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Advice from Study Abroad Alumni

1. General
2. Preparations to go abroad
3. Academics and School life
4. Safety
5. Travel
6. Language
7. Country specific tips


1. General

  • Always be willing to get out and do things every day in your host country. Take advantage of the opportunity.
  • GO! There is so much to do and see.
  • Live like the natives and truly take the time to get to know them and understand them.
  • Force yourself to try new things.
  • Go with an open mind; you will be challenged in ways that you never thought possible.
  • Live with a host family.
  • Avoid making comparisons to America and just accept the place as it is.
  • Treat the experience as LIVING in another country rather than simply thinking about it as visiting.
  • You will get out of it what you put into it.
  • Explore your interests, stay informed, and be open-minded.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It can save you a lot of trouble.
  • Be outgoing and take the initiative to get to know people.
  • Experience the country through the food .
  • Many study abroad providers will suggest cell phone providers you should use to obtain cell phones. It might be convenient; however, remember that you’re permitted to shop around. Do your own research such as talking to your current provider about their overseas offers or look around online.
  • Before you go abroad make sure you call your credit card companies to tell them that you will be using your credit cards outside of the country and that you want to give your parents the authority to override any anti-fraud warnings. Also for emergency cases add some money on your Skype account.

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2. Preparations to go abroad

  • Research/know about the country, its history, the culture, and be prepared for anything.
  • Pack light but bring things that go with the weather of the place that you are traveling to.
  • Know about the conditions of the country and really be prepared with the necessities.
  • Pack only what you really need.
  • Take more money than you think you will need.

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3. Academics and School Life

  • Write often, read constantly.
  • Don’t neglect your classes because they are still important.
  • Get your classes approved before you leave.
  • Keep a journal!
  • Join clubs and actively participate in them and in school events.

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4. Safety

  • Bring extra passport photos.
  • Make sure you have all the important and necessary documents with you at the airport.
  • Know your surroundings and know about what is going on in the country especially in terms of politics.

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5. Travel

  • Travel to other countries while abroad.
  • Enjoy not just the city life but also the surrounding countryside.
  • If you’re in the UK, take the train all over Great Britain. It’s amazing.
  • Make an effort to get involved, and definitely take every chance you get to travel.
  • Take advantage of the Eurail pass if you’re in Europe.
  • Find out about festivals to travel to because they are extremely fun and interesting.
  • Find the cheap deals and discounts available and use them as ways to travel.
  • Visit various regions of the country as differences are vast and interesting.
  • Bring a travel backpack.

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6. Language

  • Don’t worry about not completely understanding everything people are saying as there is slang and different accents that you learn to get used to.
  • Have at least a phrase book if you are going to a country that does not speak English.
  • Try to branch out and make friends with the natives of the country even if it’s a place that speaks a different language.
  • Keep eyes and ears open at all times, for safety and for active awareness for the language and behavior of the natives.
  • Don’t be afraid to use words that you know in the native language.
  • Speaking the language at all times helps you gain better control of the language.
  • If you can legally work in the country, teaching English while in the other country may be a quick way to get to know people and also to earn some money while abroad.
  • When speaking a different language, don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

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7. Country Specific Tips

  • CHILE: Bring warm jackets for spring semester.
  • ENGLAND: Be prepared for price differences but don’t let that limit you.
  • ENGLAND: Even if they speak the same language, the culture is very different so learn about it rather than simply hanging out with Americans.
  • ENGLAND: Try to become familiar with British manners, mannerisms, and perspectives to understand them better.
  • ENGLAND: There is a higher standard of dressing that is very different from the clothing that is acceptable at Case.
  • FRANCE: Don’t let the language and traditional American conceptions of France get in the way of studying in France.
  • ITALY: You have to see the Cinque Terre. It’s amazing!
  • JAPAN: Always have toilet paper or tissues with you, as there may not be any in public restrooms.
  • GREECE: Be prepared for unusual business hours and a generally slower life-style.
  • SPAIN: Don’t freak out if people stare on the metro in Madrid (the Madrid stare).
  • SPAIN: Strict and punctual time is not applicable because Spanish people are more laid-back and relaxed.
  • DENMARK: People are incredibly blunt. Actively approach people and don't hesitate to ask for help.

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Studied abroad? Have advice for future students? We want to include your expertise on this page! Email Lisa Brown at lxb260@case.edu.