Study Abroad Tips
Study Abroad Tips

Study Abroad Tips
A Guide to Getting the Most Out of Your Trip

While attending college, there are many opportunities to experience things outside of your normal frame of reference, but few experiences are quite like studying abroad. Following these simple tips will help you make the most of your experience:

1. Ask questions!

Getting the most out of your trip begins at the very first interest meeting. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about everything – the country in which you will be staying, the itinerary, or even what parts of the trip your fees are going for. Once you get to your destination, don’t be afraid to continue asking questions. For example, many places, especially museums, zoos and other educational venues, extend their usual student discount admissions to international students as well, but the only way to find out is to ask!

2. Do some research!

One of the simplest ways to get ahead is by doing your research. Find out the important things ahead of time. Familiarizing yourself with the exchange rate (so you know how much money you’re spending), the climate (so you know what to wear) and even some of the areas you’re likely to be in (so you can get your bearings ahead of time) are all important and will keep you ahead of the learning curve once you arrive at your destination. While looking up the exchange rate, check to see if your bank has branches in the country or countries that you’re traveling to as well. You may be surprised to learn that you can sometimes avoid exorbitant ATM fees simply by knowing which banks to keep an eye out for.

3. Plan ahead!

This step goes hand in hand with doing your research and can make the trip easier on you, which in turn makes the trip a more enjoyable experience. Planning ahead can be as simple as scoping out the itinerary and planning accordingly, or it can be as in-depth as using a program like Google Maps to figure out where you will be on different days and then looking up what kinds of shops, restaurants, museums and other places of interest are in the same general area. If your trip lasts more than a week, you will most likely have at least one day to yourself. Go ahead and find out where things are in the city you’ll be staying in and make plans for what you would like to do on your ‘free day,’ be it a day at a major zoological garden or going museum hopping.

4. Pack carefully!

While it may be tempting to cram everything you own into your luggage, this is a bad idea for a number of reasons. The first of these is purely practical, as the majority of international airlines have a weight limit of around 50 pounds, and if you go over that, you can be charged extremely expensive fees. The other reason is that over-packing makes it difficult to bring things back from your travels. Use your research regarding the climate in order to carefully pack enough clothing for your trip – if you plan on wearing jeans, consider wearing a pair on the plane, as denim is heavier than regular fabric – and pack non-necessities sparingly. That way you won’t risk exceeding the weight limit and will have plenty of room to bring things back from your travels!

5. Balance learning and fun!

At the end of the day, the most important thing for you to do while on your trip is to strike a balance between education and recreation. It’s okay to relax and have fun while abroad, but be sure to take advantage of the educational opportunities as well. Try new foods and drinks and go shopping, but also check out things like museums, zoos, theaters and historical sites, even if they aren’t relevant to the class you are taking. This is a good way to not only have time off from your class studies, but to combine fun with learning in a way that you can take back with you after your trip!

Written by Monte Jackson, Class of '12 - Marketing & Communications Intern
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, contact Kyria Hoffman - 843.857.4103

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