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Food for Thought

Food for thought…
Please read through the following list of questions, and reflect on your own personal answers. There are no right or wrong answers, but the more thoroughly you can answer them, the more prepared you are for your study abroad experience. To find answers to these questions:
  1. Read the study abroad handbook and orientation materials
  2. Talk to previous study abroad students
  3. Talk to international students from the country to which you are planning to travel
  4. Speak with professors and other adults who are interested in, have traveled to, or have conducted research on the country(s) you will be visiting
  5. Write the consulate or tourist bureau of the country for free information
  6. Look to travel guides and the internet (Lonely Planet or Rick Steve’s is highly recommended for many regions of the world)
  • What do you expect from your study abroad experience? Have you developed a list of REASONABLE goals? (It is important to ensure your goals are reasonable so you don’t set yourself up for failure. If you are unsure of how reasonable your goals are, consult with a student who has already completed the same program)
  • What are some of your unspoken or unrealized goals of this experience?
  • Are you prepared to talk about GCSU and your hometown? Do you have pictures, brochures, stories to tell?
  • Can you explain to others about U.S. culture, your own heritage, background and history? (If not, get cracking! These topics come up frequently with those who are unfamiliar with the U.S. way of life.)
  • Are you prepared to carry your luggage by yourself, possibly for long distances between airport terminals, train platforms, up and down multiple flights of stairs? You will probably have to do all of this, and sometimes in a very short span of time. (Try packing your bag and running around the block with it. If you make it, then you are ready to go; if not…)
  • Have you packed, or at least thought about what you will pack? Remember you need half as much as you expect; a “dry run” is recommended.
  • What health issues might you encounter while on study abroad? Do you need additional inoculations? Do you have enough of your regular prescriptions for the entire duration of your program? (Remember, pharmaceuticals cannot be mailed.)
  • Have you obtained an International Student ID card, hostel membership or train pass? Are these necessary components to your study abroad program?
  • What do you know about the political, economical, educational and social systems of your host country/community? Are you prepared to discuss the differences/similarities between yours and theirs?
  • Are you familiar with the culture of the host country? Are you aware of cultural taboos and expectations that may differ from your own culture?
  • Do you have an English-to______ dictionary? Even if you plan to take courses in English, you may find this useful as you maneuver throughout your community and develop relationships with the locals.
  • Do your family and friends know how to reach you while abroad?