Five Things You Have To Do Before Your Semester Abroad

By Rachel Mihulka

1. Notify Your Bank:

The last thing you want to do is get to your study abroad destination and have your credit/debit card blocked because you didn’t set a travel notice. Make sure your cards are activated internationally and keep an extra credit card handy in case of emergencies. Keep in mind many places in Europe only accept cash, so be prepared to withdraw from ATMs and have potential ATM fees.

2. Pack The Essentials:

Packing for a semester abroad is difficult. Unfortunately, airlines make it extremely expensive to bring multiple bags, so packing smart is very important! First things first you should take a look at the weather forecast in your study abroad city. Will it be freezing the whole time you’re there? Or pretty warm until November? This is crucial because it will help you decide what to bring and what not to bring. Plan to dress in layers, and only bring what suits your activities. Remember, you can always buy a thick jacket or rain boots when you arrive at your study abroad city.

Need a packing list? We’ve got you covered.

3.  Read Up On The Culture And Customs Of Your Host Country:

I can’t reiterate this enough! Did you know tipping a server can be considered rude in Italy? Or that eating food without utensils in France is considered sloppy? Knowing these little facts will help you blend in like a local and make your transition into foreign life as smooth as possible.

4. Brush Up On Basic Language:

Speaking of communication… Whether you’re going to a country that speaks a foreign language or even one that speaks English, it is so important to learn how to speak before you go. Learn the most important words, and phrases that are native to your city. Note: There many different dialects in countries. Make sure you research the phrases and words that are specific to your area. Besides, you never know when you’ll be wandering through the streets of Florence and desperately need a restroom.

5. Make A Travel Bucket List:

Start writing down the things you want to see, do, taste, and experience while you’re abroad. Do you want to ride on the back of a Vespa through Rome, taste macaroons Paris, sip on beer at Oktoberfest, or go skydiving in the Swiss Alps? Once you’ve written it down, make a plan on how to check each of these things off your bucket list.

Want to travel to some of these destinations? Bus2Alps can help you do that. Visit to look at our travel itineraries.

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