Cool Program of the Week – Messiah College

Messiah College-Review_31058_Photo__d20bThis week’s cool program is a unique faith-based study-abroad program that combines the classroom with corporate, organizational and cultural visits in a ten week tour.  12 credits from Messiah College’s International Business Institute.

The International Business Institute is designed to give students in economics, business management and related areas a distinctive opportunity for a term of study that incorporates the international dimension of these fields in an experiential context overseas. The program includes periods of residence in key locations as well as coordinated visits and presentations in the major political and economic centers of Russia, The European Union, India and China.

“This program offered a lot of good experience to explore diverse cultures and learn about international business. We visited some pretty well-known companies, as well as Christian and small microfinance companies. Messiah College also offers 12 business credits, since students also take classes between corporate visits and traveling. It was a very exhausting, but fun and adventure-packed summer.” from a student review.

Read the entire review here:


Read more about this program, and others at

10 Things You’ll (probably) Forget to Pack when You Study Abroad

10 things you'll forget to pack
Studying in another country is a life-changing adventure, and challenges are a welcome part of the learning experience. However, it’s easier to immerse yourself in a new language and culture when you’re prepared for some of the most common challenges. Packing lists are excellent resources as you plan ahead, but they tend to focus on the bare necessities. If you haven’t studied abroad before, you might assume these checklists are comprehensive. Take it from me: they’re not.

During my semester in China, there were a few crucial items I wished I had brought. Even though I followed the suggestions of many study abroad packing lists, I learned some lessons the hard way. Through trial and error, I discovered a few extra things that students should pack to make their study abroad experience better, easier, and more comfortable.

Whether you’re still researching your options or you’re getting ready for an extended stay in another country, keep these ten commonly overlooked items in mind as you prepare for your journey.

Your Favorite Movies

moviesYour time abroad will be packed with exciting new opportunities to learn, socialize, and explore. However, during the course of several months, some downtime is inevitable. Make sure you bring DVDs or digital downloads of at least a few favorite movies. They’ll remind you of home when you’re homesick, distract you if you’re actually sick, and entertain you on rainy days. Movies are also a great way to connect with new friends and introduce them to American pop culture.

Downy Wrinkle Release Spray

downyIrons aren’t exactly lightweight, and you may not have access to them in your dorm, hotel, hostel, or host family’s home. After your clothes travel thousands of miles in a cramped suitcase, Downy Wrinkle Release Spray will be your best friend. Just follow the directions on the bottle to remove any wrinkles and make a good first impression with your professors, host family, and new

Playing Cards

playing cards A deck of playing cards is a universal source of entertainment, crossing language barriers and age groups. Thanks to games like solitaire, they’re also insurance against periods of boredom. Pack playing cards in your bag and bust them out if you want to socialize with new friends or kill time.


bootsRain Boots

Don’t ruin your shoes and track water all over your host family’s floor like I did! Umbrellas may be relatively easy to find, but it’s much more difficult to find a sturdy pair of rain boots in your size. Instead, bring your own all-purpose galoshes to prevent soggy shoes and socks. They’ll make it easier to navigate campus and city streets on rainy days (you won’t have to walk around puddles). Plus, they come in many fun and colorful styles which make for a great icebreaker!

(gift idea source:

gift pack

Small Gifts from Home

Whether you stay with a host family or make friends who live nearby, you’ll receive plenty of hospitality from locals when you study abroad. You may even receive gifts from teachers, hosts, and fellow students. Show your appreciation with unique gifts from your hometown or home state. Monetary value isn’t important; it’s truly the thought that counts.

 photo heart

Photos from Home to Hang Up

Don’t underestimate the value of seeing the smiling faces of your friends and family every day. If you get overwhelmed by language difficulties or struggle to make new friends, personalizing your living area will cheer you up. Incidentally, personal photos also help when you’re feeling the opposite of homesick. If you’re having such a great time that you start to dread your eventual return, remind yourself of the family members and friends waiting for you.

sweat pants

Pair of Sweatpants

When I prepared for my trip, I focused on packing light and preparing for different seasons and outdoor conditions. I didn’t put as much thought into my loungewear, so I only had a few lightweight pairs of pajama shorts. Sweatpants are a warmer, more modest option for students with host families. They’re also super cozy and comfortable! Bring a pair from your college or favorite sports team to remind yourself of home.

packing listItemized List of Checked Baggage

As you pack the luggage you plan to check with the airline, make a detailed inventory of each item. You may have to claim damages for lost luggage or replace missing items, so it’s important to know exactly what you packed. Just in case, add an extra outfit to your carry-on luggage too. I rolled up a lightweight, wrinkle-proof dress and extra pair of underwear. That way if your checked luggage does get lost, you can enjoy the comforts of clean clothes while you figure things out.


