Category Archives: Study abroad

Gap Year in Belgium (Jessica)

United Nations Plaza in Brussels

While many high school seniors are eagerly anticipating the start of their college career, Jessica is gearing up for a different kind of adventure.  While her classmates celebrate their college acceptance letters, Jessica is celebrating special news of her own. Jessica is a senior, preparing for a Gap Year abroad in Belgium with iE-USA – and she just learned which family will be her hosts for her time abroad!

This article by Alexa Rosenblatt shows why some students, like Jessica, choose to take a Gap Year to travel and mature before starting college. Gap Year travel can often help improve a student’s college application. According to Rosenblatt, “During the admissions process, colleges often recognize valued skills learned during productive gap years, such as the drive to do something different, communication skills and quick adjustment to changing environments.” Blumenthal, a student returning from abroad, said, “My year was cheaper than a year’s worth of education at most schools, and was more of an education any school could have provided.” Jessica agrees with Blumenthal’s comment, “A gap year isn’t sitting on your couch for a year; it should be an opportunity to do something you never could before. It’s a learning experience.” (Blumenthal, in Rosenblatt article).

Jessica  will be attending a local high school while discovering her new ‘hometown’ of Ayvaille, near Liege. This city is famous for its rivers, kayaking adventures, and caves. But Jessica is even more excited to hear how her host family’s interests are similar to hers; her host sister is a college student close to her age who lives at home, and her host mom loves to cook cake and pastries, just like her!

iE-USA did an interview with Jessica to see why traveling abroad after high school attracted her more than heading straight to college. She said, “I always wanted to study abroad but was never able to do it with school being so busy. I wanted to do it before college, especially because they say you are better at learning languages when you are younger. So I wanted a year off that wasn’t wasted. Also, my brother is in college and did a semester abroad in Italy, but he didn’t really meet any Italians when he was doing it. I wanted to be immersed in high school life as opposed to just taking college courses abroad and living in an apartment or dorm where you don’t meet as many local people. High school kids seem friendlier.”

We asked her if she thought a gap year was for all students and she said, “You should do a gap year if you have a plan in place; something that will be enriching for you. I know a student who didn’t make good college plans and HAD to take a gap year because of that but she took a job that keeps her at home for the year, which is sad because she could be traveling or learning. If you were able to plan something ahead of time that allows you to do something you have never done before, you should definitely do a gap year.”

So what did Jessica have to say about her new host family and school abroad? “At first, waiting to hear about my host family, I was nervous. I was worried a family wouldn’t understand me, or treat me badly. But now that I found my family, they seem like such a good fit.”

She also said, “I already looked up the website for my school, and you could even see the school lunch menu, which I have to say was a step up from the American lunch of football shaped nuggets and flat patties. Their lunch seems so sophisticated, something you would actually want to eat at school. It’s the little things like that which are making this experience seem less abstract. I’m excited, not nervous now, to meet my host family, and I already started chatting with my host sister, she has Facebook!”

Read more about iE-USA Gap Year here.

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Why do you go away?

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”

―Terry Pratchett

 

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Want to travel this summer or next spring? High school students can apply here

Make this summer amazing!

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You will be in Argentina drinking the local beverage, ‘Mate’!

This summer there are opportunities to learn Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, or French while staying with a host family in another country. You could decide to volunteer with turtles in Costa Rica or whales in Argentina, or learn how to Tango! It’s not too late to apply, even for graduating seniors. Make this summer memorable!

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Or you will be in Beijing, exploring every afternoon.

Learn more

Apply here

Part 2, Interview with Andrea Bouchaud

So immerse yourself around new people, you’ll adapt so much easier, no matter where you go abroad, and those skills will follow you through your life and in your career. 

Andrea Bouchaud attended a study abroad program in college in France, and learned useful tips to adapt to French life which she includes in her study abroad memoirs and it’s sequel being released April 11, 2014. Read Part 1 of the interview with guest author, here.

L: In one of your recent blog posts, you asked: “So what can you do to counteract the home country effects on your study abroad experience?” Can you explain a little more what types of behaviors or attitudes French families find normal, which might clash with Americans and how to best adjust or prepare?

