Tips to get ready for Study Abroad
Study Abroad is a program in which students attend school in a country outside the United States .
1. Google your new town
You can find more information on their holidays, their weather, and their population. Use Google Street to get a real life view of the towns streets. Its good to picture yourself walking there, imagine yourself smiling and having the time of your life.
2. Get the insider info
Try to contact a previous participant for your program or a student from the foreign university. Offer to buy them a coffee and ask them any questions you might have about the school and town. Do not forget to ask about the clothing suggestions they might have or any good phrases and traditions to remember.
3. Purchase any items of clothing you might need
A great example would be for a Californian to go to Sweden in the middle of winter. You will need a lot of unusual gear to survive the winter or even the summer. Make it part of your research to determine what is something you will absolutely need. Maybe snow gloves, maybe even a new bikini. Try not to buy a whole new wardrobe since you could use the money to travel abroad or the luggage space but buy the essentials.
4. Bring something small from home
Sometimes even pictures, a small toy, and your favorite candy does the trick. You can always have someone send a care package with any other goodies you suddenly realize you absolutely need. A good tip is to have someone fill a $15 international 4lb flat rate USPS box with trinkets from home. You have to remember most American items tend to run pretty pricey compared to being purchased in America. A good example is peanut butter, which is pretty pricey everywhere else in the world. If you cannot live with out it, take a little bit to cheer you up when homesick.
5. Pack thinking about mix and matching
Do not pack something you can only wear twice during your stay. Make sure you take at least a whole week's worth of outfits and think of at least two ways of combining those to create a new one. You will have a whole three weeks of outfits that way. Try to make your combinations so they can be used once in winter and once in summer. Do not take super expensive clothing since you will be using it A LOT and it will deteriorate or get lost but make sure it's good quality to last a long time. Leave enough space to bring some stuff back too. Don't buy souvenirs that are too big but do bring memories from abroad with you. You will miss it when you are back. You can sell your clothes before coming home to make more souvenir money too.
6. Take a little bit of cash to last you until you can go into an ATM
Some countries are very cash based and will not take a credit or bank card. Some countries will not take foreign cash from the street since it could be counterfeited very easily. It is a good idea to obtain at least $100 in their currency until you can encounter an ATM or get a money transfer (moneygram sends money in 15 minutes). It is also good to take a good credit card, let them know you will be abroad and make sure it is universally accepted. Visa and Mastercard are the most popular cards around the world.
7. Install Skype on your computer and keep your Facebook updated
Set up Skype dates with your friends once in a while to get over the homesick. When you talk, talk about your new town and experiences not how much you wish you werent there. Sometimes we get hit with culture shock or loneliness and its understandable to feel overwhelmed. Remember you will be home eventually though and you have to make your own experience enjoyable. It doesn't automatically happen.
8. Understand how your travel insurance works
so you will not stress when you need it most and live in a place you find comfortable not just convenient. It's not a hotel, it is your temporary home so be comfortable, safe and happy.
9. Be safe o not do something you would not do if you were home
Just because you are in a foreign country, you are not except from rules and morals. Learn the local rules and practice good common sense. Take advantage of your opportunities, open yourself up but do not make yourself vulnerable. Always let someone know where you will be or bring a new friend with you!
10. When you arrive treat your jet lag if you have any Then go ahead and explore the town
Try to practice your language as soon as possible, learn their traditions. You can always ask why someone does something a certain way and be prepared for people to ask you things they find strange in your country. It is an exchange so be a good representative of yourself and your country! Do not be rude and understand everyone is different.
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