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Books To Read Before

Studying Abroad

Best Books for The First Time Study Abroad Student


So you are about to travel outside of your home country for the first time and want to fill your brain with as much pertinent information as possible.   Many people would like to know what books they should read before going overseas.  Not only do they want to satisfy questions in their minds, but they also wanted to have a fulfilling experience and skip the typical reading material that everyone seems so fond of.  This may come as a shock to many people, but go ahead and toss your guidebooks and how-to guides in the trash.  The books introduced to you will fill your mind with real world experiences, adventure, and interactions.  These books allow you obtain the most personal growth during your time abroad, improve yourself, increase your budget, and amp up your sense of excitement.

  1. Improv Wisdom:  Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up  

By:   Patricia Ryan Madson

  • Why it is a must read?


This book gives you insight on how improvisation comedians are able to do entire shows without scripts or guidelines.  It presents simple rules that can be applied to everyday life and your travels abroad.  These guidelines will help you turn the worst situations into the best experiences.  This is very important when traveling overseas for the first time, because no matter how much you plan and research details something will always change.  Being able to improvise in the ways that are described in this book will allow your mind to adapt in a positive free flowing fashion which is essential for anyone going or moving overseas.  The ways you adapt and interact after reading this book will make you an asset to whatever international community you are soon to be a part of.

  • Buy or Rent?  


This book is very affordable and the lowest cost used copy on Amazon is under $7.00

  • Related Locations


A Stanford University professor writes this book and while the international locations in the work are not directly present the skills that it teaches are universal.  

  1. The Hard Way:  Stories of Danger, Survival, and the Soul of Adventure  

By:  Mark Jenkins

  • Why it is a must read?


This is a series of short stories that take place all around the world.  No matter where you are traveling there is a story that will hit home in an adventurous fashion.  I can remember when I was laying on the ground in an Italian airport with machine guns pointed at my head.  I thought back to several of the stories in this book.  It helped me to keep calm and resolve the situation with the military police.  I actually stayed in the airport without even receiving a citation.  Mark’s book is similar to mine as well, because he uses his journals to relay his experiences.  He has undertaken adventures all over the world and describes them in climactic awe-inspiring detail.  If you need a nudge to get out of your comfort zone take a few hours and browse through this one.  There are several stories from this book I tell my friends every time I get around a low-lit campfire.  If you read this book you will find plenty of great advice from a true adventure traveler that has seen and experienced all types of situations.

  • Buy or Rent?  


You cannot go wrong with this book.  It will take you around the world in adventurous fashion.  The lowest priced copy is under $3.00.

  • Related Locations


Scotland, Canada, Tibet, Bolivia, Turkey, South Africa, Australia, Greece, Ethiopia, Slovakia, Hungary, Switzerland, Romania

  1. The Kickstarter Handbook: Real-Life Success Stories of Artists, Inventors, and Entrepreneurs

By:  Don Steinberg

  • Why it is a must read?


So suppose you have the desire and ability to go abroad, but the only thing missing is the cash it takes to live overseas for a lengthy period of time.  Even though after calculating the total cost of living abroad it will typically be similar to what you spend at home, there is plenty of anxiety that too much is never enough.  This is multiplied by the fact that a simple call or visit to the bank of Mom or Dad is now impossible.  Why not take matters into your own hands and create a Kickstarter project for your study abroad?  This guide will introduce you to crowd funding and show you how to turn your study abroad into a crowd funded project that fits into the guidelines of the Kickstarter system.  Then it will show you the basics of campaign and let you hear from some of the most successful project creators in the websites history.  This book and a well crafted Kickstarter campaign is no substitute for working hard and saving money before your trip, but just imagine the satisfaction of having 500 strangers from around the world finance your round trip plane ticket..

  • Buy or Rent?  


You can buy this new for under $7.50 so go ahead and put this on your bookshelf.  Crowdfunding will grow over the coming years and this skill should prove beneficial for you even after your stint overseas.

  • China, Indonesia, Taiwan, Switzerland, Netherlands


4.  The voyage of the Sierra Sagrada; across the Atlantic in a canoe

By:  Francis Brenton

  • Why it is a must read?


So you thought your next few months overseas would be rough?  Imagine if instead of a red eye flight to start your journey overseas, that you actually went over the sea.  Then ponder that instead of a motorized boat that you traveled in an uncovered canoe.  The writer of this book did just that.  This is the amazing true story of an solo adventurer who had the will power and gusto to place himself in a canoe and leave from Hudson Bay for Europe.  This book was written in 1969 long before the invent of civilian GPS.  There is no doubt that as you wonder around your strange new surroundings there will be times when you feel like a lone ship at sea with only a paper map.  This book will help hone certain survival and navigation skills.  It will also show you a new way to think of international travel should your plane ticket abroad be cancelled or delayed.

