How to Prepare for Your First Semester Abroad

Studying abroad is something everyone should look into while enrolled in a college or university. If you have the chance to pick up your belongings and relocate to another country for a few weeks, a semester, or even a whole year, you should 100% take up this opportunity. At some universities, including UofSC, study abroad programs offer in-state tuition, and tons of scholarships to cater to the needs of students who would not be able to receive these otherwise. If you have decided that you will be studying abroad for a semester, there is much to do before your departure. Here is a list of things you must do before embarking on your life-changing experience!

1. Research, Research, Research!

While abroad, you want to make sure that you do not miss out on one thing that your host country (and surrounding countries) has to offer. Before departing for your semester abroad, make sure that you put in a lot of time researching the “must-see’s”, the best restaurants and the surrounding area where you will be located. You will be able to experience much more if you have in mind what you need to see while there.

2. Plan to be Open Minded About EVERYTHING

If you are like me and are planning on going abroad by yourself, you must be prepared to open up and socialize with people from all over the country, along with locals there. Different countries have different cultures, therefore, the lifestyle of your country might be much different than the one that you are used to.  Keeping an open mind is vital to a successful trip abroad.

3. Develop a Budget

Regardless of program fees being lower than they might be at your home university, there is a lot you are going to want to do while spending your months traveling to other countries. Doing a lot of things takes money. Having a budget will help you to alleviate financial stress while there. Researching the cost of living in the city that you will be living in will help you to estimate the amount of money that you will need. Expecting to spend more money than you actually think you will not be the worst option! You should also let your credit card company know that you will be using your cards in whatever country for the amount of time that you will be there.

4. Brush Up on your Language Skills

If you are going to a country in which their dominant language is different from yours, make sure to study the language a bit before going – this will make your adjustment there much easier. Being able to communicate with locals is an important aspect of getting to establish relationships with the people around you.

5. Figure Out How you are Going to Communicate with your Family Back Home

Research the different types of phone plans available that will work best for you so that your phone bill does not skyrocket. Most times it can be as easy as them giving you a sim card, along with an international number, in which you will be able to use to talk to your family back home. You will also want to tell them all about the new adventures you are experiencing. Make sure to figure this out before you embark to a different country.

Good preparation is key to a successful study abroad trip. This adventure is going to be life changing so making sure that you are properly prepared will ensure that you will have the most rewarding opportunity possible!