A: On the whole, French culture is more formal, even amongst each other; whether a good friendship or parent-child, it’s more formal. For example, you wouldn’t start an email with, “Hey, can you do this?”, even if it’s your best friend there. You use formal greetings, like, “How are you, hope everything is well…”. Just think about formality, and try to be your most polite self. You really have to consider the culture. French students are more reserved in class, and not as touchy; Americans are touchy, we might reach out and brush your arm or hug you, but that’s not very French. They aren’t cold, they just aren’t touchy. So if you feel like reaching out to people, or hugging your host family, it might not put your host family at ease, so that would be something to hold back on a little. Also tone down the way you dress; the 80’s style is becoming more popular (in the States), neon, distressed denim, holes in shirts, so tone it down for your time in France. Young people might get on those trends there, but it’s stil better to just wear cute flat shoes, skinny jeans for girls, simple t-shirts, not offensive, and no American bands, etc., basically more neutralized.SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

-You are going to buy a lot of clothes there to fit in, so I wouldn’t bother packing much either. H&M is a Swedish company, so even in the States, they always have more European trends, so if you shop there, you’ll definitely fit in and you can’t go wrong.

-Also, do your research, use native exchange opportunities in your town. On phones now there is a great application, called YahooFrance which is a news app. It will post general world stuff, and so you can know who their people to know are, who’s their “Brangelina”, what concerns the french, and it pops up daily on your phone, so it’s a great way to get a quick glimpse of “oh this is a topic”, a general idea of what’s going on, and in French! So you can practice and be able to say “Hey, I know this expression now!”.

-Prepare mentally. Challenge yourself. When I was 20, I didn’t push myself out of my comfort zone much. If you’ve never had to do this, or meet new people, then try it in your hometown before you go. Say hi to one new person in class, join a new club, volunteer for community service, or at a church. Push yourself even before you go abroad, then it’s easy to carry with you that skill when you go abroad. Don’t just think “I’ll change abroad”; if you do that, it will take more time. I thought that too, and I had trouble because I wasn’t pushing myself. So immerse yourself around new people, you’ll adapt so much easier, no matter where you go abroad, and those skills will follow you through your life and in your career. I now feel I will adapt quickly to any situation, and people find that useful as a life skill.

L: Do you feel that tracking your experiences such as in this book has helped you reflect on your experience, and how so?  

Absolutely. There are so many things seven years later that I notice looking back at my journals, I had a different mentality. What I thought was the French being difficult, was actually me being difficult. Of course, some things really are frustrating, and you can’t change it, like strikes. I would say, “What are these people doing? They are so strange”, but that’s because I didn’t do my research. Now I know to look out for it (a metro strike), I bring my walking shoes in my bag with me, and I know they might do it once a week. So if you want to wear heels around in Paris, bring flats in your bag because you never know when the Metro will go on strike.

There are things that are SO avoidable in the transition process, that I realize now. Whether studying abroad or just visiting even a couple weeks, there are so many things that if you reached out and researched, for example, just go on Google and type in, “current french news”, and it will pop up! Just by having that basic comprehension and knowledge base, it will take you so far on understanding and accepting the new culture. I didnt want to change, my idea was that I was going to study abroad, and they would be friends with me and I would just have to sit back and relax, and I didn’t realize it wasn’t going to happen that way. The whole point of study abroad is to change, and to have self growth and reflection, and I didn’t realize that. I was fighting the process, and thought if I changed, I was saying there was something wrong with me. It’s not about not liking who you are, but growing as a person. Change isn’t negative, it’s always positive,  and you become a more accepting and understanding person by doing so.

L: So do you suggest students keep diaries and/or blogs?

A: Yeah, if I didn’t have my journal, I would’ve gone insane! Days when my language skills weren’t what they were supposed to be, I thought “this is never going to get better”, and I expressed frustration through my journal. It was there for me. When learning something new, I would say, “Why am not getting this?”. It was better to write it in my journal; don’t always to reach out to your family, to not scare them. I would vent my frustration on a bad day to my parents and they would say, “What’s wrong? What can we do?” and I felt bad because I didn’t have all bad days. Befriending someone in the program so you can talk about rough days also helps, it’s nice to hear a human voice not just a journal. Your program friends are good resources, or make a new friend! Just say, “Is this frustrating to you too?” Blogging, or any recording is great, because I could go back and write these books; I also have scrapbooks,  and it brings back great memories, and even the frustrating moments become funny later, it’s a great memento to have.

The other great part of the journaling aspect is being able to share your story with other students; you just helped somebody, by telling your story. The whole idea of paying it forward is useful, it really helps other students directly.

L: Has traveling influenced or changed your career goals that you might have had before you started traveling?

