Document Apostilles

Many countries and international university may require Americans to get what is called an Apostille or Authentication of their Diplomas and other documents.  If you are applying for a university abroad, a job internationally, etc. they will usually ask for your diploma and maybe a police background check as well. Initially, they will just ask you for a “photocopy” of the document, but maybe later they will want you to “authenticate the document” or include an Apostille.

What does this mean exactly?  What it means is that they don’t trust your document precisely, in fact they don’t trust anyone’s documents.  These countries are asking you for a “second-level” of security to make sure your document is not a fake or copy.  It isn’t enough these days to just get an original copy of your document and mail that to them. Now, they want your state and federal government to also attest to their validity.

Basically, the international standard for “verifying the legality of documents” is to have the State and Federal government notarize or “certify them.” This involves sending the original and a copy to your state department, then send that to the United States federal government, and sometimes then onto that foreign nation’s embassy for a final stamp.

Obviously, such a process is long and costly in terms of time and money.  So many countries got together and signed an agreement that you can instead get a document called the “APOSTILLE.”  This document is given to you by your state department and does not require the federal or embassy steps.  Much faster right?   Sometimes — not all countries actually follow that rule, and it kind of depends on your state.

But regardless, you always have to start with this step – get the State Department to sign off on your document to prove it is legit.  Below are links to the websites for each state where you can order document authentications and apostilles!

1. Alabama 
2. Alaska
3. Arizona
4. Arkansas (Rules)
5. California 
6. Colorado
7. Connecticut 
8. Delaware
9. District of Colombia
10. Florida 
11. Georgia 
12. Hawaii 
13. Idaho 
14. Illinois
15. Indiana 
16. Iowa 
17. Kansas
18. Kentucky 
19. Louisiana
20. Maine 
21. Maryland 
22. Massachusetts 
23. Michigan 
24. Minnesota 
25. Mississippi 
26. Missouri 
27. Montana
28. Nebraska 
29. Nevada 
30. New Hampshire
31. New Jersey 
32. New Mexico 
33. New York 
34. North Carolina 
35. North Dakota 
36. Ohio
37. Oklahoma 
38. Oregon 
39. Pennsylvania
40. Rhode Island 
41. South Carolina 
42. South Dakota
43. Tennessee 
44. Texas
45. Utah 
46. Vermont 
47. Virginia
48. Washington
49. West Virginia 
50. Wisconsin 
51. Wyoming

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100 Best Things to do in Germany

“100 Best Things to do in Germany”

via Jen’s Reveiws

Here are the 100 best things to do in Germany that will show you the charm, beauty and cultural diversity of this country.

Germany is rich with surprises and contrasts just waiting to be discovered by the discerning tourist. A country of enchanting little villages nestling between lofty and imposing mountains, fairytale castles and churches and lush vineyards rolling down towards the banks of the Rhine or the Mosel, Germany also boasts of the more rumbustious Munich Beer Festival and the Cologne Carnival, a very fine choice of gateaux, sausages and beer and a powerful and somewhat spooky folkloric tradition.

1. Die Zugspitze

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Located in the Garmisch-Partenkirchen region of Upper Bavaria, the Zugspitze can be accessed by cable car from the Eibsee lake (around ten minutes) or by cogwheel train from Greinau followed by a cable car from the Zugspitzplatt to the summit. There are also five hiking routes for the more intrepid and guided tours with overnight stops are a popular tourist attraction for avid hikers.

At 2.962 metres above sea level, the Zugspitze is not only the highest mountain peak in the Wetterstein mountains, it is the highest peak in Germany. On a clear day, the breathtakingly lovely panorama of the mountain ranges of four neighboring countries – Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland – is clearly visible from its summit. For those who love hiking and/or winter sports, the Zugspitze is definitely a number 1 choice when visiting Germany!

2. The Castle of Neuschwanstein (Munich)

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In 1868, four years after acceding to the throne, the shy and reclusive King Ludwig II commissioned his architects Eduard Riedel and Georg von Dollmann to build him a mediaeval castle where he could hide from his people. Paradoxically, Ludwig himself only lived a few months in the castle before his death in 1886; 7 weeks later the castle was opened to the public and it has been one of Germany’s most popular tourist attractions ever since.

