Advice for newly-accepted study abroad students

Tags: Study Abroad,Student Travel,budget travel,WSA Europe

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!


Pauline Blatt, University of Notre Dame

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I traveled to Prague with my friends on a weekend trip, and going there I knew absolutely nothing about the city. Signing up for WSA was the best decision ever, because not only did I learn so much about Prague but I also had SO much fun! Our tour guide Adi planned out the whole weekend for...

Pauline Blatt, University of Notre Dame ~ Notre Dame Global Gateway, Rome, Summer Break 2016

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