13 Things I Wish I Knew Before Studying Abroad
Start writing a post

13 Things I Wish I Knew Before Studying Abroad

While I certainly don't know everything, I do know a few things that I wish I knew before I went.

13 Things I Wish I Knew Before Studying Abroad
Jesse Plichta-Kellar

This summer, I studied abroad in Germany for about a month and then traveled through a couple other European countries for another month. While I certainly don't know everything, I do know a few things that I wish I knew before I went.

1. STOP OVERPACKING. Yes, you are overpacking.

I brought two small suitcases (both the size of a carry on) and a backpack. I should have packed less and combined the two little suitcases to one medium one. If you're going to study abroad, there's a 90% chance that you are overpacking when you initially pack. Trim it down as much as you can. Don't bring heels. Bring more shorts.

2. Look up the kitchen and laundry words.

Look, I'm not great at German anyways, but I still don't know what the words for the settings on the washer were. I kind of just guessed based on the temperature and runtime and hoped for the best. Seriously, whatever the language of the country you are going to is, look up the kitchen and laundry words.

3. Get a cellular plan for whatever country you're in.

I didn't realize that the equivalent of a TracFone actually wasn't that expensive. I could have avoided going the month without wifi on my phone, but oh well. It didn't bother me too much not to have the internet with me constantly for a couple months, but it was definitely different.

4. Always make sure you have your train ticket.

This applies for local as well as international tickets. Double check, triple check if you need to. Avoid that fine because it fell out of your pocket in the room at your hostel.

5. Consider reviews seriously when booking hostels.

Nobody is writing those reviews to mislead you. If they say you have to pay for wifi in the reviews, that means you have to pay for wifi. If they say there are free tours at a hostel, than they really have free tours. Pay attention to what other travelers have said.

6. Call your mother. Don't worry her.

She doesn't care about the time zones and your grandmother cares even less. When you get to new locations safely, let your family know.

7. Try the different foods while abroad.

Just check about your dietary restrictions first. Bring emergency snacks though, because you never know when a dietary restriction might be difficult to accommodate.

8. Actually be consistent with your blog.

I knew that I should do this ahead of time, but life got ahead of me.

9. Boat tours without food are amazingly boring.

I went on two boat tours: one was great and the other was super boring. The difference was sitting comfortably at a table with a snack versus cramped with no food. Both were mandatory activities anyways, but the difference was astounding.

10. Start biking places seriously before going abroad.

In the US, biking is a hobby, something relegated to a trail. It is not the case elsewhere. Be prepared for aggressive bikers though. It's okay though because in a week or so you'll be nearly as aggressive in the bike lane.

11. Take a ton of pictures.

Okay, so I did this one, but still super important advice.

12. Be ready to be the representative of your country.

I am not some kind of American Lorax, but that did not stop some of the folks in other countries from questioning me on American politics and society like I make the decisions. I don't mind talking politics and culture, but the degree to which some people hold individual Americans responsible for everything is a little startling.

13. Using the money in other currencies is weird.

Okay, so Euros more or less function like dollars (even if the exchange rate hurts a little) but the 1 and 2 euros are coins. The bills are colorful too. Also, lots of places don't take credit cards. I realize that this is all relative, but at first, the differences are weird. Be prepared to think in a different currency or have to translate everything mentally back to dollars to calculate the cost.

Overall, I had an amazing time abroad but that's what I wish I knew ahead of time. If you're reading this and studying abroad, don't make my mistakes: be original and make your own.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
bruce springsteen album cover born in the usa

Anyone who was born and raised in New Jersey (or anywhere really) knows of Bruce Springsteen, whether or not they like him is a whole other situation. I hope that his hundreds of classic rock songs and famous high energy performances, even in his sixties he can put on better concerts than people half his age, are at least recognizable to people of all ages. Love him or hate him (I identify with the former) you have to admit that some of his songs and interviews have inspirational quotes and lyrics.

Keep Reading...Show less

New England Summers Are The BEST Summers

Why you should spend your next summer in New England.

Marconi Beach

Three years ago, I chose to attend college in Philadelphia, approximately 360 miles away from my small town in New Hampshire. I have learned many valuable lessons away from home, and have thoroughly enjoyed my time spent in Pennsylvania. One thing that my experience has taught me, however, is that it is absolutely impossible to beat a New England summer.

Keep Reading...Show less

Fibonacci Sequence Examples: 7 Beautiful Instances In Nature

Nature is beautiful (and so is math). The last one will blow your mind.

illustration of the fibonacci sequence

Yes, the math major is doing a math-related post. What are the odds? I'll have to calculate it later. Many people have probably learned about the Fibonacci sequence in their high school math classes. However, I thought I would just refresh everyone's memories and show how math can be beautiful and apply to physical things everywhere around us with stunning examples.

Keep Reading...Show less
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments