Study Abroad Tips
Helpful tips to get you started about your time studying abroad - budget, safety, shopping, and more! From the experts who've been through it all.
Get an International Student ID Card (ISIC)!
- This little card is only US$22 but it will save you $100s all over the world. For starters, use it to get foreign currency at the airport COMMISSION FREE! That's pretty much like gold. ISIC will also save you money on sightseeing, restaurants, museum admission, movies, and more! Use it online at Target.com and Apple Store, too!
Set a Weekly Budget
- You'll open a bank account locally. Whether you plan to live off your debit card or want to mostly use cash, decide a set amout of money to spend the first few weeks. That will help you get used to the value of the foreign currency compared to what you're used to spending at home. Then you can adjust accordingly and will have a good handle on budgeting for the time you're there.
- Consider buying a monthly bus or subway (Underground, Metro) pass! Most public transportation, especially in Europe, is highly efficient and you'll love it. Otherwise, just walk. Just remember that cabs can get really expensive if that's all you're taking.
Protect Your Stuff
- Keep your passport and other important documents safely hidden. You're staying put for a while so you don't need to carry this stuff around. Also, study abroad students will have an ID of some sort from the university they're going to. Between that and your ISIC, you're covered.
- Take travel-size bottles of shampoo, etc with you but plan to buy the big stuff after you arrive. Hauling full bottles of shampoo, conditioner, soap, face soap, and hair product can really weigh your bags down.
- Don't buy all of your souvenirs when you first get there. You'll be in the country for a while and have plenty of time to shop. Plus, you'll want to buy souvenirs while you travel.
- Talk to other people in your program and get tips from them on what to do. They might know the cheapest place to get your laundry done, eat good food, use the Internet, etc.
- Keep a daily journal to note what all you're doing. Even if it's something as simple as "Studied at the library then hit Theo's for a kebab take-away. Got double the sauce. Delicious!" You'll really get a kick out reading your journal years later.
- Bring pictures of family and friends that you can look at whenever you get homesick. It will happen occasionally and having pictures to look at will help it pass.
- Guidebooks ares always a good way to learn about any country you plan on living in or visiting.