Thursday, June 19, 2014

Featured Travel Apps: Wi-fi finder

Wy fy? or wii fii? Depends on where you are how you say it, but after being used to using our phones for just about everything, traveling abroad often means tricky business without the normal data plan. But, never fear because you can still log on to Instagram or check Google Maps while abroad when you are connected to wi-fi. Finding wi-fi while roaming the streets of a new city, however, is the tricky part. The app Wi-fi finder by JiWire can help make the search easier.


Quickly and easily find FREE or paid Wi-Fi when you travel with the JiWire Wi-Fi Finder for iPhone and iPod Touch. Download all of the locations offline, so you know how to stay connected when you are on the road. Using the GPS function on your iPhone, the Wi-Fi finder will tell you exactly where the closest Wi-Fi hotspot is, and how to get there.

If you prefer certain providers such as Comcast, you'll be able to see which hotspots are served by those providers. You can also filter by location type (restaurant, cafe, hotel, etc..). When you find the location you want to use, you'll be given a phone number and directions on how to get there.

So, next time you are in need of wi-fi, pull out this handy app and give it a try! 

This post was written by an International Center peer adviser. It is in no way endorsed by the University of Michigan. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Teaching Opportunity in Guyana | August 2014-July 2015

Yearlong Volunteer Teaching Opportunities in Guyana, South America
What has stopped you from moving across the globe and teaching underserved communities that need your help?

WorldTeach is currently accepting applications for college graduates to serve as volunteer English teachers in our yearlong program in Guyana, in South America.

Applications will be accepted until July 1st, 2014, and volunteers will depart early August, 2014.

About the Guyana program: Volunteers are full time teachers in public high schools, teaching either Math, Science or English. The official language of Guyana is English; therefore English is not being taught as a foreign language so volunteers are not eligible for TEFL certification. WorldTeach partners with the Guyana Ministry of Education. The Ministry has subsidized the program, therefore reducing the volunteer commitment fee to $1,690.

Yearlong volunteers receive:
  • Comprehensive visa sponsorship and assistance in securing necessary work permits
  • WorldTeach pre-departure literature and preparation
  • Health & emergency evacuation insurance
  • Training comprising 3-4 week Orientation upon arrival, Mid Service Conference, and End of Service Conference
  • Meals and housing during orientation and conferences
  • Transportation between training and placement sites
  • Housing (apartment or house, housemates or host family)
  • Monthly stipend of US$400
  • Option for TEFL certification in some programs
  • Professional development through Teacher Quality Program, including mentorship by remote Teacher Quality Coordinator
  • Support from full time, in-country field staff
Volunteer Period: August 2014 -July 2015

Qualifications: Applicants must be native English speakers and be between the ages of 21-73. A Bachelor's degree is required at the time of departure. No teaching experience is necessary, but an interest in teaching, and a flexible, mature attitude, are attributes of a successful volunteer.

To Apply: Year program applications require a resume, a personal statement, two letters of recommendation, and a college/university transcript. Start your application on our website here, or email

About WorldTeach & Additional Programs

WorldTeach hosts 23 yearlong/semester/summer programs in 16 countries: American Samoa, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guyana, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Poland, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand. WorldTeach was founded in 1986 by a group of Harvard students who were motivated by the desire to promote local education initiatives in places where teachers and resources were lacking.

Today, we continue to provide opportunities for individuals to serve as volunteer teachers around the world, working to educate under-served students in countries that would otherwise be unable to afford or locate qualified teachers. Each year, we send about 400 volunteers to local schools and host communities in countries around the world that have specifically requested our support through their Ministries of Education. WorldTeach is a registered 501 (c)(3) non-profit and Charity Navigator 4-star charity.

Read our reviews on

Featured Travel App: Skyscanner

It's a dreary Monday night in Ann Arbor, Michigan and it's that heavy kind of hot outside where the rain falls but doesn't cool the air. You are sticky and stuck in the heat of August in Michigan. Skyscanner, a free online app that provides you with flexible search options for flights, can come to your rescue. Skyscanner's flexible search options mean you can browse prices across an entire month, or even a year, allowing you to get the best deal possible. It's the easiest way to find a cheap flight for a weekend getaway anywhere in the US, or a cheap trip abroad. It's also useful for watching flights if you are planning for a semester abroad.

If you are looking for the cheapest destination in any given time frame, simply enter your local airport and select the "everywhere" option for a destination, and the time frame you would like to fly. If you enter a month, you will get a graph with all flight options as shown below. You also have the option of choosing a specific date range. The "Explore" next to the "Search" button pulls up a virtual map which allows you to select destinations via physical location rather than price. The globe on the top right of the second image provides a similar function.

Select "everywhere" and your date range
Select a destination from the list

Here we chose Guatemala:
a list of all available airports becomes available
Fight options:
departure on top, return on bottom 

Alternatively, if you are looking for flights for a longer summer vacation, or a spring break trip, or anything where the destination is set but aren't sure WHEN you'd like to go, Skyscanner allows you to enter your destination and select a time period for travel. The app then gives you a graph with price ranges for your destination. Once you select both a departure (the upper graph) and a return (lower graph) date, the app will take you to a traditional search screen where various flights and prices are listed.

Select a destination and an open date range
Chart of flights in date range

Specific flight options:
 listed by airline and departure date (adjustable settings) 

Skyscanner also offers traditional search options, entered with a specific destination and time period in mind, which allow you to narrow your search by many options. These include: duration of flight, cost, airline, departure time, and landing time and are accessible with the icons across the top of the traditional flight search screen. There is also an option to view your search as a chart much like the two above which show you price differences over the course of the month vs. price differences for the airline on specific dates. You can also favorite searches to save them for later. Additionally you have the option of opening multiple screens for multiple searches using the double square icon in the top right corner, a number in the box indicates how many windows you have open within the app.

