Back in high school my old english department would force all of the graduating seniors to complete a BARP. If you didn’t happen to attend Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska that word probably means absolutely nothing to you. Now I can’t recall what it actually stands for, maybe “big annotated research paper”, but I do know that my friends and I called it the “Big a** research paper”, sorry Mrs. Stehly, please don’t hate me. The point of it was to create persuasive essay content through online research. This meant hours of sifting through academic journals and primary sources off Ebsco and such, massed into what I believe to be a 15-20 page research paper.
Getting to my point, I wrote my BARP on why everyone should study abroad in College. At the time I didn’t know why I was so passionate about something I’d never participated in, but now being in college, a mere months away from my first official study abroad venture, I’m reminded again how much it means to me. We should all study abroad, and I could EASILY convince you why. . . and I mean you’re basically talking to a professional here, since I wrote a paper about it this one time when I was 17. But in the case that you’re already convinced you should study abroad, today I bring you a few ways to prepare for your future endeavors.
You need some DANK luggage. And by that I mean you want something light weight, lots of pockets, water proof, and easy mobility. Packing your life away for a semester, summer, or year is not easy. If you’re committing to just one locale, a large suitcase might be your best bet, but if boarding a plane every weekend for a new adventure is your plan, strongly consider investing in a nice duffle/backpack.
The key isn’t always the bag, it’s how you pack in it. My favorite thing to do before a trip is mass google “how to pack like a flight attendant”. It’s beyond ridiculous what those people put into tiny suitcases. — One of my favorites: Click here
Ditch the self guide paper back books and download Rayka app. This student travel app was specifically designed for study abroaders seeking recommendations from each other. Why just rely on a google search to find the best restaurants/bars/excursions when instead you can have real life recommendation from a student who’s already traveled through that city, literally in the palm of your hands. You might even luck out and find recommendations from someone who’s been on your exact program! These kinds of connections are something you’ll absolutely wish you’d thought of before you depart on your adventure. Peep their website! rayka-app.com
Your passport is your life, and believe it or not a real American passport can go for thousands of dollars on the black market abroad. Someone is going to try and steal it from you. It’s not a matter of if, it’s when. So do yourself a favor and don’t keep it in your pants pocket, wear it around your neck, or just be creative about where you keep it. The wear it around your neck look is not very stylish, but neither is being passportless in a foreign country. Lets face it, you’re going to look like a foreigner, thus making you an easy target. But don’t let this scare you from traveling, you just need to be smart!
I hope this helped set you up for success in your abroad affairs. Best of luck to ya! Let me know in the comments your favorite places that you’ve studied abroad or traveled to!
–the featured photo is one of my brother and I in Mykonos.