I’m a planner. When preparing for a trip, I love the feeling I get after I’ve booked a reservation or created an itinerary. From that point forward, I can be sure that I have optimized my getaway with the power of thinking ahead, and maybe being a little bit of a control freak.
Preparing to study abroad in London for 3 weeks isn’t exactly the same as planning for a vacation, though. While it is pretty easy to anticipate what will happen on most trips, this is my first travel experience where I can expect the unexpected. I need to be able to adapt my London schedule to accommodate study time, be flexible enough to spend time with new friends, as well as be sure that I’m free to partake in the exciting trips ISA has planned for us temporary Londoners, such as visiting the Tower of London and enjoying afternoon tea at Harrods. This is an instance where planning too far ahead could kill the spontaneity and fun of living in a new country, which is the exact opposite of what students look to get out of studying abroad.
So what can natural planners do before studying abroad to make themselves feel a little more at ease?
- Read up! Pour over all the information you can get your hands on about your host country, from magazines to tourist guides, and bookmark everything that interests or concerns you. I have tried to buy books and magazines that are informational, but still small enough to take on the plane with me for some last minute brushing-up.
- Make as many lists as your little heart desires. Make lists of attractions you would like to visit, school tasks you need to accomplish, restaurants you are interested in trying. Anything that starts to build up in your brain, empty it by making a list.
- Take a deep breath, and have faith that your study abroad experience will be awesome. Some stress regarding a jaunt across the globe is natural, but try not to let anxieties overpower excitement. Don’t worry; if you’re the type who can help but plan ahead, then this moment has probably been long a long time coming.