Study abroad applicants concerned about Islamic State

“Study abroad applicants concerned about Islamic State”

by Taylor Eisenhauer via “The Times Delphic

Each year, Drake sends approximately 450 students abroad to study for credit, and they can choose from more than70 countries.

However, student safety abroad is a growing concern with the recent unrest caused by the Islamic State, a terrorist organization commonly referred to as ISIS.

Recent attacks include the burning of a Jordanian pilot and the Paris attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine office.

ISIS also took credit for the killing of at least 20 people at a Tunisian museum in March.

In countries like Syria and Saudi Arabia, the U.S. Department of State has issued travel warnings for these countries due to terrorist threats from “violent extremist groups,” including the Islamic State.

The State Department issues travel warnings when travelers should very carefully consider whether they should go to the county in question.

Drake has its own criteria for determining a country’s safety for students.

Associate Director of Drake International and Education Abroad Jen Hogan explained that two routes could be followed, depending on the student’s program. If the program is through affiliate providers, Drake heeds their advice.

“We really follow their guidance and their knowledge in regions that might have various issues going on,” Hogan said.  “(Our providers) keep their pulses on … critical global issues, such as health pandemics or threats of terrorism. If they feel like there’s a threat … they will suspend the program until they feel like that program is not going to impact the students’ safety and security.”

The affiliates provide evacuation insurance to cover medical, political or other types of emergencies.

For programs through Drake’s strategic partnerships abroad, a Risk Assessment Committee has the final say on safety.

The committee consults with other schools or providers, such as the School for International Training in Vermont and allows Drake staff to determine evacuation plans.

Three students were evacuated from Egypt during the Arab Spring in 2011 and a January-term course to Ghana was cancelled this year due to the Ebola outbreak, Hogan said. But ISIS hasn’t affected Drake students abroad — yet.

“Anyone is vulnerable to ISIS,” Hogan said. “…It’s kind of the state of the world right now. Safety is not guaranteed no matter where you go.” . . .

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5 Tips for Traveling with Credit Cards

 

“5 Tips for Traveling with Credit Cards”

by AJ Smith via “Yahoo!”

Whether your passport needs additional pages to accommodate all your stamps or you are planning your first big cross-country trip, it’s important to take care of credit card prep before you pack. Knowing the essentials for traveling with credit cards can help you avoid problems and enjoy your experience.

 

1. Choose Your Card(s) Wisely

Deciding on a card can be intimidating, but some options can help maximize your travel experiences. It’s a good idea to find out what kind of travel perks you could be getting — from concierge services and free flight luggage check-ins to rental car or hotel discounts and medical travel insurance. In addition, it’s good to know what emergency preparations are in place and if your credit or debit card will give you a fair exchange rate. Since you will likely be spending more money than usual, it’s a good idea to use the cards that generate the most valuable rewards. Before you apply for a reward card, it’s also helpful to check your credit score to see if you meet the issuer’s requirements — and apply only for cards you’re more likely to be approved for. (You can see your credit scores for free on Credit.com.)

2. Call Ahead

Just as you tell your loved ones before you head out on a trip, it’s important to let your credit card issuers know of your plans. Most companies regularly monitor your spending for fraud and if they notice several purchases that do not align with your normal location or behavior, they might shut down or suspend your card. Give the 800 number on the back of your card a ring and share your destination and travel dates so you don’t get stuck without credit when you need it most.

3. Learn the Fees

Traveling abroad can open you up to a whole new set of bank fees so it’s a good idea to get educated. See if your card incurs foreign transaction fees or excessive ATM fees so you can avoid them or build them into your budget. With a little research, you’ll know how you can shop smartly abroad.

4. Research Restrictions

Some issuers have restrictions on cards being used outside your normal purchasing pattern. This especially affects travel outside the U.S. and can include daily spending or withdrawal limits, so call ahead to ask about these rules and how to lift them for the duration of your travel. . . .

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Study Abroad Monitors Ebola for Traveling Students

“Study Abroad Monitors Ebola for Traveling Students”

by Lindsey Clark via “Vindette Online”

(Adam Weiss/Staff Photographer) Senior criminal justice major Conor Inf sanitizes his hands at the Student Services Building to stay healthy.

When news that Ebola had entered the U.S. broke in September, panic resulted for many residents.

