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Blogger Spotlight: Jenee (Bucerías, Nayarít, Mexico)
Read about Jenee's amazing experience, working with Mexican artisan entrepreneurs over her summer!
05 Dec 2017
Helpful Apps to Have While Studying Abroad!
Going abroad and don't know what apps may be useful? Check out some of the most popular and useful apps you can possibly download to make the most out of your studying abroad experience!
09 July 2018
Study Abroad Fair Photo Contest Winners!
Click here to see the winners from our 2017 25th Annual Study Abroad Fair!
10 Oct 2017
Jet Lag, Homesickness, and Reverse Culture Shock
Tips from Brittany!
09 Aug 2017

Monday, July 9, 2018

Helpful Apps to Have While Studying Abroad!


Are you studying abroad soon and want to know about some essential apps to download that may be useful?

In the age of technology, more and more phone apps are being developed that help people facilitate their experience while abroad! Phone apps can be useful tools to help you find the conversion rate of your dollar, translate something you want to ask, find your way around your host country, seek cool places to have a cup of coffee or explore some of the best beaches in town, and of course, communicate with your loved ones back at home!

Check out these essential apps that will facilitate your time while abroad!

  • Facebook Messenger
    You don't have a Facebook account? That's okay! The Messenger app is accessible to all! Besides being able to send you friends & family messages via this app, you can also make audio and video calls! Send your parents a picture of you at the Machu Picchu ruins in Peru or a video of you hiking the Wall of China! Although it has many cool features, you will need data or wifi to use it without any problems. Tip: If you are in a country that requires you to purchase calling cards to make international calls, but have access to wifi hotspots, connect to wifi and use this app, free of charge!😉 Good for Android and iOS devices. 
  • WhatsApp
    This is just a growing and growing communication app throughout the world!  WhatsApp is a free app that allows users to send via chats: text messages, audio, images, your location, contact information and document attachments. You can form group chats as well to share information and stay in communication with friends and family. Did we mention you can make calls as well? If texting or voice calls aren't enough, you can also have face-to-face video calls from across the world!
  • WeChat
    This app is one of the best rated communication apps to use in places like China. In order to successfully be able to communicate with loved ones internationally, the person you will be communicating with, should also have this app on their mobile device and access to wifi, if you do not have accessible mobile data. You can send text or voice messages, pictures, videos, your location and much more! Wanna hear more? You can link your bank account and transfer or send money to friends/family. Gone shopping and forgot your wallet? You can pay for your items with WeChat!

Currency Converter

  • XeCurrency
    By downloading the conversion rates of whatever country you will be traveling to before you depart, will allow you to use this app without the need for wifi. This app provides you with live exchange rates. This app is available on both Android and iOS devices. 


  • SayHi
    How do you say...? ¿Como se dice...? Comment dit-on...? Although to study abroad you are not required to know the host country's language(s), you may come across locals that only speak their native language. If so, the SayHi app is here to save the day! This app allows you to translate up to almost 90 different languages and dialects. This app allows you set the language you will be needing translation and speak into your device's speaker. The voice-operated app, will repeat what you have said in its translated language, plus, maintain a transcript of your conversation with the other person, translating everything for you to keep for future reference. Good for Android and iOS devices. 

How to Get Around

  • Maps.Me
    This is a great app to have if you will be departing to a country with limited to no access to wifi, like Cuba! Maps.Me allows you to download maps (with the help of wifi) of different countries and use offline. Once you've downloaded the map, you can look for food options, hotels, sights, wifi hotspots, transportation, ATMs, Hospitals, etc. under the "Categories" section in your map. This app also provides you with directions on how to get to places via: driving, walking, train and bicycling, so you will get there in no time! 

  • Google Maps
    Having trouble finding your destination? Google Maps is the app for you! This app is best to use in countries where you can use your mobile data (make sure you don't get charged roaming fees) or you have access to wifi. Need to get from A to B? Get directions on how to get to places via: driving, train and/or walking. You can explore your local spot by checking out all of the nearby things by surfing their categories section. 

