Studying abroad is a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that allows students to gain a global perspective while making unforgettable memories. But no matter how much you try to stay prepared, there are just some things that you have to experience for yourself when you land. And while they might vary from place to place, for the most part they tend to be pretty universal. Here are the five realizations you'll have when you arrive in your new country.
1. Money isn't the same as it is back home
If you're lucky, you'll end up in a country where everything is cheaper than what you're used to. But if not, then get used to eating out a little less and cooking a little more. You can try to start budgeting while you're still at home, but you'll still make the same face when you pay $13 for a burrito.
2. You can get where you need to go without a car
OK, so maybe this won't be such a shock to you, depending on where you're from. But coming from such an inaccessible city like Los Angeles, there's definitely a liberating feeling that comes with the realization that you can go anywhere you want on the cheap with just one card.
3. Animals can be terrifying
Perhaps you'll end up either in a part of the world where the animals aren't constantly trying to eat you, or too close to a metropolis for it to matter. But if you're like me and end up in, let's say, Australia, then you're out of luck. From magpies that sound like dying, screaming children, to ibis the size of small turkeys that will fight you for food, even common birds can be a source of terror. Just try not to freak out too much the first time one gets too close to you.
4. You can speak the same language and still have no idea what someone is saying
Sometimes it doesn't matter if you go to another English-speaking country; trying to understand the lingo can be just like learning a new language. But eventually you'll learn to just nod your head in agreement after the third "I'm sorry, could you repeat that?" and hopefully you won't get into too much trouble.