Travel jacket with 15 built-in gadgets raises $900,000 on Kickstarter

So What’s the verdict fellow Study-Abroadists?  Would you pay out extra money for this jacket or is it just another unnecessary travel accessory?  I’m kind of thinking I’d be too heavy-laden with all that stuff to walk :)**DB

“Travel jacket with 15 built-in gadgets raises $900,000 on Kickstarter”

by Jessica Plautz via “Mashable”

Baubax_feat

There are many many travel gadgets out there, and most of them aren’t worth the trouble of hauling around: The neck pillow for a not-complete-uncomfortable nap, the eye mask for when the guy next to you insists on using the reading light, a travel blanket for staying warm.

What if you could get all of those features in one Swiss Army knife-like travel jacket? The promise is apparently enough that one apparel company has already attracted about $900,000 in funding on Kickstarter to manufacture it. When the project launched on July 7, its goal was just $20,000.

BauBax’s travel jacket is 15 travel gadgets in one, according to the company. Features include the built in hood and eye mask, a drink pocket, a stylus-slash-pen zipper, and a variety of utility pockets for everything from a smartphone to a tablet. . . .

 

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STEM Students Study Abroad for Social Good

“STEM Students Study Abroad for Social Good”

by David F. Fougere via “3P

Engineering majors study abroad in United Arab Emirates.

 

This graduation season, while enjoying the commencement speeches full of inspirational words for students heading out into the world, ready to make it a better place, let’s consider this heartening fact: There’s a good chance they’ll make good on their promises. Forty percent of bachelor’s degrees earned by men and 29 percent earned by women are now in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), according to the National Student Clearinghouse. These are the innovators – the engineers, scientists and researchers – who will solve the world’s problems and lead us into the future.

Hard sciences as curricula for triple-bottom-line career paths? Absolutely.

At its highest level, the STEM philosophy is about improving quality of life and the health of the planet. This is a mantle that’s perfect for Generation Z, a cohort encompassing today’s high school and college students that is increasingly passionate about the needs of the developing world. With STEM degrees in hand, these soon-to-be professionals hold the knowledge and technologies needed to solve real-world problems and improve standards of living — not just in the United States, but also around the world.

More than 7 billion people around the world rely on STEM to solve rapidly increasing problems related to climate change, contamination, and food and water shortages. Combating these global issues requires the ability to see from multiple perspectives and the skills to bridge cultural divides.

As early as grade school, students are learning about the international nature of STEM efforts, from global warming to sustainability, and about the destinations far beyond U.S. borders that are leading the way. Take renewable energy: Denmark leads in wind power, Iceland in geothermal energy, Germany in sustainable architecture, Japan in solar, Costa Rica in hydroelectric power, Africa in rural water management and irrigation – the list goes on and on.

What it all comes down to is the fact that, to be cutting-edge or even just competitive, STEM works best with an international understanding of research and how to apply technologies and ideas within a cultural framework to make them most effective.

Increasingly, college and high school students are discovering that the best way to gain this critical international understanding while honing their skills in their chosen field is to combine their STEM curriculum with study abroad.

Take a look at a few examples. STEM students today can study conservation and marine biology in the island nation of Bonaire, home to one of the Earth’s most diverse and pristine marine habitats. But make no mistake; this is no beach vacation. Students on a tropical marine ecology and conservation program go on 35 scientific dives as part of their coursework. They collaborate on research projects with the Bonaire National Marine Park and other institutions, then present their findings to the public. Students even submit their findings to the student scientific journal, Physis: Journal of Marine Science. All this while immersing themselves in the local culture and deepening their appreciation for the impact their work can have.

Alternatively, engineering students might opt to spend a semester in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Home to incredible engineering feats, like the Burj Khalifa (the tallest tower in the world) and Palm Jumeirah (a man-made, palm tree-shaped archipelago), the UAE is the perfect place to learn about engineering, the Arab world and the global economy. There, students refine their Arabic language skills, and witness the daily intersection of traditional values and modern realities firsthand. They also go on excursions that illuminate their understanding of the region, alter their perspective of the world and match experiential learning with coursework. . . . .

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Educators Worry Technology Hampers Study Abroad Experience

“Educators Worry Technology Hampers Study Abroad Experience”

by Nina Keck via “VPR”

A record number of American college students are studying abroad – 282,000 according to the most recent data gathered by the Institute of International Education.

Educators say that’s good, since international education promotes critical relationship building and cross cultural understanding. But many in the field worry the influx of technology and social media may be hampering the ability of American students to fully immerse themselves abroad.

At Middlebury College’s annual study abroad fair, program administrators from all over the world recently touted their schools to travel hungry students.

“It’s nice that students get connected and feel safe. But then on the other hand we feel like we’re losing quite a bit of the full student when they’re plugged to the other side.” – Wairimu Ndirangu, Director of St. Lawrence University’s Kenya Program

Wairimu Ndirangu, has directed St. Lawrence University’s Kenya Program for 15 years.  Like many in the field, she thinks students today are too plugged in to friends and family back home. “We talk about it all the time.  It’s nice that students get connected and feel safe,” said Nkirangu. “But then on the other hand we feel like we’re losing quite a bit of the full student when they’re plugged to the other side.”

Barbara Hofer, a Psychology Professor at Middlebury College, believes it’s fairly new for people to be so connected while away.  She’s currently researching the impact of technology on study abroad programs to provide more hard data on the subject. “It’s not just that they can email or text or make a phone call, they also have Skype; they have Face Time; they have Viber,” she said, plus all the social media.

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“Tech Tips For Travel To Latin America”

“Tech Tips For Travel To Latin America”

by Ariel Coro via “Huffington Post

“After a long journey visiting relatives back home in South America or the Caribbean this holiday season, it would be well advised to arrive to your hotel well prepared. I recommend traveling armed with the right gadgets and tech that save space, are light and have multiple functions. Below are a few suggestions for your next trip abroad.

For travelers who enjoy photography, instead of lugging around a big camera, you can now carry, just the lens. What do I mean? Sony just released the Cybershot QX10, a wireless zoom lens for your smartphone. It connects to the lens through 
Wi-Fi and you can operate it using the Sony Play Memories app to take photos, videos and control the zoom lens. . . . .”