Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Money. Money. Money.


Money. Money. Money. This always seems to be the biggest concern from students when they are considering studying abroad, I know it was one of mine and it is also one of the biggest reason's a lot of student's have also chosen not to go abroad. Well let me outline something very clearly, DO NOT LET THAT FEAR STOP YOU FROM HAVING THE EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME. You can always earn money, it's always a possibility. How will I get the money to go abroad? How much does Education Abroad cost? Are there scholarships available? What about financial aid? These are all questions so many students continually have and I am going to try and clear some of it up for you!

The main point is that no, Education Abroad is not free, but there are so many ways to earn the
money to go abroad. No one program costs the same amount and you also have to consider outside costs like traveling and living expenses. If you plan far enough in advance you can spend your summers working like I did to raise the funds to go. The University, the Education Abroad Office and many outside sources like the internet, offer a variety of scholarships and financial aid will apply just like it does back here on campus. The following is a link to the scholarships we offer.

http://www.uwplatt.edu/education-abroad/education-abroad-scholarships

Alright now let's get more creative and think more on a fundraising level! The following are ideas for raising money online or offline to go abroad.

To get started with:
Make a Video
Videos are such a key in today's world and they are such a key in marketing yourself. They are a great way to raise money and make people aware of your future plans and endeavors. There is a great app today called Adobe Voice and it is such an easy, quick and useful tool in making a meaningful video and telling a story.
    Writing Your Campaign Description 
    Keep it positive and consider what would inspire you to give to others and that will give you an idea of what direction to go in with your video. Make sure you explain why you want to go abroad and how much you will grow from it. Really highlight on how the funders' money will be used, how much it means to you and how it will only improve your education. Highlight on the fact that you are not asking people to fund a vacation, but so much more, a life-changing experience.

    To highlight more on earning money online for Education Abroad here are a few tips:
    How to Ask for Money Without Making it Awkward
    Now it's really time to put on your thinking cap! For each level someone donates at you can come up with your own little reward. People like to see where and what their money is being used for, so it's important to make them a part of your experience with Education Abroad. For everyone that donates $10 dollars you can promise to send a postcard. For those who donate $25+ keep a video blog for them and send a post card. If they donate $100, you can give them a video shout-out from a landmark in your destination country and share it with them via Facebook or email. This will really mean a lot to people if you take the time to recognize their efforts to support you.
    SHARE!
    Share your video and campaign on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Really any social media you are on that is one more face your campaign and video reaches. Even branch out and write personal email to people to fund your trip and include a link to your video. Go above and beyond to get it out there, make your goals known.
    Reach Out to Extended Networks
    This campaign is a great reason to expand your current network and demonstrate your initiative, for future prospects. If you are traveling to Spain, reach out to the Spanish Club on campus or your local Spanish Culture groups; find Spanish Speakers Associations or Spanish Education Organizations using LinkedIn and other online resources. Inform them about your desire to learn the culture and language through an immersion experience and the incentives you’re offering donors.
    Highlights on earning money offline for Education Abroad: 

    Arts and Crafts
    Sew, knit, make Christmas wreaths, whatever! If you like to craft then do so while earning money towards Education Abroad. Ask people to fund your trip in return for a craft or piece of art work. If music or writing is your thing host a concert at your university or a poetry slam. 

    Bake
    Hold a bake sale or sell hot chocolate. In this cold weather especially on campus students would love the opportunity to  stop quickly and buy some delicious treats and a hot chocolate to warm them up. You could also cater one of your family or friend's holidays. Some people hate to cook for the holidays, so offer to take it off their hands in return them making a donation to your travel fund. 

    Athletics 
    Alright so, if you partake in any sports ask people to donate for every win, shot, hit or milestone you mark. If they do then make a video and dedicate the achievement to them! Like to stay active while raising money? Partake in a marathon or a tough mudder! You could even create and host your own tournament, like a Dodgeball Tournament and have the proceeds go towards your travel fund! 

