Good idea for Short #StudyAbroad trips!

Foreign Festivals! – Dragon Boat Festival

Happy Dragon Boat Festival!  Today in #China we are celebrating the Duanwu #端午 festival!  It’s been a Holiday here for more than 2000 years!

It celebrates the Famous #poet #quyuan. Devoted to #China 🇨🇳, he wrote beautiful poems about its history, nature, and people. When the invading Qin armies approached, he chose to drown himself rather than see his beloved country fall.  Although they sent out many #dragon boats to look for him, they could not save him in time. 
 So to commemorate his memory, every year they eat  #粽子 (aka Zongzi), a sticky #rice #treat wrapped in banana leaves. And the big cities send out Dragon #boats for big battles and races on the lakes and rivers! Cool!
WHAT HOLIDAYS HAVE YOU ENCOUNTERED?!?

#TB outbreak

Yay! Not! 4 students at my University have been confirmed to have #tb 😷 We’ve had an outbreak before and it isn’t pretty.  20,000 students and more teachers have to be tested and checked. 😱
#Diseases like this aren’t uncommon in some countries still. We’ve now had #Cholera, TB, and some other issues in the 3 years I’ve lived abroad. 
So if you #travel or #studyabroad or #teach internationally, be careful. Wash your hands👍, wear the #masks 😷, Avoid coughing or sneezing people 👄. Only eat food you’ve seen cleaned or well-cooked food🍴.  Drink bottled or boiled water ☕. Wash any dishes in boiling water, even at restaurants where dishes come wrapped! Sleep, take your vitamins, and drink orange juice!
#China #tourist #sick #health #safety #travelsafety #stayhealthy

Taking College Entrance Exams When Traveling Outside of the US

Just registered for the GMAT! Wish me luck! I’ll officially be taking the exam on February 7, 2017 at 8:30am in Henan, China. 

Yep, that’s right. Most standardized American college entrance exams are offered in international locations. In fact, many international schools also utilize these exams for admissions and scholarship criteria. For example, I’m looking at schools in Asia, and most of the accredited big ones ask for either the GMAT or the GRE. 

 So if you want to study abroad in fall of Senior Year or last year of Undergrad, you can still take the all-important exams you need for your future.  Or if you’re an international student looking to study in the states, you can find one in your area hopefully. 

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American College Testing (ACT)

The ACT is one of the two main undergraduate school entrance exams. Most universities accept either the ACT, SAT, both, (or on the very rare occasion) neither. It is up to you to research your potential universities and verify which exam they require. They are not major specific-all majors need to take it.

Format (as of 2016-2017) -the ACT has four primary parts (Math, Reading, Science, and English) as well as an optional written portion. The English portion covers grammar, punctuation, and structure. The Math portion covers basic algebra, trig, and calculus questions. The Reading portion asks you to analyze essays or paragraphs you read for meaning, complete thoughts, etc. The Science portion is less science and more logic. It asks you to take data and analyze it to answer their questions.  The Writing asks you to write an essay response to a question they give you.

Notes: Unlike the GMAT or computer-based GRE in the US, the GRE internationally is usually the “paper format.” Meaning you have to sign up for a specific date (often only a few times a year) to go take the test in hand-written form. Then, because scores are not calculated online, you will have to wait for your scores (as much as 4-6 weeks later).  SO READING INSTRUCTIONS IS IMPORTANT!

Cost: $51 (for International locations)

Next Date: April 8, 2017 (Register by March 3, 2017) or June 10, 2017 (Register by May 5, 2017).

List of International Locations  **To Register for International Locations, you must make an account on the ACT website and register through that. 

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Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT)

The SAT is one of the two main undergraduate school entrance exams. Most universities accept either the ACT, SAT, both, (or on the very rare occasion) neither. It is up to you to research your potential universities and verify which exam they require. They are not major specific-all majors need to take it.

Format (as of 2016-2017) -the general SAT has four primary parts (Math, Reading, Writing & Language, and Essay). The Writing & Language portion asks you to analyze things you read–correcting logic issues, strengthening or weakening the argument, finding errors, etc.. The Math portion covers basic algebra and elementary calculus/trigonometry questions. The Reading portion asks you to analyze essays or paragraphs you read for meaning, complete thoughts, etc.  The Writing asks you to write an essay response to a question they give you.

WARNING – I’ve heard a lot of bad things about the College Board exam centers in China. I have absolutely no background in other countries – but I do NOT recommend taking the SAT in Mainland China or Hong Kong.  Friends or students taking the exam here or in Hong Kong report never receiving their grades, being told to wait as much as 6 months for scores (and then still not getting them), scores being thrown out because “someone cheated,” not being given the full time to take the exam, not being provided with all the materials needed for the exam, questions not being answered, and more.  When students (some US citizens included) attempted to call the College Board in Hong Kong and ask for information, the first question they were asked is where they were from. When they said China, the office immediately hung up on them. Several reported similar issues. One of my friends was actually late applying to schools, despite taking the exam early, because her first scores never came and they just told her to re-take the exam again.  

