Angelina Jorge delivers her 2nd part of the ‘Mistakes We Made Before Studying Abroad’ series.
4) I’m totally prepared!
Never assume you are completely prepared. Life is full of surprises and no single person can be fully prepared for anything. There is no such thing as being over prepared so make sure to bring those extra sunglasses and extra allergy pills and extra patience! Trust us, the extra pound or two in your luggage will be worth it when you need it.
#5.) No, really. I’m totally prepared!
No, you’re not. Being 100% prepared is almost impossible, especially for those who have medical problems/needs. The goal is to be as close to 100% as possible and we are here to tell you that being a little paranoid will go a long way.
For example: I only brought my regular allergy medication thinking I would take my normal dosage every day. I used a new type of bug spray and BOOM, hives all over my body. And not only were they extremely painful, but they lasted a lot longer than I’m used to. Had I known the climate change was going to be a catalyst for my allergic reactions and an obstacle for my recovery, I would have brought a stronger dosage or different medicine. Take it from experience: you don’t want to be the one that makes the group late for their activity because you had to stop at a hospital in a foreign country.
#6.) Tools of the trade.
Please don’t forget that you actually have to study while studying abroad. Yes, you need notebooks, pencils, laptops, tablets, cameras, reading glasses, etc. Anything and everything that can aid you in your studies must come with you! As part of our Costa Rica program, we had the pleasure of touring the Harold Canal in Tortuguero National Park and binoculars would have seriously come in handy to spot the wildlife up in the trees. (The telephoto lens for my Canon made a great substitute though!)
#7.) Currency Exchange. Yay or Nay?
Fortunately, for us lucky Americans, the US Dollar carries a much greater value in almost every other non-first-world country in the world. So in Costa Rica, the currency is known as a colónand the exchange rate is roughly 530 colónes to 1 US dollar. And we are fortuitous enough to be traveling in places that will accept our American dollar (even though they will always give us change in colónes). To Costa Ricans, as well as many other countries, the Dollar can be used as a “universal” exchange for foreigners from all over the world. But that’s definitely not the case everywhere; so it’s important to know what your exchange rates are, where to exchange your money for a fair rate, and whether or not you even have to go through the trouble.
The students who pitched their grievances to Angelina are Nicole Scott (JWU Denver) and Madeleine Gruder (JWU Providence).