Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Stats and Scholarships

The Stats

In the last 5 years the number of students studying outside of their home country increased by 40%.

While 1 of every 16 students in sub-Saharan Africa studied abroad only 1 out of every 250 North Americans studied abroad; the lowest rate in the world.

As globalization through technology continues to bring countries together more closely, the importance of cross-cultural experiences and communication is crucial to moving forward socially and in business. What does this mean for US students? We have a lot of catching up to do! However, the price tag on a global education can often be daunting. Below are a few scholarships to aid you in your path overseas. Many have fast approaching deadlines, so don’t delay!

The Scholarships

Gilman International Scholarship Program

Deadline: Oct. 9, 2007

When: Spring 2008

What: Up to $5,000 for undergraduates. An additional $3,000 for those seeking to study: Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Russian, and specific dialects of Turkic, Persian, and Indic.

Freeman Awards for Study in Asia

Deadline: Oct. 17, 2007

When: Spring 2008 and early 2008-2009 Academic Year

What: Up to $3,000 for summer, Up to $5,000 for a quarter/semester, Up to $7,000 for an academic year. All for undergraduates studying in East or Southeast Asia.

Marshall Scholarship

Deadline: Oct. 3, 2007

What: All expenses for graduate study at a British university.

George J. Mitchell Scholarship

Deadline: Oct. 5, 2007

When: 2008-2009 Academic Year

What: All expenses for graduate studies in Ireland.

Fulbright Program

Deadline: Oct. 19, 2007 *Your school may have a different deadline.*

What: All expenses for one year to teach, research or study in over 100 countries. Must have a bachelor’s degree to apply.

Information courtesy of Abroad View Magazine.

Posted by Susannah.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

What am I going to Wear??

So you’re doing an international internship, congrats! What a great experience to put on your resume and make you stand apart from the crowd. Now comes the hard part: how to pack for your trip. We’ve all been there, wondering how to cram everything you need into 1 or 2 suitcases and not forget anything. Then there’s always the question of what to where to your internship. What’s appropriate in the country you’re going to be in? As a female, can you wear pants in a business setting? (Remember, in some countries it’s still not ok for women to wear pants)

Here are a few quick tips to help you figure out what to pack.

1. Pack suits/pants/jackets/skirts in basic solid colors that can be mixed and matched with many tops. Dress shirts/blouses/sweaters in solid colors will mix with many bottoms.
2. Remember to dress modest – bare skin is for the beach, not the office. Most Europeans dress more conservatively then Americans.
3. Punch up an outfit with accessories, a nice bag, purse, tie, scarf, or jewelry can make or break an outfit. Those black pants with a solid colored blouse will look even better with a nice silk scarf tied around your neck ladies.
4. Jewelry and makeup should be tasteful and subtle, save the layers of bracelets and the dark eye line for your evenings out.
5. Pack a good pair of dress shoes that will go with multiple outfits (usually black). Make sure they are polished and well-kept. If your outfit is professional but your shoes are scuffed and dirty you will automatically look less polished.

Please remember, you will be able to do laundry. You do not have to pack everything you own. Word of advice, pack items that don’t need to be ironed if at all possible as that way you won’t have to spend your first few days ironing everything in your suitcase after it’s been bounced half-way across the world. Also, basic pieces can be worn more often with more items making you feel like you have more options. Europeans dress conservatively, usually classic items in solid dark colors.

Your supervisor realizes you are a student or recent graduate, they don’t expect you to be in the top designer fashions. Nor do they expect you to be in a business suite 5 days a week. They simply expect you to be polished, respectable, and presentable.

Be sure to pack some casual clothes for your free time and exploring your host city. Just remember: jeans, tee-shirts, shorts, flip-flops, sneakers, and sweatpants/shirts are not appropriate business attire. Also, while exploring, remember that most churches around the world will not allow you inside if you are showing too much skin (this includes bear shoulders, knees, and sometimes heads). Keep a light weight sweater or shawl on you to avoid being turned away.

~ post by: kristen

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Friday, June 8, 2007

Guide to International Greeting Customs

As you prepare to go abroad for your internship program, it’s worth taking a moment to study up on the regional greeting customs so you can avoid any awkward encounters with new friends and acquaintances.

UK: You will not encounter much physical contact in London. A handshake or nod of the head accompanied with a “hi” or “how are you” is all you’ll see here.

Australia: Greetings are usually informal, “hello”, “hi”, or “g’day”. In formal situations such as business settings, shaking hands and a “Good Morning” or “Good Afternoon” are traditional greetings.

