8 Ways to Prepare for the Study Abroad Adventure of a Lifetime

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We know you already have a lot on your to-do list before you study abroad. Preparing for a life-changing international adventure is hard work, but it doesn’t have to be all business.

Check out these fun activities (that you can do right now!) to ready yourself for the most epic study abroad experience.

1. Make a study abroad bucket list.

When you write down your goals, you’re more likely to go out and actually achieve them. Whether it’s climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower, trekking across the Great Wall of China, or mastering the Spanish language in Salamanca, create a list of your study abroad goals and must-do activities. Pack your bucket list in your suitcase or keep it on your phone, and start checking things off as soon as you arrive.

2. Read up on other students’ experiences.

From cultural hotspots in London to the best food in Buenos Aires, nobody knows study abroad better than the students. Take it directly from our student bloggers, who can give you the inside scoop on study abroad life in your host country.

3. Build the ultimate study abroad playlist.

Look up the top hits from your host country and jam out to the tunes that will be the soundtrack of your time abroad. By the time you arrive, you’ll already know all the words. Karaoke, here you come.

Start building your playlist with these fun tunes featured in videos from the IES Abroad Film Festival:

  • Something About You – Hayden James (ODEZSA Remix)
  • My Number – Foals
  • Coldplay - Paradise (Peponi) African Style (ft. guest artist, Alex Boye) – ThePiano Guys

4. Take a study abroad alum out for coffee.

Have a friend or know someone at your school who has studied abroad? Sit down with them and ask them your questions on all things study abroad. Alumni are study abroad experts and can give you essential insight into things like what to pack, which classes to take, how to get around the city, and more.

You can also contact one of our IES Abroad Ambassadors – a network of 500+ recent IES Abroad alumni who volunteer to share their advice and adventures from abroad with students like you.

5. Brush up on your language skills.

Watch a German film, read the newspaper in Arabic, find a podcast in Spanish, or practice your language skills with Rosetta Stone (did you know IES Abroad provides Rosetta Stone access for free to its students?). With all of these resources, you’ll improve your skills in no time.

6. Put your phone in study abroad mode.

Add the weather of your host city to your weather app, switch the language of your phone to the language of your host country, and download a free countdown app to start counting down the days to your epic study abroad adventure. These quick and easy phone updates will have you in the study abroad mindset 24/7.

7. Check out a virtual reality tour of your host city.

Few things prepare you for study abroad quite like seeing what it’s actually like to live and learn there. Step inside the study abroad life with our virtual tours of:

BARCELONA

BERLIN

BUENOS AIRES

CAPE TOWN

DUBLIN

LONDON

NANTES

PARIS

ROME

VIENNA

You’ll get an up-close and personal look at your housing, where you’ll take classes, popular landmarks around town, and more. Not only do these tours prep you for the study abroad life, they’re also just plain old fun.

Set up a blog.

Everyone is going to want to hear about the amazing adventures you’re having abroad. Keep friends and family updated (and create a virtual memory book for yourself!) by setting up a blog.

You can set up your own blog on sites like WordPress or Blogger, or apply to be a blogger or correspondent with us. Then start thinking of what your blog will look like. Will you include photos of your host country? Post videos of your daily life? Share poems about your international adventures? Make a promise to post a couple of times a month, and put together a predepature post that you can look back on at the end of your time abroad.

Now that you’re ready for your life-changing study abroad adventure, how about reading up on your study abroad program? Learn more about your courses, field trips, housing, and more.