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How to Be Safe and Smart When Studying Abroad

by Lauren, our college blogger

I have previously written a blog entry for WHN about the benefits of studying abroad and what to think about before starting your overseas adventure.

Now that the application and admission process is complete, here are some basic travel tips on how students can make their time abroad as memorable and stress-free as possible!

Research, Research, Research!

Study up on fashion trends of your destination. As a study-abroad student, the last thing you want to do is stick out like an American tourist. Pay attention to what people wear and try to fit in as much as possible. This will be a key step if you want to be completely immersed into a culture.

Mind your Ps&Qs. Learn the social customs and proper etiquette to show your respect for the culture, as well as avoiding offending anyone unintentionally

Know the current events of both your own country as well as your new home. People are going to be interested in where you come from and what you think about their country. Knowing the political structure is very important, as many people will ask your opinion as an American.

Pack Lightly

The biggest bummer imaginable is lugging around large amounts of luggage, especially internationally. Even through studying abroad usually means having to pack for a semester or two, try to pack as little as possible.

Only bring necessities you cannot live without or get outside of America. Everything else can be purchased in your study-abroad location. The majority of airlines only allow two large pieces of luggage, which could still be a lot to travel with.

My friendswho that have gone or are currently going abroad have suggested taking a big travel backpack that you can find in sporting good stores. They are easy to carry and you can fit a lot into them. Leave room in the bags for all those fabulous souvenirs you pick up!

Keep Safe

Just because you are having amazing adventures abroad does not mean safety takes a back seat. Use the same common sense that you would use in America

Avoid going out at night alone for the obvious reasons. Going out with a group of friends is much more fun anyways!

Always have a mode of communication so if anything does go wrong, you will not be stranded without help.

Befriend locals but be careful! All the same rules apply. They could be great people at first but can easily turn into unwanted personalities.

Get a Cell Phone

One of the most important requirements of the majority study-abroad programs is to have a cell phone within the first week upon arrival. A cell phone is crucial for emergencies, as well as keeping an active social life!

Instead of buying an international cell phone plan in the United States, go for the pay-as-you-go phone in the country of choice. These are much cheaper and do not tie you into binding contracts.

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