Student to Student
Student's Guide to Study Abroad
Talk to People
Talk to people who have been on your selected program. Ask them about their experience. What did they do for fun? Were there any interesting people who gave them insights into the country and culture?
Get in-country contacts: friends, relatives, family, friends of friends. Dont be shy. Call a contact up when in your host country. Tell them you are new to the country and would like to meet with them to chat and find out a little about living there. Offer to take them to dinner or buy them a drink. They normally are more than happy to assist you in getting to know the place. People are usually pleased youre interested in their country and will often be proud to show you around. Smile, ask questions, test your language skills, and dont be afraid to laugh at yourself or of being laughed at by others. Its all part of the fun.
I went to Spain inexperienced, naïve, and deluded by stereotypes. I left Spain with a new perspective on the world, a greater sense of independence, and a passion for travel. The most important things Ive learned are: be prepared for anything, assume nothing, and keep smiling. Follow this and youre guaranteed success on any trip you take.