Four Ways To Prepare For Your Trip Abroad
This article will not tell you that you should book your flight in advance or that you should pack one more pair of socks in your trunk for emergency. You know these basics. But there are some hints you might not know and I am sure they will help you avoid a crowd of unpleasant situations in the first two weeks of your stay. I wish I knew these things back then, too.
Exchange Emails with someone from your new environment!
Could you imagine how hard it would be to arrive in your exchange country without a sure point in your life? Heck no! Before you leave your homeland, you have to make sure there will be someone you can turn to.
If you go as an exchange student, you will probably live with a host family. Get in touch with them, mostly with your host siblings! It is really important that you ask questions about their daily life (such as when do they wake up, what do they eat for breakfast, what kind of chores can you help with, etc.), that will help you integrate into the family.
If you are going to live in a student hostel, you can contact someone who is already living there or someone from the same school (or workplace) you are going to attend.
Getting in touch is also great because you will really need these people to be there for you in the first weeks if you have any questions. They can give useful tips and they can also introduce you to their friends, so it is a nice start to build up social connection!
The language is your friend!
Everyone knows: the better you speak the language, the better you can understand and the better you can be understood. So, whether your language skills are on level zero or you just hit the speaking level of a 3-year-old, it is really time to start learning some basics. You will be very thankful for these slight of words once you’re abroad and even wish you had learnt more!
Study the local map!
When it comes to your first jaunt, it is always good to have a clue which direction you need to go. You have to have picture in your mind of the city so you will know how to find the places you visit often at home, too. Here are some places you should look up: shopping centers, restaurants, gyms, bars, clubs, the baker’s shop, greengrocer, the local park and the library.
Cultural differences can fool you!
Whether you are travelling to the country next yours or to the other side of the world, there will be cultural differences between there and your homeland. Maybe they are not that big, maybe they are huge as a mountain. Regardless, you don’t want to hurt the feelings of the locals by not knowing the local customs. Read about their culture and search for some unusual habits.
Learn that you can’t be prepared for everything!
Yes… I know. You might be asking now: why the hell did I read this article then? These tips help you to avoid some common mistakes that most travelers have made, but they don’t prevent every possible problem. But that’s what travelling is about: to put yourself to the test, try something new and get in situations you have never gotten into before. These situations are the ones which make you much stronger.