ADVICE try to pack clothes that you do not want to use anymore, so you can leave there and have more space in your luggage (I wish I would’d done this).

You are going to get a packing list, and I going to tell you what I use and what I did not.

  • Definitely you need more than $200. There are amazing things you want to bring back home, and sometimes it gets really difficult to get money out + you want to save the extra charges that some banks have for using your card in a different country.
  • Knowing the India currency or the currency of any other country it is very important and interesting!
  • Money belt (never used it). I have a small security purse that REI sells, and you can safely keep your more and other stuff in there. $65
  • ALWAYS BRING BACKUP DOCUMENTS; copy of your passport, insurance, the card you are taking, and your airline itinerary.
  • Mosquito net (never used it).
  • 1 pair of comfortable shoes or sandals. I used sandals of the time because of the heat. We did not walk too much, so they were perfect.
  • 1 pair of flip flops for showering. I did not bring them and did not need them. The showers at the places we stayed were very decent.
  • CLOTHES like I said bring the clothes you do not want. Bring something that you are comfortable and fresh, the heat makes you really tired. Bring something nice for a night out. Extra t-shirts!!
  • The first week was a little cold, so bring something light but warm (most of us were not ready for the cold).
  • Socks (never used it) 1 pair is enough.
  • UNDERWEAR, I brought underwear for every single day because I do not feel comfortable somebody washing my underwear, and because I did not know who I would be sharing the room with. Days were really long and sometimes you did not have time for small things like this, and I had to share the room with the boys. I am so happy I had underwear for every single day! My girl roommate regret not doing it.
  • Pijamas
  • I brought my own, but each place had clean towels. You can save some space here.
  • Camera OF COURSE!!
  • Ziploc bags, I never used them, but it is important to have some just in case.
  • Tissues, disposable wet wipes YES!!! I brought 1 roll of toilet paper which was really important. I bought small wipes to carry with me all the time and a big package that I left at the hotel (Used them all).
  • A thin collapsible duffer if you plan to purchase souvenirs. If I was you I would just leave all the clothes I do not want and put everything in your luggage, that way you are more comfortable on your way back. Many of us did not have the space, and it was very uncomfortable to travel with so many things.
  • Facial care (sunscreen)
  • Personal care (dental, hair,eye body) HAND SANITIZER, DEODORANT, RAZOR, INSENT REPELENT
  • Over the counter drugs. PLEASE bring something for a cold or cough, I got some kind of cold and had nothing for it.


Under the counter medicine

  • Vitamin C
  • Dramamine $7.89
  • Melatonin $6.57 (jet-lag) (if you have never taken this before buy the 3mg).
  • Alka-seltzer $6.29
  • Pepto-Bismol $6.29
  • Imodium $9.49
  • Ibuprofen
  • Earplugs and eye cover (optional). I did not bring any, plus the airline (EMIRATES) gave us earplugs and eye covers.
  • Map of India (YOU DO NOT NEED IT!). $15
  • Sense of humor and flexibility (bring extra of those).
  • Bring your own snacks!! The time between meals it’s a little long

    This is the one you should get!!

This should be part of your kit. I took the picture because when I went I had a hard time, so if you do too you can just look at the picture and i will be easier to find them.

Don’t forget your passport and Financial Aid

Two of the most important things I had to do in preparation for my upcoming spring break study abroad in Greece were to renew my passport and update my financial aid.  These are both things you can begin working on before you have even applied to a program, and I highly recommend addressing them as early as possible!

My passport was due to expire in September 2017 and with my program occurring in March, I was right on the line of the six month mark that everyone talks about.  The Department of State warns travelers that they may not be admitted into another country if their passport expires within six months.  Furthermore, they recommend renewing your passport nine months before it expires.  Once I knew for sure that I would be participating in the study abroad program, it was already January and I was concerned that if I sent in my passport for renewal, I might not get my renewed passport in time.  Again, the Department of State website is a useful reference, their guide says that if your travel is more than 4-6 weeks away standard processing will return your passport in time.  There are also expedited options that are more expensive.

