We know that the last year has been tough on so many. For many of our students that meant that their study abroad programs and plans were interrupted or put on hold due to COVID-19. While travel is more limited, you can use this time to prepare for the study abroad program you’ve been dreaming of! Below are some tips to keep your momentum going.
1. Enroll in Abroad 101 on OAKS
Our OAKS course will give you the fundamental knowledge on deciding on a program type and location, finances, and other helpful information!
*If you plan on attending an Affiliate Program, you will need to complete and pass the Affiliate 101 OAKS course.
2. Read Student Blog Posts on CofC Abroad
Other students’ perspectives can be very informative spanning from program selection tips to their favorite coffee shop in their host city.
3. Make sure you have a valid passport
If you need help applying or renewing your passport, CofC’s Mail Services is a Passport Acceptance Facility. See more information and hours on their website.
4. Explore your prospective host city and country virtually
- Google Maps – Explore the streets of your prospective host city and get a handle on the area
- Virtual Tours – Many museums, tour groups, and other webpages offer virtual tours (both free and paid options)
- Travel shows -Use your streaming app to live vicariously through travel shows that take place in your host city or country
As you explore, keep a list of all the places you would like to visit!
5. Read about the culture differences and similarities of your prospective host country
Students are often surprised by some of the similarities and differences between their host culture and US culture. Researching these ahead of time can get you excited while also preparing you for any differences, lessening possible culture shock.
6. Practice your language skills and research slang
- Enroll and engage in language courses on campus
- Download language apps such as DuoLingo or Babbel
- Watch International movies with subtitles
7. Make food from your host country
Cooking can be a great activity to help relax during the pandemic. It can also be a great way to familiarize yourself with the typical cuisines offered in your prospective host city and country, especially if you plan to live with a host family. Start by taking a look at Recipes from Around the World that CIE Peer Advisors compiled.
8. Create a packing list
Packing for your study abroad semester can be difficult, so don’t leave it until the last minute! There are a lot of specific packing list examples you can find online beforehand.
Some tips to start:
- Research the climate and weather of your host country
- Pack clothes that are culturally appropriate for your host county
- Trial-pack some time beforehand, so you have an idea of how much you plan to bring
- Make sure that you are able to lift your suitcase as you will likely have to while you are abroad
- Research any prescription restrictions of your host country, and make sure to pack yours so long as there are no restrictions
9. Prep your phone for study abroad
The following apps come in handy for many study abroad students and travelers:
- Smart Traveler – Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate
- WhatsApp – Uses your phone’s cellular or Wi-Fi connection to facilitate messaging and voice calling
- Skype – A great option for keeping in touch with family
- Google Translate – Instantly translate written and spoken words and phrases
- Google Maps (download maps beforehand to pin)
- AroundMe – Quickly identifies your location and can point to the nearest facilities, such as banks/atms, restaurants, hospital, etc.
- Rome2Rio -Travel options for getting from point A to B
- XE Currency – Currency exchange rates
- Skyscanner – Can be used to find the best and cheapest flights
- FlightAware- Flight tracking app
- Triposo – Recommendations for the best places to travel, restaurants, and attractions
We have more apps and websites listed in the resources section of our website.
10. Meet with a Peer Advisor and/or CIE Advisor
We are here to help you find the best program(s) for you and give guidance on steps to make your study abroad dream a reality. You can make an appointment with a Peer Advisor or CIE Advisor through one of the methods listed under Virtual Advising on our website.