Your school will probably have a cafeteria or nearby restaurants to frequent for lunch. However, if you want to save a little money you can make your lunch at home and bring it with you in a lunchbox. Bringing your lunch is a great way to enjoy fresh ingredients from local markets and experiment with cooking at home. Ask your host family if you can wrap up leftovers to have for lunch the next day. Some host families may even make lunch for you to bring to school. Hard lunchboxes can be difficult to find overseas, so consider bringing one with you from home. It also doubles as a separate storage container in your suitcase!

sheetsPillowcase and Sheets

You’ll probably stay in more than one place during your travels, especially if you plan to visit other cities and countries during your study abroad experience. Student hostels are cheap and convenient, but they’re not exactly famous for cleanliness. If you’re a germophobe like me – or you have nightmares about bed bug infestations – I highly recommend bringing a clean pillowcase and set of sheets. Lightweight “sleep sacks” like the cocoon travel sheet save space in overnight bags.


What Else Should You Pack To Study Abroad?

I hope this list comes in handy as you explore your study abroad options or prepare for your upcoming trip. However, if you’ve already completed a study abroad program, you know these ten suggestions are just a starting point.

If you learned any packing lessons the hard way, help future students avoid the same mistakes. What do you wish you had brought with you on your study abroad? Let me know in the comments!


Our Guest Blogger – 

carly smith

Carly Smith has been traveling to Europe since she was a kid. Wanting to experience something out of her comfort zone, she recently returned home from a semester abroad with Go Abroad China at Fudan University in Shanghai. She is now back home in Oregon working on her degree in Journalism and can’t wait to see where she ends up next. Follow her on twitter @carlyabroad


Study Abroad Update from the Middle East

October 2015 –

There is war raging in parts of the Middle East and that has impacted everyone in the region. Those involved in international education face an anxious group of current students and a concerned, if not skeptical group of future students. We thought we’d ask how a few of the universities in the region are coping with the situation. Here’s what they say.

From Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates:

AmericanUniv sharjahThe American University of Sharjah (AUS) enjoys all of the safety and stability that the UAE has to offer.  In contrast to many countries around the world, including the USA, the UAE has experienced very minimal terrorist activity, violent incidents, or property crime.  The country is known for its political stability, careful visa screening policies, and strict security measures. Dusk arrives between 6 and 7 pm throughout the year, and women especially enjoy freedom to walk safely around the city centers after nightfall.  In addition, the UAE maintains one of the most diverse populations in the world, and is tolerant and welcoming to people from various world cultures and religions.

The standalone AUS Campus located within the University City complex is similarly safe and secure, with an on-site Health Clinic (including Ambulance), major teaching hospital located just around the corner, campus-wide security officers on staff at all hours, a special division of the police stationed at the two access gates to campus, and a Police College located just next door.  We send our students to study abroad, often to the USA, and I always find it rather ironic when I have to calm the fears of local parents who worry about sending their students to a place where there are so many campus shootings, etc.!

From Beirut, Lebanon:

AUB life has been safe and thriving, thus no recent announcements in the last 15 months have needed to be made except for health precautions when the university wAmericanUniv-Beirutas closed for the dust storm. When the University needs to communicate an important announcement regarding safety to the AUB community, this information appears on the AUB homepage and is also sent via SMS so that messages are instantly received on users’ (students, faculty & staff) mobile phones.

Most international students, especially visiting international students, take advantage of the weekend trips and events organized by the Office of International Programs (OIP). OIP follows a safety and security protocol for these trips, and it’s been pleasing to learn (and experience!) how much they are enjoyed and taken advantage of by all international students. Furthermore, students are given a number of campus resources to reach out to for informed travel, including suggestions of where not to go. Ultimately all decisions regarding travel to, from, and within Lebanon are personal ones.  Students, families, and schools are encouraged to discuss the security situation in the country and arrive at informed conclusions that satisfy their personal comfort level.

At AUB, we are committed to campus and neighborhood safety, and to be as effective as possible in a crisis situation.  AUB cannot however guarantee political certainty so ultimately whether or not a student decides to attend AUB comes down to personal choice.  AUB receives on average 50 visiting and exchange students per semester and about 22% of its student population is international.

From Dubai, United Arab Emirates:

AmericanUniv DubaiThe economic progress and broad-scale success of Dubai have captured the imagination of the world. Dubai’s booming prosperity and its safe environment attract thousands of visitors every year. At The American University in Dubai (AUD) students live and study on a campus where over 100 nationalities are represented. Every academic year AUD receives over 100 study abroad students who travel comfortably in the region and get fully immersed into its cultural diversity and thus get a unique international exposure. In addition, AUD is located in a very vibrant area of Dubai – Media City, in proximity to Nakheel metro station.

