Top 10 Tips for Studying Abroad

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Emma Karant
A scenic view of a small Italian town by the water.

In the summer of 2022, I was fortunate enough to study abroad in Florence, Italy! This was a very exciting experience for me, but mixed in with the excitement was a feeling of fear of the unknown. I did not feel prepared going into this new experience. Because of this, I have made a list of 10 tips everyone should know before studying abroad!

1. Keep a journal

This is something that I did not do, but I really wish that I did! However, my roommate kept a journal and wrote in it every day. Even if it was a little entry, it helped her remember all of the small things that happened that we sometimes forget about!

2. Bring comfortable shoes

Wearing comfortable shoes is one of the biggest pieces of advice I can give! On most days, I was averaging 20,000 steps! Trust me, your feet will thank you!

3. Make new friends

Although the whole experience may be very intimidating, remember to keep an open mind! Make friends with people who you would not expect to be friends with. I didn't know anyone when I flew to Florence, however, I kept an open mind and tried to meet as many people as possible!

4. Go to new places

Especially in Europe, traveling to other nearby countries is fairly easy and cheap compared to being in the United States. My best advice would be to take advantage of this! Traveling to other countries on the weekend was very common, and it was really cool to be able to see different parts of Europe other than where I stayed!

5. Have a budget

With all of that being said, it is essential to have a budget. It is best to research the average prices for things where you are studying, and then base a budget on that, as well as how much you can afford. It can be very easy to spend too much money when you are abroad, so it is essential to do this before you leave!

6. Always have some cash

Lots of places in Europe are cash only, so it is helpful to have cash on you at all times just in case. I suggest getting this at your bank before you go abroad because it can be expensive to make this transfer outside of the United States!

7. Send postcards back home

This is a small tip that I wish I did more. Since we traveled on the weekends, I wish that I sent my family a postcard from each country or town that we visited, and then kept one for myself! This is a small way to keep your family or friends updated with your travels, and it gives you a tangible thing to have from each place that you visit!

8. Learn a little of the native language

It is really helpful if you try to learn at least a few words and phrases of the language that people speak in the country you will be staying in! Although many big cities such as Florence, Rome, and Paris can understand English well, it can be very helpful to try and learn the language while you are there, and it helps you understand the culture better!

9. Do not be afraid to ask for help

Although sometimes this may be scary, do not be afraid to ask for help from your professors or people you may meet in passing! Being in a new country can be confusing at times, and it is okay to ask people how to do something or how to get somewhere!

10. Remember to rest!

Although studying abroad is so much fun, remember to rest while you are there! You want to take care of yourself, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get some sleep and have downtime!

Most importantly, remember to have fun! Studying abroad is one of the most incredible things I have ever done, and I would not change my experience for anything. Soak up the moments that you are there because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

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