If you scrolled through the notes on my phone or flipped through the pages of my planner, you would probably be amazed (horrified) at the ridiculous amount of lists I’ve accumulated over the years. I LOVE writing to-do lists, whether it’s planning out my week or steps for a project, so as I prepare to fly off to Oviedo, Spain in a matter of weeks, I thought I’d share my personal “Study Abroad To-Do List.” If you’re a student preparing to jet off to another country soon, hopefully you find these tips useful. At the very least, maybe you can relate and make me feel a little better about my borderline-crazy list-making tendencies? Either way, enjoy!
1. Appreciate your Hometown.
Chances are if you’re planning to study abroad, you’ll be away from the place you call home for a significant amount of time, whether it’s a month, a semester, or a year. Take the time before you leave to do “touristy” things in your hometown and snap some pics while you’re at it. If you begin to feel homesick while you’re away you’ve got some memories/pictures to keep you comforted. Also, if you’re living around Temple before you depart, make sure to check out this site for fun things happening in the city:
2. Set Goals
We all have different reasons for studying abroad- maybe you want to become fluent in a language, experience a new culture, or just eat some really amazing food (not judging)— but whatever the motivation, try to think about a few specific things you want to accomplish during your time abroad. No regrets, am I right?
Wish I could tell you some foolproof, efficient method of packing, but this is coming from a girl who packed for freshman year of college the night before leaving. Rookie mistake. From that pretty traumatic experience, I’ve learned that it’s best to start packing your bags a few weeks in advance and to try to pack as light as you can. Don’t forget to check the packing list in the Temple Abroad Program Manual and here are some more helpful packing tips from people who clearly have their lives together:
https://www.pinterest.com/templeuabroad/ (the official Temple study abroad pinterest)
4. “Como se dice…”
No matter where you’re headed- London, India, Japan, or in my case, Spain— you are bound to run into some cultural and linguistic differences that may throw you for a loop. Do your best to prepare by researching the culture and lifestyle of the area you’re visiting, and if you’re traveling to a country where you are unfamiliar with the language, try to memorize a few key phrases before you head off. The free app “Duolingo” is a super helpful language-learning tool with tons of games and puzzles.
Are you a seasoned world traveler with no qualms whatsoever about living in an unfamiliar environment? If so, good for you, my friend, go right ahead and skip this step. If you’re anything like me, preparing to study abroad may leave you feeling a little, okay a LOT, of nervous anticipation. Regardless, don’t let that stop you from pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. Embarking on a study abroad program allows you to explore a new environment and acquire new skills, friends, and memories along the way. Obviously, I am no travel expert, as this is my first time studying abroad, but I hope these steps are helpful in your travel plans!
Until next time,