Archive | Travel

Have you always dreamt of traveling the world? For many people, international travel remains but a dream.

Between work, kids, and family, finding the time and money to travel overseas can be difficult. Fortunately, that opportunity is right at your fingertips.

Deciding to spend a semester abroad comes with a unique set of challenges. With so many destinations to choose from, it can be hard to decide which city is right for you.

If you’re considering studying abroad, don’t feel overwhelmed by this initial decision. As with any big decision, exhaust your resources so you’re as prepared as possible.

Speak to college advisors for in-depth information. Chat with other students who have traveled overseas in prior semesters. Looking for a place to start? Check out our list of the 7 best study abroad cities for college students:

Gold Coast, Australia

The city of Gold Coast is a popular destination for college students studying abroad. It is teeming with beautiful beaches, incredible wildlife, and amazing food. Like most major cities, it’s simple to navigate, find a place to live, and discover incredible places to eat.

In Gold Coast, it’s easy to feel at home even though you’re far away. As a bonus, most Australians speak English, so you don’t have to worry about not knowing the language.

Salamanca, Spain
Rich with history and culture, Salamanca is a small, walkable city that’s easy to get around. Home to the Plaza Mayor, one of Spain’s most beautiful central squares, it is a city full of art.

With countless museums and stunning architecture, Salamanca is best when traveled by foot. When you’re not studying, you’ll be able to walk around, see the sights, and tour the city.

Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich is one of the most beautiful and safest places to study abroad. The weather is great year-round, making it a great city for walking, wandering, and exploring. This lakefront city offers exciting nightlife and amazing shopping. As a bonus, it has an incredible view of the Alps!

When you’re not studying, plan a trip to the Botanical Gardens or stroll the promenade of the lake. It’s a gorgeous city with beautiful sights, delicious food, and a thriving art culture.

Tokyo, Japan

There’s nothing quite like Tokyo if you love the hustle and bustle of a big city. Easily accessed by public transportation, Tokyo is full of culture and incredible sights.

Home to historic temples and modern museums, it’s a meeting of the old world and the new. Despite its high tech appeal, it has one of the lowest pollution levels of any major city. It’s also considered a very safe destination for students studying abroad.

Submerge yourself in the food, culture, and art scene. You can visit a historic landmark one day and find yourself on the cutting edge of a new trend the next day.

Check out special events like the Kiyose Sunflower Festival. And don’t forget to take in the sights of the beautiful cherry blossom trees when they’re in bloom!

Cape Town, South Africa

With beautiful parks, gardens, and museums, Cape Town is a unique study abroad option. Known for its stunning ocean and cliffside views, it is home to the iconic Muizenberg Beach.

Rich with nightlife, incredible bars, and amazing restaurants, Cape Town has something for everyone. Cab and bus transportation is readily available, but the city can be best explored on foot or by bike.

Munich, Germany

Munich is an ideal location for any nature lover. Full of parks, forests, and lush green spaces, the city boasts rich culture and beautiful views. It’s ideal if you love museums, music, and cultural events. Plus, it’s easy to enjoy free (or inexpensive) concerts and museum tours.

Munich also offers affordable travel to other European cities and countries. While you’re there, find some time to hop a train to Paris, Milan, Austria, or Prague!

Florence, Italy

There may not be a more beautiful city on Earth than Florence. Best toured on foot, this walkable city has it all.

Rolling hills and beautiful landscapes show the majesty of the Italian countryside. Centuries-old architecture, chapels, and artwork fill the city. When you’re hungry, the restaurants offer the world’s best cheeses, artisan breads, pizzas, and pasta dishes.

Florence has a big city feel but doesn’t feel overwhelming the way some cities do. For anyone studying art, history, or architecture, it’s the ideal place to study abroad.

When it’s time to decide where you want to study abroad, take the time to do your research. Speak to college advisors to get a full understanding of the programs available to you. Talk to other students who have been there or are considering going with you.

