Studying abroad is your one chance to frolic around Europe in your golden years while earning credit for classes. A semester abroad in the City of Lights will serve as a breeding ground for memories as well as mistakes.
While abroad, you might find yourself with your guard down when the Parisian sun is high and morale is low. With that said, before you jump onto the back of a vespa with James Franco’s doppelganger, be mindful that it could be the story you tell at your wedding or it could be a gelato date with Ted Bundy. Before you take the leap across the big blue pond be sure to follow these tips:
1. Host a dePARTYng soirée.
Be sure to swap Skype screenames with your best gal pals and the hottie tottie with a swimmer’s body in your Econ lecture if you’re feeling ballsy (if he thinks you are a total weirdo it’s fine because you can literally flee the country). It is critical to keep in the loop with gossip and who swung on the rafters at Lion last Wednesday because there will be times when all you want is to see a friendly face.
2. Make copies of your passport and e-mail them to yourself.
If things get dicey and you wake up on the beach in Ibiza with no shoes, no wallet, and no dignity, it will make your trip to the American Embassy a little less awkward if you have some form of identification. Beware of Yacht Week in Croatia as well because it is fully capable of claiming the morals of even the classiest of sorority women. After all, us faithful Red Lion groupies tend to underestimate the aftershock that good alcohol that yachts can have.
3. If they tell you not to drink the water- don’t.
You can only survive off of champagne and strawberries for so long my dear friends. If you know you are going to an area where the drinking water is sketchier than Boneyard Creek on a Saturday night then be sure to plan accordingly and stock up on hangover-sized Dasani bottles.
4. GET OUT THERE.
It is easy to see the Sistine Chapel through the lens of your iPhone, but sometimes you really need to breakup with Snapchat and take in your surroundings. You will be amazed at what a little quiet time and reflection can do. At the end of the day you just might find yourself gazing into a masterpiece at the Louvre next to your future husband and you will want to be flirting with him, not SIRI.
5. Dress your best.
The last thing you want is to look back on your study abroad photos and feel like Helen Keller could have picked out a better outfit for you. It might be a little challenging to neatly organize your personal collection of J. Crew, complete with statement necklaces and a miniature Sephora into a 50lb. suitcase, but it is always to better to over pack than resort to chronic outfit repeating. Shopping wherever you stay is always an option as well but be mindful that although you will find a good amount of familiar brands, the exchange rate might drain your bank account faster than a trip to Neiman after a bad breakup.