Living the Alternative: Things I wish people would have told me about studying abroad in Europe

It is no surprise that for many, studying abroad is a big decision. The summer before I departed for school in England it is easy to say that it felt like absolutely chaos in preparation for what I was about to embark on. And it did not matter how many tour guide books I picked up at Barnes & Nobles or how many websites I had looked at it hopes of finding some tiny detail that would reassure me that I knew what I was doing, I still would not have been prepared.

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After coming across no such luck in regards to tips that could help me, I completed the journey anyways. Studying abroad is entirely worth it, however, if you are looking for such tips pre-travel then you have come to the right place.

1. Get your Visa as soon as you can

Through all the excitement of booking plane tickets and deciding how you are going to pack, there lies an underlying issue that needs to be taken care of ASAP. For many countries the process of getting a student visa can vary, but usually they are generally alike. One of my biggest tips I wish I was told was to get it as early as you can. Most government websites advise you to apply for a visa three months before you study abroad. For real, take it seriously because it is not as easy as walking into an office and signing up, you will need postal stamps and lots of them.

2. Don’t Over-pack

I can guarantee you that you do not need as many accessories and cute shirts as you think you do. It is a really annoying hassle to try and lug baggage through the airport while keeping track of your passport and customs declaration as it is, so I would highly suggest not over-packing and complicating your journey further. And if your anything like the typical picture of a college kid you will just repeat the same outfits anyways.

3. Learn the transportation system inside and out

This may seem like a given, and while taxis and Ubers are an option they can still be pricey so the best idea is to learn how the locals travel. Many European countries have trains that are widely popular in terms of travel options whether to school or to another destination so take advantage of it. If you are visiting a thriving global capital like that of London, the tube will be your best friend. So learn and look at maps now and plan what you need to do to get tickets. Is there a travel card at a cheaper price? Is each destination only reachable by obtaining a ticket? Check this link out for more help: https://www.studyabroad.com/resources/public-transportation-across-europe

4. Make sure you have the right plug-ins

This one may sound silly, but the funny thing about visiting other countries is that they do not have the same outlets we do. Culture shock, I know. There are few things more annoying than when your phone or laptop is teetering on the edge of death and you still need to use your electronic map or see where you need to be and not have the right charger to plug in at where you are. You do not even necessarily have to replace your whole charger, just check out amazon to find separate European adapters that you can plug in your charger on one side and be all set to plug into the wall wherever you may be. Silly, but time saving.

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5. Last but not least, VISIT THE MUESEUM’s.

Now I understand not everyone may not be as much as a history buff as I am and this may be a no-brainer for others, but I promise you you will regret it if you just spend time at overcrowded tourist sites. Sure, take a million pictures of those popular sites. They are popular for a reason. Just do not forget about the museums too. For example, if you are going to England be sure to check out The Victoria & Albert and The British Museum as there are displays and royal jewelry dating back to before Mesopotamian times. Europe is rife with unique culture and history, so why not visit where it actually happened? Find one you like and check it out or get ideas from here: http://www.europeanbestdestinations.com/top/best-museums-in-europe/

Take advantage of the glorious ability to travel and all there is to behold, the world can really be your oyster.