What You Should Know Before Studying In Australia

Photo by Liam Pozz

Over half a million foreign students from more than 190 countries made their way to Australia in 2018, SBS News reports. Australia is popular with foreign students for its robust education, stunning and varied landscape, cultural landmarks, and hospitality. Learning about the various different aspects of studying in Australia will leave you much better prepared for the application process and eventual move. 

You’ll need health insurance

International students in Australia are required to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). The services covered by OSHC vary depending on the insurer and type of plan. A basic plan covers doctor visits, ambulance costs, and select hospital treatments and medications. You may also want to purchase private health insurance, which lets you access public and private treatment, choose doctors and hospitals, and avoid long wait times. To find a good deal, it’s worth getting a health insurance quote from Qantas. Qantas insurance covers private healthcare, while letting you collect points to purchase flight tickets, upgrades, and more. This’ll come in handy on vacations and flights home.

You’ll be able to work

If you want to earn some extra cash to help fund your stay in Australia, you’re in luck. International students with a valid student visa are permitted to work twenty hours a week during the school semester. You’re free to work as much as you want during vacation. However, even though you can arrive in the country ninety days before your course starts, you won’t be able to work until after your course begins. Work required as part of your course isn’t included in the 20-hours-per-week limit. Retail, hospitality, and administration are popular jobs for international students and the Australian minimum wage is very generous — $18.93 an hour. 

You’ll have access to scholarships 

The Australian government spends over $200 million each year on international scholarships. That means you’ll have access to a number of funds which can help make your international experience as affordable as possible. For example, the Destination Australia Program offers over 1000 scholarships of upto $15,000 per student each year to both international and domestic students. You should contact your university to find out what funding options are available to you and how to apply. 

Understandably, moving to Australia seems a daunting feat. However, it’s absolutely worth the challenge. After completing all the applications and arriving in Australia, you’ll be so glad you made the move.

Tricks To Help You Master A Foreign Language Before Moving To Study Abroad

photo provided by https://www.pexels.com/@rawpixel

If you were to dedicate 3½ hours daily to learning a new language, it would take you 24 weeks to master it, according to a report by The Foreign Service Institute of The U.S Department of State. This is provided the language is categorized as easy – the likes of Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Medium level languages like Polish and Russian, and difficult ones like Japanese and Arabic take up to 44 and 88 weeks respectively to master. Learning your target language before going to study abroad is key to seamlessly adjusting to the new environment. You will, after all, need to order food, understand class lessons and converse with the people you meet. Even if you were to increase the number of hours you study your target language to 10, it would still take you 3 months to be proficient, and this may not be time you have. Luckily, here are a few tricks you can use to master a foreign language quickly.

Join A Community

Look for people in your city who speak your language of interest or who are learning it as well. The best thing about joining such a community is that you will begin to learn the language subconsciously. Just by listening to and making conversations with others, you will learn various aspects of the language, from vocabulary and grammar to pronunciation and intonation, and perhaps more importantly, slang. You can encourage each other to speak the foreign language when doing the most mundane tasks like ordering food and participating in casual cafe or bar chats. You can rest assured you will learn new vocabulary during every hang out, which you should write down and practice forming sentences with later on when you are alone.

Find A Paypal

It may sound like something your elementary self would do, but the truth is, whatever your age, finding a pen pal is one of the best ways of learning a foreign language and improving your writing skills in it. At the end of the day, you will need to master not only the spoken aspect, but also the written language. By exchanging letters, you will be able to trade language expertise. Your penpal can rewrite your original letter, correcting any spelling or grammar errors, and send it back to you; you can do the same for them. Sending letters might seem like a lot of work, especially if you factor in long post service queues. However, thanks to technology, you can learn to print stamps online with OnlineStamp. This should make posting pen pal letters easier and less time-consuming. Either way, regularly writing to a pen pal is said to boost your language skills tenfold according to The Linguist.

