Living in a different country provides the opportunity to participate in a variety of different cultural events. From exploring museums, to discovering local hangouts, to attending parades or festivals on national holidays, make sure that you explore what your host country has to offer.
Part of the study abroad experience is meeting and connecting with a wide variety of people. The participants in each study abroad program vary; some programs attract all American students, while other programs attract both American and international students. Regardless of the other participants in your program, make the effort to reach out and connect with the locals!
Try and avoid American hangouts and explore the local favorites. Connecting with locals is vital to a true immersion.
Make the effort to communicate in the local language. Please do not assume that everyone knows English or expect others to understand English. By attempting to communicate in the local language, you show that you truly appreciate the culture and are attempting to adapt. Prior to departure, be sure and learn a few key phrases to assist your day-to-day life abroad.
Document all your adventures abroad! Keep a daily journal, update a blog, record videos, take photos, and/or post your adventures on Facebook. Determine the best way for you to record all your experiences and emotions while abroad. Studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you will reminisce and reflect on for the rest of your life.
Take advantage of the resources provided by your home and host institution. Visit the international center at your host institution and ask any questions you may have throughout your time abroad. Some centers may even offer activities for the new international students on campus, which is a great way to meet other students who are studying abroad.