The American University in Dubai ensures that the utmost security and safety measures are taken on its campus at all times. AUD’s Security Office is reachable 24/7 through the Security Supervisor, or the Security Emergency Number; the security guards are present round-the-clock on campus for the sake of the students’ welfare. Students must always be collaborative and present their student AUD ID at the security gates or whenever asked by the security guards inside the campus. AUD security guards have the right to expel from campus or deny entry to students who refuse to present their AUD IDs. All visitors wishing to enter our campus are allowed access either by prior invitation from a member of the AUD community, in which our security team verifies immediately with the concerned AUD member before entry of visitor; or if the visitor wishes to visit our Admissions team, they are allowed access to that department directly, which in all cases they are asked to leave their national ID at the security gates, and are given a visitor’s badge to wear during their stay on campus.

For any emergencies out of our institutions’ control, the security team at AUD involved the Supervisor immediately and contacts Dubai Authorities and Dubai Police for further guidance if needed.

As you can see from each of these accounts, the universities in the region are moving forward with their educational mission and taking precautions to keep their students and international visitors well cared for. As Americans see in the news, tragedy and random violence occurs worldwide and is a concern for us all. The war that rages on in some parts of the Middle East does cast a shadow over daily life in the entire region as well as the world, and at the same time life goes on.

We highlight three universities that openly welcome study abroad students and are committed to bringing a rewarding and worthwhile educational opportunity to future students. Each hopes you will consider spending some time on their campus and experience the best of what they have to offer. Check out what students have to say about their experience by reading the reviews:


At risk of being cliché, we leave you with the widely referenced quote about travel: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
 Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad



Cool Program of the Week – The Advanced Russian Language and Area Studies Program

Interested in a career in Diplomacy? Now is a great time to learn Russian language. RLASP has options at 4 different university settings, can be done undergrad or grad, and fully immerses you in Russian language and culture making it this week’s cool program:


The Advanced Russian Language and Area Studies Program (RLASP) is for undergraduate and graduate students who are committed to improving their Russian language skills.  Designed by experts in linguistics and foreign language acquisition, RLASP has a 40 year proven track record of helping students maximize their Russian language gain.  This is done by providing:

•Expert Russian faculty with decades of experience teaching foreigners Russian
•Small group sizes between 3 – 6 participants  which allows for more individualized attention
•20 hours per week of in-class Russian language instruction
•Opportunities for students to audit Russian classes
•Academic year students with the option to write a substantive research paper in Russian
•Monitoring and evaluation of the program through rigorous pre and post-program testing
•Experienced and dedicated US and local staff who provide academic, personal, and logistical support

Students can select to study at Moscow International University, the Russian State Pedagogical University in St. Petersburg, or the KORA Center for Russian Language in Vladimir.  In the fall of 2014, American Councils also launched a new location at Kazakh National University in Almaty, Kazakhstan for students who wish to study Russian in an immersion environment but are unable to travel to Russia due to funding restrictions or other concerns.
RLASP also provides numerous opportunities for students to engage with Russian culture outside of the classroom.  Key components of the cultural program include:

The academic and cultural components combine to give students all of the tools necessary to make huge gains in both Russian language and understanding of Russian culture.  Upon successful completion of the program students receive university credit from Bryn Mawr College.  In addition to Russian language, students also receive Bryn Mawr credit in either history or political science.

Abroad101 Student of the Week #0062 – Nicoli James

Nicoli-JamesOur 62nd Abroad101 Student of the Week award goes to Nicoli James from Oklahoma State University! Nicoli is a sophomore that is currently double majoring in business management & international business with a minor in Italian, how amazing. While at Oklahoma State he has racked up accolades including the Dean’s Honor Roll, President’s Honor Roll, Gilman Scholarship, Regional Distinguished Scholarship, and the Sigma Alpha Lambda New Member Scholarship. His endeavors reflect his aspirations to open an international boutique business across Italy to let Italians purchase merchandise that are specific to America, which aren’t currently readily available in their country. Noting Nicoli’s interest in building a business in Italy it is no surprise for his intentions of traveling abroad to get a head start on how to make this business a success!

Nicoli was recently accepted into the Italian International Institution, through the API Lorenzo De’ Medici Semester Program, which is making his dream to study abroad in Italy become a reality. This program will take place in Florence, Italy for the duration of the spring semester of 2016. While in Italy, Nicoli will be participating in an internship to help gain knowledge and experience in international affairs all while earning credits towards his degree. This opportunity couldn’t be more perfect for Nicoli and his future plans, but he just needs a little assistance financially to get there! Don’t worry though, it’s evident that Nicoli is determined to reach this goal because in addition to his fundraising Mission he also has a part time job. He even is holding car washes to raise the funds, that’s what we call dedication! Check out Nicoli’s Mission and how you can help here.

The Abroad101 Student of the Week initiative awards a student who created a Mission for a study abroad program on GoEnnounce with a donation to their fundraiser. Learn more about this partnership from Abroad101 CEO Mark Shay and GoEnnounce co-founder Melissa Davis here.

Stay tuned for our next Abroad101 Student of the Week!