Be familiar with local practices and customs.
It’s important to research and have knowledge of cultural customs because a small oversight can lead to a big miscommunication (for example: food service tips).
Take advantage of your free time.
Look into local events, festivals and celebrations going on during your stay to experience different cultures, foods, and history. Walking tours and local museums are great ways to explore the city's neighborhoods for exciting happenings.
Travel on your own.
As great as it is to travel with friends, there is a beauty in traveling alone. You gain a sense of independence and confidence that may often surprise you. Travel independently also offers an exciting opportunity to meet new people and explore new adventures.
Practice the local language.
Although English is considered to be a universal language spoken throughout the world, and the FLP classes are taught in English, being able to community in the local language is often a plus. Knowing simple phrases and vocabulary in foreign languages will enhance your experience - especially when visiting shops and restaurants, or when conversing with locals.
Travel with the mind of a local, not a tourist.
Think beyond the travel guidebooks - don't be intimidated to make connections or seek assistance from locals when you need directions or advice, since they can be helpful resources. Take a break from the popular sightseeing locations and explore small local cafes and restaurants.
Don’t be afraid to extend your stay.
Make the most of your international experience by exploring options to extend your stay. Some of our students have taken advantage of their time abroad by traveling to nearby countries or cities before starting their FLP or after their program has ended. Discuss with your professors for any opportunities that can broaden your international experience.
Some airlines offer inexpensive flights to neighboring cities or countries. For example, if you are staying in Germany, you can travel to Italy or Spain in just a couple of hours. Trains are another good traveling option, as most European railway systems are highly connected. You can experience completely different cultures, foods, and history in a matter of hours.
Avoid overpacking and only bring what is truly necessary. Remember to leave room for souvenirs if you plan on bringing gifts home. If you plan on extending your travel, getting on and off airplanes and trains can be stressful if you have extra baggage. Also, review your airliner's luggage weight restrictions to avoid overage fees. Some of our abroad lodging accommodations provide laundry facilities, offering students the option to pack light by washing your clothes onsite.
Document your journey.
Studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, or a beginning to your lifelong international experience. You will meet all types of people, visit breathtaking destinations and have a memorable time. Take plenty of pictures and videos, start a video blog or journal to document your experiences so you share them with friends and family. It also serves as an inspiration or motivation for yourself and others to travel the world.
Be smart with your money.
Have a budget and make good judgement when spending, as expenses can add up when you are traveling. Being familiar with the different currency systems or using a credit card that doesn't charge any foreign transaction fees are just some of the helpful ways to be smart with your money. Read more about accessing money.
Be cautious and stay alert.
Be aware of your surroundings. In fast-paced urban cities or rural areas, be mindful and take care of your belongings. Check out more safety tips.
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is a free service offered to U.S. citizens to enroll their trip to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. It helps with safety precautions to make informed decisions when traveling.
Pack to dress appropriately.
Check the weather forecast and cultural dress codes to prepare a variety of clothes for different occasions. When visiting churches and synagogues, it’s important to be mindful and dress appropriately. Also, remember to bring comfortable walking shoes.
Have your medications readily available.
Make sure all your medicines are in their clearly labeled containers and have them easily accessible in your carry-on luggage. Bring a copy of your medication prescriptions.
Label your luggage.
Make sure to label your luggage tags with your name, local address and phone number. Exercise precaution and cover your tags so your personal information isn't exposed.
Bring a converter.
Your charger for your phone, iPad, laptop, may not work abroad without a converter. This may also come in handy when using your hairdryer so check with your host country to see what type of voltage is used. Buy the appropriate adapter or converter you need to plug your devices into the outlet. Check out WorldStandards.eu to see voltage requirements.
Tips on traveling light: onebag.com
General packing list: travellerspoint.com
Prohibited travel items: Transportation Security Administration