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Study Abroad Preparation Tips for a Successful Semester

January 27, 2022
by Julia-Luce Mouketo

Studying abroad was a wonderful experience. One that I wish for every college student. However, as I grabbed my packed bags four months ago and hopped on a plane from Dulles Airport, I did so having mentally prepared for what was to come. I wish I had prepared the same way as I headed toward gate 36 at Heathrow Airport.

A photo of Julia in Wales with nature and the city behind her

Caption: A photo from Wales.

When we travel to a new country, we prepare for culture shock, different weather, a potential new language (not in my case, as I studied in London). However, we don't often prepare for what we may feel as we leave that place and return to our homes. Here are two things I wish I had prepared for when I approached the ending of my CEA CAPA study abroad experience.

  1. More Space in My Luggage

2 Luggage Bags

Caption: Two packed luggages.

DO NOT OVERPACK WHEN LEAVING THE US. Read this over, please.

I arrived in London with two 23kg suitcases, one carry-on, and one handbag. I wish I hadn't.

First of all, remember that you will have to transport your luggage to your apartment, and airports are usually pretty far away from residential areas, thus it might turn out to be very costly. One option for getting to your accommodations, especially if you travel to London, will be to ride the Tube to the nearest station to your flat. However, this will turn out to be very hard if you have multiple heavy suitcases.

Second, don't forget that you will be there for up to four months, depending on your program. Therefore, you will most definitely be buying things. You don't want to bring too many things you will end up not using.

My advice:

  • Don't Pack Your Beauty Essentials

If you use common brands like Dove, Sensodyne, Listerine, Always, etc., you will most likely find them where you'll study abroad. If, for example, you use specialty products from a lesser-known brand (I use a smaller American brand for my hair care products), then, only bring what you need daily. But most importantly, do your research to see if you can find your product where you'll study. If you can, don't buy them before leaving.

  • Don't Bring All Your Clothes

Chances are, there are other things on-trend where you are going, and you will want to buy from local stores. Don't waste your time and space packing things you will not use. If you can, I'd recommend setting some money aside to buy some clothes while you are abroad.

  1. Impossible Goodbyes

CAPA students in Wales

Caption: Pictured from left to right: CEA CAPA London students Ellie Paxton, Grace Ducat, Luis Tejeda, Aidan Mccory, Julia Mouketo, and Ben Engen in Cardiff, Wales.

If like me, you are bad at goodbyes, keep in mind that among the many things you will miss, these two will be hard ones to let go of:

  • Your Friends

Great friends: Julia and Grace in Regent's Park.

Caption: Julia Mouketo and Grace Ducat in Regent's Park.

You will meet awesome people during your CEA CAPA study abroad experience, and you will make great friends. It will be very hard to say goodbye. There will be tears. I honestly don't think that there is a way of preventing the hurt that comes from goodbyes, but all I can say is that you can make sure to spend as much time as you can with your friends. Make sure to create unforgettable memories, and since you all study in the US, make sure you keep in touch.

  • Your Global City

Holiday time at Carnaby Street in London

Caption: A Holiday stroll at Carnaby Street.

Your global city has been your home for the past few months, and now it's time to leave. But how?

I completely fell in love with London, and in my last days, everything felt like an Adele song. Keep in mind that you will eventually leave, so, explore the city to its fullest, and make memories you will cherish forever.

P.S. Don't forget to bring back cute memories you can glance at every day.

Julia-Luce Mouketo is the Content Creator - Blogger.
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