Options for purchasing the flight

Once you have chosen your flight, you have multiple options. Skyscanner allows you to purchase the flight directly from the airline with  the "Reserve" button via their website or over the phone. Alternatively, you can choose to watch the flight, tracking price changes and updates. You can also add the flight to your calendar, you can email the itinerary to yourself and you can share the flight to all your social media outlets.

This is the perfect application for last minute travels, carefully planned trips or travel junkies who need to get away from that darn August heat for a weekend. For those without smart phones, their website is also incredibly helpful:

This post was written by an International Center peer adviser. It is in no way endorsed by the University of Michigan. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

New Student Org @ U-M | Interested in China? Check out Project Pengyou

Did you enjoy your study abroad experience in China? Would you like to connect with other Americans across the U.S. who have also traveled/studied/worked in China? Are you interested in positive U.S.- China relations? If so,join the Project 朋友 movement! A chapter is being started here at U-M, and we want YOU to become involved. If interested, please email Kelicia Hollis for more details on becoming involved. 

MORE ABOUT PROJECT 朋友 and the Leadership Fellows Program are implemented by
the Golden Bridges Foundation ( Established in 2007,
Golden Bridges is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to build
bridges to China that strengthen the sustainability and capacity of community-
based nonprofits and individuals to serve, inspire and transform lives.

Project Pengyou was conceived as the alumni network of President Obama’s
100,000 Strong Initiative, and seeks to build a global community of China
bridge-builders.  Project Pengyou is seeded by a multi-year grant from the
Ford Foundation and has been endorsed by Gary Locke and Hillary Clinton.

Kelicia Hollis
Graduate Assistant, Michigan Research Community (MRC)
Higher Education M.A. 
University of Michigan 
Creative Writing B.A. 
Columbia University

Featured Travel App: Airport Transportation

The airport is most likely the first stop on your travel agenda, but it shouldn't be the most stressful. Save the stress of figuring out your surroundings when you get to your final destination and make your trip to the airport stress-free with the Airports by TravelNerd app. This app is perfect for on-the-go travelers who want comprehensive airport information in one easy to use app.

Worried about missing your connecting flight by trying to navigate the terminal when you land? TravelNerd allows you to check airport terminals even when offline. Know where you are going with their convenient terminal maps before you even land. 

Not sure how you're going to get to your hotel once you have picked up your bags? TravelNerd can help you find a variety of different ground transportation methods and can further connect you to websites or provide phone numbers for various options. 

This app has multiple features that will be beneficial to you in all aspects of your airport travel, including: 

•Real-time flight tracking - view flight status, delays and cancellations
•Offline mode enabled - use airport guides without mobile network or internet access
•Over 250 customized terminal maps
•Airport information for over 70 of the most popular airports 
•Coupons for airport parking lots, airport shuttles and car service
•Wi-Fi availability and pricing
•Customized directions to popular destinations for 20 airports (e.g., SFO to Union Square or JFK to Manhattan)
•Airport restaurant, shop and lounge hours and locations
•Nurseries and other family-friendly amenities

Download this app for free in the Apple Apps Store and navigate your next airport trip swiftly with Airports by TravelNerd. 

This post was written by an International Center peer adviser. It is in no way endorsed by the University of Michigan. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Featured Travel Apps: Dividing the Bill

"I don't have any cash, can you get this and I'll pay you back later?"
"I paid for the hostel last night, can you get these bus tickets and we'll be even?"
"If you owe me $20, and I pay for this, then you'll only owe me $10, right?"

Traveling with a friend or a group of friends will inevitably lead to conversations such as these. Figuring out who is going to pay for the cab you just took or the drinks you just had can cause an unnecessary headache while traveling. Making sure that you are all evenly paid back can be problematic as well, and can cause stress when adventuring on a tight budget.

Having TripSplitter handy can save you the stress of the "I owe you what?" conversations that can consume a good amount of a meal time chat. TripSplitter allows you to breezily split expenses with travel companions. When you split a bill, enter each person's costs, and the IOU's are calculated and stored. This way, if you pay for the hostel, and they pay for the bus, the app can total what you still owe or are owed, so you equally split the costs.

Some of the main features include:
- Unlimited number of participants
- Create even or uneven splits
- Categorize expenses with the touch of an icon
- Convert currencies if your trip spans countries
- Turn device sideways at any time to see the IOUS
- Email participants a detailed list of spendings

This app was featured on ABC News Technology Review's App of the Week.

Save yourself the stress when traveling with your friends and download TripSplitter from the Apple App Store for only $1.99. Simplify your trip and split the bill evenly!

This post was written by an International Center peer adviser. It is in no way endorsed by the University of Michigan. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Featured Travel App: MetrO made easy

While we often like to think we can conquer a city on foot, it is usually much faster and less tiring to use public transportation. Yet, navigating a new city by metro or bus can be confusing.

That's what MetrO is here for. MetrO can help you find your way in the public transportation system in more than 400 cities around the world.

 MetrO allows you to find the best route from your current location to your final destination via metro, bus, or railway system within a major city. Once you download the cities you need, no network connection is needed to use the app.

For example, if I needed to get from my apartment in La Latina to the airport, MetrO could provide me with a route, saving me time trying to decipher the map or having to ask someone. It can displays various routes as well - including the shortest route or the route with least stops/transfers.

Best of all, this app is FREE! So before your next adventure, make sure to download MetrO to help you easily navigate the big city that awaits you.

This post was written by an International Center peer adviser. It is in no way endorsed by the University of Michigan.