Read travel guides online to learn about transportation and lodging options. Know what landmarks, beaches, or museums each city has to offer. This will help you narrow down your options.

Studying abroad can be one of the greatest college experiences. Once you’ve made the decision to go, do your homework so you’re prepared ahead of time. Consider the costs involved and make sure that you can afford it. This may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so make sure you do it right!

This article was contributed by the team at University Suites: University Suites  is a great townhouse-style community located about a mile from Eastern Carolina University’s campus. The community consists of 2×3 and 3×3 apartments and contains a full amenity suite including a fitness center, pool, business center, and game room. The community is the best value in the Greenville NC student housing market.


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Life can move in all sorts of directions. If you’ve found yourself at a junction where you’re looking at finding new employment or a college course, the question of whether you are in the right geographical location, or whether you may need to transfer elsewhere, has probably arisen. You may be considering moving to a new town, city, state or even overseas.

Should you go?

Regardless of whether you may be moving tens or thousands of miles, the decision to relocate your life for school or work is never straightforward. Aside from determining whether or not the job or program of study is the correct one for your career plans, there are many other considerations such as family, a partner, friends, costs and expenses, or logistics to take into account.

Our unique personalities also mean that while some of us jump at the opportunity to start over in a new place, to make new friends and explore a new area, some of us also find this notion terrifying. Either way, the decision to move is complicated and stressful.

To help you make sense of this opportunity and to decide if this is the right one for you, be sure to answer each of these five essential questions before getting close to a decision.

1.    Am I certain this job/course is right for me?

Before you make the life-changing decision to relocate, you need to be sure that this is 100% the right choice for your career, so do all the checks you’d do if the job/course were local, and then dig even deeper. This is simply because if you change your mind later, it’s going to be a lot harder to extricate yourself from the situation.

To minimize the risk of unpleasant surprises, you need to leave no stone unturned:

  • Be absolutely certain of what you’ll be spending your time doing
  • Learn as much as possible about your future boss/colleagues/teachers/fellow students
  • Ask what subsequent opportunities typically arise from taking this role/course
  • Read everything you can about your employer or school
  • Go over job/course descriptions, contracts and relocation packages for storage and moving with a fine tooth comb

2.    How Will Life Change?

Outside of work, your everyday life will change, too. Quality of life outside of work is of paramount importance if you are to flourish in your new role. Consider what you enjoy about your current lifestyle and whether it can continue or improve in your new location.

For example:

  • Are there affordable facilities where you can take part in your hobbies?
  • Will you be able to spend time with the people whose company you currently enjoy?
  • Will you have access to the kinds of restaurants and entertainment you prefer?
  • Does your new location offer any opportunities for further personal growth (i.e., new hobbies, language learning, or travel)?

Social media channels such as Facebook groups can really help you delve into a community before you even arrive.

The cost of living will also affect your quality of life. Before making any commitment, make sure that your new salary can maintain or improve the quality of life that you are accustomed to, that suitable housing can be found, and that you know the local costs of groceries, fuel, power, internet connections and other everyday essentials.

3.    How Do My Loved Ones Feel?

In any relocation, there will be people left behind whose feelings are important to you. You need to consider how you can maintain close relationships with them despite the distance. Thankfully, social media and the affordability of internet and video calling have made life easier in this respect.

You should also investigate how easy and affordable it will be for long-distance loved ones to visit you and for you to visit them.

Of utmost importance are the opportunities for family members to make the move with you. If you are relocating with children, are the education options suitable? Will they have chances to make new friends? And will they be able to enjoy their new lifestyle through their hobbies and activities?

Similarly, can your partner or spouse find the right employment and lifestyle opportunities to ensure their happiness alongside yours? It’s a good idea to trawl the local jobs market to see what opportunities regularly appear or to discuss whether they are happy to take a career break while waiting for the right opportunity.

