Tips Before You Go Abroad

 

Summer is just around the corner and for all of you that aren’t returning to campus next semester, it means it’s time to prepare for your semesters abroad! While we know you’ll be bombarded with information from your study away programs, we wanted to give you just a couple more tips that we found were really helpful when we were abroad.

 

Meghan: Join a sport or club if possible!

If you’re studying at another university, joining one of their sports teams or clubs is an excellent way to make friends with local students. Take advantage of the opportunities that you wouldn’t get at Trinity. When I was at the University of Edinburgh, I joined the curling team because when else would I ever get to learn how to play curling? My closest friends abroad were from the team and I got to spend the semester like a real Scottish student because of it. It may be totally nerve-racking to go to your first meeting/practice by yourself, but I promise if you take a leap of faith, it’s completely worth it.

 

Sarah: Take some time to explore by yourself

Last year (F16), I studied in Galway, Ireland. On sunny days, instead of working out inside the university athletics facilities, I would go on a long, slow run. The path wasn’t quite the same every time I did it, and Galway was small enough so that I could start at the school and end up by the shore. On one of my runs, I accidently got mixed into a holiday 5k, where all of the runners were dressed head-to-toe like Santa Clause. I must’ve looked awfully confused running past the finish line, head-to-toe in lululemon!

 

Meghan: Make friends with local students

I cannot stress this enough. You are studying abroad to engage with other cultures and get new experiences. This is your chance to make a new local best friend that can introduce you to experiences other Americans wouldn’t usually get. Make it a goal to get to know as many local students as you can. Lifelong friendships will form!

 

Sarah: Journal and scrap book

This one was really difficult to keep up with, but so worth it in the end. I had a little notebook that I would write in 1-2 times per week. Along with my entries, I saved every bus ticket, every museum/castle tour pamphlet, and every take-out menu. I cut everything out nice and neatly and posted them into my journal along with the entries. I love sharing it with my family and reading it by myself too – to remind myself about all of the quirky, fun little things I did.

 

Meghan: Limit your travel

As cool as it is to have a laundry list of places you’ve visit on your abroad photo album on Facebook, you picked your country to study in for a reason- enjoy it! Not to mention that frequent travel is extremely hard on your wallet. My bank account is still recovering a semester later. Get to know your city so well that you can say you truly lived there and not just studied there for a semester. Explore other parts of your host country as well. Try visiting smaller towns that aren’t tourist traps!

 

 

Sarah: Learn how to cook

This was a big one for me. Whether you’re in a home-stay, or living in an apartment with local students, run down to Lidl (or Aldi, Dunnes, Tesco, etc….) and grab some fresh ingredients to make dinner from scratch. Before going abroad, I never really had the responsibility of feeding myself. Though it took a couple of burnt chicken breasts and some extra-dry blueberry muffins, I learned how to make delish dinners all on my own! Of course, you should treat yourself to local food as much as your wallet will allow you to, but I definitely recommend having some cutlery skills in your back pocket for a night in.