I sent in my passport for standard processing and had my new passport back in about two weeks, faster than I expected!  Of course, your experience may be different – but I recommend following the recommendations from the Department of State and renew your passport nine months before it expires, even if you’re unsure of when you will need it next.

Now, Financial Aid: When I applied to my study abroad program, I saw that a study abroad revision request needed to be filed with the program budget and assumed this would be a simple process.  I was wrong!  While filing the budget revision request is an important part of preparing to study abroad, I learned that I should have met with Financial Aid far earlier than I did.  To begin with, not all study abroad programs are approved for funding from Financial Aid.  Before applying, it might be a good idea to speak with the Financial Aid office, or at least send them an e-mail, and check to ensure the program you’re considering is approved.  Also, just because you adjust your budget doesn’t mean additional funds will magically appear and be delivered when you need them.  If you request a draft program budget from the Study Abroad office, you can take this to an appointment with Financial Aid and they can give you an idea of whether funds will be available and when you would receive them.

Typically, funds are delivered the first day of the quarter you are studying abroad.  However, if your program starts later, funds aren’t delivered until the program start date.  If your program starts early, you still will not receive funds until the first day of the quarter.  This is usually fine as the program fee is not due until after the program starts, but some programs require paying earlier.  Also, for the best deal on airfare its a good idea to make a booking about three months in advance, so plan ahead to know how you will finance things!  Also, if you are a recipient of the UW Bothell Study Abroad Scholarship, note that the award is not delivered to you until the beginning of the quarter after your study abroad program.

I hope you learn from my mistakes and start thinking about your passport and financial aid as early as possible.  Both the Study Abroad and Financial Aid offices are happy to meet with you before you’ve even decided if you want to study abroad and are excellent resources to work with throughout your search and application process.


Blog by Alvin Duong, Biology, CIEE Open Campus in Paris, France

As I sit here waiting for my first flight to Dallas and eventually Paris, I wanted to recollect all the madness that’s happened in the past several months. As soon as I found out I was able to afford study abroad, I jumped straight on that boat and signed up for all the meetings I can with my study abroad advisors. Many meetings and discussions went by. We talked about a lot of scholarships, places to study abroad, and the different programs that UW is and isn’t affiliated with. Hours upon hours of going in to talk to Natalia and Cecilee and applying to so many different scholarships has led me to this; being a writer for Voices from Around the World at a terminal in SeaTac.


I chose Paris as my location because of many reasons. It has a connection to my Vietnamese heritage. I’ve always wanted to go to Europe since I can remember and experience the rich culture it has to offer. My liking for romantic comedies has also led me to going to Paris. At first I didn’t want to go because of all the responsibilities that will be upon me and the people I’ll dearly miss, but it will be a life-changing experience and it will help me grow to become more independent. Even before leaving my house I learned that I should check my pant pockets before putting it in the washer.


While abroad I plan on FaceTiming and Skyping my friends and family, communicating to them through text and a voice app I use often called Discord. I was very sad that I couldn’t see my mom before I left because she had a wedding to attend down in California, but I had the company and support of my older brother on the way to SeaTac.


I would describe the U.S. and Americans to be a large community full of different cultures. Some of us are adventurous folks and some of us are those who like to dwell in the back line. But no matter where we are in the U.S., we are always a friend, we are class mates, we are neighbors, but most importantly, we are always family.


Some of my worries while abroad is not being able to see my friends or family in a long amount of time. The longest I’ve been away from them was a month while I was in Boston, but I stayed at a family’s house for most of the time I spent there. I’m sure my mother is worried because she’s been calling me every day to check in on how I’m doing before I leave, but she’s a soldier and she doesn’t like to show her negative emotions to me.


I did my packing the day before my flight and I’d say it was successful! I checked in 1 bag, have a carry-on, and my backpack with me. At first I thought I was okay with luggage space and thought I would have a lot of room leftover, but as my laundry started to finish up, and I was putting more and more ”
essential” clothes in, I saw the rise of clothes and decline of free space in my luggage. It’s always better to overpack than under pack, but going abroad to a place I’ve never been before, I plan on buying gifts and souvenirs.


