By Emily Baker
So you are going to study abroad? Maybe you are looking to be exposed to a new culture, or maybe you want to get out of Athens for a semester. Whatever the reason, you are about to embark on what will probably be the greatest adventure of your college experience. Before you can have your Lizzie McGuire moment, you have to plan ahead. Getting ready for a semester abroad can seem daunting. There is so much to do and pack, and your parents will kill you if you ask to check another bag. So here are some tips from some students who have studied abroad:
Make sure you have the essentials.
When you think of going abroad, you probably think you’ll just book the flight and figure out the rest when you get there. But anyone who’s traveled outside of the country knows it’s a big ordeal. So if you’ve never been outside of the United States, don’t panic! “The first thing you should do is make sure your passport is updated,” says Carley Fulp, a junior risk management major from Hahira. She also suggests ordering some of the local currency so that you will have cash when you get there. No one wants to be in a foreign country without a way to get anywhere.
Pack with purpose.
Unfortunately, you cannot bring your entire wardrobe with you. To maximize your space, stick with basic pieces that you can mix and match for multiple outfits. Scarves are also a great accessory because they can switch up an outfit and can be thrown on when it gets cold at night. “The main thing you have to consider when packing for a study abroad trip is all of the things you are going to buy while you’re there,” says Alexandra Falcucci, a junior fashion merchandising major from Asbury, New Jersey. Make a list of everyone you want to buy gifts for, and then you’ll have an idea of how much room you need to leave in your suitcase.
Plan ahead for weekend getaways.
Most study abroad programs leave the weekends open, which means lots of travel opportunities. Take a day trip to a local beach, or take a train to another city or country. Most places in Europe can be easily traveled to for a short trip. “Look for places to stay on www.hostelworld.com or Airbnb,” says Camren Skelton, a junior journalism major from Greenville, South Carolina. “Both are super affordable and give great reviews, so you are sure to pick the best one!” Plan your weekend getaways ahead of time so that you can make the most of your time abroad.
Getting ready for a semester abroad can seem like a big task, but if you organize and prioritize, you can have a stress free trip. Get together with friends who are also studying abroad and go shopping. Buy some staple clothing pieces and get the travel necessities. Preparing for your trip will not seem as scary when your friends are doing it with you. The only surprises you should have should be on your trip, not at the airport.