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Author: 2gifts Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 2196  
Subject: Studying abroad - what do they need? Date: 9/27/2011 3:37 PM
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DD will be studying abroad in Florence, Italy for the spring semester, so I was thinking that I could focus on things she will need over there for Christmas gifts. The first thing I have on the list is a nice carry-on suitcase so that she can pack that for her first couple of days there which will be before she gets to Florence, and so that she will have a small suitcase to take if she can do some sightseeing/traveling on the weekend. My niece and grand-niece live in the UK, and DH has a cousin who retired to Florence, so she will have relatives that can show her around so that she will be comfortable getting out and about.

I was also thinking about a plug adapter, but it's been so long since I traveled internationally, that I can't remember what sort of adapter I should get or what else might be useful.

Any other ideas for things she might need? She's not going to be taking a lot of stuff with her, but I'm sure there must be some essentials that would be good for her to have.

For the cell phone, I'm thinking of just having her pick up a pay-as-you-go phone for her use over there, and we can use email and Skype for her to communicate home.

So for those of you who had kids study abroad, any suggestions on things for Christmas, or tips in general for her? We're all very excited about her being able to go.
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Author: tconi Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2089 of 2196
Subject: Re: Studying abroad - what do they need? Date: 9/27/2011 3:54 PM
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you can pick up an "international" adapter for about $20-25.
That way it will work with everything every where.
like this
http://www.amazon.com/Samsonite-Worldwide-Adaptor-Internatio...

Phones are easy - or she could bring her "regular" phone over, get it unlocked if necessary (10-20 euros depending in the phone) and just get a new SIM card here.
If she has an ipod touch she can skype on that as well.

peace & all the advice i have
t

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Author: tconi Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2090 of 2196
Subject: Re: Studying abroad - what do they need? Date: 9/27/2011 3:57 PM
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one more thing - a coin purse is super handy, or a wallet with a good coin compartment.
Only 5euro and greater are bills, so she will potentially have lots of 1 & 2e coins, and she will also need coins on hand for public bathrooms.

peace & pockets
t

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Author: reallyalldone Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2091 of 2196
Subject: Re: Studying abroad - what do they need? Date: 9/27/2011 4:30 PM
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My best resource is across the country but I'll try to go by memory. I'd go with a backpack, not a suitcase. I did give him local currency for the Christmas before he went. He did go with a prepaid cell.

He went to Auckland for a semester and Prague for a summer program. Make sure she is very aware of the possibility of pickpockets in Italy especially.

She's not going to be taking a lot of stuff with her, but I'm sure there must be some essentials that would be good for her to have.

hmm, there are things my son didn't need to think about that might be different brandwise in other countries...

Credit card without international transaction fees - Capital One is the easy one but check carefully.

If there are bills she is responsible for that may come due while she's away, discuss the possibility of you dealing with them.

And I know I am off the gift topic but remind her to be aware of fall registration dates which may happen while she is away.

I think I will be seeing you before she goes - remind me to give you the contact info for my daughter who will still be in the UK.

I'm betting that money in general may be the best gift.

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Author: YewGuise Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2092 of 2196
Subject: Re: Studying abroad - what do they need? Date: 9/27/2011 4:58 PM
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Congrats! She'll have a blast.

I feel I should have some info/advice, given that DS spent spring semester (of his Jr year) abroad, but the sponsoring organization (www.sit.edu), DS, and DS in consultation with fellow travelers, took care of everything from phone selection to passport/visa issues.

My thought was that, except for his passport, anything he might need he could get over there, so as long as his credit card and ATM card worked he'd be fine, and he was. Since he went to China (not Italy), differences were:
- everything from food to clothes was available as cheaply as he liked, and
- he needed some immunizations. My one regret was not doing more homework on that. During one phone call he mentioned a fellow student "gave me some of his malaria pills," so all's well that ends well, but if I'd been more conscientious it would've been my kid helping the others instead of vice versa.

He did take only a backpack, and that worked better than a suitcase, especially since he did a lot of hiking.

Also, he'd studied Mandarin for 3 semesters, so he knew a little bit of the language. If your DD has had any Italian lessons, she'll get a lot more out of the trip than otherwise, even if she's not fluent, but if she's had none, I think an early Christmas present of Rosetta Stone or other lessons would be great.

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Author: 2gifts Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2093 of 2196
Subject: Re: Studying abroad - what do they need? Date: 9/27/2011 6:39 PM
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Thanks so far for all the suggestions. I had started to look into a credit card without exchange fees, but hadn't found anything yet. Sounds like I should be looking at the Cap One card for her.

She doesn't have an ATM card, but that's probably one more thing she should have.

I will ask her if she prefers the backpack to a rolling carry-on. She does have her school backpack that holds her laptop plus a few other things, but I don't know if that is sufficient.

She goes to Bentley University which has what seems to be a very organized program, so they are helping with quite a lot. She's still filling out forms and such, but it is definitely well-organized.

