Local college student offers advice on studying abroad

Studying abroad can be daunting, especially if you are student like me, who has never traveled outside the country. The opportunities that come with studying abroad are worth it, however, so here are some tips for a great experience.

1. Consider different programs your school offers

For my first study abroad experience, I selected a nontraditional program that my college offered. Instead of spending an entire semester abroad, I spent just a month studying in Italy. Reach out to professors who may be offering trips abroad or email your school’s study away office for recommendations. 

2. Don’t be nervous if you don’t know anyone else in the program

Regardless of the program’s size, the students you are traveling with will also be nervous, excited, and probably a little shy. If your college doesn’t offer a pre-departure meeting, don’t be afraid to reach out to students yourself. Once you arrive at your program, introduce yourself to your peers and plan an activity to do together. On my first day, the first students who arrived all went out to lunch together. This was a great way to meet each other and our relationships lasted throughout the program.

3. Once you meet new friends, don’t be afraid to branch out

When studying abroad, the more the merrier! While you’ll likely make a few friends right away, don’t feel “stuck” in one group. Invite other students to join activities and meals.

4. Ask questions and get in touch with students who have studied there before

Many students have not been able to study abroad the last two years, but several programs are back in action. If you don’t know any students personally, ask your college to connect you with students who have recently studied with your program. This is very helpful for finding out what to pack and places to visit.  

5. Don’t be scared, you’re going to have a blast!

I was very nervous to go abroad, especially hearing about the possible risks. While it is essential to be aware of your belongings – get a crossbody bag that zips up – and your surroundings – don’t walk alone at night – studying abroad is a wonderful, fun, and typically safe experience. Working with your school and peers allows you to engage in a life changing semester abroad!

Sammi Bray of Southington is a first-year student at Trinity College in Hartford. She is studying public policy and law, with a minor in rhetoric, writing and media studies. She has been freelancing for the Record-Journal for the past year. She can be contacted at sammibray03@gmail.com.


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