a letter to future abroad students

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Dear future study abroad students,

I am so, so excited for you. You are about to embark on what I hope is the adventure of a lifetime. As someone who just finished a year abroad, here is a miscellaneous mix of advice and tips. Now, some of this advice may be cliche, but sometimes cliches are true! So without further ado, here’s my advice:

Number one: take care of yourself. I cannot emphasize this enough! Take care of yourself. Studying abroad is hard. You are rebuilding your life in a completely new environment. That is stressful and can be very emotional. It is so important to continuously check in on yourself and take care of yourself. Studying abroad gave me the space to learn what self-care looks like for me. I implore you to do the same. Whatever self-care looks like for you, even in the smallest of moments, please, please take care of yourself.

Number two: bring vacuum bags. This is especially helpful if you’re going somewhere where it’ll be cold at any part while you’re there. They made packing my bulky winter jackets and sweaters much easier. They were also great for trips where I only had my backpack. I could fit more stuff in my backpack when I vacuum-sealed it.

Number three: Explore outside of your program. It is easy to get stuck in the bubble of your study abroad program. While the connections you make in your program are wonderful, I highly encourage building relationships outside of it too. If you want to do something, do it even if it means doing it alone. Some of my favorite memories abroad came from solo ventures and meeting great people I wouldn’t have met otherwise.

Number four: Always have a little bit of cash on you. You never know when you’ll need it, even if you are in a mostly cashless place. On more than one occasion, my friends and I would go somewhere only to find out it was cash only and have to find an atm. It’s always better to be prepared (and avoid more atm fees).

Finally, number five: try a new thing every day. This does not mean you have to do something grand and super exciting every day that knew. Anything new to you counts. That can literally mean taking a different turn while walking somewhere. Doing this in Denmark helped me appreciate and find joy in the more mundane moments of studying abroad. It’s also always great to try new things. Sogo explore. Try a new thing every day.

Overall, I wish you an amazing study abroad experience. I hope it brings you everything you want and more.

Signing off,

Olly