5 Tips for Newly-Arrived Study Abroad Students

Michael Massaad is a student at the University of Dayton and a former ISA Featured Blogger. He studied abroad with ISA in Madrid, Spain.

1. Map out your destinations

If there’s anything good about traveling to a brand new city like Rome or Madrid, it’s knowing what sights you’re going to once you hit the ground running. For most of you, this is going to be a weekend trip to another country or a vacation in between classes, so having everything mapped out makes the entire trip more enjoyable and still lives room for plenty of spontaneity.

2. Buy things outside of the city center

Most of the things you’ll find at the city center are expensive and super touristy, that’s why taking a train ride a few districts away might lead to finding more authentic clothes, food, and gifts that come a much lower price. Plus that’s usually your first destination, so don’t get sucked into all the glamour and shiny objects.

Blog 1.23. Book the overnight bus…trust me

Sometimes booking an overnight bus can mean a few things:

1. You save money on another night at a hostel.

2. You can sleep (though may be rough) on the way back.

Same thing with the overnight train. Tickets are usually cheaper and you won’t have to go through security checks.

Blog 14. Dine and Dash

Definitely not the dine and dash you normally expect, I’m talking about taking advantage of those local food vendors while you’re on the go. These aren’t food stand vendors you find outside of baseball games–most of the food is specially made by family owned restaurants. I was always stopping at these little vendors on my way to class or whenever I was on the road to satisfy my giant appetite.

Blog1.35. Simplify your life

If you think about it, you’re mostly going to be traveling from country to country, so I always followed the one big (travel) backpack rule: which means being able to fit your basic necessities all in one bag, so that traveling would become easier.

Backpack Basic Necessities

  1. Multiple pairs of underwear
  2. Week long pairs of socks, and ones that are breathable for lots of walking
  3. 2-3 t-shirts
  4. One pair of traveling pants, another pair of jeans that could be nicer to go out with
  5. Light flannel (for day-time travel)
  6. 2 dress shirts that you can rotate
  7. Water can, to refill on the go
  8. Sunscreen, basic bathing necessities (traveling shampoo, soap and towel)
  9. 2-3 pairs of shoes and slippers (for showers). One nice dress pair and some excellent walking shoes
  10. Last but not least, a journal and camera to record all of your amazing adventures.

One extra tip before I leave you to go out and explore: I know it’s tempting to hit all those main destinations like Rome and Paris, but there are also so many more beautiful places to see in Europe….So go out there, the world is yours!


You can see more of Michael’s work here.

Questions? Let us know!

The world awaits… discover it.

Author: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Since 1987, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students in the United States and Canada the opportunity to explore the world. ISA offers a wide variety of study abroad programs at accredited schools and universities in 73 program locations throughout the world.

3 thoughts

  1. Hi, I’m also an international student blogger, and find those tips to be really interesting. Though, I am not studying in a really large country and therefore didn’t really need a map upon arrival, compared to the small group of Seychelles islands I come from Mauritius if pretty huge. I will definitely say that trying out local food vendors is a must!

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