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international travel

Adulting

6 Smart Packing Tips if You’re Going to Study Abroad

September 10, 2020

Were you given the opportunity to study abroad? If so, you are probably counting down the days until you leave.

Which now brings us to the question: What will you bring? 

Trying to stuff all the things that you need into your suitcase or carry-on can probably be daunting, especially if you are unsure what is waiting for you the moment you step off the plane. 

Fortunately, we have come up with six smart packing tips to make everything a lot easier:

Pack for the Weather

Make sure that you research first the usual climate in the new city or country you are moving to, then plan accordingly. We suggest that you bring a light raincoat, a warm jacket, and items that can be easily layered. Remember that the climate of your study abroad country will make or break what you pack. 

Check Cultural Norms

If you are traveling to a country that is more conservative with how they dress, checking the cultural norms first will save you from packing items that will deem inappropriate in that country. This especially applies to clothes like shorts, dresses, and swimwear. 

The last thing that you want to do is to wear culturally insensitive clothes. For instance, you will not be allowed inside spiritual areas like churches or temples if you are not all covered up properly. 

Use the 12-Day Trick

We suggest that you pack outfits that are good for 12 days. That’s about two weeks worth of clothes. No matter how long you will be staying or studying abroad, chances are, packing outfits that are good for 12 days will be enough for you to attend class and explore the new place. 

If you feel tempted to pack beyond 12 days, then you might consider that shopping abroad is also part of the experience. 

Pack the Essential Documents

When studying abroad, you might need an extensive list of documentation. This list will often include:

  • Passport: This is your first key to studying abroad. Without this, you cannot travel outside of the country.
  • Visa: Depending on your country of origin, some countries won’t require you to have a visa. However, you might need to apply for a student visa since you’ll be studying abroad.
  • Medical Certificate: This is proof that you took flu shots and that you are healthy enough to travel.
  • Return Flight Details: Although not all, there are countries that require return flight details. This is to ensure that you won’t be overstaying.
  • Student Finance Documentation: You might also be required to prove that you can financially support yourself while studying abroad. This includes a letter to prove the capability for financial support from your parents or guardians.
  • University Letter of Acceptance: This is another proof that you are to stay in a country to study. 

Don’t Pack Things You can Buy

So you might want to pack a certain brand of shampoo or lotion you are using. But the thing is, these can also weigh down your suitcase. To avoid excess baggage fees, leave some of these items behind. Instead, opt to buy local products at grocery stores or drugstores once you arrive.

But you should also consider bringing travel sizes of these essentials. That way, you will have plenty of time to settle in once you arrive where you are studying. You will not have to run to the nearest grocery or drugstore to buy these essentials. 

Bring Your Gadgets

For most gadgets and appliances (curling irons, razors, and hair dryers), you might need a voltage converter. Usually, plugs from different countries are different, so is the amperage. 

Make sure to check with the manufacturer; more than likely you will find information on their sites about travel. That way, you will know whether or not a certain device can work with a converter. If it is not, it could potentially become a fire hazard, and might even destroy your appliance. 

Packing your stuff when you leave to study abroad can be challenging, but you can breathe in a sigh of relief once you are done. So, better get your suitcase ready, and prepare yourself as your educational adventure begins!

Health Uncategorized

4 Summer Activities to Help You Recharge

July 22, 2019

As a college student, you have undergone through stressful situations for the last several months dealing with assignments, term papers, thesis, and research papers. The increased academic work, coupled with continuous assessment tests has taken a toll on your body. An extended summer to refresh is just what is needed. If you are already wondering what to do, here are some exciting activities you can incorporate to destress. 

Cruise Vacations

Cruises are a great way to explore unique destinations while spending some time on the water. There are several cruise vacations to look into this summer, and you can choose the one that fits your tastes and preferences. Most of them move south from Florida heading to Puerto Rico and the Caribbean islands. Cruise vacations in Europe and Africa are an option as well. 

Volunteering

Volunteering is another option that allows you to refresh and see the world in another perspective. It is not all about spending hundreds of hours of accumulating knowledge. You need to get in touch with reality as well. You can volunteer in many ways, depending on your tastes and preferences and financial capacity as well. You may choose to spend some time with the seniors in the nearby senior facility and listen to their side of the stories. You can also choose to travel farther away from home and volunteer in environmental conservation strategies. 