Find Cool Things to Do

  • Like A Local
    New to town? Let this app help you live like a local by looking up your host city and checking out some of the recommended places near you. You can get tips on places to tour, eat, see & do, shop and more! You get to read people's comments whom have visited these places and read truly why locals love it and why you should visit. You are equipped with the location's information like days and hours of operation, in addition to directions on how to get there. End up loving the place? Save it to your personalized list of locations for next time that you visit!
  • GuidePal
    This app is great to use in locations with or without wifi! If traveling to countries with limited to no wifi, make sure you download your "guides" prior to departure. Once you have downloaded all the guides you may find useful abroad, you can access them via your personal profile under "Offline Guides". Guides can vary from top 10 places to eat, best activities, best shopping, top 5 coffee shops and more! If it's your first time traveling to a specific city, you also have the opportunity to learn some interesting facts about your host city under the "Facts" section. 

Checking Flights

  • FlightView
    Up, up, and away! But what time is your flight? Keep track on the status of your flight and its details by downloading this app that facilitates the whole flight experience. Add your flight details to this app or simply forward your itinerary to their provided email and they'll take care of the rest for you. You can save future trips on your homepage, look up  nearby airports to you and see if your airport is experiencing any delays in live time. 

  • SeatGuru
    Preparing for a flight heading overseas can be a little overwhelming. Let this app pass down some wisdom and help you book your flight, choose the best seat in the house and/or check the status of your flight. Had a good experience? Leave your review by submitting a comment or pictures of your experience. Let SeatGuru facilitate your flight experience! Good to download on Android and iOS devices.


  • Airbnb
    Getting away with your colleagues for the weekend but don't know where to stay? Airbnb provides you with different lodging options; from reserving an entire home/apartment for you and your colleagues, to reserving a bed in someone's home for the night. This type of lodging has grown more and more over the years, making this style a more popular one and a lot of times, a lot more inexpensive than at a hotel. 
  • SitOrSquat
    Where do you go, when you gotta go? Download this app to find local spots where restrooms are available to the public. With more than 100,000 public restrooms, SitorSquat will help you locate one near you! Just search your location and it will provide you with "Sit" or "Squat" locations. "Sit" locations are those in green, which symbolize that these bathrooms are clean, stocked and ready for you to go. Squat locations are those in red, which signal that they may not be the most tidiest or the most stocked restrooms in the world, but still provide available space to you. This app provides you with a map to help you navigate through the town/city to get to your destination!

Now that you're set, get ready and explore the world! 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Adventurous Pages to Follow!


Do you still check your Facebook page on the daily? Alternatively, are you one of those individuals that seems to be fading away from the daily Facebook scrolling? If you are, these adventurous travel pages are bound to grab your attention, and have you checking out their post every day!

Nomadic Samuel’s page was the first page I stumbled upon as I started out on my search for the best pages for our blog followers to check out! There is so much wonderful content posted on this page, ranging from amazing photos to visual journeys from their journey across Kyrgyzstan.  After you complete your visual journey with Nomadic Samuel, stop in to check out his website where you can purchase unique photographs and learn more about Nomadic Samuels story.

Adventurous Kate cracks you up while taking you on her escapades, with her most recent one being Antarctica. Um, can you say cold?! We live in Southern Illinois, and I can hardly make it out the door on a frigid winter morning, let alone ANTARCTICA. Her pictures capture the freezing and awesome moments she had abroad. Even with the bitter cold weather, Adventurous Kate will make you want to plan a trip to Antarctica. Check out her page to see all the unique species she saw there!

Traveling Canucks- Family Travel Blog -

What if you have a family, but still want to go on awesome adventures!? Guess what.. you can! Traveling Canucks is a family travel blog that takes you along on their family trips to Mexico, around Canada, and many other places. They provide wonderful tips on activities, like what to do when visiting Niagara Falls with young kids! Also follow their blog to find trip ideas, how to plan your next trip, and to check out where they have been! Now go get the family, pack up, and head out to create unforgettable memories.