I was a very know-it-all young person, before I traveled, I thought I had figured the world out. Traveling helped show there isn’t just one way to do things; I was very stubborn, maybe it’s my french blood (ok, that’s not true but I like to blame it). I would always think my way is the best way, but as you experience other cultures you realize there are multiple ways to do things and you can see if it’s good for you or not good for you. We really are all the same, with the same desires, the same needs with just slight variations. That oneness is nice to see; it connects the human species no matter where you are in the world, and it helps you critical think better, and come up with better solutions.

When you stay stagnant in one place, or if you’ve never moved even from your state, you’ll think, “we always do it this way”, when in reality even in different states they do things differently. In my personal life I can find quick solutions now; my brain will start to absorb other possibilities and think big, because I know there are other ways to do things. Traveling opens your eyes and makes you a more accepting, understanding person and a more valuable person in your job, community, and workplace.

It’s even a trend now for high school and college graduates to put on their college application or job resume their travel experience to show you have been with other cultures, because the people in those positions know it makes you more accepting, and this skill helps a lot in the workplace and your personal life.

6. As a last note, iE-USA is offering a short term summer program in Paris for 2014. What would be your top three tips for students who apply?

1. You are the new factor, I can’t stress it enough. The Parisians have been living there for years, so make sure you are prepared to look into their culture, and immerse yourself. It’s difficult because you feel yourself resisting, but just go on a walk on those days and feel the beauty. The summer time will be empty but beautiful because the Parisians will be off and about on vacation. You have to change, not the french. If you make a language mistake, it’’s not the end of the world. I used to get hung up on it, and would get frustrated if I made errors. It’s better if you can learn from the issue, move on, and just keep talking! You’ll improve faster.

AndreaParis__00232. Challenge yourself. Go out on walks- I used to walk for hours around the city. It’s not a big city, so you can walk for hours and I never felt any discomfort or think “When am I going to arrive!”. It’s really enjoyable; it’s a beautiful city in the sunshine and absolutely gorgeous. If I had a bad day I would feel better just by getting outside.

3. The more activities you do, the better. It’s great that your program has activities, because our students on my program didn’t feel too connected to each other because we didn’t have activities planned. It’s easier to feel sad and stay inside without activities. But that’s the worst you can do,  because you’ll start thinking negatively. The best thing is to get your mind off it; interact with other students, even if it’s going to a cafe and getting a croissant and Perrier, it’s great to have those activities available to you in this summer program.

P.S. Here’s a quick language test, how do you say washing machine in French?

Also, I am always looking for students to interact with other students, on my blog, so if anyone would like to be a guest blogger if they experience France, I would love to have them and share their stories.

For more information about summer study abroad in Paris, email infoabroad@international-experience.net

Comments or questions for Andrea Bouchaud? Comment below or follow her on Twitter @twentyinParis !

Interview with Andrea Bouchaud, Book Author and Study Abroad Blogger (Part 1)

“The whole point of study abroad is to change, and to have self growth and reflection”Image

iE-USA’s Outbound Director, Laura Higgs, was pleased to interview the author and blogger, Andrea Bouchaud, for her virtual book release tour. She wrote The Paris Diaries: The Study Abroad Experience Uncensored, to be released on Amazon Kindle Store on April 11, 2014. It is a sequel to Twenty in Paris: A Young American Perspective of Studying Abroad in Paris. Both books track her experience studying abroad in Paris and the difficulties and beauties of a long term immersion experience. Andrea now resides in Dallas, Texas.

If you or someone you know would like to study abroad in France, go to the iE-USA.org website to find out more.

L: What do you appreciate most about French culture?

A: I appreciate the most the “Joie de Vivre’, an appreciation for life. I didn’t recognize it for what it was at first, as Americans, we don’t take time to stop and smell the roses, but for example the French eat because it’s pleasurable, and to enjoy good company, to enjoy good food, it’s not just doing things because you have to, but because it’s an enjoyable experience. And it took a while to get used to, now I incorporate this into my life here, when I’m walking through a park, it’s not just a walk in the park to get to my destination, I appreciate the little things: people laughing, smiling, I also appreciate city life for what it is.

L: Is France for everyone?

A: There’s a little bit of France for everyone, it’s a cultural hubbub, in Europe for sure it is one of the most cultural places. Science is big, there are amazing hospitals and industries, of course the art is fabulous with the world class museums, it has cooking and fashion too, it really has something for everyone. They are proud of their culture though, so you have to be ready to adapt to their culture if you aren’t already living and looking like them. If a student isn’t ready to adapt, then France might not be for them.Image

L: Was the time when you published your first book your first time traveling?

