Travelling to another country is a huge and important part of student life, either as part of a gap year or simply to take a break from your academic endeavours. In the past, going abroad and seeing the world was considered to be a learning experience, not a pleasure activity: the more you travelled, the more life experience you would gather and eventually broaden your horizon. Here is a list of three really useful things you need to know in order to enjoy your journeys and take the most out of them.
As Tim Ferris (the eccentric billionaire, entrepreneur, experimentalist and writer who loves to travel) states: “Travel has many joys. Luggage is not one of them”. There are various options to have your personal items with you at all times, but some hard choice need to be made when you have to decide how to do it. It really comes done to what you think you'll need while travelling around the globe and what you deem as unnecessary. It also depends on what type of journey you plan: just a holiday for a few weeks or an entire year abroad to volunteer, do an internship or maybe studying at a partner university?
The first option is to take all your belongings with you. This is what most students do. The problem is to find the right balance between having neither too many items nor too few items in your luggage. Generally speaking, you want to pack as light as possible. This is the most important tip we can give you for maximizing your enjoyment while being abroad – Pack as light as possible and only take with you the bare minimum!
After you arrive in a different country you will be able to buy all the things you need. There is (probably) no need to take dishes, pans, duvets, pillows, bed sheets or the vacuum cleaner with you. However, if you go abroad for more than six months, you may choose to have all your belongings mailed to you. Services like DPD or FedEx can do this for affordable prices: a box of up to 15 kilos is around 50 pounds for international mailing depending on the country you’re travelling to. The only downside would be that you have to be smart (and we know you are!) and mail them to you in advance (like a week’s time).
Remember, different country → different rules. The first major thing outside the UK you need to consider is that cars run the other way. So while staying at the traffic lights please be aware that cars will come from the left hand side first and not the right (that is UK only - and Japan). You also want to make sure to familiarise yourself with local customs and traditions. What you might perceive as normal social behavior elsewhere around the globe (like holding your boyfriend/girlfriend’s hand in public) can be considered as offensive at another place and may even get you into legal trouble alongside some really weird looks.
And last but not least: Don’t be afraid of experimenting something new. Be the traveller and not just the tourist and try at every opportunity something new that comes along your way from the culture and the country that you’re visiting. Maybe some customs will seem weird at first (a special traditional, food etc.), without trying you'll never know what you're potentially missing out. If millions of other people have experienced it before you, then trust me: you are safe and you’ll probably regret it later if you haven't tried it! So don’t be afraid of being open-minded and gather as much experiences as possible.
P.S: Oh, and don’t forget to take lots of photos to keep your greatest memories safe. And if you’re coming from a foreign country as an international student or from your year-abroad and are looking for a place to live in the next year, then check out the best platform in the UK for student accommodation at www.studentpad.co.uk
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