Interested in uprooting that day to day office life, jumping ship, and going to live abroad?? Well if that is in your future, this page is perfect for you! Chris and Angela did just that. Now they have a great page for their followers to find out all the information they need to know about living in Thiland, and how they made it happen. You can also read their blog to find out more!

Aarons Worldwide Adventures -

Are you looking to find a cheap route to Australia or plan a Safari on a budget? Aaron’s Worldwide Adventures page is a fantastic resource to find the answers you are looking for! Aaron discussed how he was able to book a flight from San Francisco to Sydney and then to New York City for only $579. Crazy! You also cannot beat the sunset pictures he has posted from Caalan Beach, El Nido, Palawan. Go check it out!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Study Abroad Shout Out!

Study Abroad Shout Out! 

We A few weeks ago, two NIU teams competed at the American Mock Trial Association’s (AMTA) Regional Tournament in Joliet, IL – one of 27 sanctioned regional tournaments in the country held over three weekends in February. There were a total of 26 teams at the Joliet regional from schools in Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.

Photo Credit: NIU Today Article, Northern Illinois University
Matthew Moore, Second to Top Left
One of our Study Abroad Alumus, senior Political Science major, Matthew Moore, whom studied abroad through the NIU at Oxford program in the summer 2016, was one of seven members of the NIU A Team. The NIU A team finished 6-2, earning one of seven bids to the next round of the national competition, the Opening Round Championship Series (ORCS).

 NIU will be co-hosting the ORCS tournament at the Kane County Judicial Center in Geneva, IL, on  March 16-18, at which 24 of the top college mock trial teams from around the country – including NIU – will compete for an opportunity to advance to the National Championship Tournament in April. The tournament is open to the public for viewing.

We wish Matthew and his team the best of luck!!! #GoHuskies #StudyAbroad


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Guest Blogger: Emily Eckles


The NIU Study Abroad office has asked one of our student workers to be the guest blogger of the week! Emily studied abroad in Germany in 2017, and created a fantastic blog to share her journey with all of us! Please click on the link below to view Emily's blog 😊

Thank you Emily for sharing your experience abroad!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Study Abroad Spotlight: Sammy Mallow (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)


The NIU Study Abroad office has once again asked study abroad alumni to be guest bloggers and share their experiences abroad. Our Guest blogger for this week is Sammy Mallow!

I am a graduate student in the Geology department and I studied abroad in Phnom Penh, Cambodia for 8 weeks learning Khmer language at the Khmer School of Language. The Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship through the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at NIU supported me to study abroad.

Before departure, I was concerned about being able to relate to my soon to be Khmer language teachers. Cambodian culture is very different in general from American culture. I was specifically concerned about how to show respect as a student to my Cambodian teachers. It turned out my teachers were incredibly understanding, patient, and hospitable and my worries quickly dissolved after arrival.

Photo Credit: Kristen Amstutz, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Summer 2017 

On the weekends, my teachers would take my fellow students and I on various cultural sight seeing outings. One of my favorite trips was to Phnom Bokor in Kampot province. Phnom Bokor is a 3,400ft tall mountain located right next to the Cambodian coastline. The views from the mountain at sunset were spectacular. I saw a long beach stretching all the way to the coastal town of Kampot and large islands in the distance. It is the only place I have been to with a mountain rising up from lowland topography right next to the ocean.

I highly recommend studying abroad while you are in college. It opens up a whole new world of people and places. I would not be surprised if you find that people abroad are more than willing to help you navigate in your new environment. All you have to do is ask them for help. The friends I made overseas, I will remember for the rest of my life because while they are so different from me in terms of language and culture, we share so many of the same human experiences. If you have not already studied abroad, get out there and explore the world!

