Preparing for Time Abroad
It is essential to be as prepared as possible when you’re heading abroad for a long period of time. Packing everything you will need is one of the most significant parts of this, but the physical and emotional preparation are also notable items that one may overlook.
Before even considering what to take with you, make sure you brush up on the language of the country you are visiting. Study what you have learned thus far and ensure you know enough to at least hold a decent conversation. While you will learn a great deal there, it is extremely helpful to have a good starting point.
If you are doing a schoolyear exchange, it is also imperative that you discuss your exchange with your school and teachers to ensure they know what is occurring. Once they are informed, they can help you establish how to keep on top of the work you will be missing. If you can get your homework ahead of time, it is wise to attempt working on it before you go abroad.
In regards to packing, look into the general weather of the country around the time of year you will be there and make sure to bring whatever is appropriate. For example, if the temperatures are generally cool, make sure to bring a few sweaters! Of course, also make a list of thing to remember as a general rule: enough pants, shirts, shoes, accessories, toiletries, etc. Pack all the clothing that you may need. Don’t forget your favourite shirt or pair of shoes and bring enough to last you at least several days! Additionally, bring all the items you may need for hobbies/entertainment and pack all the necessary chargers for your devices.
Before departing you may find yourself riddled with nerves. If you are worried for the plane ride, the actual trip, or something else entirely, try and find techniques for calming yourself down. Take a deep breath to start, reassure yourself, and take slow, steady steps towards what is scaring you. Find the solutions that suit you best. Is there someone you can talk to that will help soothe your nerves? Do you have a favourite item that will bring you some comfort? Will exercising help? Make sure you know what to do when nerves overcome you as to not work yourself into a panic.
Another possibility is developing homesickness, so it is best to establish ways to minimize this before you even leave. One of the most significant concerns is making sure you and your family have decided on how you will communicate with each other while you are away. If you can’t get a hold of them when you want to talk, this could bring you even more unnecessary stress. Also try to bring and do things that remind you of your Canadian home that will provide you with a feeling of familiarity and ease.
There is much to consider before getting on your flight, but once you have it all down, it is the time to let go and focus on your destination and all the wonderful things you will discover there!
By Sarah Zeran