Pre-Departure Dos and Don’ts

Written by jdinino September 18, 2017

In preparation for my first study abroad experience, the past few weeks have been nothing short of hectic. Learning to step out of my comfort zone to book this trip was a learning experience within itself. Over the course of this summer, I have prepared for this trip not only materialistically with supplies, but also mentally. To say goodbye to everything I know and love at home for three whole months sounded like such a far-fetched idea at first. However, this trip started to feel progressively more real with each passing day. While some aspects of preparation went very smoothly, others, not so much.

Therefore, I thought it would be beneficial to share with you a list of Dos and Don’ts for preparing to go a semester abroad!

DO: Make time for your loved ones!

Falling into a specific schedule is easy in the summer.  It is easy to become overwhelmed by the stress of going abroad, spending time with friends, working, and going on vacation. Dedicating time to say goodbye to your loved-ones is essential. After all, this is three whole months without seeing your siblings, being able to talk to your parents on a regular basis, and even eating your grandmas famous cooking.

DON’T: Overpack

Personally, I know that 50% of my closet consists of clothes that are too nice to give away, but I just never wear. No matter how many times I come across my old favorite shirts that I haven’t worn in two years, I just cant seem to reincarnate them back into my everyday attire. After I packed several items like this, thinking “it would look good in Europe!” I realized I didn’t have enough room for more practical clothes. It is best to stick to simple clothes that are layering-friendly. Since Europe consists of different climates depending which regions I’m visiting, I stuck to packing light shirts and plenty of outerwear.

DO: Make lists!

No sane person can keep track of every little task that should be completed before going abroad. Compiling a To-Do list early in the preparation process saves a lot of stress down the road. 

DON’T: Procrastinate

Start checking off that To-Do list early! The list can be pretty daunting, but some of the most important tasks are the easiest, for example, calling your bank to let them know you’ll be out of the country. Its a short phone call but prevents a big headache.

DO: Save up money!

I worked at a low-stress, part-time job this summer and put a bit of money aside each week. One of my best decisions in this process was starting to save money early on. My advice is, a few months before your trip, budget how much you plan on traveling and decide how much money you should be saving each week. The sooner you start saving, the less you will have to worry about scrambling for funds last minute.

DONT: Be afraid to ask for help

I guarantee any questions or concerns you have can be answered by people you know that have studied abroad before. Between friends, relatives, and even random strangers you find in the grocery store, there are endless resources. What I’ve come to discover is that people that have studied abroad before, love talking about it. They have been in your shoes before along every step of the way, so they will have loads of knowledge and advice on traveling.

Overall, this can a stressful process, and pre-departure jitters are normal. Staying organized will make the system significantly easier. Now that I am all packed up and ready to start this adventure, I can’t wait to see where CIMBA will take me!