Many times, discovering a new place is only as exciting as the people you discover it with. I’m so grateful for the people I’ve met, the stories they’ve shared and the inspiration they’ve given me. I asked for some of their wisdom so they might inspire you, too.
If you could give only one piece of advice to someone who’s never been abroad, what would it be?
I would say to keep an open mind. Don’t hold on to your normal rules, restrictions, or attitudes. Anything you’ve ever been judgemental about, let go. Live in the moment. Don’t worry about acting a certain way or impressing anyone. Try to push yourself out of your comfort zone as much as possible- you’ll never regret anything you’ve tried or experienced because it will help you grow as a person. –Mary, Chicago, IL
Tough question! I would say be open minded because not everyone is like we are and you will miss out on cool people and opportunities if you aren’t. But if you want a more literal answer, I would say pack light. –Kara, Columbia, MO
My biggest piece of advice is to stay busy. I get homesick really easily, so if I’m sitting around on facebook seeing my home friends post stuff that I’m missing out on, I get super angsty. Seriously, it’s worse than a teenybopper finding out a Justin Bieber concert got cancelled. The easiest way to fend that off is to see everything you can! Go exploring every weekend, meet tons of new people, try new food, see new places. –Mandie, Seoul
Keep an open mind about things and realize that although you may prepare yourself for things to be different… they’ll still be way different than you had expected. You can never fully prepare for living abroad I’d say. –Danielle, Normal, IL
Take advantage of additional traveling opportunities. Think of it as, “When am I going to get the chance to come back to this area of the world?” Also, have an open mind and immerse yourself in the culture. –Jacque, IL
Do what you can, but don’t feel like you have to spread yourself too thin. When I was in Korea, there was a lot of pressure to do every single little thing, but you don’t need to. Go with your gut. –Kate, Chicago, IL
The best advice I could give is that it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. When are you ever going to live in another country? And even if you absolutely hate it or you’re really homesick, you have to remember how short your time there really is. So try to enjoy every moment you can and bring all the great memories that are made there back with you because it’s something that no one can ever take away from you and you will remember forever. You just have to go into everything with an open mind and give everything a chance. That’s the way to have an amazing time. –Sarah, Orange, CA
Have some advice of your own? Let us know!