Periscope: A Must-Have for Any Travel Experience!

As someone who recently studied abroad I tried to create the most interactive experience for my followers. Creating a blog so people could live vicariously through my travels was extremely important. I achieved this through many videos summarizing my travels. This added a whole new level to the conversation by immersing viewers in my travels. I have had a great time reminiscing about my journey recently by watching the videos. Videos just capture so much more than just a photograph.

Given recent technological advancements, there is a new app called Periscope, which allows one to live broadcast video from one’s phone. It’s super cool! You can even live chat with the broadcaster. I would have loved to utilize this tool when I was studying abroad. Also, the hearting function makes you fell pretty loved when you look at your phone and all you see is a rainbow of hearts. It is not a bad sight!

I think anyone that is traveling this summer should consider downloading this smart phone application. The only potential downside is that it seems to be difficult to use Periscope on-the-go without using your data plan. While you can use data for Periscope, it could be rather expensive for international users. Regardless, try out this cool app and share your travels with your friends and social media following. I trust you will heart this app as much as I do. Don’t forget to follow me on Periscope! My account information is @ChrisRHickey on Periscope.

Happy Hearting!

Chris

5 Tips for Those Preparing to Study Abroad

Thinking of Studying Abroad? Here are five great tips to prepare you for a study abroad experience! I think this post encompasses all of the best reasons to study abroad.

I like how the author addresses homesickness and the fear of going, both of which are rather overlooked problems. Clearly the fear of going precedes any other potential trepidation associated with studying abroad, because if this fear is realized, it will inhibit one from actually going abroad. But it is important to discuss because not everyone goes to college knowing that they want to travel around the world and study in a foreign country for four months. It is a pretty daunting task. Some people have never lived away from their family for that long or even flew on a plane before. The flight alone is enough to scare off some. My flight to Spain was rather manageable at only 8 hours from Charlotte, North Carolina to Madrid, Spain. Getting from JFK in New York all the way to Hong Kong was a totally different story as it took nearly 20 hours to arrive.

The fear of the unknown is pretty powerful. When you are living in a completely foreign environment, we cling to what we know. I know firsthand this happens. I would always travel to the local mall in Tuen Mun, Hong Kong and go to the Outback Steakhouse to get a taste of American cuisine. You just can’t beat a good barbecue! But it’s those small comforts that may scare people off from wanting to take the plunge and actually study abroad.

Homesickness is another point to note. This does happen in some way and for some more so than others. I have always described a typical study abroad experience to others as a parabola. (Nerdy- I know, but it’s effective.) You start off super high on life at the beginning enjoying your trip and surroundings until reality sets in that you are living in another country. As the weeks progress, you tend to start missing something from home whether it’s friends, family, food, culture etc. It sometimes takes people into this slump for the middle period of their time abroad. Their last third or so is then filled with action as they realize time is of the essence; they are leaving in a month! You feel this sense of urgency to see and do as much as possible. I think homesickness is a pretty prevalent part of the study abroad process and should not be overlooked. Unfortunately, it seems to be overshadowed by the first few and last few amazing experiences one had. Nevertheless, all parts of one’s time abroad is important in some way or another.

Education Empowers

Jesa HeadshotThis week’s blogger is Jesa Pace, who studied Journalism and service-learning program called Camp Adventure. This week, Jesa will provide some tips for those considering going abroad.

While study abroad programs offer great opportunities for students, there is much more to consider aside from where you would like to study or travel. Things like obtaining a passport, receiving appropriate immunizations and completing program paperwork must all be taken care of before students hop on the plane. So, if you are considering a study abroad program, here are some things to consider before taking off.

Passport: When studying abroad, a passport is required to entire any country you may decide to study in. Passports can take weeks to arrive, so it is important to apply for your passport long before your departure date. Along with a passport, you may need to look into obtaining a VISA of some sort. Because my…

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Chris Hickey’s Travel Bucket List

After studying abroad in both Santander, Spain and Tuen Mun, Hong Kong since being at West Virginia University, I have truly developed an affinity for travel. It is such an unmated experience. You get to learn about numerous different cultures, people, their values, and hopefully yourself. There are just so many things that you can learn from traveling that you cannot in a classroom or an office.

Though it may sound rather morbid, given most only create bucket lists when nearing death, I have created a travel bucket list identifying my top five places I want to visit before I “kick the bucket”.

1) Johannesburg, South Africa- I think there is some allure and mystery surrounding Africa as a continent. I particularly want to travel to Johannesburg because it is a more established area. Not that I wouldn’t want to travel to a more desolate part of the continent, I am just not sure how safe some of those areas are at the moment. The world is both a beautiful and scary place. Explore with caution!

