5 Things Every College Student Should Do Before Studying Abroad

Studying abroad can be one of the most exciting but stressful times for any college student. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to travel the world on your parents’ dime! I’m studying abroad for almost five months at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, so I wanted to share five things that have helped me prepare for the transition.

1—Check fashion dos and don’ts. If you’re like me, you’ve never been to the part of the world that you’re temporarily moving to. Even if you have, chances are you were a tourist and still didn’t have a clue how the locals really dress. Do some research: ask your friends who have studied abroad in the same area, search the internet, or contact your local Style Guru. When I was figuring out what I should and shouldn’t pack for my trip, I asked my fellow Style Gurus for some advice. Apparently, people in the Netherlands think it’s weird to wear shorts or leggings. Trust me—do the research and save yourself some room in your suitcase.

2—Make a bucket list. Exploring a different country, let alone continent, can get stressful. Culture shock, classes, new friends, and a million other things will occupy you as soon as your plane touches down. Making a bucket list in advance takes one of those things of your plate, and ensures you don’t forget about all the cool countries you want to visit on the weekends.

3—Get the Eurail appThis is another thing that will make your life so much easier. Europe has an amazing public transportation system and an equally amazing app to go with it. Since the trains cross multiple countries, they rarely change, allowing you to plan trips months in advance!

4—Invest in stylish, comfortable shoesDoes anyone else have nightmares of the gym shoes your mom used to make you wear? Yikes. Comfort doesn’t mean sacrificing style. No matter where you study abroad, you’ll most definitely have to do a lot of walking at some point. Having blisters or sore feet can ruin a trip, so don’t trade comfort for style either. The perfect balance can be found in sneakers. The cuter gym shoe has been trending for a while now and is perfect for exploring the world on your feet. Here’s a bonus tip: snag your shoes a couple of months before you leave so you can break them in before you jet off.

5—Treat yourself. Whether you’re leaving for three weeks or six months, do something nice for yourself! Studying abroad is just as scary as it is exciting. You have to be willing to take risks and try new things to study abroad, which warrants something extra nice just for you. There are bonus points if your reward helps you feel more comfortable in your new environment. Here’s an example: I love manicures, and I always feel more confident when my nails are done.

How did you prepare to study abroad? Comment below!