Keep It Fun

Learning a new language shouldn’t only involve a lot of study hours and dictionaries. It should be fun and entertaining, or it will soon turn into a boring and draining task. Watching movies in your target language is one way you can learn it while still entertaining yourself. At first, you can use subtitles. However, as you progress, turn them off, listen to the language being spoken, analyze the happenings of the movie, and try to figure out what they are saying. You can then write the new words down and look them up later to see if you were right. Alternatively, you can listen to radio stations or podcasts in your target language. You can also fill up your playlist with music in the language. Music is a proven tool when it comes to learning foreign languages for three reasons: it sticks; it is portable, so you can learn from anywhere at any time; and it helps you master the language faster, as it presents vocabularies in context and still teaches you pronunciation.

Learning a new language is challenging, no doubt. Nevertheless, by taking every opportunity you get to practice, it is doable. The secret lies in letting your brain do the work of connecting vocabularies and grammar before running for translators and dictionaries. Learning a new language should be done in an organized manner. Start with basic phrases such as greetings, and then move to learning vocabularies in a particular field, before moving on to another area, like food, clothing or professional terminology. Signing up for online classes and using language applications like Duolingo can also help you master a foreign language fast.

5 Must-Haves for Exchange Students

Meta: These are some of the most useful things to have when studying abroad.

There are challenges in becoming an exchange student, but these shouldn’t hinder you
from having a great experience. Featured below are five of the best things to bring when
studying abroad. These are a mix of tangible and intangible items, excluding tips and
advice.

Fanny Pack

Don’t worry, fanny packs are no longer viewed as unfashionable accessories. They are
back and some wear them in unusually fashionable ways. These small bags, also known
as bumbags, can be a great pouch for important things including your smartphone, IDs,
passport, little notebooks, and pens. They can even be a more secure place for your
wallet.

If you prefer wearing your backpack most of the time, of course you no longer have to
bring a fanny pack. It’s just a convenient option to have when you don’t have a lot of
things to carry around.

Translation App

Sure, you may have studied a new language as part of your preparations in going to
another country to become an exchange student. However, the little time you spent
studying a foreign language may not be enough. You could use some assistance from an
online translator.

Make sure that the translation app you choose is notable for its accuracy and
optimization. You don’t want to have an app on your phone that rarely provides the
correct and appropriate translations, and hogs your smartphone’s memory and computing resources. It has to be a reputable and well-optimized app, preferably one that comes with the option to contact a human translator. You may encounter instances when you need human translation service for indubitable accuracy like when you have to sign a contract, understand a literary work in a foreign language, or submit a paper that should be in the local language of the school you are attending.

Essential electronics

Of course, if you were to use an app, you need to bring a smartphone or computer with
you. Just make sure your phone is compatible with the cellular network in the new
location you will be staying in. Your CDMA phone may not work in the new place that
only supports 2G and 4G. Also take note of your device’s charger plug and voltage. You
may need an adapter or a mini transformer/inverter to be able to use your devices.

You may no longer need to take your camera with you as your smartphone likely has a
decent camera with it. Also, don’t bother taking your bulky external hard drive with you.
Invest in a good 128GB (or bigger) SD card if your smartphone and laptop supports it.
Consider bringing a high capacity power bank, though, or a hand crank or solar power
charger. It would be great if your power bank comes with its own flashlight, but if it does
not have one, you can buy a small USB LED light that attaches to your power bank.

First aid kit

It’s advisable to have a first aid kit to deal with non-critical problems such as wounds,
insect bites, and allergic reactions. However, don’t include non-prescription medicines in
it unless the host school asks you to bring some such as antihistamines and pain relievers. Most schools have clinics that can competently attend to your health needs. Self-medicating with non-prescription medicines can result in complications.

Body care products

Always be presentable and hygienic as you can be perceived as a representation of the
people in your country. That’s why you shouldn’t forget your deodorant, feminine care
products (for the ladies of course), oral care essentials, and toiletries. If you have a
dandruff problem, make sure you have your trusted effective dander-control shampoo
with you. You may also need a good moisturizing lotion if your skin is not accustomed to
cold weather, which can induce skin drying and flaking.

Make the most of your experience in being an exchange student with the help of the items listed above. Also, don’t forget to make friends as they are your best bet if you encounter problems, especially in situations your gadgets and kits cannot suitably address.

