With finals coming up, and everything coming to an end, I’ve had time to reflect on my time here, what I liked, what I wish I had done differently and most importantly, I’ve had time to think about what I would tell future abroad students based on my own experiences. So here it goes! Future abroad students listen up!
Number one: Budget, budget, budget! This is something that I ‘sort of’ did, but not to the full extent that I should have. I kind of just went with the flow, and watched what I was spending on occasion. I wish I would have set up a weekly budget depending on the trip I was taking and activities I was participating in. I quickly had to learn how to budget, especially when you realize you’re money is quickly running out.
Number two: Pack light! This is something that I actually did do, and I couldn’t be more happy that I did. I strategically packed my life away into one giant suitcase, a Vera Bradely duffel bag, and a Jansport backpack. Nothing more and nothing less. I remember when I started laying my clothes out and my sister Victoria was helping me pack, (she’s recently been to Germany so she does know the ins and outs of how to get your stuff together) she frequently said to me, "you don’t need that" or "you’ll regret bringing that it’ll take up too much space." I’m glad I listened to her because not only am I going to be one happy camper when it’s time to zip up the bags and cart them through check-in, BUT I learned that I don’t need a hair straightener, 6 pair of jeans, and all 12 of my favorite pairs of shoes to survive a semester. Simple is best, and I’m thankful that’s something I learned before I even left the States.
Number three: Take advantage of FREE opportunities! CEA offers several activities throughout the semester, such as a pasta making class, wine harvesting, pizza & gelato crawl, tour of the Jewish Ghetto, etc. Those are just activities offered by my school not to mention the Papal mass, where the Pope delivers a free mass to over 50 thousand people on a weekly basis. There are so many cool things to do in your home city, so it’s important to take advantage of them! You save money by taking those extra 15 minutes of research. It’s well worth it, trust me!
Number four: Be yourself. You’re going to be out of your element, in a new city you’ve probably never been to, with people you’ve never met. Everyone is in the same boat, so there’s not need to stress. Just be open and willing to try new things! It was scary putting yourself out there at first but as long as you’re being yourself, you have nothing to worry about. Everything will eventually fall into place! That’s it, guys!
Hope you enjoyed these tips. Just remember, there’s no such thing as too much preparation is a great thing. Cia for now!
Lauren Healy is the Fall 2014 CEA MOJO in Rome, Italy. She is currently a senior at Clarion University of Pennsylvania.
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