~by Caitlyn BucknerBackstrom
Studying abroad can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life, but it does come with a lot of organizing and planning. There are countless things that you will need to do before spending time in another country, like renewing your passport and buying plane tickets, but here are just a few things that might make your study abroad experience even better.
1. Check in with CSU Study Abroad office
You have likely talked with CSU’s amazing study abroad people, but before you pack your bags and hop on that plane, you should check their webpage or email the office to make sure that everything is good to go! Here is a link to their website if you need it!
2. Make a packing list
Spend a little time on the internet to research the place you will be staying – what is the weather like? Will you need to bring anything special? Then jot down a list of things you want to make sure to pack, that way when you’re packing last minute (let’s be honest) you won’t forget anything important!
3. Get a travel journal
While you are in the midst of your study abroad you feel like you will remember each experience forever but when you get home, slowly, parts of your trip will fade from memory. But! If you document your experiences every day, you can go back to your travel journal anytime you want and remember exactly how amazing the food and everything else was.
4. Create a budget
It’s very important to set yourself up for financial success by creating a budget before you leave. Do some research and find out how much the average toothbrush or sandwich costs in the place you will be visiting and then make a budget for how much money you want to spend each day. This will help you keep from spending money on things you don’t really need.
5. Pick out books
Before you leave, grab a couple of travel books about the place you’re going and read them! Then make sure to bring a book or two to read while you travel! Bringing lots of books can weigh down your luggage so we recommend investing in an electronic reader or reading app for your phone. There are many options depending on how much you want to spend.
6. Find maps
Be sure to print out a map of the place or city where you will be traveling. Use Google Earth or Google maps to get a larger overall map and smaller more precise maps. You will be so happy you have them on hand if you get lost and your phone doesn’t want to work.
7. Research local customs
While you are online researching for packing and budget making, be sure to check out local customs and traditions. In some cultures, it is considered rude to tip, but in others, it is considered rude not to tip. Things like this are very important to know before you leave, that way you can be prepared for anything.
8. Get a reliable backpack and suitcase
No matter the amount of luggage that you are traveling with, it is so important to have reliable pieces. Let’s face it, traveling can be a rough and tumble business and you don’t want to have to blow your budget buying a new suitcase if yours breaks.
9. Download movies and music
Picture this; you are all seated and your plane is about to take off. You put on your headphones and go to turn on your music but there is none! Traveling, especially if you are going a long ways away, can be tedious, but having music and movies on your devices makes it all the more bearable. However, many music applications like Pandora and Spotify won’t work in airplane mode, so be sure to download what you want to listen to before taking off.
10. Spend time with your friends and family
Studying abroad is an amazing and rewarding experience but it does mean leaving everything you know. In order to stave off the inevitable homesickness be sure to spend some time with your close family and friends before you head off to your next wonderful adventure.
We hope that you have a safe and amazing study abroad this summer!