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How to access your favorite content while studying abroad

If you’ve traveled abroad before, you might have noticed that some websites and media are blocked when you’re outside of your home country. Common examples are Netflix, Pandora and Amazon Prime, which are restricted. But there’s a very simple trick to get around it. Let us guide you through it so you’re prepared when going to study abroad!

What are the website restrictions abroad?
It’s tricky to cover all the sites here because it depends on where you’re coming from and going to. When it comes to copyrighted material, popular movie sites like Netflix and Hulu or music sites like Pandora, Spotify and Beats Music offer limited access abroad.
Moreover, your local TV station’s website or sports channel subscription are usually also blocked abroad. So if you want to follow your favorite shows or sports, you’ll need to find a workaround to get access.

On top of these restrictions, some countries censor their internet. China is censoring heavily, for example you can’t access Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a lot of other sites from there. Other prominent censors include the Gulf States where a lot of social media and VoIP apps like Skype and Viber are blocked either from time to time or permanently. Surprisingly, about 60% of the most popular YouTube videos are blocked in Germany due to copyright issues.

What can you do about it?
Without getting too techy and lengthy, let’s put it this way: The website or service you’re accessing will look up your current location using your Internet Protocol (IP) address, which is your unique address on the internet that can be used to identify you.
Now, if you’re located in Italy and want to watch American Netflix, their servers will look up your IP address and block your access since they can see that you’re surfing from abroad.

The simple solution is to get an IP address from your home country. It’s really easy to do so actually and your solution is a Virtual Private Network (VPN). It’s essentially a software that you download to your computer or mobile device. Use it to connect to a server in your home country to get all your online traffic rerouted through it. You can then surf the web as if you were in your home country, being able to access any website you want, watch your favorite shows and listen to whatever music you like. These VPNs are really simple one-click solutions nowadays and anyone can use them, you don’t need any tech experience at all.

What else can you do with a VPN?
Some universities and colleges will block your access to certain sites. With a VPN, you can bypass such restrictions and access whatever website you want, even if the school is blocking it.

You can also save a lot of money by using a VPN. For example you can get your software or e-books much cheaper from the American versions of web shops if you’re located abroad. Also pricing on flight tickets depend on your geographic location: sometimes you can save a few hundred dollars on a long haul trip if you connect with a foreign IP address.

How to get started
There are several companies that provide VPN services. You can start by trying SaferVPN’s free VPN trial, it is fast and really easy to use. Their 20 server locations include United States, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Scandinavia, Spain, Italy, France and Germany to name a few - meaning that you can unblock content from all those countries.

Go ahead and give it a try, there’s no risk since they don’t ask for a credit card and there’s a 15 day money back guarantee too if you change your mind.



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