Happy 2016, everyone! Before we dive into this bright, shiny, brand-new year that stretches out in front of us, it's time to look back at 2015.
The past year saw us revamp our site, expand our coverage of all things abroad, and delve deeper into what it really means to engage in meaningful travel. We looked at current topics like terrorism abroad, the refugee crisis and the devastating earthquake in Nepal. Our writers explored new territory for volunteering in Cuba, a niche trend towards studying abroad without technology, and the ever-changing list of destinations for digital nomads.
Our writers were on top of their game in 2015, delivering great content across the board on everything from studying abroad to taking a gap year. However, you -- our readers -- read and shared some articles more than others, and we want to take a moment to look back at the 15 Go Overseas articles you loved and read the most in 2015. So, in case you missed it...
Study Abroad Articles
1. How Much Does It Cost to Study Abroad? - Charity Yoro
It's easy to romanticize studying abroad, but there's no denying that it's a financial commitment. This article -- which was one of our most shared articles of the year -- breaks down the real dollars and cents of the costs for students who want to study abroad.
Rather than scaring anyone away though, this article aims to help you shed light on how much it actually costs to live and study abroad in a foreign country. In some cases, it may not be as expensive as you previously thought.
2. 10 Universities Where You Can Study Abroad in English - Rachael Taft
A major selling point of studying abroad is the opportunity to pick up some new language skills but that's not everyone's goal. For some students, especially those who don't have a strong foreign language skill and want to learn more about a non-linguistic topic (i.e. ecology or political science), studying abroad at a university in English is what they're looking for.
For these students, this article helpfully highlights some of the best universities with offerings in English -- and not all of them in obvious destinations. From the Netherlands to Hong Kong, there's no shortage of options for Anglophones ready to put their passport to good use.
3. How to Find the Best Cell Phone Plan for Study Abroad in Europe - Lisa Saltagi
Phone plans often seem like they're written to be deliberately confusing, even when they're in your first language. So, when Go Overseas' editorial intern, Tina Mangelova, mentioned that she was having trouble finding out which cell phone plan was best for her upcoming study abroad trip to France, it seemed like a no-brainer to publish an article on it.
As a result, our favorite Europe resident Lisa Saltagi stepped up to make sense of the maze of European phone plans. Turns out Tina wasn't the only one confused about phone plans this year, and it quickly became one of the most read articles on our site.
If you're headed to Europe for a semester in 2016, follow her advice, and you'll be happily Snapchatting away from the top of the Eiffel Tower without a second thought about data charges.
Volunteer Abroad Articles
4. How to Put Your Volunteer Experience on a Resume - Elaina Giolando
Getting a job afterward probably isn't the main reason you've decided to volunteer abroad, but there's no reason you can't use it to your advantage. Our resident Professional Development Expert, Elaina Giolando, breaks down how doing good can be good for your career prospects and how to make sure that your volunteer abroad experience shines on your resume.
From basic resume tips to pro advice on how best to articulate your individual volunteer experience ("Come up with at least one meaningful measurement for each work or volunteer experience on your resume," for example), this article helps ensure your next job interview will be a success.
Intern/Work Abroad Articles
5. 10 Paid Internships Abroad in Summer 2015 - Rachael Taft
In our top article published in 2015, Intern Abroad guru Rachael Taft did you all a favor and found 10 of the world's most interesting paid intern abroad opportunities.
From spending a few months as a summer analyst for Goldman Sachs in India to doing marketing for L'Oreal in Brazil, the options were as diverse and exciting as the countries in which they were located. Qualified applicants this year could even spend some time working for the U.S. Embassy or German Parliament.
Before getting disillusioned about the world of unpaid internships, remember that we're on your side. Oh, and because you loved it so much, we've updated the article for 2016 and 2017. It's never to early to start applying!
6. How to Work and Travel Australia on a Working Holiday Visa - Colin Heinrich
Ah yes, the mythical working holiday visa -- the subject of much interest, confusion, and oh-so-many questions. The well-traveled (and working holiday veteran) Colin Heinrich shares the wisdom acquired through a year working and traveling in Oz to help others interested in following the same path, offering insight into the less glamorous but very important details like visa paperwork, finances, and how to set up bank accounts and phone numbers in Australia.
If you're more the dreamer type that has trouble working out the nitty-gritty logistics of going abroad, this article will help keep you on the right path. Come for the photos of adorable kangaroos, stay for the helpful advice.
Teach Abroad Articles
7. The Best Cities in China to Teach English - Richelle Gamlam
Maybe it was just some early anticipation of the 2022 Winter Olympics, but lots of eyes (at least the ones on Go Overseas) seemed to be on China in 2015.
In this article, one of our most popular of the year, Teach Abroad pro Richelle Gamlam gets past the glitz and high-rises of Beijing and Shanghai to highlight some of China's less-popular but equally-deserving sites for English teachers, including Harbin (festivals!), Shenzhen (summery weather!) and Chengdu (pandas!).