Located in Hohenschwangau in the rolling green hills of southern Bavaria, surrounded by blue lakes, Neuschwanstein appears to float in the clouds like some magical castle in a fairytale. From Munich, it can easily be visited as a day trip. Tickets should be booked in advance!

3. Europa Park (Freiburg)

North of Freiburg in Baden-Württemberg in the little village of Rust is the biggest amusement park in the whole of the German-speaking world. In 2015 alone, it boasted 5,5 million visitors and is among the top 5 tourist attractions in Germany worldwide. In 2016, it won the “Golden Ticket Award” as the best amusement park in the world for the third year running. As an additional bonus, it is also open in winter!

With more shows, rides and attractions than one could ever imagine, including the biggest roller coaster in Europe, the Europa Park offers unlimited fun, excitement and entertainment to young and old alike. The Europa Parkc can be accessed from Freiburg by car in around 30 minutes and the closest railway station is Freiburg. Additionally there are a number of airports close by which offer shuttle-bus transport directly to the Europa Park.

4. Oktoberfest (Munich)

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Munich`s flamboyant Oktoberfest is famous the whole world over. Since its inception in 1810 in celebration of the wedding between Ludwig of Bavaria and his bride Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, the Oktoberfest has grown continuously in size and popularity. With its dirndls and its lederhosen, its stalls and diners offering a multitude of German and Bavarian specialties and – of course – its fourteen beer tents offering beer for every taste (and wine, too!), the Oktoberfest is a must for anyone seeking the fun side of Germany.

The Oktoberfest takes place once a year, beginning in September and ending in October, on the famous “Theresienwiese”, otherwise known as “Festwiese”. Travel by public transport from München is recommended owing to lack of parking.

5. Cologne Carnival (Cologne)

5-cologne-carnival

Traditionally, Cologne carnival begins whimsically at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, although the serious partying does not begin until Shrove Thursday. However, when it does, it goes with a bang! Cologne carnival is a celebration, above all, of fancy dress: streets, pubs and restaurants are full of exotic and bizarre costumes, streamers, balloons, practical jokes and laughter. The highlight is a 6 kilometre-long parade through the streets of Cologne on shrove Monday. A colorful, unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Though Cologne carnival is predominantly a street festival, there are plenty of carnival dances, dinners, parties and other indoor events running at the same time to choose from. Street activity during carnival time is at its height in the city center and the old parts of the city, which are accessible by bus or train from Cologne airport within 20 to 25 minutes.

6. Cologne Cathedral (Cologne)

6-cologne-cathedral

At the time of its completion in 1880, Cologne Cathedral, with its awe-inspiring twin spires, was the highest building in the world. Even now, at 157m, it dominates the surrounding architecture with ease. Building commenced in 1248 but was halted during the Middle Ages and recommenced in the 19th century. Cologne cathedral reputedly houses the remains of the Three Biblical Magi- which were given to the Archbishop of Cologne by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in 1164 – and is an important destination for modern-day pilgrims to this day. For this reason, but also because of its being “an exceptional work of human creative genius”, Cologne Cathedral was dubbed an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

Cologne cathedral is situated very close to Cologne railway station and is impossible to miss! It is around 25 minutes from Cologne airport by bus or rail.

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**If you were to give advice to future SAS (study abroad students) for your country, what would YOU recommend?!? Post in the comments! ** DB

Aer Lingus “Study in Ireland Program”

For my first return post, I thought I’d share a nice deal offered especially to Study Abroad Students!

According to their website, AerLingus (an Irish airline) is offering students studying in Ireland a special deal this summer through their “STUDY IN IRELAND Program.”

They’ll be offering “special airfares and a free date change to their return flight.” I like how it says you can change your return flight. Probably because so many students fall in love with Ireland and just want to stay a little bit longer (I know I did!).  Actually, it says you can even move the date of your return flight up (but who would want to?!?).  

