Spending a semester abroad allows you to expand your horizons and explore the world while making new friends and taking a number of intriguing courses. Preparing to spend time abroad can be stressful, especially if it is your first time leaving your home country. Follow these tips to prepare for your study abroad experience so you can focus your time and energy on learning and enjoying your time rather than stressing about the details.
Prepare Important Documents Before You Leave
Before you leave home, make copies of your passport, license, and all itineraries for your trip. Place them in a plastic zip-top bag and store them in your luggage in case of emergencies. Make sure to have the information about your study abroad program, like the name, address, and phone number of where you’ll be staying. You should also have your advisers’ information handy when you travel in case you need help navigating from the airport.
Do Your Research About the Country’s History and Culture
While some parts of a country can only be discovered through exploration once you arrive, you’ll need to know the basics before you get there. Know what is expected when meeting new people, the general layout of the country, and some basic historical facts. Learn about the customs and culture so that you can do your best to fit in; you’ll learn much more this way because you can interact with locals in a more intimate way.
Keep a Journal to Record Your Adventure
There will be no shortage of amazing stories to tell when you return home, so keep track of your travels with a journal and take photos whenever possible. You will enjoy being able to look back on these memories for years to come.
Be Careful About Packing and Spending
While it can be tempting to bring along your entire wardrobe, most study abroad students end up wishing they had brought a lighter bag. Lay everything you want to take out in front of you, and put half of it back into your closet; you’ll be amazed by how little you really need. Be sure to make a plan for your spending once you arrive. Know how much you can afford to spend on eating out and souvenirs each week, and stick to this budget.
Studying abroad can be an amazing and life-changing experience, and with these tips you can be prepared for anything your study abroad semester has in store for you.