Introducing TU Abroad Stories!

TU Abroad Stories (1)

Storytelling is one of the strongest persuasion tools we have. The Study Abroad Office wants to hear the experiences from our students who have spent time abroad and the reasons why students want to study abroad.

And so the TU Abroad Stories Project was born! 

What is it?

A photo and video series with the stories of past and perspective study abroad students.

Who is it for? 

Everyone!

How do you get involved? 

Submit a photo and/or video telling us about your time abroad or why you want to go abroad. What about studying abroad appeals to you?

How do you find the posts?

Look on our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!

We’ll be using the hashtag #TUAbroadStories

Submit yours here!

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Resource Series 7: The LGBTQA+ Community

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We at the Towson University Study Abroad Office celebrate diversity and self-discovery. We are here to support you and make sure that you have the best experience abroad possible. The following are a few tips and resources to help with the journey:

  • The Pre-Departure Manual for Faculty-Led Programs says–in so many words–Be aware!
    • The culture and laws in other countries will be different from that of the United States. Please talk to your advisors for more details about attitudes abroad. Another great way to do research on your own is go to the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), which gives information about the views of different countries on sexual orientation.
  • Reach out! 
    • Do not hesitate to get the help and support you need to make your program great! A good place to start is with your coordinator, but you should also consider checking out the Center for Student Diversity on campus. They have a wealth of resources for the LGBTQA+ community. There may even be people there who can speak from their own experience about being abroad, or at least give advice throughout the process.
    • Location: 313 University Union, Office 323
      Telephone: 410-704-2051
      E-mail: 
  • Get/Stay Connected!
    • Next to homesickness, feeling alone in an unfamiliar place is one of the most challenging things you will encounter. Sadly, sexual orientation is one of those things that has potential to isolate. Find community. Find a safe space. Don’t let yourself be alone.
      • 1. You can use apps like WhatsApp and WeChat to stay connected with friends and family back home, all you need is WiFi.
      • 2. Find communities and areas where you are going that are supportive.
      • 3. Start building relationships before you leave. Figure out–if possible–who else is going on the program and start making friends.
  • GoAbroad.com has a wonderful guide on meaningful travel tips and tales for LGBTQ+ travelers. Click here for the free download including a map of LGBTQ+ acceptance around the world.
  • One of our advisors went to a conference on sexual orientation and gender identity in international education. They were able to come back and share some great resources. Click on the following links for scholarships from CisAbroad, TEAN (The Education Abroad Network) and IES Abroad.

The Study Abroad Office is here to help you in any way possible. If you have questions, please feel comfortable asking.

Resource Series 5: Resources for Students with Disabilities Abroad

Mobility International said it best: If you have a physical disability, “[y]ou can and should apply for the same international exchange experiences as everyone else. People with disabilities are an essential part of any program.”

We want every student that wants to study abroad to get there, so here are some resources for students with physical disabilities, at every step of the process.

Here is a personal account of a Deaf student, and his thoughts on disclosing your disability during the application process.

In general, Mobility International USA is an amazing resources for students with disabilities to learn about resources abroad. They give practical advice while also making sure students know they can go anywhere they want. Bonus: one of our providers, CIEE, actually has a partnership with them

If you want very logical information regarding where to go and what assistance the U.S. government can offer, check out the U.S. State Department’s advice.

The organization Abroad With Disabilities also has an extensive list of resources for students with disabilities that want to study abroad (and some even include country-specific information or links!).

These are just some resources we know of and hope you find helpful. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call our office at (410) 704-2451 or email studyabroad@towson.edu. If you have any additional resources or personal advice to include, please let us know!

Where Do We Recommend?

China

Lindsey Robinson Fall 2012

We currently offer over 20 programs in China, including one of our exchanges, along with a faculty-led program. There are also countless opportunities to study abroad through program providers listed on our database.

Cuba

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Check out this Minimester program offered through one of our providers, AIFS, in Havana! You could also spend your Spring Break exploring Cuba.

Czech Republic

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You could study Geography in the Heart of Europe, or maybe on a TU exchange through the University of New York – Prague. These are just two of our 24 options to study in the Czech Republic.

Ecuador

Kathleen Seale Fall 2012

Attend our faculty-led program going to the Ecuadorian rainforest, or check out the Summer and Minimester options that AIFS offers in the Galapagos.

Greece

Greece

Spend a semester in Greece though the American College of Greece (or one of our other providers), or maybe a Summer term through ISA. We have a few other options in Greece, too, just check out our full program listings!

Morocco

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Spend a summer learning Arabic in Morocco, or maybe partake in a semester-long service-learning experience through ISA. We have 10 programs offered in Morocco, and one might be exactly right for you!