However, while the threat of the foreign disease is now more tangible, it is unlikely that citizens need to fear.

Meanwhile, several strategies and precautions exist for students interested in the Study Abroad program at ISU they can take despite this threat.

“At this time the Office of International Studies and Programs does not have any students studying in Western Africa,” Samantha Potempa, Study Abroad coordinator, said.

“We are closely monitoring the Ebola situation, and will continue to do so.  If an ISU study abroad student was affected, we would work with the student to help them receive the necessary medical attention,” she said.

“Study abroad programs are wonderful things and the current Ebola situation is not one that should discourage students,” Dr. Ben Sadd, assistant professor of Infectious Disease Ecology, said.

As of now, it is advisable not to travel to Sierra Leone, Guinea or Liberia. This is where outbreaks have been the most severe here, but outside of these countries, risk is negligible, Sadd said.

The best way students can educate themselves on foreign diseases is by doing research. Doing research when travelling or planning to travel to unfamiliar destinations should be a top priority for any traveler.  . . .

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Thousands of Bags Go Missing on British Airways Flights Over the Weekend

Reason #5,289 not to rely on the fact that your luggage will be waiting for you at the end of your journey ~ Pack A Carry-On With All Necessities!! **DB

Thousands of Bags Go Missing on British Airways Flights Over the Weekend

by Jo Piazza via “Yahoo! News

Thousands of Bags Go Missing on British Airways Flights Over the Weekend

(Photo: British Airways)

Television executive Theano Apostolou was on a 10-day business trip from Los Angeles to London then Brussels and Glasgow when her luggage went missing on a British Airwaysflight from Brussels to Glasgow over the weekend.

By Monday morning her luggage had been lost for 53 hours and according to Apostolou the airline was unable to tell her if her bag even landed at Heathrow in the first place.

She isn’t alone. Since Thursday, thousands of pieces of luggage have been misplaced in the baggage system, causing travelers intense agitation.

“When we arrived in Glasgow, I would say that almost everyone who had checked luggage for this regional flight had their bags lost. There were attendants with long forms with our names waiting to tell us our bags hadn’t made it,” Apostolou said. “I’ve now wasted hundreds of dollars on essentials because I was only on day three of a ten-day business trip and have had to run like mad in between meetings to find stores that are still open.”

Checking into her hotel later that afternoon, Apostolou was informed by the receptionist that other guests had been plagued by the same problem and that many of them had not received their baggage by the time they checked out many days later.

According to the airline, the problem began on Thursday of last week when a technical failure knocked out the baggage processing system at Heathrow Airport.

Heathrow did not respond for comment.

“The situation has been as a result of an IT failure with Heathrow Airport’s baggage system in Terminal Five,” according to Euan Fordyce, a spokesman for British Airways. “The problem began on Thursday of last week, but there have been intermittent faults since then.” 

The airline says that the system was back up and running on Monday, but they were still advising travelers to “carry essential items in their hand baggage as a precaution.”

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“Travel Tips From the Movies”

Actually good advice–just remember most of it is “what not to do” **DB

“Travel Tips from the Movies”

by Joy Jonette Chuyaco via “The Phillipine Star

“MANILA, Philippines – Traveling is such a fun thing to do. As long as you have the budget, the right travel companions (although some people would prefer to travel alone) and the perfect weather, you will surely have a trip to remember. But before you go ahead and take that journey, try to consider these travel tips from the movies. They could be of help in one way or another.

Hostel. This film and its sequels tell stories about how groups of friends enjoying a trip and looking for adventures end up being in torture dens. Tip: If you are in a new place with strangers, please, please try not to be wasted! You don’t wanna end up in some strange, scary and “yucky” place holding on to your dear life.

Vacancy. A couple checks into a cheap and isolated motel, and quickly realizes that they are not safe in the room after all. They are the main casts of a new snuff film. Tip: If you feel that there is something wrong with the place you’re staying in, trust your instinct. There are websites that carry feedback on places to stay. Make use of it.

Taken. It all starts when a girl and her friend innocently share a taxi with a charming young man. What seems to be a friendly gesture turns out to be an abduction plan. Well, not to worry, Super Dad is on the way. Tip: When traveling, don’t be too friendly. Also, don’t be tricked by good looks and angelic faces. They can be the most effective tools in fooling people.