Athletics

Physical fitness is a great summer activity. There are many opportunities to get involved with a sports team or another form of athletics. This allows you to exhaust yourself physically after a lengthy period of exhausting your mind and adding some pounds. Scientists indicate that there is a direct relationship between body fitness and critical thinking so you can be sure that you will return to college sharp and ready to solve those equations. 

African Game Drive

For hundreds of years, Africa has been the ultimate game drive destination for any person from the United States or Europe. Africa has bumpy roads and remote countryside where you can meet several native communities that have preserved their culture and traditions. A game drive in East Africa allows you to enjoy the Rift-Valley, lakes, some of the tallest mountains, and the big five animals in the world. Africa has direct sun throughout the year and unexploited coastal beaches along the Indian Ocean coastline. 

Cruise vacations, East African game drive, athletics, and volunteering are examples of great summer activities you can choose to refresh your mind after several months of college work. These activities from GradGuard are guaranteed to give you a memorable experience. However, it is essential to choose what works for you, depending on your tastes and preferences.

BIO: Brett has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.

Health Uncategorized

How to Stop Making Excuses and Start Traveling Already

April 15, 2019

Traveling opens the door to achieving new opportunities and discovering new dreams. Getting to see countries, continents, jumping on cruises, and seeing other places can allow for you to gain a new sense of optimism and see things from a different light. It’s hard for college students to travel because of a lack of money and having time to do so, but the truth is that you need to stop making those excuses if you want to live life fruitfully.

Stop Making Excuses About Not Being Able To Travel

Traveling is one of the most incredible ways to experience life, but when you constantly use your college life circumstances as your reasoning as to why you can’t do it, then you will miss out. Most excuses usually stem from two things: not having enough money and not having enough time. If you don’t sort either of these out, you are missing out on great opportunities.

Understand that traveling can be done in multiple ways and doesn’t have to be through the traditional route. For example, you can always take a luxury cruise to Hawaii instead of flying. Doing this means the traveling already begins even before you land on the islands. You can also take long drives and road trips to different destinations around the nation. Traveling can be done in ways that can suit your budget, lifestyle, and means of ability.

Saving Money To Travel

Tuck Away Extra Cash

Do you ever find yourself getting random checks? How about additional change you never use? Stash away real dollar bills and coins that you find and have, and then use that to build your next trip. Every paycheck you have should have a small amount go straight into your future trips fund.

Extra Side Jobs

If you want to travel badly enough, find a side hustle. There are plenty of ways you can make an extra amount of cash on top of your current workload. Side hustles can be anything from mowing lawns to tutoring kids or other students. Be creative. Use any skills you have. Making extra money is about being creative and putting yourself out there.

Know How To Hunt For Flights

You don’t need to fly business class to have a good vacation. You don’t need to stay at the most expensive place at the Bahamas to achieve a fun time. Know how to hunt down quality flights and good hotel prices. It’s all about creativity and using your mind to find resources that open the door to saving money. Cheap hotels, flights, and accommodation within your budget can allow you to go anywhere you want. The Internet is full of resources to locate affordable options for everything travel related.

Creating Time to Travel

Plan Months In Advance

Take a look at the next two months of your life and try to find a time and a place when you can fly to the destination of your dreams and see other parts of the world. Planning out a trip in advance also means you have the time to save money for it for the future. No need to spend every dollar that you have right now for your trip.

Day Off Requests

Getting time off from work is also a tough thing to overcome. Asking for days off months in advance opens the door to achieving the best possible free time so that you can travel.

Lessons To Be Learned From Traveling

Going out of your state and into other parts of the nation opens the door to learning about your country. Traveling out of state and going abroad opens an even bigger door of knowledge and education learning about other parts of the globe. Historical landmarks, national parks, an educational sites allow you to discover new cultures and livelihoods. Traveling teaches you about the way other people live their daily life, allowing you to appreciate the world and how it operates in different parts of the globe. You can even pick up a new language everywhere you go and dive right in to the other cultures.

Stop making excuses on why you aren’t traveling enough. Stop not caring about your financial life and start saving for the future. Your next trip is not far away. You can plan a trip and go to a new country this year and make it a goal to visit someplace else in the next year. Just a few adventures a year can open your mind to endless possibilities. These tips from GradGuard can helo get you there!

