by Jon Sender | Back to Guide
My attention to detail in this study abroad guide has probably driven you insane, and that’s anticipated to be honest. I don’t expect you to do necessarily everything I did, but I want you to know what you can do to prepare as well as possible, should you choose to. Plenty of people get by just fine without going to same lengths as I did, but then again, I’m grateful for having prepared so well myself because some of this stuff really saved me.
Packing light allowed me to comfortably lug my baggage around the airport after landing. Preparing a shopping list allowed me to quickly grab everything I needed when I had limited time on an organized shopping trip. Having MagicApp allowed me to call my doctor at home when I was diagnosed with a hernia, and my bank when they lost my wire transfer.
Going on study abroad will feel like moving into college all over again, just more extreme because culture shock will be at play as well. You’ll see new places, meet and befriend new people, make new memories, you name it. You’ll have moments of incredible highs and lows, and despite the pictures you post, which only show you smiling and having fun, you may come to realize the darker moments you don’t capture are just as important on your journey.
My last pieces of practical advice are the following:
Some people, myself included, tend to get nervous before trips. If you fall into this category, have some chocolate. Chocolate has a magic way of calming nerves.
If you’re staying with someone for a few days, use that time not only to get over jet lag, but also to shop for bedding and towels, because you’ll want a real bed to sleep on your first night on campus. During your first weeks, take time to find an ATM, bus pass, grocery store, haircut place, laundry room, friends, family, and also a doctor. Keep track of people you know and can hang out with, so you know who to look for when you get lonely, and also write down any adventures you want to have and any places you want to visit, so that you have a physical reminder. Make use of the lists in your binder, your contacts, and all the incredible preparation and hard work you’ve already put into this life-changing experience. Never forget the reason why you’re doing this: for YOU.
Ironically, however, all the preparation in the world cannot prepare you for whatever lays ahead of you, and you’ll eventually learn to accept that and take the experience as it comes. The are plenty of good resources out there for you to consult when you have problems, but I’m going to leave it up to you to find them. The only one I can really give you is my own blog, which documents what I went through when I studied abroad myself. You can find it at www.jerusalemjon.wordpress.com.
When you’re really stuck, remember that your resources at home and abroad are still within reach. Your study abroad advisor, parents, friends, and even me are all here for you…just probably sleeping because of the time difference. Though in all seriousness, you can even email me using the contact form if you have a pressing question.
And don’t forget, the US is still only a phone call away because you downloaded MagicApp, right?
Good luck! Thanks for reading, and I wish you all the best.
End of Part 4, tasks to complete in the days before your trip