Archive for the ‘Study Abroad’ Category

Guest Post | Study Abroad: My Frantastic Experience

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

My name is Afua Darkwa and I am a senior studying Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Missouri. This summer, I had the opportunity to participate in a two-month study abroad program in France. The program was designed to give us hands on experience after weeks of class instruction. The first part  was a four-week program studying Food Science at Purpan University in Toulouse, France. In Toulouse, I lived with 47 other American foodies that were on a quest to discover food and wine overseas. At the university, it was important that we understood the overall history of the European Union. We learned about special French commodities like Roquerfort cheese, Label Rouge chickens and the most important delicacy, wine. We took weekly field trips to the regions where the food was produced to obtain a more tangible experience of what we learned in class. Weekends in the program were awesome. We traveled to the Pyrenees Mountains for a physically challenging hike and Barcelona, Spain for tapas and dancing. The nightlife in Toulouse was a blast too. Toulouse is filled with pubs and nightclubs that we attended regularly.

The second part of the study abroad program entailed a four-week internship. There were two options given: Food Production (working on a farm making cheese) or Wine Agriculture (making wine on a vineyard). I chose the latter. I was placed in a small village called Gensac, right outside of Bordeaux. This is one of the world’s most famous regions for wine production. I worked on the Chateau Carbonneau vineyard. I was very hands-on in the vineyard. Planting grapes and removing weeds were the bulk of my daily task. It is indeed backbreaking work, but that’s what it takes to produce superior wine. I also had the chance to bottle, label and package the wine. At this particular chateau, they offer wine tastings. Whenever we had English-speaking visitors, I ran the wine tasting. It was pretty awesome.

My overall experience in France was one of a kind. I learned how to make wine and more importantly appreciate it. I also learned a lot about the French culture and their way of life. It is very different but in a good way. The appreciation they have for food is as strong as mine. I left France a couple days ago, but I know I’ll be back. The family that owns the farm, Wilfried and Jackie Franc-de-Ferriere produce great wine and they even have a bed and breakfast inside of their chateau! For more pictures and information about the wine or B&B, visit

Guest Post | On Getting Lost

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Will Nichols, avid traveler and writer for, the leading study abroad review website, has studied economic development in Buenos Aires, worked for a headhunting firm in Madrid, and politely feigned his enjoyment of a boiled caterpillar sandwich in Burkina Faso. He has traveled to 47 countries on 5 continents.

Author and insatiable traveler Rudyard Kipling once wrote that, “The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.” This statement would be entirely irrelevant if it didn’t provide a clever segue into what I actually want to point out: The second condition of understanding a foreign country is to lose yourself in it.

So get lost. Seriously, get lost! No, I’m not suggesting that you navigate away from this blog; I’m suggesting that when you begin your travel experience, you get lost. I mean it. When you arrive in a new city, the single most important thing you can do is get completely, utterly, and thoroughly lost. Only by truly losing yourself can you find your way and understand a foreign country.

But if you’ve been blessed with an internal GPS like mine, getting lost is second nature: When I woke up from an impromptu nap on bus #56, somewhere in the northern suburbs of Buenos Aires–and approximately eighteen stops past my apartment–I had no choice but to find my own way home. Relying on the one-two punch of aimless wandering and infallible intuition, I walked a whole two blocks…before swallowing my pride and asking for directions at the nearest gas station. OK, fine, so I couldn’t find my way back on my own…and yeah, maybe I was so absolutely lost that I eventually had to settle for a taxi…and maybe what should have been a fifteen-minute journey took over an hour. But my point is this: I saw a new neighborhood that I wouldn’t have otherwise experienced, I had to communicate in a foreign language to find my way home, and most importantly, I learned that being lost in the deserted streets of the B.A. suburbs in the wee hours of the morning is mildly terrifying. All things considered, it was a learning experience.

If, however, your navigational skills are more advanced than mine, you might need to try to get lost. Here’s a quick and easy recipe for losing yourself and finding your way in a new city:

1. Step out onto the street with the following essential supplies in hand: a wad of cash and your address, written down. (If you’re less extreme, you might take a city map and/or your cell phone)
2. Point in any direction. This direction may be front, back, left, right, or any permutation thereof.
3. Walk in that direction until either (a) the scenery becomes monotonous, (b) you spy something appealing down side street, or (c) your BlackBerry’s 3G signal slows to the point where you can no longer Tweet minute-by-minute travel updates.
4. At this point, pick a new direction.
5. Walk in that direction. Duh.
6. Repeat steps two through five.
7. Stop a stranger and ask where to catch the nearest bus, subway or rickshaw.
8. Board nearest form of transportation and ride until you feel like stopping.
9. Wander back to your dorm or apartment–on foot or public transportation–slowly enough to take in your new surroundings and understand your new home.
10. Congratulations. You’ve overcome the first major obstacle of adjusting to a new city.


