This post contains products that I received from Bed Bath & Beyond. All opinions are, as always, my own.
Studying abroad is a wonderful way to learn a new language, explore diverse parts of the world and meet people from different backgrounds and cultures. That being said, preparing to study abroad can be overwhelming. Hopefully this post will shed some light on how to best prepare to study abroad. If you want access to an awesome timeline that will help you step by step throughout the year leading up to your departure date, see the bottom of this post for access.
Learn the language:
You don’t have to be fluent but you at least want to walk off the plane knowing basic phrases and greetings. Even if you are going to a country where many people know English in addition to their native language, learning a bit of the language is a fun way to get to know the culture.
A great way to learn the language is through Duolingo, a free application that makes learning languages fun and easy. You can also find other free resources online. I highly suggest taking a language course while you are abroad as well. There is no better way to learn a language than being immersed in a new place!
Save your money:
While you are abroad, you will want to have the chance to travel, eat at different restaurants and buy souvenirs. However, it can be pretty pricey and costs can easily add up. Try and save as much money as you possibly can before you go and then develop a budget for your time abroad.
Some people find it helpful to create a separate bank account just for abroad expenses. Whatever you decide, make sure that your credit/debit cards will be able to be used while in a different country.
Do your research:
Don’t only find the cutest cafés and museums (although these things are awesome). Do research on the history, culture and traditions of the place you will be living. This will not only teach you a lot about your new home but also allow you to have talking points with locals.
Don’t pack your entire closet:
Even though you may be gone for a long time, remember that you will likely want to buy things while you are there. If you overpack, you will have a really difficult time getting everything back home when your semester abroad is over. Pack your favorite things and leave the rest at home.
Connect with friends who will also be abroad:
This will give you a support network of people who are going through similar experiences you are and will allow you to not feel so disconnected from your home institution. Plus, if they are in the vicinity, you can have a fun excuse to travel and visit them (and have a free place to stay 😉 ).