Author Bio:
Sean Hopwood certainly knows a lot about meeting new people and experiencing new
cultures. He is the multilingual CEO of DayInterpreting, a company that provides real
time multilingual interpreting services. Sean wants to share his passion for progress,
understanding, and positivity through his articles.

Adjusting to New Learning Environments and Style When Studying Abroad

You’ve planned your semester abroad to a tee, prepared for the worst, and hoped for the best. The minute you land, you’re busy taking in the newness around you. Suddenly, you find yourself feeling lost and out of place in your new classroom with different faces, languages, or confused by what your teacher is asking. This, brave international student, is called culture shock. But don’t panic – you’re not alone.

A recent study found there are over 765,000 international students – a year on year increase of 6.5%. Being an international student is an incredible experience with tons of benefits. However, thousands of international students find the learning environment to be different from their native country. Here’s how you can adjust to new learning environments and style when studying abroad.

Enhance Your Prep Techniques

Chinese students favor the “talk and chalk” approach to learning, while countries such as the UK, Australia, and the US look at a collaborative method of teaching. In fact, studies from Australian Catholic University show that there is no single “right” way to teach as there is to study. Just because you’re studying abroad doesn’t mean you should change the way you study. Instead, look for inspiration for the local students and see what helps them thrive. When you learn to focus on your energy and productivity, you will begin to notice the different methods of studying and use it to your advantage.

Discuss Issues with Your Teachers

Like most students, you will be eager to succeed in your newfound environment. After all, you did travel across the globe to experience a new culture. Still, there may be times where you don’t understand how your classmates are following the lessons or even find the assignments too challenging. This can be especially true for tasks that involve strong language skills.

The best thing you can do is to talk to your teachers. They are there to help you succeed, even if you don’t plan to stay there long. Make the most out of your host school’s resources and talk to your instructor if you are struggling.  If they cannot help you, they will make an effort to find you the resources you need.

While it may be difficult for some students to adjust in the beginning, it is completely understandable to ask for help when you need it. Most universities offer counseling as well as other services for their students. Make sure to utilize your resources, make new friends and most of all – make the most out of your study abroad. 

How Parents Can Solve the Study Abroad Funding Gap

College comes with a wide variety of experiences, some of which can be categorized as once-in-a-lifetime. One of the most highly prized—and highly regarded—experiences for a college student is studying abroad. With a semester spent studying overseas, a student can gain valuable skills, excellent resume points, among other benefits. For a parent, study abroad is starting to sound like a must-have for their kids in college.

There’s just one problem; a study abroad program can be astronomically expensive. Combined with college’s already exorbitant costs, the idea suddenly seems a lot more like a fantasy than an achievable goal. There are ways, however, that you can help close that funding gap, with a little creativity and effort.

The Financial Problem with Study Abroad

If you have a child in college, then you already know about the staggering cost of higher education. Even with federal financial aid, most students end up taking out student loans to bridge the gap; in fact, about three-quarters of college students have loans at graduation, trying to cover a piece of the $25,000 price tag on a four-year education.

As a parent who’s on the hook for the cost of college, you might feel that covering a semester abroad is a bit much.

Once your student has received his or her financial aid package at the beginning of the school year, it’s not easy to get that amount extended or raised, which makes it hard to turn to federal student aid to pay for a study abroad trip.

Because of semester start dates and the need to set up these trips early, the funding deadlines often end up falling inconveniently at awkward times of the year as well. January—right after the holiday season—and May, right before the summer, are typical deadlines.

The timing can be incredibly difficult for parents who want to be able to help their student get that abroad experience but also can’t necessarily come up with the money at those specific times of the year.

There is hope, however. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can help fund that overseas trip.

Closing the Funding Gap

If you’re the parent of a college student, then you’re already feeling the crunch of an expensive education. There has to be a way to help your student study overseas without overtaxing your already-hurting wallet, right? Yes, there is! There are actually a number of options to consider.