Guest Post | Her Campus Shares Tips To Stay Safe While Studying Abroad

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

The collegiates™ were kind enough to share one of their posts with us. Annie Wazer created a list of tips to keep you safe while studying abroad!

One of the perks of studying abroad, aside from having the opportunity to live in a foreign country, is having the freedom to be able to travel.  Some of my favorite memories from my past semester in London have been of exploring new cities—from Copenhagen, to Prague, to Dublin, to Amsterdam, to Paris, I’ve fallen in love with each of the cities that I’ve visited.  As exciting as traveling may be, though, you can only truly appreciate a new environment if you feel safe in it.

Preparation for travel is crucial to ensuring a safe and stress-free (or, at least, stress-reduced) trip.  Before you go anywhere, follow these steps and take note of these suggestions to make sure that you’re fully informed about your destination and prepared for whatever circumstances may arise:

What to Consider When Booking a Hostel

Read reviews of your accommodation before booking: If you’re a student, then chances are that you’ll be staying in a hostel.  Don’t underestimate this timeless rule:  you get what you pay for.  When it comes to hostels, this rule couldn’t be more accurate.  I’m a huge proponent of Hostel World; its rating system is reliable and the comments are invaluable.  A couple months ago, I didn’t take the comments about a hostel in Copenhagen seriously enough, and ended up on the same street as several prostitutes and drug dealers—this is a safety DON’T.

Head over to Her Campus for more tips on staying safe while studying abroad! Be sure to share any additional tips with us and Her Campus!

Study Abroad: East Meets West

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Guest Post by Natalie Porter on What a study abroad program in Japan has to offer

Sushi, pearls, fashion, hot cars. Remind me to send Japan a thank you note! 

So much of Japan has worked its way into American culture. Yet, ironically, so much of Japanese culture is distinctly American. You can find a McDonalds on every corner, turn on the radio to hear an American pop song playing and buy a pair of Diesel jeans at the mall. So why not merge cultures a little bit more by placing yourself right in the middle of one of the fastest growing countries in the world, and study abroad in Japan.

Although much of American culture and Japanese culture have merged, Japan remains a place rich in history and tradition.  The Japanese are known for their beautiful ink paintings on silk, wood carving and sword crafting. Immerse yourself in Japanese culture with a visit to a historic Japanese temple during your semester in Japan.  There is also modern appeal for the urbanites out there. Japan in ornamented with tightly packed skyscrapers, bustling streets and people all moving in their own directions.

Study abroad programs in Japan are not only about appreciating the culture of Japan; they also offer many ways to advance yourself professionally and academically.  Because Japan has the second largest economy in the world and is a virtual epicenter of technology, Japan internships have much to offer American students.  Many schools have excellent Japan internship opportunities through their study in Japan programs, especially for, but not limited to, business majors.  With almost a 100% literacy rate, language programs in Japan are another incredibly enticing opportunity for students.  Because of the effects of globalization, it’s not just the Japanese language in which the Japanese people are literate. You could even learn Spanish in Japan- hey why not!

Nicole Lipsky, now a senior undergraduate student, studied abroad in Japan. Nicole was drawn to Japan for both cultural and academic reasons. Her favorite part of the diverse and beautiful country was Tokyo.

“For a flat rate you get unlimited travel on trains and subways throughout Japan. While a lot of my friends wanted to go to Kyoto (to see gardens and temples) and Nagano (to go skiing) or other popular cities, all I wanted to do was visit Tokyo”, said Nicole. She explains, “I just really wanted to spend as much time as possible in Tokyo. The idea of walking around a huge city by myself, immersed in the fast-paced culture of a trendy, young population, crazy technology and amazing food- nothing sounded more appealing to me than that.” What better way to find yourself than to lose yourself in the crowded streets of Japan, which coincidentally, Nicole says happened to her frequently.

Take the opportunity to have your own east meets west experience and live your college years to the fullest with a study abroad program in Japan.

This is a guest post from – the Internet’s leading source of information for students seeking a study abroad program.  Find your study abroad program at

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Studying Abroad: What’s in it for me?

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Guest post by

Can you imagine studying architecture at the Parthenon, or art history at the Sistine Chapel? What about learning a language in its native country, or observing exotic plant life where it lives and thrives? Now imagine doing those things and actually being able to afford it. Believe it or not, it’s possible.

For a lot of students, the idea of studying abroad is an exciting opportunity to stray from their comfort zones and the daily routine of campus life. The wheels start to turn and the idea of traveling from city to city, gaining international experience and meeting new friends while abroad becomes a near reality. Before solidifying this decision, students must first work through a long list of choices to decide what type, length and location of program is best while considering which funding opportunities will meet their needs.

Read on to learn about the different types of study abroad programs available, the advantages of traveling abroad and how you can expect to pay for the trip.

What’s in it for me?

