Getting to this point in my college career has been a rough but exciting challenge. Now that everything is set in stone, I realized that I had to begin preparing for my study abroad program. However, I felt incredibly overwhelmed and had no idea where to start. I hope this blog post can help others who are in a similar position feel more confident in themselves when it comes to being prepared.
One of the most important things to do is simply research where you plan to go and look into the weather of the months you’ll be there, the social and political climate, and ways to get around as a foreigner. There are hundreds of ways to do this, but I highly recommend using Youtube as a primary source because it allows you to watch someone who is already in the country you’re going to and most likely has the most up-to-date information.
Another great resource to use are travel books in order to figure out where you want to go. The reality is that doing everything in a country is impossible when on a timeline, so make sure to plan ahead in order to make sure that the things you want to do are around. I made that mistake when I went to Japan in 2017 because I did not plan every excursion ahead and ended up learning that certain museums are closed. One thing to note is that sometimes you will make plans on the spot and that is okay! Exploring a country is a great way to get to know it.
Once you have an idea on where you would like to go and what to expect once you arrive, it’s time to begin packing! I recommend packing as lightly as possible if you are able to purchase items like sanitary and hygienic needs abroad because you will 100% want to bring lots of souvenirs home. When it comes to clothing, bring articles of clothing that can easily be swapped into new outfits in order to prevent overpacking. Trust me, overpacking is the easiest part of packing.
As the date moves closer to when you have to leave, you should look into learning the language and slang of wherever you plan to go. Whether that is through Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, or any other language learning resource, knowing beginner phrases will help you immensely. Back on my trip to Japan, I knew no phrases and wished I had studied ahead of time because it would have helped me feel more comfortable. You do not need to worry about becoming fluent in the short amount of time you have, instead just focus on what you can learn because at the end of the day, you will pick up the language through simply living your chosen country and through the friends you make.
Something that needs to be said is that no one is ever really prepared for going abroad because you have no idea what will happen. In that case, I say go with the flow because no matter what happens, you will get to experience something so new and exciting. Take it one step at a time because you will be alright. I hope that your study abroad experience ends up being special!
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My name is Ana and I am enamored by different cultures. Growing up with a mother whose family lived in Paraguay meant constant exposure to something that was so different and yet, so intriguing. I knew from a young age that I wanted to explore all that the world had to offer. My dream is to work in international marketing and be able to travel the world while learning new languages, traditions, and making lifelong friends.