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How to study abroad

Written by Lara Hawkins

Are you interested in studying in another country and get to know a new culture? Not only will you embark on an unforgettable adventure but you will expand your horizons. Maybe the idea of leaving your own world terrifies you, but it’s natural. If you want to know how to cope up with your stay in another country and how to overcome the unknown people, so follow these steps.

Enlisting for the mission

Choose an exchange program: It is the most important step. Choose the program that best suits you, and not because it is what your schoolmates will take. You must choose the program and the city where to apply. To make the decision, follow this:

  • Investigate the place. Find out who has taken the program previously and which city you chose to live. Ask him also how he did both in the courses and with the language.
  • Whether or not you master a foreign language, the exchange program will be in the place where that language is spoken.
  • Check how many credits in the foreign language domain you need to be approved.
  • You can also decide if the exchange is done through your school or through another. There are advantages and disadvantages in both cases, if you do it through your school, your credits will be transferred more easily and probably the paperwork will be less. If you choose to transfer to another institution, the challenge will be greater, since you will study with a group of people that you have never dealt with before and it will cost you more effort to apply for that program.
  • Once you have chosen the program and completed the application, you should ask about the requirements of the student visa and your current passport. In each country it is different, so hurry to do it.

Know the culture to which you go: You can study the culture with which you will live with months of anticipation. Not only will it prepare you for your adventure trip, it will also help you to stabilize quickly. What you can do is:

  • You need to learn the language, so taking classes in that language and watching movies in that language will help you a lot.
  • Take culture classes. If your country’s culture classes are taught, do not hesitate to take them.
  • Communicate with a student who is already there. This person can help you set up faster.

 Enjoy your experience

Immerse yourself in the local culture: After all, this is inevitable, you chose that city because you wanted to know the culture and its customs as well as expand your perception of the world. Also, you should not miss the opportunity to know new things and for that, you should do:

  • If another language is spoken, learn this one. Try to talk as much as you can by reading books or watching local programming.
  • Enjoy the kitchen set aside your favorite food and try to consume as much foreign food as you can.
  • Learn local traditions.
  • Enjoy the local music and dance. Go to a concert.
  • Watch local movies go to a movie theater, you’ll have fun even if you do not understand anything.
  • Go to as many museums and exhibitions as you can. Take note of everything you can learn from the area.

Give yourself the opportunity to travel: If you are studying on the other side of the world, then there are hundreds of places you can visit that are hundreds of times cheaper from where you are than from your home, so do not miss out on exotic places, that although you want to know the culture, do not miss this opportunity.

  • Travel around the country to know the different cultural aspects of the whole country, this will reinforce any previous knowledge you may have had.
  • Make some plans to visit nearby countries. If you have friends studying in these, they can be your tour guide.
  • Always make the trips accompanied, not only will make the trip safer, it will also make it more fun.
  • If you travel with a friend, but you cannot stay with this person, then look for the hostels, hostels or hostels, which are an economic version of hotels with an immense opportunity to meet people. Look for them online or in the phone book.
  • Many students, who study outside in the autumn, go to Munich for the Oktoberfest. If you want to participate in these events, buy your tickets months in advance, maybe before embarking on an exchange.

Do not forget to learn something: First, the “academic study” that is the reason why you attend school; but, in your other halftime, learn from the local culture through educational trips to museums, castles and other historical places. Allow yourself to know firsthand the culture of the country. What you should do:

  • Do not miss classes. Pay attention, take notes and pass exams well, just like you would do at home.
  • Give yourself time to talk with the teachers. They are representatives of the local culture and can teach you a lot.
  • Pay attention during your cultural outings. Do not be so distracted in the Louvre Museum or in the Alhambra, pay attention when your instructors want to tell you something really important. You could lose something useful in your life that you will regret forever.
  • Pay attention to the tourist bus. If you go on a tourist bus, do not get distracted by what you see; listen and point out what the guide says about historical monuments.
  • Auto cultivates yourself. If you are taking art classes in Madrid, you have a tour of the Prado you’re only. Nothing is more exciting than visiting a museum yourself.

Stay safe: Never forget that you are in a foreign country even if you are surrounded by many exchange students. It sounds obvious, but it implies that you cannot do things as you did at home, because now you are with people you do not know, so be cautious. Something you must do to have a fun and safe experience is:

  • Do not abuse alcohol. If in your own city it is risky to abuse alcohol, in a faraway region it could be worse, and you went to study, not to exceed yourself in fun. Avoid problems
  • Learn your address. Memorize it and put it on your cell phone or in a note inside your wallet.
  • Do not waste much of your time on local activities. You cannot get to your place of residence with someone you just met. The chances of getting out of a problem are minor because you are a foreigner and do not know all the laws.
  • Do not do silly things just to impress your friends. Do not compete with your friends to see who makes the craziest things. You must not violate the law of the host country. You cannot get drunk and cause things out of order and you cannot throw yourself to the floor to make the audience laugh.



  • If you love to read and to the country that you go they do not speak English, then load with you some books. Maybe the texts in English are very expensive and hard to find.
  • If you are with a host family, write a note thanking them for the welcome, as well as how happy you have been staying with such a family. For more information, you can visit

About the author

Lara Hawkins

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