Cuenca 2020 Cuenca, Ecuador MSMU Travels

Tips to Prepare for a Semester Abroad

Good afternoon! Welcome back to another #HolyThursday post. Today’s post will deviate from my normal theme so that I can provide you all with some tips for preparing to leave the United States for a semester abroad. 

First, it is important to understand far in advance the logistical details of the trip, such as which classes will be offered by the professor, where you will be living, how the trip will align with your majors, and most importantly, what is the cost. Knowing the answers to these questions can help you narrow your options and point you in the direction of which study abroad programs are available to you. 

Second, talk to your advisor during advising week to help determine what classes you should take to stay on-track for graduation. Dr. McCarthy, the Mount’s Associate Provost, is also very helpful with creating alternatives. For example, I needed to take Intermediate Accounting II this semester to make sure I stayed on track for next year. Dr. McCarthy worked with a program called OCICU, which helps students take courses at other universities when they’re unavailable at “home,” which allows me to take the course through Saint Leo University. We also had opportunities to take some of the Core classes both in Cuenca and online. My advice is to talk to your advisor and Dr. McCarthy before you rule out a trip abroad.

Third, once you’ve decided to go, there are so many decisions you have to make. The decisions range in importance from which excursions you want to plan to how many pairs of socks to pack. Whatever the situation is, be prepared to make decisions, and don’t be afraid to make the choices that are right for you. 

Here are some other tips that might help you prepare before you leave:

  • Leave room in your suitcases for when you come home. If you’re like me, you’ll find lots of things to buy, so it’s important to save room.
  • Don’t forget to pack your textbooks and supplies for the classes you plan to take. Also, if your host family is like ours without a printer, take a flash drive along when you need to go get something printed.
  • Choose a gift for your host family from a special place wherever you’re from.
  • Make sure you talk to your bank beforehand to let them know you are leaving. 
  • Create a budget to help monitor the amount of money you’re going to spend during each part of the trip. 

I hope these tips have helped you understand more about the process of deciding to study abroad. Please check back next #HolyThursday for information about the customs and etiquette of Ecuador. Have a great day!

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