Going on a study exchange is an invaluable experience. Preparing to leave can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. Here are a few tips to help you prepare and thrive when going on exchange.
Start preparing for your exchange earlier than you need to. Make a checklist of everything you’ll need to travel, and slowly check them off in the months before you leave. You’ll want to make sure you have the correct insurance, documents, health and phone plans, immunizations, and a proper bank account.
Develop a Budget
You’re going to be frequently tempted to spend money during your time abroad. If you use the motto ‘treat yourself’ too often, you might wind up running out of money before your exchange is over. Develop a rough budget before you leave and motivate yourself to stick to it throughout your trip. Easy ways to cut down unnecessary costs include using affordable public transportation and limiting your fast food consumption.
Talk to Locals
Try to meet some new people during your time abroad. Introducing yourself as an exchange student who is looking for the best spots to visit and things to do might land you some helpful activity ideas and maybe some new friends! I once had an exchange student from Germany introduce herself to me in the bathroom, and we ended up becoming good friends.
Don’t Stay in One City
Since you’ve developed a budget, you’ll hopefully have some extra money to use to travel outside of the city you’re staying in. If you’ve already travelled across the world, you might as well explore the surrounding cities near your temporary home.
Learn the Language of Your New Home
Yes, I do think you should know at least some of the language spoken in your exchange country. Do your best to learn the actual language, and a bit about the culture in the country you are travelling to. A simple search for basic phrases as well as the “dos and don’ts” of your new home can go a long way.
Although your travels will definitely feel like a vacation, and you should definitely try to enjoy yourself, you still want your exchange course credits to count towards your degree, so be sure to make some time for studying. Use Minute School’s mobile app to spend less time studying and more time exploring your new city.
I hope these tips help you have a successful trip and create balance between exploring and studying.