As many of you might remember, last January I studied abroad in Jamaica for a month. Now this isn’t your typical semester abroad, since my school has a January term where you just take one class. The class I took was all about disabilities in a developing country, specifically dealing with hearing loss in Jamaica. Since I am studying to become a speech pathologist, this trip was right up my alley! For tons of pictures and more info about my trip, checkout the post I wrote right after it here!
My first tip is deciding where to go. While my school does offer semester long trips, I knew I wanted to one of the January trips since my major doesn’t allow much room to spend a whole semester abroad. Initially I was looking into Greece, Italy, and Jamaica. I recommend going to info meetings for potential trips if your school does that, because I realized the Jamaica trip was the one I wanted to do after that. I decided that I wanted to go to a place that I might not visit otherwise, because Greece and Italy are both high on my travel to list! I also decided that I wanted to go at my own pace if I went to Europe, which meant these trips weren’t for me. Because believe me, if I am going to Greece, you better believe I am going to be spending a few days in Santorini. Also, during the summer is a great time to research trips!
After you have picked a trip and applied, look into any potential scholarships or grants. I ended up getting a few, and it really helped offset the cost! In the end, I paid well under $1,000 for the entire trip. If you want to go back in The Trendy Chick archives to 2014, check out this post about scholarships. Get a good laugh at how bad my blog used to be (lol) but also I used those very tips to help me win scholarships to make my study abroad dream into a reality!
I also recommend taking a journal with you. Even though I usually blog about my trips, a journal is great to write in at the end of every day so you don’t forget anything. Especially for an extended trip like studying abroad, it is such a good idea to write down anything from shopping lists to places you visit to lessons you have learned. My go-to place for cute journals is TJ Maxx because they always have a great selection for an affordable price. They almost always have a few travel related journals too, so check them out before ordering one online for $20+.
Obviously every trip is different, so I am not going to turn this into a big packing list, but make sure you take some sort of camera! For me, I just took my iPhone and not my DSLR because I wasn’t doing a whole lot of touristy things or sight-seeing. I also didn’t want to risk it being stolen, especially when my phone takes great pictures too! If I would have studied abroad somewhere in Europe, I am fairly confident I would’ve taken my DSLR though. It is completely up to you what type of camera you bring, but just be sure you take lots of pictures. Bonus points if you take video and make vlogs or a recap video at the end of your trip!
Going back to the cost… studying abroad can be expensive. Especially if you splurge the entire time you are there. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so if you want to buy yourself something nice while you are there, by all means do it! But, be open to saving money at times too. On my trip, some friends and I literally bought a box of cereal to eat for lunch a few days while we were in Montego Bay so we didn’t have to spend $15+ at a nice restaurant. But since we saved then, we definitely went out at night because… balance. Just remember it won’t be very fun to come home to $3 in your bank account!
My last tip is to pack light! Save some room to bring back souvenirs, and make sure you are not over the weight limit for your bag. The airline will charge extra if you go over, and no one wants to waste their money on that. There are so many great resources out about packing for an abroad trip, so I recommend a quick search on Pinterest! Just pack tops and bottoms that are neutral and very versatile, and don’t worry if you have to be an outfit repeater 😉
Overall, I HIGHLY recommend studying abroad during college if your schedule allows you too. There are so many benefits, and honestly you don’t get a chance to live in another country very often!
Are you studying abroad sometime soon? Share in the comments where you have been or where you are going!