My niche tips and tricks for your time before going abroad!
1) Spotify Top 50
This is probably one of the easiest things that I did before going abroad that I thought everyone else was also going to do but didn’t. Go on Spotify, go to top 50 *insert country you’re visiting*, download the playlist and listen away before you leave and while you’re there. I personally think songs can be a little more fun when you sing along and its funny to surprise local friends you make by knowing the words to their favorite/popular songs!
2) Read all the packing lists
This was 100% my fault and probably not an issue with most people but since I was going to the Galápagos, I was thinking to myself “oh equator equals warm, I’ll bring basically all warm clothes and maybe one jacket or sweatshirt”. Not my brightest moment. Though you can always buy whatever you need when you get to your said country, sometimes you’d just rather have your favorite jacket from home. On a similar note, read as many packing lists as you can because I read a list to bring soccer cleats and I ended up being the only person that did but I also didn’t bring any pants, so maybe it just evens out.
3) The Infamous Duolingo Owl
Even if you haven’t gone abroad, you’ve probably still convinced yourself that you could become fluent from a foreign language via Duolingo. Though it is a good start, just like classes at school it’s not going to teach you many phrases that you will use very frequently. Since we have gotten here, we have been watching “La Casa de Papel” or “Money Heist” in English and listening to the slang and pace of people speaking Spanish has been more helpful than I realized it would be, arguably better than speaking apps if you already if your fundamentals down.
4) Bring a Speaker
Along the same lines of point one, bring a speaker! I was gifted a JBL Charge 4 before I left and its water and dust proof which makes it perfect for the beach, boat, soccer field, or whatever you like. From my experience it’s also a pretty popular speaker and they all connect to each other for even more speaker power so the more the merrier!
5) Download Download Download
This tip is a little more Galápagos specific but as you can imagine the internet on an island 600 kilometers of the coast of mainland Ecuador isn’t really known for its stellar internet speeds. I was prepared in the music department by having all of my playlists downloaded but I would also recommend downloading a bunch of music that you don’t know so you can still find new stuff when there is no service. I’m not a huge movie and tv person but a little reminder that Netflix has expiration dates on their downloads so just be mindful of those. But my issue so far is that I only had two books.
Regular towels are so overrated I don’t know why I brought one—microfiber towels dry so fast, are so light, and take up no space.
At home I never have cash on me ever because every place takes cards and I get a slight percentage back when I spend so it’s in theory more efficient than cash. This is another tip that is Galápagos specific but here you pay for essentially everything in cash and they don’t break 50’s or 100’s so keep that in mind if you plan on bringing cash that you withdrew in the states. With my bank I just asked specifically for only 20's, 10's, and 5's and there wasn’t an issue.
Now this isn’t a comprehensive list but just another one that you can read before you head out and hopefully it provided some more insight and advice for your own time abroad!
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<p>Hello! My name is Rachel Seyler and I'm going into my junior year and I am studying ecology and evolutionary biology & environmental studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. I'm studying abroad in Quito and the Galapagos Islands via direct enrollment during fall 2021. During my free time I enjoy snowboarding, hanging out with friends, and hiking. During my time abroad I'm very excited to expand my Spanish skills, learn about the local culture, and explore in depth the unique flora and fauna that the Galapagos and rainforest entails.</p>