So I leave in four days and it is just this week that I am finally getting things together to leave. I have created a list of things to remember before you embark on a Study Abroad program.
1. Do not Procrastinate: While I am not a star example for this tip (mainly due to my hectic work schedule) my number one tip truly is to try to get as much as possible done as EARLY as possible. Many things such as getting money together or notifying your banks should be done early enough to allow you to not have to rush around the day before.
2. Notify you bank: Try to notify your bank(s) at least one week before you leave. Some allow you to do this over the phone or through chat if you just do not have time to get there. If you do not notify them your card will be flagged when you try to make purchases abroad which will cause you to not be able to use your card until you get in touch with them (which is a MAJOR hassle).
3. If your bank card has foreign transaction fees consider getting a credit card that does not: You are in college and this is the perfect time for you to build your credit! However, I do not suggest getting a credit card if you are not responsible with your money because credit is not a thing to mess around with and neither is debt. If you are responsible with your money there are many credit cards that offer a 0% foreign transaction rate (Bank of America Travel Card, Discover It Student Card). I personally have no credit and the Discover It student card still allowed me to get a credit card. Before you commit to a credit card though make sure it can be used in the country you are traveling to. MasterCard and Visa are generally safe, I made sure Discover was able to be used in Spain before I committed.
4. If you do not have comfortable shoes buy some!: On my trip I know I will be walking all over the place and I do not want blisters all over my feet. I am a baby when it comes to pain. The summer time is a great time to stock up on comfy sandals, boat shoes, and tennis shoes because most stores put them on sale. Do not go overboard though because your suitcase can only handle so much.
5. If you need electronic devices while abroad you may need a convertor: Target, Walmart, The Container Store, etc. all have options for this.
6. Last but not least, DO NOT OVERPACK!: Check to see how often you will be able to do laundry and bring pieces that can be mixed and matched for while you are abroad. You will want to buy things and you do not want to be that person that cannot close their suitcase and has to pay a horrendous fee for it being to heavy.
I will write again when I am in SPAIN!!!