Posts Tagged ‘apps’

College Savings and Saving Space in Your Suitcase: What to Pack When Studying Abroad

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

When I fantasize about traveling it’s always the same: one neatly packed backpack with just the essentials. Unfortunately, I am not a light packer and so this is never the case. When it comes to studying abroad you want to make sure you’re properly prepared for whatever you may encounter on your trip. It’s never a good idea to assume that a foreign country has exactly what you’re looking for. Try to find college discounts for certain items before your trip and you can save yourself a lot of trouble once you’re there. So what if you’re labeled the “mom” of your trip? Being prepared is never a bad thing—and chances are your new friends will thank you.

Before your trip it’s important to at least attempt to learn the language of the country, or at least learn some key phrases. Rosetta Stone is a great option, but for those of us on a budget there are free smartphone apps readily available. Mindsnacks is a really helpful app I found before my trip to China that allowed me to start learning the language through a series of fun interactive games. If you upgrade to the full version for $5, you’ll get access to 1000 words and phrases, 9 unique games, and 50 lessons to master. This app is available in many different languages and the upgrade is definitely worth the money!

Mindsnacks is a free app that can be used to learn new languages.

Mindsnacks is a free app that can be used to learn new languages.

Do some research about the weather you’ll experience during the months you’ll be there and pack your clothes accordingly. You don’t want to be the one wearing sweaters in the heat or shorts in the snow. Make sure you have a solid stock of any medicines or vitamins you may take every day. Regular toiletries are an essential and it’s always handy to buy Tide-To-Go, packets of Downy or any other fabric soap just in case you need to do a wash at a moment’s notice.

downy.1load.packet.travel

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Sometimes laundry gets expensive in a foreign country.

 

Check to see what banks are available in the country you’re going to. Many countries often have branches that are linked with Bank of America so if you don’t have an account, open one up. It’s free and you won’t have to pay fees every time you grab some cash from the ATMs. The China Construction Bank, found all over China, doesn’t charge any fees as long as you have a BoA card. You can easily close your BoA account once returning to America.

Other important items are charger adapters for your specific country of origin. The outlets in America are not the same in every country and you do not want to be that person with the hair straightener exploding in your hair!

Also, to stay in touch with family and friends during your trip, set up a Gmail, Skype, Viber, and Whatsapp accounts. These are free ways to connect with your loved ones through email, phone calls, video and text messaging all through WiFi. You don’t want mom to get a $356 dollar phone bill because you accidentally used your data while roaming, do you?

My group connects to the WiFi in our hotel in Hong Kong and immediately engross themselves in social media.

My group connects to the WiFi in our hotel in Hong Kong and immediately engross themselves in social media.

Sam Levitz is a graduate of Brooklyn College and went on the CUNY Study Abroad trip to China the summer of 2013. Follow her on Instagram: slevitz

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Studying with Technology

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

As a student in New York City, you’re going to be faced with many distractions. Whether it be your friends, your new favorite app, or even a free concert or show, you’re going to have to manage your fun time with your school time.

We’re fortunate that we live in a society where you can access all sorts of technology that won’t only help you procrastinate, but will help you get your work done without distractions. Below are some tech-friendly ways to stop procrastinating.

1. REMIND YOURSELF

This may seem silly, but I set myself reminders to do my work. Most smart phones have a “reminders” list, which lets you set a time and date that you want to be reminded to do a task. This helps if you’re a forgetful person, or just someone who needs to be prompted to study or write a paper.

On the other hand. . .

2. SHUT THE PHONE OFF

Personally, I can’t work when people are texting me; I am just too tempted to carry on a conversation about the upcoming season of Saturday Night Live, or whatever fun event is going on later that night. When I have to write a paperwhether it’s four or fourteen pages longthe phone goes off. If you like setting reminders on your phone but don’t want to hear any incoming calls or text messages, most phones have an “airplane mode,” which shuts off communications but will keep your phone’s other functions, like reminders, on.

3. OKAY, YOU CAN HAVE A BREAK

Every hour, give yourself 10 or 15 minutes to look at your phone, check your email, or watch a funny YouTube video. Studies show that taking breaks helps you focus more when you return to studying.

4. APPS

Okaydon’t discount your iPhone or iPad just yet. There are several free apps that can help you study. Flashcards Study Helper is exactly what it sounds like: it’s all the help of flashcards, without wasting leftover index cards. Mathemagics Lite  is a scientific calculator for on-the-go. And for the Shakespeare scholars, there’s an app that contains all of Shakespeare’s works. Even better, it’s free!

5. AND OTHER WEB-BASED TOOLS…

If you’re a Mac user, there is a scheduling app called iProcrastinate (ha!) that helps you break down tasks into smaller tasks. Additionally, many textbooks or required readings are available on half.ebay.com for cheaper prices. Check your booklist early, and order away!

Being a college student in the 21st century is hard. There may be countless distractions and ways to stop you from doing your work, but your smartphone is called a smartphone for a reason! You can train yourself to use your technology to your advantage.

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Erin O., NYU.

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