Top tips for travelling to Reach Cambridge this summer!
Lyn Sanborne, School Counselor at Sewickley Academy in Pittsburgh, is bringing 10 students to Reach Cambridge in July. She wrote these top tips for traveling abroad this summer:
• Pack light! You will be responsible for your own luggage and there is a lot of walking between the coach bus stop and your dorm in a university city such as Cambridge which has large “pedestrian only” zones (this is true of many European cities.) Pack “layers” for fluctuating temperatures: consider bringing an old sweatshirt you can discard, as you will likely want to buy a University of Cambridge sweatshirt.
• Leave a “mandatory souvenir list” behind. Students can waste valuable time when they might be exploring local events and activities by spending excessive time in souvenir shops! You can put together a great present for parents and grandparents when you return home: make a mug or photo montage with favorite images from your memorable trip. T-shirts make good presents for sibs and close friends and you can usually get good deals if you buy several at the same time. They are also unlikely to add too much weight to your luggage.
• If parents and students have smart phones, download an app such as WhatsApp or Viber which allow free texting and calling when there is a wifi connection. Beware, the quality of the phone calls is uneven. In any case, texting is best: you don’t have to worry about time differences, they allow the student to make the most of their experience—spending time with new friends, soaking up the culture—without being distracted by a telephone call that might induce homesickness. Make sure students know how to turn off the roaming function of their cell phones so as to avoid astronomical data charges. In many countries (including England), it’s easy and cheap to buy a very basic cell phone which you “top up” with calling time purchased at supermarkets and phone shops. This is a good option if students do plan to call quite a bit.
• Students: avoid the temptation to stay in close touch with friends back home via social media, etc. This is a huge “time sucker” and distracts you from “living in the moment”: making new friends, taking advantage of every opportunity—even if that’s just looking out the window of a bus or train!
• Journal/blog/keep notes: about your daily impressions, observations, (okay, Modern Family’s Alex character who spent most of her Australian vacation dictating her observations for her future college essays was a hilarious send-up of this).
• Parents: make sure your child knows how to do their own laundry (University of Cambridge housing has laundry facilities, so Reach students only need a week’s worth of clothing for their three week stay).
• Comfortable shoes only! It’s sometimes comical to watch young women navigating cobblestone streets in heels: but dangerous and uncomfortable too. Athletic shoes are an obvious choice. Good brands for slightly dressier walking shoes: Ecco, Clark, Merrell. Same brands for travel sandals plus Keen and Teva. “Wear them in” before you travel.
• Students: thank your parents often and exuberantly for providing you with this opportunity to become a Global Citizen. Your world view will be transformed and your future choices (studying abroad in college, staying connected with new friends from other countries, following international issues and trends in the media) will be inspired by this life-changing experience.
To read the original article, click here.