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Abroad101.com Provides Unbiased Reviews of Study Abroad Programs

So you have decided to study abroad? That’s fantastic! Studying abroad is an excellent way to broaden your horizons, experience a different culture, travel the world, or learn a new language. But how do you decide which study abroad provider to go abroad through? If you visit their websites, each provider claims to be the best for certain reasons. You could check out our comparison of different providers, or your could visit Abroad101.com.

Abroad101.com
is a new website that allows students who have studied abroad with various companies provide their honest reviews of the companies they studied with and the locations where they studied. This honesty allows other students to understand what studying abroad with various companies is really like, instead of propaganda-filled reviews that can be misleading.

Each program on Abroad101.com is evaluated on academics, safety, health care, food, housing, cost, culture, language, administration, and overall experience. This allows you to get a thorough understanding of the program on some of the most important aspects of a study abroad program. Reviewers can also write their opinions and assessments of the program, which further allows you to learn about the program.

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How to Stay Safe While Studying Abroad

passport and moneyThe earthquake in Japan and the protests-turned-revolution in Egypt are reminders of events that can affect students while studying abroad. Yet incidents like these should not deter students from going abroad. In fact, the evacuation of American students from Egypt highlights how well prepared study abroad programs really are for such contingencies.

Like domestic universities, all study abroad programs have protocols in place in case of an emergency, but there are also ways in which students also play a role in their own security. “Orientations always start with safety,” says Prema Samuel, the director of international programs at Sarah Lawrence College. Students should be aware of their emergency contacts and make sure that they provide their program directors with the relevant contact info for themselves. If students ever find themselves in a situation where they are unable to get in touch with program leaders, they can also turn to U.S. embassies. “It’s rare that a student is going to go to places where there isn’t an American consulate or an American Embassy,” says Samuel.

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Future of Study Abroad in Egypt Still Uncertain

American University in CairoAmerican students studying abroad in Egypt were evacuated during protests that began on January 31st, shortly after the U.S. State Department discouraged travel to Egypt. The emergency measures went quite smoothly considering cell phone and internet service were down. However, many students were told that they would be able to return to Egypt and return to their studies there once the situation permitted, but now such a return is unlikely.

Many universities and study abroad organizations are waiting to see how the September elections progress before allowing their programs in Egypt to resume. “Mainly we would be looking for the situation to stabilize,” said Paul Watson, senior vice president of the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS). “We would evaluate with contacts on the ground in Egypt, we would consult with the state department.”

AIFS canceled the first run of a new Egyptology program for the summer of 2011. The two-part trip would have started in London, and then students would have traveled to Egypt to view ancient monuments first-hand. “We really expect that students and their families would simply back away from committing to a program that would involve travel to Egypt,” said Watson, adding that AIFS hopes to run the program the following summer, in 2012.

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British Students Encouraged to Attend College Abroad

HockerillIn light of Britain’s recent tuition hikes, one prestigious boarding school is encouraging their students to attend university abroad. Hockerill Anglo-European College, a boarding school that prepares students to take the International Baccalaureate,  says that its students should leverage their foreign language skills to apply for university outside of England. Students at Hockerill can study German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Mandarin or Japanese.

The school’s principle, Simon Dennis, told The New York Times that Hockerill has hired a counselor specifically to help students apply to less expensive programs in other countries. “If you can get into the École Normale Supérieure in France and pay about £180 a year for an education at one of the best institutions in the world, why would you pay £9,000 a year in Britain?” asked Mr. Dennis. Some students even feel that international programs offer broader areas of study, in addition to lower fees.

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American Study Abroad Students Evacuated from Egypt

By Stephanie VanderVelden

As political tension surges across Egypt, chaos is affecting groups beyond Egyptian citizens. Students from several American colleges and universities are currently studying abroad in Egypt, specifically in Cairo; the epicenter of the ordeal. The protests denouncing President Hosni Mubarak have erupted in violence, putting citizens and students at risk. Emergency evacuations have been organized to remove American students from increasingly dangerous conditions.

Students staying in dorms and with host families witnessed the violence first hand. Sounds of gun fire and protesters with weapons forced students to stay inside as the violence increased. Egyptian security teams guarded university dorms from approaching looters as students watched from inside.

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Study Abroad Visit to La Catedral de Sevilla [VIDEO TOUR]

Sevilla, Spain is probably the prettiest city I have ever seen. It is the perfect mix of old and new, big and small, and the nightlife is amazing!

What fascinates me the most are the centuries-old buildings that are still being used today. The thought that a building has been around for almost a thousand years and that I can walk through it today is just mind blowing. But when you consider a building as beautiful as La Catedral de Sevilla, it is absolutely breathtaking!

La Catedral de Sevilla is a beautiful cathedral and has a deep cultural significance in Sevilla. Watch the video below to take a firsthand tour with me inside La Catedral de Sevilla.

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How to Stay Connected When Studying Abroad [VIDEO]

I am absolutely in love with Sevilla, Spain: I love the people, the food, the atmosphere, the historical buildings. I love everything.

But, I also love my people back home, like my friends and family, whom I miss terribly.

Here are some of my (cheap or free) tips for keeping your relationship back home strong while you are living in a foreign country. They can be applied to any type of relationship – romantic, friendship, or family – and will help you stay connected to the people you care about the most.

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Flamenco Dancing in Spain

flamenco dancingFlamenco dancing is considered a huge part of the Spanish culture; interestingly enough, it is actually only widely popular in Andalusia, the southern part of Spain, where Seville is located and where I am studying abroad.

I had the opportunity to attend a flamenco show in Granada, Spain this weekend. Here is a video of the show I enjoyed. I hope you enjoy it too!

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Living Abroad with a Host Family

Many students who choose to study abroad also live with a host family. This is usually called a “homestay” study abroad experience.

Living with a new family can be a stressful experience. You are combining two different cultures and trying to make them live as a family for six weeks, a semester, or even a year. It can be very awkward. So here are my tips for a successful homestay experience.

I am currently living with a host family here in Sevilla, Spain. However, it is not what you would expect a typical family to be like. My family consists of my “mom,” a 74-year-old woman named Rosa, and her adult daughter, Christina, who is 40-years-old. This is not a strange thing though; most host families are not your typical family with a mom, dad and two kids.

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How to Eat Healthy While Studying Abroad

mediterrenean dietOne of the hardest things to adjust to when you are studying abroad can be the food.

This might come as a shock, but they do not have Chili’s or Taco Bell on every street corner, like we do in the States. And let me tell you, when you get done dancing at 4:00 in the morning, nothing sounds better than some T-Bell.

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