After being here for over a month, I believe I have learned a lot from my experiences that I want to share with others so I decided to do a do’s and don’ts list of studying abroad.
Don’t Stay Inside Your Comfort Zone
Just the act of traveling to a foreign country to live there for four mouths is likely to be daunting to most people. Before flying here, I had never left the time zone and had only ever been in the United States. Although it was a big step to come live in Italy, I had dreamed of traveling for years and know that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to do so. Once I arrived, I’ve been trying to step outside of my comfort zone whenever I can, having new experiences that I will remember for the rest of my life. It is easy to just go to class and stay in your apartment for the rest of the time, but you are missing out on the best part of studying abroad. I’ll be the first to say that I’ve had several days where all I do is sit around my apartment watching Netflix, but I don’t let it become the norm.
Do Push Yourself and Take Risks
Try that weird menu item you’ve never heard of. Go take that solo weekend trip. Jump off that cliff. Because that will be the first thing you regret not doing when you get back. I won’t pretend to have mastered this, I still struggle to push myself to try new things, fearing that I won’t enjoy it, but it has always ended up being worth it, even if I hated it.
Don’t Stress About Packing Too Much
In the weeks leading up to my departure, I was very stressed about what I was bringing and how I would possibly fit it. However much you think you’ll need of something, you’ll need less. Socks? You don’t need 20 pairs. Sweaters/sweatshirts? You don’t need 8. And most of the stuff you can bring you can buy there. For example, I brought travel size toiletries for my weekend trips and in case we couldn’t go to the grocery store in the first couple of days we were here, but I didn’t bring full size bottles of them unless they were a specific product that I didn’t think I could find here. With the exception of a few items, you can buy it in your host country so you shouldn’t stress about forgetting something at home or running out of room in your bags.
Do Some Research on Your Host Country
As I mentioned above, there are only a few items that will be difficult to find in your host country, but I recommend that you are aware of those before you go. For example, I knew that sunscreen with any SPF above 30 would be hard to find in Italy so I brought a full size bottle with me which has been very helpful. However, I am hoping that the UV index goes down soon because I am running out. I looked in a nearby pharmacy to see what they had and there is nothing above SPF 30, is all in small bottles, and is very expensive. By doing some quick research about where you will be studying abroad, you can be prepared and hopefully reduce how much you are surprised by when you get there.
A Message from the Office of Global Engagement:
The safety and security of Drexel students is a priority for the University. As part of the efforts to support Drexel students that are studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Global Engagement has conducted a rigorous review of programming and provided additional support to participating students with customized pre-departure orientations and regular check-ins during the required self-isolation period and the term.