Things to Study Abroad in Europe

20 Things You Need to Know When Studying Abroad

1. Get a map – like yesterday.So, I know I’ve been gone for a while, but for good reasons! I spent the first month of this summer living and studying in Florence, Italy, and it was easily one of the best months of my life. If you’re even considering studying abroad I HIGHLY recommend it, especially if you have to take a language for your degree (like myself). There’s nothing like being totally immersed in a culture and learning by just walking out of your door everyday.

Even though my experiences and suggestions will be solely based off this country, I think most of what I’ll tell you can be applied to most other places too! That all being said, here are some things you should know before studying abroad in Italy (or any other country really)…

Mark off the major landmarks, and scratch through main roads near the place you’re staying or to/from places you’ll go on a regular basis. Go digital by making your map available offline via Google Maps – no internet connection needed to access it!

6. Learn the language basics.2. Figure out public transportation.

It will be your best friend. In Eastern cultures, public transportation is sometime pretty much everyone uses regularly. Oh, and always have a valid ticket. You’re talking to the girl who got singled out on a bus for 1. being a tourist/easy target to check and 2. was fined 50 Euro for not knowing you had to swipe your ticket BEFORE you sat down instead of before you get off the bus… which brings me to another great point:

3. If you’re in a sketch part of town, don’t speak.

But really though. If you can’t speak the native language, and you’ve got weird instincts kicking in that something is fishy, just don’t talk. Tourists are the main targets of pick-pockets and petty thefts. Then again, just don’t wander alone unless you know where you’re going in the first place!

4. American personal space is not international.

Don’t expect your personal preferences to translate internationally. Get comfortable with the human race.

10. Get the “touristy” stuff done asap.5. Stick to what you know when it comes to ordering drinks.

And NEVER order a “Quattro Bianco” shot in Italy. They will morph you into someone you never knew. Just trust me on this one.

People are a lot nicer, more helpful, and understanding if you try – no matter how pathetic your attempt is. They appreciate it, and it shows you respect and take them seriously.

7. More specifically, learn the translations of the following (Italian):

Hello (Ciao), Goodbye (Ciao/Buongiorno), Please (Per Favore), Thank you! (Grazie!) Go away! (Vai!) Help! (Aiuto!), Come on! (Dai!), Wait! (Aspetta!), Stop! (Fermata!), Police! (Poliziotto!), Give me a kiss! (Dammi un bacio!)

8. If you need help/directions, seek the elders.

They’re the most trustworthy. In Italy, they run the show.

9. Obey the pedestrian walking signs.

Or you’ll get 100% smashed by a bus or moped. They stop for no one.

Save time to get to know and explore the local hangouts!

11. Bring a mini umbrella.

When you get caught in a downpour, shop keepers won’t let you take shelter unless you cough up some change. Oh, and the umbrellas sold by the street vendors fall apart; into a million pieces…

12. Don’t consistently go-g0-go.

Make sure you spend time simply appreciating where you are and the opportunity that you were able to take full advantage of.

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