Taylor Shuman is a student at Chapman University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Newcastle, Australia.
As I stared at the calendar on my phone and noticed in disbelief that I had just about a MONTH left before I boarded a plane to Australia I realized something: this is it. And as the song “The Final Countdown” randomly started blasting in my head, I decided I would use my last few weeks to be as prepared as possible for my adventures abroad. Here are a few tips that have been very useful to me that might come in handy for you as well!
This is a pretty obvious one, but saving as much of that precious suitcase space as you can will be a lifesaver. A lot of places abroad don’t have the smooth cement sidewalks that we’re used to in the states, and rolling a bulky suitcase across cobblestone streets can be incredibly frustrating. So when you pack, make sure you ask yourself a few questions. Do I really need this? Can I layer this top so I can wear it whether it’s hot or cold outside? If the answer to these questions is no, or if that shirt has been sitting in the back of your closet collecting dust for years, leave it behind. You’ll thank me when your suitcase isn’t a million pounds and you have space for all the goodies you’ll want to bring home at the end of your trip.
An Apple a Day…
The last few months before you leave can be incredibly stressful. It’s easy to forget to take care of yourself while you’re worrying about passports, packing, and plane tickets. Make sure to take time to exercise and eat healthy. Being in good shape is extremely important for helping you cope with the initial stress and fatigue that comes with traveling and adjusting to a new country.
Home Sweet Home
Spend your last few weeks visiting your favorite places in your hometown. Whether it’s a day at the beach or a morning in your favorite coffee shop, make the most of your time. This will help you appreciate home, while also allowing you to contrast your host country with your home country, so you can learn from and embrace the differences between the two cultures. Try going on a few solo adventures before you leave. It’s inevitable that at some point during your time abroad you’ll have to navigate your new city on your own, so preparing for this will allow you to maximize your time abroad without being afraid of doing things alone.
Save Save Save!
Traveling is expensive, plain and simple. Being abroad and realizing you don’t have enough funds to do all the amazing things that you planned to do can put a damper on your trip. To prevent this, spend your last few months saving as much as possible. Tighten your budget. Buy one less coffee a week. Make eating out a treat instead of a habit. Save all of your change; trust me it really adds up. By budgeting and saving before you even leave, you’ll get comfortable with operating on a budget so you can make the most of your money while abroad.
Learning to explore at home is one of the best things I did to prepare for my exchange – nice tips!
Absolutely! I’ve been doing that quite a bit and I think it’s really going help. And thank you!
I agree, to save before travelling. Honestly, it’s a struggle especially with the good stuffs coming every week in nearby stores! But it’s January, so it’s a great start again. Thanks for this Taylor!
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