Cost: $45 * without essay | $57 *with essay  (there is an addition “fee” for international students changing by region. Africa and the Americas pay an extra $35.  East Asia / Pacific pay an extra $53.  Europe and Eurasia pay an extra $38.  Middle East is $47. South and Central Asia is $49).

Next Date: January 21, 2017 (Register by December 7, 2017) or May 6, 2017 (Register by March 22, 2017).

List of International Locations  **It is not offered in March outside of the United States. You may have to obey special national rules for the SAT which vary country-by-country. The SAT does provide international examinees the option of having an “international representative.” However if you do this, you must register by paper and by the early deadline. They also cost money 🙂  Here is their “Tips for International Registration.”

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General Record Exam (GRE)

The GRE is a basic graduate school entrance exam used largely for all majors not including Medicine, Business, and Law. So basically all arts and sciences. It’s definitely the most popular and the most commonly taken exam of the lot. Schools accepting the GRE internationally

Format (as of 2016-2017) – the GRE has three separate parts (Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing). The Verbal Reasoning portion is split into Reading Comprehension (read the essay and answer questions about it), Text Completion (fill in the blank), and “Sentence Equivalence (word definitions –  can you put in the correct word).  The Quantitative Reasoning portion is mostly math and logic questions.  The Analytical Writing asks you to write an essay response to a question they give you.

Notes: Unlike the GMAT or computer-based GRE in the US, the GRE internationally is usually the “paper format.” Meaning you have to sign up for a specific date (often only a few times a year) to go take the test in hand-written form. Then, because scores are not calculated online, you will have to wait for your scores (as much as 4-6 weeks later).  SO TIMING IS IMPORTANT!

Cost: $205 (or $220 in China – why, I don’t know.)

Next Date: February 4, 2017 (Register by December 23, 2016 or pay a late fee).

List of International Locations where the Paper-based General GRE is offered. **To Register for International Locations, you probably need to look for testing centers and dates under the “paper version.”

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Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)

The LSAT is the graduate school entrance exam used students entering Law Schools. 

Format (as of 2016-2017) – the LSAT has five separate parts (Reading Comprehension, Analytical Reasoning, two Logical Reasoning sections, and a Writing portion). Reading Comprehension asks you to analyze essays or paragraphs you read for meaning, complete thoughts, etc. Tests your ability to analyze, understand, and apply what you read to other information. The Analytical Reasoning portion is what many of us call the “logic” portion. It’s like those old games you used to play (M is married to S. S is not married to T or J. X married on Tuesday but is not married to T. Who married who and when). The Logical Reasoning parts provide you with information and asks you to analyze what you read and draw conclusions, explain, or provide the logical theory underlying what you read. The Writing asks you to write an essay response to a question they give you.

Notes: Most schools want you to take the exam before December, in order to get your scores on time.

Cost: $180. (If you are applying to a US school, you’ll probably also buy the CAS paperwork compilation system which is $175).  

Next Date: Varies significantly by country and region. 

List of International Locations where the LSAT is offered. **Some countries only offer the exam on certain days, not all of them. 

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Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

The MCAT is the graduate school entrance exam used for Medicine programs. 

Format (as of 2016-2017) – the MCAT has four separate parts. The Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems portion tests biology, organic chemistry, and inorganic chemistry. The Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems tests biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, and physics. Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior Systems  will test psychology, sociology, and biology as it relates to sociological threats to heath. Critical Analysis and Reasoning portion is basically a Reading Comprehension section.  Mixed within the first three parts will be questions testing you on specific Scientific Inquiry and Reasoning Skills 

Notes: 

Cost: $310 (goes up to $365 about 1-2 weeks before the exam). Applicants at international locations must pay an extra $100 no matter what.

Next Date: January 19, 2017 (Often vary by country).

List of International Locations where the Paper-based General GRE is offered. **To Register for International Locations,follow the same instructions as domestic registrations. Make an account on the AAMC website first.

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General Management Achievement Test (GMAT)

The GMAT is a graduate school entrance exam used largely Business Schools. Some MBA programs accept the GRE in lieu of the GMAT, but not all. 

Format (as of 2016-2017) – The GMAT has four parts (Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal, and Analytical Writing). The Analytical Writing asks you to write an essay analytical response to a question they give you.The Integrated Reasoning will provide with a set of information and data. Then you will be asked a serious of questions based on that info analyzing your ability to evaluate, comprehend, and utilize it.  The Quantitative is similar but focuses on math and logic. You might be given a set of facts and then you are asked to find the truth that fits all those facts. The Verbal Reasoning tests you ability to correct sentences, answer reading comprehension questions, analyze and answer questions using what you read. 

