As I finished school on May 13, giving myself only 8 full days to prepare for a 2-month trip abroad, I bring you along with a lot of the things I did to prepare for my first time out of the country!
Although you probably can't tell from my video, to be realistic, the whole week leading up to my departure, I was sick with allergies and a bad cough. I ended up visiting an urgent care 2 days before I left because I was scared and anxious to arrive in Barcelona sick. Fortunately, I was prescribed some medicine that helped a lot and after arriving, I was quickly feeling a lot better! (P.S. If you have very bad seasonal allergies like I do, don't fret because they we're basically gone when I arrived in Barcelona! Very grateful! And hopefully they aren't bad for you either!)
In the weeks leading up to leaving for a summer abroad in a brand new country, you will probably feel a wide range of emotions, all of which are valid. I have come up with a couple of tips to help ease the stress before leaving.
- Start packing early
- As you saw in the video, I started packing the night before leaving, and even though I still got it done, I don't recommend it. Organize your things between suitcase, carry-on, and personal item and begin to pack the things you won't need until the trip in advance.
- Buy comfort snacks
- The food, specifically snacks, in Barcelona are not your typical American snacks. The food here is much different than I expected and as a big snacker, sometimes I just want to eat something that I know I'll enjoy. So, make sure you pack some good snacks for when you're missing food from home. (Also, this will open up some space in your carry-on on the way home)
- Pack an HDMI cord and reusable bags
- The TV and movies are different in Spain so I packed an HDMI cord so I could connect my computer to the TV and we could watch stuff off Netflix, etc. Also, don't forget that there are differences between what's available in Europe vs the United States because of licensing.
- Also, most places don't provide bags for you or they cost extra so bring sturdy reusable bags because you will be taking those everywhere you go!
- Make time to say goodbye to your family and friends
- As busy as you'll be, make sure you get the opportunity to say goodbye to your loved ones. Two months might not seem too long, but once you're here, you'll realize how much you miss them.
- Figure out before you leave when you'll call your family and friends
- The time difference here can be hard. Being between 6 and 9 hours ahead of everyone else in the United States, it can be hard to find times to talk to your family and friends.
- Finally, have an open mind!
- As amazing as study abroad is, it will definitely have its ups and downs. Being in a new country, especially one with a language barrier, can be challenging! Keep an open mind and remember to just take it day by day. There will be plenty of time for good memories so no need to rush anything when you get here!
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<p>Hi! My name is Megan Curran and I'm a junior at the University of Missouri - Columbia. I'm majoring in Economics and am hoping to minor in Business and Spanish. As someone who has always wanted to get out and travel the world, I am excited to finally get the opportunity to go abroad to Barcelona this summer. I enjoy capturing the little moments and putting them together to encompass the full experience and sharing it with others. Some things I enjoy doing in my free time are going on walks, meeting new people, and most importantly, trying new foods.</p>