Leap into College Abroad

October Snapshot: Leap into College Abroad
For the month of October, we’re excited to feature an organization that exists to expose today’s youth to the world. Leap into College Abroad (LCA) strives to provide students with premier study abroad experiences for an affordable price.

Why LCA:
The staff at LCA are experienced travelers who understand the true cost of a study abroad trip and work to make sure that this price stays as low as possible for students. LCA keeps the process simple and delivers personalized service and availability, which includes remaining entirely honest and transparent with its customers. Currently, LCA offers study abroad programs in Italy, France and Spain. The LCA experience extends beyond the academics by including additional benefits such as small travel groups, an excursion to an additional country while abroad, various activities within the host country, a friendly and knowledgeable program director, internet access, health insurance, a transportation pass, airport pick-up, a cell phone, and the freedom for the students to explore in the way they want.

How it Works:

Get informed: At this stage, students should check with their home university to make sure they are eligible to study abroad.

Save Your Spot: To encourage early application, LCA will save the students’ spot in the program for 14 days with no application fee or deposit required. Students are able to download the forms needed to apply and track the progress on their application.

Secure Course Credit and Funding Options: At this time, students receive their course syllabi to ensure that their abroad course credits will transfer to their home university. There is also more information on how to apply financial aid and find scholarships for the trip.

Complete Your Application: Here it is! This is the time for students to submit their application to enroll in the program, submit any additional required materials and begin earning rewards from LCA.

Sound like a good deal? We think so! Get to know them better by visiting their website at www.studyLCA.com, liking them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/StudyLCA) or following them on Twitter (@studyLCA)!

Top 5 Reasons Students Study Abroad

After our recent Go Far campaign, we had a whole slew of wonderful reasons why students like you €”study abroad.  There were several common themes repeated, so we thought, why not share? Here’s our TOP FIVE reasons why students study abroad.
Students study abroad to..

1.Explore and experience a new place.

€œEvery experience of exploring a diverse place left me with a desire to discover what else the world has to offer. €”–Rommy

€œI am most excited about living with a Spanish host family and traveling on the weekends to experience all of Spain. €–Sydney

2. Discover what they’re capable of on a larger scale.

“I want to explore the world, live my dreams, and discover what I’m capable of.” — Kirstin

Traveling to Australia to study for a semester will not only allow me to meet unfamiliar people and experience a different culture, but hopefully gain self confidence by leaving my “safe harbor.€ — Kristin

3. Expand their understanding of the world by learning from others.

Packing bags, studying Spanish, learning this country…my roots will grow deeper, I will know growth, and my life will expand. –€”Mallory

€œI hope this broadens my perspectives and contributes to my personal development and independence.”

4. Expose themselves to new places, people, and ways of thinking.

€œI want to gain exposure to a different culture as I have never been out of the United States before. I want to break the bubble that I live in…Jeff

I will have an understanding of another part of the world by experiencing and living in another culture. €– Wanda

5. Immerse themselves in a different county, culture, and environment.

“I am excited to … immerse myself in a different culture by studying Spanish and living with a host family. I think the only way to understand a culture is to live in it… –Cassie

€œImmersed in Ghana, [I will gain] insights to creativity and the arts/ Where expression can be different through others hearts –Aleah

 **

After reading these (again), I want to go. As a college student, your years free from the 9 to 5 are most likely dwindling. Why not go?!

We’d love to hear from you on why you have or will study abroad!

 

Study Abroad Scholarships from StuCard

GoFar

StuCard GoFar

We know you dream about going far. Add study abroad to the mix of classes, football games, campus clubs, social life, and you a€™re going farther than ever. With a thousand details to figure out, money shouldn’t be another stressor. We’€™ve got your back.

 

What: StuCard GoFar program is giving away two $250 scholarships to students studying abroad in 2012.

When: Deadline November 4.

Where: Apply here on our Facebook page.

 

To enter:

Write to us on Facebook in 100 words or less describing what you hope to gain from studying abroad. You may also upload an accompanying photo.

It’s that easy. Entries will be judged for creativity, content, and craft. Go far.

Fine print: All entries must be received on the StuCard Facebook page by 11:59 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4 to be eligible. Two prizes of $250 will be awarded and checks made out to the student’s institution.

 

Why I Regret Not Studying Abroad

When I was in undergrad, I worked hard and took extra credits so I could get out of there fast. I graduated a semester early and saved a ton of money. But now looking back, I wish would have used my extra semester to study abroad.

