Study Abroad Prep Tips

30 May

This summer, I will embark on a journey I would have never thought possible for me, I will be studying abroad in Germany! Studying abroad during my college career let alone visiting Europe had only seemed like a dream to me. But, I’ve learned that if you work hard to reach your dreams, they will come true, and I have never been so excited for anything! However, there is a catch. You need to make sure you are fully prepared before taking on an adventure abroad.

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Before getting to the fun part of studying abroad, you have to do the not so fun stuff first, and preparing for the trip is definitely a process. If you are interested in studying abroad, here are some tips I think will benefit you in preparation:

1. Pay attention to deadlines and start in advance! Each study abroad program will have specific deadlines for when things need to be completed by like purchasing your airfare, getting your passport, and much more. Missing deadlines can be a big deal and could jeopardize your chance to study abroad, so make sure to stay on top of things! Also, you want to make sure to begin the application process at least a semester in advance. Doing so will give you enough time to fully prepare everything you need.

2. Know your finances. Firstly, you want to find a program that is in your price range. Although everyone would like to go to London, it is also very expensive so considering other locations can be very helpful. Look into the total cost of your program which will include housing, tuition, airfare, food, and extra expenses to see how much you need to budget for. If you cannot afford the total cost, consider reaching out to family members for help, looking into scholarships and grants, and compare rates of different loans. Doing research on your finances will help you determine which programs are realistic and how you will be able to cover it all.

3. Do research of your host country. It will be very easy to get caught up in the excitement before studying abroad. However, there are a lot of little things you might not even consider but are very important to be aware of. For example, Europe has a different electrical system than here in America, so you would need to buy a plug adapter in order to charge your electronics. Another thing is that in Germany they don’t give you plastic or paper bags at grocery stores, so you will need to provide your own cloth bags to grocery shop. Knowing the little things like that can really save you from looking too much like tourist. Lastly, get to know the customs of the country. Find out what is respectful in that culture. Although some characteristics and norms are okay here, they may be considered rude and offensive somewhere else.

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To be honest, you will end end preparing everyday until you depart for your trip like I have. But, overall I believe this experience will be truly life changing. I have never been outside of the country before, so for my first experience out of the states to be in Europe is very special to me. While I will be focusing on my studies at the university in Germany, I will be able to experience the culture, food, and way of life there as well. The world is such a big place, why not go and see it! I hope to encourage you all to take that leap out of what you are familiar with and go explore somewhere new!

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