Meredith Brock is a student at Mississippi State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is studying abroad with ISA Service-Learning in Lima, Peru.
1. Take a guided tour in your placement language
Listening and understanding a new language is difficult especially with different slang words, dialects, and paces of speaking. Tour guides often speak slowly and clearly, which along with the visual aspect of tours, aides in understanding new or unknown words.
2. Eat like a local (or at least try)
Food is a huge part of many cultures. Whether it’s the pride a host mom has in her creations, meeting friends at a local restaurant, or the characteristic dish of a region. While some local foods might not appeal to you, enjoying the local gastronomy is another step to experiencing the culture.
3. Trust your leaders
These people are there for a reason, so no matter how little the problem they are happy to help you. For me, being in a new city was overwhelming, so having someone to give me some guidance was very helpful.
4. Take advice from other students
Other students have been exactly where you are and know all the tips, like how to use public transportation, where the best coffee shop is, or how to use the local slang.
5. Know when to rest and when to get out
Even though being in another country is exciting, it can also be stressful and tiring. Set aside rest time so you’re not tired when other opportunities come.
6. Explore your community
There are many subcultures and hidden gems in one city, so get out and see everything!
7. Keep doing things that interest you
Doing things you love is a good way to relax, but also find how others do the same in another culture.
The world awaits…discover it.