By Abbie D’Errico
Maybe you’ve just finalized and submitted your application to study abroad or had an epiphany that Europe is the place you want to be. Regardless, congratulations, you’re going to Europe!!
Time to get down to business..
It can be overwhelming to say the least to get all the details worked out for your trip. Booking a flight. Packing. Saying goodbye. Deciding where to travel. If you’re anything like me then PROCRASTINATION is probably your middle name as well and that is like kryptonite in the tourism world. Here’s one lesson I learned after going through the process of getting ready for a nine-month journey abroad.
It’s one of those situations where ignorance really isn’t bliss, instead it is extra dollar and euro signs, and maybe even a few British pounds. And that USD to GBP exchange rate isn’t the most fun at the moment.
Swap that time you spend wondering or stressing into time well spent researching. Do a bit of surfing on the World Wide Web, read a few blogs, you’ll receive the best information if you talk to someone who has been there before. There are many sources for information all over the Internet that can help you to prepare for your time abroad. Chances are, if you’re reading this then you’re already ahead of the game!
Some things to note..
Take advantage of all discounts! Sign up for all those promotional emails that you used to ignore. They’re now your golden ticket to saving money! Many hold insane discounts that you wouldn’t know about otherwise. Discounted airline fare websites are key.
From USA to Europe: Studentuniverse, statravel
Within Europe: Skyscanner, EDreams, RyanAir, Momondo, Vueling, Hipmunk.
Like I mentioned before, talking to people really is the best source for information. I know it may be a bit offsetting at first, talking to a stranger. But there are plenty of people who have been in your shoes and are beyond willing to tell you all about it. If you’re studying abroad, your university or program more than likely have a list of emails for previous students that have offered their information. If they don’t or if you are going abroad for other reasons, find a blog you like to read and contact the author with any questions that have yet to be addressed. Any blogger that is passionate about travel and their blog will be grateful that you posed the question. More often than not, someone else has the same question. Not only can these conversations help you with the logistics: what to pack, U.S. items you want to bring with you, navigating the cities, etc. but they can also help with the emotional side of being abroad. Yes, culture shock can exist and having a go-to-person that has dealt with it makes a world of difference.
The last tip I have to offer up is..
GET EXCITED! You’re going to Europe!!