A: This was my first long term experience traveling. In high school, we took a six day trip and it was my first time out of the country. We spent two days in Paris and also visited Normandy, but otherwise I hadn’t traveled a whole lot in my youth. The most international I had been was going to the Bahamas when I was eight, which I don’t remember much. Living abroad is definitely different from vacation. You think when you are without your mom and dad, it will just be so cool and free. It’s very different, and vacation sometimes distorts perceptions of travel. I thought just being able to go to the corner cafe by myself would be cool and make me independent, being away from my family and home, I thought I would do what I wanted. Instead of this, I realized it was a new experience and had to be much more responsible and deal with new challenges.

L: What fears did you have going abroad and how did you overcome them?

A: I actually didn’t have any fears, and that was the problem. I thought, “All will be fine and dandy”, and while studying abroad is not a fearful experience, you should have some questions and concerns before you go. Just saying, “it will work out” (which it certainly does) does not help you adapt. It could have saved months of confusion if I had looked into some concerns beforehand and practiced my french more. But they didn’t come across to me, I was first in my family to study abroad, the first of my friends, and really out on my own, and I had to go alone. The program I had to choose (because my original program was cancelled) had no support orientation or courses, no preparation information, so I was just going with my dreams and hopes and deluded expectations, and that was an issue.

L: You say you should have questions before you go. Many students find the French language hard to learn, or hard to progress. Any suggestions before they leave?

A: The best option is to talk with natives; it’s tried and true and never fails. I discovered this website, www.mylanguageexchange.com, you can sign up for free, and it’s for people who are looking to improve their french and you can improve really fast. It’s a really great way to speak with someone who’s a native, and really cool because you find out about the culture at the same time. You might not even realize some things, but you will be talking with a native, and they mention certain things in their daily life. It opens the door for cultural understanding, and improving language because class and textbooks can only teach so much; it’s really about getting your hands dirty and practicing. If you have the means to do so, there is also Alliance Française, (http://www.afusa.org/) which is a cultural organization group in every major city, and they have classes taught by native speakers. So in addition to taking French at school, you should find out about the culture and really talk with a native; any language course at school, the teacher will talk slow, repeat themselves, etc. but that doesn’t happen in real life conversation. Everyone speaks so quickly, so if you talk with a native before you go, you’ll be better prepared for how they will speak abroad.

L: Did you make Parisian friends, and what was the easiest way to meet people?

A: My first semester, I was concentrating on such a tough transition, that I didn’t make a lot of friends, I would go out with other Americans in my program though. Second semester, I only made more American friends, and my program was mainly Americans. At  Sorbonne, they had students from all over, and the others spoke so well, almost fluently in French, and I was always so envious. There was a Russian girl and she made more friends because she could speak the language. I was friendly with a couple French girls, we would talk in class. I actually have more French friends now that I’m in the States; in Dallas there is a huge french population. The real issue and lesson learned was that I didn’t push myself out of my comfort zone and I didn’t try to fit in by looking like them, and I might have scared some of them. Maybe they didn’t know how to approach an American, especially one who looked different. If you are going abroad you HAVE to be the extrovert; I didn’t even think about that. They (the French) had been in school for 3 years already. They already have established friendships, so I realized later, they won’t just be friends with me because I’m the new girl; the other (American) students also didn’t make friends because we assumed they’d be interested in us and we just waited, but it wasn’t so much that they weren’t interested in meeting us, you just have to work your way in and make an effort.

I have a blogger friend, who made an interesting comparison. She said, Europeans are like Coconuts, and Americans are like Peaches, with their friendships. Europeans are harder on the outside, and then warm on the inside once you make a friend. Americans are the complete opposite, we’re friendly and then we put up wall after a while, and you have to work harder to keep good friends. When you are across cultures, you have to work a little harder  to “get into the shell”.

L: Yes, one of the exchange students from Germany, in Texas, made a similar connection, in a local newspaper interview. This must be a very common difference between cultures. So what is the easiest way to meet people?

A: Friendship concepts are different; we as Americans have many acquaintances who we are friendly with, but the French, they want to have a true commitment from another person. It’s a different way to think about it; they take it more seriously. You have to push out of your comfort zone, because otherwise while you are waiting for them to come to you, they are waiting for you to come to them. You have to be the one who will be making those attempts at friendships, otherwise it won’t happen.