Study Abroad Scholarship Funding

There are many scholarships specifically meant to fund overseas study. There are plenty of listings of such scholarships that can be found online. Some are merit-based and set aside for top academic students; others are meant for students looking to go to a particular country, or pursuing a certain course of study. Each scholarship has its own criteria, and most of them are competitive. It’s best to start pursuing them early.

With scholarships, the money doesn’t require repayment, making them ideal sources of funding. However, in some cases, your student may need to sign an employment contract with the providing organization – this is a specific drawback to keep an eye out for.

Grants from Third-Party Organizations

Much like scholarships, grants don’t need to be paid back, and they’re offered by various philanthropic organizations and non-profits. Like a scholarship, a grant award is a competitive offer. In many cases they require an essay or other submission package, and the student may be required to follow through on certain promises like reporting back to the group about the study abroad experience.  NAFSA, the Association of International Education is a good place to start.  NAFSA List of Study Abroad Scholarships and Grants.

Student Loans for Study Abroad

It’s not the best option, but taking out an additional student loan to cover the cost of a study abroad trip is possible. It can help defray the expenses while still putting the responsibility for that cost on the student instead of your own wallet. Of course, keep in mind that the student loan would need to be repaid with interest. As mentioned, it’s tough to get more federal financial aid in the middle or end of the school year, but some students and parents may be able to find funding in the private sector with banks and lenders. However, remember to weigh the risks and benefits of taking on debt. You can get a wealth of experience from study abroad, but is it worth paying interest?

Find a Job for Your Kid

The idea of “working your way through college” doesn’t really work as well as it used to; the constantly climbing costs of education make it nearly impossible to simply rely on a job to pay for school. A job can, however, help cover the cost of an overseas trip, leading to less money you’ll have to contribute as a parent. Conversely, a part-time job could help your child pay for miscellaneous expenses or even rent. This could free up money elsewhere to support a study abroad trip.

Find a Cheaper Trip

If all else fails, you could always advise your student to choose a less expensive trip. Going to a different country, for a shorter duration, or with different living arrangements can often drop the cost to a more manageable amount.  Think of the entire cost, including the cost of travel and cost of living as well as the cost of the program.  Cost is considered on some study abroad review websites, look for comments on cost.  On Abroad101, programs have a compiled star-rating for cost and tips for saving money, search for affordable study abroad programs on Abroad101

Conclusion

Sending your student abroad for study can be prohibitively expensive—but it doesn’t need to be. Take the time to do some research, and you’ll find that a semester abroad, with all of its once-in-a-lifetime experiences, is well within your student’s reach.

 

By guest author Andrew Rombach, a Content Associate from LendEDU – a consumer education website and financial product marketplace. Andrew learned plenty about financial aid from his own experiences with student loan debt in college. Now he covers a range of personal finance topics in general.

How to Best Use Technology While Abroad

Taking the Tube around London or strolling past the Eiffel Tower on the way to class in the morning might be dreams of study abroad students the world over, but the logistics of the situation never seem to work out quite as well as they were planned. Despite having the best ideas, rolling with a group of new international friends, or having weeks to prepare, nobody is immune to the difficulties that come with being in a foreign place. Flying into the wrong airport? Not understanding the buses? Can’t find the place you’re looking for? This is where it pays to be living in the 21st century.

We’ve all grown up hearing our parents rant at us for always being caught up in our devices, being addicted to the internet, and forgetting how to interact with each other, but is this really all a bad thing? Maybe there’s a silver lining to the rain cloud that is our obsession with connectivity: the fact that we have the powerful tools to become pro travelers all in our pockets.

Smartphones are just that, smart! They can be smart at least. With your mother’s voice in the back of your head saying “always on that phone..” combined with the great things that ride-sharing apps, internet maps, and translators bring, where do you find the happy medium between starting at your shiny screen and exploring abroad like you should?

The distinction between a “tool” and a “toy” here is the most important. Apps on your phone can be used as both. For example, when you’re trapped at your little cousin’s recorder concert, Facebook is a toy for an escape. When you’re enjoying a glass of wine in Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast, Facebook Messenger is a tool to let your friends know that you got a table for them! The difference lies in the time allocated to using technology. When reaching for your phone, opening up an app, or connecting to wifi, do it for a purpose, not out of instinct. Humans rule because we have the conscious ability to overcome instincts, don’t give that power away to the little box in your pocket! You only have so much time to live the foreign experiences happening all around you, and I promise the internet will still be there when it’s over (or we’ve got bigger problems).

