While the Fall semester's already begun for many of our CEA study abroad students, we know that our Spring 2013 students wait anxiously at home trying to focus on their current studies while simultaneously preparing for their future adventure abroad.
We're positive you Springsters are probably staying in touch with your friends who are currently abroad, sure to jot down any trips they suggest you go on, restaurants they urge you to eat at, museums they beg you to visit, etc.
In all of this building excitement, you've probably started to spend your free time satisfying one of your newly acquired study abroad urges - the urge to plan. Plan activities, plan evenings out, plan culture walks throughout your host city and probably most common, plan your own travel.
Well, you're in luck because in the realm of study abroad, you’ll find that your adventure wears no restrictive chains. To enhance your overall study abroad experience, however, we suggest putting a pause to your planning spree and instead, follow our travel tips and resources.
Postpone Premature Plans
Don’t allow any pre-departure anxiety to rule your study abroad travel plans. Remain calm and rest assured that it’s worth it to wait until you’re on site.
Reasons to wait:
- You won’t know your final course schedule, excursion schedule or cultural activity schedule before you’re on site.
- You’ll cheat yourself out of traveling with the new friends you’ll make upon arrival.
- You’ll miss out on penny-saving travel tips from the on-site staff.
- Sometimes, last minute travel is the best kind!
Rely on Research
Once on site and equipped with a tentative program schedule, make sure to do some critically important research about your travel destinations.
- Determine which modes of transportation offer the cheapest fares, depending on trip length and location (it’s helpful to compare fares for trip by bus, train and plane side by side).
- Confirm that you can enter the destination country without a visa – some neighboring countries enforce tourist visa requirements.
- Double check the requirements of your host country’s visa policy – some only allow students one entry.
- Verify with your host country’s consulate or embassy if you have any questions or concerns.
Best Times to Travel
It's important to check your calendar as well as the host culture's calendar. In predominantly Catholic locales, it's not uncommon for the entire city to close up for a three-day weekend in observance of a religious holiday.
- Check for local holidays – especially religious – that may hamper your travel plans and ability to find a hotel or bus.
- Check the weather of your destination – it's easy to travel by train from seaside, Mediterranean temps to snow-capped mountains. Plan for it and you'll be comfy.
- It's always a good idea to let someone know where you're going and when you'll be back. Do yourself, and Mom, a favor and leave word with multiple people the details of your trip – even if just for the weekend.
- Planning to visit another CEA study abroad location? Check out the city's CEA Facebook Group page and connect with local students. Let them show you what they’ve discovered about their city!
Learn to Live Like the Locals
Don’t feel discouraged if neither your visa nor your budget allows for extensive travel. Your host city possesses exponential potential for exploration!
- Visit the various neighborhoods, districts, suburbs, regions, etc. around your host city for a day or the weekend.
- Adopt the ideas and ways of local living by learning the specific ins and outs of your city.
- Refer to the CEA international staff for great tips and local knowledge of where to go.
- Sift through different travel guides and books for more extensive city information and suggestions.
Wherever your travel radius falls, weekend travel while abroad sparks profound personal growth and thoroughly enhances your experience.
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