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Must Haves: Studying Abroad

Attributed to: Wonderlane

Attributed to: Wonderlane

Over four years ago I embarked on one of the most life changing endeavors of my life…I studied abroad. This was actually my first time ever traveling very far without any friends or family. I hadn’t experienced anything like this before, so I really didn’t know what to expect. I searched and searched for tips and advice on what to take with me on my journey, but, as luck would have it, I still overlooked and procrastinated on some very important things… Let’s take a look.

1.  Passport

  • Please, DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT wait until the last minute to get this… As laws have changed, it may take a little longer to obtain.

2.  Visa

  • I traveled almost 5 hours the week before just to get this visa. I know, I procrastinated until the last minute. Don’t be like me and spend your entire birthday in a waiting room. That leads me to my next statement, never leave to study abroad the day after your birthday! You have a zillion things to do beforehand that take a lot of time and effort.

3.  Positive Attitude

  • The first day I was there…I was terrified to eat the food. I survived off of sour patch kids for an entire weekend… not healthy.

4.  Host family’s telephone number

  • This one is quite scary! I flew into town, and when it was time to call my host mother, I was missing the last digit! Thank God the girl from school was there, we stayed at her friend’s.

5.  Dictionary

  • Whichever country you plan on going to, make sure you have your dictionary handy. I absolutely forgot mine and had to buy one (which was expensive) while I was there.

6.  Safety

  • I was just chatting and hanging out with my friends when a huge scorpion bit me, numbing my entire right arm. Make sure you know your environment…  Also, if the city officials give you a list of fruits not to eat, please, don’t eat them… as they may be hazardous to your health (I ate a strawberry that made me incredibly sick)!

Overall, despite the scorpion bite (OUCH!) I was quite alright and had an enjoyable stay. I hope you are able to take my crazy experiences, do something different, and make yours a more enjoyable journey… Bon voyage!

Lakia lives, breathes, and sleeps learning of other languages, cultures, and nationalities; she has lived and studied abroad at La Universidad de Guanajuato in Mexico. Although, right now, she only travels within the United States (she is working on her Doctorate degree) she still has vivid memories and experiences about her travels abroad. From how to apply for a visa to what not to wear, she gives her readers advice, tips, and suggestions on how to have fun and safe travels. You can also check out more of her writings at:

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    1. Good advice! Where did you study?

      1. Hey! I studied at La Universidad de Guanajuato in Guanajuato Mexico– La Escuela de Idiomas. It was such a wonderful experience, MINUS the stupid moves I made lol… Have you studied before?

    2. I did all four years of my undergrad in Montreal, so technically yes. It really was an amazing experience!

      1. Wow! That’s so cool… I wish I could have done four years somewhere. Well, maybe a different country each year lol that would have been super cool

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