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5 Fun ways to collect memories from your study abroad trip

If you are studying abroad and you have already traveled around the globe, you are probably no stranger to the feeling of having to leave a place before even arriving. It’s as if the phrase “time flies when you’re having fun” becomes your reality when you’re exploring a new country. As nostalgic creatures, we humans tend to hold on to memories so that we can relive experiences over and over again. So here are ways to make your study abroad experience one which you’ll never forget.

1. Writing a journal:
Nothing will remind you more of how you felt and what you thought about in a certain moment, than keeping a daily journal. Whether you jot down your daily activities or choose to reflect on your goals and decisions, writing a diary will allow you to go back and remember situations which you were in.
If you're new to writing and you need a little inspiration to start, there are plenty of ideas on pinterest on how to make your journal fun and exciting. Explore different ways of expressing yourself and get creative.

2. Taking photos:
When living abroad, there's probably no better way to let your friends know what you are up to than by sharing a few photos on Facebook or Instagram. Whether you decide to show your photos to the world or keep them private, they are the best way to remind you of sites you’ve visited, people you met and activities you took part in. Choose the medium that you love the most, whether it's with a film camera, Polaroid or a GoPro.
A photo posted by Murad Osmann (@muradosmann) on


3. Collecting post cards:
It’s always fun to bring home souvenirs from trips around the world. Postcards are especially unique since they allow us to connect to a place through its art. In many art fairs and markets, there’s usually a postcard stand where artists sell their art. Send your family and friends postcards to tell them how you are doing, or collect a few to remind you where you were.

4. Keeping a daily video journal:
Getting a glimpse from your daily life is an amazing way to remember what the atmosphere where you visited, felt like. Apps like 1 second each day let you record a second from your day to put together a video of special events from your trip. At the end of your trip, you'll have a video with your most memorable records.

5. Getting a world map scratch poster:
If you're such a frequent traveler that you can't remember which and how many countries they've been to, a world map scratch poster will help you. It allows you to scratch off the countries which you've visited.

A photo posted by Anne Sellรจs (@annslls) on


6. Saving wine corks:

As an international student, you'll probably get plenty of chances to go out and party with your friends. Instead of throwing out the cork of the wine bottle that you drank from, keep it as a memory to remind you of your favorite wine in the country you are studying in. Here's a cool example of what you can do with these corks when you get home:
A photo posted by KORK (@kork_cph) on

For more information on studying abroad, contact us: info@gradtrain.com.

5 Tips to make relocating easier and cheaper

Photo by: Ashim D’Silva

Sorting out the logistics of how to make your dream come true of living abroad and studying in one of the best universities in the world, isn’t the easiest part of the process. Whether you got accepted to Phoenix University, University of Chicago, University of washington, Berkely, Harvard, Yale or Princeton, there are certain procedures which you’ll need to to follow to make your relocation successful. Here are a few tips on different services you'll need and how you can invest your money and time in the best way possible:

1. Get the best deals on flights:

  • There are many tips and tricks to finding cheap flights. Among many myths, there is one element that certainly affects the cost of the flight, and that is timing.
  • What you need to know is that the less people that fly, the cheaper the flight will be. When there's a low demand for flying, airlines lower their prices to fill up the planes. Avoid flying before big holidays, like Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Eve or when everyone goes on vacation to get some sunlight, like in July and August. 
  • Airlines know that most people want to fly on the weekend, so the cheap flights will most likely be in the middle of the week and in the early morning or late at night. 

If you can’t be flexible, but you do want to get a good deal on a flight, just click here, and you can get 5% off of the price you paid for your ticket.

