How to Land the Study Abroad Scholarships of Your Dreams

“How to Land the Study Abroad Scholarships of Your Dreams”

via “Go Abroad”

Affordability is often the number one concern of students interested in studying abroad, yet most students have no idea how much financial support is available to students who want to go abroad! If you are contemplating a study abroad program because of financial concerns, check out GoAbroad’s Directory of hundreds of study abroad scholarships. Every student can find the financial aid they need to study abroad, justselect from the drop-down menus above and clickSearch!

If you are just starting your search and feeling overwhelmed by financial assistance opportunities or searching for the best way to sift through financial aid options, then follow GoAbroad’s Step-by-Step Guide to getting study abroad scholarships:

1. Visit your Study Abroad and Financial Aid Office.

This should be the very first step you take in searching for financial assistance to go abroad. Start with your university, because quite frequently there are scholarship opportunities specifically offered to students interested in participating in study abroad or other international programs. But even if your university doesn’t offer study abroad scholarships, your Study Abroad and Financial Aid Offices will both have plenty of resources and potential scholarships to share with you to get you started.

2. Understand your Financial Aid Options.

Make sure you know the difference between a grant, fellowship, scholarship, and all other forms of financial support, before you start an application. Each type of aid will garner different expectations for applications and of potential awardees, and therefore you should approach each uniquely and for different reasons, depending on what type of program you plan to pursue abroad.

3. Take into Account your Degree Level. . . . .

READ MORE

How to stay safe when renting an Airbnb

“How to stay safe when renting an Airbnb”

by Stephanie Gaskell via “Fox News

erwr4353454fsdf335435.jpg

The rise of Airbnb, the online home rental company, is undeniable. More than 50 million guests have rented lodging through the site since it was launched in 2008. There are now more than 1.5 million listings on the site.

With that growth comes a serious question of safety and security. We’ve all heard the stories of Airbnb guests trashing rental properties or disturbing the neighbors. But now a horrifying story from an Airbnb traveler who says his host locked him in his room and sexually abused him has renters on edge over just how safe it is to rent a room from a complete stranger.

Don’t be afraid to ask the renter questions or even to reach out to past guests for more information about their stay.

On July 4, Jacob Lopez was renting a room from an Airbnb host in Madrid when he says his host locked him in the apartment, began rattling knives in the kitchen and begged him to engage in sexual acts with him, according to the New York TImes.

Lopez frantically texted his mother back in the United States. She called the police station in Madrid but got no response. She called Airbnb, but she says they were unable to tell her exactly where her son was.

It’s a traveler’s worst nightmare, and while the Airbnb host denies the charges, it’s not surprising that Airbnb renters can find themselves in scary situations when trusting that the information provided on the listing is correct. . . . .

READ MORE

Tips for finding cheap airline fares

“Tips for finding cheap airline fares”

via “The Associated Press”

TIPS FOR FINDING CHEAP FARES

— Travel during off-peak times. Two of the slowest periods for air travel are Dec. 1 to Dec. 14 and then Jan. 4 to Feb. 15.

— Fly on slow days. Planes tend to have the most empty seats on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

— Do a flexible date search. Sites like ITA Software and Cheapair.com let travelers pull up a calendar with the cheapest days to fly between two airports.

— Consider nearby airports. Driving an extra 50 miles might save $100 per person.

— Look for routes flown by Frontier, Southwest and Spirit. Other airlines are matching or beating their fares.

— Take advantage of the 24-hour rule. Passengers have 24 hours after buying a ticket to get a full refund. The day after booking a flight, check back to see if fares have fallen. Cancel and rebook at the lower price. . . . .

READ MORE

Common Study Abroad Expenses

Your first step in estimating expenses is to determine what is included in the Program’s Package.  The school/organization will give you a price that you have to pay to them, and what is provided through that package varies from program to program.  Usually, it will include tuition, housing, a certain number of “culture trips” (may be extra!), transportation between hotel and school morning and afternoon (for short programs), VISA (may be extra!), and the assistance of a program advisor.

Some things to verify include:

  • Transportation Fees – does this include flights, trips to and from the school and hotel, trips to internships, extra trips offered during the program, etc.
  • Housing Fees – Is there a deposit required by the hotel? What amenities are provided by the hotel? Is breakfast offered? What about a gym or exercise facilities? Is there a mini kitchen in the room or are you required to eat out?  How about laundry facilities? An iron? Wireless? How many people in a room? 
  • Program Fees – Are all culture trips included in this price? Books? Exam software or notebooks? Transcripts?  All classroom expenses?
  • Flights – If flights are included, how many suitcases do you get free?
  • VISA – Is the VISA included or are you getting that on your own (this is important for your time considerations as well- VISA can take weeks to obtain)?
  • Books  – Are they included?

In addition to the fees required by the school, you will have a number of out-of-pocket expenses. Many of these will depend on your own choices (e.g. shared or private rooms), but certainly some of them are requisite no matter what.  A great place to find information on living expenses is Numbeo’s “Cost of Living” site or try googleing “Cost of Living in . . . . “

Below, I have attempted to list the most common expenses study abroadists face during the trip.

