5 Things You Have to Have for Study Abroad

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Believe it or not, summer is almost over and it’s time to start thinking about what you need to get before heading back to college in a few short weeks. Being a junior, you’re probably thinking that this will be easy as pie seeing as you have gone through the routine for two years already. But for many students, junior year will bring something that they have never encountered before: study abroad. Packing to study abroad is a lot different than just packing for going back to school. For one thing, you can’t bring your whole wardrobe on a plane with you (unless you’re really good at packing). So to get you started, here are the top five things that you have to bring with you when you head off to study abroad this junior year:

1. An Amazing Picture-Worthy Camera: Your phone can be great for snapping quick pics of your friends as you get ready to head out for the night, but when you are abroad, you are going to want a nice camera to get crystal clear photos of all the new and amazing sights you are going to see. You aren’t going to want those blurry little phone pictures. You don’t need to go crazy and buy a $5,000 camera, but splurging on a nice camera may make you happier in the long run than relying on your phone’s mediocre picture taking abilities.

2. A Dictionary: If you are heading off to a country that speaks any language beyond English, this is a must. The last thing you want is to get stuck in the middle of the city with no way to communicate if you’re lost or looking for something. Be sure to pick this up before you go and learn a few essential lines like “where’s the bathroom?” and “how much does this cost?” It will help you a ton when you get there and realize that not everyone knows (or is willing) to speak English.

3. Weather Appropriate Wardrobe: Be sure to check and see what the weather is like where you are heading, especially considering the season you’re off to. If you go to school in California and are planning to study abroad in England in the fall, your wardrobe may not translate too well. Now is the time to look it up and figure out if you will need to make a shopping trip before you head abroad. It’s better to get this out of the way at home rather than having to scramble once you get there!

4. A Journal: You’re bound to have many great adventures being in a new country and you’ll want to remember all those memories long after you come back. While it may seem old fashion, a journal can be a lot of fun and unlike most things today, it won’t be lost should your hard drive crash one day. It’s also something that you can share with friends and family once you’re back though can be something that you can keep to yourself unlike blogs or Facebook posts.

5. All Important Documents (and copies of them): Nothing can ruin a study abroad program faster than arriving at the airport and coming to the great realization you’ve forgotten your passport.  Always check before to make sure that you have any passport, visa, driver’s license, etc. Also, make copies of all of these and leave one set with your parents and keep a set for yourself. Keep them separate from the originals so that if you lose one set you still have the other.

Above all, it is important to have a positive and open attitude when studying abroad. You will get the opportunity to experience and learn plenty of things that you haven’t  witnessed before. Make sure to embrace those opportunities and enjoy yourself!

Don’t forget to take lots of pictures!

Photo credit: @boetter

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