1. Read. Find out about your study abroad destination. Try to read the local newspaper and familiarize yourself with the general situation of the country and the city you will visit. Choose a travel book, such as a Lonely Planet, to learn about the main monuments, transport, local sites, as well as the good and bad parts of the city. Read RateYourStudyAbroad.com reviews of their program and other programs in the area, as well as other blogs dedicated to the student experience abroad. Visit Glimpse.org, outsideview.org, and transitionsabroad.com for first-hand accounts of expat students and their experiences abroad. Not only will you be able to converse better with the locals, you will enhance your own experience with insight into the cultural peculiarities of your country, but you will also be more informed compared to your other study abroad participants.
2. Travel. There is no easier time in your life to travel than when you are young, have the time, are willing to go the extra mile to save a little money, and are adventurous enough to see the most remote cities and festivals. If you’re in Europe, head to Munich for the Okterberfest in the fall, check out the hikes in the Alps in October, before the ski crowds, high prices, and the cold hit, go to the Greek islands in May before the crowds arrive and in good weather or in southern Spain in the winter months. Research inexpensive travel opportunities within your region. See the Helpful Links section of RateYourStudyAbroad.com to find links to websites and resources for low-cost airlines, lodging, package travel, and travel blogs. Don’t forget that much of the world travels by train and bus, which can be profitable and one of the most interesting cultural experiences you will have. There’s nothing like sitting down on a 10-hour bus ride with a family and the family’s pet pig or taking a night train to your destination and bundling the cost of accommodation and transportation all in one.
3. Student discounts. Take advantage of student discounts if they are available in your study abroad country. Depending on the country you study in, student discounts can save you money on museums, tourist attractions, transportation, shopping, and even the movies. In addition, many hostels and other companies have negotiated discounts for holders of the international student card or ISIC that you should take advantage of.
4. Communication abroad. Find out how you will reach your loved ones and friends in the United States, your new friends, and the locals in your new home, as well as the local emergency number (probably not 911). For calling your friends and family in the United States, as well as others with an Internet connection, VOIP options, including Skype and Vonage, can be a great cost-effective option for you. You may need to invest in a microphone and speakers for your computer, if you don’t already have them, but these VOIP options are inexpensive, reliable, and you can call anywhere as long as you’re close to your computer. As for keeping in touch with your local friends, check out the cell phone plans that are available. Some countries don’t allow you to subscribe to a monthly cell phone plan unless you have a local bank account, but most countries offer pay-as-you-go cell phone plans that can get the job done for just a little more than cost. of a monthly plan. Don’t forget to also check the landline options while abroad, for calls made locally (landline to landline, as well as landline to mobile) and internationally (landline to landline, as well as landline). to cell phone). Landline phone rates can sometimes be quite reasonable.
5. American food. If your idea for comfort food is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you will likely need to stock up on peanut butter before you leave the U.S. Most countries either have their own version of some American foods or don’t have it. nothing at all. You may not realize it until you’re already abroad, but you will come up with foods you CAN’T LIVE without and can’t find anywhere else abroad. In my experience, living without a cup of Reeses peanut butter, brown sugar, real BBQ sauce, or even American ketchup made the one trip my mother made to visit me that much more exciting because she brought these basic American items that she had given me. been losing so much much.
6. Money. One thing you will notice after your first month of living abroad is the foreign transaction fees that your credit card company charges on all purchases made in another currency, as well as the transaction fee for most ATM withdrawals. Although the bank does not offer any services for these fees, which range from 2 to 3 percent of the charge, they can add up quickly. So if you do not plan to open an account at a local bank, check if your US bank has any established agreements with international banks and affiliates, to reduce this expense. Capital One does not charge foreign transaction fees for credit card purchases, but it does charge for ATM transactions. If your bank does not have any special arrangements with a foreign bank, another idea is to withdraw a large sum of cash each month and review it as needed. Don’t forget that if your debit or credit card is lost or stolen, it can be difficult to quickly replace it. Check out this NYTimes Here article to read more about credit cards abroad.
7. Do something different. Many of those who travel abroad are happy to spend time with other Americans, partying late into the night at different bars and dance clubs, and speaking English throughout the trip. However, I encourage you to do something outside of your comfort zone, whether that is studying in the local language, living in a homestay with a local family, joining a local sports club or team, volunteering, or seeking an internship. locally, or just getting off the beaten track when traveling. Not only will you get a better idea of the cultural nuances and how things work in the country you live in, but you will also be more resilient and get a different view of the country you are in. Don’t forget that when you return to the United States, you and others will be very impressed and will have the best memories of how you integrated into your new environment.
8. If you play a sport, get involved. Although most Americans associate college sports with intense programs of practice and competition, the rest of the world doesn’t think of college sports that way. At most colleges, there are sports clubs and teams with more informal practice and competition schedules. Not only can you practice a sport that you love, but you can also meet other students and it is always a great break to study. Depending on your skill level, you may also consider teaching your sport lessons or volunteering your time coaching a youth team or league. If you plan to play a sport abroad, don’t forget to bring your equipment, as sports equipment can be difficult to find or very expensive. Click here for an article on a student’s experience with swimming while living in Paris, France.
9. Act like a local. You will always be an American, but the history of the country and the people you live with is worth reading and respecting. Take behavioral cues from the locals, especially in regards to dressing more conservatively in churches and local tolerance for drinking in public. Know what advice is appropriate when in a restaurant and for a taxi ride.
10. Take pictures. Studying abroad will provide memories to last a lifetime, be sure to capture these moments to share with friends and family, as well as to remember for years to come. Using photo sharing websites like (ophoto.com, flickr.com, webshots.com, shutterfly.com, kodakgallery.com, etc.) can help you organize your photos, without taking up a lot of space on your hard drive. Many of these sites also allow you to create photo books and photo books (visit Blurb.com to view photo books as well) that will allow you to create a printed version of your experience abroad.