These costs naturally vary student-to-student, place-to-place so this is not a hard&fast list of expenses. Some of us will spend less, some more. But at least it gives you something to work from!

**[PP] = Usually included in the overall price of the program listed by the school

  • Tuition (???) – Depends on the school, location, and length of the program [PP]
  • Flights (approximately $600-$2500 one-way) – shop early, plan well. 
    • Airline Baggage Fees (US-Foreign Country = 2 free bags, then $75-$150 for the third one) – if you are flying internationally between other countries, this cost may change!).  Remember to book all you tickets at once or you might be charged for each bag on any domestic flights included in the trip. Also don’t have overweight luggage!
    • Layover Fees ($0 – $300) – Some flights involve layover delays in between each flight. Sometimes people end up spending money on food, drinks, entertainment, souvenirs, short tours of the layover stop, hotels, taxis, etc.  To avoid these extra costs, bring a book or tablet with you on the trip, take a bus if you leave the airport, and sleep in the airport if allowed.
  • Housing (usually around $1000-$1500 / month) [PP] – usually required even for home-stays.
    • Hotel Deposit ($70-$200) – Not always necessary – if required, must be paid upon arrival at the hotel. Usually will be included towards the cost of the hotel room.
    • Alternative would be finding a hostel (average $15-$50/night) or staying with someone you know.
    • Costs for Hotel Amenities (Gym, Trash, Wireless, Recycling, Laundry, Dry-Cleaning, House-Keeping, etc.) are sometimes not included in given hotel fee.  Ask your program director what is and is not included.
  • VISA ($0-$500) – Usually free if you stay less than 90 days. [PP]
    • If you do require a VISA and you have to get your own, it may require traveling to a major city to the nation’s embassy twice (once to drop off paperwork and once to pick up the VISA). This often adds an extra hotel and transportation cost for the trip.
  • US Passport ($135) – ALWAYS required. Check out our Passport page for more information.
  • Textbooks ($60-???) – Depends on your program, classes, etc.
  • Transportation ($100-???) – Costs can run at very small if you mostly walk to pretty high if you take taxis or have to pay extra money for culture trips or tours. Walk, Bike, or take a Bus if you can.  Save a minimum $100 just in case!
  • Food ($100-$1000/month) – Depends on location, length of program, and what you eat.  Can range from minor amounts to extremely costly.  To save money try cooking for yourself (especially in the hotel has a kitchenette), eating on the street, or finding restaurants that serve the local workers. Avoid cafes, nicer dinner establishments, or tourist shops.  Organic or Vegetarian options often cost more.  You can always bring a tub of peanut butter and live on sandwiches or bring some boxes of Mac&Cheese!  Not to say you can’t taste some good traditional cuisine! Yummy 🙂
  • Excursions ($50-$200/week w/ $300-$400 for one weekend away trip) – We all want to visit the cultural sites and stop off at a good club now and again.  Try to set aside $50-$200/week (more or less depending on what you’re doing), and spread out the costlier places over the duration of the trip.  I’ve never seen a student manage a study abroad trip without at least one major trip to a different country or city, so save $300-$400 for that one weekend traveling expedition.
  • Souvenirs ($100-$250) – You may not spend it all, or you might spend more. But I’d try to set aside this amount as your base.
  • Clothing ($100-???) – Entirely up to you!  But at least $100 in case you find a t-shirt or jewelry or a hat or something.
  • Suitcases ($100-$150 each) 
  • Common Surprise Extras
    • Medication (for the whole time)
    • Iron (if you have a suit) or Dry-Cleaning
    • Laundry 
    • Internet (if you don’t have wi-fi, you can sometimes rent a router)
    • Phone Service (a lot of international travelers rent a phone and plan for their trip)
    • Insurance (Health and Renters)
    • Gym / Exercise
    • Kitchen Appliances for the room
    • Living Supplies (shampoo, conditioner, soaps, dish soap, blankets, towels, hair dryers, plates, trash bags, etc.)
    • Clothing (emergency shirts, pants, suits, shoes, hair things, hats, etc. – you packed for hot and it’s cold, you packed for hiking and you suddenly have an internship with a company.
    • Doctor’s Bills – food poisoning, broken bones, etc.
    • Appliances – extension cords, adapters, chargers, padlocks, etc.
    • School Supplies – pencils, notebooks, etc.

So What About You?  Any Costs You’d Add To The List?

Studying abroad in conflict zones: Reckless or rewarding?

“Studying abroad in conflict zones: Reckless or rewarding?”

by Sanya Mansoor via “Christian Science Monitor

Should universities support students and faculty when they travel to dangerous countries for research or study abroad programs?

Some say their passion may overpower their concerns.

The potential to help activists and scholars outweighs the risks posed by an unstable country, argues Peter Levine, a Tufts University professor. Next month, he will lead a conference in Ukraine, even though the US State Department has flagged the former Soviet republic as dangerous for travel. The summit will focus on civics, in part because the country exemplifies the struggles of a fledgling democracy.