BIO: Brett has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.

Career Uncategorized

Going, Going, Gone…Abroad!

July 18, 2016

If you’re in college, you’ve probably heard a lot about study abroad. Going abroad means being able to study in a foreign country (and sometimes in a different language) while also having the opportunity to travel, meet new people from around the world and explore a new culture. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to spend some time outside of your everyday college campus–there are study abroad programs across the globe. Even if your college or university does not offer a study abroad program in a place you’d like to see, there’s a high probability that another school does.

Through study abroad, you have the chance to live in places you may never have considered before–I know people who have studied in England, South Africa, Morocco, Ireland, Switzerland, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Kenya, Mexico, Ecuador, Argentina and other amazing countries! The options truly are endless. I decided to go to Madrid, Spain for my study abroad period last spring. I perfected my Spanish through three language and literature classes, a home stay with a Spanish family and an internship at a sports marketing agency in the city. I also learned about the history and culture that makes Spain such a wonderful country. It was an eye-opening, life-changing experience!

Going abroad is becoming more and more common among college students. Every year, over 350,000 American students pack up their suitcases and study abroad. In the last decade, study abroad participation has seen a 130% increase in American college students. While close to 40% of students chose to go during their junior year, most schools offer programs open to sophomores and up. Surprisingly, only 6.2% of study abroad students go for a foreign language. No matter what your major is, there’s a chance to get out and see the world!

If you’re considering study abroad, make sure to look up programs at your school, as well as other universities. Take time to research a program you’re truly interested in–one you know that will challenge and change you. If you’re already going abroad, make sure to think ahead with regard to visas, plane tickets and travel insurance. Don’t leave any important paperwork until the last minute!

How to Prepare for Studying Abroad

If you are studying abroad this upcoming semester, you’ve (hopefully!) done your research and gotten all your paper work ready, but there are still plenty of things to do. Before traveling abroad, here’s a fun checklist for what you should do and bring before you board that plane!

  • Pack light. Most likely you’ll be traveling alone or with others who are also studying abroad, therefore, you’re the only one who will be carrying your stuff. In many cultures outside of the US, there is not as much of an emphasis on “new” and “excess” – it’s okay to wear the same outfit more than once. Pack only what you’ll need while you’re away and things that can be used for multiple purposes – your favorite outfits, comfortable shoes, exercise clothes that can double as pajamas, and one dressed up outfit. Your wardrobe will vary greatly depending on where you are going, but remember to pack smart. When you’re away, you’ll find yourself gravitating to only a fraction of what you bring with you – eliminate the wasted space. For me, being in a foreign culture meant I gravitated toward my favorite outfits time and time again since those are what I felt most comfortable in while adjusting to new surroundings.
  • Bring mementos from home. I know, I said pack light, but you should bring with you some photographs of family and friends as well as a few souvenirs for the friends you meet abroad. You WILL go through at least some culture shock and having reminders of home and the people you left at home will help you feel less lonely during the initial shock phase.
  • Expect a period of culture shock. When studying abroad and living abroad for a few months, culture shock is unavoidable. Many studies and articles portray culture shock as a bell curve – at first it is fun and exciting, then you assimilate more and realize the differences and barriers in culture and become lonely, and finally you adjust, understanding and appreciating the differences in culture and recapturing the excitement of being abroad. While you will experience loneliness, make sure to put yourself out there, make new friends and beat that loneliness! You will come through it.
  • Get out there! For many, you will only study abroad or even live abroad once, so take advantage! If you can travel, travel. If you can make new friends from your host country, make those friends! Try new cuisines and activities, spend time getting to know your host family, and visit every tourist trap and museum. Get to know your city, get to know the locals and take it all in! Experiencing the new culture around you is just as much a learning experience as the classes you’ll take abroad – so do your homework!
  • Be safe. Do your research before you go to make sure you know of any dangerous areas in your city, crime problems, or health advisories in the area in which you will be studying. The Students Abroad site by the Department of Consular Affairs is a great resource:http://studentsabroad.state.gov/index.php. Learn how to best manage an emergency situation abroad, more about local laws and they have an awesome handy-dandy packing guide. It never hurts to be prepared!

But perhaps most importantly, have fun and stay safe this semester!