8 Tips For My Friends Abroad

8 Tips For My Friends Abroad

Survival guide for study abroad population and us at home

As winter break comes to an end, the reality that a majority of juniors in University will be embarking on a four-month journey that is abroad. Whether you are trekking your way to Australia, exploring the magnificent city of Florence or staying in the domestic but equally as distant Los Angeles, one thing is for certain: you will be missed. Here are some tips on the months of travel upon you and some things we will miss about our girls taking off.

1. Be aware of your surroundings

In any foreign place, self-awareness is key to solemn travels wherever the destination may be. Pickpocketers and creeps are in abundance in any major city of any land. Stay focused on your surroundings, but don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself and let your guard down to new cultures and possibilities.

2. Planning is essential

Always have a rough itinerary of what you want to do and where you want to go. Organization is certainly not overrated and in many instances can save you when you least expect it. Have fun with your planning, it will ensure that whatever you want to see and do will be seen and done.

3. Take advantage of your independence

Most people aren’t granted the opportunity and adventure that is study abroad. Seize this moment and allow yourself to stray from what is common. Normalcy should be suppressed and exploration should be embraced. Elevate your language, culture, and soul by opening your heart to a new place. I promise you won’t regret it.

4. We envy you

Everyone you left home will wish they could trade their soul with you. Seeing all the adventures you take will make us want to burn our eyes out as it is. Don’t worry though, don’t stop the party on account of us.

5. Call your parents

Your parents are excited you have this opportunity but probably also won’t sleep until the moment you return. Give them a courtesy call once in a while, just to assure you are indeed still alive.

6. Take advantage of the legal age

Capitalize on the fact that majority of foreign countries have a drinking age of 18. Instead of sneaking into bars and accepting the risk of incarceration every time you sip a beer here in the states, please sip your beer slowly, then take a sip again for all of us here. (Sorry for my LA girls).

7. Accept the fact that WIFI is limited

Consider this a four-month detox from obsessive social media and iPhone use. Your parents will be thrilled by the lack of data used and will fully take advantage of the excess. The fact is, 4G and LTE are not available at every nook and cranny of London, Madrid or any other country. Suck it up, and use the energy you would have spent staring at your phone to strain your head to take a look around. Who knows, you might even run into something fun.

8. Don’t forget about us

Some of the people who love you most will be back at school waiting for your arrival. Don’t forget we are here and that we miss you. It’s going to be strange to not have our older girls by our side, but we will manage and you will thrive and soon enough we will all be reunited just as the universe intends.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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5 Reasons To Rethink Your Mexico College #VacationGoals

Mexico is not Disney Land. You can’t go there wide-eyed and licking a lollipop expecting everything to be sunshine and rainbows while you get plastered.
Ben C.
Ben C.

Mexico is a beautiful country, let me say that first. The white sand beaches, the food and culture and of course let’s not forget the people. But Mexico for someone who is straining their parents' bank account and probably isn’t in a state of sobriety can be challenging to say the least.

Here are 5 reasons why you should reconsider your bro trip to Cancun or ladies vacay to Cabo:

1. You have to tip

Okay I know, tipping should be a no-brainer. You should always tip your wait staff; they live off those things in most cases. But in Mexico where you usually stay in an all-inclusive plan where everything is provided (food, drink, amenities), tipping can slip into the back of your mind. A lot of people don’t keep cash on them because of this too. And you do need to tip those people, and they will remind you with sass and shitty service if you don’t.

2. Mexico can be dangerous

Mexico is not a place to be drunk by yourself, like most places. But the most terrifying moment in my life was walking back to my hotel alone one night in Cabo. Not only had I heard the horror stories of abductions, stick-ups, etc but it was just not a safe-looking place, to begin with. Long story short, if you want to relax and not look over your shoulder every five minutes to see if your pocket has been picked, don’t go to Mexico as a college kid.

3. You can't go to the hospital

Mexican hospitals are a big no-no in the guidebook to Mexico as a young adult. You don’t know what is in there and you don’t want to find out. If you ever find yourself in a Mexican ambulance about to be whisked away, do what my friend did when he found himself in that situation. Say you are fine (despite having a pretty bad concussion) and get out of there ASAP. Much like the water, you don’t want to mess around with public health services south of the border.

4. Drinking their water is a huge no-no

Love when I tie things together so seamlessly, this is what separates the pros from the amateurs. But yeah, like I said two lines back, something about Montezuma and his revenge means if you drink anything but bottled water you are ending up in a ball on the floor. Not what you want when you just want to beer bong Coronas with Becky.

5. Constant harassment on the beaches

If you are from a city, I’m sure you have dealt with this before. The constant harassment to buy people’s nick knacks that look like are made with Elmer’s glue and lead paint. Yeah I will pass every time on that. But in Mexico, not only are these street vendors more persistent, they’re also very mobile so they can harass you on a 20-minute interval basis on the beach. And even if you tell them to get lost, they either shoot you a look that might be an ancient Mayan curse, or they try to sell you drugs. Got to love that entrepreneurial spirit.