  • Buy or Rent?  


This one is a mere $3.22 used on Amazon so buying it will be a nice piece for collection and something you can share with another fellow adventurer without stinging your wallet.

  • Related Locations


Columbia, Brazil, Russia, Mexico, Spain, Senegal, United States


5.  Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters

By:   Jon Acuff

  • Why it is a must read?


Going abroad is something you will do, and being overseas is something you have dreamed about for years.  Anxiety is bound to set in at some point as you wonder what will be the effects on your graduation, at home relationships, and personal well-being.  This book is a step by step guide to eliminating the negative voices that everyone is prone to giving too much power to.  Then you can replace them with the voices from the strengths that you have excelled at for many years.  Maybe this book will encourage you to take a class at your overseas university that your friends and family at home might have turned up their noses at.  It could also keep the negative voices and emotions from overpowering your will to go abroad and missing the greatest experience of your life.   Most of all this book helps you escape the average life.  This is unfortunately what many people become very comfortable with while living in their home country.  Every new beginning has a “Start” and reading this piece will help you get your new life abroad off on the right foot with a solid game plan for success.

  • Buy or Rent?  


Rent this one.  A good day at the local library will allow you to power through this literature and emerge from the glass doors inspired to take on the world with a solid grasp on how to do so.  A new book will cost you around $15.00.

  • Related Locations


England, United States


6.  Study Abroad:  The Book of Jobe

By:  Jobe Leonard

  • Why it is a must read?


This is an interesting tale written by me that gives a first hand experience of my time abroad.  The book will show you how to take full advantage of your time abroad and make the most of your experiences once you arrive back home.  It is written in a journalistic format so each day, date, and time is detailed giving more insight into the actual thoughts of a first time student abroad.  One of the items that is given the most applause is the twist ending that brings the story full circle and shows the level of gratitude a student has for the people who inspired them the most, when they were considering whether they should go overseas or not.  If you want to read a positive story about the experiences of someone who had never stepped foot outside of the United States, this is a great book to spark your interest.


Buy or Rent?  


This book published at the end of 2012 and has become a cult classic among study abroad directors, universities, and international education classes.  The penetration into libraries, other than universities, is surprisingly slim for the best selling student travel guide over the past 8 months.  I recommend borrowing a copy from your nearest university or at least asking for it.  If you have trouble finding a borrowed copy, a new copy can be found online for under $7.50.  When the title first came out it sold for over $14.99.  The bulk quantities that Amazon is buying now has decreased my market price so you can feel lucky that you will save over 50% off the price of what so many early adopters payed just months ago.  Plus if you have questions you can contact me directly and I will answer them for you with the greatest delight, no other author offers that.


Related Locations


Netherlands, England, Ireland, Switzerland, Luxemborg, Spain, France, Italy, Czech Republic, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, Croatia, Finland, and China


7.  Your Own Travel Journal:  By:  You

  • Why it is a must read?


Once you have read the three titles above your soul will be stirring, and you should be ready to get out and experience life on your travels abroad.  There are plenty of great guidebooks.  I prefer to prepare and grow myself from a personal perspective each time I go abroad.  I also like to travel to the places where the tourist do not, and see the world with my local friends and acquaintances.  My final recommendation for reading abroad is  for you to create your own journal.  Nothing is more comforting during tough times while abroad than to look back at your experiences and how you triumphed and persevered through the difficult situations.  Journaling is a very simple process.  Just find a pad of paper and something to write with.  Then jot down your thoughts, emotions, and experiences everyday.  My book “Study Abroad, The Book of Jobe,” is my travel journal in its entirety.  One day your work might be on the bestseller list as well, and it was all because you invested in a notebook and a pen and made the top book you read, your own.  I can also guarantee the best reading you do before going abroad again, will be your own.

  • Buy or Rent?  


You will own this one in its entirety.  It will take time, but can be finished with less than $2.00 in supplies.

  • Related Locations


Wherever your travel abroad takes you.



After reading these titles you will know how to interact with the people who you will meet abroad.  You will also be able to endure the many unique situations that present themselves on a daily basis and persevere through the toughest of situations.  Also by creating your own journal you will etch your period of time abroad in manuscript that you can share with others as they prepare to journey abroad and expand their horizons.  Reading different books from what everyone else would recommend is what you should do because you and your trip overseas are unique and your the reading material you prepare with should be too.

Contact:  JobeLeonard@gmail.com

Twitter:  www.Twitter.com/JobeLeonard

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jobe.leonard

Website:  www.Jobe.ws

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