4.    Can You Cope With the Unknown?

No matter how well-prepared you are and how much research you will have done, the one thing that can be guaranteed is that there’ll be plenty of surprises along the way. Some of us thrive on never knowing what’s around the corner, whereas some of us find it stressful to say the least.

By staying organized where you can, and by not overloading your relocation schedule, you are better set to cope with frustrations, delays and surprises. It also pays to make sure you have some friendly contacts in your new destination that can help you out when locating services you may need, or translating in an emergency, for example.

5.    What Do I Do If It Goes Wrong?

Before you make the move, you need to be sure you are 100% committed, but even with the greatest intentions, occasionally things don’t go as planned. Perhaps you’ll love the job, but not the location, or vice-versa. Perhaps you’ll need to return home for family reasons or because of political instability.

It pays to research ways out, too.

For example, if the job doesn’t work out but you want to stay, is the employment market in the locality strong enough for you to be confident of finding an alternate position? Will you be able to afford the costs of moving and storage companies to relocate back home again if necessary? Having an escape plan will also have the effect of making you feel more confident and safe in your choice.

The Final Decision

Asking these five questions is the key to being as organized and as prepared as possible, but there is also a lot to be said for going with your gut instinct and hoping for some luck along the way, too. Only you can decide if this is the right move for you, but remember: Often, our biggest regrets are for the opportunities we didn’t take, not for those we did. Good luck!

This article was contributed by guest author Chris Humphrey.


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Today, with so many opportunities available in college and universities, doing a study abroad is a great option to see the world, learn a new language, and experience a new culture, all while getting school credit. Doing a study abroad can introduce you to new experiences as well as put you in touch with new contacts and give you experiences you can build your resume with. Usually provided by certain classes, or by the university itself, these opportunities are few and far between, but very worthwhile. Tuition helps to cover some costs, but in most cases, you’ll end up footing most of the bill yourself. For prospective students wishing to study abroad, but who feel hindered by expenses, there are options out there. Fortunately, there are a few useful tips below that can help enable students to save and afford their studies from afar.

Financial Aid

In choosing to study abroad, the initial step that should be taken to make the destination more affordable, is checking for financial aid. Although many students are already well informed of the availability of loans and grants with financial aid, most are unaware of being able to apply it toward a study abroad program if certain qualifications are met. In addition, there are study abroad scholarships specifically merited to those students wishing to study abroad. Independent financial institutions sometimes grant assistance to study abroad students, work study programs for work on campus, and even exchange programs that allow students to trade places with other foreign students of other countries.


Outside of financial aid, another useful tip to lessen the expense of a study abroad trip is crowdfunding sites. With the use of online crowdfunding sites, students can set up a campaign to enable their friends and family to donate to their cause. Crowdfunding sites can be very beneficial to students wishing to study abroad by serving as a means of extending help and allowing students to connect via networking. Reach out to alumni, to fellow students, and relatives to start your campaign rolling.


Being able to adhere to a few adjustments in order to live within a budget is always a useful tip to consider when trying to cut down on expenses and save more money. Living within a budget entails cutting back or refraining from any unnecessary spending on habits that typically include shopping, fast-food eating, going to the movies, salon maintenance, or any other extracurricular activities that consume a significant portion of one’s income. Students can even opt to sell old unwanted clothes or books as a way to earn additional income. Be sure to save and spend wisely as you prepare as well. Get photos for your passport, pack tight and full suitcases and be sure to exchange money when rates are good.

Being able to travel and study abroad is usually a lifelong dream for most students eager to explore the world. It is a wonderful educational experience that no deserving student should be denied due to their inability to afford it. There are so many excellent resources and individuals who are willing to help students in pursuit of bettering themselves that following a few of these tips will surely get students there.

This article was contributed by guest author Eileen O’Shanassy.

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If you don’t live within walking or biking distance of your campus, you’ll need to decide how you’re going to get there every day. Commuting to school is becoming the norm for many campuses around the country. The two most common options are driving or taking public transportation, such as buses and trains. As cities have worked on improving their public transportation, this option has become more popular among modern students. Here are just a few pros and cons to keep in mind if you’re planning to use public transportation while in college.

