Tech tips for studying abroad winter term

Posted on: December 10, 2015 | By: Ryan Gay | Filed under: Tech Tips, Service Desk

Many Elon students utilize the winter term to study abroad. When traveling to foreign countries, it’s important to keep a few technology tips in mind to make the most of your experience.

Manage your accounts

Students should make sure they can access certain accounts, such as email, OnTrack, or Moodle, before leaving the country for an extended period. For security purposes, the Technology Service Desk is unable to troubleshoot account issues via email in any circumstance. If you are studying abroad and cannot access an account, call the Technology Service Desk at 336-278-5200 or email to request a Skype appointment. Students can always reset their email/Moodle passwords on their own via the Self-Service Password Maintenance site. Your OnTrack password is managed independently of other Elon University accounts. If you have trouble logging into OnTrack, click the ‘What’s My Password’ link at the bottom right of the page.

Avoid phishing schemes

While studying abroad, you should be particularly mindful of spam or phishing email messages. Clicking on unknown links or attachments may compromise your account, which may lead to it being disabled. If your account becomes disabled due to a phishing scheme, the Technology Service Desk is required to speak to you by phone or Skype, which may be difficult to schedule due to time zone differences.

Confirm technical requirements

It’s always stressful when you attempt to access online course materials and your computer can’t display certain webpages—especially if you’re in another country. It is important to understand the technical requirements for accessing online class materials before departing for your study abroad trip. This means making sure standard computer software, such as Java, Flash, and your web browser is up-to-date before the class begins. Try accessing course materials early so that you don’t end up wasting valuable course time trying to figure out the technology.

Be mindful of cellular data use

Smartphones and tablets are great tools for keeping in touch with others while abroad. But, you should always be mindful of your wireless connections when you’re in another country. If you are not connected to a Wi-Fi network when you access the internet, you’re most likely using roaming cellular data, which may carry hefty costs. Before leaving the country, check with your mobile carrier about your data package and where international roaming charges apply. You can also put your phone in airplane mode until you find a Wi-Fi hotspot. However, if you are connected to a free wireless network in your area, you shouldn’t have to worry about roaming charges.

International power adapters

If you are using an international power adapter while abroad, never leave your device charging unattended. Each device charges with an international adapter differently, and accidental over-charging could negatively affect your device. If you notice that your power adapter heats up quickly, it’s good practice to limit just how much you use the adapter. Otherwise, you could end up ruining the battery.

If you have questions about technology while studying abroad, contact the Technology Service Desk at

Image by Flickr user David Becker

Ryan Gay

Ryan is the Manager of Service Management & IT Project Lead for Instructional & Campus Technologies. He has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in English from UNC-Greensboro.

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