Cost: $250  (+VAT – depending on Country)

Next Date: You Choose.  Each testing location and country will have different exams. Rather than the ACT, SAT, etc where a bunch of people take it together in a testing scenario, the GMAT and computer-based GRE are more individual. You must first choose your testing location. Then look at the dates and times available at that center.

List of International Locations where the GMAT is offered. **Each country has specific requirements and taxes they will apply. You need to read the “country-specific instructions” before applying.

Study Abroad Programs Addresses a Risk – Road Fatalaties

Study Abroad Programs Addresses a Risk – Road Fatalaties

by Tanya Mohn via “New York Times

The number of Americans who study abroad in credit-earning programs has more than tripled in the last two decades to reach a high of nearly 304,500 in the 2013-14 academic year, and the number studying in non-European countries has nearly doubled in the last decade to 118,625, the Institute of International Education said.

“The problem is educating students in something they are not used to thinking about,” said Inés DeRomaña. She is director of international health, safety and emergency response for the University of California system’s Education Abroad Program, which sends 5,600 students, from all 10 campuses, overseas annually, including to remote areas.

Road fatalities are a risk for young people everywhere. They are the leading cause of death for teens and young adults in the United States and worldwide, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization show. But the concern for educators is that students heading abroad may not consider some uniquely local risks of road travel — particularly in low- and middle-income countries, where W.H.O. figures indicate about 90 percent of the globe’s road-traffic deaths occur.

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Opinion: Study abroad is not about being on vacation

“Study abroad is not about being on vacation”

by Molly McSweyn via “UPBeacon”

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I tossed over in bed, uncomfortable and although exhausted, unable to fully fall asleep. My phone sat beside me, vibrating from texts. I heard movement outside of my door, quick steps, and feet hitting the staircase. My frustration grew, knowing I had to be up in a few hours to drive to Slovenia for the weekend. I finally sat up, trying to see if my roommate was having trouble sleeping as well. She wasn’t in her bed. I quickly slipped on a sweatshirt and made my way downstairs.

Turning the corner into our living space I saw almost half of the people in my program huddled together around our TV. No one spoke, no one even saw me enter the room. They watched the shaky cameras, the nervous newscasters, the pictures of horrified people. They watched as Paris officials reported the numbers: 130 dead, hundreds wounded.

On Sept. 11, 2001, I was too young to understand the gravity of the situation when thousands of Americans were killed in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. But at 20 years old, sitting among my peers and witnessing destruction in a city I had left just a week before, I understood. We sat for hours. Other than texting loved ones back home to reassure them that we weren’t in France anymore, we hardly spoke, but we sat together in solitude and shock.

As the night crept towards morning I asked the group I was supposed to travel with about Slovenia. If we were going to go we had to sleep, to get rest to wake up early. A few outright said they wouldn’t travel. A couple more said their parents didn’t want them to go. And the others just seemed confused about a course of action. We ultimately decided to cancel and all retreated to our beds.

But again, I tossed and turned. I thought of sitting beneath the Eiffel Tower, swaying in a hammock and eating lavender macaroons. I thought of sipping a Moscow Mule and dancing until 2 a.m. in a nightclub off of the Champs Elysees. I thought of the Louvre, the crepes and the winding streets. And I thought of the horrendous loss of 130 people.

But I also thought of fear. I thought of terrorism, a term that had always brought to mind images of dark rooms, closed doors, and hatred. And I thought of the goal of the people who had just torn through Paris. A terrorist’s goal is to terrorize and by not traveling we were allowing them, in some ways, to win.

I spent over five more months in Europe traveling to countless countries with my friends and experiencing some of the most incredible moments of my life. Study abroad is so much more than country hopping, pub-crawls and voluntourism. Study abroad is not just about being on vacation.

The terrorism did not end in Paris. It spread to the tourism hotspots of Belgium and Istanbul and continues daily throughout the Middle East. At times, I wondered about our safety as students abroad. We live in a world where I cannot make my way through a full day without hearing about another death or attack or bombing, stretching around the entire world. I am not saying we have to abandon caution or rational action, but we must find a balance. We must find a middle line to walk, between safety and living life to the fullest without letting fear inhibit us. . . . . .

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Airline Cheat Sheet ~ How to Bypass Airline’s Automated Phone System to Get a Real Person

Awesome! The British Travel site Cheap Flights (http://www.cheapflights.co.uk) has created an infograph helping travelers get ahold real human beings when calling an airline for help. 

Frequent travelers are all aware of the aggravation and time wasted whenever you have to call an airline to get help. Sometimes it’s all but impossible to find your way through the system (especially if the trusty “press 0 for operator” doesn’t work. 🙂 

So Cheap Flights put together this sheet to tell you what buttons to push if you want to get ahold of a person. Great Idea!