I’m no stranger to travel. I’ve seen some amazing places around the world, places that changed me, places that looked so different they made me look different.

But I never studied abroad. And I regret it. 

Here are 12 reasons why:

  1. I missed out on the chance to learn from international teachers.
  2. Procrastination could have been a trip to the Louve instead of a nice round of Facebook stalking.
  3. Language. I’ve always wanted to be fluent in more than one.
  4. Single. Foreign boys. Self-explanatory.
  5. Would have been great resume builder.
  6. As a writing major, I would have amassed some incredible material.
  7. Skype was just invented.
  8. I could have traveled around Europe on my parents’ dime.
  9. I was already in student loan debt. What’s another couple thousand dollars to pay back?
  10.  I didn’t have a full-time job.
  11. I like to think it would have made me more responsible more quickly.
  12. Student discounts for travel.

As a grad student, I still have the potential to travel or volunteer abroad, but I’ll never again have the same ease. I have roots now; I have obligations and things holding me to the place that I am. In college, the only thing holding me back was college. If you have the opportunity to study abroad, don’t let money stop you.  An increasing number of scholarships available, and besides, basing decisions entirely on money might leave you with regrets. You don’t want to live with those.

How Green Do You Go?

Recently, a friend of mine attended a “folk fest.” Along with the music and dance she encountered quite a few very, we’ll say, unique booths. The stories she had to share of stands promoting compost toilets and green burials made me wonder exactly how green do you go.

Maybe you’re like me and you’d like to reduce your “carbon print” without jumping straight to compost potties. Here’s a few beginners steps to going greener.

1. Buy Biodegradable
What does it actually mean when something (like the StuCard) is biodegradable? Well, first off, it’s not going to sit around in a landfill for all of eternity. It will break down into mostly water, carbon dioxide and organic matter within six months. Try to avoid stryofoams, “PVC” or “#3”  and plastic cutlery. Look for #1 and #2 plastics, which are easier to recycle and don’t produce as many toxins. Bring a mug to work, buy a reusable water bottle, and use the same dishes and silverware throughout the day.  If you have to buy throw away companies like biocorp make their cutlery from corn and sugar.

For more information on biodegradable products click here.

2. Make stuff
You can actually make your own hand soaps. We’ve all probably heard of the natural cleaning products (using vinegar, water, and castile soap) but even things like teeth whiteners can be made naturally (just a mashed strawberry and some baking soda).When buying “natural” soaps, shampoos, etc. make sure to look in the ingredients to double check for any parabens (methyl-, propyl-, butyl-, ethyl-, isobutyl). These ingredients are definitely not natural.

3. Recycle (creatively!) 
I’m not just talking separating your papers from your plastics– I’m saying re-use! So much of what we wear or use and then get rid of can be restored into something new! Paper bags can become handmade cards, jeans– journal covers,  and so much more. If you need ideas or want to support someone already doing this, check out sites like etsy– pretty average people getting creative can be very inspirational.

For my favorite etsy creator, click here.

4. Keep it Cold
If you’re washing laundry, running the dishwasher or taking a shower– the cooler the water, the better. Personally, I’ve made it a practice to save my showers for after a run. My body is warm enough that a nice cool shower feels great and it’s even good for dry skin!
If you don’t need hot water to wash a laundry load, use cold, and if it’s nice out, line dry your laundry. Another way to save energy is to flip off your “heated dry” option on the dishwasher, prop the door open, and let them air dry.

My fav etsy creator is soul sister. She made this sweet messenger bag from recycled plastic bags.

4. Buy Local
This can be food, clothing, accessories–anything! It’s true that it’s more expensive (I’ve been buying from a little vegetable stand near my house). But when it comes down to it, I’m saving gas by not driving to the store, and I’m eating healthier at the same time.  Why buy local? Well, the products didn’t come from five states or 1500+ miles away. So you’re cutting out your share of oil use  from shipping this produce and materials, and you’re supporting local farmers and businesses.

It’s A Process
Going green is a process, we know. But it’s well worth the effort when you realize how much you can help our world and hand it down to the next generation with a clean conscience.

Have some more go-green tips you’d like to share? 

Back-to-School Discounts

Here’s just a few awesome discounts you can get with your StuCard. Maybe these will make back-to-school shopping a little more bearable.