Less Expensive

The biggest benefit of public transportation is undoubtedly the cost. You may spend $1 a day or less to get to and from school, which is very little, especially compared to the cost of maintaining and fueling a car. Any decent car will likely cost well over $1,000. Even if you have a car already, you’d still need to pay for gas and insurance, which could run you over $100 per month, plus any fees for a parking pass at your school. When you want to keep costs to a minimum, public transportation is the way to go.

You’ll Spend More Time Commuting

When you take public transportation, you may save money, but it’s at the expense of your time. Since buses and trains run on a schedule, you may need to wait around for yours, and they usually won’t get you to school as quickly as you would get there if you drove. Finding public transportation that fits your schedule can help with this, but your commute will still likely be slower than if you drove, which means you need to plan to leave a bit earlier.

You Can Study or Complete Assignments During Your Commute

That longer commute isn’t necessarily a big deal, because you can get schoolwork or studying done on the road. You obviously wouldn’t be able to do this if you were driving, which means that extra time you spend commuting could result in more free time the rest of your day.

You May End Up Stuck on Campus or Late to Class

Whenever you’re relying on public transportation, there’s a chance you could miss a bus or there could be a cancellation, leaving you either stuck on campus or showing up late to a class. This is why it’s important to have alternate options in mind in case you ever need them. Become familiar with the buses, trains, and other transport that comes and goes near your school.

Added Safety

A simple benefit you may not consider with public transport is that many times it’s a lot safer than driving yourself. Because trains are on their own rails, there’s never a chance you’ll get stuck in traffic. According to The Levin Injury Firm, victims of car accidents commonly suffer injuries like whiplash to even more severe brain trauma. While there is a chance of crashing on a bus, it’s much lower than if you were in your own vehicle.

Even though public transportation has its drawbacks, they aren’t too big of a deal, and the benefits far outweigh these disadvantages. With proper planning, you can get to school without spending much money.

This article was contributed by guest author Eileen O’Shanassy.

Image by Garon Piceli,


Your application has finally been accepted and you have been admitted to the university of your choice. Although you have already settled all the entry requirements, such as application forms and recommendation letters, you are not quite done. There are still some legal requirements that you need to fulfill before you leave for school to secure your future life as a student living abroad. No matter where you are planning to spend the next couple years of your life, here are some legal items you should sort out as soon as possible.

Passport – without it you won’t get very far

A passport is an essential document when traveling abroad. While crossing a border, you will be asked to present your passport to the border guard who will examine it. Make sure that your passport is neither torn nor shabby as to avoid problems.

Along with using your passport to explore other countries and cultures, it can also be used as identification, in case you forget or misplace your ID. Before setting off, check the expiry date. Usually, a passport is valid for five or ten years.

Proof of age card as an ID

Instead of hanging on to your passport as identification all the time, apply to get a proof of age card. This small card usually contains your name, date of birth and a small-sized photo. It can really come in handy for confirming your identity in a club or a bar and you needn’t bother with carrying your license or your passport. The inconvenience of losing your passport is far greater than if you lose this card. Check out the application forms for an age card – it differs from country to country.

Copies of your travel documents

Wherever you travel, you should always have copies of at least two of your travel documents. The best way would be to entrust someone with one copy while you are away from the country and keep the other one with you. By doing so, if your documents get lost or stolen, you will not have a hard time obtaining new ones. This may sound a bit over the top, but one can never be too careful. If you don’t have a copy with you, the procedure to get new ones can take a while.

Visa and copies of visa

A visa is an extremely important document that lets you stay in a country for a longer period. To apply for a visa, you need to fulfill requirements such as having a residence in a foreign country, a passport, an acceptance letter to study abroad, visa fees, etc. These requirements may differ from country to country. If you need to get a student visa, it’s probably better to consult immigration lawyers and agents. They can advise you about student visas and which option is best for you.

