Hope you didn’t get too comfortable with airline carry-on baggage regulations, because it looks like they’ve changed once again. It seems that not only do all airlines not have the same size limits for carry-on bags, it can be difficult to near impossible to find a bag that meets the size requirements. Get all the details by clicking over to this informative article that was recently posted on Yahoo news.

Unfortunately, this is not one of my photos from my student travel to Germany - in fact, I don't know that I'd really want those photos shown. I wasn't a great photographer back then. But I did visit Linderhof Palace, known for the breathtaking Hall of Mirrors. Now, I need to find a way to make it back to Germany...Just over a month ago, I participated in one of many Twitter chats that I'm known for participating in. In this particular session, we talked on the topic of reunions – and the travels that we would want to be reunited with. This immediately brought me back to my very first flight – and, in all reality, my very first major trip - as a student traveler going to Germany. It was an act of sacrifice by my family to help me make the trip as a high school exchange student; something that I will forever be grateful for. More importantly, that allowance gave me a passion for travel – and helped to get me where I am at today.

My student trip opened my eyes to a world much bigger than my childhood home of California. And it got me to understand that student travel is much more important than letting young people take a holiday. In measure of culture, economics, and social enrichment, student travel is so much more important than we may give it credit for.

One statistic that caught me off guard was the amount of student travelers that go to different destinations around the world every year. According to the Wyse Student Travel Initiative, 20% of the global travel marketplace consists of student travelers. From their travels alone, student travel provides a direct impact of $165 billion in ticketing alone. With this much of an impact, student travelers are a vital part of the travel ecosystem.

But student travelers aren’t just going abroad for holiday or fun travel. Like a younger version of myself, over 2 million student travelers take trips to other countries to immerse themselves in a new language. As the understanding of the English language is growing in importance, 75% of those travelers are coming to English-speaking areas to learn the language. As a student traveler, I did it in reverse: I went to Germany to learn how to speak German. Of all the lessons I came out of from my travels, that ended up being a minor one.

Perhaps the biggest reason students travel is to seek higher education outside of their home countries – which can be an incredibly enriching experience. Despite the economic downturn that we experienced years ago, higher education was not touched as a result of the recession. And while many students come to the United States to pursue a higher education, other areas are growing as destinations for educational and student travel. Those areas include the United Kingdom, France, China, and Australia. The growth of student travel is so important to China, that they are now investing more into domestic infrastructure in order to accommodate students visiting the country.

As I did my research into student travel, one of the biggest surprises that I had was the growing trend of “voluntourism.” That is, traveling to a destination to do volunteer work in a country. Nearly two million students travel to another country each year to do humanitarian work and community development, and leave a significant economic impact behind them. This growth in traveling for self-enhancement is pretty amazing to see, and proof that student travel doesn’t have to be traditional in order to be fulfilling and completing.

The world of student travel has grown significantly over the past decade, and far more since I was a student traveler myself. If I could go back to be reunited with my travels to Germany…I absolutely would in a heartbeat. In fact, I probably should have done a little l0t better in school, so that I could have done lot more travel.

Have you been on a student trip that changed your life? Or are you planning a student trip of your own? Have you gone or are you going to try "voluntourism?" I’d love to hear about it your plans – let me know what your experiences in the comments below!

Female Student Planning to study in the U.S.? The State Department has lots of helpful information for you.

  1. See tips and watch a video about how to apply for a student visa.

  2. Read the informative "If You Want to Study in the United States" booklets (available in Arabic, Chinese, English, Español, Français, Kazakh, Persian, and Russian).

  3. Learn all the ways you can get ready for your trip by reading travel tips, housing information, financial planning advice, and more.

The State Department also requires (or strongly recommends, for some visa types) getting health insurance and says, "If the university or college you attend does not offer a health insurance plan, it is extremely important that you obtain coverage of your own to protect yourself against potentially very high medical costs." Even if your school offers a plan, it will usually allow you to purchase a less expensive plan somewhere else as long as it meets certain requirements.

