Abroad Series: Takeoff

Hello, all! It’s me, Stephanie, here to fill you in on all things study abroad and show you how an everyday Furman student can take on the big bad world out there. I’ll be studying away in Stockholm, Sweden this semester, and you’ll be able to follow along the way. Hopefully, this column will answer questions and grant insight into study abroad in a new and exciting way.

First of all, let me explain my program. I’m here with DIS-Stockholm, which is an affiliate program offered by Furman. To learn the difference between affiliate, faculty-led, and other opportunities we have at Furman, read more here.

There are so many resources and ways to find out if studying abroad is for you. And deciding whether or not you want to do it is more than half the battle. But once you do decide that you want to become a temporary jet setter, what next? I’m here to talk about some travel tidbits that you may not want to forget.

 

Airport Threads:

If you’re flying from somewhere like Florida to Paris like I did, the weather change becomes a huge factor. I suggest bringing pieces to layer, so you can add more clothing when you arrive at your chilly destination. I went with some mid-thigh biker shorts and a sweater and brought a heavy coat to throw on in France!

As far as security goes, keep metals to a minimum! That David Yurman ring can stay in the jewelry box today, and honestly, swap the traditional bra for a sports bra. Getting pat down by security is not a fun experience for anyone involved, and avoiding it is easy.

One extra step you can take to arrive at your best is wearing compression pieces. This can be a cute pair of leggings or biker shorts, a slim fitting athletic top, or anything else that you can think of. This prevents bloating and helps you feel a lot better when you land (and holds in any bloating that does occur!). Remember: keep them comfy so you can relax if you have a long flight–Spanx may be compressing, but they are NOT fun to sleep in.

 

Makeup?

I am no makeup guru. I’m a pretty strict bare-face gal, purely due to lack of ability. So, I can’t speak for those of us who can rock the #beat look (you know who you are, YGG). But I have to say, be careful with the amount of makeup you wear on travel day! You’re going to get tired, and you’re going to want to rub your eyes, or splash water on your face, or maybe cry of excitement? I don’t know. But I do know that the less the better on airplanes. Imagine falling asleep and half your face coming off on the window shade–not ideal.

 

Classes:

It’s so easy to forget that you actually have to take classes while you’re abroad. One big thing you need to straighten out beforehand is how the credits will transfer back to Furman. How much control you have over this varies: with a Furman-led program, everything should be squared away. Whereas with an affiliate program, a lot of the courses and credit transfer is up to you. See more about the process and the requirements here.

 

Health:

With so many moving parts like different countries, different people, new classes, and other stresses that come with studying abroad, you definitely need to keep an eye on your health. All those stresses can take a toll on your immune system. Taking precautionary measures is a good way to stay ahead of the game. One great example is echinacea pills. Echinacea is a flowering plant that possesses immune boosting properties. It comes in a small pill form that you can take daily or whenever you start to feel a little under the weather.  

It also may suit you to make small diet changes, like adding a metabolism boosting apple cider drink in the morning or a cup of hot decaf tea before bed. You can only control your health so much but being conscious about your preparation can really help you focus on all the other moving parts when you get to your new home.

 

Goodbyes:

We joke about the “Furman Bubble” and we all get a little fed up with how small our school is, but when it comes down to it, there’s probably someone you’re leaving behind that it’s hard to imagine life without. All I can say to that is embrace what you’ve found at home and look forward to finding it elsewhere!

It’s those amazing Paladins, your family, or other friends that have given you the courage to take such a huge leap to study abroad. So, give your hugs, shed a few tears, and then be on your way! Look forward to all the stories you’ll tell on the day of your homecoming.

 

This is in no way a comprehensive list. There are issues in currency, housing, transportation, and just plain cultural shifts that you’ll have to take into consideration as well. It takes months to prepare for this journey, and even then, are you really prepared? I know I’m not. But hey, that’s the beauty of it, right? I’m here to make mistakes and learn from them. So, here’s to having no idea what’s coming next!