10 Tips for Studying Abroad

Are you planning on studying abroad this summer?  We have 10 handy tips on how to make your experience as fun and as safe as possible!

1. Power through that jet lag: If you’re studying abroad someplace that involves a long flight and a huge time change, odds are that you’re going to be jet lagged once you land. The key to beating jet lag is to get a good amount of sleep on the plane. However, unless you are one of the lucky people who can sleep on a plane, odds are you’ll spend that ride anxiously sitting in your seat, thinking about how you should be sleeping right now, and watching a ton of in-flight movies—but hey, at least you got to watch Life of Pi three times, right?

Finally, you’ve landed in this new magical, and foreign place.  So, now that you’ve been up for the last two days straight its time for the crunch of staying awake through your day.  For your first day: DO NOT TAKE A NAP, and I repeat: DO NOT TAKE A NAP.  You will be so tempted to nap, and nothing will seem sweeter than the enticing idea of a nice soft mattress (or, by this point, a sheet of cardboard will do the trick), and the sweet release of sleep.  Don’t do it, girl.  Your quick “one-hour” nap will turn into a six-hour snooze-fest and then you’ll be up all night, and doomed to make the same mistake tomorrow.

For that one tough day pound the coffee and force yourself to be awake.  It’ll take a few days for your body to be fully adjusted to the new time change, but if you manage to start out strong it’ll be so much easier to be adjusted.


2. Do NOT bring all of your valuables: Though you might be in love with the fancy necklace your grandma gave you, unless you plan on literally never taking it off, just don’t bring it!  It would really suck to lose it, and honestly do you want a lost necklace to ruin your perfect abroad trip to Spain? I don’t think so.


3. Do not get too drunk: Yes, you’re in a new place and you want to make the most of it and have the best experiences (not to mention in Europe the drinking age is much younger), and we're not telling you not to have fun… BUT you are in a foreign country and safety is really key to having the best experience OF YO’ LIFE.  So maybe instead of doing your usual five tequila shots, just do three.  Also, as in the US, always keep an eye on your drinks.

4. Stick with your friends: This pretty much explains itself… Stay with your friends! If you are going on a trip through a program with a group of strangers, try to seek out at least one buddy from the beginning. 

5. Call your credit card company and tell them you're going abroad: If you plan on using plastic please, please, please call your credit card company and tell them you’re going to study abroad.  Sometimes if the company notices that there are transactions going on in a different country they will freeze your card and nothing blows more than being stuck in a foreign country without cash-monay. 

6. Read about where you are going: Hey, even though you may think you know everything, you need to know about where you are going, and it never hurts to read up.  

7. Medication: Some countries, often more tropical ones, require medications to travel there, so do your research and get your pills and shots.  You do NOT want to be sick abroad.  In the words of Big Bird: "It's no fun to be sick!" So listen to that creepily large mystery bird and don't get sick.

8. Make a copy of your passport: OR dream big and make two copies. You’re kind of a big deal. You can’t be tamed. Just make sure that you leave one copy at home with your parents.

9. Actually look both ways before crossing the road:  The rules of the road may be different in other countries, and they might drive on a different side than what you're used to. Other countries may not be as chill about jay walking or drivers might be more aggressive.  As lame as it sounds, getting hit by a car is probably lamer.

10. Know the water situation: If you’re going to a third-world country, be careful about the water!  Brush your teeth with bottled water and put a washcloth over the faucet to remind yourself to not use it  And stick mostly to cooked foods!

Bon voyage! 


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