By student assistant Christina Pavlaki ’19

Dear study-abroad applicants,

You will soon be hearing back from your study abroad program! If you find out that your off-campus experience will be somewhere cooler than Saratoga Springs, you will want to start preparing for this great adventure. Since I am totally jealous of you and your near future, I came up with a few things to consider during the few months prior to your departure:

  • How much research on the city/country should I do?

Some of us like to travel with no expectations, thus we abstain from looking up pictures and facts of the host country. However, it is important to do research on some topics such as:

  • Weather: how warm/cold will it be when I get there? Does it rain a lot? What type of activities are popular – will I need hiking shoes, a swimming suit or ski pants?
  • Phone plans: does my host country have cheap mobile and data plans? Or is it better to keep my American phone number?
  • Time difference: speaking of communication, consider the time difference between the host country and the USA. You might find that talking to your family takes waking up at 7 am
  • A list of fun things to do: you will be super prepared to explore if you already have some activities in mind.

 

  • Refresh the language

If you speak the native language even slightly, it would be a great asset for you to refresh your mind and practice it before you go. This will help you connect with the locals even faster than you would otherwise. If you do not speak the language, you can start watching TV shows to see a bit of their culture or get used to the sound of the language.

 

 

  • Contact your fellow Skidmore students or alumni!

Are there any other students going to the same program as you? That is an opportunity to already have a friend when you get to your destination! Contact them and be excited together!

A great resource are alumni of your specific program. Remember that the student assistants in OCSE are alumni of study abroad programs – feel free to come by and ask questions.

 

  • DO NOT pack anything that you only wear SOMETIMES

We all have some pieces of clothing that we would love to wear but we never do. Packing those will only take up the space you need for more important things (stay in tune with the OCSE blog for packing tips!)

Lastly, remember that these preparation months go by FAST. Spend some time with your family and friends at Skidmore

and at home before you miss them too much.

Best of luck!