Before going abroad, start practicing this mindset. Slowly weaning yourself away from the “toy” aspects of technology. This can be done by simply being conscious about why you are opening something, looking at something, or watching something, then working your way up to identifying and eliminating the ones you’re not enjoying. Gotta start somewhere!

Before we leave you, check out some of our favorite apps for when technology should be used while traveling abroad:

Google Maps: You need a map. You might think you know Venice like the back of your hand, but this is a must. Also, you can now download maps to use offline!

Rayka: This new platform is the ultimate study abroad app for students. Instead of using TripAdvisor or Yelp, Rayka shows you the favorite places of past students who studied there: specifically made by students, for students. That way, you can see the best recommendations from people just like you.

Google Translate: If you’re abroad in a country that speaks a different language and your skills just aren’t quite up to par, this is a brilliant app. It requires data, so make sure you’re connected, but it quickly and accurately translates anything you’d like to any language you could think of.

Duolingo: This fun, addictive little game is great for those who are planning to study abroad and want to learn some of the local language. The interface does a great job of encouraging users to learn more, and they have most major language offered for free!

Regardless of what platform you use or don’t use, be sure to make the most of your semester abroad by using technology as a tool rather than using it to distract yourself from the incredible experiences around you. We promise you that it will be the best semester of your life!

Guest post by www.rayka-app.com

I Went To Study Abroad For 1 Semester And Stayed For More Than 4 Years!

By Lewi Blake – MoveYourLifeAbroad.com

Studying abroad changed my life.

In 2011 I took a GAP year to Bordeaux, France so that I could learn how to speak French, travel around Europe and experience a new culture. This was one of the best decisions I ever made because the 1 semester I was meant to study abroad for turned into 4 years.

Studying French In Bordeaux

I attended the University of Bordeaux III where I studied a French language course. This course gave me the ability to speak French fluently in less than 6 months. From that, I was able to take the B2 DELF exam (this is the diploma required to attend University in France). Originally only meaning to stay in Bordeaux for 1 semester, I decided to stay for a full year because I was having such a great time.

Studying during the day, working at a bar in the evenings and traveling to neighboring countries on the weekend was the norm. I was really able to discover parts of the world that I hadn’t even dreamed of visiting before. I was even lucky enough to go snowboarding in the French Alps for a week.

After my amazing year in Bordeaux came to an end it was time to go home. The only problem was that I wasn’t ready to leave yet. After a little research, I looked into studying a University Degree in France.

Funnily enough, all that was really required for me to study a University Degree in Paris was the B2 DELF diploma that I had completed 6 months prior.

University In Paris

In 2012 I started my Bachelor of Business Administration degree at the Paris Business College. Living in Paris was quite different to living in Bordeaux. The people were different, the weather was a lot colder and everywhere I looked was covered in rich culture and history. It felt like living in a completely new country. I was spending a lot more time with French people as the majority of students at the University were French. This enabled me to experience what the French culture was like first hand and really cement my French speaking abilities.

Everyday on the way to University I would ride past the Eiffel Tower on my bicycle and wonder if I was dreaming. I was living in the “city of love” and I was loving it!

The Paris Business College offered me many opportunities to study abroad while I was there. I decided to study abroad for a semester in London and a semester at the International University of Monaco.

Living The High Life In Monaco

Moving to Monaco completely blew my mind. I was living in one of the most expensive and glamorous places on Earth.

As you can probably guess, as a student that worked part-time in a bar and writing articles online, I wasn’t able to afford to live in Monaco. Instead I lived in Nice which was only 30 minutes away. My day-to-day life in Monaco involved riding my motorbike along the French Riviera to University every morning, relaxing on the beach with friends in the afternoon and working part-time at a crazy bar in the evenings.

To say life was great would be an understatement.

