My Abroad Diaries: Advice to Anyone Studying Abroad

  1. 1. Packing

    When I was packing to come to Greece, I basically just packed all my cute clothing because I was thinking of photos I was going to take and thinking I would be some kind of fashionista while here. I think I forgot I would actually have to go to school and if you know me I only wear leggings, sweatpants, and sweatshirts to class. Quickly I realized I had to buy new comfy clothes and have my family bring me more when they came. You need to pack stuff for every occasion and remember that you’re going to want to be comfortable for most of your traveling. To help with space, try to bring clothing that you know you can mix and match in a variety of ways! Whatever you forget, you can probably buy where you are. If I could do it again I wouldn’t bring half the clothing I did. 

  2. 2. Planning Trips

    One thing I have to say about planning trips is that you think about where you want to see most, and plan out those weekends accordingly, but make sure that you spend time in the actual location you are living in. Sometimes you can be really consumed with seeing everywhere else that you forget to appreciate the places you are in and near. I definitely made Greece a priority, I knew I wanted to see all the major islands and countryside of Greece. For me, this took priority. It’s all up to you, but deciding early will help you with your plans. 

  3. 3. Homesickness

    This can be sort of inevitable, everyone will probably feel homesick at one point or another. What I suggest is bring something with you that reminds you of home and feel comforted. I brought my own pillow cases, sheets, and big fuzzy blanket. My bed is my place of comfort here, so I made it feel a little more like home. My parents packed me a secret note that I found when I got here and I keep that on my desk which helps to always see as well. Another thing that I do is make sure I have facetime dates with my loved ones at home. The time difference is really difficult and requires a little bit of planning sometimes, but it’s worth it to be able to keep in touch.

  4. 4. Learn the local language / lifestyle 

    I find it helpful to try and learn as much as you can about the culture you are going to immerse yourself in. Before you come, do some research and try to learn a few basic words in that language. The locals love to see you trying to be one of them, it’s how you show them you respect them and their culture and it’s just nice to learn for them. Most other countries know some english, but a lot of people aren’t fluent so for your own sake of getting around and ordering food - learn a little more about them. While abroad, you should definitely be open to everything whether it be trying new foods, clothing, or whatever it is that culture does.

  5. 5. Be aware!!!

    During my time here so far, I have seen my friends phones be stolen, and another girl have her purse cut off of her body. There was a couple outside of my school using a scam to stab students and steal their belongings. There were times where we got emails that it was unsafe to be in the main city of Athens because of riots and tear gas. There was a man stabbed to death on the metro, and my friend saw the aftermath of it. The list could probably go on. Americans can be targets, and it’s really obvious that we are foreign here sometimes. A lot of people will try to trick you. It’s key to try and blend in, act confident, and most of all be aware of your surroundings 24/7.

With this said, I think I read a hundred articles of tips on what to do while abroad before I left. At the end of the day you’re going to do it your own way, and have your own tips and mistakes. Just be prepared for anything, and have the time of your life.