This whole process has been very hectic and I’ve been all over the place, but I believe this trip and experience will be all worth the trouble!


Au Revoir!


Blog by Feruza Ghias, Community Psychology, and Society, Ethics and Human Behavior, CHID Sardinia: Island Migrations, Health, and Social Justice

I chose this program because it aligned well with my double major in Community Psychology and Society, Ethics and Human Behavior. Through these two majors I have learned a lot about sociology, psychology and a bit about cultures from around the world – all of which interest me a lot. This program will be focusing on the following topics: social justice, health and migrations. Through this program we will be working on one big class project which is creating a video about Multicultural Societies. We will be working with migrants that have arrived in Sardinia, interviewing locals and other key individuals involved with migrants. We will ask them what they know about the recent mass migration happening in Europe and what their opinion is on the influx of immigrants on their island. Additionally, we will study about how migrants’ health is affected by their immigration situation. The location of the program- Italy, mattered, because many immigrants and refugees that travel to Europe, first must go through Italy in order to get to their desired destination. Some of them don’t make it out of Italy for various reasons and so that would be another thing we would look at – what happens to those immigrants and what their prospect future looks.

Since this will be my second time studying abroad, there still are many things I could learn from this experience. For instance, this time I will be living with room mates, which I have never done. I tend to be a neat and organized person, but I am concerned if my room mates are going to be the messy-type and how will I deal with that. Academically and Professionally, I want to work first hand with migrants and refugees. I hope to learn about their life in their country and why they fled their country and what their hopes are for their future. Since I am not 100% sure of what I want for my profession, I hope that this experience will shine some light on certain topics that interest me and I hope that can help me in narrowing down my academic interests and my intended focus of what I want to do in my profession.

I have never been to Europe but always wanted to visit some day. I can’t wait to make new memories!



And The Adventure Begins.

 06/21/2015, Blog by Alicia Lookabill, Media and Communication Studies, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences (UW Bothell) Spain: The Politics of Soccer in Spain and Beyond



Alicia First Blog Post 2This study abroad trip is the first time I have ever left the United States and my flights have already taken me to three new countries (okay, so I can’t cross them off of my “To Visit” list since I never left the airports, but it’s still pretty cool). I departed for the Vancouver, B.C. airport from Bellingham, Washington at about 5 am on Thursday the 18th. At the Canadian airport, I couldn’t use my phone (I decided to use wifi whenever available for contacting the outside world and to buy a prepaid phone in Spain for local use) and it was already getting difficult because I forgot to text my parents that I had even left. Plus, I was already lost. This trip is going to be trouble. So of course I was happy to be back in the United States when my flight took me to Chicago. I also didn’t have to worry about currency or whether my debit card would work in Chicago which is something I have to consider elsewhere.

After a two hour layover, we boarded our longhaul flight for Brussles, Belgium: a whopping 7 and a half hour trip. I sat next to an 8-year old Belgium girl from Iowa whose family was sitting across the aisle with two babies (thank goodness I bought new headphones). She was incredibly polite and said sorry at least 20 times for… Well, nothing. She started talking to me a lot and I helped her navigate the TV. Then she told me about how all of the girls at school were mean to her and that is #1 out of the times I just wanted to cry.

It was really difficult to sleep on all of the flights because I had the middle seat and had no way to lay down or relax. I only had about two hours of sleep total for the entire 28 hour trip. And the night before leaving I only had about 4 hours of sleep. Safe to say I was pretty sleep deprived and ready to be at the hotel when we finally landed. But of course, that’s just where the adventure begins.

Alicia First Blog Post


Tips for Traveling Abroad!

Blog by Vanessa Teeter,  Media and Communications Major, NW Cádiz Program


Hi All!

Here is some information that I found very useful over the past month of preparing for my study abroad adventures!

 Financial Aid/Private Loan

Financial Aid

I have not had much luck with financial aid but I do know for a fact that it is great to continue filling out FAFSA. You never know what you could become eligible for!

