So, going abroad is scary, right? Well, luckily, I’ve compiled a list of some tips and tricks that should help with the preparation for the big trip.
First of all, it’s important to remember to make copies of all documents. Yes, your passport and visa, but also your credit card information and even ID. You never know and it’s better to be safe than sorry! Second, I think it’s important to send your itinerary (or what you have of it!) to your family back home in the States. I’m sure they’d appreciate it and be comforted in knowing where you’ll be. Lastly, regarding your luggage, DO NOT OVERPACK. I promise, you may buy some clothes abroad and don’t need to bring everything you own, especially if you want to leave room for souvenirs.
Once you start traveling you’ll see for yourself, but the earlier you book flights and transportation, the cheaper it is -- so I’d recommend booking as soon as you can. Also, as dorky as they are, tour buses are so HELPFUL. You get to see the entire city and even learn some history. Keep in mind that most museums have student discounts, so make sure to ask before spending the extra money! Furthermore, The New York Times has a section titled “48 hours in [CITY]” and can be a great resource for planning trips. Thrillist, Travel and Leisure and the Culture Trip all also have tips and suggestions for most big cities, so those are worth checking out before traveling. A helpful app (especially for big cities with complex public transportation systems) is called CityMapper. I’d recommend downloading it before any big trip, too!
What to Expect:
In general, homesickness is a real thing. Although it may be hard to adjust at first, don’t worry; everyone feels homesick at one point or another. Just take care of yourself and find familiar comforts to keep you busy! The first few weeks (no matter where you are) are hard, but you've got it! If you’re in Europe, tipping for waiters and even cab drives is not necessary (and sometimes even frowned upon), so don’t feel like you have to.
Although these are just a few suggestions for studying abroad, and may not include everything you need to know, they should at least be helpful!
Emma Hammerson is the Fall 2018 Alumni Ambassador in Seville, Spain, and is currently studying at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo.