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!
This past weekend, I traveled to Budapest with WSA with a couple of friends from my university abroad, and I couldn't have asked for a better trip! After arriving at the hostel, we met Bogi, our tour guide for the weekend, who was instantly friendly and welcoming. Throughout the weekend, Bogi was an amazing guide! She showed us some great places for shopping and food, as well as the top sights around the city. You could tell she loved her job and never passed up an opportunity to share about her hometown and some of its history. She was so friendly and was sincerely interested in us as individuals and did everything she could do accommodate our priorities for the weekend (whether it was food, shopping, nightlife, sightseeing, etc.) I would highly recommend WSA's guided tours for any student studying abroad who wants to explore more than their university's city!Katrina Alford, Concordia University - Irvine ~ AIFS Richmond, Spring 2015
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