I settled in so well that I ended up staying in Monaco and finished my degree over the next 2 years.

Conclusion

  • Studying abroad gave me the opportunity to study in 3 different countries and live abroad for more than 4 years.
  • And you know what, more than 6 years have passed since I first studied abroad and I’m still living overseas to this day.
  • I’m not in France anymore but I’m living in South America. After learning Spanish in Guatemala for a few months I’ve moved to Ecuador where I’m currently residing.
  • Not too bad when you think about how much the course of my life changed from one decision that I made when I was 18 years old.
  • That is the power of studying abroad!

About The Author

Lewi is the founder of MoveYourLifeAbroad.com. For the past 6 years, he has been traveling and working his way around the world. He is extremely passionate about travel and loves sharing his knowledge with others because he believes everyone should have the opportunity to live abroad. In his spare time, he enjoys having a few cheeky beers with friends and riding his bicycle around town.

Clearing Local Communication Gap through Interpreting Services

One of the most pleasurable things in life is traveling abroad. You’ll enjoy a brief respite if you’re on vacation. If traveling on business, you can seal deals, meet colleagues face to face and form closer bonds and increase your business network. Sometimes, the only hindrance to the full enjoyment of your international travel is when the locals do not speak your language. In this case, it’s advantageous to use professional interpreting services to facilitate communication.

Interpreting services are not only for business people who are in foreign soil. The service is useful for other situations – when interviewing potential local employees, when having a personal meeting, like meeting a foreign sweetheart for the first time, and other instances when using the local language is needed for complete understanding.

Advantages of using an international interpreter

Traveling enriches your mind as you discover new cultures and learn other languages through interaction with locals. It also helps you to discover new things about yourself.

When your need for better communication is beyond casual conversation, using an experienced human interpreter is to your advantage. You’re assured that the language barrier will prevent cultural and social misunderstandings. The communication can flow freely as an interpreter helps you to have verbal explanations instantaneously.

An international interpreter has the appropriate cultural knowledge and knows all the nuances of the local language, as well as practical information about local traditions. This firsthand information is difficult to obtain from books, and will give you the assurance that you follow local norms, at the same time that you are getting your message across.

Escort interpreter

A more appropriate term to use instead of international interpreter is escort interpreter. Booking an escort interpreter while overseas removes any apprehension you may have about the difference in culture and language. For business people, you’ll have someone with you who can interpret everything that’s being said in the local language into your own language and vice versa.

The escort interpreter can be like a temporary assistant. He or she can help you navigate around the strange city and depending on your requirements, can accompany you in all your meetings. Escort interpreters can be your cultural liaisons as well.

Although escort interpreting is more informal that other forms of interpreting work, you should still look for someone who is a native speaker and is fluent in both languages. Choose one who has a vast knowledge of both cultures and a good knowledge of the location. Find someone who exhibits professionalism and has the right personality that is compatible with yours. Select an interpreter you feel comfortable with and who’s trustworthy.

Where to find international interpreters

If it is definite that you will need interpreting services when you reach your destination, for example you are giving a presentation or conducting a business conference, check with your country’s interpretation service provider. The company may have international interpreters on call that you can book ahead of your planned trip.

Booking an interpreting arrangement prior to your trip will ensure that one of the most important factors in the success of your trip is already in place. If the need for an interpreter is sudden, you can contact local interpreters’ associations instead of trying to find a good freelance interpreter. You’ll be able to select the best one suited to your need, purpose and schedule as you can look at their skills, experience and their references.

Interpreter rates

Interpreters’ rates vary, based on the length of the trip and the nature of the work. It will also be based on the demand and their skills. They may charge by the hour or by the day. If it will take more than eight hours each day, interpreters are bound to charge overtime pay. Keep in mind that they also need to eat so factor that in when making your schedule.

Enhance your personal travel experience by bridging the language divide with an interpreter. If on a business trip, ensure your success, and understand everything that’s being said from day one of your trip, until you’ve sealed the business deal.

 

Author Bio:

Bernadine Racoma is a senior content writer at Day Translations, a human translation services company. She has notable fondness for things related to technology, travel, lifestyle, and current affairs. She is also an advocate and mother to 7 successful children.

