6 Ways to Get to Know Your Host City while Studying Abroad

You are here

Living and learning in a new city can be overwhelming. You want to see sights, eat local food, and get the most out of your study abroad experience as possible. Figuring out the best places to go in this new city abroad can be difficult, but here are six resources you can use to help you maneuver your host city.

1. Ask your IES Abroad Center staff

The IES Abroad staff can help you with all of your study abroad needs, which, of course, includes the fun stuff like finding places to try for dinner, the best local cafés, or a must-see cultural performance. Seek out assistance and the staff will be happy to contribute their opinions!

2. Meet with a former student

Former students are always excited to share their experiences. Reach out to IES Abroad Ambassadors who previously studied abroad in your host city. Your local Study Abroad Office can also connect you with former students from your school. Use the IES Abroad website to see blog posts from Correspondents about their study abroad experiences and maybe draw some inspiration from there.

3. Ask local residents

Who knows a city better than the people who are from there? Ask a waitress for sightseeing recommendations. Ask a bus driver about delicious local restaurants. People usually take pride in their city and are willing to share some of their local gems with you.

4. Consult a map

When I studied abroad, we were given a map during orientation. This may not be the case for every location, but if you can get your hands on a map, there will likely be references to restaurants, museums, and other attractions in your study abroad city.

5. Check out a local newspaper

I suggest reading at least one local newspaper just for the culture (and to test out your foreign language skills). Newspapers are also a good place to look for advertisements for upcoming events.

6. Look at apps and websites

When in doubt, Google it! Travel websites like Trip Advisor are a good way to find tourist attractions in the area and can give you an idea of price. Another website I liked to use was Atlas Obscura, which showed some lesser known attractions. The Travel section of U.S. News & World Report is also a good online resource. Just type some keywords into a search engine, and you’ll get tons of results.

I hope some of these help you navigate the new city, and I wish you the best with your study abroad experience with IES Abroad.

Read more from IES Abroad students and their reflections on staying in their host country instead of traveling while abroad. Ready to find your study abroad host city? Explore our programs by location.


Erika Coy, IES Abroad Ambassador 
IES Abroad Vienna Summer - Psychology, Summer 2017 | Indiana University

Erika is from a small town in southeastern Indiana and studies Psychology at Indiana University. She always says yes to new adventures, and mentions that studying abroad opened her up to a whole new world of exploration and discovery.

 

Recent news & press

May 14 1:02pm
Vienna

Studying Psychology with One of the Greats – Alum of the Month Tom Drucker

by IES Abroad

While studying abroad, Tom Drucker (IES Abroad Vienna 1965-66 | UCLA) sought out an opportunity to study with world-renowned psychiatrist Viktor Frankl. Watch a video interview about his experience.

Read more
May 13 11:05am

“My Wish for You”: Letters from IES Abroad Moms

by IES Abroad

Whether it’s moms, grandmothers, aunts, or other mentors, the maternal figures in our lives shape who we are in big and little ways. They teach us how to see ourselves and how to see the world.

Read more
May 11 5:26pm

One Year Later: IES Internships Alumni Share Benefits of an International Internship

by Shaina Moran

We surveyed our IES Internships alumni about their experience one year after they went abroad. They shared how it positively affected them professionally, academically, personally, socially, and otherwise.

Read more
May 10 10:14am
Dublin

Announcing Our New Programs for the 2019-20 Academic Year

by IES Abroad

We are excited to announce eight new study abroad and internship programs for the 2019-20 academic year. These programs have been developed in response to feedback from our students and our Consortium.

Read more
May 10 9:36am
Vienna

Answers to Your Biggest Questions About Studying Abroad in Vienna

by IES Abroad

Get ready for your Austrian adventure with advice from recent IES Abroad Vienna students and staff.

Read more
May 9 1:50pm
Madrid

Five Years After Study Abroad: IES Abroad Alum Parth Patel, Medical Student

by IES Abroad

While studying abroad, Parth Patel (IES Abroad Madrid | University of Pittsburgh) became more proficient in medical and conversational Spanish. Learn more about how his study abroad experience prepared him for medical school.

Read more