Continued in Part 2 here

Andrea Bouchaud is available for questions, and loves being a mentor for students. Her Skype or Email is available upon request, and you may submit questions she will respond to, below in the Comments section.

Argentina- First Week in Cordoba! -Cara

Being silly with new friends at orientation week in downtown Cordoba.

Being silly with new friends at orientation week in downtown Cordoba.

The first days were definitely harder than I thought they would be. Once we got busy and started to tour Córdoba it got a lot easier! I love the city and the people in it. They are all very welcoming and so nice! It was a little weird for me at first to be welcomed with a kiss on the cheek because we don’t do much of that back in the states but now I love it! Even complete strangers will welcome you into their home which is very comforting! I do have my days though where I miss my friends and family back home, but I know I will get to see those people again. The people I meet here I might never see again so I know that I have to make the most of my time here!

I am hanging out with my host sister and her friends a lot which is nice because that way we get to know each other a little better! I have one host sister and a host mom and they are both really comforting.

Meeting and greeting my host family for the first time.

Meeting and greeting my host family for the first time.

They said that I can talk to them if I’m ever missing home and that I should feel at home here. I don’t start school till March 5th. I am a little for that just because I will be the new kid and feel very overwhelmed because of the language. I know however, that the language will start to come easier for me and after a month or so it will be much easier. I have been here for two weeks now and am looking forward to the next four and a half months that I have ahead of me!

Top 6 Reasons to Study Abroad in Italy

 “You may have the universe if I may have Italy” 
― Giuseppe Verdi

This week, iE-USA decided to feature Italy as its Country Destination on our blog. Grayden, our Student Ambassador, has selected his top 6 reasons why you should choose to study abroad in Italy:

  1. The Culture: Italy is a country full of rich and diverse culture which differs from region to region. This contributes to the broad cultural range which Italy offers, and provides a vast learning experience for anyone who chooses to study abroad here. 
  2. The People: Italian people are one of the main reasons that their country is so great. Friendly, as well as talkative, Italians are great people who are very outgoing socially. It’s easy to find friends who are spending free time together, having a good time and want you to be a part of it. Family also plays a large role in Italian culture and life, and when abroad they will make exchange students feel like a part of the family, which is a major plus! 
  3. Lifestyle: Italians live a very relaxed, happy lifestyle. School and work provide Italians with much more free time during a day than a typical American schedule would allow, and allows for more time to eat, spend time with friends, and participate in many other activities. 
  4. The Food: Italians like to say that their food is “the best in the world,” and they are right. Italians have a diet that varies by region, but consists of many pastas, breads, and many greens and salads as well. The food in Italy is one of the things that people savor and remember for the rest of their lives!
  5. The History: Italy, as well as Europe in general, is a country which is hundreds of years older than America, and contains a history lesson wherever you look. From the buildings, castles, and churches, no matter where one stays, they will always be living in or near a piece of history.
  6. The Scenery: Whether it’s the villages, the masses of hills, the coast, or the mountains, Italy is a country where the natural beauty never stops. The best part? All of these areas are within a few hours of each other.

To apply or get more information, click here!

To talk to our student ambassador Grayden, go here.

Maria and Mandela

As 15 year old Maria boarded her flight for South Africa, she had no idea she was headed to the ground floor of a significant historical event!

Maria

Maria lights a candle during a weeklong vigil for Nelson Mandela.

Meet Maria

Maria from California chose to study abroad for 1 semester in South Africa with iE-USA.

Toward the end of her exchange semester, news of Nelson Mandela’s death rocked the world. Maria, now immersed in the South African culture, was able to see these events through the eyes of a South African.

Maria shares more in her own words:

What impacted you during your semester in South Africa with iE-USA?

It’s hard to list just one thing, because I’m so thankful for the experience in general. The townships were like nothing I had seen before. There are squatter camps, where people build houses out of tin and other materials, and there are formal settlements. These are housing units made out of brick, which was an effort that Mandela began post-apartheid. In the townships, everyone was smiling and friendly, yet they have almost nothing. It made me realize how much we take for granted.

How did people respond to Nelson Mandela’s passing?

The energy that week leading up to the funeral was all revolved around him and remembering the life that he led. There were thousands of flowers laid out on the streets and hand-written cards to the Mandela family. It’s not until you are in that environment that you realize he did not only have a physical impact on the laws and government, but an emotional impact on the people and their minds. People really feel like he impacted their lives on a personal level, and he did.