2. Get Health insurance:
  • If you’ve read our previous blog about how to stay healthy and safe abroad, you probably know that getting vaccinations and medical health insurance is really important to do before you get to your destination.
  • Seeking medical care abroad as a foreigner, will cost you twice (if not way more) the amount you would be paying if you had medical health insurance. Whether you had an accident, order an ambulance, need medications or just want to set a doctor’s appointment, you could save a lot of money by having the right health insurance to pay back these expenses. 
3. Getting a car:
  • The city that you decide to study in will determine how you get around it, whether it’s by bus, a train or if you’ll need a car. 
  • In cities like New York, Boston and New Jersey, the public transportation is so efficient, that trains and buses reach all areas inside the city and even outside the city and it’s preferable not to have a car and not have to worry about finding parking spaces and getting around traffic. 
  • In the West Coast though, it’s very hard to get around if you don’t have a car. Los Angeles, and San Francisco, for example are very spread out, and the public transportation doesn’t lead to all areas of the city. 
  • Many student buy a car to have the freedom both to travel around the United States and also have the freedom not to be dependent on public transportation. 
  • One of the main problems that international students face in the US, is the fact that in order to get a loan for buying a car, a certain amount of credit score (which takes months to build) is necessary.
Many students chose to get help from Lendbuzz, who help foreign international students get a loan to buy a car, based on their educational background, employment history and potential future income.  



4. Get access to your favorite content while abroad:
  • Although you may be far from home, you don’t need to disconnect yourself from your family, friends, culture and of course, your favorite TV show. While living abroad, many websites and media might be blocked (Netflix, Pandora, Amazon Prime, etc.). Having a VPN, allows you to still get access to these networks, and save a lot of money. 
5. Find an apartment:
  • As an international student, the three main housing options you have are to live in the student university dorms, rent a room in a shared apartment or rent an apartment by yourself. 
  • If you decide to live in the university dorms, you’ll need to talk to your university staff to reserve a room for you. 

  • If you decide to rent an apartment, things might get a little more complicated. You’ll need to figure out how most people in your chosen destination find their apartments. In some countries, the popular way is through specific Facebook groups, or sites.
To save time, money and effort in the process, just click here, and find the right apartment anywhere in the world, for you.  


Get more help and information on studying abroad at: www.gradtrain.com.  



7 Things students must know to stay safe abroad

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Photo by Steven Lewis
Now that you've chosen your study abroad destination, it's time to make this dream a reality. Whether you want to study in Australia, Asia, Europe, North America, South America or Africa, preparing and staying informed is the key to staying safe abroad. Different risks are common for different locations, but there are some procedures which are relevant to all areas. So whether here's a list that will help you expect the best scenario but prepare for the worst:
1.    Know where you’re going.

  • One of the most important aspects of your safety abroad is staying informed and aware of possible risks and dangers in the country you’re moving to. Search for your destination on liable online sources, for example, government sites, such as the US Department of State, to find out about the safety requirements for your move your new destination.


2.    Stay healthy!

  • Before embarking on your trip, get insured! This is very important, because if anything happens to you, someone’s got your back. Don’t travel abroad is you haven’t sorted this out first.   
  • There are various health procedures necessary for different countries. Do your research before hand to get all the information you need.
  • Taking medications? Well, make sure that your doctor writes you a note so that you won’t get stopped over at the airport. Some countries have very strict legislation on different medicines.
  • Make sure to find out if there are any necessary vaccinations you need to take before going to the country you’re going to. The Centers for disease Control and prevention are a good source to check before buying a flight ticket to your destination.  


3.   Know how to reach out if necessary.

  • Get a sim card, so that if you are in need of help, you are able to reach out to someone.
  • Make sure you know where the consulate or the embassy of your country is, in case something goes wrong. Keep a card with the address and phone number of the closest consulate or embassy in English and in the local language so that you can point it out to anyone. - Most embassies have a 24/7 service in case of an emergency for you to contact. Make sure to know what they can and can’t do for you.


4.   Keep a copy of your documents and make sure they are up to date.

  • Make sure that you have all the requirements you need before moving abroad.
  • It’s best to have 3 copies of all your bureaucratic files – one for your family at your home country, one which you should carry with you at all times and the third should be stored in a safe place where you are staying.
  • Keep an electronic copy in case you lose any of them.
5.   Store money in more than one spot.

  • If you’re going to a tourist attraction, make sure to leave your valuables at home, and try not to stand out. Places with a lot of tourists usually also attract scammers and thieves. Now, don’t get paranoid, but just keep your possession close.
  • Leave some money at home, and in different pockets, so that if something does happen, you still have some left.
6.    Tell your family and friends where you are.

  • Yes, everyone knows that you’re independent and you usually don’t need to report to anyone where you are or what you are doing. While abroad, it’s good to talk to your family and friends, and inform them if you are planning a vacation somewhere or are going to wonder off on a hike in the woods or anything like that. That way, it will be easier for others to track you down, if necessary.