A health insurance ID card is a must

Another crucial document to consider when preparing for your trip is your health insurance ID. In case of an emergency, it’s good to know that you can get medical help right away. A number of study abroad insurance plans will ask you to print your card, while other insurance plans may mail you a physical card. When it comes to your health, dress warm and carry your health insurance ID wherever you go.

International Certificate of Vaccinations

Image by Pixabay,

Before you depart for foreign countries, you will need to meet medical requirements and get vaccinated against some diseases, after which you will receive a certificate that will also enable you to enter a foreign country. This certificate is available in a travel agency or at a local health department. If you need to bring medication with you, make sure you ask your doctor for a letter of prescription.

And don’t forget to bring:

Image by Miguel Constantin Montes,

In the end, don’t forget to bring your positive attitude. Sorting out all the papers seems like a tedious and endless job that you really don’t want to undertake. Indeed, it is. Keep in mind that it’s only temporary. Without the right documents, you cannot enter a foreign country, even if you got accepted into a foreign university. And when you’re there, replacing lost or stolen documents isn’t easy. Bureaucracy should be the last thing preventing you from studying abroad. Sort your paperwork out on time, make enough copies, and you’re ready to go!

This article was contributed by guest author Cate Palmer.

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You need to get out of here for a while! You’ve worked hard all year and barely survived crushing exams. It’s time to take a vacation and celebrate your successes – as well as take your mind off of all the things that have stressed you out. Call up your friends and pick a destination, because it’s time to let loose.

1. Cancun

Cancun is the place to go if you want to experience the best of Mexico. Of course there are tons of coastal bars and eateries, and you’d be a fool not to try as many different tacos as possible. While the food is great, there’s way more to Cancun. There’s an underwater museum – yes, an underwater museum – beneath the sea. This art exhibition of statues on the ocean floor is designed to encourage the growth of coral. It might take a while, but it’s on its way to becoming the most fascinating reef in the world.

2. Amsterdam

Bike riding, beer tasting, and tours through history are all part of everyday life in Amsterdam. You’ll have to try raw herring from the many herring carts that line the street – it’s their most popular street food, and it’s more delicious than you think. Visit the historic Anne Frank house, and gain some valuable insights into the past.

3. The Australian Islands

Cruises are a popular way to take a break. Most people cruise to Alaska or the Bahamas, but you can break the mold. Hop on one of P&O Australia’s cruises from Melbourne, and cruise the Aussie islands. Hit up Kangaroo Island for some fun explorations, and more importantly, some awesome kangaroos. You won’t be able to have an experience quite like that back on the mainland!

4. Las Vegas

Everyone should go to Vegas at least once. It’s best to go when you’re over 21 – that removes a lot of the age restrictions imposed by many of the attractions on the Vegas strip. Las Vegas isn’t necessarily a very expensive place to be. As long as you don’t gamble too much, you’ll be able to stick to your budget. There are plenty of places to eat and drink for free or cheap, and you’ll find them if you play your cards right.

5. Brazil

Brazil is a very adventurous place for the brave and athletic to visit. There are mountains and waterfalls everywhere. Climb, swim, run, explore, and set your spirit free. If you’re brave enough, you can go rafting or hang gliding across the landscape. If you need a little mental stimulation, Brazil is really big on their history. Explore the Paratay Historic District, or view the artifacts at the Instituto Ricardo Brennand.

6. New York

If you’ve never taken on the Big Apple, now’s as good a time as any. People come from all over the world to visit New York City. Every pizzeria in New York claims it serves the best pizza in the world, and you can be the judge of that. Many national brands have their flagship stores or headquarters in New York, so the shopping is great. Treat yourself to something you’ve always wanted – you’ve busted your behind on schoolwork.