Greeting kisses are the norm among family and friends. When meeting someone for the first time, you usually stick to a handshake. You might end the conversation with a kiss on each cheek. Some say right cheek first, others say no rule, but don’t go in too hard or you could have a clash of sorts.

Spain: Greeting with 2 kisses, strictly right cheek first, is acceptable at all times.

France: Within Paris 4 kisses have been adopted as the standard greeting between friends, left cheek first. The rest of France generally sticks to 2 kisses.

~posted by Jennie

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Looking to Work in Spain? Better Bring a Watch.

While schedules for internships can differ, it may take a while to acclimate to the typical Spanish work day. With siesta’s still popular but not enjoyed across the board, Spanish businesses are beginning to flex toward a more “American” or “European” schedule. Still, it isn’t odd to see Spaniards working from 9 am to 1:30pm, taking a two or three hour siesta, and then it's back to the grind until 8 or 9 at night.

The most interesting schedule of business occurs with banks and government offices during the summertime. If you need to make a transaction at 3pm don’t be surprised if you find the door locked and the lights off. Many of these offices will set schedules between 9am and 2pm and may not be open in the afternoons, especially in August.

This leaves a lot of time for you to explore the cities before dinner – at 11pm!!!

~ Posted by Marc

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Quick Tips for Your Travels Abroad


Of course you need to see the major attractions; you can’t exactly be in Paris and never see the Eiffel Tower. But once you’ve done the “tourist” stuff, get off the beaten path and explore the city that is your new home. Learn the side streets, neighborhood café’s, and local markets and boutiques. Truly immerse your self in the culture. Not only will you see a side of your host city usually only seen by the locals, but you’ll have a chance to make new friends! Some of my best friends are people I met in small local markets or pubs during my semester abroad in England. My abroad program may have ended 2 years ago, but I’m still in constant contact with them.

One of my favorite experiences abroad was a 3 day weekend in Paris by myself. My first night there I chose to explore the neighborhood near my hotel in Montmartre. Wandering along, I found the most amazing little café I’ve ever been to This small, dim café, lit mostly by candelight full of hard wood and soft leather, and excelent jazz, was the exact match to the picture I had in my mind of a “traditional French café”. I spent my evening chatting with the owner/host/waiter/chef who kindly supplied me with a free glass of wine to go with the steak he recommended. I can honestly say, it was one of the best meals, and best evenings of my life, and I’d never have found it if I hadn’t gotten away from the tourist traps!

2. Learn the Language

You’re in another country, be respectful of that and learn the basics before you get there. You’ll be surprised how far “please”, “thank you”, “Hello”, “goodbye”, and simple phrases such as “where is the bathroom?” and “my name is….” will get you. Never taken a foreign language or in a country different from the language you studied? Grab some language CD’s from the local library before you go and learn some of the basics. Not only will it make a good first impression on the locals (Hey, being able to approach someone in their own language is simply the polite thing to do), but it will make your first few days a little less intimidating. Being familiar with the language spoken around you, even if you’re not fluent, will be comforting while you’re experiencing the stress, frustration, and adjustment of jet lag, culture shock, and homesickness.

*** Note: POCKET DICTIONARIES!!! I had one for both French and Italian and lived out of them during my travels! They’re easy to find at any bookstore. (They may not fit in your pocket girls, but you can find them small enough to fit in a purse/tote/backpack which you’ll probably be carrying anyway!)

3. Relax and be open to new things!

You’re going to mess up and say or do something considered “stupid” or “wrong” by your host country. Just accept it, use it as a learning experience, and move on; no sense in crying over spilled milk. You’re not the only person to go abroad and make a mistake, see my post “Experience the Local Culture” for examples of my own embarrassing mistakes. Going abroad gives you the opportunity of a life time: the chance to live and work/study in a new culture….take advantage of it! When else are you going to get to learn how to prepare and serve a proper English Tea, get to run with Kangaroos in Australia, or learn Italian while in Italy? You are the guest in your host culture, be understanding that things will be different from home. This does not make them wrong, or you wrong, just different. That’s part of the excitement! How boring a world would it be if we were all the same?

I can promise you, that if you take the time to explore and be open to your new surroundings and take advantage of every new opportunity presented to you, you will learn more about yourself, the world around you, and your place in it, then you can ever learn in the classroom.

~ post by Kristen

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Advice: Working hard or hardly working?

It doesn't matter what your reasons are for going abroad - an international internship, foreign language training, a vacation, or a crop circle convention in Wiltshire County, England - you're going to have certain expectations going into it.

