Ways to Keep Your Parents Sane While You’re Studying Abroad

By Lee Reyes-Fournier

The idea of you studying abroad may be scary for your parents, but the benefits are huge. According to the University of California at Merced, 97 percent of students that study abroad find employment within 12 months of graduation, and 25 percent of those make around $7,000 more annually than those that only study domestically.

Instead of being discouraged from learning abroad, create ways to keep your parents sane and connected with you.

graduation student  open arms to welcome the worldwide job

Keep a Rigid Schedule

The best way to keep your parents from freaking out is to communicate on a regular basis. Know the time difference between countries, and set a good time to talk before you leave.

Of course, this can become difficult if you don’t have telephone or Internet service. However, most large, industrialized cities have available Wi-Fi in Internet cafes, restaurants or stores.

Furthermore, instead of trying to rely on cell phone towers, use Internet platforms like Skype and Google Voice. In rural areas, you may need to be your own hotspot, so try hotspot apps like Cellular Abroad’s MiFi, which has service in 33 countries. Most of the packages are under $100 per month.

Share Your Trip

Your parents want to know that this educational trip is worth the time, money and worry. Sharing your trip pics is a good way to keep them in the loop without needing to call and explain every moment of your travels. Use Dropbox or a similar cloud storage service so that your parents can access photos whenever they want. This allows them to easily see that you are safe as well as all of the cultural, historical, educational and fun things you are experiencing.

Geolocation Tracking

Since the day you were born, your parents always want to know where you are, what you are doing, who you are with and that you are safe. This parental instinct does not change just because you are 21 and no longer live at home.

To help combat your parents’ fears, try a geolocation tracking app like Life360, which can tell you where your family member is within 32 feet. This application works with the GPS and texting systems of the cellphone, allowing you to see where everyone in your network is located. It also has emergency functions, which allow you to send an alert to everyone in the family grid with a push of a button.

Get Names And Numbers

There is nothing more reassuring than a person that will pick up the telephone. No news is not good news for parents, so the University of Northern Iowa’s Study Abroad Center recommends getting contact names, phone numbers and emails for your school, home, embassy and any other important people abroad. Furthermore, it may help your parents relax if they can talk to any of these people before you leave.

Also, register with the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Plan to stay informed with any potentially dangerous situations.

Lee Reyes-Fournier is a psychotherapist with 25 years of experience. She is the award-winning co-author of CoupleDumb.com, which is ranked within the top 1% of all relationship sites. She also co-wrote the book “Dysaffirmations” and is co-host of “Relationship Rehab,” a relationship web series – Science!!


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Traveling for Students: Why It’s Important

By Selena Jones.  

Here in America, we can be somewhat guilty of ignoring the world around us. It’s true – up to 70% of Americans don’t actually own a passport, and it’s somewhat shocking. In other parts of the world, ‘Gap Years’ are common – they’re basically months taken outside of study to go abroad. There are a few options, and many young people go before they even start college or university. Others go after they graduate. The experiences will differ widely, but their purpose remains the same. The individual will come home more independent, more cultured and potentially they will even pick up skills that will be valuable in any workplace.

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The Top 4 Ways To Work On Your Career While Still In School (Guest Post)

By Alex Pejak.
Alex is an economist currently working on a few projects in Australia. She is passionate about market research and career development. She is also interested in topics related to project management and business IT.

As you study it’s always an excellent idea to keep the next step in mind. What will you do once you graduate? If you’re like most students, you’re planning to find a job and start a career. Yet we live in a very competitive economy and many students are finding that careers do not simply appear out of thin air upon graduation. The best jobs go to those who began preparing long before it came time to find one. To make sure you land the kind of position you’re hoping to get, it’s a good idea to start working on your career now, while you’re still in school.

In general, the most important and most effective ways of setting yourself up for post-graduation success involve building up your skills and experience in the field you’d like to work in. This gives you confidence in your choice of career, and shows employers that you’re ready. Also, the experience you gain during your studies will ensure you know the industry’s leaders, language, and trends, which will help you choose the best employer for you rather than finding yourself looking for the one with the largest career-fair booth.

