Spending a semester studying abroad allows you to immerse yourself in a new culture, see different world perspectives and teaches you independence. It will be new, fun, exciting and life-changing, but that doesn’t mean that everything will be a breeze. Here are some tips to stay safe and stay calm while traveling outside of America.
|Enjoying personal pizzas from the famous Gustapizza.|
1. Keep your bag and phone in front of you at all times, especially when eating out. Never leave your coat hanging on the chair or put your phone in your back pocket, because in a split second it could be snatched without you noticing. If you want to be extra prepared, make sure your bag is a cross-body with a zipper, and keep one hand on your bag at all times.
2. When dining at a restaurant, they consider bringing the check rude/pushy. When you are ready to leave, ask your waiter for the check politely. You don’t have to tip; if you feel like the service was great, leave them a euro or two each, but nothing like 20 percent.
3. When you go out, don’t keep all cash and cards on you. Bring a form of ID, a credit card and some euros.
|Beautiful handmade artwork you can find on any street.|
4. Make copies of your passport and Italian visa and save them to your email or Google drive. This is going to come in handy during the first week of studying abroad, and you’ll always have a copy of each on just in case.
5. Never walk alone or go to the bathroom alone past 10 p.m. American study abroad students are often seen as targets.
6. First impressions are everything. Americans are known to be loud and irresponsible, especially when it comes to experiencing the nightlife your city has to offer. Stay cool, calm and collected when out with friends, and use your inside voice.
|Gorgeous sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo.|
7. Typically, big and expensive restaurants have worse food and it’s not worth it. Small, family-owned restaurants have the best homemade food!!! Even when their menu is handwritten.
8. Add all Italian emergency numbers into your emergency contacts.
|The Florence Cathedral.|
9. Get to know your Italian neighbors and say hi when you see them. Show them you’re interested in learning their culture!
10. They don’t have Uber or Lyft, so download IT Taxi. They do have Uber eats. though :)
Lauren Peacock is the Spring 2020 CEA MOJO Blogger in Florence, Italy, and is currently studying at Montclair State University.