Three Tips for Studying Abroad

Budget Travel, Lost Girl of the Week, Spain, Studying Abroad — By on January 15, 2010 at 12:00 pm

We’d like to introduce you to another member of The Lost Girls’ team, our new European Correspondent Jessica, a Public Relations student at Quinnipiac University, CT. She loves to read and write, and since she was 16 she knew she had a passion for traveling. After saving up for what seemed like forever, Jessica is finally leaving it all behind and will embark on a four-month journey while studying abroad in Barcelona. Here’s why she got lost in her own words.
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lost girlsBy Jessica Szewczuk

As a junior in college I am just like every other student; I go to class, complete my assignments, and-on good days when I’m not in the library-I hang with my friends. In other words, routine. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some amazing experiences while at college. Yet, have you ever just wanted more? This year more than ever I have come to the realization that in a year that naïve freshman girl I once was will be entering the “real” world; and what do I have to say for myself, that I experienced all that Connecticut has to offer? Not exactly the best elevator speech if you know what I mean. So I decided that I needed to become ‘lost’ if you will, and search for those epic life experiences that can only be found outside of the classroom.

Now you would think becoming ‘lost’ would be fairly easy-yeah not so much. Since I am studying abroad rather than traveling without an agenda, I had to do some extensive research into which type of program I wanted to go through. There are numerous programs, each offering different advantages, so here are two important tips:

1. Choosing a program StudyAbroad.com is a great resource for students who are just starting their search for an international program. Students can choose the country and city where they wish to study and then the site lists all the programs that offer abroad opportunities in your chosen destination. Each program is listed with a detailed description, as well as a link to the website, where students can easily see what each program has to offer.

One important aspect to keep in mind: Many programs include excursions that are built into the price however, some programs offer international excursions as well. If you are trying to stick to a tight budget but still want to travel, then this is something you want to keep in mind and search for. Each program has a tab labeled “While you’re abroad,” this is where you will find information regarding the included excursions.

2. Finding the cheapest cell phone plan If you simply cannot live without your blackberry, then your best bet for Verizon customers is to get their international flat rate plan of $70 per month while abroad (Sprint unfortunately doesn’t offer this). If you’re buying a cell phone and plan, the cheapest company to go through is Apelcom. For 20 euro a month you get 300 minutes that can be used domestically as well as calls to home and free calls to friends within the Apelcom network.

3. Speak Spanglish? If you’re like me and really only speak Spanish in theory, then I recommend buying the Franklin five-language translator. This pocket size translator only costs $25 and allows you to type in words and sentences that can be translated into Spanish as well as four other languages. It also provides a dictionary, world clock and calculator. This product can be bought at Franklin.com.

So here I am for now; my life as I know it condensed to a 50-pound weight limit, and the only thing saving me from becoming ‘lost in translation’ is this nifty handheld translator and my ability to say “Habla ingles?”

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