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Studying abroad can be life changing, and an experience that’s valuable as you get ready to enter the job market. If it’s possible to take this opportunity for a college semester during your undergraduate years, you probably won’t regret it. You can make new friends, get leadership experience, and see a new part of the world. That said, knowing what resources to take advantage of and how to plan your trip can be tricky, so here are some basic tips to get you started.

Plan Ahead

It becomes increasingly difficult to study abroad if you wait until your final year of college. The sooner you can plan where you want to travel, what you want to study while you’re abroad, and budget for the trip, the better the chances are that you can get into the program you want.

Financial Aid

Traveling abroad can be expensive. Luckily, there are ample opportunities for scholarships and financial aid. You can visit the financial aid offices, study abroad office, or speak with your academic advisors to see what opportunities your school provides, or seek external sources to fund your trip.

Pack Smart

Once you’ve got your funding in order and have made your plans, the next important step is to pack smart. Packing should start with a checklist of things you might need when traveling abroad, like your passport and some currency to get you started. It is also smart to pack light layers to accommodate the different types of weather you’ll likely encounter.

Budget Your Trip

Before you leave, make yourself a loose budget for every day. Research how much food will cost (if your school doesn’t provide your meals) and don’t forget extra funds for weekend excursions to other cities or countries. Make sure to do the math on converting between currencies so your spending doesn’t get out of control.

Take Pictures and Keep a Journal

You’re finally here! Make sure to keep a journal of your travels and take plenty of pictures to remember your trip and where you went! It can be easy to forget those small details about your trip that you’ll want to remember forever! It will also help you recount your adventures to friends, family, and potential future employers.

It’s important to keep the idea of travel abroad in the forefront of your mind during your first two years at college in order to take full advantage of the programs offered (usually in your third year). Travel abroad can enrich your life and give you life-long memories.