Category Archives: Travel & Abroad

5 Reasons To Study Abroad

Filed under: College Life, Fun Ideas, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Bailey Buckingham BookRenter Blogger Biography

One of the most unique opportunities offered by colleges these days are the various study abroad programs. There are so many different options when choosing to study abroad. If your school doesn’t offer it directly, there are tons of organizations that offer abroad education. If you’re looking to get school credit, you could always just ask your college for approval if it is not associated with them. However, studying abroad is a valuable experience even if you don’t receive college credit.

Here are the top 5 reasons I believe you should study abroad before you graduate:

1. Learn More About Other Cultures

I’m going to Spain next month to study abroad, and for the past six months I’ve been doing research about the country and I have learned so many things I never knew. I already feel more educated not only about Spain, but of Europe. When I go, I’ll be able to experience their way of life, their culture, and the way that their public relations firms are ran. Whatever field you’re studying, studying abroad can expand your knowledge and allow you to gain valuable skills that will impress future job interviewers.

2. Get A Leg Up On The Competition

Even though there are various programs throughout the world, less than 10% of undergraduate students study abroad. No matter what field you are in, going abroad will definitely set you apart from the rest.

3. Its Cheaper Than To Travel On Your Own

One of the main reasons students don’t opt to do a semester or a year overseas is because they fear the cost of the program will be too high. With most schools, mine included, there are a ton of scholarships offered specifically for abroad education. You can also apply for financial aid to help bring down the cost. Most programs will have package deals that the school sets up, so your overall trip is dramatically cheaper than if you were to travel on your own time. If traveling is an interest of yours, definitely do it this way as a student while you can.

4. You Create Strong Bonds With The Other Students

You’re normally with a group of about 15 to 30 people, depending on your program. I’ll be travelling with 25. The experiences you’ll create with these people will turn into great memories that’ll last forever because you will be learning and exploring together. I haven’t even left yet and I’ve already become so close with the girl I’ll be rooming with while we’re there. This has helped me a lot since this is my first year at a new school too!

5. It Makes Summer School Seem Not So Bad

I feel like I am so lucky because not only am I getting to take two classes that I need to graduate, but I also get to go to Europe for my first time. I’ve always taken summer school, but it is honestly difficult to get through. My friends that take trips, and make plans for all summer, definitely leave me jealous, but now, I’m able to have a great vacation and get the credits I need this summer!

Whether you’re at a school that has study abroad programs or not, there are hundreds of programs throughout the world that allow students to take part in a once in a lifetime opportunity. You can broaden your perspective on culture, lifestyles, and field of study. I encourage you to at least look into a few programs and start daydreaming about where you’d want to go. Remember, don’t get discouraged about cost because sometimes your school can help!

Leave a comment if you have traveled abroad or are planning to. Where did you, or are planning to, go? Share your experience with us!

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Spring Break On A Budget

Filed under: College Life, Fun Ideas, Money/Budget, Seasonal Celebrations, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Bailey Buckingham BookRenter Blogger Biography

Every year, I daydream about a beautiful, warm, tropical place that I can fly away to, but then I remember that I don’t exactly have the money for such a trip. Working full time and going to school is something a lot of us are familiar with – along with not being able to pay for a flight to Miami and a hotel room for five days. However, just because you cannot afford to have a luxurious Spring Break, doesn’t mean you are completely out of luck! Here’s a few ideas to have a memorable Spring Break while on a budget:

1. Alternative Trips

Some universities are awesome and have packages for Spring Break trips. I go to Texas State University and they offer a week long mission trip. I’m considering to go on the trip because they take us around Texas to help out at shelters, and then drive us to Louisiana to help there. Not to mention, our nights are free to do as we please! Free New Orleans trip AND you get to help out so many people in just a few days!

2. Drive Around

Explore your state (or states nearby)! There’s no reason you have to fly to get away. It’s so much cheaper to drive. Grab two or three friends, split the cost, and don’t splurge on fancy hotels. Plan some favorite activities and you’ll realize the company is really what makes a vacation fun.

3. Vacation Bundles

Like always, Google can be your best friend. There are a ton of sites that offers packages and plans for college students to go on a trip for spring break! Some of my friends have used Student City because they offer safe, reliable, and convenient vacation packages that have everything included in the price. Oftentimes, the more you can bundle, the more you can save.

4. Plan Ahead Next Year

It may be too late for this year, but if you have some solid friends that you know you’ll still love next year, it’s SO much cheaper to plan ahead and to pull your resources. You’ll get flights way cheaper, along with hotels. I planned a trip to Thailand for next December, and my flight is dramatically cheaper than if I were planning this trip for a few months away!

So, don’t fret! If you plan ahead and work within your means, I promise you can still have an amazing Spring Break!

Leave a comment below and share with us your plans for Spring Break 2015!

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Spring Break Travel Tips

Filed under: College Life, Tips, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Sylwia Baran Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

Who’s ready for Spring Break?! I know I am. It is right about this time that it feels as though the semester has been dragging on and on for so long that a break is much needed. For the lucky ones who will be honoring the long-time tradition of traveling to a gorgeous beach, here are some tips for your travels.

1. Spill-Proofing Liquids

Packing lotions, sunblock, perfume, shampoo? These are the things that can break in your suitcase and cause a big mess. On my last vacation, my liquid eyeliner cracked and spilled while in my suitcase. Lucky for me, I had followed my own advice and packed all liquid items in separate Ziploc baggies and so all of my clothes were safe. It’s a quick thing to do while you’re packing and it can save you lots of potential trouble. Just make sure you zip them tightly!

2. The “Just-In-Case” Carry-On

If you’ve ever flown anywhere and discovered that your suitcase has been lost, you know what a nightmare this can be. It can take a few days for the airline to track it and get it back to you so you always want to be prepared for the worst. One thing I always do is pack at least one change of clothes in my carry on, a swimsuit (if traveling to a hot spot) and anything else I may potentially need for the first day. This way, if your other suitcase gets lost, you at least have the essentials you need for a day or two to enjoy your vacation.

3. Tips for Tipping

When traveling to a different country, especially to all-inclusive resorts, tipping goes a long way. I’m not saying to drop a $20 every time you get a drink at the bar or have a meal at a restaurant, but everyone appreciates being appreciated. A good tip when it comes to tipping is to carry around a few singles with you at all times.

4. Drink A Lot… Of Water

Let’s be honest, we all know what Spring Breakers (of legal age of course) like to do on their Spring Break. But large amounts of alcohol and a strong hot sun quickly leads to dehydration and a ruined vacation. So remember to drink a big glass of water every once in a while to keep up your energy and to prevent feeling sick.

5. Plan Ahead

Before you leave for your Spring Break vacation, search for activities you’re interested in near the area, as well as any restaurants you’d like to visit. This way, you have somewhat of an idea as to what you’d like to do once you arrive and so you won’t spend your vacation time trying to figure out what’s where. This saves you both time and money.

Have a great Spring Break! No matter what you’ll be doing or where you’ll be going, enjoy your time off! And remember to pack the essentials, especially sunblock!

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Avoiding Hostel Horrors

Filed under: Tips, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Serena Piper Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

Since traveling to the country of Georgia, I have been learning a lot from my first abroad experience. I recently stayed in my first hostel. I was pretty excited to find such a deal on for one night. The hostel had great reviews so I didn’t expect any problems. Unfortunately, my stay in this particular hostel was a little less than enjoyable. Here are five tips I have for you just in case you’re preparing for a hostel stay since it may be a little bit of a different experience you may be used to:

1. Bring Soap

I thought it was a ‘given’ that the hostel would provide soap in the bathroom or shower like typical places you stay overnight in. Instead, I had to ask for it. Some hostels do not provide towels either so you’re better off bringing your own. Also, don’t walk around barefoot in the bathroom, no matter how clean it may appear.

2. Bring Earplugs

Whether you get your own private room, or you take a bunk bed in a dormitory, you are going to want earplugs. The lights may go off at a certain time, but that doesn’t mean the people around you will stop chattering. You may also want to consider bringing your own sleep sheet, just in case the hostel doesn’t provide sheets.

3. Don’t Bring Anything Expensive

Before you check out your hostel, it’s a good idea to see if they provide lockers. If you have a private room, you should be fine leaving your stuff. If you stay in a dormitory, be careful. Some hostels are perfectly secure, while it would be best in others to not leave your fancy Canon camera.

4. Ask The Staff

Feel free to do some research on your own to see where the best restaurants are locally, but don’t forget about the hostel staff. Ninety percent of the time they will have great recommendations not only for restaurants, but sights to see, and things to do.

5. Don’t Be Cheap

Just because you’re on a budget, that doesn’t mean you should go for the cheapest hostel around. Price your trip well in advance and plan to pay extra for whatever level of comfort you want. Saving money is not as important as your safety and comfort.

If you have never been in a hostel before, definitely be warned that it is completely different from a hotel. Be prepared to bring anything you may need and to not bring anything too valuable.

If you have any hostel-staying tips, feel free to leave them below!

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Traveling With Homesickness

Filed under: Social Life/Relationships, Tips, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Serena Piper Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

I have been in Georgia (the country, not the state) for a while now and I am finding adjusting to be a bit more of a chore than I expected. When I signed up to teach English abroad, all I pictured was living in a cool little town with interesting people, and no problems whatsoever. I could not have underestimated this journey more.

I’m in a small village only a 3 minute cab ride from the city, but the village looks like a completely different world. If I’m not wearing earplugs at night when sleeping, I wake up to the sound of chicks peeping, pigs oinking, roosters crowing, and dogs fighting. Being in this village without anyone I know immediately close by, and living with a family with an English level similar to that of an 8-year-old, has made me really homesick. However, I’ve been getting creative with how to soothe myself with this culture shock, so if you are experiencing homesickness abroad, here are my suggestions:

1. Buy Something Comforting

I’m surprised at the number of similar products Georgia has in their mini-marts. Whenever I’m in town, I make sure to stock up on treats: chocolate, Fanta orange soda or Sprite, and Pringles. Not only will you be satisfying your snack cravings, but you will be eating something familiar, which will help you relax. This applies to other products other than food too, although some may be hard to find in a different location.

2. Don’t “Should” Yourself

Do not think, “I should be feeling happy.” Everyone deals with situations differently. Allow yourself to wallow, cry, be sad, and be alone. It is normal to feel this way. Just don’t sit in it for long periods of time.

3. Reach Out

Email or call friends and family and tell them how you are feeling. Talk it out to whoever will listen. Advice, comforting words, and a new friend will often come of it. You will feel better just talking to someone you miss as well.

4. Distract Yourself

There have been plenty of times where all I want to do is curl up in bed and do nothing all day. Unfortunately, that would not only make the situation worse, it would also mean missing out on cool excursions, such as Georgian wine-tasting at local vineyards. It is actually better to make yourself busy so you forget you are homesick!

5. Pick Up A New Hobby

Take advantage of the time you have available and learn or brush up on a new language, or pick up that book you’ve always wanted to read, etc. The time will pass anyway, so you might as well take advantage of it by doing something fun and intriguing.

The best piece of advice I have been given in regards to traveling: do whatever you have to to make yourself comfortable. I take things day by day instead of looking at the long term, and that seems to make all the difference in this experience traveling abroad.

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