Sports Authority – 15% off at SportsAuthority.com

Delias – Free Shipping On Orders Over $25.

Dell – Save up to 30% at Dell.

Discount School Supply – 10% OFF ALL In-Stock Orders!

eCampus.com – $5 off purchase of $75.

eBags  – $10 off any purchase of $50 or more from eBags.

Famous Footwear – Save an additional 20% off during the Buy One Get One ½ off sale.

HP Home and Office Store – Save 15% or more on select items.

Save 25-80% on College Furniture & Decor at Target.com.

Public Transit: Learning the Hard Way

The following is a guest post from Emilie, who is currently studying abroad in Europe and having more fun than you are this summer. In this post, Emilie tells the study of her first solo weekend trip to Barcelona, and how she learned about the complications of public transit the hard way.

***

The funny thing about studying abroad is that you learn more about yourself then you do from the classes you are taking. Before this trip I was scared of public transportation (I live in Atlanta, come on who wouldn’t be?), I had no sense of direction, I was a huge flirt (this gets you in trouble in other countries), and I was addicted to the Internet.

Well some things have changed in the past couple of months. I figured this out in our first real trip where we were the ones planning everything and we had to figure it our by ourselves.

So Cessie (my best friend) and I set out for Barcelona to meet up with two of our friends who were studying there. We had the flight, we had our bags and a phone- what more could we need? If that isn’t the biggest joke, I’m not sure what is.

The trip starts off with the adventure of getting to the airport. OF COURSE we choose the airport that happens to be farthest away from us. So we walk to the train station, get our tickets, get to the right platform, and you would think that would be all…well, changing trains ends up being a nightmare. After about five minutes of looking at the map, looking at the ticket, and looking at the map again, a nice lady points us in the right direction. This Tube takes us to another station to get on another train – four hours later we have made it to the airport.

We find our flight information and proceed to the gate. Now these flights are different than the ones at home. No, your ticket does not have your seat number; in fact there are no seat numbers. It is a free for all, purely madness!

We find seats and excitedly make our way to Barcelona. Here is where the real fun begins. We booked the airport that was an hour and a half from Barcelona (great planning, right!), so as we are getting off the plane, Cessie tries to call our friends and guess what! The phone does not work. We have no idea where we are going or how to get there and we have no idea how to call them. We find a pay phone outside of customs, yet we don’t know Spanish enough to actually use it. The nice man at the information desk probably thinks we are just dumb blonds because we kept going up to him asking him millions of questions.

We finally get a hold of our friends and discover we have to get on a bus to Barcelona and then get on the metro to find them. We walk outside, look for the buses -  there is only one. We kindly ask for the bus to Barcelona, well this is it only there is a MASSIVE line and apparently this is the only bus for four hours. We pray that we are able to get on this bus because the British couple in front of us tells us that it is 250 euros for a cab – umm NO! We make the bus, make the metro, and find our friends just in time to make it out to the bar. Good thing Barcelona is a city that likes to stay up late.

The next day we spent the whole day sleeping on the beach and recovering from the night before. Sunday we walked around the city to look at some of the architecture and sights (everything was closed). We had the whole day because we had the last flight out that night. Little did we know that this was the worst decision we could have made.

After we say our goodbyes and make our way back to the airport that seems forever away, we are running a little late. We rush through security, run to the gate, enter into the queue, and wait. An announcement comes on the intercom, in Spanish of course, and after a few moments the man behind us curses. This can’t be good.

The flight was delayed two hours. That means that we would not make it back to London till midnight, and we still had a three-hour journey home. Oh, and have I mentioned that we have a test at 9 am the next day? Perfect! When we finally make it back to London, we wait in what has to be the longest queue for the customs in history. It takes us one hour and forty-five minutes to get our passport stamped (that is my most cherished stamp yet!), and we make it out…well almost.

You see, the trains stop running at 1:30, meaning we have to take a bus into London, only the buses running to London are going to the wrong coach stop, and the tube closed at one am. Our only option is to take a taxi, which is not cheap. So we find the taxi company, but they are packed because all of those people who were in the passport queue with us are now in this queue too! After another hour of waiting we make it in to a cab and make our way home. It is not until 5am that morning that I am pulling the covers over me, not even changing because that would waste precious sleep time. I only got two and a half hours of sleep that night, it was the only night I really cursed myself for having an eight am class.