The offer is for travel to or from Dublin or Shannon, Ireland on the following dates:

  • August 17-December 20, 2016 (Fall Semester)
  • January 6 – May 30, 2017 (Spring Semester)

Flights include those to/from Boston, Chicago, Hartford (as of Sept. 2016), Los Angeles, New York, Newark (as of Sept. 2016), Orlando, San Francisco, Toronto, and D.C.  Only individual students studying abroad get this special plan. 

However, the website also offers “special fares for Family & Friends Interested in travelling with or visiting the student while in Ireland (fares based on availability).” Awesome! Your best friend could come and visit you too!

For more details about the specifics and limitations, you can use the following resources:

If you try this program out, let us know how it goes! Excellent? Good? Bad? Terrible? Pass it on!

DISCLAIMER: This website is not affiliated with Aer Lingus in any way. My and my website are not responsible for anything AerLingus does or the program they are offering or anything else. I’m just letting you know what the website says.

Berkeley Study Abroad offers summer program in Havana, Cuba

“Berkeley Study Abroad offers summer program in Havana, Cuba”

by Ishaan Srivastava via “The Daily Californian

cubaWITHCORRECTIONS-01

After a historic resumption of U.S.–Cuba diplomatic relations and a relaxation of bilateral tensions, Berkeley Study Abroad is now offering a summer study abroad program in Havana, Cuba.

The course provides students with the opportunity to spend one month exploring the geographical and historical transformation of Cuba from colonial times to the present, all while living and studying in “the spirited capital of Cuba.”

“Cuba is — and has always been — a marvelous and fascinating country,” said program director Elizabeth Vasile. “It is a great place to see rapid transformation taking place.”

Vasile, who received her doctorate in geography from UC Berkeley and now conducts research in Latin America, has been leading tours of Cuba for about five years on behalf of organizations such as National Geographic. She approached the geography department chair and study abroad office last year with plans for the program, and received swift approval.

“Unlike a traditional classroom, we’re going to be going out in the field and observing the landscape for ourselves,” Vasile said, adding that her two primary objectives for the program are to instill in students a nuanced understanding of the complexity of Cuban history and the ability to critically observe the world around them.

Peer institutions such as Harvard College and Princeton University have offered similar programs even before President Barack Obama announced his intention to renew diplomatic ties with Cuba. The campus had previously offered a similar program that lasted from 1999 to 2003.

Other organizations such as the travel agency Marazul — which will be providing logistical assistance for UC Berkeley’s program this summer — have been organizing visits to Cuba since 1979.

Members of UC Berkeley’s faculty have maintained professional ties to Cuba despite longstanding diplomatic tensions. Anthropology professor Nancy Scheper-Hughes fondly remembers having invited Cuban medical professionals for a seminar in the early ‘90s, noting that then-Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien was happy to write a letter officially inviting her guests onto campus.

“He even asked whether we could invite Fidel Castro,” Scheper-Hughes said. “That would probably have been a step too far.”

According to Scheper-Hughes, such programs provide students with an opportunity to experience Cuba “before it becomes totally neoliberalized.”

Despite a history of bilateral political animosity, both Scheper-Hughes and Vasile said student safety would not be of exceptional concern in Cuba. Kaylee Yoshii, a campus senior who has visited Cuba multiple times on research trips,noted that the attitude toward Americans in Cuba is welcoming despite the decades of diplomatic hostility.

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Before You #StudyAbroad in the UK: A To-Do and Don’t-Do List

“Before You Study Abroad in the UK: A To-Do and Don’t-Do List”

by Roslyn Kent via “Huffington Post

Failing to prepare is like preparing to fail; get organized, check off that list and do your research before you go overseas to the United Kingdom–you won’t regret be over prepared.

It’s normal to be overwhelmed by all the check lists, packing lists and shopping lists that you’ll undoubtedly be inundated with prior to leaving for your exchange in the UK. Emotions aside, the last thing you’ll want to deal with before you leave is the logistics of your exchange; unfortunately, your mom can’t do it all for you. Not sure what you’ll need while overseas? Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do prior to leaving for your whirlwind study abroad experience:

Don’t:

1. Overpack: You won’t be wanting to bring all your unnecessary bulky toiletries. You will be able to buy almost all of them there (unless you need to use specific brands) and chances are, they’ll be even cheaper overseas (hello Poundland!).