If receiving any federal funding do fill out a Revision Request form, which can be found online ( of the financial aid office. This form will basically be asking for your funds to be revised due to the study abroad expenses. This could lead to a possible increase in tuition

Private Loan

I have a student loan with BECU. Make sure to check in with them before studying abroad, especially if you will be using the private loan to pay for tuition.

It was extremely helpful for me to understand my MyUw account, web check and how to make a payment-using web check, and many other things.

 Payment methods/Money

Payment Methods

Speaking of money….

  • I am going to be in Spain for six months and will need to have access to money! My chase card’s ATM fees are 3% of the amount withdrawn plus $5, because of this I researched options that had no ATM fees or international fees.
  • What I found with my other classmates was a Charles Swab account and card that can work as a debit and credit card. This was a blessing because they have no minimum balance, interest doesn’t start until after the first year, and if any fees are charged to the account Schwabs will reimburse!
  • Overall it is a better deal even though I will be using the card for making ATM cash withdrawals about once a month.
  • If you are staying a while and will need to withdrawal money, do not forget to budget and plan out how much money you will be spending.


Exchanging Money

I will be using Euros while I am abroad and also will be staying in Madrid for two days, before the program begins.

  • Chase will order Euros for you, free of charge! This will take about three business days and the exchange rate is about 1.3. What you do is pull the money you want to exchange from your chase account.
  • I have heard fervently not to exchange USD once I get to Europe because of sneaky fees! So stay prepared and think ahead!

Carrying Money while Traveling

  • Invest in a neck wallet (TJ Maxx about $7) and/or a wait wallet (looks like a flat fanny pack) these are amazing to have your cash, insurance card, passport and cards.
  • They are easy to conceal under your clothes and easily accessible to you! Not only will you be less likely to leave something important behind but you are less likely to become a target. I know most people think that there is no chance of having anything stolen but you never want it to happen, so be prepared!
  • I do love my purses and backpacks but it is best to keep the most important things safe and on your person while traveling in unknown areas.


Packing- It’s not always fun but here is how I planned it out


    1. Check airline restricts, weight and size
    2. Check ryan air restrictions (within Europe) / cheap flights that have restricted bag sizes
  1. 3-4 weeks before departure
    1. Set apart basics
      1. This gave me the time to buy anything that I really needed and wouldn’t have realized otherwise
      2. Being a notorious over packer, this helped me to sort through necessary things to bring and leave behind
      3. Helpful tip: Keep the weather in mind, where else will you travel to, will you be there for a seasonal change?

     1-2 weeks before departure

    1. Once you have all your basics, pack!
    2. See how everything fits, you might have to take some things out, or be able to add more.

     1 week before departure

    1. Double check! Make sure you have everything you need, that the suitcase you’re checking is not over the airlines weight limit (this will save you some money)


 Contacting people


Your friends and loved ones at home will of course want to be hearing about all your adventures!

Here are some apps: (all use wifi or data)

  • Whats app
  • Line
  • Skype
  • Facebook
  • Don’t forget: Apple products have free iMessaging and Facetime


If staying abroad for more than a month you may need a phone/plan


  1. Use your smartphone
    • Get it unlocked by contacting your service carrier
  2. Some carriers (I have heard T-mobile) offer good International plans
    • Get a plan once you get to your destination
  1. For Spain I have heard of Movistar and Yoigo
  2. Option Recommended: Get a plan with unlimited data and certain number of call and texts


  1. Get a plan and cheap phone once you get there!
  • So far this is what I will be doing, bringing my iPhone 4 unlocked as backup
  • I have heard of great plans from companies like movistar and Yoigo. Some only being 5Euros – 8Euros! A very good deal!
  • What I am doing is buying the plan and using a phone left at the university by previous student.
  • Great way to stay connected with people you meet


Back home Organization

When you get home you’ll want everything organized and spotless, leaving your only worry to be unpacking! Best thing that I dis was to clean up and organize the areas where I am most because I know that when I get home, those are the first places that will get dirty.


