Traveling abroad can be such an interesting experience – especially as a student. It can be exciting, challenging, and stressful all at the same time. There is a lot to prepare and research. So, I decided to put together 6 tips to help you study abroad in college and jumpstart your experience.
The first tip is always to apply early. The second tip is to understand the difference between your ideal program and your best fit program – they are often different.
Third, is to be sure that you research the social and cultural norms of your abroad country. You don’t want to offend while abroad. Keep reading to hear these tips and more in greater detail!
1. Start Applying Early!
Applying to your study abroad program early is integral to facilitating a smooth process. Some programs have limited spaces so the earlier you can get your application in the better. Starting your application early also gives you more time to prepare and ensure your trip is as smooth as possible.
Also, the earlier you start the application process, the earlier you can get in the running for scholarship aid that can help cover your costs. Scholarships like the Gilman, FEA, and others are excellent options to help you cover your study abroad costs – you just need to start working on their respective applications early.
2. Understand the Difference Between Your Ideal Program and Your Best Fit Program
Sometimes your top school or location may not be the best choice for your budget and that’s alright. It is important to aim for your ideal program while weighing other factors. Based upon factors like your budget, trip duration, and classes available, you can then determine what you are able to make happen and what must be let go.
Of course, your actual trip might not be exactly what you imagined, but that doesn’t mean it will be any less enjoyable.
3. Researching Social and Cultural Norms of Your Abroad Country
Always research your host country’s social and cultural norms. You don’t want to be that person that is a literal walking embarrassment, because you are breaking a cultural norm. Do your due diligence. Additionally, doing the proper research and educating yourself helps you become more connected with the host country.
4. Travel Light
Yes, you want to make sure you have awesome outfits, but try and pack just the essentials. Remember that you’ll be able to buy plenty of things when you get to your host country, and probably at a cheaper price! You’ll also want space for souvenirs, so don’t overpack.
A tip within a tip is to only bring solid-colored clothing. Bring clothing that can go with multiple pieces, that way you can bring less but still have a lot of combination options.
5. Your Cell Phone
Having the right phone plan when you go abroad is a necessity. Some providers charge insane fees for using your phone abroad while others just don’t work period. This is personally where I wish someone would have given me more guidance. So, here’s a suggestion from my experiences.
Either get a sim card that you can use when you arrive in your host country or ensure that your current plan will provide service at a reasonable cost. I use Google Fi as my provider and they have been perfect for my travel needs.
I also save a ton of money by using them as my everyday provider and have great service – to read more about how I save $300+ a year on my phone plan check out the link below.
Read More: How I Save $300+ A Year On My Phone Plan
6. Going Off the Beaten Path
While it’s great to visit popular tourist attractions, you’ll often find some amazing hidden gems when going where the locals go. This is especially true when it comes to searching for local cuisine. Oftentimes, the best-tasting food is not at a fancy restaurant – it’s at the local mom-and-pop shop down the street. So take a stroll!
Putting It All Together
Studying abroad is definitely an experience that can alter your life. Make use of these 6 tips to help you study abroad in college. They can help make the lead-up a smooth and painless process. Let me know what tip was your favorite in the comments below!
What are your thoughts? Any tips to share?
Best of luck adulting!
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About The Author
Donald Williams, Jr.
Donald is an avid believer in helping young people prepare for adulthood. He spends his time working on Adulting Starts Here and helping new adults plan for the future. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and going to the beach.