6 Tips For Researching Your Prospective Study Abroad Country

By Allie Mitchell on July 24, 2016

Studying abroad is one of the more exciting things to experience in college. It gives you a chance to see the world while possibly earning college credit along the way. You learn about different cultures and become more aware of the world around you.

Most people regret the decision to not study abroad while they can. They regret not going out of their comfort zone and leaving for a new experience and large perspective. Although, all of this is wonderful, but before considering studying abroad, looking into where you want to go, for how long, and any other things that are necessary should be priority number one.

The one thing about studying abroad you should know is that it can be expensive if you don’t have certain aid covering some of the costs. Luckily most colleges have certain scholarships and grants to help you out. You also want to consider how long you want to go for. There are summer study abroad trips, Christmas break trips, even trips for an entire semester.

You want to make sure you know exactly what you want before you start your search into what country you want to go to. At the end of the day, it ultimately comes down to where you want to go and what that country can offer you. You have to be open-minded going into your search, but you also have to be smart about it.

Here are some tips to picking out a country that will benefit you the most when studying abroad, because that’s what it’s all about: getting the best trip you can.

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1. Talk to other people. You can do research on a country without going to the internet in the beginning. There are probably plenty of people that have studied abroad to the place you are considering, so ask them a few questions or a lot of questions. They will be happy to know that you are so invested in your study abroad experience. Most times schools have study abroad fairs. Make sure if this happens at your school, to ATTEND!

2. Look up social customs. To avoid awkward situations or serious issues, look up the social customs in the country you are looking into. Consider the language barriers when you are doing your research. You don’t want to have to spend the whole time struggling, unless you plan on studying up. Even if you do know the language of the country you are going to visit there may still be misunderstandings, so just keep this in mind.

3. Know the laws. Even in your home country you should do this, but specifically in a foreign place you’ve never been to, follow the laws. It seems simple, but sometimes what is legal here may not be legal in the country you are going to. Find out the laws of common everyday activities, such as car driving and alcohol. You’d be surprised how different the world is beyond the tiny perspective you have. Just make sure you are thoroughly educated in their laws and practices.

4. Research the food and drink. The joy of going to another country is trying new foods and drinks that you have never heard of. Of course though, to ruin the fun, it might be good to look into the health hazards, just in case you are allergic to whatever is in any of their delicacies and such. Look into the CDC; there is more than enough information on food and drink safety that is meant to keep you more educated.

5. Learn the currency. Make sure you know the currency and that you are financially prepared for that country. It may seem silly, but don’t put off changing some of your money over to the appropriate currency. You don’t want to be broke in a country you’ve never been to before. It can be embarrassing and also confining not being able to buy anything at all.

6. Find a mutual fit. While surveying what country you want to visit, make sure to cross-examine the program you want to travel with at your school. Will you be getting the most out of your experience in the country you want to travel to? Should you change the country entirely?

That is something you should really think about — don’t just pick a country because you really want to go there, but the program is for something completely unrelated to what you want to do and it’s just random. You want your experience to be well-rounded and help you in the long run: academically and personally.

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When choosing to study abroad a lot of things go into it — a lot of research and preparation. You want to make the best possible experience that you can for yourself and doing research, thorough research, will help you achieve just that. The goal is to come back changed and much more aware. You can’t do that if you end up somewhere less than ideal.

By Allie Mitchell

Uloop Writer
23 | Georgia State Alumna || Biology Major| Seeking MPH after graduating| Aspiring writer| Lover of interesting conversations and funny people| Active reader of fiction"| Girlfriend to a wonderful marine

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