10 Tips for Students Preparing for Summer Study or Intern Abroad
Here are my top ten tips as you prepare to go abroad.
Outside of the excitement, nervousness, and anticipation of living and studying in a foreign country, there are some real things you should take into consideration before leaving the comforts of you home. There was so much that I experienced due to lack of research, knowledge, and common sense. Here are my top ten tips as you prepare to go abroad.
- Bring Home Souvenirs
Do what you can within your budget, but bring something to share your experience with friends and family who couldn’t be there when you get home.
- Follow Airport or Airline Carry-On Guidelines
Weight and size limits exist for a reason! Save money and bring travel size items instead.
- Take Pictures or Keep a Study Abroad Blog
Having pictures or written words to jog your memory of a particular event will make sure the experiences stay with you forever.
- Pack Light
You DON’T need all FOUR of those 30” suitcases. Not only will it slow you down, but all that extra luggage will hurt your back and your wallet.
- Spend Time Interacting with Locals
Whether it’s your host family, the lady selling baked goods on your way to class, or a random student in class, interact, and keep an open mind. You will never get the opportunity to be in that same city with the same group of people ever again. Take advantage. You never know what you will learn or what someone can learn from you.
- Don’t Leave Valuables Unattended
Leave important documents (e.g. passports) at homestays, safes, or dormitories if it’s not required to have them when you’re out and about. Program bank telephone numbers into your phones for quick access in emergencies.
- Don’t Neglect Your Host City
It can be easy to get sidetracked by cheap flights away for the weekend. However, don’t forget what made you choose the city you came to, and spend quality time there.
- Stay Healthy
There is nothing more fun, than laying in bed for a week doped on six different medications and missing out on life! Eat right, dress for the season not the weather and exercise when possible. Your body is already adapting to a new environment, make the transition easier by taking care of it. Make every day count!
- Keep Social Networking in Check
Don’t miss out on this experience by constantly reaching for what you left behind. Check in with friends and family to let them know you’re not dead and then log off! Continuous nostalgia for home life is a sure way to make the homesick sicker.
- Try New Foods
I’m a foodie so this is at the top of the list for me. Now you’re a foreigner and you have to eat like one! Be experimental, open minded and daring.
Everyone’s experience will be different, but an open mind and a little common sense will make your trip truly unforgettable.