How to Get Ready to Study Abroad

You have been accepted into a study abroad program and now want to know what you should do. You cannot imagine packing for a semester/year abroad, you start to worry about money, you find it hard to let some things stay at home, how to go about it?


  1. Image titled Get Ready to Study Abroad Step 1
    Google your new town. You can find more information on their holidays, their weather, and their population. Use Google Street to get a real life view of the town's streets. It's good to picture yourself walking there, imagine yourself smiling and having the time of your life.
  2. Image titled Get Ready to Study Abroad Step 2
    Get the insider info. Try to contact a previous participant for your program or a student from the foreign university. Offer to buy them a coffee and ask them any questions you might have about the school/town. Do not forget to ask about the clothing suggestions they might have or any good phrases/traditions to remember.
  3. Image titled Get Ready to Study Abroad Step 3
    Purchase any items of clothing you might need. A great example would be for a Californian to go to Sweden in the middle of winter. You will need a lot of unusual gear to survive the winter or even the summer. Make it part of your research to determine what is something you will absolutely need. Maybe snow gloves, maybe even a new bikini. Try not to buy a whole new wardrobe since you could use the money to travel abroad or the luggage space but buy the essentials.
  4. Image titled Get Ready to Study Abroad Step 4
    Bring something small from home. Sometimes even pictures, a small toy, and your favorite candy does the trick. You can always have someone send a care package with any other goodies you suddenly realize you absolutely need. A good tip is to have someone fill a $15 international 4lb flat rate USPS box with trinkets from home. You have to remember most "American" items tend to run pretty pricey compared to being purchased in America. A good example is peanut butter, which is pretty pricey everywhere else in the world. If you cannot live with out it, take a little bit to cheer you up when homesick.
  5. Image titled Get Ready to Study Abroad Step 5
    Pack thinking about mix and matching. Do not pack something you can only wear twice during your stay. Make sure you take at least a whole week's worth of outfits and think of at least two ways of combining those to create a new one. You will have a whole three weeks of outfits that way. Try to make your combinations so they can be used once in winter and once in summer. Do not take super expensive clothing since you will be using it A LOT and it will deteriorate or get lost but make sure it's good quality to last a long time. Leave enough space to bring some stuff back too. Don't buy souvenirs that are too big but do bring memories from abroad with you. You will miss it when you are back. You can sell your clothes before coming home to make more souvenir money too.
  6. Image titled Get Ready to Study Abroad Step 6
    Take a little bit of cash to last you until you can go into an ATM. Some countries are very cash based and will not take a credit or bank card. Some countries will not take foreign cash from the street since it could be counterfeited very easily. It is a good idea to obtain at least $100 in their currency until you can encounter an ATM or get a money transfer (moneygram sends money in 15 minutes). It is also good to take a good credit card, let them know you will be abroad and make sure it is universally accepted. Visa and Mastercard are the most popular cards around the world.
  7. Image titled Get Ready to Study Abroad Step 7
    Install Skype on your computer and keep your Facebook updated. Set up Skype dates with your friends once in a while to get over the homesick. When you talk, talk about your new town and experiences not how much you wish you weren't there. Sometimes we get hit with culture shock or loneliness and it's understandable to feel overwhelmed. Remember you will be home eventually though and you have to make your own experience enjoyable. It doesn't automatically happen.
  8. Image titled Get Ready to Study Abroad Step 8
    Understand how your travel insurance works (and buy one!) so you will not stress when you need it most and live in a place you find comfortable not just convenient. It's not a hotel, it is your temporary home so be comfortable, safe and happy.
  9. Image titled Get Ready to Study Abroad Step 9
    Be safe! Do not do something you would not do if you were home. Just because you are in a foreign country, you are not exempt from rules and morals. Learn the local rules and practice good common sense. Take advantage of your opportunities, open yourself up but do not make yourself vulnerable. Always let someone know where you will be or bring a new friend with you!
  10. Image titled Get Ready to Study Abroad Step 10
    When you arrive, treat your jet lag if you have any. Then go ahead and explore the town. Try to practice your language as soon as possible, learn their traditions. You can always ask why someone does something a certain way and be prepared for people to ask you things they find strange in your country. It is an exchange so be a good representative of yourself and your country! Do not be rude and understand everyone is different.
  11. Image titled Get Ready to Study Abroad Step 11
    Buy a travel book for your new country/town or about the continent (some have South America, Asia or Europe books now) so you can analyze your weekend possibilities and provide with more information you might need quickly in your own language.
  12. Image titled Get Ready to Study Abroad Step 12
    Have the time of your life! But still study and be safe!


  • Accept your own foreign identity and teach others about yourself.
  • Keep as positive as you can.
  • Learn where your embassy is, your banks outside of the US number, the closest health center and your foreign school representative. Keep it somewhere you will easily access it.
  • Do try to blend in but still understand you are unique among them.
  • Meet other people in a safe environment
  • SMILE, you are traveling!
  • Remember it is temporary and you have many people supporting you.
  • No one knows everything about their own language so speak to make it better.


  • Do not take drinks you have not seen served and do not take drinks from strangers.
  • Do not go to places where you could be trapped or cornered.
  • Remember, it's not Vegas: what you do abroad will come back to haunt you!
  • Follow the rules and your conscience.
  • Be wary of shady characters.
  • Go out with people you trust and stay clear of any potentially harmful situations.

Things You'll Need

  • Durable, suitable clothing
  • A good travel book or a collection of tips/suggestion
  • Housing
  • Health Insurance
  • Confirmation of Acceptance

Article Info

Categories: Distance Learning