Wednesday, 19 October 2016

5 Study Tips While Abroad

5 Study Tips While Abroad 

Studying abroad can be a fun time full of new adventures but remember, you still have to take your classes, so with any luck these five easy tips can help make your life less stressful as you embark on this new adventure. 

1.      Get a planner.
Even if you don’t use one back home you will need one while studying abroad. If you have a well organized planner, you can save yourself some stress and confusion later in the semester. Buying a planner is the first step but really writing in it is step two. Take the syllabus and mark down the dates for your papers and tests as well as the trips you are taking. A planner can keep everything organized while you are travelling around the world while still trying to  pass all your classes.
2.      Use your time wisely.
In past semesters, it was easy to put all your homework off till the weekend and binge watch all six seasons of your favorite show. While abroad, you won’t have time on the weekends. So, put down the Netflix and do your homework instead. If you use the free time you have throughout the week to do little bits of your work you won’t have to spend all Sunday night cramming in a week’s worth of assignments. 
3.      Bring some homework with you.
I know it sounds lame to pack homework on your trip, but you will be thankful later if you do. Use all that time on a train or plane to catch up on your reading assignments. If you don’t want to take the whole book, make a copy of the chapters you need to read to save space. If you do some homework while you travel you will have less to finish when you get back.
4.      Use all your available resources.
This one is just a good study tip in general.  While abroad, make sure to visit the library. Yes, there is a library. It also has quiet floors so you can actually get some work done. You can also visit sites like or to help make your study session more productive.
5.      Eliminate outside distractions.
It is 2016 and everyone has a mobile phone attached to them all hours of the day, but if you want to make your study time more effective then lock your phone in a drawer and get to work. Getting your mind away from your friends latest Facebook post or your ex’s last Instagram photo will keep your mind more focused on the assignment at hand. Trust me, all your social media sites will still be there after you finish your homework and your GPA will thank you later.

When you study abroad, you hear a lot about the places people go and the amazing things they see but a lot of people forget to mention the classes they were in. Don’t let those smiling faces fool you. The classes can be tough, but hopefully with these quick study tips you can conquer your classes and even the world. 

Written by: Brielle Brown

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Top 5 Tips For Planning Independent Trips



Plan in Advance

Flights are cheapest about 7 weeks before the departure date. Most budget airlines have a certain number of seats that they will offer at the lowest price, once those are booked they will offer the more seats at a higher price. Check out to compare airline fares.

Train tickets will also increase the closer to a date you get so book those about 3 weeks in advance, too.

It never hurts to call your taxi a week early, either, especially if it’s a busy weekend for traveling or if you’re on a time crunch. Taxi's may only be available 30 minutes before or after your requested time if you wait until the day of to call. This is a big deal if you have classes well into the afternoon.

16-25 Rail Card:
It’s worth it! My rail card paid for itself within 2 train tickets and trust me, if you’re flying out of London every weekend this will totally pay for itself.

City Cards:
Most cities offer tourist cards. Most give discounted or free access to public transit and several offer admissions to popular tourist attractions. Not all are worth their prices though. Compare what you want to do with the cost of the tourist card. Some websites will even do this for you. Some city tourist cards I’ve personally found worth while are:
·         London: Oyster Card (discount on underground services – also saves time)
·         Cinque Terre, Italy: Cinque Terre Card (free access to Wi-Fi, public restrooms, trails, and unlimited bus rides between towns)
·         Munich: Bayern ticket (free unlimited public transport around Bayern)
·         Barcelona: T10 Card (10 public transit rides for free – you can also split those rides amongst multiple people)

Check the Reviews

Unless you’re traveling to Antarctica there are probably reviews on just about everything you’ll do while you travel. Make sure you don’t just go by the rating either. Once you have it narrowed down to a few options, actually READ some of the most recent reviews to see why the rating is what it is. For example, a hostel might be rated a 7 out of 10 because of a lack of a “fun atmosphere”, while others might be rated a 7 out of 10 because of lack of cleanliness. There is an important distinction here. Some of the best websites for reviews are:
· for hostels

· for hotels

· for restaurants and activities/sights

      If you can’t find a review on an activity on one of the popular websites, try googling the activity and find a travel blog that might have a review on it. Travel blogs aren’t always accurate because they are one person’s opinion but they can be helpful if there is not enough information otherwise.

      Utilize the Apps

GET ALL THE APPS! Just kidding, don’t or else you’ll have no room for pictures. But seriously, before you travel somewhere make sure you have some of the basic apps.
·         Tube Map: London Underground: this app tells you which lines to take and how long it will take you to reach your destination saving you lots of time!
·         CityMaps2Go: This allows you to access maps of wherever you are offline. It even tracks where you are using satellite. It says it only gives you one free offline map but as long as you delete the app and re-download it, you can continue getting new offline city maps for free. Sometimes you can even get an entire country or region which is helpful if you’re traveling outside of a major city.
·         PayPal: When traveling with a group you’ll often pay for one another. For example, it is not customary to split checks at most European restaurants so you’ll be indebted to each other multiple times throughout trips. PayPal makes it easy to pay one another on the spot and quickly transfer it to your bank account without a charge.

 Be a Leader

Sometimes it’s hard to organize a large or even small group; heck, it’s hard to organize yourself when making travel plans! You’ll be forced to make decisions on a regular basis so don’t be afraid to commit or offer your opinion to the group you’re traveling with. Throw out a restaurant suggestion. Speak up if you want to go into that cute shop you just passed. Remember, you deserve to have the experience you want to have.

Written by: Nicole Childress