No matter the type of program, you will gain invaluable experience both professionally and personally from studying abroad. The bullet points a study abroad program will add to your resume have the power to set you apart from other job candidates post-graduation. From international relations experience to living in a new culture and possibly speaking a foreign language, studying abroad shows future employers you are able to adapt and excel in new environments.

Aside from the professional experience, studying abroad affords you the opportunity to have fun in new and exciting ways! You will make friends from around the world, travel to exotic cities in your free time, visit famous landmarks, and much more. Many students arrive home after a study abroad program to find they are more open minded with a new outlook on life.

What are my options?

Study abroad programs are offered for both undergraduate and graduate students and can vary in length from a traditional semester overseas to a shorter stay during the summer or an entire academic year abroad. While abroad, students typically select a normal course load of credits toward their degree, however some programs are service oriented like a volunteer program. Other programs such as internship or intensive language programs focus solely on developing skills.

Many schools offer study abroad programs directly. In fact your college might offer a variety of programs, but don’t be too quick to choose a program just because it’s through your school. You can enroll in programs through other colleges or third party providers. Be sure to compare the prices between programs, courses offered and if the credits you earn will be applied toward your degree. Often times, students find that their college doesn’t offer a program to the country or city where they want to live. Others find they would prefer to travel with their school’s program because it might be cheaper (which isn’t always true) or they want to go with an established group of friends. The decision is yours.

What about the Benjamin’s?

Sure this all sounds great, right? But now you’re left thinking, can I afford it? Funding opportunities are as immense as the types and locations of study abroad programs offered. Students can often apply their current financial aid package used at their on-campus institution to the study abroad program. Additionally, there are countless scholarships and grants provided by a variety of organizations.

Where do I start? helped more than 2 million students research study abroad programs in 2010. With more than 12,000 study abroad program listings, search the directory of undergraduate and graduate programs to find semester, summer and year-long study abroad programs, internship programs, intensive language programs and more. Read articles and blogs written to answer your questions about what to expect, how to pack, and other hot topics of study abroad hopefuls.

No matter the program or destination, studying abroad will expand your borders and horizons. Join the movement to study abroad.

This is a guest post from – the Internet’s leading source of information for students seeking a study abroad program.  Find your study abroad program at
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How to Pack for Study Abroad

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions about Packing for a Study Abroad Program
Guest post by Fahima Haque

You managed to successfully navigate the stressful waters of choosing a study abroad location, the lengthy application process is now complete and you’ve been accepted to the study abroad program of your choosing. Now what?

Well, now comes the not so minor detail of packing – you know, actually planning and making it to said exotic location with everything you need and want. And for most people, packing is the dreaded factor in the equation.

I spoke with a study abroad veteran offered up her knowledge on her do’s and don’ts for preparing anxious students on travel essentials.

For Erika Huang, who spent January through May 2009 in Florence, Italy, organization was key. “I’m a worry-wart, and I’m big on making check lists. As December approached, I started writing down things I knew I’d need, but could easily forget. As I would go about my daily routines I made mental notes of things I’d need and things I wouldn’t. It was all a process of checklists,” she said.

Q: What was the hardest part of deciding what to pack?
A: Deciding what to take was terrible, especially for a girl…from New York…with tons of clothes. Plus, there’s a 50 lb. weight limit set by Lufthansa Airlines. I would have outfits and articles of clothing in mind and literally flip through each hanger and quickly piece in my mind what I would wear it with, how often, and if I really would because many people over pack and don’t wear many things even once. So the worst part was trying to really predict the number of times I’d actually wear a certain thing and classifying other objects as essentials or things I could live without or things I could get while there.

Q: Were you concerned with luggage weight restrictions?
Very! I wanted to give myself, if possible, five to 10 lbs. of space in each suitcase, because I was warned during orientation that I’d of course want to come back with stuff, i.e. souvenirs, clothing, random trinkets. It builds up and you want to be sure you’ll have space for it and still make weight.

Q: What did you regret not taking?
A: Floss, painkillers, cold and allergy medication, and vitamin C drops.

Q: Any useful tips or tricks to help prepare students?
Bring things that can double in usage and think ahead about items that are worth waiting to buy until you arrive because it’s just as cheap and you can trash it before you leave to save room. For me, I bought a small suitcase for my spring break trip to Paris, France. I didn’t want to pay 25 Euros to check a bag, so I managed to stuff a week’s worth of clothes and other things in there and then left it behind when it was time to return home.

So it seems however you choose to prepare to spend time abroad, there are some things you just can’t ignore. Be sure to give yourself enough time to gather your belongings and pack them into your suitcase. It’s never going to be as quick and or as you might assume.

Happy packing and safe travels!

This is a guest post from – the Internet’s leading source of information for students seeking a study abroad program.  Find your study abroad program at
You can also find on
Facebook and Twitter.