I don't know about when she has to sign up for fall classes, but I'd bet it is while she is gone, so I will remind her to check on that, but she's pretty anal about being organized. She's already delegated the room selection for next year to one of her roommates since their selection will be in the middle of the night for her.

She is taking Italian now. The school requires at least one semester of the appropriate language prior to the study abroad, and I was thinking it couldn't hurt to have the Rosetta Stone software.

I will have to remind her about the pickpockets and such. That will be very different for her, but I'm confident in her abilities to manage.

Thanks, and keep those suggestions coming.

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Author: YewGuise Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2094 of 2196
Subject: Re: Studying abroad - what do they need? Date: 9/27/2011 7:25 PM
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...pickpockets...

Rome is notorious for pickpockets. Not sure how the rest of Italy compares, might not be fair to extrapolate to Florence. Also not sure how reputation translates to reality; Beijing has a reputation for pickpockets, but DS never had problems there in 2 years (semester abroad plus 18 months later), nor did DH & I when we were there for 2 weeks as obvious tourists.

Anyway, DH (an experienced traveler internationally) was pickpocketted in Rome. A bunch of young men surrounded him, and seconds later they were gone, as were the maps he had had in his inside jacket pocket. Wallet was still in his pants pocket. So I think the lesson is that decoy materials are useful. As a lady, I'd carry a decoy purse and keep my wallet in a front pants pocket, or better yet in one of those passport-carriers that you wear under your shirt. Although, it's kind of a nuisance reaching under one's shirt every time you want to pay for something, so when in Beijing we ended up just keeping wallets in front pockets.

http://www.travelsmith.com/ , click on "accessories," then "security."

As a student in Florence, your DD could probably use some of the info geared towards tourists, so a Fodor's, Lonely Planet, or other guidebook for Italy would be useful. Warning: if you read it yourself first, it'll whet your appetite to go join her! Parents are generally discouraged from visiting study-abroad students during the semester, but when the kids' official program is over, that's different. Some students stay a week or two longer so parents and sibs can visit for a memorable family vacation. (I said "warning" because 2 weeks for the family can easily cost as much as the whole semester for the student.) If your DD will be doing this, check with the organizers how they want to handle it, because typically they arrange group discounts for students' round-trip airfare, and there might not be a refund for the return flight. (On the other hand, sometimes one-way flights are more expensive than RT, so I've sometimes booked RT and just skipped the 2nd leg; I don't recall if that's what DS did for his semester abroad.)

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Author: tconi Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2095 of 2196
Subject: Re: Studying abroad - what do they need? Date: 9/28/2011 2:11 AM
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sometimes one-way flights are more expensive than RT, so I've sometimes booked RT and just skipped the 2nd leg; .

SOme Airlines have caught onto this, and if you do not use or reschedule that second leg, there is a fairly hefty additional charge ($200-$300)that will be placed upon whatever CC you used to book your flight.

If you are going to try this be SURE to read carefully for the cancellation/non use of the complete ticket policy. Sometimes that additional fee still makes it significantly less expensive than a one-way.

also- YES to the money and any important documents in the front pocket
Here is my little pickpocket story
http://boards.fool.com/an-open-letter-26927578.aspx

peace & just saying
t


Also - i will add my general travel reminder to both scan and store on the internet (or in email) pdfs of all her important documents (school ID, driver's license, birth certificate, passport)
That way if something happens to her ID, all she needs is an internet cafe/school printer and having a copy of the originals will make the replacement process so much easier. Because all the encessary info will be right there (date of issue, number, etc)

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Author: YewGuise Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2096 of 2196
Subject: Re: Studying abroad - what do they need? Date: 9/28/2011 10:25 AM
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SOme Airlines have caught onto this, and if you do not use or reschedule that second leg, there is a fairly hefty additional charge...

Oops.

...general travel reminder to both scan and store on the internet (or in email) pdfs of all her important documents (school ID, driver's license, birth certificate, passport) ...

We scanned DS's documents, but due to security concerns stored them on our PC at home. If he needed any, we could email them to him then. Not that email is secure (which is why we don't do the email-to-self of sensitive info in the first place), but the risk is low, so the fewer the emails, the lower the risk.

YG, risk minimizer

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Author: mapletree8 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2097 of 2196
Subject: Re: Studying abroad - what do they need? Date: 10/6/2011 6:28 PM
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Another thing about Florence..... the air quality is terrible. If she has asthma or allergies, make sure she is well-stocked with medications.

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Author: tconi Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2098 of 2196
Subject: Re: Studying abroad - what do they need? Date: 10/6/2011 10:33 PM
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followup to maple's post -
check to see what meds that are OTC in the US, may not be available in Italy.
I know (yes, again Netherlands comparison) that cortisone creme is not available w/o a prescription in NL- where we are just used to picking it up at the corner store.
So if she has even any OTCs of preference, she should take along a full supply until she determines where (or if) they are available to her locally.

peace & itching
t

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