For those of you interested in interning abroad, my best advice is to expect to work hard. International Internships are designed to give you the career exposure you need to differentiate yourself in the global marketplace. You will enjoy your experience, and there's no question that cities like Rome, Florence, Sydney, Melbourne, Paris and London are an absolute blast, but in order to get the most out of your time abroad, you will have to put in some hard work.

Of course since you'll be interning in a field that you love it won't always feel like work, but you need to remember that just like everyone who starts a new job, you'll have to cover the basics first. Take this time to learn how the company works and how they fit into the marketplace. Eventually, as you prove yourself to your bosses, you will be able to tackle bigger tasks and integrate yourself better into the company.

Posted by ~ Marc

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Monday, March 26, 2007

The Price is Right

One of the most exciting and enriching parts about living abroad is having the opportunity to travel while you are there. On a budget? Don’t worry! If you can afford dinner, you can afford a flight from London to Rome. With airlines such as Ryan Air and Easy Jet offering flights for as little as about $1 USD before taxes one way flights within Europe (total flight cost can often be as low as $20 USD), how can you afford not to go? So hop online and then hop on a plane. You never know how close (and affordable!) your next Grecian vacation may be.

Posted by Susannah

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Spring is in the air!

It’s almost spring and time to thaw out from our winter hibernation. Spring festivals are occurring all over the world, especially in some of our TEFL course locations:

Spain: Semana Santa
India: Holi (Festival of Color)
China: Lantern Festival
Vietnam: Youth Day

Be sure to check out what’s happening in your part of the world to celebrate the beauty of the season!

~Posted by Jennie

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Friday, March 9, 2007

Have Fun and Be Safe

Of course experiencing a new culture is very exciting and you will have many memories to bring home. We encourage all of our participants to take advantage of their new homes: go to museums, meet the locals, try the food and beverages. It is important, however, to keep in mind that you are in a foreign country, different than what you are used to and you therefore want to be safe. Here are some tips on safety while abroad. You can also visit the US Department of State’s travel website ( for up-to-date information.

Personal Safety Tips
· Always travel with someone.
· When traveling at night, stay on well-lit, main city streets.
· Be aware of your surroundings.
· Do not leave any personal items, bags, purses, etc. unattended or out in the open. When at a café or restaurant do not leave bags on the floor or hanging on the back of chairs.
· Carry shoulder bags to the inside of the sidewalk.
· When on a crowded bus or in a crowded public area, do not leave wallets in back pockets and hold backpacks and purses at the front of your body.
· Carry a newspaper or book written in the local language with you so that you blend in with your surroundings.
· Always look as though you know where you’re going, even if you do not. Try to walk briskly and confidently, with your head up and your shoulders back.

Posted by Sarah

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Experience the Local Culture

My, my, last week was a busy week: Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras, Carnival, Ash Wednesday, and the Chinese New Year! That many major cultural events in such a short time period reminds me how important it is to take advantage of being truly involved in the local culture when you are overseas. Don’t just be a passive outsider watching everything that goes on around you, roll your sleeves up and get involved!

Whether you are doing an international internship, teaching abroad, or doing an immersion program to learn a foreign language, it is important to take advantage of every opportunity to learn about, and become a part of, the new culture you are experiencing.

Go to the festivals, religious services, parades, etc, be a part of them if you can. Eat the foods traditionally served on those days (pancakes and doughnuts on Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday anyone?) Take the time to talk with your new friends or host family and find out how they celebrate. Remember, you’re overseas to learn, but more often then not, the lessons that stick with you most are the ones you learn simply from experiencing the culture. Take the time to share with your new friends and family how you would celebrate these holidays at home. This is a great opportunity to share cultures and learn from each other.

Go out, explore, share, and learn! That's why you're abroad! You'll learn, make memories, and have a cultural experience you'll never forget!

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Thursday, December 7, 2006

Travel Podcasts

Whenever I’m traveling to a new place, I find that setting out without a map, invariably getting lost, is actually an interesting way to learn about where I am. I’ve found the same to be true while searching for information online or new media on my trusty iTunes. This week I randomly discovered National Geographic Podcasts. The helpful folks at National Geo have created 12 separate Podcasts covering all forms of travel related interests, and offer them for FREE on whatever webcasting tool you use.

Download World Music with artist interviews and National Geo News; in-depth travel pieces and interviews. There are a ton of episodes to choose from. You can even get Free videos to download onto your iPod and watch whenever you want. I just finished watching the sun set in Antarctica from a research camera on the back of a leopard seal. Wow. Just go to or search for National Geographic in your webcast player.

And with a Podcast entitled Walks of a Lifetime, I may just find some new places to get lost.

Posted by Marc

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