Study abroad students often make some mistakes in their travels. While it may not be the end of the world, it can be uncomfortable when you study overseas to make common mistakes that can be avoided. There are many things you need to keep in mind while living overseas but below are international travel tips for any country you visit.
English Isn’t the Only Language
When you’re visiting another country, it’s important to learn the language. While you might not be a fluent speaker, your hosts as well as locals will appreciate that you’ve made an effort to learn. Don’t ever assume that everyone speaks English because a lot of countries speak their native language exclusively. In a large city, there might be a few locals who speak English, but you shouldn’t expect it. When it comes to overseas travel, it’s best to assume that nobody speaks English and be surprised by the locals who do.
Drinking Too Much
You don’t want to be the loud, drunk tourist in the local bar that makes everyone else uncomfortable. When it comes to oversea study, you want the opportunity to blow off steam by having a few drinks, but make sure you’re taking your cues from the locals on how to behave. Drinking does not mean that you have to get drunk, and you shouldn’t drive while intoxicated either. You could end up losing your license or having to obtain a restricted license after a drunk driving charge.
Learn the Customs
One of the best parts of traveling is learning about the local culture. You don’t want to travel to another country and hope to experience things that make it like you’re home. You’re traveling for a reason. Immerse yourself in the culture. Make sure you’re tasting the cuisine. Try exotic foods that might seem a little scary. Dress in fashion from the region. When you come home, you want to have experiences that you’ll remember forever.
Disconnect from Social Media
You’ll want some beautiful photographs to share with family and friends, but you shouldn’t spend all day with your face stuck in your phone. If you spend the entire time worried about Instagramming the perfect picture, you’ll miss actually experiencing the sights yourself. Make sure you’re not putting up a barrier between you and the stunning views.
Keep a Journal
While you’re on an overseas study trip, keep a journal to accompany those stunning photographs. You don’t need to blog about it to your Twitter followers. Have a pen and paper handy to jot down your thoughts, feelings and inspiration as you travel. This should be for your own education, and it doesn’t need to be broadcast to the entire world. You could chronicle your adventures after journaling but make sure you’re keeping records for yourself.
Be Your Authentic Self
Traveling to another country means that you’re not tied down to all the baggage that you carry around daily. It can be a time to find or reinvent yourself. You are not marked by your family and friends like you are back home. This doesn’t mean you should pretend you’re a rich heiress, but it’s a time to look deep inside yourself to find out who you really are without the influence of other people. Strangers in other countries won’t have any expectations of you. The real you can shine.
Flexibility and Flow
In other countries, there can be a relaxed atmosphere that doesn’t rely as much on speeding through life. They might not be as fixated on the clock as you are in your home country. Some places exist on “island time”, which means that things are pretty laid back and casual. While you might need to get someplace quickly, don’t speed through your trip without enjoying the delays. If you are waiting for a bus that is late, talk to the person who is waiting with you. Take a moment to reflect on your adventures or write in your journal. The journey is often the best part of the experience.
The Student Visitor
During your trip, don’t forget the actual reason for your travel, which is your education. Remember that you’re a student with a purpose. You’re there to learn, and class is the best place to meet other students and make connections with professors. When you’re hoping to learn the language or become friends with locals, your classroom is the best place to do that. They can invite you to great out-of-the-way bars and restaurants that will let you experience the culture more fully too.
When you’re a study abroad student, it’s important that you avoid common mistakes like drinking too much or not learning the language. This isn’t a time to be timid and only interact with others from your own country. Speak to the locals and learn the native tongue, so you can have a more memorable experience during your travels.