I chose to study abroad because I grew up in a dual-military household and my parents traveled the world. They told me amazing stories about all the places they have been and all the truly awesome things they experienced. My parents always taught me that traveling gives someone perspective and understanding; it pushes them out of their comfort zone. I wanted all those things.

I think one thing to keep in mind when deciding on studying abroad is price. I had to save up money and work while in school full-time to pay for study abroad. I was grateful enough to receive scholarship which helped me pay, but my biggest tip is to budget as if you will receive no scholarships. Save every penny if you must. The memories and experiences abroad will be worth more than that new blouse, or at least that’s what I told myself.

I also suggest packing as light as possible. Personally I packed cheap items which I would have no problem getting rid of the make room for purchases while I am abroad. Also, I packed in only carry-ons which made my airport experience 100 times easier. I had no checked bags so there was no worrying about if my bags would also make it to my destination.

In preparation for my departure, I did a lot of research. YouTube was my best friend. I would watch packing videos, travel tips, what to wear, history of locations, etc. As I found videos I enjoyed or wanted to be able to look back to, I saved them to a playlist in YouTube. One thing in particular I learned in my research is something that I now have in my carry-on bag: a “when we land” bag. It has my toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, lotion, dry shampoo, etc. All the things I need to freshen up after I land, because I am going straight to a museum. For this bag, I suggest using one of the clear TSA approved liquids bags (as pictured below). This is so you can easily see all the items in your “when we land” bag, making them much easier to access.