South Africa

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With almost 20 options to study abroad in South Africa, you can’t go wrong! We have three faculty-led programs, including this one that could earn you Theater credit. You could also spend a full semester or year, through USAC or one of our other providers!

 

Don’t see what you’re looking for? Check out ALL of our program options on our database, Horizons.

Fall 2017 Events

Welcome back, Tigers! 

It’s the beginning of the semester and there’s so much to do! The Study Abroad Office has put together a guide to some of our featured events happening during the Fall 2017 semester.

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Welcome Back Reception – AUGUST 31ST – 4PM TO 6PM – UNIVERSITY UNION 313

Join the Study Abroad Office and the Center for Student Diversity for a Welcome Back Party! Enjoy refreshments, meet fellow TU students, and celebrate the beginning of the school year with us. Open to all students!

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Honors College Night – SEPTEMBER 6TH – 6:30PM TO 8:00PM – DOUGLASS MPR

Are you in the Honors College? Learn how you can earn Honors credit while studying abroad. Hear from study abroad alumni on how to make study abroad a part of your Towson University experience.

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Study Abroad Fair – SEPTEMBER 7TH – 11AM TO 2PM – POTOMAC LOUNGE

Come to the Study Abroad Fair to find out what program(s) are going to be the best for you. With all of our programs represented, you can learn all about what Study Abroad has to offer. Talk to study abroad alumni and international students all about their experiences to find out if Study Abroad is right for you!

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Funding Your Experience – SEPTEMBER 20TH – 12PM TO 2PM – UNION 313

Are you interested in applying for study abroad but worry about costs? You’re not alone. Join the Study Abroad Office in the CSD to learn how everyone can study abroad. You’ll learn about different ways to help finance your study abroad goals through financial aid and scholarships.

Funding your Experience

Study Abroad Family Breakfast – OCTOBER 14TH – 9AM TO 10AM – TBA

Studying Abroad is a huge part of so many Towson students’ journeys here. Join us for breakfast to find out more about the Study Abroad process. Coffee, tea and pastries will be served.

Study Abroad Family Breakfast

International Education Week – NOVEMBER 13TH-17TH – THROUGHOUT CAMPUS

Celebrate everything there is to love about an international education all throughout the week with special events happening across campus. Be on the lookout so you can attend which events are calling to you!

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION WEEK

African Diaspora Alliance – NOVEMBER 15 – 12PM TO 2PM – UNION 313

In honor of International Education Week, our Study Abroad Office and the Center for Student Diversity is thrilled to welcome the African Diaspora Alliance to campus. Join us to talk about connecting with the Alliance abroad and the power of exploring identity through travel. It’s a discussion you won’t want to miss!

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Tips to Make Packing Easier

It’s that time in your planning process that you need to pack. How do you fit everything in a suitcase or two? What can you carry on? And what should you bring? As someone who always packs too much wherever they go, packing for such a long time away can be daunting. Here’s a few dos and don’ts, tricks and tips, and ways to make the nightmare of packing ease on by.

What do I need?

The truthful answer to this would be: ‘Not your entire closet.’

  • Find out if your housing will have laundry services (they often do) and how much they cost. From there, try and estimate how often you want to have to be doing laundry and plan from there what the minimal about of clothing items you’d need would be. I typically go at least three items over what my minimal would be just in case.
  • Check the local weather for when you’ll be going abroad. Weather.com is my go to for all things weather. No need for shorts when London was 30-55°F the entire time I was abroad. If the weather calls for a winter coat, wear your heaviest onto the plane and pack any lighter jackets. Or layer and save even more space! You can always take them off in the airport after security.
  • Have at least one formal outfit. You never know if your host family will invite you to a wedding or if you will attend an evening reception of some kind.
  • Always remember comfortable walking shoes. Most study abroad destinations will have you walking, climbing, and exploring all around the country. For long days on your feet, you want to have shoes that will remain comfortable for the entire duration of your outing (I’d suggest two pairs in case something malfunctions on one of them).
  • So what about toiletries? I always pack travel-sized ones to start off with. Any additional shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc. will almost always be found wherever you are. Ladies should consider any feminine products they’ll need abroad. And, as crazy as it may seem, I packed one thin roll of toilet paper in my suitcase just in case where we were staying didn’t have one on the roll when we got there. (For the record, there was one, but there was very little left on the roll).
  • Towels, sheets, and linens are a case by case kind of thing. Many places may provide them, but some may not. You should confirm this before you leave to study abroad. You can certainly buy them when you land, or you can always pack an old set that can be thrown away before returning home if you don’t want to have to lug them back with you.
  • Don’t forget adapters. Foreign outlet adapters will be your best friend. There’s different ones for different regions that you should check to see which one you’ll need.

Carry-On Luggage

One of the biggest things to have to figure out is: can this be carried onto the plane with me? The best thing to do would be to check your airline’s rules and regulations regarding carry-on items. Don’t forget to check size limitations on bags!

