Roaming the streets of Sevilla

Where do you want to go?

A few things I looked at when choosing a country to study abroad in were weather, friendliness, english accessibility and available classes. I chose to study abroad in the summer so everything would feel more like a vacation. I knew I wanted a warmer climate with a lot of sun. Also, you want to pick a place where the people speak some of your native language. Since I am in Spain, most people know basic english. However, there are some encounters where I have to use my spanish knowledge or a translator app (I recommend Spanishdictionary for anyone going to a spanish speaking country). It is not impossible to not speak the native language wherever you go, but every conversation will require a lot of energy and listening which can get tiring. Lastly, it is important that you pick a place or program that offers classes that will transfer to your needed credits. Seville, Spain offers an exercise science program which is why I chose that city.

How do you prepare?

As a student whose parents have never been out of the US, preparing for a month-long international trip was daunting. Don’t stress over it! To help prepare myself and familiarize myself with Spanish culture, I watched YouTube videos and TikTok‚Äôs. Seeing what other people did while abroad and how they dressed and acted really helped me to know the environment I was stepping into. Even reading blogs like this one helped me get a feel for the unknown. Make sure to use your campus resources as well. UA has wonderful study abroad advisors who will help you plan your trip, apply for scholarships, and introduce you to people going to the same country. If money is something that is holding you back, look for scholarships everywhere! UA offers some grants and scholarships, and I also used my tuition-based scholarship to fund my program. Depending on which affiliate program you choose, they may also offer scholarships for students studying abroad. Also, use websites like student universe to find cheaper flights.

What do you pack?

Packing can vary depending on which country and program you choose. Make sure to look at the weather/climate in your city of choice. Also, keep in mind the culture you will be living in. For example, in Europe people don’t wear a lot of Athleisure. Bring jeans, tops, and nice tennis shoes to fit in better. It may also help to bring travel coat hangers and wrinkle-release spray, so clothes don’t wrinkle. Some of the most useful things I packed were a handheld fan, comfortable (but cute) tennis shoes, wrinkle-release spray and an outlet converter that extends. Also, ROLL most clothing items! Roll all of the items that are not bulky to save room in your suitcase.

– Julia Kirkland