30 Mar Studying Abroad? What You Need to Know Before You Go
Studying abroad is an eye opening, learning experience that will change your life.What do you need to know before leaving? Here are a few tips that will help you be prepared and ready to embark on an experience you will always remember:
Read up about the culture to know more about the people and their beliefs. Look up what the weather will be like when you’re there to determine what essentials you’ll need to pack. Research things to do while you are there and plan weekend trips to cities nearby. Know dangerous or unsafe places to avoid before arriving to help keep yourself safe. Make a list of what you need to bring with you, and what you can purchase in country.
Determine your budget
Each study abroad program is set up differently and some countries are more or less expensive to live in. You may have your flight and apartment paid for by the program, and meals might be provided by a host family, but determine which costs are not covered and budget them. Set a budget for how much money you can spend weekly and stick to it.
Call your bank
Give your bank a call before leaving the country and let them know what dates you will be out of the country. If you don’t, your bank may think you’re card has been stolen and could block you from using it. Ask for the international number to call just in case you lose your wallet.
Decide how you will communicate
Most cell phones are on a plan only for the country you reside in. Call your cell phone provider to understand how much your bill would cost in the specific country you are travelling too. It might be cheaper to purchase a cheap cell phone in the country you are living in. Other options could be Skype, FaceTime or WhatsApp, which allow free calling when you are using WiFi. Internet Cafes or libraries often offer computers or internet so that you can email or contact your family and friends through social media. Figure out which of these options is best for you before leaving.
Learn the language
If you are studying abroad in another country, there is no better way of immersing yourself in the culture than by trying to learn the language. Start by learning common phrases to help yourself get around. The best way to learn a language is by talking with natives and having them help teach you. Don’t worry about making mistakes, it will happen, but locals love it when you try and are generally pretty helpful.
Try to fit In
Americans generally stand out when traveling because we tend to talk loud. Avoid looking like a tourist and try and fit in with the locals. By acting like a tourist, you may draw unnecessary attention and make yourself a target for theft. Try and mirror the social behavior of the natives.
Be open minded
Lastly, be open minded. When traveling to a new country, you will quickly realize that people may do things differently than they do back home. While you may not agree with why they are doing what they are doing, be understanding.
Have you studied abroad? What tips and/or tricks do you have for creating the best experience? Comment below and share with us.