirrors the feedback I received from a millennial who recently taught English in Lebanon for several years. She cherished her time there, didn’t feel unsafe – even taking a morning solo run in Beirut as part of her daily routine.

If you’re thinking about going abroad, check the Safety sections of each student’s program review (like this one in Cameroon). They will rate safety by the number of stars (1 – 5), typically commenting in the Safety section, and occasionally in the “A Look Back” section.

  • Know the facts about risk

My colleague, former FBI Agent Steve Moore, has told me more than once that road accidents are the biggest risks for US Americans travelers abroad. The Association for International Road Travel affirms that road crashes are the leading cause of death and injury for healthy Americans traveling abroad and young people, ages 15 – 24. Joining the Association for International Road Travel is an affordable place to start, as they offer data on road safety by country.

Excessive alcohol consumption is a growing problem for this same age group IN the United States, but it is compounded by laws abroad that often allow for young people to drink alcohol at a younger age and often at a higher percent of pure alcohol content. Fortunately, SAFETI offers an alcohol awareness video , available “by suggested donation”, to facilitate dialogue about this important topic. SAFETI also offers free handouts for administrators and students on the topic.

Any organization sending students abroad should plan to partner with campus or regional health care facilities to educate about the specific risks of alcohol consumption. Combined with a clear policy about expectations of behavior, this is key to minimizing the middle of the night panic phone calls about a program participant’s potential alcohol poisoning or worse.

  • Remember Culture!

Culture impacts behavior. Understanding the “whys” of other people’s behaviors is essential to feeling and staying safe. Morocco offers a terrific example of the need to consider culture when contemplating safety; this review of a program in Morocco is illuminating:

It takes some adjusting of behavior to feel safe in Rabat, mostly because of the harassment and unwanted attention. It is also not safe to go out at night in most areas, unless you plan on taking a taxi home. I had my cell phone stolen off a bus in one instance. However, in Morocco, this is par for the course and Rabat is actually a fairly safe city once I adapted to the standards of appropriate behavior.

To have a better understanding of this feedback, I asked a friend who lived in Morocco for several years and served there through Peace Corps for her cultural insights and personal story. This is what she had to say:

I won’t soon forget the first day when my parents came to visit me in Morocco. We were in a mid-sized city and I lost a small purse with my phone, identity card, money, social security card, and other important information. When I called my cell phone, a gentleman who found it – a taxi driver – picked us up, took us to his house where he left the purse for safekeeping, gave it back with everything still in it, and then drove us to the place where he had found it. While I can’t say this would happen in every city in Morocco, it was a wonderful introduction to the country for my parents. I am often asked about safety and can truthfully say it’s no less safe than anywhere else in the world. In particular, tourists or foreigners are looked out for by the police and other officials. Because tourism is such an important part of the Moroccan economy, the government is incredibly conscientious to be sure travelers have positive and safe experiences.

When considering culture, we are given clarifying information about behavioral norms that guides us in our interactions. As a result, we may feel more aware and therefore secure in new surroundings. For example, this young woman’s evaluation of her study abroad program in Morocco references “harassment and unwanted attention” – yet this is something that can be explained by culture. (You can read a complete cultural analysis about it here.) It is key to remember that culture lends information about behaviors of a group of people, but there are individuals within every culture, which reminds us that one incident of petty theft is not representative of an entire country.
Knowing cultural norms can prevent skewed perceptions of safety.   Ideally, program administrators and faculty are spending more time on cultural competency to empower travelers to be more aware, respectful, and self-assured in country. Looking for another resource on culture? Better Abroad is a great portal to understanding the impact of culture on the educational experience abroad.

  • Challenge stereotypes at every turn

One of the most profound conversations I had in India took place between me and an 8 year old boy in the holy city of Varansi. When he learned that I was from the United States, he asked me where my gun was. It was a reality check for me. I had been smacked in the face, verbally, with a stereotype of my country – that we are all gun toting beings, who value packing a pistol as a means to independence and safety. It took some time for me to convince this young boy that I didn’t even think I knew anyone from my country who owned a gun and that I had never even seen one with the exception of police and hunters. His perception came from American films – where violence is glorified. Our conversation encouraged me to challenge my assumptions about other places, and to reflect on those of my own country.

Before traveling, make a list of stereotypes about the country you’re heading to. Then task yourself to learn about your host country before departing – by reading, watching appropriate documentaries, doing informational interviews with people from that country in your home country, and reading the news online via another country’s online account. You’ll learn a lot about where stereotypes come from and how to combat them before jumping head first into the “fear” zone unnecessarily. Next, make a list of what attributes someone from another country might associate with Americans. This may include things like loud, gun toting, violent, sexually promiscuous, and wealthy. Do you agree with the list of stereotypes? Where do you think they come from and how do you think they impact interactions between people that can lead to unsafe situations?