Thank you Sammy for sharing your experience abroad, and for all the great insights you provided for prospective study abroad students!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Study Abroad Spotlight: Nicolas Glawe (Toledo, Spain)


The NIU Study Abroad office has asked study abroad alumni to be guest bloggers, and share their experiences abroad. Our Guest blogger for this week is Nicolas Glawe!

Photo credit: Jessica Yandun, Toledo, Spain, Summer 2015

1.    Where did you Study abroad, and how long was your study abroad experience? 
        I studied in Toledo, Spain for 5 weeks.

2.     What was the one thing you were most worried/thought about the most while preparing for your trip?
       I was most worried about how my host family was going to be!

3.       What type of housing did you stay in? Would you recommend this to others studying abroad?
        I stayed with a host family. I definitely recommend this to others. It helps you thread yourself into the culture so much more than living in a residence hall.

4.       What do you feel was the most beneficial part of your study abroad experience? 

The most beneficial part of my study abroad experience was definitely living with a host family. I was open to more of Toledo culture than I would have if I lived in a residence hall. 

5.       What are a few unique cultural things that you learned in the country where you study abroad?   (This could be traditions, slang, common sayings, cultural norms, etc.) 

I learned a lot of the Spanish slang. I also learned about Spanish cuisine, television, and middle school and high school culture. I learned about gender inequality regarding sports, professions, and everyday life.

6.       Were classes different or similar from your classes at NIU? 

The classes were similar, but very different all together. With my classes, I learned about the culture and literature of Toledo, Spain, but was able to experience all of it first hand, as my class toured local museums, cathedrals, etc.

Thank you Nicolas for sharing your experience abroad, and for all the great insights you provided for prospective study abroad students!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Study Abroad Spotlight: Reese Wojtas at Oxford


The NIU Study Abroad office has asked study abroad alumni to be guest bloggers, and share their experiences abroad. Our Guest blogger for this week is Reese Wojtas!

1.    Where did you Study abroad, and how long was your study abroad experience? 
      I studied at Oxford for 5 weeks this summer.

2.     What was the one thing you were most worried/thought about the most while preparing for your trip?
        Not knowing how the weather would be in England, it's very unpredictable, so I was worried about not having what I needed as well as over packing/packing unnecessary clothing.

3.       What type of housing did you stay in? Would you recommend this to others studying abroad?
        My program stayed in on campus housing, they were Graduate dorms. I would recommend trying to do a program that has dorms for housing, because you'll have all the basic essentials you'd need. There was plenty of storage for my belongings, as well as my own bathroom, closet and shelves on the wall.

4.       What do you feel was the most beneficial part of your study abroad experience? 
       The most beneficial part of my study abroad experience was how it pushed me out of my comfort zone. Being forced to learn a new way of life, in an unfamiliar country, where I didn't know their social norms or how to navigate around taught me a lot about myself. I didn't know where anything was in the town, so it caused me to be more adventurous and to explore my new surroundings. It was such a euphoric experience. 

5.       What are a few unique cultural things that you learned in the country where you study abroad?   (This could be traditions, slang, common sayings, cultural norms, etc.) 
       This is silly, but the black coffee in Oxford was MUCH more bitter than the black coffee in the U.S. It was disgusting to drink. 

       I frequently would run into people that would speak more proper or pick words that were more formal. 

       When walking on a crowded sidewalk, people don't move out of the way to make room for you. I often times was forced to move into the street because people will only walk in a straight line, and won't move at all.  

6.       Were classes different or similar from your classes at NIU? 
       They were similar when it came to difficulty, but different in the fact that the class size is significantly smaller. My classes only had 6-8 people total, which was really nice, because it allowed for more free discussion and more questions. The classes were 2.5 hours long, rather than 50 minutes or an hour and 15 minutes. But on the bright side, we had at least one program field trip each week!

Thank you Reese for sharing your experience abroad, and for all the great insights you provided for prospective study abroad students!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Study Abroad Fair 2017: Photo Contest Winners!


Hello there!

