Guide to Studying Abroad

By: Ali Ayers


Your flight is booked and you have a list of all the places you’re dying to visit, but you’re not sure what to pack or what to expect once you get to your destination. Studying abroad can be one of the most life changing experiences while in college, accompanied by learning curves and unanticipated circumstances. Here are some crucial tips to help settle your butterflies and aid in your adventure.

 

Don’t over-pack

This may seem impossible when you’re going to live in a foreign country for an entire semester, but you won’t need half the things you think you will. Think basics and neutral colors, especially if you’re studying abroad in Europe. Europeans tend to wear simple, but chic clothing and you won’t want to stick out like a sore thumb with over-accessorized, bright outfits. Plus, you’ll be shopping and stockpiling souvenirs, so the less you come with the more room you have to bring items back.  

 

Ditch the heels

Seriously, you’re never going to wear them. Walking through cobblestone streets that you’re not familiar with is difficult enough. When you add heels to the mix it’s not going to end well.

 

Show your Marist pride!

Whether you’re studying abroad with your friends from school or alone, it’s fun to show your school pride. While you don’t want to over-pack, don’t forget to bring your favorite River + Stone tee to show off in your new surroundings.

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Don’t succumb to homesickness

It’s inevitable to miss home at times, especially upon arrival. You’re in a foreign place, people are most likely not speaking your native language, and you’ll get lost going to class, but that’s all temporary. You’ll learn to communicate and navigate; soon you’ll find yourself feeling like a native. After couple months or so you’re going to leave kicking and screaming.

 

Forget the phone

If you’re like most people, your cell phone is a part of your hand. Leave that habit behind. Take in your surroundings at all times, engage with new friends at meals instead of texting people back home, and invest in a digital camera of some sort to take photos. It’s extremely common to have your phone stolen or lost abroad, so you’re better off leaving it in your apartment for necessary use.

 

Don’t be afraid to ride solo

While this may not be the safest at times, in certain instances it’s very appropriate. Studying abroad is about the things you personally want to accomplish, don’t let anyone hold you back from checking things off your bucket list. Dying to try that little café you passed? Excitedly awaiting the new exhibit at that museum? You don’t have to rally a crew to have those experiences.

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Keep a travel log

Your time abroad is going to be over in a blink of an eye. When you arrive home family and friends are going to be pressing for every detail of your semester. Keeping a travel log is a great way to write about how you’re feeling in the moment and record memories when they are fresh.

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Studying abroad will change your life more than you can imagine in just a few short months. The learning curves will pass and by the end of the semester you’ll be able to call yourself a world traveler. Follow these few essential tips and you’ll be prepared for your adventure.

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