But the risks are real.

Mr. Pochter, who traveled to Egypt through a private education group, was killed during clashes between supporters and opponents of Mohamed Morsi, then the president of Egypt, The New York Times reported.

When countries are perceived as conflict zones, their popularity as study-abroad sites for American students inevitably declines, notes the AP. . . .

READ MORE

Greece travel advice Q&A: Tourists urged to bring cash not cards on holiday

Same would presumptively be true of students abroad in Greece for the summer.**DB

“Greece travel advice Q&A: Tourists urged to bring cash not cards on holiday”

by Kiran Moodley via “Independent.co.uk”

The Foreign Office has advised British tourists travelling to Greece to avoid relying on cards and that cash will be the best form of currency as the country enters a week of political and economic uncertainty.

Greece is close to a financial collapse with the stock exchange closed and banks shut all week after the European Central Bank (ECB) said that further credit to the nation was being refused after the eurozone rejected the latest bailout extension pleas from Greek politicians.

With new proposals put forward by creditors, the Greek people will go to the polls on Sunday to have their say on whether they agree with the latest round of austerity proposals. Having already overwhelmingly backed the anti-austerity, ultra left party Syriza in January, the future of Greece’s place in the eurozone looks uncertain.

The Foreign Office has advised British tourists travelling to Greece to avoid relying on cards and that cash will be the best form of currency as the country enters a week of political and economic uncertainty.

Greece is close to a financial collapse with the stock exchange closed and banks shut all week after the European Central Bank (ECB) said that further credit to the nation was being refused after the eurozone rejected the latest bailout extension pleas from Greek politicians.

With new proposals put forward by creditors, the Greek people will go to the polls on Sunday to have their say on whether they agree with the latest round of austerity proposals. Having already overwhelmingly backed the anti-austerity, ultra left party Syriza in January, the future of Greece’s place in the eurozone looks uncertain.

The ECB has said it will not extend emergency funding to Greece, thus forcing all banks to close this week with the government saying it needing to protect their liquidity. Currently, people can only withdraw up to €60 (£42) a day this week. The administration of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras must pay €1.6bn to the IMF on Tuesday. That is also the day when the country’s current bailout package expires, with the new austerity proposal offered by the eurozone yet to be agreed upon by Greece, after the government said it had to take the matter to the people in a referendum on 5 July.

What has the Foreign Office said?

The latest advice reads: “Visitors to Greece should be aware of the possibility that banking services – including credit card processing and servicing of ATMs – throughout Greece could potentially become limited at short notice. Make sure you have enough Euros in cash to cover emergencies, unforeseen circumstances and any unexpected delays.”

What does this mean for holidaymakers?

The €60 restriction on withdrawals does not apply to people who hold bank cards from outside of Greece, but still, the main warning is that it may be difficult to find a reliable, working ATM. . . .

What’s the problem?

READ MORE

 

Bed bugs and summer travel: how to protect yourself

“Bed bugs and summer travel: how to protect yourself”

via “Ellwood City Register

Bed bugs and summer travel: how to protect yourself

When summer arrives, all you can think about is that vacation getaway, getting the kids off to camp and traveling to visit friends and family. You’re looking forward to spending some relaxing time away from your hectic everyday environment. Unfortunately, bed bugs feel the same way. They’re itching to get out and see the world just as much as you are.

Amazingly, 99.6 percent of professional pest management companies in the United States encountered a bed bug infestation in 2013, according to a survey conducted by Bugs Without Borders. Bed bugs are skilled hitchhikers that can be picked up from hotels, motels, public transportation, rental homes and other public areas. You might think you’re safe at a five-star luxury hotel, but bed bugs don’t discriminate. Bed bugs can attach themselves to and be carried by any of your personal belongings, including luggage, clothing, computers and more.

Take steps to stay safe from bed bugs during the summer travel season. Use these tips as a checklist to make sure you’re protected before setting out to enjoy fun in the sun.

* Know the signs. Before you embark on your vacation, take some time to educate yourself on the signs of a bed bug infestation. These include tiny dark or red spots from a fresh bed bug feeding or a trampled bed bug. Although they are very small, bed bugs, their eggs and cast skins can be seen by the naked eye. They can usually be found hiding in tight, typically undisturbed and cramped spaces near the sleeping areas of a home. Additionally, unexplained bites on a person’s skin may be another sign of a bed bug outbreak. If the infestation is large, bed bugs will lurk in other areas outside the bedroom and you will likely smell a sickly sweet odor.

* Take preventive measures. If you’ve been traveling often, have a child in college or have had a previous bed bug infestation, it’s important to be proactive about prevention. Pack a flashlight in your suitcase to help you inspect your travel accommodations right when you arrive. Ask a pest professional to help you find a strategy that’s best for your family and home. If you travel often or feel you are at high risk for bed bugs, consider an active liner on your bed at home. Where other bedding products such as encasements solely attempt to trap bed bugs within or prevent them from migrating, an active liner kills bed bugs on contact and stops infestations before they establish. . . .

READ MORE