15 Essential Tips for Students About to Study Abroad

By Dani Thomason, WSA Intern
San Diego State University | Study Abroad: Barcelona

So you’ve decided to make the best decision of your life by studying abroad? Bravo! Whether you will be eating endless gelato in Italy, exploring the rainforests of Costa Rica or basking in the sun in Australia, those four months will be unforgettable. So now it's time to prepare yourself. How do you even begin such a daunting task? Well, here is a list of 15 tips to consider before flying to your new home away from home.

1. Plan, Research and then plan some more

Even though you are only studying abroad in one city, that doesn’t mean you are limited to seeing just one place! Many students spend their free weekends in different towns, cities, or even countries (especially if you are studying abroad in Europe where everything is just a couple-hour plane ride away and also much cheaper than any flights we are used to in the states). My suggestion is to look into the weekend destinations you might want to visit before you go. I personally started my research with websites like, which will just be the spark for your wanderlust.

2. Grow your piggy bank

No matter how much you save, you will always feel like a broke college student. That’s because you have never in your life blown hundreds of dollars on just one weekend of experiences (well maybe just in Vegas) and then repeated several weekends in a row. My best advice is to save as much money as possible beforehand. Trust me: you would rather spend your money on an experience abroad than an expensive jacket before you left. Let travel be your motivation to work hard and save your money!

3. Get a credit card with an electronic chip

You will find that most countries (specifically in Europe) all have chips on their debit and credit cards. This is basically an advanced system for identification purposes that the United States is still lagging to implement. Either way, it is important to go to your bank and inform them about your travel plans and while you are there, inquire about ordering a card with a chip. Also, make sure you have more than one card. It's possible that your bank may find your spending abroad as fraudulent and decline your transaction. Come with at least two cards for back-up so you don’t run into any issues.


Alex Dornacker, Central College

Happy Backpackers

I had a blast visiting Prague for the first time with WSA. To start, the hostel that WSA booked for the tour was incredible. The entire staff was very helpful, the rooms were nice, and there was a really cool bar downstairs with live music every night. Our tour guide was top notch as well. He was really fun and flexible with whatever our group wanted to do while making sure we saw all of the major sights, good places to eat, as well as the night life! I thought this trip was much easier to book through WSA rather than figure it all out myself and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to get the most out of their trip!

Alex Dornacker, Central College ~ Center of Modern Languages, Granada,, Fall 2015

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