Thank you to everyone who joined us on our 25th Annual Study Abroad Fair, which was held on Wednesday, September 20th, at the Duke Ellington Ballroom in the Holmes Student Center from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Study Abroad Alumni students were asked to submit their favorite photos from their study abroad experience for the Study Abroad Fair photo contest. All attendees were encouraged to vote on their favorite photos. We had four categories for Study Abroad Alumni to categorize their photos under:
  1. Capture the culture
  2. Lets Get Lost
  3. Social Media
  4. Put the Study in Study Abroad

The photo contest winners: Olivia Hardy, Kristen Amstutz, Taylor Cassidy, and Matthew Pepper will be awarded a large canvas with their photo printed on it!

Olivia Hardy - Madagascar (Capture the Culture)
Country: Madagascar

Kristen Amstutz - Temple by Angkor Wat (Lets Get Lost)
Country: Bali

Taylor Cassidy - Squad Goals (Social Media)
Country: United Kingdom

Matthew Pepper - Alhambra (Put the Study in Study Abroad)
Country: Spain
Students were invited to attend the Fair to learn about international study options such as service learning, internships, independent research, and traditional classroom study. With over 300 programs in 80 different countries, spanning anywhere from two weeks to an academic year, there are many program options to fit within any area of academic study.

Studying abroad has many positive impacts for students, not just from a personal perspective, but from an employment perspective too. Not only does it stand out to prospective employers, it can be leveraged in job interviews and is a completely life changing experience.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Cool Lemur Video! Madagascar Experience


Hello! Salama! Bonjour!
From English to the two official languages, Malagasy and French, spoken in this amazing country!

Watch this cool video of our recent Study Abroad Alumna, Olivia, as she studied abroad over the summer in Madagascar, through the, Madagascar Past and Present: Biodiversity, Extinction and Conservation Program offered here at NIU!

She was able to work closely with lemurs, study fossils, and conduct independent research! The primary purpose of this program is to provide students with the opportunity to learn first-hand about primate biodiversity, extinction, forest fragmentation and conservation in Madagascar, one of the world’s foremost biodiversity hotspots.

If you would like to learn about the abroad opportunities that are available to you, please visit our website to view all of the programs offered:

You can also visit our office during the weekdays! Our Study Abroad Office is located in the 4th floor at Williston Hall, Room 417, open from 8a.m. - 4:30p.m.

If you want to learn more through a student's perspective, come into our office and talk to one of our Peer Advisors! 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

25th Annual Study Abroad Fair


This coming Wednesday, September 20, 2017 we will be hosting our 25th Annual Study Abroad Fair! Stop by the Holmes Student Center anytime between 10 am to 3 pm to learn all about our great programs!  

This event is a great way to learn more about the programs offered through the NIU Study Abroad Office, and talk to students who have already Studied Abroad. We will also be hosting the Annual Study Abroad Photo Contest. This contest consist of photos taken by previous students, who have studied abroad, and captured their favorite moments in a picture. All visitors can vote on their favorite photos! 

Salzburg Austria

What Can I Do At The Fair?


With over 300 programs to choose from, we suggest that you take your time walking around, looking at the different programs, photos, and displays. If you see a program that catches your eye, pick up some brochures and information!

Ask Questions

Find out more about programs, financial aid and living abroad by asking questions of any program representative and Peer Advisor. Representatives and Peer Advisors would love to talk to you, so strike up a conversation!

Meeting with Financial Aid Representatives

Financial Aid representatives will be on hand to answer all your questions about funding your study abroad experience. Make sure you stop by their table to discuss different ways to locate financial assistance.

Meet NIU Students that Have Participated in Study Abroad

Study Abroad Peer Advisors will be on hand to discuss their personal study abroad experience.
You may also browse photos submitted by Study Abroad Alumni


Please contact the Study Abroad Office
Williston Hall 417
Bali 2014

So come on out this Wednesday to learn more about Studying Abroad and vote on your favorite pics! 

NIU Study Abroad Videos

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