Hurray, you’ve finally arrived at your study destination! We hope everything went well and that your new home is as great as you imagined it to be. However, you may still be wondering how to get to university on the first day, what to do if you have jet lag, or how to know whether or not your parents will be able to visit you. To make sure you can focus on the most interesting aspects of your trip: building your vocabulary and having fun with your friends – we have collected several questions, that to our knowledge, many students arise when they stay abroad. Then we got all the answers from our Study Abroad Specialists and put together a new edition of our handy Study Abroad Q&A list. Read the questions and learn how to get the most out of your trip abroad.
- How do i get to university on the first day?
This is one of the first things to ask your host family, roommates, or residence staff. They can tell you which bus or train to take, where to get off and the way to the building itself. In case you don’t have a local SIM card immediately and are not sure you have a Wi-Fi connection, a simple screenshot or a printout of the city map will be enough to find your way (and to reach the destination). For the first day of university, we recommend that you need take plenty of time – everything will be new and maybe seem longer. If you have the chance, why not get there by doing some walking exercises? In case you have some free time before you get to university, check the route and use public transport.
- What happens if i don’t understand something?
Depending on your initial language level, it may take some time to get used to hearing only the relevant foreign language throughout the day – but this is exactly what will allow you to learn it. At first, having a dictionary handy can be very useful. Your hosts and university staff are used to being around people of different language levels, so they will be able to speak more slowly and use basic vocabulary when necessary.
- How do i get an internet connection?
All universities have a wifi connection, the data of which will be provided to you from day one. Outside of university, at your place of accommodation, you can obtain the wifi network and the password from your host family or residence staff. Some host families charge internet fees, so check this first. In many destinations, you will find a wifi connection in cafes or other public places. All you need to do is check with staff or other students on how to connect.
- How can i stay in contact with my family in my country of origin?
Most of the apps and services you use on your phone like WhatsApp, Snapchat, Skype, emails, messaging services, etc. only work with a wifi connection, which means you can use them at university or from anywhere with a wifi connection. Check with your telephone company to see if there is an agreement that allows you to use your phone abroad without being overtaxed – otherwise your bill could go up seriously. It is recommended that you stay in airplane mode if you are only using the wifi network, so as not to be charged unnecessarily in case your phone tries to establish a connection abroad. Consider getting a phone or SIM card when you arrive at your destination – a prepaid card will keep you in control of your spending. Remember, you can also use your computer to write emails, access Skype, or chat.
- What happens if i don’t like local cuisine?
We know it is always a little weird to eat food that is different from what you are used to, but it is part of the experience. Who knows, maybe you will discover delicious local specialties that you will not be able to do without? We recommend that you try everything before deciding that you don’t like a dish. Host families are usually used to cooking for people with different tastes while ensuring that students experience all the local flavors. Cafeterias always offer a variety of foods, but we recommend trying as many local specialties as possible. Dining out with friends is one of the best ways to explore a new culture, after all. If you have allergies, make sure you always know the ingredients in the dishes you eat, and have your teacher teach you all the words you need to safely enjoy local cuisine.
- How can i make new friends?
The advantage of studying abroad is that virtually all students are in the same boat; they’ve all arrived in a new country where they don’t know anyone – so your classmates are probably just as anxious about making new friends as you are. But finding new friends is easier than you think – just start talking to people, join them on activities, and be your best, funny and open-minded. If you still have some worries, your classmates are great candidates for starting a friendship – you spend quite a few hours together, after all, and homework is a great opportunity to get to know each other better (and they are also so much more fun when shared).
- How to manage the time difference?
You know what ? If jet lag is preventing you from sleeping, you can read our article which deals with just that topic. Try to get into your new rhythm as soon as possible – if you arrive in the afternoon, try not to go to bed immediately, but rather explore your new destination on a walk. The sun and the fresh air will allow your body to adopt its new rhythm. Drink plenty of water and eat light. And don’t stress too much about jet lag – they say it takes about a day per hour of difference to adjust to your new time zone.
- What happens if i lose my travel documents?
Before you leave, make sure you have an electronic copy of all your important documents – you can scan or photograph them using your phone. Then send them to your email address and to a loved one who lives in your home town. Thus, he can help you if you have difficulty accessing your documents. If you lose your passport, contact the embassy or consulate you work for so that you can get a new passport and resolve any visa issues. If you lose your plane ticket (which will most likely be electronic anyway), contact your travel agent or airline.
- What happens if i have homelessness?
Homesickness happens to the best of us. Sometimes we just want to sleep in our own bed and eat our usual food. Buying a jar of ice cream and watching your favorite movie on Skype with your friends back home, for example, usually helps fight homesickness. And then you will need to distract yourself; keeping busy helps with homesickness, so be sure to participate in various activities and explore your new city with new friends.
- Will my family and friends visit me?
Yes, your family and friends will be able to visit you abroad. However, they will not be able to stay with your hosts or in your residence, but they will have many accommodation options available in your adopted city.
- What will happen if my adopted town is so likely that i no longer want to go home?
You can simply extend your study trip abroad for a few weeks or even return to your dream city, as soon as possible.