Is your teen going abroad for the first time on their own? Share with them our go-to guide on everything you both need to know. Even if they’re the savviest of travelers, traveling without mom and dad, and being so far away is a little different. Check out our top 20 tips for teens studying abroad.
1. Read up on where you’re going – Read local newspapers, travel sites, local happenings etc. so you know what is going on. The campus where you’re staying should have information on their website too, so check it out.
2. Make copies of all important documents – Passports, birth certificates, flight itineraries, accommodation information, etc. Make sure someone at home has a copy too just in case. You can use DROPBOX for easy sharing.
3. Medications – if you’re on prescription medication, take as much as you can with you and get a repeat for when you’re away. In another country, it might be known under a different name so take the information from your doctor. Pack a travel medical kit too, just in case they can’t get to a pharmacy easily.
4. Watch your belongings – The big city can sometimes be bad. Watch your belongings at all times. If you like a handbag get one that can go across your body. You don’t want to lose your wallet on the first week. Even leaving a bag between your feet isn’t safe in some places. Just be a little more streetwise about where you’re going.
5. Money – Make sure your bank knows you’ll be away. Avoid any unnecessary charges if you can with the right ATM and credit card. If you feel you want to, wear a money belt instead of carrying a wallet.
6. Roads – The country you’re going to might drive on a different side of the road than you’re used to. Please bear this in mind when you’re crossing the road – you’ll need to check which way the traffic is coming from.
7. Water – In some countries, you need to drink bottled water not water from the tap. Check before you go on what the tap water situation is, you don’t want any upset tummies!
8. Telephone Numbers – Know all of your local numbers, in case of emergency. You don’t want to get caught out.
9. Mobile Phone – Get a local SIM card. This will be much easier when you’re out and about. Skype the family back home or use FaceTime.
10. Find a Friend – Try and see if anyone from home is going to the same place and get their info before you go. It will be nice to land somewhere new and know you have a friendly face.
11. Foreign Language – Learn some local phrases so you can get by. Hello, Goodbye, How to order a coffee, directions to the train and bus are all useful.
12. Dress Right – Be respectful if your new country is quite religious. They might also not be as trendy as you are, so you don’t want them thinking the wrong thing about you.
13. Valuables – Leave them at home! Do not take the chance while you’re away. You’d be so upset if something was stolen or lost.
14. Don’t draw attention to yourself – Don’t wear provocative clothing, don’t flash the cash, don’t carry your passport on you unless you have to. Try to blend in with the locals!
15. Insurance – Get some decent travel insurance. Anything is possible while you’re away so please make sure you’re covered.
16. STEP – The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll in their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
17. I.D. – Get a student I.D. card. The ISIC costs US$22 and will get you discounts in lots of places.
18. Budget – Set a weekly budget for groceries, eating out, school, travel etc. You don’t want to be caught short and asking the bank of mom and dad to bail you out in your first week.
19. Journal – Keep a journal of everything fun that you’re doing! You don’t know when you’ll get the opportunity again to do something like this and the memories last a lifetime.
20. Have Fun – As well as to study hard you need to have fun and experience your new country. Whether you’re there for three months or a year, try and cram in as much as possible!