    Entrepreneurs and Educators   
    Time to get down and dirty! Rake leaves, shovel snow, mow lawns or tutor for tips! Get friends together to host a talent show for donations. Babysit or nanny for contributions to your travel campaign.Talk to local cultural groups and businesses that might help you sponsor an event or even your trip, in exchange for volunteering or supporting their products/services.

    A few last words: 
    Remember to give THANKS to all the people who funded and supported your journey. Let them know just how much it meant to you and how without it everything you have gained and experienced with and through Education Abroad would not have been possible without their help. I hope this post has been very helpful to anyone looking for ways to raise money to go abroad or had any questions about scholarships or financial aid. Remember to not let the fear of raising money to keep you from going abroad, it is an amazing opportunity and it's one you won't regret.    


    This blog post was adapted from an article done by NAFSA. 

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

    A Student's Perspective-Matthew in Fiji

    This week we have a student's perspective from Matt. Matt studied abroad this past Spring 2014 for the semester. Matt chose to take his journey with Education Abroad in Fiji and if it doesn't just look and sound absolutely amazing. I hope you enjoy reading about Matt's time in Fiji!
     
    Bula!
    My name is Matthew Grieser, I am one of the Education Abroad Ambassadors for the Education Abroad Office located on campus. While studying in Platteville can be fun and all, studying abroad is a great opportunity to learn more about different cultures and yourself as a person along with some new interests. I studied abroad in Fiji in spring of 2014 and it was the best decision I made while going to college.
     
    Traveling to an exotic location for vacation is always great, but studying abroad is so much more.
    If you spend a semester abroad you are able to live in a foreign country for five months. This opens
    opportunities that would never be available to people just on vacation. Some of these opportunities
    include staying in rural villages with locals and really learning their culture and traditions, learning some of the local language, and be considered a local yourself. There are so many things to do in Fiji! I’m a biology major and while I was there I was able to study Marine Science courses and take field trips out to island reefs and learn about marine life which is very difficult to do in Wisconsin. I was also able to go zip-lining for the first time, climb several mountains and go on some amazing scuba dives! Along with all of this there are many more awesome things to do in and around Fiji, who doesn’t like sitting on a beach at a resort for the day!
    School at USP is similar to school at Platteville. There’s block scheduling with some science
    courses having labs and every class having a tutorial; which is a class where you go over things you talk about in lecture. Classes meet two to three times a week, plus lab and tutorial if you have them. The campus is located in Suva which is the capital of Fiji, however it’s not right downtown so it feels like you are away from the big city. Although it is very easy to hop on a bus or in a taxi and get downtown in five minutes where there is an abundance of restaurants and shopping centers. Studying abroad for a whole semester can sound intimidating; however it can open you up to so many other opportunities for the future and make you learn so much about yourself as a person that if you have the chance it is hard to say no. For me personally, studying abroad was the best decision I ever made, it gave me great opportunities, it showed me what direction I wanted to take in life and it opened me up more as a person, changing me for the better as a result. If you study abroad you won’t regret it, and hey, you might even have a little fun too!
    If you desire more information about Fiji or just studying abroad in general feel free to drop by
    the Education Abroad Office in Royce Hall and talk with myself or many other people working in the
    office, they are a great resource for information! My office hours are Mondays from 2:00 to 3:00 and Thursdays from 12:30 to 1:30.

    Vinaka!

    Matthew Grieser
    Education Abroad Ambassador
    University of Wisconsin - Platteville


    You can tell from reading what Matt wrote above that he really had his life changed by Education Abroad and made some lifelong friends along the way. The Fiji program Matt went on is one of UW-Platteville's main six programs and it is becoming increasingly popular. I'm sure Matt has plenty more to talk about from his time spent on this program, so feel free to come in, see Matt and hear a little more about Fiji!

    Wednesday, November 5, 2014

    A Student's Perspective-Jonathan in England

     This week we have a post from Jonathan who studied abroad in London, England at St. Mary's University in the Spring of 2014. Not to far from where I studied in Dalkeith, Scotland. Just a short 5 hour train ride away! That's what's so amazing and beautiful though about not only the UK, but Europe in general. It's so simple to take a train, flight or bus and be in a different country within a few hours.  London was an amazing city to visit and it was exciting to read about an adventure from someone who lived there for an entire semester, to learn what London is really like and to really see it from a resident's perspective.  I hope you all enjoy Jonathan's story, I know I did!

    Greetings!

    Let me introduce myself! My name is Jonathan Brumm and I am one of the Student Ambassadors for the Education Abroad Office on campus. Although I enjoyed my studies as an English Education major at Platteville, I took the plunge and studied abroad at St. Mary’s during the spring semester of 2014. I just wanted to share a few of my insights with you about the whole “international education” experience.


    While I am sure many of you have traveled around the United States and world, I would like to clarify that an education abroad is nothing like a long trip. The program at St. Mary’s reserves an expectation that their students work before they play. But hey! Don’t think that your time there will be completely absorbed by classwork: there is a historically engrained expectation in England (especially London) of young adults being independent. During the school week, most classes typically meet just once or twice so that you may engage with your peers and educators and spend your mornings and afternoons casually focusing on studies. After the day finishes, which can often be in the early afternoon, the time for exploration and leisure begins!

    Neatly situated just outside the hustle of central London, St. Mary’s is planted in between the two residential hubs of Twickenham and Teddington right on the River Thames. Southwest London is known for its safety, quiet green parks and friendly folks, but also for a perky nightlife and shopping culture. It is only a short train ride into the center of the city, which makes exploring London more convenient. While I would like to say it is easy to unlock all that London has to offer, the sheer amount of pubs, museums, concerts, theaters, palaces and castles is overwhelming. And that is not to mention what the rest of Europe has to offer!


    I advocate that you imagine the differences between the experiences you will have during a semester at Platteville with the one you will have at St. Mary’s; conjuring ideas and dreams of life in England will really put you in a great mindset! I know that through your prospective process you have been hearing past study abroad students passionately—sometimes obsessively—describe how much of a valuable experience they had while overseas. While it’s great to hear those broad encouragements, I suggest that you come and visit me or my other peers in the Abroad Office so you can get a more personalized idea of what a semester abroad can be!

    I have office hours from 12:00-2:00pm every Wednesday, so feel free to drop by for a chat! Otherwise, I have numerous pockets of free time in my schedule throughout the week during which we could set up a meet.


    Cheers!

    Jonathan Brumm
    Education Abroad Ambassador,
    University of Wisconsin – Platteville

    As you read from above Jonathan had nothing but good things to say about London and St. Mary's University. Each Education Abroad Program offers such a unique and different experience, there's simply something for everyone. I know I wish I could do them all, if only travel was free! If you would like to learn more about studying abroad in London be sure to come in and visit Jonathan during his office hours. I'm sure he has countless stories to tell, we all do.  

    Wednesday, October 29, 2014

    10 Tips to Studying Abroad

     So many people let their excitement of studying abroad get the best of them and they forget some major keys in studying abroad. Don't get me wrong you should lose yourself in Education Abroad because you find yourself there too, but you also need to keep your head on your shoulders as well. I've thrown together a list of 10 tips I think are important to remember when going abroad. 

     

    1. Stay aware of current events at home and abroad
      -It's important to know what is going on in the country you will be living in so be sure to watch the news or read it online. Current events are very important to know and how they will be affecting the country your living in.
      -It is also important to keep up on the news at home so you know what you will be coming home to and what are important things in that might be affecting loved ones back home.
    2. Be cautious and aware of your surroundings
      -Take caution and know your surroundings, know which areas are safe and which ones are more dangerous.
      -Try not to be out alone at night
    3. Photocopy important documents
      - You can lose or replace documents very easily when abroad so be sure to leave copies of all your important documents with your home university and family in case of emergency.
    4. Keep up with currency exchange
      -Currency differs all around the world and it is important to know the country you are studying in and the current exchange rate. It helps you manage your money better and determine your expenses.
      -Here is a helpful link to Oanda, a great Currency Converter!
                        -http://www.oanda.com/
    5. Register your semester with Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
      -Registering with the U.S. Embassy is one more way to insure your safety and notify the your home country of your trip and that you will be out of the country for some time, so if they need to find you it is possible. 
    6. Get to know your host culture
      -In some cases while studying abroad you might be staying with a host family. This is your chance to fully immerse yourself in the culture and it's values.
      -Learn the country's customs, ask what the rules are and ask what they expect of you.
      -Respect cultural differences.
    7. Set a budget
      -Money will go fast while you are abroad so be constantly aware of how much money you have to spend and what you want to spend it on or what extra trips you may want to take.
    8. Journal
      -Journal, blog, whatever just get everything your doing down so you can look back later at all of your memories.
      -You may think there is no way you could forget some of the memories you make, but sometimes you forget the little things and its nice to have that simple reminder to always put a smile on your face. 
    9. Seek out resources
      -Know all emergency numbers just in case, you can never be too cautious. 
    10. Have fun, learn about the culture and make friends
      - Take every opportunity thrown your way to grow as a person, have a grand adventure, travel, make life-long friends and become much more culturally diverse!

