Preparing for Study Abroad

You’ve decided where to study abroad, you’ve gone to the mandatory pre-departure meetings and you’ve just booked your flight. You’ve already signed up for your classes, figured out where you’ll be living and received important information about safety, money, health insurance, etc. You might think that you’re set for studying abroad in the fall but there are several other things that might not have crossed your mind. Here are a few things to remember to prep before you’re off:

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Figure out what you’re bringing

Though you’ll probably be doing most of your packing a couple of days before your flight, make a running list of things you think you’ll need as they cross your mind throughout the summer. That way, you can figure out what you still need to borrow or buy ahead of time.


Research the typical climate of the place you’ll be studying. It’s good to bring some basics that you can rely on, along with some fancier and/or more specific clothes for special events, nights out or other activities, like hiking or swimming. Layering is great for any location, because you can add or remove them depending how cold or warm it is. Always pack a comfortable pair of shoes, because no matter where you go, you’ll probably want to explore part of your new home on foot.


If you’re not walking, how will you get from place to place? If you’re studying in a major city like Paris, London, Hong Kong, Sydney or Moscow, Citymapper is free and easy to use app to help you navigate. Citymapper provides the time your journey will likely take, how much it will cost, what transport methods are quickest and a list of options such as bus, train, taxi or Uber. Citymapper can even show you roughly how many calories you’ll burn on your journey, if you’re traveling by foot!

As for prepping before you arrive at your study abroad location, it’d help to research transportation cards, any student discounts available and maps to familiarize yourself with the area. If you plan on traveling outside your study abroad location, find out the best transportation methods, whether by bus, train or plane, to take day trips or weekend excursions.

Electronics and other necessities

Make sure you buy an adapter that works for the country where you’re studying! Also figure out how you’ll use your phone; I found it best to contact my phone service company, shut off my service while I was abroad and buy a pay-as-you-go SIM card once I got off the plane. Also bring any chargers you’ll need. Buying a portable charger is a great idea, as you might find yourself on the go with no outlets available.

Also make sure you have any pills or medications that you’ll need for the duration of your time abroad. Bring common over-the-counter medicine and remedies for the common cold, a fever, pain relief and nausea. It’s also good to have a thermometer and thermometer covers. To save space in your suitcase and luggage weight, only bring travel-size containers of toiletries. A few small bottles of each shampoo, conditioner, soap and toothpaste will last longer than you think it will.

These are just some of the basics you can plan for and busy yourself with while you’re anxiously awaiting your semester abroad!