Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Update: Pre-Study Abroad Feelings


Sorry I have not been as faithful to my blog during the break.  Break has been very busy.  I worked a lot and had a family emergency, and I am currently in Boston staying with my uncle before I fly to London and begin my adventure abroad.  I just wanted to give a little update on everything and also give some tips for those of you who plan to study abroad sometime in the future.

During my stay in Boston, I have been meeting with cousins and their connections to try to secure myself an internship for the summer.  I had one different meeting this morning, however.  My uncle works with a woman who studied abroad in the same place I am going (Florence, Italy), so I was able to sit down with her to talk about Florence and traveling while abroad.  She gave me so many good tips that I'm sure will come in handy while I am in Italy.  One of them that I did not know is that Florence is very student oriented.  In many places, like restaurants and gelaterias, showing your student ID can often get you a discount.  This will prove especially helpful since I am trying to stick to a budget during my trip.  If you are going abroad, I recommend talking to people who have been to the same place you are going.  They have been in your shoes before, and they can give you tips that will probably prove to be very helpful.  Going to a strange place can often be daunting (I know I'm experiencing some nervousness right now), so talking to people who have been through it already can help put you a little more at ease, and can even psych you up for your trip!

Packing was the biggest obstacle in my pre-departure process.  My advice? Start early.  My situation was unique because I ended up having to come to Boston early, so I only had two days to pack.  Packing can be a very stressful process, so starting early can help relieve some of the stress and prevent you from forgetting things you need.  Here are some other tips:

  • Look up the packing guidelines on both the airport's website and the airline's website.  They can be very strict, so make sure you are familiar with the guidelines so you do not have to pay a fee or have something you need thrown away.  In my case, there was a weight limit of 51 lbs, and the suitcase I will be checking at the gate had to meet specific measurements.  
  • Making a list of things you need is also helpful.  My program provided a preliminary list, so that was very helpful.  I also made a list of my own, writing down the things that were specific to me so I could prevent forgetting something important.  Remember: you can't pack everything.  I had to leave a lot of my clothes out since my bag could only be a specific size and weight.  Make sure you are packing what you need first, and then pack other things you think you might need if you have room left over.  
  • Make sure you pack essentials in your carry-on.  Packing an extra outfit and travel-size toiletries can prove helpful in case your checked baggage gets lost.  This is my biggest fear in flying.  I do not want to have my baggage get lost, but in reality, it happens.  Be prepared.  
  • If you know you will need certain things in the airport or on the plane, know where you pack them.  You do not want to be searching your bags in such a public place.  For example, I specifically put my liquid toiletries on the top in my backpack.  I know I will have to take them out when I go through security, so this will make it easy.  
This is me with my full suitcase that I will be my checked luggage at the airport.  I am sitting next to it, and the suitcase is almost as tall as I am sitting down.  Make sure you are able to carry your luggage! 

If I think of any other tips, I will add to the list.  I hope these help!

Today is my last full day in the United States before I fly out.  It is a very surreal feeling, and it does not feel like I will be on a completely different continent so soon.  I hope to update my blog as soon as I get to London and have access to wi-fi. If you have any questions, please email me (emurray@mail.smcvt.edu or lizmurray3@gmail.com), tweet me (@LittleLizzie33) or ask me a question on formspring (lizmurray3).



  1. Have a great stay in Florence, Liz! I'll miss seeing you around campus and working on group projects with you ;)

  2. Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life...

    Study Abroad

  3. some great tips! I'll definitely keep them in mind when getting ready for my trip!