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6 Tips to Check Out Before You Study Abroad

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pitt chapter.

Considering going abroad? I highly recommend it. I’m currently half-way through my study abroad program in London, and have absolutely loved every minute of it. I already know that I’m going to be THAT abroad student when I get back — the one who starts every other sentence with “When I was abroad… ” The reason I think I’ll never stop talking about it is because of all the new experiences I’ve had while studying across the pond — new cultures, people, challenges and the most obvious of all, new places. It has been a great two months of growth, and I can’t wait to see what the last half of the program brings. I’ve learned a lot, and I thought I would share all of the tips and advice I’ve collected with the readers of Her Campus Pitt. 

1 .  Research!

It may sound simple, but research what there is to do in your new home before arriving. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the new possibilities when you touch down in a new country, and having an idea of what you want do during your study abroad experience makes it easier than trying to plan it upon immediate arrival. I made a bucket list before arriving in London, and it not only made the past two months full of exciting adventures, but gave me even more to look forward to in the weeks leading up to my arrival.

2 . Cheap Travel

Disclaimer: Mostly relevant for those studying in Europe, not sure how well these sites will work for other locations

If you’re studying abroad in Europe, you’re in luck. I’ve found flights to be way cheaper in Europe than in the United States, and it has been easy to travel to new countries. There are a variety of online sites that help you compare prices of transportation to make traveling affordable. A few to check out are  skyscanner , StudentUniverse , and Jetradar

3 .  Student ID – bring it!

Make sure you bring your student ID with you when you go abroad! Student deals exist overseas too. My friends and I have found student deals on everything from entry fees to travel tickets. I recommend you searching for student deals in your area, and that may make getting to cross off your study abroad bucket list more affordable and fun.

4 .  Bring a little piece of home with you

Going abroad is a big change, and it can be natural to miss things from home. I recommend bringing photos of your family and friends to hang up on your new apartment or dorm wall. I brought about six photos over with me. Once I hung up my photos on the wall, it immediately helped me feel more at home when I unpacked in my new apartment. Plus, study abroad apartments can be a little drab — adding photos is an easy way to decorate a new place!

5.  Don’t travel every weekend

I’ve ended up planning three weekend trips and a big spring break trip while abroad. Originally, I went into the experience with travel fever – I had a list a mile long of weekend trips I wanted to take. It can be tempting to want to see everything around your study abroad location, but don’t miss out on getting to know the city you chose to study in. After all, you chose your study abroad destination for a reason – make sure you get to experience everything your city has to offer! Life can be crazy during the week with class commitments, so the weekends are a great time to explore your study abroad location. 

6. Pack smart

So, I may or may not have been 15 pounds overweight with my suitcase on the way over here…whoops. Keep in mind when you pack that you’re going to a brand-new place with…wait for it…brand new stores! You can always buy whatever you left behind at home, so don’t try to pack your whole life into one suitcase. Think logically about what you’ll actually wear while abroad, and keep in mind that there is a handy invention to help you with a smaller rotation of clothing: washers and dryers.

There you have it – 6 tips for study abroad! Best of luck if you decided to go abroad, and bon voyage!

Photo credit: All photos are the author’s own.

Katherine Lewis is a Virginia native at the University of Pittsburgh. She is studying Media and Professional Communications with a concentration in Digital Media. In her free time, she likes to consume iced coffee by the gallon and explore the city.