7.  Stay alert and listen to your inner voice.

  • Don’t wonder off into shady places. If you know about areas with a high crime rate, just don’t go there. It’s easier to prevent dangerous situations than to put out fires.
  • Know your route home, and keep your eyes out for crowds of people or anything suspicious crossing your way.

If you have any valuable advice for other students who want to study abroad,
feel free to leave a comment below.
For more information, contact us at: info@gradtrain.com.

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5 Reasons for why you should study in Australia


Australia is one of the most desired study destination for international students, providing a perfect combination of a relaxed lifestyle with professional opportunities in a society that’s open and welcoming to foreigners. If you’re looking for a place to start, continue or finish your studies, this gorgeous Island is the place to do it, and here are 5 reasons why.  



1. Welcome to the good life.
It’s hard to choose your study abroad destination, but Australia’s turquoise beaches and natural landscapes make it an easy decision. Having the 12th largest economy in the world, Australia invests in the population’s life quality, health and education, making their culture known to be one of the most relaxed in the world. Sports like surfing, hiking and biking are also known to be integrated into a lot of the Australian population's everyday life. With both rain forests and deserts, Australia’s landscape is mega diverse and offers many outdoor activities and natural sites for the wanderer's soul.

2. Top study institutions.
Australian universities are in the top ranked positions in many university rankings on a yearly basis. Some of the best universities in Australia include University of Technology Sydney, The Australian National University (ANU), University of Melbourne, University of New South Wales (UNSW), University of Queensland (UQ) and the University of Adelaide.
With innovative facilities and research opportunities, these universities provide the optimal platform to grow professionally in the study subject you choose, whether it’s engineering, computer science, business, economics, law or arts.

3. You’ll never get home sick.
One of the common challenges in being an international student is feeling homesick and making friends, but in Australian universities, you probably won’t find yourself alone. Australia is one of the top study destinations for students coming from abroad, where over 20% of the students applying for Australian universities are international. You’ll probably find a large community of international students, just like you.
Other than attracting many foreigners, governmental bodies such as the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) and the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA), work hard to ensure their satisfaction and to protect their rights.  

4. Tuition and living expenses are average.
Along with the right character traits necessary for studying abroad, there is also a financial criteria. The tuition fees in Australian universities range widely between the different universities and levels of studies, but if you are planning to do your Undergraduate Bachelor Degree, Postgraduate Masters Degree or Doctoral Degree, be prepared to pay a tuition of anywhere between $15,000 to $37,000 (AUS), according to Study in Australia (the governmental site for international students in Australia).
The living expenses also vary according to where you live. Living on campus can range anywhere between $90 to $280, and in a shared apartment $85 to $215 per week. Don't forget to also calculate additional costs such as health insurance, groceries, transportation and more.

4. Choose from a wide range of scholarships.
The Australian government invests about $500 million AUD a year on students through scholarships, grants and financial aid. The reason that international students are so highly encouraged to study in Australia, is due to the fact that the nation understands the positive effects that a network of international students have on the country’s economy and innovation. The transfer of knowledge and information brought by the masses of students which created a global network of students has proven to have positive impacts on the country.
Common scholarships offered to international students include:

5. Staying is an option.

The high demand for foreign intellectual work force in Australia is probably the main reason for the special work visa provided to international students after their graduation from Australian universities. Most English speaking countries which host international students have very strict immigration laws and visa restrictions regarding the length of their stay and work permissions. Australia on the contrary provides an easy route to stay for international students.
Using a point evaluation system, the government and immigration offices will assess which visa you could be provided if you decide to stay. The special visas offered to international students after they graduate are:
  • 485 Skilled Graduate Temporary Visa
  • 402 Training and Research Visa
  • 487 Regional Sponsored Visa
  • 887 Skilled Regional Residence Visa
  • 885 Skilled Independent Residence Visa
  • 886 Skilled Sponsor Resident Visa

Providing these visas allow students that the Australian institutions have already invested in, contribute back with their knowledge and experience to the working industry.
Photo taken by Linda Xu

So now that you've been convinced that Australia is the best place to study in the world, you're probably ready to hop on the first flight. Before doing that, consult with a coach to understand your needs and get help through the application process.
Feel free to contact us at: info@gradtrain.com.