We often get asked about useful resources for traveling abroad. Here is a list of useful websites and tools that you can use to prepare for going abroad or while you’re already there.
- Google Chrome – Translation bar
If you’re browsing your prospective university’s website and it’s in a foreign language, Google Chrome is here to save your life. We have it installed in the Peer Advisor’s computer, and it’s seriously a major time saver. First you need Google Chrome on your computer, then you can add the translation bar. It will translate entire webpages for you instantly. Half of the guesswork of finding classes is gone!
Obviously this is optional, but if you do want to keep a blog while you’re abroad, any of the above-listed are good ones to use. I used WordPress for my personal blog and found it very easy to use (even without prior blogging experience). However, the other ones are also popular publishing sites and will serve you well.
- Passport – U.S. Department of State
You’ll need a passport to enter another country. If you’re a U.S. citizen and need to get one, you can get information at the page listed above. We take passport photos in the office, so if you need to get them taken, you can get them from us!
This will vary based on your host country and the length of your stay. To find out about your visa requirements, you can do a google search similar to this “embassy of insert your host country here student visa.”
Skype is the best thing that’s ever happened to online communication. If you don’t have Skype, get it now! Skype allows you to chat and call other Skype users using the internet, and the best part is that it’s FREE. It’s like an instant messaging service (AIM, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, etc.), so your friends and family would need to have it too. Once you and your family/friends both have Skype, then you can communicate using video chat, normal text chat, normal voice call, etc. All you both need is an internet connection and Skype, and then you can communicate away! If you want to call a cell phone or a landline using Skype, you can do that too by purchasing Skype credit. Words of advice: purchase Skype credit before you leave. That way, even if you don’t have phone access, you can still make a call from your computer. Again, saying this from personal experience.
- Hostels – Hostelworld
This website is probably your best resource for finding hostels while you’re abroad (or in the States too!) All of my traveling friends and I use this because it’s the easiest way to find hostels at your desired destination. Their search criteria allow you to filter by price, ratings, type of room, etc. You will love Hostelworld!
For Europe travelers: These airlines alone will make you wish you lived in Europe so you could take advantage of these rates all the time. The rates are super cheap (possibly cheaper than rail or bus in some cases), and you can fly almost anywhere. Or you could just see what destinations are available to you and go there even if it wasn’t on your list of places to see. (and that’s how I went to Sicily, thanks RyanAir!)