“Travel the world when you’re young!” “Study abroad if you can!” Especially as students, we hear these phrases a lot. I decided to heed this advice, and although it is well worth it in the end, studying abroad can be an intimidating experience. Therefore, I’ve decided to dish out some tips and tricks for traveling abroad:
1. Understand that the process is a lot of work
Of course, figuring out where you want to spend your abroad experience is a challenge in itself, but there is a whole lengthy process between picking the place and getting there. It includes a lot of emails, meetings, paperwork, and stress.
It can be difficult, but there are always people who are willing to help.
2. Communication is key
You will be communicating with everyone (ESU, your host university, professors, advisors, coordinators, government officials, and more) before, during and after your trip.
You will have a lot of questions, and so will everyone else. Choose your main advisors and keep them updated on every step of the way.
3. Pack light!
You may think you should bring your entire bedroom with you, but DO NOT. Only bring the essentials. Find out what your residence is providing to you.
Keep in mind that you can purchase a lot of the items you want when you are abroad and sell them back before you leave. Photos are a great way to make your living space feel more like home.
All I’m saying is that you should be prepared to lug your bags through airports, train stations, on buses or trams, up and down stairs, across streets, through your residence, etc. So, try to keep your bags lightweight.
4. Know that you may be intimidated when you first arrive
You are in a completely foreign place. You are not used to the way people drive, the public transportation system, the currency, the language, manners, etc. You will be confused, and you may feel scared or lost.
I suggest booking a flight that lands in the morning, so you have all day to find where you are supposed to be. There are kind people in every part of the world. There will always be someone willing to help you.
Best Wishes from Bern, Switzerland,