For those considering a move to teach in China but intimidated by the idea of living in a city of 20 million or spending three months at a time without a glimpse of blue sky, this article is the perfect place to start.
8. What's the Difference Between CELTA and TEFL? - Steve Patton
The world of English teaching abroad is filled with acronyms -- sometimes it seems like you need a special degree just to make sense of them all.
TEFL expert Steve Patton cuts through all the initials to clarify the difference between these two important kinds of certifications, what each one means, when you might need one and how to go about getting both kinds of certification. Before getting your certificate to teach abroad, get a quick education on what these common acronyms mean.
9. 8 Myths About Teaching English Abroad Debunked - Natalie Southwick
Plenty of people have an idea of what teaching English abroad is like, but those ideas don't necessarily always line up with anything remotely resembling reality. In the interest of accuracy and truthfulness, we break down some common misconceptions about what language teaching abroad may (or may not) involve.
Before you go jumping to any conclusions about what an English-teaching program or job will look like, be sure to look through this article to make sure you're not letting stereotypes lead you astray. And if you think, "teaching is super easy, it's just English!" you definitely need to add this to your reading list.
10. Should I Get TEFL Certified Online or in a Classroom? - Natalie Southwick
Technology has made many things easier than ever and with that has come a boom in online TEFL courses. Not surprisingly, a lot of you wanted to know whether or not you should go for one of these distance courses.
To help answer your questions, we decided to break down the pros and cons of both kinds of certification and analyze costs, practical teaching opportunities, and flexibility of different programs to help you decide what's the best option for you -- no matter if you function better in digital or analog.
Gap Year Articles
11. Are Students Who Take Gap Years More Successful? - Kate Evans
Though gap years are becoming increasingly common in other parts of the world, the concept is still a somewhat foreign one in many parts of the U.S. -- and we felt that it was important to shed light on all of the benefits taking a gap year can give students. Though parents might think students are just trying to blow off a year before diving into the harsh "reality" of college or whatever you plan on doing next, in reality, a gap year can help students become more successful in college and their careers than students who don't take a year off.
Gap year expert (and fellow parent) Kate Evans looks at some of the research to support this claim, and we encourage you to use this article as a backup the next time someone refers to your planned gap year as a "vacation."
12. How to Find Paid Short-Term Work Abroad - Lauren Fitzpatrick
You don't have to be on a gap year to make use of the information in this invaluable article -- anyone on a travel budget who's suddenly wondering how to make those last hundred dollars stretch until next month can benefit from expert expat Lauren's advice.
If you're looking to earn some extra bucks over the course of a few weeks or even months, this article is packed with tips to make your search process as painless as possible, from a list of helpful job search resources to different kinds of short-term job descriptions. Finding a job while traveling may, as Lauren says, have a lot to do with "luck and timing," but a little extra knowledge and preparation never hurts!
Life Abroad Articles
13. What is it Like Living with a Host Family Abroad? - Mandi Schmitt
It's not unreasonable to have concerns about living with a host family: sure, it sounds nice on paper, but what if you get there and they turn out to be crazy people who lock you in a closet and only feed you once a day?
That's a pretty unlikely scenario, but in case you're still worried, Go Overseas's own Mandi Schmitt takes an honest look at life with a host family -- the good, the bad, and the baffling -- and offers a convincing case for why living with a host family "will guarantee you a richer cultural experience, comfort, security, and perhaps even a second family in your new host country."
14. 10 Things Not to Do When Dating Locals Abroad - Elaina Giolando
Love can be tricky, especially when you and your new partner come from radically different sides of the globe. So, in celebration of Valentine's Day last February, Elaina Giolando shared her worldly wisdom in this go-to guide on what not to do if you find yourself in a cross-cultural relationship abroad. And apparently, you all loved it.
It's definitely a unique addition to our top 15 list, but I guess we could all use a little advice when it comes to romance both at home and abroad.
One More For the Road
15. Go Overseas' Embarrassing Study Abroad Stories - Jessie Beck
Because we love extras, and sometimes articles just defy categorization, we've got one last post to send out 2015 with a bang.
Last year, Go Overseas' editor, Jessie Beck, asked our friends and colleagues to open their hearts and travel diaries to spill the beans on their most mortifying, awkward, unforgettable study abroad moments (again, thanks to former intern, Vivian Bi for this article inspiration!). And boy, did they come through for us. From waking up shoeless in Rome to getting chased by monkeys in Tibet, we've seen and done it all, and we're not too proud to tell the world about it.
Cheers to Another Great Year of Blogging
It's going to be hard to top these, but we feel pretty confident that we're up to the challenge. Here's to bigger, better things and a world's worth of study, interning, teaching, volunteering, and travel abroad experiences for all of us in 2016!Photo Credit: Courtney Dorazio