Study Abroad: 10 Things I Wish I Had Known

The following is a guest post from our new friend, Emilie, who is currently studying abroad in Europe and having more fun than you are this summer. Look for more from her in the future!

***

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber

I am in my eighth week of studying abroad, and so far I have been to 8 countries (which is a ton! ). As the trip is coming to a close, here is some advice for all of those who are looking to study abroad. (In no order…)

 

1. Have a plan. – I could not count the number of nights that we would spend wandering around lost in a city without a plan, which is really hard to do when you have thirty people with you. So my advice is to look up local bars or hangouts (parks and hill tops are always a nice place to start), that way you have a destination and you can make discoveries from there.

Emilie and friends in Paris

2. Go on a pub crawl. – This is a great way to find places to go out at night, plus you can find really good bars with pretty cheap drinks. We went on four different pub crawls on our trip (Paris, Prague, Rome, Florence) and each one was more fun than the last.

3. Learn the language. – A simple “please” and “thank you” can go a long way! If you try to speak the language, many people will be more willing to help you out if you are lost or need suggestions on places to go.

4. Ask a local. – Many times we would ask a waitress or someone young where they like to go out. Their suggestions proved to be some of our favorite places.

5.  Climb to the top of the main building in every city. – It may be a few Euros, but the view is worth it.

6. Have something planned for Sundays. - Almost everything shuts down in Catholic countries on Sundays, so this is a great day to do walking tours of the cities or hang out in parks.

7. Pack in layers. – You can never guess the weather. It was 90+ in Italy and then we go to Brussels and it is 60…

8. Don’t feel pressured to go out EVERY night, it is called study abroad for a reason. – If you need to study, then study, you can always go out the next night.

9. Many clubs have a college night or international student night. - Ask someone which night it is, that way you wont spend as much on a cover and drinks.

10. Bring a Kindle. – The best investment I ever made was bringing my 3g Kindle to Europe. You can get free (yes, I said free) 3g Internet through the experimental browser. This way I didn’t need to buy a phone to call mom every time I changed a city, I would just send her a short e-mail.

There is so much to experience – try new food, try meeting new people, and enjoy it! I know I have!

Top 5 Study Abroad Youtube Videos

The danger (and wonder) of Youtube is that you go there to look up a specific music video and then before you know it, you’re watching a baby fart and giggle.

After doing some serious clicking, here are the best Youtube videos about studying abroad.

 

How to Study Abroad from the good folks at HowCast. The “decent GPA” comment is curiously ambiugous…

This is a fantastic documentary about some students’ experience studying abroad. The first 30 seconds alone makes me want to hop a plane.

Cute [redefined].


Teach me how to Bucky [abroad]. Winning.


Why to study abroad – learn French and meet French chicks. Yep.

More People Buying Travel Insurance

Photo via Chris Hondros, Getty Images

Not long ago, travel insurance seemed like a luxury to many travelers. According to this recent article from the New York Times, more people bought travel insurance last year than ever before. And their purchases paid off.

The article points out all the crazy stuff that occurred over the last year to disrupt travel: earthquakes, floods, volcano ash, blizzards, ice storms, civil disturbances like the one in Egypt.

“2010 certainly raised people’s awareness of the value of travel insurance,” said Dean Sivley, chief executive of the travel insurance company Travel Guard. “Yes, more people are booking travel insurance. But yes, we also paid out more claims in 2010 than would be typical. Hopefully, we won’t have a lot more years like 2010.”

Hopefully not. But the good news for travelers is that paying a little money before you leave can save you a lot of money later.

Even in a quieter year, you simply cannot predict what kind of personal accidents, issues, or crises could occur, causing a swift change in travel plans.

Travel insurance for students is perhaps even more critical. Most students strive to spend as little money as possible while experiencing the most they can. Students are often inexperienced travelers and it’s easy to find yourself in unexpected situations. Going without travel insurance is just silly. (And it may be the deciding factor as to whether or not your parents are gonna let you go.)

StuCard travel insurance is underwritten by Travel Guard, the premier travel insurance company in the U.S., and is designed specifically with volunteer travelers in mind.

StuCard provides provides coverage for 90 days of travel.

In addition to medical and accident insurance, the StuCard plan provides emergency medical transportation, repatriation of remains, travel delay and assistance, baggage delay, and passport replacement.

Please click here for detailed information on the insurance plan and complete description of coverage.