Why did you choose South Africa?

I wanted to go to a country where their first language is English. That narrowed it down pretty quickly. Most of the other English-speaking countries all have a similar culture to that of America, and so I felt South Africa would be the most different. I wanted the “most different.” I wanted something out of my comfort zone.

What differences did you notice?

The languages. You can sit on a bus and hear English, Zulu, Tswana, Afrikaans, and Xhosa. You don’t get that in America. Also, school was the polar opposite of my school in California. We had uniforms, which I ended up liking because I didn’t have to decide what I wanted to wear in the morning. And I got to take classes I had never been able to take back home, like African History and Consumer Studies. 

Do you have any favorite memories from your time?

Maria poses with a seal outside of Capetown.

Maria poses with a seal outside of Capetown.

I got to go shark cage diving – that was one of the coolest things. You wear a wet suit and get in the water with them!

What does it feel like to come home?

So far, it’s as if nothing has changed, which is good and kind of weird at the same time. I am glad I can pick up where I left off, but the experience was so personal, that I feel like I have changed drastically, while nothing around me is different.

What advice would you give someone considering studying in South Africa?

I would say to just be open-minded, because, if you go to any country with a closed mind, you are not going to be happy. One thing people should be prepared for when they go to South Africa is that there is more poverty than in America. They should also know that it’s not a reason to be scared. Overall, I found that they (South Africans) are very friendly, loving people – more so than in America. I took the train, taxis, and city buses, but I always felt safe.

How do you think this might affect your future?

I would like to revisit South Africa in the future. I am even considering a year abroad at UCT. I also hope this experience will help me get into college, so that I may continue studying culture and people on a higher academic level. I believe this is just the first step in a long list of cultural-immersion experiences.

Are you a teacher, educator, or homeschooler? Want to use this interview as an educational piece about Mandela or South Africa? Download the Maria_and_Mandela_Educational_Handout.

Want to apply to go to South Africa next year? Go here: http://usa.international-experience.net/study-abroad/apply-now/

Last month in Germany :( – Claire

Germanyclaire

I’ve learned so much by being in Germany for the past few months.  Unfortunately, I can only stay for 5 months and not 10.  I would jump at the chance to extend my time here, but with school and graduation in a few months, it works out better to just stay a semester.  When I came, I could only put together a few sentences and had almost no knowledge of the grammar.  With the immeasurable patience of my host family (especially host mom), I’ve made incredible progress in German.  I’ve learned so much just by helping my host mom cook and asking questions about the language and when, what, and why people say certain things.

I’ve really become part of culture here.  I’m on a soccer team and in a choir.  I’ve snowboarded in the French Alps. I’ve made numerous friends, and I’m glad to say I also have a new German family.

I strongly recommend studying abroad, and, of course, choosing Germany.  I won’t lie and say it’s always the easiest, but it is certainly 100% worth it.  No doubt.

Fundraising in the Holiday Season

The holidays can be one of the best times to fundraise because people are in a generous, happy mood. But do you find people saying, “I’m really busy” or  “I just used my money for a present” ? Read below for help to get going.

Fundraising isn’t as hard as it might seem, if you follow these tips. Give your friends and family (and anyone else you can market to) a reason to donate or to buy what you are selling, and keep it short.

If study abroad is your dream, make sure you make that clear as well as why this experience will make a difference to you. Keep what you say or write to under two minutes and people will pay attention at a busy time like this. If they say “no” then keep pushing forward and don’t allow it to slow you down. If you need to adapt your strategy, then do so. Perhaps people keep telling you they are on a diet and don’t buy cookies; so offer them some healthy options!

Don’t know how to bake? Bakesales aren’t the only fundraiser that exists! What about a raffle for a trip to a spa? Or sew cute fabric covers for pet beds to sell. An international dinner, hosted in your language teacher’s classroom. The sky is the limit! We have more resources here.

If you send an email to either friends or different groups around town, tell them how they can act to donate (whether it is an embedded hyperlink to your fundraising website like fundmytravel.com or your name and address in order to send a check). Try to personalize the emails you send, and cater to each group you send out to (church groups, local businesses, relatives).

One of the easiest ways to start fundraising is asking for money to be donated toward your trip instead of receiving presents during the holidays or for birthdays.

Check out our fundraising ideas here. Maria was able to fundraise for her trip by using the website www.gofundme.com ,this was what she wrote: http://www.gofundme.com/foreignexchange

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