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    Studying Abroad: Technology Tips

    Kristopher Medina
    (part 3 of a 3 part series)

    Studying abroad can be a very eye opening and insightful experience! To ensure you have the most memorable time, it’s important to consider your technology usage. I enjoyed five months in The Hague, Netherlands, while also learning a lot about the country and the culture. Technology helped enhance my experience. Here are some tips to keep in mind while using technology abroad.

    International mobile plans

    Talk to your mobile phone provider about their international plans to see what they offer. I have Verizon and all their plans were extremely expensive and you don’t get much for the price. If you have T-Mobile, you are in some luck since they started in Europe and have decent service and an international unlimited plan. One of my friends switched to T-Mobile right before he left America and did not have any complaints. I did not get any sort of international plan and was fine using wi-fi the entire time.

    Using WiFi for communication

    If you take this route, I recommend the messaging app “WhatsApp.” Most Europeans use this too, so it is a great way to communicate with any friends you meet while abroad. WhatsApp allows you to text, make phone calls, and even facetime all for free but you do have to be connected to wi-fi to do so. The only drawback to this app is that it is slow to send pictures over text but you still have the ability to do so and that feature is free, too. Lastly, for everyone with an iPhone, you can create a shared folder in the Photos app and it will save over the cloud. Whoever you share this folder with will be able to see the photos at any time and the folder will update instantly as you add more pictures.

    Charge up

    Depending on what country you visit, you may need to buy a converter to charge your devices, as not all countries have the same voltage! Be careful. Simply plugging your phone charger into a wall in Europe may instantly fry any of your electronic devices with their 220 volts! That’s nearly double what we have running through our cords in America. I bought a converter kit that came with converters for every part of the world.

    Save the screen time

    I know you will want to check your social media or talk with your friends and family from back home, but this trip will be a great time to stay off of your phone and soak in this great experience while you have the chance. If you do not believe there are benefits for staying off of your phone, please read Delaney Stockford’s blog about how to “Take a Break from Technology.”

    Studying abroad is a very memorable experience, and I highly encourage anyone to do it if they get the chance. With technology being an inevitable part of our society, it’s important to consider how and what we use it for during our study abroad trips. Through my experience, it’s best to use the WiFi, and to buy a converter to charge your devices, but best of all  –  live in the moment, and enjoy the experience in real time.

    Pearson Students – are you planning on studying abroad? How will you use technology as part of your trip? Share with the Pearson Students community by commenting below!

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    Studying Abroad: Packing Tips

    Kristopher Medina
    (part 2 of a 3 part series)

    I spent five months in The Hague, Netherlands! (Yes, it’s a small town, and if you want to know WHY I choose this location, please read my previous study abroad blog about location and weather. )  If you are even considering studying abroad, DO IT! Taking the leap of faith and stepping out of your home country, let alone state, can seem unimaginable but will be worth the experience. As fun as it may seem, you truly do a lot of learning while abroad. You will learn a tremendous amount about a new culture and even more about yourself. Since the whole process may seem daunting at times here are some tips that I wish I had known before studying abroad.


    There are two things to think about when packing: packing to leave home and packing for shorter trips throughout Europe. First off, the contents needed in your suitcase will largely be based off the country you choose to study in and how many souvenirs you want to bring back. I recommend taking two suitcases. Stuff one to the fifty-pound limit and leave the other one about half full.

    Think about attire

    If you want to fit in, and not look like a tourist, it’s important to consider what they wear in that culture. People tend to dress nicer in Europe than we do in America, so I would recommend taking a pair of nice looking shoes to go out in and a pair of comfortable shoes to walk around in all day. Leave your graphic tees at home and stick to more plain tops; patterns are fine too. If you want to stick out like a sore thumb wear American flag tees. Please do not forget a pair of comfy pants and a pair of nice looking jeans. Female students need to be aware that some tourist attractions, like St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City, require your knees and shoulders to be covered out of respect for the monument. Also, leggings and yoga pants are not as popular in Europe. My girlfriend only took two pairs and never wore them outside of the house. If you insist on wearing them out I would recommend dressing them up. Finally, pack a lighter jacket, like a hoodie, and a heavy coat if you want to visit colder countries.

    Luggage matters

    For people studying in Europe, the flights between european countries are cheap but they will nickel and dime you for everything else. This means you are only taking a carry on and some airports will ensure that every carry-on is the right size. Therefore, you may want to check the airline’s guidelines before traveling. I just used a backpack. Once I watched a man break the wheels off of one those hard shell roll-able carry-ons so that it would fit the size requirement! These may be convenient in the states but they may have some limitations in other areas of the world. Also be aware that every liquid you pack must be in a plastic bag. Some people just bought toiletries in every country they visited and left them there.

    Packing is a important aspect when traveling abroad. Everything from your clothing to your technology matters. Check out part 3 of my blog where I’ll discuss technology and things to consider when taking your tech with you on your study abroad experiences. When it comes to packing for your study abroad trip, it’s important to consider the attire you will wear, how you pack your items, and to follow restrictions per country or airline to avoid them confiscating your items at security or customs.

    Pearson Students: are you packing for your study abroad trip? Where are you heading? What are you looking forward to most? Share by commenting below!

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    Studying Abroad: Location Tips

    Kristopher Medina
    (part 1 of a 3 part series)

    If you are even considering studying abroad, DO IT! Taking the leap of faith and stepping out of your home country, let alone state, can seem unimaginable but will be worth the experience. As fun as it may seem, you truly do a lot of learning while abroad. You will learn a tremendous amount about a new culture and even more about yourself. Since the whole process may seem daunting at times I just wanted to share some tips that I wish I had known before studying abroad.

    Location, Location, Location

    I studied abroad in The Hague, Netherlands. Ever heard of it? Neither had I!  After 5 months of studying abroad there, it became my home away from home and I still miss that little city to this day. The two biggest factors I had to consider were size of the city and weather. You will have the option to stay in some of the most famous cities in the world, like Barcelona or London, but you can still have a wonderful experience in a smaller town as well.

    Big city vs. smaller town

    There may be more activities in a bigger city but you can become more immersed in a smaller town. An area with fewer tourist attractions offers a more authentic culture and experience. There will still be plenty of things to do either way but you may have to look a bit harder when you are in a smaller town. Plus, you can plan shorter side trips to the bigger cities during your free time.

    Weather matters

    In Europe, traveling from country to country is relativity easy, so pick a climate that best suits you and you can still see other countries that have less appealing climates. Also, take into consideration that you will want to do a lot roaming around the city so you most likely will be exposed to the elements more than usual.

    Remember that everyone has a different experience while studying abroad and all the information I have shared above is solely based off my experience. These tips may help you better plan your study abroad experience and enjoy every single second because the time will fly and before you know it, you might be back writing a blog and sharing your own tips on studying abroad! Look for the second part of this blog discussing tips for packing and technology usage when studying abroad!

    Pearson Students, are you studying abroad in the upcoming semesters? Where are you headed and what are you most excited about? Share by commenting below!