    In the end really just let the experience of education abroad change your life. As humans we are constantly searching for a purpose to life and why we are here. We are always trying to create a life we are proud of and when we are met with the end of our life's journey, one we can look back proudly on. Education Abroad if such a wonderful opportunity and is one of those life-defining moments, so truly let it be something that you can say changed you for the better.


    Friday, October 3, 2014

    A Student's Perspective- Avari in Australia



    Its time again for another Student's Perspective! I know I enjoyed reading about Sierra's time abroad in Spain so much and I hope you did as well. This week we have Avari's perspective who studied abroad this past Spring in Newcastle, Australia. Yeah I know, I'm jealous too. Here is a little bit about her time abroad and her journey with Education Abroad. 
    My name is Avari (sounds like Avery) and I studied abroad in Newcastle, Australia this past spring semester of 2014, for five months. I studied Health and Human Performance for roughly three and half months of the five months I was there. I lived in a small apartment building with other UW abroad students, as well as a few out-of-state students and international students. This was more of a unique experience than I honestly thought it would be. Australia is very similar to the United States, but there were enough subtle differences to make an impact. Vehicles drove on the other side of the road; I had to take a train to and from school every day for class; their accents are different; they had many slang words and lingos; and so many more other little things that really add up in the end! I was able to pet and hand-feed kangaroos, travel to Sydney numerous times, snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef, go to Hobbiton in New Zealand, travel solo and in groups, go to the ocean/beach anytime I wanted because it was a 15 minute walk from my apartment, etc. Another really great thing about my time abroad was that my mom was able to come and travel with me in Australia and New Zealand for the last two weeks I was there! I had a really great time and experience while abroad and I learned a lot about myself and I feel I grew into an even more independent person! I would highly recommend studying abroad, even if it’s for a shorter amount of time!



    As you can tell from reading Avari's perspective this week it is very different from Sierra's and from even mine, but they are also so similar. You can go just about anywhere in the world with education abroad and have any major. The options are so vast. The experiences you have with education abroad  will range is such a large degree from petting a kangaroo in Australia to standing at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. You see that's what's so amazing about the world though, it has so much to offer you, so much for you to see and experience. In Avari's perspective this week, Sierra's last week and from mine we all talk about how independent this journey with education abroad has made us. Studying abroad makes you realize you can do things for yourself. It empowers you and makes you realize you are capable. If you can fly half way around the world on your own, live in a country that speaks a different language, book countless hostels and find your way then, I think you can do just about anything. 

    Stay tuned for more student perspective's coming soon!

    Wednesday, September 24, 2014

    A Student's Perspective- Sierra in Spain

    Perspective. The dictionary defines it as a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view and that's what it is. Perspective is all about a way of seeing things. Sometimes for prospective study abroad students it's better to hear another student who has gone abroad and their perspective about education abroad. Sometimes its more comforting and reassuring if a student sees someone who is  their age and someone from the same school as them who has gone abroad. So many students have dreams to travel the world, but are always a little hesitant to take that first step because it's out of their comfort zone and is something completely new. For students it's easier to relate to other students, someone who is in the same shoes as them at this very time, versus always hearing about it through a faculty perspective. I've decided to dedicate this blog post to seeing education abroad through another students perspective.