1. Do The Best Job You Can  

The simplest method of setting yourself up for a smooth transition to the working world is simply putting in the effort during school. By being diligent, getting good grades, and participating both on and off campus, you start attracting fans and building up a network… people who will be eager to help you succeed later.

Sometimes, you may even find the organizations you volunteered at will want to hire you right out of school. Compared with sending out hundreds of CVs and sitting through dozens of interviews, this can be a highly appealing proposition.

In other cases, you’ll find your experiences mean that club leaders, peers, and professors will give you glowing references, and will help to mentor you as part of their own legacy. The resulting experiences will make for wonderful stories in job interviews, and your accomplishments will look excellent on your CV and in cover letters.

2. Intern or Volunteer In Your Time Off         

Often, the classic “student jobs” like bartending or retail have no connection to the career you want to pursue later. There are few better ways to explore an interesting-sounding career, on the other hand, than interning or volunteering in a related position. Make a point of spending your summers and breaks in positions, even if they’re unpaid, which have a connection to the career you want to pursue.

Since applying to internships is nearly identical to applying for a regular job — you’ll require a good quality CV and cover letter, and you may need to show language or computer certificates — the process will also provide valuable practice for the working world later.

3. Go Abroad    

Interning or volunteering abroad is a little more complicated, to be sure. However, expanding your horizons and learning to work in a different culture is always a valuable personal development experience and highly attractive to employers. Showing experience abroad on your CV will convey to potential employers that you can work well in nearly any situation, that you’re more well-rounded and balanced than most other candidates. This marks you as a candidate for leadership and management from day one.

Better still, going abroad is not as difficult as it sounds. While you will likely require translated copies of your CV, cover letter, references, certificates, and such, online translation makes this fast and easy. Additionally, once you’ve found a position in a foreign country, the firm will likely have resources to help you arrange a visa, accommodation, and the like.

4. Pick Your Classes Wisely   

Last but not least, though it may seem obvious to some, your choice of classes is an excellent way to work on your career as you study. You can use your classes as a way of learning about the current trends, major players, and language of the fields that interest you. Look at which classes have a practical application to your field of choice, and focus on those. Particularly in business classes, the materials you read may be the same things that shaped the management ideals of the companies you will go work for.

Conclusion

In many respects, the best ways of preparing yourself for a future career as you study are the simplest: put in as much work as you can, take every chance you get to gain hands-on experience in the field. The exception, studying or working abroad, is a little more involved but also one of the most rewarding. In fact, there’s a good argument to be made that going abroad is so beneficial because there are hurdles involved — most candidates you’ll be competing against won’t bother. Keep this principle in mind as you study, too. By looking for opportunities that most people can’t be bothered to take, it’s easy to give yourself a big advantage.

The first step to getting a good career is getting good grades in school.  The Secrets of Top Students can show you how!

Preparing for an Opportunity to Teach English Abroad (Guest Post)

Jeremiah Jordan is a teacher-turned-entrepreneur who blogs about business solutions.

When you teach English to a citizen or a child in a developing country, you can actually increase that person’s earning power by an average of 25 percent, according to The Guardian. In fact, your volunteer teaching efforts might actually make the difference between that person barely scraping by for the rest of his life or having a job with a promising future. While it’s almost certain that you could make more money teaching English in a first-world country like Japan or South Korea, the satisfaction that you’ve actually made the planet a little better by teaching in a developing nation may be worth more than cash to you.

Children and education, teacher reading book to young students

Program Options

Unlike many other volunteer efforts that can be completed in a one, two or three-week time frame, English teachers are typically asked to make a commitment of a semester — about two months — to a year or more. For example, WorldTeach has teaching opportunities of various lengths, including year-long positions in India and Costa Rica, six-month-long semester positions in Ecuador and Namibia, as well as eight-week-long summer positions in China and Morocco, according to WorldTeach.org.

