If you’ve decided to study abroad for a semester, you’ve got a lot of planning to do before you can leave. Preparing yourself for your trip will create a stress-free and pleasant transition to your new study environment. Neglecting important information and steps to get ready can lead to an experience that is less than enjoyable, and this is an endeavor that you want to savor.
Getting Ready for Travel
You won’t be able to go on your journey if you don’t have a passport. A passport is a form of identification that proves to transportation staff, like those working in an airport, that you’ve been cleared to go to a foreign country. Applying for this a few months in advance will ensure that there is plenty of time for your information to be processed and for you to receive the appropriate travel identification.
Money comes in many different forms, so if you show up in Europe with a bunch of U.S. dollars, you’ll be out of luck. You will need to convert your funds to the appropriate currency. Being aware of the exchange rate and average cost of items in your destination will help you figure out how much you will need to have available to you when you go abroad. Setting up a foreign bank account or making sure you can access your bank account while overseas are avenues to consider when considering your financial stability in another country.
Packing for several months can be tricky, especially when you might only be bringing one large suitcase. Do some research on the weather patterns in the area you are visiting and see what it will be like while you are there. This will help you to narrow down the items you should bring because you don’t want to end up having winter clothing in the middle of summer. Versatile and durable items will be good staples for your wardrobe, especially since you may be wearing the same pieces of clothing many times.
Be aware of the customs in your destination location. America values individual freedom and expression very much so, even to the point that people can go to the grocery store in their pajamas. While this is a valuable right that you may not want to give up, fitting in where you are going maybe even more valuable to you. Many other places around the world, especially study abroad destinations, have stricter dress codes. You want to avoid overly provocative or extremely casual items to be safe. Some research will reveal to you the best route to take when planning.
Unless you are fluent in another language, it can be very useful to have a translation dictionary. This is a great tool for you to use when you are out at a restaurant or trying to get information about the closest restroom. Even if you’re pretty well-versed in the native language of your study abroad location, it can be useful to have this tool to help you expand your vocabulary.
Practicing the language before leaving will make you more prepared to handle the challenges of the communication barrier. There are plenty of great computer programs you can purchase that will train you to speak another language, or you could even hire a tutor.