5 Things To Remember When Studying Abroad

5 Things To Remember When Studying Abroad

Tips and tricks to know before going to a foreign country.
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If you're constantly filled with wanderlust like I am, you understand that studying abroad while in college is a must before graduation. I remember writing down the words "study abroad" on a college goal/to do list, both terrified and excited for the possible opportunity.

After going abroad last summer, I learned a few tips and tricks for traveling to and living in a foreign country. Here are some things I wish I knew before going abroad.

1. Buy the correct adapters and/or converters.

Let's not make the same mistake I did and practically blow up a fan because the voltage wasn't correct. An adapter is simply what you plug into an outlet in a foreign country so that whatever you plug into it will fit correctly. A converter also allows you to correctly plug in any electronic device, but it also converts the voltage to whatever it needs to be for where you are (make sure you check what you need for your country before purchasing to make sure you buy the right one). Most things you need to plug in, in my experiences, such as a curling iron, straightener, or fan, are not the correct voltage unless you purchase it abroad. You will need to use a converter to change that. An adapter is only useful if whatever you're plugging in is already the correct voltage.

Pro-tip: All Apple products are universal, so you don't need a converter, only an adapter.

2. Make sure your phone will work.

If you plan on using your personal cell phone while abroad, set up a data plan before you leave. Chances are, you don't want to use up all of your limited data all at once and run out immediately. Make sure you have enough to last depending on how long you'll be there and how much you think you'll be using your cell phone to text or use the Internet. While connected to WiFi, you won't be using data, and be sure to turn your data off when you aren't using it. When you're roaming the streets, don't know the WiFi password, or there is simply no service, you'll be using data while using your phone.

Pro-tip: Most countries are filled with several Starbucks. They will always have free WiFi! Restaurants tend to have WiFi access as well.

3. Know the currency.

It's important while being abroad that you learn the values of the country's currency and that you know how that converts to American dollars. You don't want to be surprised when something that appears cheap converts to a more expensive price in dollars. I would also suggest converting some cash of whatever currency you need to keep in your wallet so you can have it when you arrive. You can also always use an ATM while there to get cash by using your credit or debit card.

Pro-tip: There are several apps available on your smartphone that will convert different currencies to dollars to show you the value when you type them in for your convenience.

4. Learn the language or slang.

Though I studied abroad in an English-speaking country, there was definitely a barrier at times for different terms. We all know those in England call French Fries "chips," say "knackered" instead of "exhausted" and "cheers" tends to mean "thank you." Be aware of and familiarize yourself with different terms in this case. If you plan to go someplace where you don't know the language at all, it's helpful to know a few key phrases before leaving. However, you will most likely learn the language better and learn more when you actually are immersed in it.

Pro-tip: Buy a small phrase/translation book or dictionary to carry around with you in case you need to say something or understand what someone is saying. Chances are, though, depending on where you are, some people there speak at least a little English.

5. Pack Light.

While it may be tempting to pack your entire closet into a large suitcase, you don't need to! Only bring the basics. Pack clothes that are easy to mix and match with different tops and bottoms and shoes that are comfortable for walking! Shoes and jackets/coats tend to take up the most room, so don't pack too many of them. Check the weather before you go and make sure you are prepared for it, though you can always try to purchase clothing or shoes while there if you forget something.

Pro-tip: Buy things like shampoo, body wash, detergent, etc. when you arrive to save room in your suitcase. Chances are you'll end up using it up while you're there and throwing it away once you leave. You can save room in your suitcase and also make room for souvenirs and whatever else you bought while there.

6. Bonus: Have fun and be safe!

Being in a foreign country can be hard to adjust to at first, but once you are familiar with your surroundings and find some friends to explore with, you'll feel right at home! Always be aware of your surroundings, especially at night, depending where you are, and watch out for pickpockets and thieves. You may not want to walk alone at night or even during the day. Be smart about where you are and what you're doing and enjoy everything the country has to offer!

Pro-tip: If you carry a purse or bag, buy a cross body one with a zipper or carry a backpack to prevent your valuables from being taken.

Cover Image Credit: Noelle Darilek

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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11 Ways To Travel More And Spend Less

Airbnb is just the beginning.

Ellie
Ellie
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Everyone wants to travel, but it can be really expensive, especially if you are in college and have a lot of other expenses. Here are a few different ways you can travel while still staying on budget. These are just some of the ways you can reduce travel costs.

1. Airbnb

A hotel that got four and a half stars in the reviews costs $245 a night in New Orleans, Airbnb has options for as low as $28 a night that has five stars rated by over 130 people. In San Francisco, a five star Airbnb costs $46 a night where a four and a half star hotel costs $199. So if you are comfortable with renting out someone's space for a bit, it's a great option.

2. Get a hotel membership

If you aren't comfortable with staying in strangers' homes, this is another great way to save money. Earn rewards and free visits by sticking to one hotel chain. This might be hard if you travel abroad but it will certainly help in the states.

3. Last minute airline deals

If you want to travel to Florida in two days, take a look because airlines often lower prices and have last minute deals. I would be okay going in two days if the plane ticket price went down to $98. And for New Orleans, the flight price dropped from $400 to $155 for a round trip ticket. If I leave for Dubai in four days, my round trip ticket is $984 instead of being around $1300. So if you can get up and go in a short period of time, look out for deals like these.

4. Round trip vs. one way tickets

Most people just go automatically into booking a round trip ticket, but sometimes it is actually cheaper to get two one way tickets. So just take a look before you book the tickets.

5 . Eating on vacation

It may not be as exciting as eating out every night, but even just bringing enough for your own breakfast and snacks will save you a ton of money by the end of your trip.

6. Eating at home

Or if you really want to go out on vacation, eat cheaper when you are home. Cook more, go out less — this will save even more money than the previous suggestion. Or even better, do both.

7. Get a credit card with points or miles

This way everything you do will help you do more things in the future, while helping pay for what you want to do now.

8. In terms of saving up, ask for money

If you really want to travel, for every holiday and birthday, ask for money or gift cards, then save it up to go away.

9. Use public transportation

Instead of taking an Uber or taxi everywhere, use public transportation.

10. Use apps

If you are going out of the country, use apps to call and text people instead of paying for a very expensive phone plan. WhatsApp is a very popular option.

11. Withdraw money, don't exchange

Many times you can avoid fees or at least minimize them by withdrawing money while in the country you are visiting rather than paying exchange rate fees.

Ellie
Ellie

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