Studying abroad can be one of the most eye opening and life changing events in a student’s career. It’s exciting and filled with new experiences, which can also be a bit daunting. Here’s the top things you should know before studying abroad, and how to prepare for your trip.
1. Take responsibility for the safety of your belongings and have a backup plan.
Studying abroad may be the first time you’re really traveling solo for a long period of time. This means that you don’t have the safety net of your parents there to take care of big things like lost or stolen luggage. Have all your bags clearly marked with your name and email address, and store important names, phone numbers and copies of your passport in secure cloud storage.
Research what common crimes there may be in the area, such as pickpocketing techniques and purse theft so that you can be more aware, and invest in practical bags like this Anti-theft Waterproof Travel bag from Arden Cove. With features like slash resistance, locking zippers, RFID-blocking material and waterproof materials, you will be protected from purse slashers, thieves using scanners, pickpockets and unpredictable weather!
2. Research the country you are traveling to.
Everyone has stereotypical ideas of people in other countries, but they’re often not true. Be more open and sensitive by learning about the culture and customs before you land. What is the common etiquette of people who live there? How do they act in public? How do they dress? By learning these things and practicing their customs, you have the chance to gain another perspective by looking through their eyes. Also check out travel.state.gov to see the “Safety and Security” advice for the country you are going to. Whatever happens, Arden Cove Travel bags can help keep things organized and secure.
3. Learn a few key phrases before you leave.
Knowing some phrases will come in handy if you meet someone who doesn’t speak English, and almost everyone will appreciate the fact that you took the time and effort to learn their language as a guest to their country. If you have the time to, taking a language class before and during your time abroad will really help you become conversational. If you’re serious about improving your language skills you’ll have to put in a lot of time studying and practicing, so don’t be shy!
4. Pack light.
You might be tempted to pack everything you might ever possibly need for the duration of your study abroad, but the truth is you will probably never actually need most things. Prioritize items that will realistically need and a few emergency items like a basic first aid kit. You’ll be thankful when you’re not trying to roll two luggage bags and a duffle bag though a packed train station. The Arden Cove crossbodies are also great to keep all your essentials like credit cards and cash handy and safe.
5. Have a budget in mind.
Learn the local currency and the conversion rate to US dollars so that you don’t spend blindly and blow through your budget. Make sure your credit card doesn’t come with any crazy international fees and call your bank ahead of time so that they won’t flag it as suspicious international transactions. While you don’t want to carry a ton of cash around with you, make sure you have enough to get through the day and lock up the rest somewhere safe.
6. Use your student card to get discounts on things like transportation, accommodations, and entertainment.
Every time you have to pay for tickets for a museum or show, it doesn’t hurt to ask if there’s a student discount. This will help you stretch your budget so you can travel and do more! Arden Cove purses have built-in wallets so save a card slot for your student ID.
7. Prepare to be a bit uncomfortable.
You can pack an eye mask, ear plugs, and an inflatable pillow to save yourself some restless nights. But you’ll never know what will happen when you walk into the dorm, stay at a hostel, or nap at the airport.
8. Challenge yourself to try new things.
You’ll be introduced to a ton of new foods and ways of living, so be open and receptive to trying new things. Even if a dish’s ingredients sound strange or unsavory, you’ll never know until you try, and it might even grow on you. Enjoy these moments of surprise when studying abroad and wonder as they may be some of the highlights of your journey!
9. There are always going to be tons of things you want to explore right outside your door, but you do actually have to study and do your classwork.
Some programs may be easier than others, but remember that the whole reason you decided to study abroad is to take classes at a foreign institution. At the same time, you should take advantage of your surroundings and not just stay cooped in your room cramming for tests. Find a balance between doing your school work and going out to learn about this new place you are in.
10. You’ll probably get lost a lot when studying abroad, and that’s OK.
From bad GPS signals to misunderstood directions, you’ll probably wander in the wrong direction more than once. Don’t panic and take your time to figure it out, even if you need to ask for help from a stranger. Perhaps it’ll be how you’ll stumble upon your favorite place in the whole city. Remember that despite even if you had a bad day, you got lost, or made a mistake, you’ll learn that you can figure it out.
In the end, your study abroad trip will be whatever you decide to make of it. It’s up to you to decide what you want to experience, and to design the trip in a way that’s most meaningful to you. Have fun and enjoy! It’s your chance to step outside your comfort zone and live your own adventure.
To have more piece of mind, pick up an Anti-theft Waterproof bag, which will protect your belongings from purse snatching and slashing, pickpockets, electronic theft, and sudden downpours. Shop ArdenCove.com to purchase your travel bag today.