6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Studying Abroad
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6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Studying Abroad

YES, it is worth it!

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6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Studying Abroad
Do not get discouraged, you will get your amazing photos, but just make your study abroad more about the trip and education, rather than your socials.

1. IF YOU AIN'T TALKING MONEY, I DON'T WANNA TALK

When you decide you want to study abroad everyone will start discussing the payment plan for your adventure and, let me tell you that there is a good reason for the never-ending money talk. Studying Abroad is expensive and colleges will make sure you pay for every little step that will be made throughout your time abroad. I suggest savings, scholarships, or loans to help cushion your financial fall. Besides the amount of money it takes to travel abroad (my Maymester to Paris was an average of $3,000 + spending), I was educated on currency and exchange rates. Of course, the currency is different in about every country, and so are the exchange rates that will be charged every time you purchase something abroad. This exchange rate will be a 2-8 percent tax added to every debit/credit card purchase made while you are studying abroad. For example, if you bought a five-euro Coke (YES, their Cokes are five euros), then it would convert into about 7 US Dollars, then an added 2% tax, would make your coke around 7.14 US Dollars. However, they do not charge for cash exchanges at booths you will see all over the city or tax. However, the luxury tax is real and if you are planning on buying the $500-2,000 luxury item to carry home with you, there will be a higher tax on that item that you can get refunded back to you at the airport when headed home. I like to think of myself as a girl with financial wits, however, when it comes to studying abroad, my philosophy was "experiences are an investment that will always be worth it".

FRIENDS... OR LACK THEREOF

Yes, I went into my study abroad not knowing everyone that would be attending the same one. However, I made friends fairly quickly and my experience became a whole lot more enjoyable. If you are worried about not making friends during your study abroad, I have full faith that you will, because no ordinary, boring soul chooses to do a study abroad. Also, if your study abroad is for a semester, then do not be scared to reach out when you are feeling lonely. I suggest making a phone plan so that you can talk to your friends and family back home, it will make everything so much easier. I struggle with anxiety, so being able to talk to my mom 5,000 miles away, was something that brought comfort to my mind.

THE MOVIES ARE LYING TO YOU

If you are expecting a Hollywood movie, Lizzie McGuire study abroad trip...ERASE that from your mind. Go into your study abroad with no high expectations, because yes, the cities are endlessly gorgeous and a never-ending feeling of history and life that you see in all of the movies. However, it isn't as magical as you make it out in your head to be. The pictures you see online, probably took all day to make happen, because you are not the only one trying to snatch those likable Instagram pictures. Do not get discouraged, you will get your amazing photos, but just make your study abroad more about the trip and education, rather than your socials.

FASHIONISTA, HOW DO YOU LOOK?

I think a lot of people try to avoid being seen as a tourist, especially when traveling to Europe. However, the French and others know that you are a tourist. There is just no denying it, no matter how good you look in a beret. So, wear what is going to make your trip and days better. A lot of girls/guys on my study abroad dressed business casual, and others dressed in athleisure, either way, the locals knew they were a tourist. If you're studying abroad for a whole semester, your style will probably adapt to where you are, and the friends you make as well.

FYI, all Europeans dress like they just walked out of a fashion magazine, which defiantly encouraged me to dress better when getting ready for the day.

AND I OOP.. MY WALLET IS GONE

Yes, pickpocketing is real and not just something people write articles about because they want you to be over-aware. You really do need to be overly aware, there are tons of people panhandling in other countries to try and get money from the tourist that had enough money to travel there. Only one out of the forty students I went with, unfortunately, got pick-pocketed while eating lunch, when her purse was on the floor. So, clutch your bag and sit anywhere with your belongings between your legs.

WE HAVE THE BEST FOOD

America, hands down, has the best food. I was basically running to the Chick Fil A when my flight touched US soil. Therefore, our clothing sizes are different. When you are searching for the perfect item to take back home with you after this memorable experience, remember that America is a pretty obese nation compared to the others, and when they say it is an extra-large sweatshirt, it is probably medium or large. So, even if it makes you feel so much bigger than you actually are, go up a few sizes if you want it to be an oversized fit, and make it a size up if you want it to fit true.

BONUS

Make your study abroad memorable, go out and have fun, do not be afraid to try new things, talk to new people, and love the life you are living while studying. YES, take lots and lots of pictures, however, do not forget to set your camera down and just be there, be all there. No matter where the plane is taking you when you head out, you will enjoy this moment, so make the most out of it.



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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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