7. Scandinavia

When most people travel to Europe, they stick to London, Paris, and Dublin. If you’re looking for a more unique European vacation, think outside of the box. Stockholm, Oslo, and Copenhagen are waiting for you. Scandinavia isn’t like the rest of Europe – the architecture, scenery, and way of living are all very different. It’s a breath of fresh air for the traveller who wants to experience something new.

It’s time to call up your friends and peers and ask them what they’re doing for the summer. It might be hard to pick a place that everyone can agree on, but there’s always next year as well!

This article was contributed by guest author Rachel Jackson.

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So you finally made it! Brand new place, brand new degree, brand new you. You get to explore a different country, all while getting the knowledge and skills you’ll need to succeed in the workplace. You’re studying abroad, so congratulations!

Everyone you’ll meet will be incredibly happy for you; they’ll pat your back and envy you for all the adventures and challenges you’ll go through. You already know the benefits of studying abroad, but face it, you can’t really have many adventures and explore the world if you’re broke.

Studying abroad can be extremely expensive, even more so if you’re doing a master’s degree. Whichever degree you are getting in whatever country you are in, you may find that it’s difficult to manage your budget. So we’ve asked some former study abroad students to guide us through a few actions you can take to save money. Here’s what they had to say.

Get a scholarship

This is not something specific to just studying abroad, but it is one of the most important ones. Unless you’re in a country where tuition is free, such as Germany, you’ll notice that your biggest expense is paying for classes. So go to your financial aid office and find out as much as possible about getting a free or cheaper degree, as well as information on merit scholarships. You could save anywhere from $500 to your entire thousands-of-dollars tuition. Then you’ll have more disposable income to explore and have fun in your new home.

Learn some cooking skills

Different culture, different cuisine! Many students are excited to try the new food their new country has to offer. Each country is so diverse in terms of food, that you might just discover your new favorite dish there. No one says you shouldn’t try the local delicatessens and desserts, but overdoing it will leave your wallet as empty as your kitchen fridge. So stock up on ingredients and find some good recipes online. It’s time to put your cooking skills to the test.

Cooking food on your own doesn’t mean you’ll never get to eat out, it just means that at least a few times a week, you won’t spend a ton of money on restaurants and fast food chains. Not only will you be healthier, you’ll save a fortune, which in student terms means a few hundred dollars a month.

Invest in a bike

Biking is healthy and with all the new food you’ll be trying in your study abroad home, you’ll most likely need the exercise. Plus you’ll save a bunch of money avoiding public transportation, cabs, or Ubers. Make sure you get a reliable bike, one that won’t leave you in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire or broken brakes. Try to stay out of the way of cars, and if possible, stick to the bike lane. Unless public transportation is free for students, make sure you know that you don’t have to spend the extra dollars getting to class, when you can do it just as well for free on a bike.

Curb the alcohol

And finally, the cherry on top of the cake. Drinking! Yes, drinking a bit here and there is part of the whole student experience. You know what it’s not good for? Your liver, obviously! But also your wallet.

Alcohol is expensive in any country you go to and if you drink too much, a hangover won’t be the worst feeling you’ll experience. Not drinking too much will keep you healthier and will save money you can use to further your experiences in the new country you’re living in.

Travel Cheap

We all know staying at a 5-star hotel is a nice experience. You get all the perks and comforts, and you also get all the costs. When you study abroad, you’ll want to travel around, and that costs money too. The best way is to go about it smart and save a little. Use cheaper transportation methods, stay with friends, couch surf or book a low cost hostel. Also, if you don’t travel alone, you can share the costs with your travel mates, and you’ll have saved enough to afford another trip.

So here you go! Scholarships, cooking, biking, avoiding drinking and travelling cheap are definitely tips that will get your financial situation out of a rut and have you feeling like a millionaire.

This article was contributed by Liv Luget.

Image by Efe Kurnaz,

There’s nothing more enjoyable than having the vacation of your dreams planned and added to your calendar. Especially if the trip has been well thought-out, fully paid for in advance, and is coming up in the next few weeks. But sometimes, even with the most well thought-out plans, there still may be a hiccup that absolutely ruins your otherwise perfect trip. This is even more horrifying when something unexpected takes place when traveling internationally. If you have an upcoming vacation planned, the information below may be helpful to you.