There’s a few general rules that almost always apply though:

  • Any travel documents you need should ALWAYS stay on your person (Passport, Boarding Pass, Visa(s), Insurance Card, etc.).
  • No weapons or anything flammable of any kind (this one will always apply).
  • Any kind of liquid (lotions, shampoos, makeup etc.) usually have to be 3.4 ounce (100ml) OR smaller.
  • Electronics are safest when they’re traveling with you and not getting thrown around in your checked luggage.

Here are a few extra tips to make packing your carry-on easier:

  • Do you have any medications that you must take?  Pack them in your carry-on in the original containers (Border Officials don’t take kindly to little bags of pills!) in case of your luggage gets lost. Bring copies of your prescriptions with you. Be sure to have the name of the generic drugs .
  • Putting your shoes in your carry on can help make your checked luggage lighter.
  • I was required to bring and keep a journal during my program, but having a place to write down things you want to remember and your experiences will help you tell all your friends and family the things you got to do.
  • For a Minimester program I took about $200-$300 in cash with me as an emergency supply that I kept hidden in my room.

We suggest you take a look at this site in addition to you airline’s site!

Checked Luggage

So anything that can’t go in my carry-on can go in my checked luggage? Not quite. We suggest you check with https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/all and your airline’s website once again for anything that can go into your checked luggage. But fear not. This bag’s a little easier when it comes to what’s allowed in it:

  • Underwear. Socks. Makeup.
  • Liquids in this bag can be any size, but I’d still suggest travel-sized items as they weigh significantly less.

Don’t forget to check the weight limits!

Anything Else?

A few more miscellaneous tips:

  • Always be culturally aware of what clothing could be considered appropriate and inappropriate where you’re going.
  • School supplies are easy enough to purchase after you’ve landed, however, if there’s a certain item you must have, they don’t take up too much space if you want to bring it with you.
  • Hairdryers, straighteners, and curling irons often blow fuses (this happened where I was staying multiple times in our apartment). It would be cheaper and easier to buy one for your dorm room/apartment/etc. If you have roommates, buy one for all of you and split the costs! Or go without!

Know what kind of tourist you are.

  • Will you be relying on your phone? Phones are great for navigating around an unknown city. Don’t forget a portable charger!
  • Do you like taking pictures? Will a phone suffice or do you want to bring a professional camera with you? Don’t forget an extra battery, memory card, and chargers!

A Few Pre-Made Packing Lists

When in doubt, make a list of everything that you’ll be needing to pack with you and cross the items off as you pack them. Don’t stress and start packing enough time in advanced so you’re not rushing at the end.

If you have any questions, you can contact our office at (410) 704-2451, or email studyabroad@towson.edu and peeradvisor@towson.edu. We are located in the Psychology Building, Room 408, open Monday-Friday, 8:30 am-5 pm.

Simple Steps to Learn a Language Before You Leave

One of the most frequent questions we get asked is, “Do I need to speak a foreign language to study abroad?” Students are typically very relieved to find that the answer is no!

While knowing the native language of the country you’re studying in is helpful, it is not required. Many of our program options in non-English speaking countries have a variety of courses offered in English. Having said that, the best way to learn a language is to be immersed in it!

If you are studying in a country where you don’t speak the language, you may want to brush up on local phrases before leaving the United States, so you don’t feel completely out of place when you arrive in your host country.  Some suggestions to get you started learning are:

  • Duolingo. I have so many friends who swear by this fun, interactive app when learning new languages!
  • Focus on the most important phrases. Chances are, you will have to ask where the bathroom is, and you will have to say thank you. Starting with the basics is less intimidating than trying to grasp full conversation pieces. Plus, it’s the polite thing to do!
  • Take a class. If you have time in your schedule and plan in advance, you can try to take a class in the language at Towson before you leave!
    • Find a tutor. Similarly, if the language you’re learning is taught at Towson, there may even be a tutor just for that language on campus.
  • Talk with a native speaker. Ask if any of your friends know someone who speaks the language, and connect with them.
  • Immerse yourself in popular culture and media in the language you want to learn. Listen to music, watch movies, and (if you can) read short articles in the language to get acquainted with it! Even if you don’t know what you’re hearing or seeing at first, you will eventually pick up on words and themes, and become familiarized with the culture.
  • Make flashcards. I know—as students, we dread making more flashcards than necessary, but they’re a great way to memorize different words and phrases!
  • Practice every day! The most important part of language-learning is memory. If you practice the phrases you want to learn and expand on it often, the phrases will become drilled in your memory before you go!

It is also important to note that studying abroad in an English-speaking country is still studying abroad. You will get a valuable cultural experience no matter where you go, because foreign English-speakers still have many different views and cultures that we don’t in our little corner of the world.