 

5 Things You Need to Know Before You Go

Studying abroad shouldn’t be all that hard, you say to yourself. You’ve consulted with counselors who’ve given you plenty of answers, you’ve read up on all the brochures and program descriptions, you’ve studied program reviews from previous students and talked to study abroad alumni.

Although you can logically say to yourself that “you’re ready,” there still may be a tiny voice inside of you that is saying, “do you really?” The truth is, a lot will transpire during your study abroad trip. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are five things you need to know before you start a new stage of your life anew as a study abroad student.

airline-ticket

Buy Your Ticket in Advance

Your parents have probably been bugging you to purchase your plane ticket six or more months before you start your study abroad experience. While they’re aiming to give you peace of mind, buying a ticket   that much in advance isn’t the most economical decision. In fact, the best time to buy your ticket is in the three month range before your departure – this is when prices are at their lowest.

The plane trip to the country of your destination is when your adventure begins. Spring for either an aisle or window seat (depending on how close you want to be to the bathroom), watch movies galore on your personal TV screen and enjoy the not-so-bad plane food. Be excited!

Travel tip: Get instant notifications on low flight prices when you set up travel alerts on Airfare Watchdog or Kayak.com.

Choosing Your Place of Residence

room

The study abroad program you signed up for will surely give you a choice as to where you could stay, anywhere from a dorm on a college campus to a shared apartment to a home stay. While you’ll have your pick of options, there is no right or wrong decision when choosing lodgings for your study abroad experience.

This said, if you’re looking to have the most immersive, fascinating experience possible, we highly recommend you push yourself out of your comfort zone and find lodgings that allows you to live with foreigners. Mingling with foreigners on a daily basis is a truly rewarding experience, and choosing instead to live in an isolated manner would just diminish your opportunities to know the culture better.

Travel tip: Talk your options over with your counselor months before you leave and pick the type of residence that is best suited to the experience you are looking for.

Cultural Sensitivity

cultural-sensitivity

You are responsible for your behavior when you are abroad for your studies. As you will be immersed in another culture and society, it is important that you take into account the local customs. This will influence the way you interact with local people, how you speak and the way you dress.

Your behavior, unbeknownst to you, may offend locals unnecessarily and invite bad treatment of not only yourself, but of the group of people you are traveling with. It’s important for visitors to practice cultural sensitivity throughout their trip.

Travel Tip: Learning how to carry on simple conversation in the local language will do a lot to surprise and please the locals. They’ll be much more open to you in appreciation of your efforts, which will enable them to help you more.

Bring Good Walking Shoes

sneakers

If you come from a culture where driving is the norm, like the United States, you may forget to take your trusty walking shoes to your study abroad destination.

The fact of the matter is, many countries are typically walking societies. You’ll be on your feet a lot longer than usual in these parts of the world, which is the idea if you are looking to take in all the cute little off-street spots of your study abroad destination. While high heels are fashionable, you simply won’t be able to cope with them along long city blocks or cobblestone streets. Spare your feet, lower back and general sanity by being sure to bring along a reliable pair of walking shoes.

Travel Tip: There’s no trade-off between style and comfort when it comes to shoes. Find shoes that are padded and durable yet stylish so that you can wear them during the day and night in your study abroad destination.

Your Toiletries Can Be Purchased Abroad

toiletries

 

It’s best to pack as light as possible when traveling across the world. Consider ditching your mainstay cologne for a new scent abroad. It will not be hard to find shampoos, soaps, make-up, laundry detergent, contact solution and other replacement toiletries abroad. However, if you’re the type who has a love for certain cosmetic brands, then spoil yourself and stock up on your precious brand name items for your journey.

Your mom and dad might be happy to spoil you in this regard and buy your essentials for you – this is a perk. However, the perk for buying your toiletries abroad is that some of these products might be considerably cheaper abroad. It’s your choice.

Travel Tip: Young women may have a problem finding quality feminine products abroad and should think of stocking up for the entire length of their stay overseas.

