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Whether you’re planning to do a term (or year) abroad in the future, or you’re currently planning to studying abroad now, here’s a few things you’d probably like to know and a few things to take into consideration as you go through the process.

  1. Know exactly where you want to go, and check with your school to make sure they have a program that can send you there. Even if they don’t have an exact program, you can communicate with advisors and they can try to find a way to send you there. I picked London, England because I knew without a doubt that I wanted to be there and that I COULD be there without being terribly nervous and I knew I wanted to be there. Not only is knowing your location and where you want to be super important but you also have to be kind of prepared to go. Moving to a whole different country can be kind of scary even if you’re only going for a short amount of time.

  2. Packing. Packing is a HUGE part of doing a semester abroad. You don’t want to accidentally forget your favorite pillow that you can’t possibly sleep without. Also if there are any products that you use constantly that you may not be able to get in another country, like your favorite brand of toothpaste, you probably want to get that in bulk to make sure you have enough to last the full time you’re there. Make sure you look at the typical weather of the country you’re going to and have clothes for all the seasons that happen while you’re there, there’s a high chance that the weather is a bit different than what you may be used to.

  1. Plan all your trips ahead of time. This is super important! If you are going to be studying in any European country, you’re probably going to want to visit other surrounding countries while you’re there. Plan these trips as soon as possible! The further ahead you plan, the cheaper it will be. Also, a few tips on traveling around Europe; use busses and trains, it’s so much cheaper than flying, even though it may take a little bit longer. Use hostels and airbnb.com rather than hotels, because again it’s a lot cheaper and they aren’t all dingy like you’d think. The main aspect of studying abroad is seeing new places, so please do travel as often as you can and take full advantage of your time abroad.

  1. Know the schooling system in that country. This is a bit of an odd one, but countries all over the world treat school differently. You are going there for school don’t forget that. Pay attention and do your work, or if you’re not careful you can actually end up failing the semester and it can end up kind of being a waste of time, which would seriously suck. Different countries have different writing styles and different forms of turning in work so just know what’s being asked of you, it may end up being a lot simpler than your home institution. I know that while I was in London, the homework load was significantly lower and classes tended to be a bit easier to handle.

  2. Keep a scanned copy of all your important personal and school documents. You need to also always have a printed copy of your school acceptance letter (this is the other country acceptance letter, not your home institution). You typically need this letter to get into the country every time you leave, along with your visa if you have one. Not every country demands a visa in order to study there, check with your home school’s advisors, they will always point you in the right direction about which program to join and what documents you’ll need. Make sure you have a scanned copy of your passport on your laptop just in case you misplace it while you’re abroad. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll lose it, as it’s probably the most important thing you’ll have with you, but just incase, the scanned copy will make it easier to get a new passport while you’re abroad if needed. I’d also recommend having any health insurance information on your laptop as well, doesn’t hurt to be extra prepared.

  1. Say “YES” to everything! There are so many different opportunities awaiting you and so many things to explore, do it all! You don’t want to regret not taking full advantage of your time in a new place. Do things you’ve never dreamed of. Visit all the sites, make friends with different people from all over the world, take day trips, go to museums (they tend to be free for students), learn a new language, order a meal you’ve never heard of, the possibilities are literally endless.

  2. TAKE PICTURES. This is possibly the most important thing you’ll do while you’re there. Take pictures of everything! You can never have too many memories and trust me you’ll want to remember everything. Not to mention you’ll for sure want to brag to all your friends back home and constantly post all your fun photos and videos all over social media. A lot of people also like to download the second everyday app, which can make a fun little collage of your entire trip. You’ll be doing so many fun once in a lifetime things, make sure you document everything.

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