Preparing for Your Trip

Being away for the length of time required by most teaching jobs takes quite a bit of pre-trip organization. Unlike shorter volunteer trips where you can just ask a neighbor to take your mail in for a week, being away for several months means taking care of the following:

  • If you rent or own a home and will be going away for several months or more, decide whether or not you want to sub-let your abode. If not, you will have to arrange for someone to keep an eye on your place. In addition, you may have to make special arrangements to pay your mortgage or rent, such as setting up automatic payments from your bank account, as TransitionsAbroad.com recommends.
  • Have your mail stopped or picked up by a trusted relative or neighbor who can open it and inform you of any important information that may require your action.
  • Oxford Seminars recommends appointing your power of attorney to someone you trust in the United States. You never know when you might need someone in America working on your behalf to transfer funds or to represent you in a legal matter.
  • Set up an account with an identity theft or credit fraud protection company. If you are living halfway around the world from your home and you suddenly learn that you have become a victim of identity theft, it may be next to impossible to try to unravel the mess on your own, especially in a developing nation where phone calls could cost you a fortune. Having LifeLock protection can save you a lot of grief in the long run.
  • Determine how you are going to handle any prescription medication that you take on a regular basis. Will you be able to get them through the mail or get a supply that will last you for your entire trip? You may need to speak with both your physician and your insurance company to see how best to handle this situation.
  • TeachAway.com suggests getting health insurance that will cover any of your medical needs abroad.
  • Do your homework on the country that you will be living in and do your best to be culturally aware. For example, if you are a woman who will be living in a conservative Islamic nation, try not to walk around in a top that shows too much cleavage or is too tight.

Want to improve your grades?  Order your copy of The Secrets of Top Students today!

Why study in the UK? What are the advantages? (Guest Post)

(image source: www.bellerbys.com)

(image source: http://www.bellerbys.com)

The UK has been welcoming international students for a long time now. After the United States, the UK is the next popular destination as far as education is concerned. The qualifications are recognised internationally and a guarantee of your value as a future employee. On top, London is one of main start-ups markets, which means that every year, new job opportunities are created for ambitious and strong candidates.

But there is something else that makes studying here an amazing experience. You see, you cannot study in the UK, and in general, you cannot study in a different country without becoming a part of that country. There are the little things, the little stories that add that unmistakable flavour.

Let’s see:

  • The Brits have a positive attitude towards life; things will eventually work out – and you know what? – They do!
  • If you think that an appellative like  “love”or “darling” is something peculiar to British stand-up comedians…well, you’re wrong. It’s quite common to be called like this if you’re a lady, so don’t feel offended by this or take it too personally. The same goes with “mate”!
  • It rains, indeed, but because of this everything is green the entire year. There are no depressing grey autumns or winters – and that’s something! On top, the Brits do know how to enjoy a sunny day
  • Visit some local markets and you can find plenty of fruit and vegetables at some very good prices. They are sold in “bowls” which is rather peculiar, but also attractive. As a student, you do need vitamins
  • If you fancy a nice lunch, you may want to try the local pubs. They do offer nice meals, and some have special prices or special offers like Fish Friday or Curry Day. Better try one of these than buy some standard sandwiches.
  • “Cheerios” is still used! Try this instead of “good bye”. It might not come in too handy, but it’ll make you feel more “British”!
  • Public transport is quite good; it’s not cheap, but tubes run really often  – you hardly wait 2 minutes for the next one. That’s impressive, knowing that the British tube is one of the oldest in Europe
  • From the UK you can easily visit the rest of Europe while on break from your studies. Easy Jet and Wizz Air have some great destinations with very good prices. Or try Megabus if you’re not in a hurry to reach your destinations
  • As an international student, you are legally entitles to work up to 20 hours a week. This will help you gain extra experience and will most definitely help you with your finances

Studying in a different country is definitely a complex topic which does not limit to studying from textbooks and professors. It is the rest of the colleagues, their culture and tradition, as well as the tradition of the country of study that defines the graduation diploma. Objectively speaking, the UK is a great place to study not just because of the top colleges and universities, but because of the already multicultural aspect. European students choose it because it’s closer to home, and US students choose it because of the common language. So go for it!

This post was contributed by Corina David on behalf of Bellerbys College, a welcoming college for international students. Their courses range from foundation courses to pre-master courses and are specially designed to help students achieve their goals.


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