4 Tips for Studying Abroad

by Lauren, our college blogger

Planning to study abroad? Now that the application and admission process is complete, here are some basic travel tips on how students can make their time abroad as memorable and stress-free as possible!

1. Research, Research, Research!

The more you can learn about your destination in advance, the easier the adjustment.

  • Study up on fashion trends of your destination. As a study abroad student, the last thing you want to do is stick out like an American tourist. Pay attention to what people wear and try to fit in as much as possible. This will be a key step if you are looking to be completely immersed in a culture.
  • Mind your Ps&Qs. Learn the social customs and proper etiquette for your country to show your respect for the culture as well as to avoid unintentionally offending anyone or breaking any laws.
  • Know the current events of both your own country as well as your new home. People are going to be interested in where you come from and what you think about their country. Knowing the political structure is very important, as many people will ask your opinion as an American.

WHN TIP – Get Updated Info: The US Department of State’s Students Abroad section is full of solid information.

2. Pack Lightly

The biggest bummer imaginable is lugging around large amounts of luggage, especially internationally. Even though studying abroad usually means having to pack for a semester or two, try to pack as little as possible.

  • Only bring necessities you cannot live without or get out of America. Everything else can be purchased in your study abroad location. The majority of airlines only allow two large pieces of luggage, which could still be a lot to travel with.
  • My friends that have gone or are currently abroad have suggested taking a big travel backpack that you can find in sporting good stores. They are easy to carry and you can fit a lot into them. Leave room in the bags for all those fabulous souvenirs you pick up!

3. Keep Safe

Just because you are having amazing adventures abroad does not mean safety takes a back seat. Use the same common sense that you would use in America

  • Avoid going out at night alone for the obvious reasons. Going out with a group of friends is much more fun anyways!
  • Always have a mode of communication with you so if anything does go wrong, you will not be stranded without help.
  • Befriend locals but be careful! All the same, rules apply. They could be great people at first but can easily turn into unwanted personalities.

4. Cell Phones are a MUST

One of the most important requirements of the majority study abroad programs is to have a cell phone within the first week upon arrival. A cell phone is crucial for emergencies, as well as for keeping an active social life!

  • Instead of buying an international cell phone plan in the United States, go for the pay-as-you-go phone in the country of choice. These are much cheaper and do not tie you into binding contracts.
  • USA Today has great tips on using a cell phone abroad.