Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

10 survival strategies for the first week of classes abroad

Time August 5th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

New campus. New students. New professors. New subjects. New regulations. New languages.

All of the change associated with studying at a new school is enough to drive even the most competent student mad.

Here are a couple of tips I picked up from my experience of “syllabus week” at a foreign university.

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Preparation, flexibility keys to beginning journey

Time July 8th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | Comments Off on Preparation, flexibility keys to beginning journey by

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

– Lao-tzu

Studying abroad was always something I knew I needed to do, but I never thought it would be this hard.

Final stages of packing, less than 36 hours before takeoff

Final stages of packing, less than 36 hours before takeoff

Take packing, by far the hardest part of predeparture shenanigans. It’s not just the logistics of fitting everything needed (and nothing more) for five months in two suitcases and a backpack.

But there’s also emotional baggage to unpack.

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“All adventures,especially into new territory,are scary.”

Time August 14th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

I am officially freaking out. I leave for the airport in less than 5 hours. I don’t think I’ve really taken the time to mentally prepare myself for this trip. I have been so absorbed in planning  and figuring out the logistics of how everything will work (which even now I am still in the process of doing- how am I getting my laptop to Ireland?!). My advice for people planning a trip before studying abroad: think of every little tiny hiccup two months in advance and find a solution for it a month before you leave, not the day you leave…

Luckily though, the fantastic IFSA-Butler staff has been extraordinarily helpful. They email me back within hours when I ask really silly questions that have already been explained in prior emails. Or when I ask about things that I don’t need to worry about they are quick to assure me they will take care of things. They are literally life savers.

Even so, my stress continues to sky rocket. But maybe it’s not stress. Maybe it’s a combination of nerves, excitement, stress, and the fact that I have a bit of a cold that is making my stomach roll. Don’t get me wrong, I know I am about to have the best 4 months of my life; but try to tell the butterflies in my stomach that fact and I begin to feel even more sick.

My one probably overweight suitcase that I have yet to try and close, and my tiny backpack that holds 2 weeks worth of my life. Now where does the laptop go…

Once I am finally on the plane and there is nothing more I can physically do to prepare, I will somewhat settle down and enjoy the moment. Until then I will continue to cram things into my suitcase, freak out about how much money this endeavor will be, and chug some Airborne to try and bump my immune system for the 9 hour flight tonight.

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