Guest Post by Sean Hopwood

sean-hopwood

 

Sean Hopwood, MBA is founder and President of Day Translations, Inc., an online translation services provider, dedicated to the improvement of global communications. By helping both corporations and the individual, Day Translations provides a necessary service at the same time as developing opportunities for greater sympathy and understanding worldwide.

5 Reasons to Learn the Language Basics Before you Study Abroad

Group of happy students at their desks in college classroom

How do you prepare for a semester abroad? A lot of the details are taken care of for you – a place to stay, a place to study, and a group of people to share the experience with. You might even be set up with a language class once you arrive to learn some of the language. However, the language learning is better off started before you step foot out of the country. Here are some of the top benefits reported for studying the language of the country visited before leaving.

Softening the Culture Shock

Traveling to a new country brings a lot of change at one time. You will be in a new landscape with people speaking a different language. There will be new rules and norms for catching a cab, ordering food, and dressing. It can be a bit of a shock to have all of this change at one time. These first few days and weeks in this new country should be the experience of a lifetime and best spent without having to go through much of an adjustment period. Learning just the essentials of this new language can help reduce this shock quite a bit upon arrival. Learn how  greet others when you meet them and get familiar with the language you will be hearing all around you. You might even be able to pick up a word here and there.

Building Excitement

There are many aspects of studying abroad that are exciting. Being engulfed in the culture of a new country brings history, seeing museums and old buildings, hearing stories, meeting new people, and speaking the language of the country. A lot of this can be done before you ever step foot in that new country. Learning the language and practicing the basics with your friends is one way to not only get familiar with the language, but build the excitement of getting to use these new phrases with people in your country of study.

Offers a Stepping Stone

Hopefully in your time studying abroad, you will get familiar with the language and be able to have small conversations before you come home. Knowing the basics before you travel can help kickstart this learning of the language. Learn the basics before you go – greetings, ordering food, asking directions, and phrases that will help you learn more, such as “How do you say…? These basics will make it easier to get off the beaten path and adventure out on your own even from day one in this new country. As long as you know how to ask for directions, greet others and interact with employees in shops, you will be able to get around the towns easily.

Meeting New Friends

Time studying abroad is limited and it will be over before you know it. So there is no time to waste when it comes to meeting new people. Be able to introduce yourself and meet new people right away to ensure that you take full advantage of your time in this new country. Even if you can’t carry on the conversation past telling the other person where you are from, greeting others in their own language and putting forth an effort is, a lot of the time, enough to show that you are friendly and continue a friendship.

Safety

No matter how well your trip is planned, it is always best to steer on the safe side. What will you do if you find yourself separated from others you know and need to find your way back?  Or what if you lose your phone and wallet? Knowing the language will help you to find your way back and ask for help in locating your lost items or reporting them and getting back to where you need to be for additional help. For this look for phrases that teach both asking for directions and understanding the response – how do I get to, turn right, turn left, 3 miles.

You don’t have to learn the entire language or be fluent by any means. This will hopefully build over time while you are studying abroad. There are some tools that you can use to get this basic understanding of the language. Programs such as Duolingo, Fluent Forever and Rosetta Stone are meant more for learning the entire language long term. If you have a year or so before your trip, by all means, try these. But if you only have a few months to prepare for your trip, you can pick up a phrase book, like the one from Lonely Planet. The upside to this is that the book is small so you can pack it easily in your bag if needed as well. There are also online programs you can access to help study, such as flashcards for common phrases from The Tandem Traveler, or a three month program for travelers from Living Language. It can be difficult to figure out which phrases will be most useful while traveling when you don’t have a lot of time to pick up the language. These programs do that work for you.

Whatever you reason is, learn at least the 100 most common words and phrases for travelers. Time and again repeat travelers report that their experiences were so much better from travel where they studied the language first firsts trips where they dd not.

Guest Post by Lisa Sickman, MA, BCBA

lisa-sickmanLisa Sickman, MA, BCBA, is a behavior analyst and the Co-founder and Chief Learning Officer at The Tandem Traveler. The Tandem Traveler is an online company committed to teaching language to travelers for better cultural experiences abroad.