#1 Now I’m actually gonna start this post less with a ‘go get ‘em,’ at risk of sounding like your mother, to be honest. However, number 1 on your list is travel insurance. If anything goes wrong, you (and your mum) will want to know that everything’s covered. Luckily, uni has fully comp travel insurance. All YOU have to do, is fill out your deets. Simple – easier than that visa application that I’m sure you got in on time I know people that didn’t, and had to rearrange flights, so get that sorted sharpish). – Props to uni for offering this, saved me a bunch 🙂
#2: Practice saying yes. Seriously. All the opportunities in the first couple of weeks are gonna help you make the friends of a lifetime, and meet some sick people. There’s a value to saying ‘no’ too, but for all the unforgettable experiences of study abroad (roadtrip to the mountains and sleep under the stars/camp on the beach after fishing for dinner/hitting up to a one-off street festival, touch nemo’s butt (boat), go to some abandoned tunnels for a tribal rave) – you should be ready to drop the smaller, less important plans, in favour of the bigger ones that you’ll remember for the rest of the year, and potentially your life.
#3: Leading nicely on from 2, actually, prioritise. Sometimes, you’ll unfortunately have to put your social life on the back foot. Having said that, if you don’t spend all week binge watching house of cards, GoT, House, Love Island…, and you actually do the essay one night before the one it’s due before, then bam. The invite comes, and you’re free to go do whatever you fancy with your weekend (see my examples for p2) – some of them involve donuts. What’s not to like
#4: Plan (a little) in advance. If you really want to check out Cinque Terre, or a certain mountain range, or lake, for example, then make sure you’re gonna have time to get there and enjoy the time you spend there. If, like me, a major part of your year abroad is ticking off some bucket-list items, then ensure you actually get to do them. Don’t get me wrong, going to surfcamp 2 weeks into session is great, but when the offer from the same company for spring break comes up, and it’s a little too touristy and less cultural than you want, then trust me – planning a trip yourself will not only save heaps of cash, it’ll help you develop more as a person, too. Takes a little longer, yes, but so, so worth it in the long run. (Who says you can’t visit Angkor Wat on your Australian year abroad?)
#5: Last one – Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re unsure of anything. Of anyone – people out there, people here, even ambassadors who’ve left (or been retired – some of us like doing this – man I feel old describing myself as retired from a job). Anything you’re unsure of, somebody else was probably unsure of too. It’s worth asking, and if you think it’s a daft question, then, only ask one person who you doubt you’ll see again. Real talk – who’s gonna judge you on that one?