2. Buy a roaming package for your phone: Phone plans are dirt cheap in the UK (the cheapest you’ll pay is £5/month or at the most, £15/month, which will probably included unlimited data and lots of texting and calling). If you extend your phone plan from home it will still cost you more, especially for data–you’ll want data in case you get lost. Try to get a month by month plan so you’re not tied down to anything. If you can, sign up with Three Mobile, that way you can use your phone for free in 10 other countries in Europe!

3. Pay for unnecessary visas: Make sure you’re aware of exactly which visa you’ll need while in the UK. It’s likely your home university’s study abroad office will assist you in this, but avoid seeking advice elsewhere (i.e. from friends who’ve never studied abroad). If you’re a citizen of a commonwealth country then you won’t have to pay for a visa at all if you only plan to stay in the UK for six months. Research the different options and be wary of paying for a visa you won’t need.

4. Bring your hair dryer and straightener: If you want to avoid bringing home a broken hair dryer/straightener, it’s highly advisable that you buy a cheap one over there and share with your roommates. Oftentimes, North American hair dryers and straighteners aren’t equipped to handle the voltage of a UK outlet. If you’re certain yours can handle it then go ahead and bring it with you, if not, it’s better to be safe than sorry! . . .

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Study Abroad ~ Paris Sights

Exquisite Sights to see in Paris

“Paris is a place in which we can forget ourselves, reinvent, expunge the dead weight of our past.”

**Michael Simkins

Museums & Palaces

The Louvre

Palace of Versailles

Rodin Museum

Palais Royale 

Musee D’Cluny

Musée d’Orsay

Art 

The Eiffel Tower

Albert Kahn Musée & Jardins

Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris

 

Basilique du Sacre Coeur de Montmartre

Opera National de Paris

Sainte Chapelle

Walking

Le Marais

Ile de la Cite

Place de la Concorde

Canal Saint Martin

Parc de la Villette

Shopping & Fashion

champselise

Triangle d’Or

stgermaindespres_creativecommons_ccl2008.jpg -

Saint-Germain des Prés

Le Bon Marche in Sevres Babylone

Sèvres-Babylone

JB Guanti, 59 Rue de Rennes

Rue de Rennes

Haussmann Saint-Lazare

Haussmann-Saint-Lazare

Le Marais

Adventure

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Roller Skating

Activités nautiques, Bassin de la Villette, Paris © OTCP - Marc Bertrand

BASE NAUTIQUE DE LA VILLETTE

Disneyland Paris - Tic et Tac © DR - OTCP

Disneyland Paris

Evasion Verte 1 - Paris - © OTCP - DR

Evasion Verte

Parc Asterix - Spectacle | 630x405 | © OTCP

Parc Asterix

Poisson clown, Aquarium de la Porte Dorée, Paris © DR

AQUARIUM TROPICAL DE LA PORTE DORÉE

Natural Views

Luxembourg Gardens

Jardin des Tuileries

Bois de Boulogne

Jardin des Plantes

Parc Monceau

 

50 Things College Students Should Know About London

“50 Things College Students Should Know About London”

by Emma White via “Huffington Post

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Tips from a study abroad student in London

1. London is expensive- save money. The first thing that people will tell you about London is that it’s expensive. Between the exchange rate, going out and if you’re like me and can’t walk by a gelato shop without walking in get ready to spend some serious money. Before you go try to save up as much money as you can because whatever you think you’re going to spend, you’ll probably spend more. Things like a security deposit, buying books or forgetting something small will add up. And of course you want to have a little fun while you’re here too!

2. Show your student ID. Showing a student card can get you discounts at retail stores, restaurants and clubs. In terms of going out in London, most places have a cover charge but there are ways around it! For a lot of places, something as simple as adding your email address to a mailing list will get you free entry! Also, many bars and clubs have free cover if you go earlier before it gets crowded. You might be the first ones there but after seeing the cover charge add up over the weeks you won’t mind after a while.

