Advice for newly-accepted study abroad students
Posted by Andy Steves in on April 24, 2015..
By Shannen O'Brien
If I do recall correctly, it was around this time a year ago that I received the infamous acceptance letter to study abroad for an academic year in Madrid. If you’re reading this article right now, congratulations on getting accepted to your study abroad program! You’re in for a great semester or year. There are a few things I strongly recommend before leaving for your host country and starting your semester:
First, reach out to former students from your school/study abroad program that went to the same location that you’re planning on studying in. There’s no better way to get insider tips than from veteran students who experienced it firsthand. They’re the ones who are familiar with the classes at the participating university, they know how to navigate the public transportation, and can advise you on avoiding certain social faux pas in your country. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions: these students want to share their experiences! You might even get recommendations for amazing restaurants, clubs, or which host family to stay with!
Start getting all of the paperwork filled out for student visas NOW. Once you make your deposit in the international programs at your home university, you’re locked into your program abroad. Our federal government can be very slow in processing paperwork, and even though your program advisors could dissuade you from acting early, you’ll be doing yourself a favor in the long run. Take it from me: my mother and I were running around last minute and really lucked out by getting our own appointment with the consulate due to a late reception of the government paperwork that we had submitted.
And finally, do some independent research. Look up the monthly temperatures for your city, start learning some common expressions (if you’re in a non-English speaking country), and maybe even investigate potential trips you want to take. The earlier you make reservations, the cheaper it will be! And if you’re like me and other study abroaders, you’re going to want to travel. Congrats and good luck!
I've been in Europe since the beginning of January and have traveled every weekend. This Easter Weekend was by far the best one. The hostel was perfect and super convenient, I made a ton of new friends, and our guides (Andy, Rhianne, and Elena) made sure we saw absolutely everything in the city. The meals included were all absolutely delicious, and Andy even brought snacks every once in a while to hold us over in between meals. We were given our Easter Mass tickets the night before and strategically planned to be in the front for mass. We followed Andy's suggestions and got to sit in the very front for Mass. The wait was worth it and so was every cent of the trip's cost. I barely spent any of my own money, just on transportation to and from the airport, gelato, and food on my last day there. I would 100% recommend this company to all of my friends!Crystal Cascante, University of Florida ~ AIFS London, Spring 2016
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