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Monday, 5 December 2016

7 Practical Tech Gadgets You Need When Studying Overseas


Years ago, a pen and pencil with some paper to write on would have been enough to get you started studying overseas. All a student needed was a suitcase of outfits, some money and somewhere to stay. Now that we have technology at every corner, the travel list has expanded vastly.
Different tools naturally convey a wide variety of benefits. If you or your student is preparing to study abroad, there are some tools you’ll want to have handy. Don’t get caught unprepared! Get ready for the trip with some of the accessories we have listed below:

1. Volt Transformer

While this item probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, it’s absolutely one of the most crucial items to have if you’re planning to have a “tech savvy” trip studying overseas. Chances are wherever you’re planning to go isn’t going to be quite the same as home—and by that I mean voltage wise.

Fun fact: If you try to plug American electronics into a European outlet, you’d best be prepared for the shocking result. It turns out voltages aren’t universal across different countries and trying to use a device on the wrong outlet can quickly fry any of your electronics. With a transformer or converter, you’ll have a device that works as an adapter to allow you to “step up” or “step down” in voltage to protect your stuff.
Most of these devices are relatively cheap, if a tad bulky. For around twenty bucks you can bring your electronics just about anywhere you’d like, whether you need to charge your devices or just plug in something that you can’t live without. It’s definitely worthwhile for the long haul.

2.WiFi Enabled Devices

It’s really your preference if you prefer the convenience of a handheld device such as a phone, a slightly larger tool such as a tablet or the
power of a full-sized laptop
. Yet whichever you plan you go with, make sure it has WiFi. That’s generally not a big problem, but you need to consider it more heavily because chances are you won’t be able to bring your mobile data plan across the pond.

Naturally, you may need to acquire a local
if you’re planning to stay for a long time, as you’ll get more mileage dealing with providers in your destination rather than trying to work with a service that’s based thousands of miles away. Unfortunately, that also means limited access to some familiar services from home when browsing online.
Relying on WiFi also means putting your precious devices at risk, as public WiFi tends to be unprotected and offers opportunities for hackers to infiltrate your devices. Unless, of course, you have a handy piece of software such as a Virtual Private Network available to you.


3.Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Travel is stressful enough, whether you’re leaving for a day or three years. It can also be a lot of fun, but you might end up giving up things you’d rather not go without. Streaming services and access to other select internet services fall into this category as these things are all segregated by physical location.
The aforementioned problems (including the security risks mentioned about WiFi) can all be circumvented by using a VPN. This useful service allows your devices to to a remote server somewhere else in the world, shielding your data from unprotected networks and allowing you to “specify” your location.
By doing so, you can access familiar search results and generally use the internet anywhere you like as you like with peace of mind. Many people use them to keep their accounts working as usual or be able to
access their favorite Netflix content overseas.
Plans run fairly cheap, usually in the neighborhood of $10 per month.

4.A Quality Headset

You’ll probably be spending lots of time with your other devices, especially in public places. When it gets lonely, a Skype call home may be the only reasonable option (since it’s free from Skype to Skype). For those moments, it’s really nice to have a quality headset.

decent headset is likely to have noise canceling capabilities for when you’re somewhere you don’t want to hear other distractions (even for studying), but headsets also come equipped with microphones so you can talk back as well. You’ll likely prefer to have an all-in-one setup so you don’t have to carry so much stuff.

Of course, many devices come equipped with microphones by default. Yet their quality, sensitivity and need to be relatively close to your face make them a headache. Think of this as a replacement for cheap earbuds when you’re traveling. Though bulkier, your music will sound a lot better anyway.

If you absolutely must have portability though, go with one of those LG Bluetooth headsets. They sit around your neck and have both a microphone and earbuds, so they work well for calls and for listening to music.

5.Battery Charger

While you’re at it you may also want to add “rechargeable batteries” for anything you bring that doesn’t already have them installed (flashlights come to mind as being really valuable, especially when you consider how fast phone batteries tend to die). A backup battery or battery charger will allow you to gain some emergency life out of any number of difference devices in a pinch.

6.Digital Camera (Preferably DSLR)

Most phones and tablets have cameras built in, but that doesn’t mean they’re very useful for taking truly great photos. One of the big perks of traveling abroad to study is seeing all the local sites, particularly historic ones. Wildlife will also different than what you may be used to at home.
With a really good camera you’ll be able to get better shots with longer battery life and considerably better range. Far-off shots aren’t really a specialty of mobile devices, but real cameras have excellent zoom. That goes double for capturing motion shots.
Just be advised that DSLR cameras are a bit pricy and are a popular item for thieves to steal from tourists (beware of letting someone take your picture!)

7. “Low-Tech”

No matter what great technology you decide to bring with you when studying overseas, just don’t forget that a few low tech items go a long way too. A compass, flashlight and source of fire are all great tools to have when the hi-tech route backfires.
Be safe on your travels, and don’t forget to change your socks! If you’ve got some good tips to offer, please share them in the comments below.

About the Author: As a cybersecurity blogger, Cassie knows a thing or two about technology. She encourages everyone to think about safety when using the net either at home or on the go.

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