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Thread: Helpful hints for studying abroad

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    Helpful hints for studying abroad

    Before departing for their destinations abroad, students planning to study overseas encounter many clerical tasks involved with the preparations of their travels.

    The Institute of International Education reported that a total of 223,534 students in the U.S. studied abroad in 2007. This translates to several hundreds of thousands of students seeking details on passport arrangements, money-saving opportunities and class credit.

    One of the largest concerns for students are the expenses involved with going abroad, said Jeremy Billetdeaux, senior program coordinator for the Office of International Research, Education, and Development at Virginia Tech. He offered some general tips for students who desire to reduce their spending while on their international ventures.

    Billetdeaux advised for students to choose a destination where the dollar is doing well and to apply for scholarships.

    "There's money through Virginia Tech and through outside sources," Billetdeaux said.


    Some students are also eligible to receive financial aid for studying abroad. LeToya Young, assistant for the Office of Financial Aid, said that students could potentially receive money just as they would while at Tech provided they have a completed and valid FAFSA available.

    "It's the same for study abroad, you make sure you have your free application for federal student aid on file," Young said.

    Also, a U.S. passport is required for students to enter and leave most foreign countries; however, obtaining a passport can involve a long and costly process. The government states that it will usually take about six weeks for a passport, which costs approximately $100, to process.

    A visa, not to be confused with the credit card, is a stamp of approval, usually inside the passport. This is often an additional necessity for students to journey abroad for lengthier periods of time. As Billetdeaux explained, the requirements for a visa vary from semester to semester.

    Billetdeaux said that the Office of International Resource, Education, and Development is a source that has proved to be helpful to students when they are considering education abroad.

    "We're very student centered, and we try to find programs that are going to match up with student's personal and academic needs," Billetdeaux said.

    Today, the most popular countries for Tech students to study abroad are Australia, England, France, Italy, Spain and New Zealand.

    Isaac Barnes, a senior and international studies major, was deeply moved by his semester-long visit to Morocco.

    "It was just this melting pot of French influence, African influence, et cetera," Barnes said. "You really don't know what is going on until you're there."

    Barnes said that his travels abroad provided him with knowledge of the Arabic and French languages, while also gaining valuable insight into Moroccan culture.

    One issue students may run into while preparing to go overseas is realizing they will need foreign currency. Currency exchange can be done at major banks and international airports prior to the trip. ATMs are also used internationally, making it convenient for students who may unexpectedly need more money than intended.

    One potential cause for needing more money is food, which can become a major expense while staying in another country.

    "Some schools overseas have meal plans, like we do in the U.S. Obviously most students aren't going to eat out every night because that gets really expensive," Billetdeaux said. Many also choose to go grocery shopping, an often cheaper means of eating food rather than dining at restaurants.

    Tech offers more than 70 student exchanges and more than 30 faculty-led programs, with course credit offered for most excursions. This credit doesn't affect your GPA at Tech, but not all courses are directly accredited. With student exchanges and non-Tech programs, students must meet with their advisers to gain approval of the courses they intend to take while abroad.
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    Reply to Helpful hints for studying abroad

    Hi, you have given nice tips and hints in the thread. These tips are very helpful. Many students who do not plan their trips properly can face a lot of problem. Yes, you are right, money is one of the biggest concerns when it is about going abroad. Will definitely keep your tips in mind. Thank you..



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