It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me, as I’ve been busy formatting guest posts and interviews into the blog for you. As the trips are nearing, I thought it would be a good time for me to write some more about my personal experiences as a student that you could take into consideration when preparing for your trip. So without further ado…here are 7 things I wish I’d known before studying abroad.
1. Invest in a GoPro.
I wish I’d known about this little gadget. When I got there, everyone was taking these cool mini cameras under the water during shark cage diving and attaching them to their wrists when we were bungee jumping. I had never even heard of it! I got one for Christmas this year, just in time for my 2015 travels, but I wish so badly that I could have documented my 2014 trip in this super cool way. On our adventure-based trips…this is just a must!
2. Keep everything.
Are you a hoarder? Good! Not a hoarder? Get used to it. Keep all of your wine tabs from wine tasting and restaurants. Keep your ticket stubs to get on the ferry to Robben Island and the Springboks rugby game. Keep anything and everything. One of my biggest regrets is that I wish I had a tangible travel journal. Stick all these little items in there. Make a memory book instead of throwing them away. You’ll be glad you did. They don’t take up much space, and they are wonderful memories.
3. Working out would have been a good idea.
Something awesome about Go Global is that the team is super healthy. There are optional workouts held every single day. I never worked out ONCE on my trip, and I wish I had. Everyone who worked out had a burst of energy that I was really lacking. I was lethargic, and the food coma of incredible delectables wasn’t helping. I really encourage everyone to get in a workout as often as possible to get you up and moving. I wish I did.
4. So would looking presentable.
I look back at some of my pictures and I look like I just rolled out of bed. I was so lethargic a lot of the time (see number 3…exercise would have helped) due to lack of exercise, jetlag, and being on go-mode 24/7. Even so, I wish I’d gotten more energy so that I could have looked more presentable on my trip. These are pictures that you’ll cherish forever, so while I don’t by any means encourage you to be a diva, I encourage you to freshen up so that you can look and feel your best and actually like the pictures from your trip that you’ll look back on!
5. You will share clothes.
I wish I had not overpacked! Ladies — YOU WILL SHARE CLOTHES. You and your roommates will all wear that one Free People cardigan. You’ll all rotate that baseball cap. And you’ll all wear those combat boots at some point or another. Don’t overdo it — remember that there will be so many people on the trip that will want to borrow your stuff and will let you borrow theirs. Don’t rely on anyone else of course, and don’t under pack, but you certainly don’t have to overdo it.
6. FOMO has never been so real.
You might not have FOMO about not going to Club 31 with your friends last night. You were so tired, you needed your sleep! This is true. But when you return home to the States, and everybody is talking about that great time they had…you’ll realize that your time abroad was so much more precious than you realized in the moment. Maximize your time and try to do as much as your body and mind could possibly handle. These weeks go by so quickly, and you don’t want to leave your trip wishing you’d done something that you didn’t. (This was a real-life example. I wish I went to Club 31 in Cape Town).
7. Nothing will ever be the same.
Eggs Benedict stopped tasting so good at home…My friends started to get confused at the way I would talk about life in these deep, unusual angles…I stopped spending money on expensive clothes and started saving money to attempt to cure my travel bug on future expeditions. In even the simplest ways, after studying abroad, you will never, ever be the same.
I wish I’d been prepared to understand that my life would never be like it was — but it’s different in the best way possible, so it’s ok. It’s better… and I wouldn’t change that for the world.
-Anna and the Go Global team