Another helpful tip is to leave a trusted person with a folder of important information, photocopies, etc. that way they can help you from home if anything comes up.

Last Tips

  • Travel in groups
    • Not only for safety but can help eachother out, and also there are also some travel group discounts!
      • Renfe train discount on tickets if sign up as a group!

Things to follow!

    • Connects people who need to travel with drivers who have empty seats anywhere in the UK
    • Also available as an app for download!
  • International Exchange Erasmus Student Network
    • Helps calculate how much sleep you need in order to prevent being jet lagged
    • Also includes helpful hints and tips!

For more post check out my personal blog

Vanessa's Personal Blog

Vanessa’s Personal Blog

Pre-Departure Spain:

Blog by Shada Shomali — Study Abroad Spain

Trying to figure out what to bring on my 3.5 month adventure abroad has been very overwhelming! I personally am an over packer and have a bad tendency to bring everything with me. Here are the top seven essential tips that helped me out:

1.      You don’t need to necessarily worry about buying a separate phone for abroad. Everywhere you go mostly has Wi-Fi and WhatsApp, Viber, and Skype are the three essential apps to download. If you have an Iphone you can send Imessage for free with Wi-Fi (just make sure your phone is on airplane mode the whole time so you won’t be charged).  Anywhere you have wifi you can text/call/facetime in the world for free. So don’t stress on buying a sim card or new phone just for abroad, it’s not necessary.

2.      Make sure to buy at least two converters! These are a MUST because the plugs in Europe are different than the ones back at home. You can order them for around $5 on amazon!

3.      Look into getting a BECU debit card. They only have a 1% transaction fee and most banks usually have a larger one. Research on what banks don’t have high foreign fees and get one of their cards! Also, you don’t need to bring currency with you. Once you get to the airport of your arrival destination you should just withdraw money out of the ATM. That way you get the best rates there. Don’t forget to call your banks telling them you are going abroad or else they will block your card.

4.      Make copies and have documentations of your passport and credit cards you’re bringing. This is important just in case anything gets lost or stolen you will be prepared.

5.      Bring comfortable shoes!!! I can’t stress enough how much walking I have done already in the past week. Your feet will hurt and comfortable tennis shoes are definitely an essential.

6.      Pack light and pack smart. Be prepared for different weather, but don’t bring too much. You will definitely do a lot of shopping when you are studying abroad and you don’t want to carry too many suitcases with you.  It becomes a hassle. Also, bring a small carry on suitcase you can take with you on weekend trips. Since all the countries are so close together you will be traveling a lot and a small carry on will be perfect for weekend adventures!

7.      Get in touch with the students in your group beforehand. That way you guys can travel together and buy the same tickets. It will be great to have a heads start meeting your peers you will be studying with!

            As my adventure abroad has started, I have landed in London for 10 days before my actual program in San Sebastian, Spain starts. I highly recommend taking advantage of the break you have before the program starts so you can travel more! London is absolutely breathtaking! The city is gorgeous and there are so many things to do! I personally recommend doing all the touristy things you can. You will get a feel for the city and learn so much history! The London Eye is a must, you can see all over the city! Boroughs Market has such amazing food from all different countries. Trying a traditional mash and pie in London is also a must. With my 10 days in London I made it to Dublin, Ireland for two nights.  It’s only around a 50 minute flight to Dublin and you can find cheap tickets online from The city is filled with the nicest people I have ever met. They are always willing to go out of their way to help you out. After being in Dublin for a full day I went on a day excursion to the West Coast to see the Cliffs of Moher. I highly highly highly recommend this excursion to anyone going to Ireland! It is by far the most beautiful place on earth I have ever been. You can sit on the cliffs and watch the ocean for hours and still not get tired of your view! Throughout my time in London and Ireland it was a great way to start my journey abroad! In both countries people drive on opposite sides of the road and drivers are on the right hand side. Be careful crossing the streets! It was extremely confusing for me. But overall, I was blown away with how much there were to do in both cities and how beautiful everything was!

shada2     Big Ben Clocktower     The London Eye

Coastline     Coastline