Your Credit and ATM Cards Stop Working

Usually, credit cards and ATM cards don’t work for a couple of reasons.

  1. You may have exceeded your daily spending limit.
  2. Your bank or credit card company does not recognize where the charges are being made and consequently may consider it fraudulent activity.

You can overcome this type of setback by simply informing your bank and credit card company when you will be traveling, and request that your daily limit is increased. If your card stops for any other reason, be sure to have a reserve of cash on hand to handle these setbacks.

A Lost or Stolen Card or Wallet

If your wallet becomes lost or stolen, there are two things you can do in advance to overcome this obstacle during your vacation.

  1. Do not keep all your money in one place, so you’ll have some cash readily available should your card or wallet become lost or stolen.
  2. Contact your bank and credit card companies ahead of time and be sure to get travelers insurance that covers lost or stolen cards and wallets.

You Become Ill During Your Vacation

If you become ill while in another state (or another country), obtaining travelers insurance ahead of time will allow you to get the health coverage you need for any unexpected medical issues.

Political or Civil Unrest

If you experience political or civil unrest while traveling abroad, it’s important to contact your state’s US Travel Department should an evacuation need to take place. For the best results, register with your state’s travel department prior to your departure to allow time to contact your local authorities at the time you are faced with any unforeseen political or civil unrest.

Missing Your Schedule

Your itinerary will most likely be filled out before you leave and you probably have a few scheduled stops, tours, or trains to catch. If you miss one, it can seem like the end of the world. If this does happen, the first rule is to not panic. Take a deep breath and remember that you can get refunded, re-scheduled, or re-routed in most instances. If you miss a train, calling a cab, or renting a car might be a better option and could get you where you need to be faster.

Language Barriers

Language barriers can lead to miscommunications that can sometimes result in uncomfortable and even dangerous situations. The best way to overcome this setback is to merely turn to your nearest electronic device and Google what it is you’re trying to say or understand, then have it translated. Carry a dictionary with you and be sure to study the language at least a little before going.

Generally speaking, the best way to survive setbacks while traveling is to plan for them in advance. You can do this by performing the necessary research and positioning yourself for setbacks before they occur.

This article was contributed by guest author Eileen O’Shanassy.

Image by Warren Wong,

The world suddenly becomes full of possibilities once you turn 18. You can do lots of things you weren’t allowed to do before, and enjoy more freedom once you go off to college or university.

If you’re still deciding which course to take and which school to go to, at your age, there should be no reason for you to limit your options. This means that you should also consider the possibility of studying abroad.

Making The Decision

But how do you know studying in a different country is a good, if not the best, option for you? You can do so by considering the following in your decision-making process:

1. Financial Capability

Let’s dive right into one of the most important factors you have to consider since there is no getting around it: the expenses that come with studying abroad. In the USA, the average tuition fee for international students who want to study at a private university falls between $18,000 and $35,000 per year. State university tuition fees are lower, ranging from $12,000 to $25,000 annually. Fees are usually higher for international students than for locals. In addition to your course fees, you will also have to consider your living expenses.

Because studying abroad can be a costly endeavor, you need to be financially capable of doing so. You have to be able to pay the course fees and have enough money monthly to meet or satisfy your living expenses. To ease this burden, look for universities or colleges that offer scholarships and find out if you qualify for them.

In addition, international students have rights to work as well. For instance, in the USA, international students are allowed to work with pay on campus. If you are granted an Optional Practical Training (OPT) status, you will be allowed to work off-campus, with certain restrictions. Either way, you will be able to earn some extra money you can use while studying here.

2. You Have a Supportive Family

In addition to any financial support, you will need the emotional support of your parents. You will experience homesickness every now and then and nothing will make you feel stronger and better able to face your challenges than some quick words of encouragement from your family.

