How to prepare for studying abroad like a pro

Courtesy of Ross Parmly on Unsplash

Shannon Clendenen

Studying abroad can be a dream come true; however, there are certain steps you should follow to make that dream a reality.

Before you embark on your study abroad journey, there are a few things you need to know in order to have a successful trip.

Nicole Humphrey, a study abroad advisor at Iowa State, has compiled helpful information for students interested in traveling abroad.

Having trouble deciding where to start? Humphrey suggests meeting with a study abroad advisor or visiting the Iowa State study abroad website to begin program exploration. She also said to meet with an academic advisor to initiate the process of course selection. In addition, you may want to consider meeting with the financial aid office to discuss your options for affording your trip.

Before leaving America, Humphrey said it is important to notify your bank, give your insurance information to your emergency contact and have a valid passport.

Humphrey said her recommended travel essentials include comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, an outlet adapter, a portable charger and clothing viable for different occasions.

“It’s just fun to meet new people, go to new places and try new foods,” Humphrey said.

Students going abroad are commonly afraid of not knowing anyone in the program, visiting places that don’t speak English and missing out on what their friends are doing in Iowa. Humphrey said many students experience these fears, and it’s important to talk to someone about it.

“There are some ways students would grow related to job skills,” Humphrey said. “So becoming more independent, more resilient, more adaptable, being able to work with people with backgrounds different than themselves, problem solving and budgeting.”

Despite the initial culture shock, you will gain valuable skills from your time abroad. Humphrey said your newfound development will be beneficial to your personal and professional life.

“I truly do think that from a study abroad experience you come away from it with a new understanding of yourself,” Humphrey said.

What are you waiting for? Your journey awaits.