3. Get an Oyster Card. One of the best student discounts London offers is the oyster card. It is a discounted card for the London Underground System. I thought that I would hate taking the tube to class everyday but it is essential to getting around London. A student rate for a monthly unlimited pass is about £80 and it will pay for itself in about a week. Almost everywhere is accessible by the tube so this card will become your new best friend.

4. Don’t let the weather/being lazy spoil your plans. It’s easy to let the weather or the excuse of a lazy Sunday intimidate you from going through with plans you may have had. Some days you’ll be tempted to stay in and watch tv or movies but there’s so much to do in the city it’s important to force yourself to get out.

5. Apps to get. There are a bunch of apps to get that will make your time in London a whole lot easier, whether for staying in touch finding a restaurant or catching a cab.

• Viber is great for texting (and calling as long as you have wifi.)
• Whatsapp is for texting. Download these two apps before you go as they will send you a confirmation email to register.
• Citymapper tells you how to get to any address via the tube, bus or walking. This app has been a lifesaver!
• Hailo finds cabs nearby and allows you to pay for in through the app with a credit card if you’re running low on cash.
• Tripadviser lists the top attractions and will give basic info like how much it costs, the hours and a general description.
• Zomato uses your location to find restaurants in your area. When looking for places on a budget it’s a lot easier than walking the streets and settling on a place out of hunger.
• WeHostels If you’re heading off exploring for the weekend, check out this easy to use app to find affordable accommodations. It’s easy to use on the go with great reviews of concerts and festivals.

6. Pub life. If you want to meet local British people your best bet is to go to the quintessential London pub. You will see people out drinking at pubs at noon and all throughout the day. With the lack of open containers laws at night people will linger outside of pubs spilling onto sidewalks and the street. Throughout the week, pubs are the place to be. Also, by going to bars and pubs by local British universities you can ensure you will meet British people your own age.

7. Commit yourself to a football team. You might not be a fan of a particular team before you come but you will be by the time you leave. Even if you don’t go to a game, watching one at a pub with friends and cheering on your team can be a great way to experience London culture. I was able to take a tour of the Chelsea football team stadium, locker room and press room through a school trip so now I have dedicated myself to Chelsea. GO BLUES!

8. Walk a new way home everyday. This tip was told to me by one of my flat mates’ brother who studied abroad in London a few years ago but I liked it so much I am passing it on. By walking a new way home, to class, to a different tube stop or even just walking to walk, you pay more attention to your surroundings. By walking places, you’ll see more of different areas or neighborhoods and find hidden spots you may want to go back to.

9. It’s okay to be a tourist. The London Eye, Tower Bridge, Big Ben etc. are sights that you need to see. What’s great about London is that many of the sights are free. Most of the museums and main sights you can see for free and if not, that student card I mentioned before can get you in at a discount rate. London has a history dating back over 2000 years, there’s so much to see that no one should miss!

10. Do all the touristy stuff right when you get here. When you first get to London everything is new and exciting and you’ll be motivated to take it all in right away. The longer you let pass, the less likely you’ll be to go out and see the city. Within the first few weeks of getting here, go out and see all the cliche stuff. You can always go back another time too but don’t leave London without seeing all the major attractions!

11. Write down your experiences. This one may seem corny but it’s a good idea to write down the places you go or travel to, what you see and how you’re feeling throughout your abroad experience. You’re going to want to be able to look back and remember everything you did. Whether you write in a journal, a word document or go as far as to write a blog to share with others, you’ll be happy you have it to look back on. Better yet, share your experience with the College Tourist. Create an author’s profile here.

12. Force yourself to take pictures. I am not a person who usually takes pictures but since being abroad I have tried to force myself to document everything I see and do. As a general rule, if you think you’ve taken enough pictures, take more. That way, you’ll guarantee you have at least one good photo from everywhere you go. You might think you’re taking way too many but you’ll be happy you did when you have good pictures to show from your travels. . . . .

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