It’s almost that time of the year again where we all get ready to head back to Marist. Except this time some of you may be preparing to go to your study abroad destination for the semester. I know what that’s like; stressful, exciting, nerve wrecking, and so many other emotions. Well have no fear! I have the perfect tips to help you get you through your abroad experience!
- Pack Lightly
If you’re anything like me, I don’t understand the meaning of packing lightly (I even overpack on 2 day trips), but it is essential when studying abroad! I checked two suitcases and a carry on and that was more than enough! It is also helpful if your parents or family come to visit to swap clothes.
What to pack?
Clothes: You may think you need a lot of summer clothes, but you really only need less than a months worth. Pack sweaters, 2 or 3 pairs of jeans, basic t-shirts, and definitely a good pair of traveling shoes! Depending on where you stay you won’t need a heavy coat until later in the semester, but I made really good use of a jean and leather jacket.
Hair items: If you’re a girl I do not suggest bringing your own curler, straightener, or blow-dryer. They will most likely end up breaking. You can purchase them at your study abroad destination with no problem!
–Bring at least two converters, but make sure they are usable in other countries because you will be traveling a lot.
-Brita Water Bottle: In some countries water is scarce, so instead of having to buy a water bottle every day this came in handy.
-A rolly suitcase: On weekend trips you will not want to carry around a heavy duffle to each place, so a rolly suitcase is the perfect size and it qualifies as a carry-on.
-Luggage locks: When you travel and you are staying in different locations, this is the best idea to be safe with you belongings.
2. Take Pictures
Even when you think you’ve taken enough pictures, take more! Although your iPhone is a great camera, a GoPro is also an awesome way to capture everything.
Travel everywhere and anywhere as much as you can. You will not have the opportunity to travel this easily and this inexpensive ever again, so take advantage of it! I would suggest looking into trips before you go and once you book your trips, book certain tours ahead of time. The travel agencies I used provided the option to book tours through them. My two favorite student traveling agencies I used was Bus2Alps and SmartTrip. They have great deals and trips for college students.
- Eat EVERYTHING
Go out of your comfort zone and try everything that looks appetizing. The food in Europe is made very differently from here, and you will enjoy more than you think. Really try to go out to eat as much as you can. If you have friends that have studied abroad before reach out to them for suggestions (or me if you’re studying in Florence) there will be so many options!
If you’re a homebody and going abroad for you is nerve racking you will get through it. Bring some photos of family and friends or make a easy phone call home. As much as you are missing either family or friends, they are missing you too and would appreciate a call. If this doesn’t help, take a step back and remember: this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, everything will be okay, and you will eventually see home soon.
- Finally: Take It All In
I think in the beginning some people take for granted where they are; a beautiful city, in another country, on your own, and with your friends. You are so lucky to have this opportunity of a lifetime, so take it all in and don’t take advantage of it. When you return back to America you will appreciate your experience even more and wish you were back. Anyone would love to be in your shoes (who wouldn’t?), so live it up and enjoy!