Eat, Pray, Love. After her divorce, Elizabeth feels lost and confused. She travels and hopes that her trip will help her find the answer. Tip: Have you ever tried solo traveling? If it is possible, it is sometimes good to travel on your own and have that time for yourself — to reflect about life, to discover new things, to recharge drained energy and more. . . . .”

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“Military pressure in Russia not expected to disrupt study abroad program”

Seems to be true of most programs currently going on in Russia, Ukraine, and the Crimea region. However, it isn’t clear yet how many of these programs will continue next year.  ** DB

“Military Pressure in Russia not Expected to Disrupt Study Abroad Program”

by Rebecca Fiedler via “Baylor Lariat

Vladimir Putin

Despite tensions built in the East between Russia and Ukraine over the past few weeks, the Baylor study abroad program in Russia isn’t turning back.

“I have absolutely no worries about sending our students right now,” said Dr. Adrienne Harris, assistant professor of Russian. “I suppose if things got very heated and there was some impact on visas, that of course would change the situation.”

There is only one Baylor student studying abroad in Russia: Highland Village junior Matt Brinzo. Brinzo is studying for the semester at Voronezh State University in southwestern Russia.

“One of the big advantages of studying in a place like Voronezch is that you’re not surrounded by other foreigners, like in St. Petersburg, so there are more opportunities for students to speak Russian and fewer opportunities to speak English,” Harris said.

He said since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Baylor has had no issues sending one to six students per semester to study in Russia. In general, Harris said, she doesn’t think there would be any animosity from Russians towards American students. Russians typically know Americans are interested in Russia and learning about the country, she said.

“Almost always the response is positive,” Harris said. “Maybe the Russian people will want to talk about politics with our students and defend President Vladimir Putin, but as far as animosity towards students, there’d be nothing serious.”

Brinzo said Americans have advised him that it’s potentially dangerous to be in Russia, but he feels safer in Russia than he did living in Waco.

“I haven’t even felt a glimpse of danger,” Brinzo said.

Brinzo said many Russian people talk to him about the Ukrainian issue and America’s involvement, but they are not hostile with him and he feels the same about some political issues as they do.

“I get an earful from every single Russian about how America is ridiculous for our views on the whole Ukraine situation, and on a lot of points I agree with them,” Brinzo said.

He said he sympathizes with the opinion that the U.S. has been inconsistent . . . .

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Safety Tips for Studying Abroad

“Safety Tips for Studying Abroad”

by William Frierson via “CollegeRecruiter.com”

Glass globe on a book with study abroad in the background

Studying abroad can be an exciting, one-of-a-kind experience. From immersing yourself in the local culture to expanding your education and making lifelong friends, the opportunities offered by studying in a foreign country are endless. If you plan on studying abroad, check out the following tips for staying safe and adjusting to your new surroundings.

Do Your Homework

Before going abroad to study, you should spend a considerable amount of time researching your destination. To help ease your transition in a new country, be sure to familiarize yourself with the following points:

  • ~Laws. For many students, adjusting to the laws in a foreign country is difficult. This can be remedied, however, through research and memorization. Take notes or, even better, consider a cheat sheet. Many well-meaning travelers end up in hot water after unwittingly breaking the law, so take this tip to heart.
  • ~Geography. So you’re less likely to get lost, study maps of your new surroundings. Familiarize yourself with your new area, and make sure you know how to get to sites like hospitals, embassies, police stations, etc.
  • ~Language. While fluency isn’t necessary, having a basic grasp on the language of your new location is extremely helpful.
  • ~Customs. In addition to familiarizing yourself with the local laws, understanding the customs in a particular area is important as well. Studying the  local customs and traditions will help you blend in, avoid social snafus and generally help you settle in to your new surroundings. Also, for female students, understanding rules regarding clothing and public behavior are essential.

Have Your Paperwork in Order

Make sure all your paperwork is valid and up-to-date. For added protection, you should make photocopies of the following documents:

  • Passport
  • Student ID
  • Driver’s license or identification card
  • Health insurance card
  • Transportation tickets

Visit Your Doctor

Prior to traveling abroad, getting a medical checkup is extremely important. Check with the university where you’ll be studying, and find out if there are any . . . . 

 

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