Approximately a year ago, I was leaving my comfy Amherst apartment to study abroad for a semester in Mannheim, Germany. While it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, I would like to share a few tips with you that will make your abroad experience even better.
Get Firsthand Knowledge Before you Go
One of the most important things I did was talk to a student who had previously travelled to Mannheim. This allowed me to make a more logical decision, since I got to hear from his experience. Another great thing to do is speak with the International Programs Office in advance to learn about varying program options to choose what's best for you.
Plan Trips Ahead of Time
One thing I was not so great about doing while abroad was booking my travels ahead of time. Turns out, as one might have thought, planning ahead can save you a lot of money, stress, and time. If I were to rewind the clock I would have made sure to go into study abroad with a list of places I would like to visit. I also would have liked to know about websites, such as goeuro, whose main goal is comparing bus, train, and plane tickets so you can choose the most desirable option.
Explore the City You’re In
While it may be tempting to travel every weekend, you have to designate some time to explore the city you have chosen to study in. I continually had to remind myself to slow down and just enjoy where I was at the moment. Whether it is making friends with locals or other foreign students, make sure to carve out time to get to know where you are living.