3. You Want to Earn an Internationally Recognized Degree

There’s nothing wrong with a getting an education and degree in your home country; there are certainly many local colleges and universities that offer good quality courses. But if you want a degree that will help you go places, nothing will be more effective than having one that is awarded by a well-known educational institution (think Harvard University, MIT, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, etc.).  Employers will know immediately that you are top-caliber since you were able to graduate from an institution where the screening and learning processes are rigorous. Having a degree from a highly recognized school will make you employable anywhere.

4. You Want to Become More Self-Reliant

You will need help with finding the right college or university abroad, and even which course to take. For these purposes, seeking expert advice from college admissions professionals is the smart thing to do. Generally, though, once you’re overseas, you’re on your own. You won’t be able to rely on your mom to make you breakfast or do your laundry, and your dad won’t be able to chauffeur you anywhere you want to go. When you study in a different country, you will have to do everything by yourself, which is a good thing if you want to be more independent and responsible.

5. You are Ready for an Adventure

Lastly, if you want to live in a different country, learn about new cultures and traditions, meet more people, and make new friends, you will experience all of these (and more) when you study abroad. Make the most of your life even if you’re still young. Although you are studying, you will have plenty of time to do some touristy stuff (after all, you are in a different country) and meet new people. Even if you’re just on one of the pre-college programs offered overseas, you will have a great, life-changing experience.

If you find all these appealing, it may be time for you make the leap and start planning for your future as an international student.

This article was contributed by guest author Brian Giroux.

Image by annemcdon,

When you’re studying abroad or exploring on your gap year, you’re going to need some money to take care of yourself. It’s hard to work a traditional job while bouncing from place to place, but there are a few jobs you can count on to be there wherever you land. There are even some jobs you can take with you wherever you go – and keep doing once you settle down at your last destination.

English Tutoring

English is the most popular second language in many countries. There are plenty of families that would be willing to pay a native English speaker to tutor their children. Some university students might be willing to pay you for English lessons as well. Advertise your services as a private tutor. You’d be surprised how many people would be willing to take you up on your offer – you might even run into businesses that want your services for their employees.

Remote Team Work

If you had a job back home, you might be able to take it with you. Ask your company if they’ll allow you to do remote work. If you already work with computers a lot, like in social media marketing or customer service, you might be able to do it wherever you go. Your company might have other positions that are open for remote work – you can simply switch over while you’re traveling.

If you don’t already have those options, you can always find a new company hiring virtual team members. A lot of startups or companies with large internet presences are always looking. You might even be able to keep the job if you find that you like it.

Become a Freelancer

Freelancers can work from anywhere. Think about special skills you have. Writing, editing, translating, and social media jobs often fall into the laps of freelancers. You can create your own profile, market your skills, and have people from all over the world hire you to do what you do best. Since freelancing is mostly internet based work, you might want to consider using a VPN. It may not be wise to use public WiFi to supply your freelancing platform with your bank information – anyone can intercept it without an encrypted connection.

Be a Tour Guide

If you’re ready for a long term stay in a country that sees a lot of tourism, you might be able to become a tour guide. English speaking people prefer English speaking guides, because they’ll be able to learn about the monuments and locations they’re seeing on the tour. Offer up your services to popular tour companies. You’ll get to enjoy all of the sights and sounds of your new location while explaining them to others.

Work in Tourism Hot Spots

Hostels, hotels, restaurants, and bars near international airports require a lot of language diversity among their staff. You’ll know what visitors from your home country will be looking for, and you’ll be able to communicate with them. Even if you only take a temp job, these businesses may be grateful to have you for as long as they can get you. You can bridge the gaps and help them serve more visitors.

Variety is the spice of life. If you don’t like a position, you won’t have to deal with it for very long. Travel to a new place, find a new job, and keep going until you find something that works. You’re at a time in your life that’s all about experimentation – find out what makes you happy.

This article was contributed by guest author Sophia Beirne.