If you're looking for a low-cost student health insurance plan that meets most the requirements for most schools, check out Study USA-HealthCare. Join the thousands of international students across the US who enrolled online in Study USA-HealthCare and got their waiver forms the next day. Enroll now or call 1-800-937-1387 for more information.

Study Abroad USI Affinity Travel Insurance Services has long offered international students affordable student health insurance while they study abroad through Study USA-HealthCare™. With recent increases in benefits and coverage options, students will now have even greater coverage while away from home, including:

  •     Emergency medical evacuation coverage has increased from $30,000 to $500,000
  •     Medical expense coverage per incident for Plan A has increased from $200,000 to $250,000
  •     Repatriation of remains has increased from $10,000 to $100,000

Study USA-HealthCare™ provides 24-hour assistance services and the use of any doctor or hospital for J1, F1, M1, B1, and H1 visa holders. Cheaper than most domestic health plans, Study USA-HealthCare™ meets your school’s requirements and costs as low as $1.28 a day.    

With online enrollment, you’ll receive instant confirmation and ID card.

For more information on Study USA-HealthCare™ and its available rates, visit us online at: Travel Insurance Services.

About USI Affinity Travel Insurance Services / Study USA-HealthCare™
Serving individuals, groups and businesses that travel worldwide (pleasure, business, education and more) for over 35 years, USI Affinity Travel Insurance Services (http://www.travelinsure.com) is an independent broker specializing in individual and custom-designed group plans for international, domestic, U.S. and foreign residents. Study USA-HealthCare™ is marketed and provided exclusively by USI Affinity Travel Insurance Services, Walnut Creek, California. Study USA-HealthCare™ is underwritten by The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania.

Students at Graduation The number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by 3% to 690,923 during the 2009/10 academic year, according to the Open Doors report, which is published annually by the Institute of International Education (IIE) with support from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. This represents a record high number of international students in the United States. The growth was primarily driven by a 30% increase in Chinese student enrollment in the United States to a total of nearly 128,000 students, or more than 18% of the total international student population, making China the leading sending country. Students from India increased by 2% to a total of nearly 105,000. Indian students represent 15% of all international students in U.S. higher education.

Open Doors 2010 reports 2009/10 enrollments, affected by decisions made in a period of economic downturn in the United States and in many countries around the world. The data reveal a complicated picture of international student enrollment in U.S. colleges and universities, with enrollment patterns varying widely according to place of origin and academic level. There were strong increases in the number of students from a few countries, but more than half of the top 25 sending countries showed decreases, resulting in a slower rate of overall growth than had been seen in recent years. Each of the top five host U.S. states - California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts and Illinois - saw increases in the number of international students they hosted.

Early indications of international enrollments for fall 2010, based on a "snapshot" Fall 2010 Online Survey conducted by IIE in cooperation with seven other higher education associations, show that campuses are seeing similar or higher rates of increase for both new and total international student enrollments compared to the previous year. Of the responding institutions, 52% (350) reported seeing an increase in their total international student enrollments, and 21% (137) reporting seeing a decline, while 27% (181) reported no change from the prior year.

"American colleges and universities have attracted a record number of international students for the 2009-2010 academic year. The State Department, through partnerships with U.S. colleges and universities, has made it a priority to reach out to talented international students, particularly students from disadvantaged backgrounds. A global education prepares them to become leaders in their own countries and societies," said Ann Stock, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.

"The United States continues to host more international students than any other country in the world," said Allan Goodman, President and CEO of the Institute of International Education. "Active engagement between U.S. and international students in American classrooms provides students with valuable skills that will enable them to collaborate across cultures and borders to address shared global challenges in the years ahead."

Together, the top three sending countries - China, India and South Korea - comprise nearly half (44%) of the total international enrollments in U.S. higher education.

Study USA-HealthCare Renewal Season is Here

It is time again for international students to renew their health insurance plan, so if you have clients enrolled in Study USA-HealthCare, you may want to follow up and remind them to renew to continue their coverage. There is a 30-day grace period after expiration date to renew. Online renewal is quick and easy, and each renewal is recorded as your sale. Plus renewals are unlimited.

If you have questions, feel free to email me at wendy.miller@travelinsure.com.