How to Plan Weekend Trips While Studying Abroad

“How to Plan Weekend Trips While Studying Abroad”

by Lindsay Robbins via “SR[Trends]”

If you haven’t already left for your study abroad experience this fall, you probably will soon. And one of the first things you’ll want to do is plan trips to the other countries you want to visit while you’re there. It can be a little confusing and scary to be planning all of these on your own without the help of your parents. But it really isn’t that difficult, and I have some tips to help you figure out how to book your trips, save money, and have fun on your weekend trips!

 

1. It’s definitely better figure it all out early, so that you can find cheaper travel and places to stay. If you try to book a trip a couple of days before you leave, the prices will be jacked up. By that point, people are willing to pay more as long as they get the trip, so that is why businesses do that. So avoid that by planning it all out early! Beside a spontaneous trip I took to London at the end of the semester (expensive!) and my trip to Greece after school ended, all of my weekends were planned out way far in advance, and I was able to get cheaper prices because of it. When my roommate and I first went to London (the end of January, yes I did go twice), we were able to get plane tickets that were only £34! Which was like a little less than $40. And most of our flights ended up being less than $90, and our hostels were usually pretty cheap too. RyanAir tended to have the cheapest flights, so we ended up using them a lot. Just be prepared for a chaotic and slightly uncomfortable trip. It’s first come first serve in the seats so you want to get there early!

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2. Using comparison sites when booking. If you use a site that shows you many options, instead of using the airline site or the airport site, then you will be able to find a better deal, for both flights and hotels/hostels. You’ll have more options, so you’ll be able to pick the one that best fits both your budget and your schedule! A good site to use isBookingBuddy, who will give you tons of choices for flights. You could save up to 50% just by using their site!

3. Know what you want to do before you get there. I wouldn’t say plan out each trip right when you book it (if you book early like I suggest), but a couple of days before you leave, you should check out which attractions you want to go. Often, if you check online, you can get discounted prices, or you can check to see if they have student discounts so you know to show your student ID at the ticket counter. Sometimes they’ll have packages for a couple of different attractions, which can save you money if you plan on going to every one of those places, but if you aren’t, then I suggest avoiding those. Some of the best things I did was free walking tours of the cities. First of all, it’s free, and walking is a great way to take in the city and figure out your way around it. Plus, the tour guide usually has lots of cool stories and things that you wouldn’t get from a bus tour. One time we even got to taste some cheese from Amsterdam. The only thing you pay for is tipping your tour guide at the end, however much you think it’s worth. You can buy tickets online so you don’t have to worry about finding out where to buy it there. So before you leave, definitely see what you want to do so you can have some sort of schedule and not completely miss what you want to do or forget a site to see.

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4. Use sites like Hostelworld.com to help you get better rates on places to stay. This is how I booked all of my hostels, and I had no problem finding nice places in good areas that weren’t too expensive. They have reviews from people who actually stayed there so you can see what they say and base your decisions off of that, so you know exactly what you’re getting at your hostel. To get the lowest prices, you’ll usually be sharing a room with more than just the friends you’re traveling with, but it’s always fun to meet new people! If that makes you uncomfortable, there are private rooms, and you should be able to find a place that will have those, or room that only house 4 or 5 people in a room, for a low price. . . . .

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Helping Our Students to Study Abroad: Trends and Advice

“Helping Our Students to Study Abroad: Trends and Advice “

via “Ed Week: Global Learning

“The profile of U.S. study abroad is changing. Today a more diverse range of students are studying in more destinations and through innovative programs that fall outside of the traditional model. Being aware of these trends can help us understand what motivates students to go abroad so we can encourage and support them. By beginning the exploration of other countries in elementary school, we build on students‘ natural curiosity about the world around them. Short-term high school experiences abroad can seed interest in longer, more in-depth study at the postsecondary level. Christine A. Farrugia, Senior Research Officer, Institute of International Education, shares some of the latest trends and her advice.

By guest blogger Christine A. Farrugia 

According to Open Doors,®* 289,408 U.S. higher education students studied abroad from their home institution in 2012/13, an increase of 2 percent over the previous year, and continuing a trend of slow growth (between 1 to 3 percent per year). The high school rate of study abroad remains steady at less than 1 percent. However, against this backdrop of slow growth, there are pockets of strong growth among certain students and in certain destinations and types of programs.

New Students:  STEM majors are the fastest growing group
At the higher ed level, students majoring in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are driving the growth in U.S. study abroad. For the first time ever, STEM majors outnumber study abroad students in other major fields: In 2012/13, they accounted for 23 percent of study abroad students, followed by students majoring in social sciences (22 percent) and business (20 percent).

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Over the past fifteen years, study abroad by STEM majors has grown substantially, outpacing growth in other fields. Contributing to this growth is an increasing awareness by students and faculty advisers of the career-related benefits of global experiences, as well as increased efforts by STEM programs to provide more flexible requirements and short-term study abroad options that can be easily integrated into tightly structured STEM curricula.

This growth is likely to continue as more U.S. students are projected to major in STEM fields. This means that study abroad programs will need to provide more options that align with the structured curricula of STEM programs, including engineering courses abroad taught in English.

New Destinations: Asia and Latin America are rising
Asia and Latin America are the new hot spots for U.S. postsecondary students studying overseas.  While over half of these students head to Europe, growth in study abroad in Asia increased by 23 percent and in Latin America increased by 13 percent.

Student interest in studying in Asia has increased along with the region’s economic rise. China rose to the fifth leading study abroad destination for U.S. postsecondary students in 2006/07 and has held that position every year since. Initiatives such as 100,000 Strong in China have increased the number of U.S. students (K-12 and postsecondary) in China by promoting it as a destination for study abroad, as well as student research, internships, language study, study tours, and other forms of non-credit education. But Asia’s popularity among U.S. students is not just about China. Japan, India, and South Korea are also among the top 20 destinations for U.S. students.  . . . .

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4 signs you should NOT study abroad

“4 signs you should NOT study abroad”

by Varsity Tutors via “USA Today College”

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As you likely realize, studying abroad is a popular educational experience. Many colleges and universities offer an array of interesting overseas programs, and they encourage their students to take advantage at least once during the course of their academic careers.

Study abroad programs range in duration from several days to a year — or, in rare instances, longer. They take place in virtually every country and on every continent (including Antarctica!).

You may wonder if you should study abroad, but before you begin packing your bags, check for the following four signs that may indicate an overseas experience is not for you.

1. You easily become homesick

Certain individuals simply do not enjoy being far from home for long periods of time. It can be difficult to leave your family members, friends—and pets!—for months or weeks. Prolonged feelings of homesickness can cause anxiety and emotional distress, which can sometimes lead to physical illness. None of this is pleasant to experience, especially if you are living abroad. These negative feelings can often be overcome with stress management techniques like deep breathing. It is also likely that you will have an instructor or classmates present on your trip who can help you cope with these feelings. However, you may wish to rethink an overseas experience if you have had persistent trouble with homesickness in the past.

2. You dislike change and uncertainty

Studying abroad will force you out of your comfort zone. Your day-to-day experiences, no matter how well planned, will be at least somewhat unpredictable as you attempt to navigate life in a foreign country. While overseas, you will likely encounter customs, food and languages far different from those to which you are accustomed. A dislike of change and uncertainty can contribute to stress, just like homesickness. If you are easily upset by unpredictable and unfamiliar situations, studying abroad is perhaps not the best idea. . . . .

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