My final thought on this is that Mexico is not Disney Land. You can’t go there wide-eyed and licking a lollipop expecting everything to be sunshine and rainbows while you get plastered. The exact opposite actually, unless you are within the confines of your resort or on an excursion (maybe) you should trust 0 to -1 of the people there. They make a living on the tourist economy and everything from the legal to the illegal are their full-time jobs. If you do decide to spend your vacation with your buddies there, use these as basic guidelines. And don’t be afraid to add in your own, can never be to careful.

Oh, and don’t go to Mexican jail. If you think American jail is bad then you don’t want to see what they got cooking south of the Rio Grande.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay
Ben C.
Ben C.

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6 Reasons You Shouldn't Fly RyanAir

And Why I Won't Anymore Either

Recently, I booked a flight with RyanAir from Prague to Brussels. After having an overall horrible experience with the company and their representatives, and a disappointing experience on the flight as well, I want to make sure the people around me know not to use this airline. Here is why I will no longer be using RyanAir and why you shouldn't waste your money either.

1. Website Doesn't Work

My first issue with RyanAir came with booking my flight. I booked this flight alongside two of my friends and two out of three of us had the same issue. When going to check out and purchase our ticket, the website had an error. This error would not allow us to purchase the ticket and would cause the page to refresh. Each time the page refreshed the price of the ticket would double.

I was the first to purchase my ticket, however, I ended up paying three times the price of what my other friend paid because of this issue. Thinking this was an issue with my credit card I called to fix it, nothing was wrong, it was the RyanAir website.

Unsure what to do, I went to contact RyanAir customer service who were unreachable. This leads me to believe that this "glitch" is actually a scam to overcharge their customers.

2. Pricing Scam

Like many other airlines, RyanAir reserves the right to change the price of the flight at any given time, much like other airlines. This change in price would have made sense if I had exited the webpage and come back later, however, this was not what happened.

I have a credit card from a major company that is accepted at any retailer, so when I have an issue, it is surprising to me. When my third friend was able to book with no problems using the same card, I started to question whether or not this was actually an issue with the site, or if it was intentional.

This same issue happened to my second friend as well. If we had been the last ones to book our flight I would have understood the price difference, however as my third friend booked after we had and still paid a significantly lower price, it seems shady on their behalf, especially in combination with their "refund policy" and lacking customer service.

When Googling this error message it became very clear that this is a common occurrence as this error message screen was all over the web. When looking at the RyanAir Twitter, people tweeting at them with this error message was not hard to find.

3. Terrible Customer Service

What made this issue look even worse on their behalf was their customer service or lack thereof. I was unable to reach a representative for about two hours prior to booking my flight. This meant no one was able to help resolve their website issue while it was happening. I had to resort to calling my mother and having her book the flight for me using another site that was not RyanAir.

I first attempted to use their online chat service which was not available at the time. I then proceeded to call their hotline. A machine answered and when I selected to talk to a live person I was hung up on.

Finally, I was able to access their live chat feature after two hours of it being unavailable and glitching. The representative I spoke to was unable to help me and directed me to another web portal. This would have been fine, however, he ended the chat without answering my questions. My interaction with this representative was not rude or malicious, I simply asked what category my complaint would fall under.

After filling out the form in the portal as recommended, I had to wait a week for a response. This response again did nothing for me and redirected me to another form, which I am still waiting to hear back from. At the very least I would like an explanation as to why my credit card was unable to be used on the site, let alone a refund for the issues with their site.

4. Poor In-Flight Experience

RyanAir is known for hiring new pilots. I knew to expect this going into my flight, but if you were not aware of this it is useful information. I would say this was definitely noticeable during my flight, especially the landing.

My biggest complaint with the in-flight experience was with the chairs and the floors. The chairs on the flight were incredibly uncomfortable, especially when compared to equivalent airlines. The floors on the flight were also uneven, making it unsafe to walk around.

Their recent policy change on cabin bags also negatively impact the in-flight experience in my opinion. A bag is not a "cabin" bag if cannot be kept in the cabin. Customers must now pay an additional £5 to bring their cabin bag on the plane. If not their baggage will be stored underneath the plane and will need to be reclaimed later.

In my opinion, the purpose of only traveling with a carry-on is to not have to deal with reclaiming luggage or having to worry about anything being stolen or damaged. This new policy makes having your carry-on with you unpleasant as you now have to pay extra to do everything yourself.

5. Terrible Care of Luggage

Usually, people joke about having their luggage tossed around by airport workers. When traveling with RyanAir, this is not a joke. There was no care taken with the luggage of passengers, in fact, we were actually able to watch our luggage getting thrown around.

This experience made me regret not paying extra to just bring my carry-on with me as it did cause items in my bag to leak, however, I really just regretted not booking a flight with another airline.


Overall, after my experience with RyanAir I find it hard to believe their company is still in business. I have never had such a poor experience using a company's website, customer service, or flying in general. At the very least I would expect a response from a customer service portal, but RyanAir has proved themselves incapable of doing the bare minimum.

I find it incomprehensible that they could get away with providing such a poor overall experience, essentially scamming two-thirds of their customers, and to still be in business. It is entirely unreasonable that they could run a scam like this on their customers and expect any repeat business, or respect as a company

Hopefully, you have not had as poor of an experience as I have had with RyanAir. If you are looking to book a cheap flight in the near future, I would totally recommend EasyJet, I have had nothing but good experiences with their company and have found their flights to be cheaper and more enjoyable. Basically, fly anything but RyanAir.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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