I think back to my younger self, a girl who wanted to escape to India and see the Taj Mahal, and to better understand the diverse cuisine and spirituality. I wish I could tell her that fear is really a limiting word that we plant in our minds, and they it can take root and prevent a lot of beautiful experiences in life. I wish I had access to this student’s review of a program in Bangalore, which mirrors my adult experience in India (although I’d substitute the word “are quite wild” for “follow less rules”):

Beggars frequently come and ask for money. But beyond that, the violence level in Bangalore is far less than it is in US cities. Guns hardly exist among the public, and the people are not generally violent. The most unsafe thing in Bangalore is honestly crossing the road – because traffic patterns are quite wild.

With these handful of safety tips in mind, how will you reassess where is safe to experience education abroad? Where will you not only imagine going, but ACTUALLY going and writing about to your younger self in the future?


Missy Gluckmann

Melissa Gluckmann, contributor to the Studyabroad101 Blog and founder of Melibee GlobalMissy Gluckmann is the Founder of Melibee Global, which aims to elevate the discussion about education abroad, culture, diversity and the lifelong path to global citizenship by offering trailblazing toolsspeakers and professional development for the global education and travel communities. Raised in New York, Missy has lived abroad three times and traveled to dozens of countries. Missy currently resides in North Carolina and experiences culture shock there on a daily basis! She can be followed on Facebook and Twitter.

Big Life Lessons Learned During a Short-Term Study Abroad

Hampton Court Palace

You don’t have to spend an entire semester abroad to learn valuable life lessons. Nearly 20 years ago, I spent just six weeks studying through the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Oxford University, and I learned lessons that are with me today — ones I wish I had with me when I headed to Oxford.

Adaptation is Key

The first thing I learned when I arrived in Oxford was: I would have a roommate. I grew up with my own room. I shared a room with my youngest sister for about a year; I was six. The closest to dorm living I’d been was sharing a bathroom with my sisters, and since I was so much older than they, I usually had it to myself. I had just six weeks in Oxford — I had to learn to adapt to my surroundings quickly, especially with weekend trips taking up precious free time.

Set Goals

David E. Smith of National University and Darryl J. Mitry of Norwich University completed a research project surveying students in short-term study abroad programs similar to the one I attended. They found that students who set goals before going into their programs, such as develop cross-cultural skills, were more likely to meet those goals. One of the goals I set for myself was to get a B-average in my courses. I usually maintained closer to a 3.7 at my home university, but this was Oxford — I knew it would be more difficult. I returned home with two B+’s. Had I gone there without goals (or with the goal of simply drinking my way through the program), I would have likely accomplished nothing.

Look Beyond

The most important lesson learned during my program is that it’s important to look beyond. Look beyond the situations in which you find yourself. I thought I’d come home from Oxford with a fun English accent. I sounded like my roomie from Detroit instead and discovered I could pick up just about any accent I wanted. I learned to look beyond the goals I set for myself during the program. A 3.0 average? Boring. How about those B+’s? At Oxford? These days, I use goal-setting for career and lifestyle choices, like improving my time management or working out more often. Three times a week? Too easy. I work out five. No matter the setting, looking beyond the goals you set for yourself can help you accomplish even greater things.

Go Forth and Learn

Your goals are your own, and if you choose a short-term or a long-term program, you will come home with life lessons of your own. Just don’t forget to set at least one goal, even if you start small.

by H. E. James

Guest blogger:

H.E. James-headshotHattie is a writer and researcher living in Boise, Idaho, who has traveled throughout Europe and has spent countless hours in the car travelling the around the United States. She has a varied background, including education and history as well as journalism. Hattie enjoys sharing her passions through the written word. She is currently spending many sleepless nights seeking her graduate degree but always sets aside time to enjoy a good cider.

Providers Derby Results from Abroad101 – Summer 2015

ProviderReviews-Aug2015There are so many options for studying abroad, where do you turn? 

One of the most trusted methods for Americans to study abroad comes through third-party provider organizations who manage the entire experience.  At Abroad101 we collect program evaluation/reviews about these providers and publish them on our study abroad review website.  We also compile the ratings that students give the providers which you can use as an indicator of quality.  Review scores are one indicator, the number of reviews is another.

Organizations that encourage or even require their students to complete reviews understand the value of listening to their customers (students) and using that those testimonials to better inform future students as to what to expect in their programs.  Progressive providers also help students promote their own stories and success in education abroad by publishing their first hand accounts through a review.  As the old saying goes, “an educated consumer is the best kind” so we hope that you’ll use the reviews on to better educate yourself on your options in education abroad.  

Twice a year we produce the Abroad101 Providers Derby – the index of published reviews on Abroad101 to give a sense as to who is making a difference in study abroad.  We encourage you to use this information to help you to make an educated choice for your education abroad.


  1. IES Abroad
  2. International Studies Abroad/ISA
  3. CIEE
  4. CEA
  5. Arcadia
  6. SIT Study Abroad
  7. IFSA-Butler
  8. DIS – Study Abroad in Scandinavia
  9. USAC
  10. API/Academic Programs International
  11. AIFS
  12. The Education Abroad Network (TEAN)
  13. Boston University
  14. SOL Education Abroad
  15. CAPA The Global Education Network
  16. ISEP Exchange
  17. CET Academic Programs
  18. CISabroad/Center for International Studies
  19. Fairfield University
  20. The School for Field Studies/SFS