2) Buenos Aires, Argentina- South America in general has always fascinated me. It seems to be the epicenter of loads of Latin American culture. One of the most attractive parts of Buenos Aires is its close proximity to Chile, Brazil, and Uruguay. It seems pretty simple to get from one place to another. So why not visit all those cool places too? Also, seeing the Iguazu Falls at the Argentine and Brazilian border.

3) Ubud, Indonesia- More commonly known as Bali, this beautiful area of Indonesia is rich in tribal culture and full of plant and animal life. This is considered a backpacker’s paradise! Next to trekking through the South East Asian peninsula (Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia), this seems to be the best place for any backpacker to go for a great time for low fare. Though the plane ticket may be pretty pricey, the cost of living while in Bali is extremely economical.

4) Cusco, Peru- I have always wanted to travel to Cusco, Peru to visit the amazing Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. I have had a few friends that have visited and said that they wished the could have stayed longer and want to go back some day. Apparently there are some cool hiking excursions where you can trek to Machu Picchu and camp out in the surrounding areas. This just seems to be an experience that would be unforgettable. Find a friend willing to tag along; and this seems to be the perfect match!

5) Rome, Italy- I think this list cannot be complete without any European country. Italy is beautiful, but what country in Europe isn’t? I really want to visit the Coliseum and take a night tour. It looks beautiful all lit up. Walking into a complex with thousands of empty seats… I’d feel like Madonna at one of her concerts.

Well that’s my list! Where have you travelled? Where do you still want to go?

Tell me in the comments below.

The 3 Main Steps to Studying Abroad

Whenever one applies for something, one imagines a rather lengthy application process involving loads of bureaucratic red tape. (As if that is to suggest there is any other form of red tape unless you include red duct tape.) The process to study abroad is rather simple. Most schools have an international programs or study abroad office where employees know all the programs and exchange schools.

1) Schedule a consultation: The first thing anyone who is even considering studying abroad should do is to schedule a consultation with their university or college study abroad office. This will help them determine the program offerings. Once discovering all possible options, it is that individual’s job to decide if studying abroad is right for them.

2)  Meet with your academic advisor: After perusing options study abroad options one needs to visit their academic advisor. Not only will the academic advisor know which programs and countries provide courses that easily transfer in your major, they also need to approve your courses.

3) Determine the costs of living: After getting an advisor to approve your courses, you need to figure out the type of program you are entering. Some programs based on the university’s agreement may cost more than others. Keep in mind that some programs that are not as expensive do have hidden costs. For instance, when I went to Hong Kong, it was a traditional exchange program where I payed for my housing and tuition as if I was living at WVU. The meal plan was not included in this price, so I had to spend money to make my own meals or eat out, rather than paying for a semester dining hall plan. One just needs to understand all the costs of the trip before committing. A great way to figure out all of these costs is to consult the study abroad office as well as someone who has personally travelled to this destination. They can provide you with price estimates for a month’s worth of groceries and other things that you learn while you are there.

Hopefully these tips can break down the beginnings a rather cumbersome process into something a little more manageable. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but it is a start. Hope this helps!

Another Adventure Abroad!

Hello everyone! No long time no post, right? I wish I was writing this post in the nearest airport preparing to go to another foreign location; however, a college student must fulfill his or her most fundamental requirement of getting an education. While my delusions of wanderlust get in the way, I know that the world is not going anywhere anytime soon, so suffice to say I have plenty of time to see the rest of it. With that, I would like to announce that a good friend of mine named Treasure will be studying abroad in France this semester! She is also a junior at WVU double majoring in Political Science and International Relations. Similar to my Asian Adventure Abroad, there are no passports required, no uncomfortably long flights, and NO fee for any of this. (Convenient, right?)

Treasure is adopting a style of blogging where you can live vicariously through her while she’s studying in Strasbourg, France! I hope you enjoyed my semester in the Far East and I strongly encourage you to follow Treasure’s blog cataloging her European excursions! Heck, in three years, you might have seen all seven continents without paying a single cent!

This is not the end of the road for me with regard to travels abroad, but rather a really long layover for my next flight. In the meantime follow Treasure’s travels at https://treasureintransit.wordpress.com.

ICYMI: An Epic Journey Summarized in 2 minutes!

I hope all of your summers are going well. I am having a great Memorial Day weekend with family and close friends. In the meantime I pieced together some of my favorite moments from my time abroad. With that, the one main point I would like to note is that it’s not about where you travel when studying abroad, but the people you meet along the way. I would not have been able to navigate around Taipei as easily without meeting my friend Angela or the group of three Europeans in the Philippines. I hope that from this blog it piques someone’s interest about study abroad in some capacity. It’s a big world! Take the time now, while you still can, to enjoy the world.

 

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