7 Tips for Students Who Plan on Studying Abroad

  • Travel Team
Mar 05, 2013

If you're a student who plans on studying abroad next semester, there is some information you need to know that your college's program might not tell you. Here are seven tips to help you out during your exciting semester overseas:

1. Student Universe

This budget website is only available to students, and it verifies this by making you sign up with your university email.  How does it work?  Simply input your destination city and the site searches every airline to find the CHEAPEST flights out there. For example, I just searched for a one-way flight from NYC to Milan, Italy… the result? $443!  (Delta priced me at $2,657)  The down side, the flights usually have a connection, but to me it is worth saving the $2000.

2. Couch Surfing

Depending on where you go, you may have the opportunity to travel to other locations on the weekend (Europe is great for this).  Couch surfing is networking site built completely on trust where hosts provide a couch or spare bedroom for free.  Just make sure you pay it forward and open your home to other surfers in the future.  Also, don't be an idiot  about who you stay with!  Do your research and make sure your hosts/guests have plenty of  reviews.

3. Get Insurance

I cannot stress this enough!  In a period of 4 months you will get sick or injured and you will probably lose a possession or have one stolen from you.  Any of these things could dampen your mood or potentially ruin your exchange.  Maybe money can’t buy happiness, but a $50,000 medical bill will buy stress and depression.  Get insured.  It costs $1 a day. → Study Abroad Insurance. ←

4. Trains are Expensive

Especially if you are in Europe you will want to travel around your country, and possibly visit other nearby nations.  Before your trip you may hear people talk about how cheap the trains are… I have no idea where they get this information. Trains really aren't that great of a deal and they definitely burnt a hole in my pocket. They may be your only option, but make sure you check out all your possibilities before you book a trip:  planes, boats, cars, buses.

5. Pick-Pocketing: A Tourist Initiation

The rumors are true, you will probably be pick-pocketed. Do what you can to prevent it; buy the dorky wallets that hide under your clothes, keep purses on your lap, and sleep with your luggage if taking overnight public transportation. But more importantly, do what you can to make life a little easier if you do get initiated.  Have a good size cash reserve in the bank, make copies of ALL travel documents, and last but not least know where the nearest Embassy is!

6. You will have a choice of 3 activities - pick 2

When you study abroad you will have three main activities: school, sightseeing, and, well, the social life. In my opinion pick the latter two.  Don’t be a bad student, but worrying too much about the “study” takes away from the “abroad”.  Besides, you will have school back home, and most study abroad programs don’t play into your GPA so you just need to pass for the credit... sorry parents!  So don’t ground yourself when you’re abroad – take in the scenery, talk to strangers, learn from the people -- the world is your university!  You will never have an excuse to travel like this again.

7. Write!

For many of you it may be daunting, but write every day.  You think the pictures you take will be enough, but I promise they are not!  Have a journal, get a blog, or if you are lazy do what I did -- I wrote detailed emails to my family and friends, and at the end of my trip I copied them into one document.  The means don’t matter, just make sure you write!  WORD OF ADVICE: Anything you write digitally, print it out or back it up.  I learned this the hard way…

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