Study Abroad Dos and Don’ts
We are in the home stretch! Just two weeks left until we have to pack up and say goodbye to CYA. In this time I have traveled to 6 different countries, 3 Greek Islands, and all over Greece. Needless to say, I picked up on a few do’s and don’ts of traveling!
Do learn the language. Learn a few words of the local language and use them! While living here in Greece I have learned the basics of Hello, Goodbye, and Thank You along with some other useful phrases. When you say these things in someone’s native language their faces light up with delight!
Do be practical when packing. Always check the weather forecast during your stay. You don’t want to show up in shorts when it’s only supposed to be 55 degrees. Only pack what you will need – those heels might go great with that top, but won’t feel so great after a full day of walking. Bring a jacket – it might be warm during the day but usually gets cold in the evenings. Stick to packing the essentials.
Don’t be “plugged in”. Trust me, no one back home is doing something more exciting than you! Being on your phone can take away time exploring a new city or take away time spent with your friends. You’re not going to remember being on your phone in Rome, you ‘re going to remember the time when you got lost and found the best food you’ve ever had. You’ll have plenty of time to update your family and friends on your experience abroad when you get back.
Do ask questions. Ask if you can drink the water from the tap or what the best restaurant in town is. Getting advice from the locals is the best way to go off the beaten path and really see a different side of the city you’re in. Even if you don’t want to sound stupid for asking, just do it, you won’t regret it.
Do keep a journal or blog. You won’t be able to remember everything you did two weeks ago in that one city. And everyone will want to know what you’re up to. This is an easy way to recount your time abroad and is also a keepsake for you. Read it in 2 months after returning home and the memories- of that time you got lost in Italy, the late nights watching Disney movies, and that time you had to wake at 3:30 am to catch a flight home- will come flooding back.
Don’t dress too sporty. Those Nike shorts and Nike sweatshirt and Nike hat you always wear to class will only get you stared at (and not in a good way). All it says is, “I’m a tourist!” People in Europe tend to dress nicer and trendy for day to day errands and definitely don’t go out in a ‘groutfit’.
Do meet the locals. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to hang out with the locals from another country. They will provide you with insight into their culture that you wouldn’t have gotten on your own.
Do know what is appropriate to wear out at night. It is normal to get really dressed up to go out clubbing here, but if you’re just going to a bar, maybe leave the skin-tight dress at home.
Don’t leave valuables item in plain view. Pickpocketing is a very real thing here in Europe. After being here for almost 4 months, I still have a hand in my purse at all times and my phone gripped tightly in my hand. There have been some students who have had their phones so always be aware of your surroundings.
Do have the time of your life! Take a chance and step our of your comfort zone. Channel your inner Travel Channel self and stay curious no matter where your journeys might take you. Studying abroad will open your mind to a whole new world of culture and traditions. It will leave you with unforgettable memories that will allow you to discover a whole new side of yourself.