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7 Study Abroad Tips to Know Before You Enter the Country

study abroad tips

Bon Voyage! Studying abroad is one of the most meaningful pieces of the college experience. Anyone who is able to go overseas should do so. However, living that far away from family and friends can be difficult. This article will teach you seven study abroad tips so you can flourish while away. 

1. Sign Up Early

It is never to early to start thinking about your study abroad journey. 

Decide when you are a freshman which semester you want to do abroad. 

This way, you will be able to plan your other courses around your semester away. Your study abroad program won’t derail the flow of college classes if it is planned early.

Signing up early will also give you plenty of time to prepare and purchase what you need to go. 

2. Use Facebook to Network

Flying thousands of miles from home with a bunch of strangers you’ve never met can be scary.

Ease that fear by contacting fellow study abroad students over social media. Many universities start Facebook groups for different semesters and locations abroad.

Check to see if your school already has a group. If not, start your own and add whoever is going on the trip.

This will give you peace of mind and it will also give you travel buddies to go exploring with as soon as your plane hits the tarmac in your destination country.

3. Pack Light

Pack even lighter than you think you need to.

Remember most airlines have a 50 pound limit on checked baggage and you should not exceed that. 

If you’re going for one semester, you only need one suitcase. Leave plenty of room in the suitcase for souvenirs and items you buy abroad.

You’re probably going to want to bring back gifts for your friends and family, so pack accordingly. You don’t want to have to buy a second suitcase while you’re over there and then have to pay extra to fly it back. 

Learn how to fold your clothes properly so they don’t take up much room. Pack clothes that can be worn in many different ways. Don’t forget to pack plenty of light layers as the weather will be changing as you go through the semester.

Pack basic clothing that goes with everything. Remember you can buy toiletries when you get there. There is no need to lug around heavy shampoo and conditioner bottles.

Shoes are bulky and take up space. Don’t pack every pair of shoes you own. Be sure to pack one pair of quality walking shoes as you will be walking a lot on your trip.

4. Research Weekend Trips

Your semester abroad is a precious time. 

You’re finally in proximity to tons of cities you’ve always wanted to visit. You’re probably only thinking about your destination country, but the reality is you’re going to walk to take weekend trips to adjacent places. 

Plan these trips in advance so you don’t have to worry about it when you arrive.

Designate three to four weekends in your semester to visit different cities and countries. Write down your must-see destinations in each place so you won’t forget anything when the time comes.

You have much more time to plan now than you will when you get to your study abroad destination. 

5. Be Ready To Study

Many people think study abroad is code for partying all night.

This isn’t true if you want to maintain a good GPA and not get sent home. You’re going to have to show up to class, buy textbooks, and take notes just like you would at your home university.

It is important you take the time to select classes that sound genuinely interesting to you. Don’t think of these classes as a waste of your time when you’d rather be out exploring, think of them as a vital part of your educational experience.

Many classes in study abroad programs go on field trips out in the city so you can learn while you’re adventuring. 

Plan the “study” part in study abroad so you can get the most out of your experience. Be sure to check with an advisor to make sure the classes you choose will count toward your major. 

6. Figure Out Electronics

We live in the digital era and it’s almost impossible to get an education without access to the internet.

Be sure to figure out the technological details before you head to your destination country. Some countries have different outlets than the United States. You’ll need to buy a converter in order to plug in your electronics.

Decide what you will do about a cell phone plan as well. Figure out how much data you will need. 

Keep in mind you will need to use your phone to use maps and get around. A smartphone is an invaluable study abroad tool and you don’t want to get to your destination country and realize you didn’t have a plan to make your phone work abroad.

7. Figure Out Public Transit

The public transportation is likely to be wildly different in your destination city.

Do research about the public transportation system before to figure out how you will get to class, and around the city. 

If applicable, buy a public transit card that you can reload with money as you use it. 

You will feel more comfortable once you arrive if you know the best way to get around. In some places it’s a subway system, some it’s a bus, others it’s walking. It just depends on where you’re going.

Now You Have The Best Study Abroad Tips

With these study abroad tips, we are confident you will have a safe and productive time.

Remember that preparing as much as you can before you go will help you deal with problems if they arise.

Worried about funding your trip? Check out our article on paying for study abroad

About the Author

Christopher Manns

I was born in the UK, grew up in Canada and have lived in the USA since the 90s. I love my family, water sports, ice hockey, skiing and soccer. When I'm not helping people save money on textbooks, I'm travelling with my wonderful family and playing sports.