    Sierra Hartman studied abroad this past summer in Spain for six weeks. Here is a little of Sierra's time abroad, the things she saw and experienced and how it changed her as a person.

    I studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain for two months this past summer and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I studied International Business for 6 credits over a 6 week time span. I really enjoyed my classes and was surprised at how much I actually learned in such a small amount of time. I stayed in an apartment with 4 other girls, who I became really close with and hope to visit with within the year. Some of my favorite parts of being abroad was the architecture,  the streets, buildings, everything was just AMAZING. Barcelona has a lot of history but is still a really "young" city, when nighttime hit; the city would light up and all the people would come out. I have been back now for almost two months and I am already planning an internship abroad for next summer. It was such a rewarding experience for me, I got the chance to learn about other cultures, and learn a lot about myself along the way. Studying abroad is something everyone should do, for their career, and for themselves.

     I would have to agree with Sierra in saying that studying abroad is one of the best experiences you'll ever have in your life, it truly is. From viewing Sierra's perspective and knowing my own it just solidifies how much education abroad makes you grow as a person, gives you lifelong friends and helps you learn to about other cultures on a whole new level. Seeing a different part of the world allows you to open your eyes to whats going on in the world around you and how people live their lives differently from you. Like I know and Sierra seems to be aware of as well, is how important becoming culturally diverse is in the world we live in today. Education Abroad is a path that helps one start to become much more culturally diverse. 
    Stay tuned for more student perspectives in the near future!

    Friday, September 12, 2014

    It's Never Too Early

    Myself in front of my home in Scotland.
    It's never too early in life for a lot of things. It's never too early to be the person you've always wanted to be, achieve the dreams you've always dreamed and it's never too early to look into studying abroad with University of Wisconsin-Platteville's Education Abroad Office! This semester the Education Abroad Office welcomes three new interns; Brittany, Darnell and myself Morgan. I am the Professional Writing Intern and I studied abroad in Scotland Spring of 2014. I am so excited to be working in the Education Abroad Office this semester and to be maintaining this blog!

    Brittany traveled to Newcastle, Australia.

    Darnell (on far right) traveled to London.
    Always dreamed of seeing the world, living in a culture different from your own and having a life  changing experience? Then you, YES YOU, are the perfect study abroad candidate. With the new school year off and running, come visit the Education Abroad Office and find out all about all the programs abroad we have to offer. Through UW-Platteville we offer a total of six programs to study abroad, but with the help of our exchange partners and affiliates there are over 400 program options to choose from in over 50 different countries around the world. You always hear from people who have studied abroad that it changed their lives, but the experience is really impossible to sum up into words. Studying abroad gives a person so many wonderful things. It helps you see the world, make a group of friends you will forever remember seeing the world with, experience new cultures, eat new foods, helps you find yourself in more ways than one and it gives you a greater appreciation for not only the world, but where you come from. Then there's the one thing you'll never quite be able to put your tongue on or explain the way it made you feel and you have then officially become a part of the group of people who have studied abroad. We are the only ones who "get" that feeling and understand it.

    Your college years are the best time to go abroad. You are young now, the world is at your fingertips, you don't have as many commitments and yes I know studying abroad costs money, but in reality you'll come back feeling richer than you've ever been. A slim 10% of students study abroad at Platteville ever year. While that number is growing, it is still not a huge percent of campus. What a lot of students don't think about, is what a huge resume builder studying abroad is. Employers are looking for something that makes you stand out from the crowd, something that sets you apart. Being and international traveler at a university where only 10% of students study abroad, is one of those "somethings".

    Once you study abroad, you tend to catch the travel bug and become addicted. You will always be looking up ways to go on your next trip and finding countries you really want to visit. In reality though, what better addiction could you have? Life was not meant to be lived in one spot. We were all lucky enough to be put on such a beautiful place as earth and we were meant to see more of it than the same little town we've lived in our whole lives. So even though I know it may be scary (normally the best things in life worth doing are) come down to the Education Abroad Office in Royce Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and let us help you start your journey. Like I said, it's never too early.