|Any of you dream about studying abroad, about to study abroad, or already have? |
Let me know in the comments!
|This is much harder on cobblestone streets, so don't be this lady.|
|Sort of a random photo but I like, so I put|
4. Know the Climate. It sounds so simple but REALLY look at the typical climate/temperature of where you're going. I assumed Italy would be warm for spring semester and we only got to wear our summer clothes the last two weeks of study abroad. And we weren't prepared for the rain in Florence. AND I checked the climate before I left, I guess I just didn't believe it (Under The Tuscan Sun tricked me, dammit!).
|Learn how to use the exchange rate boards if you don't already!|
6. Phone. If you have a smart phone (I'm guessing most of my readers), and are taking it abroad, explore your options. International phone plans on your current carrier are probably not the best for longer term study abroads. They're costly. You can get your phone unlocked (different policies for different networks but it was so easy and quick to do through Verizon for my iPhone) and rent an international SIM card for whatever country you are studying in or a general European SIM. You can also rent phones/SIM cards once you get there. Pre- and post-paid options available. Many schools/programs also offer deals. Look into that.
|These are much prettier than the ones I have!|
8. Don't bring...School supplies (paper, folders, binders) that are the wrong size. They use A4 in Italy and Korea (and elsewhere), so my folders/binders/paper were all too small for the GIANT PAPER. You can bring some for personal use, but some of my professors only wanted the correct size paper (aka NOT the 8.5 x 11 paper I had). If you're going to school there, there WILL be a place to buy school supplies. Bring black pens if you want, they often require things to be written in pen (again, you can buy once there).
|This is the luggage scale I have, about $10 with shipping in the US|
|Victoria's Secret Stretch Hip Pack $29.50|
10. Safety Items. The truth is, you will be a tourist while you're abroad. You will be a target for pickpocketing. If you're a girl, take a purse that zips AND latches shut, but also one big enough to fit your phone, water bottle, camera, Chapstick, or whatever else you might need for a full day out exploring. I know people who have had their purses zipped open and robbed without them even noticing. People also had phones stolen right from their hands (they did notice that one). This was in Florence, Italy. So buy a safe purse, definitely nothing that is open at the top. I found a lot of cheap options at Forever 21 and Nordstrom BP. Also consider buying an invisible fanny pack (a super thin one that goes under clothes and is hidden) for carrying cash, card, key, passport, ID, etc. It sounds stupid but once I took a girl I just met to the hospital and we only knew her first name and she saved herself by having an invisible fanny pack with all her information in it! Even Victoria's Secret has something similar, but much cheaper and thinner clasped versions can be found online.
There are my 10 tips for those who are gearing up to go abroad! If you have anything to add, leave a comment below so others can have even more good ideas of what to pack, leave behind, and prepare!