Every Susquehanna University student is required to study abroad in order to graduate. I’m currently planning my Global Opportunities (GO) trip to Florence, Italy this summer, and I’m beginning to realize just how much planning is required for the trip. Below are a few things that you should consider when planning your study abroad experience.
Studying abroad can be extremely expensive. Before making a commitment, you must be sure to consider additional expenses besides tuition and room, such as meals, travel, new clothes or luggage, and more. Consider enrolling in a payment plan or applying for scholarships to lower these costs.
Packing for studying abroad is not the same as packing for a beach vacation with your family. You must make sure you have everything you need while also not overstuffing your bags, as to accommodate airplane regulations and any additional items you may gather while away. Some cultures also have different standards of dress, in which case you have to make sure to pack more modest clothes (for example) in order to be respectful.
Traveling is a huge part of studying abroad for many. While in a different part of the world, you should make the most of it. However, it is important to keep costs in mind when planning trips as well as details for accommodations and transportation.
Are you on medications? Making sure that your health insurance and any prescriptions are accepted in the foreign country prior to arrival is essential.
- Language barriers
If applicable, it is certainly helpful to learn some basic words and phrases in the country’s native language, such as “Hi, bye, thank you, where is ___, where can I get ___, how much does this cost”, etc. Many countries have English speakers, but it can never hurt to have knowledge of the native language.
Documents such as passports can easily get lost or stolen, which can become a major hassle, even causing you to potentially get stuck in the country. Don’t let this happen to you – carry around a copy with you and leave your actual one at home.
- Cell phone
Having a cell phone plan in the United States doesn’t automatically mean you will have access to data and a phone plan in a foreign country. It’s important to have a plan in place to make sure that you can contact people in case of emergency, at the very least. This includes WiFi, so be sure to do your research.
Overall, studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many. Be sure to plan well ahead of time and you’ll have nothing to worry about!