Other English-speaking countries also have different slang words and phrases for things, so it’ll feel like you’re learning a new language either way. In England, it took me weeks to figure out what the common words “ta,” “quid,” or “hob” were, or that when someone said they were “pissed,” they did not mean they were mad about something (in fact, they meant something very different!).

No matter where you go abroad, you will experience a different culture, and that’s what’s important! Don’t worry too much about the language barrier, but prepare before you go so you don’t feel totally lost.

As always, if you have any questions, you can visit our office in the Psychology Building, rm. 408. We are also available by phone at (410) 704-2451, and email at studyabroad@towson.edu.

5 Tips to Showcase Study Abroad on your Resume

Czech Republic

The first thing a student must realize when attempting to include their experience abroad in their resume is that it isn’t a common experience for most U.S. college students. In fact, only 1.5% of all U.S undergraduate students managed to study abroad during the academic year 2015-16. Knowing how to articulate your experience and highlight it on your resume can give any student an edge in the job market.

  1. Expand on your Experience
    Don’t just write “Study Abroad – France” and stick it somewhere in your resume, expand on it. Indicate where, when, and what you did while you were abroad. Did you volunteer, work, or study? How long were you abroad? Come up with a major take away from your experience and include that as well. For example: “Studying abroad has provided me with the ability to adapt to an unfamiliar environment quickly and communicate effectively despite cultural differences.”
  2. Know Where to Put it
    The placement of your study abroad experience on your resume may depend on what kind of program you went on. If you studied abroad at a specific institution for a semester or year (ex. University of Exeter, American University of Rome, Rennes School of Business, etc.), it may be more effective to put that institution under “Education” and format it equally to Towson. However, short-term programs that weren’t at a specific institution abroad may fit better as a bullet point or line under Towson. If you were involved in service learning or if you interned abroad, it may fit better under Work or Volunteer Experience. Make sure you think about where your program is marketed best on your resume, and format it accordingly.
  3. Keep it Professional
    Your resume shows employers or graduate schools why you are a serious candidate for their school or organization. Your experience abroad should speak to that. Stick to words and phrases like “adapt,” “cross-cultural communication,” “flexibility,” etc. Market those qualities, not the amount of countries you visited while you were abroad or the personal experiences you had (besides, if you land an interview, you can talk about those things then!).
  4. Make Them Want to Know More
    This goes along with what I was saying above, but make sure you leave things out to talk about in an interview! Your resume is supposed to make whoever is viewing it want to know more about you; it is not supposed to contain every detail of your life or experiences. Studying abroad is an attention grabber, and chances are that once an employer sees that you’ve been overseas, they will want to know about your experience and what skills/lessons you learned–no need to give every detail ahead of time!
  5. Tailor Your Resume and Cover Letter for Every Job or School You Apply To
    This is true for all aspects of a resume and cover letter, not just highlighting international education. Different words or examples to include may vary from job to job, or school to school. Think about what you learned abroad that is specific to what you’re applying for, and change your resume each time (I know it sounds like a hassle, but it will pay off!).

Don’t forget:

  • You can always visit our office (Psychology Building 408), call (410-704-2451), or email us (studyabroad@towson.edu or peeradvisor@towson.edu) with any questions!
  • The Career Center offers a comprehensive range of free services to assist you with your job search.

Spring 2017 Photo Contest Winners!

This semester, we received over 20 photo submissions from recent study abroad participants! After selecting the Top 10, we received over 1,000 votes across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

The winners of the Spring 2017 Photo Contest are:

1st Place: Leah Therres (Ambleside, United Kingdom)

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2nd Place: Aleia Libao (Venice, Italy)

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3rd Place: Courtney Pfaff (Lisbon, Portugal)

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Intern Abroad with TU!

Do you want to study abroad, but don’t think you have time to squeeze it into your schedule? Does your major require an internship for graduation? Do you want your resume to stand out to future employers?

If you answered yes to the above questions, a summer internship with Global Experiences might be just what you’re looking for! And if you weren’t looking, it just might be the best thing you never knew you needed!

Towson University has partnered with Global Experiences to provide Towson students the opportunity to access internships abroad. GE has been working for the past fifteen years to coordinate students with professional internships in fields such as advertising, business, communications, law, advocacy, NGOs, politics, psychology, engineering, art, and many more!

Current TU Global Experience Internships include:

Not convinced yet? Well how about take it from a TU Global Internships alumni. Elena Kalodner-Martin is a Towson senior and Maryland native, who spent all summer ’16 interning in Dublin, Ireland. Check out her blog on the matter, linked here!

If we’ve peaked your interest and you have questions, come see us at the Study Abroad Office in Psychology 408 or email us at studyabroad@towson.edu.