At the beginning of this semester, I was accepted to my very first study abroad program. I was chosen to spend a week in Italy studying Apparel and Textile Merchandising for three credit hours. This was my very first time traveling outside of the U.S. and I was so excited that I could hardly stand it. Here are some tips for preparing a trip to Italy!
I had to convert my money into Euros. I feel that it’s best to arrive with at least some cash on you. I personally took half of my money already converted in cash and brought the other half on my visa card. I exchanged my money at the nearest Chase bank that kept foreign money in stock so I didn’t have to worry about them ordering (that can take a few days). My exchange rate was pretty decent since it was a bank. Also, make sure you call your bank to let them know that you will be out of the country so they do not freeze your card.
Pack as light as you can and save room for any purchases you make while your gone. It saves a lot of room if you roll your clothes tightly. Put all of your liquids (soaps, sprays, etc.) in some kind of bag so it won’t leak on your stuff if they bust open. Put your liquids in your checked bag if you can help it because they very strictly limit the amount of liquids you can bring in your carry-on. Also, check the weight of your bag before you get to the airport. Put your shoes and other heavy things in your carry-on because often times they don’t weigh your carry-on. If you’re going to be doing a lot of walking, like I was, then bring your most comfortable shoes!
When visiting a new culture, attempt to learn some of their basic customs and language. It’s only polite to make an effort when you are a guest in another country and it will make your communication with locals much easier. I got the book Italian Survival Guide off of Amazon and it gave really helpful vocabulary, tips, and basic things you should know about Italy. Also, look into little things like what kind of outlets they use. I had to purchase a converter plug in order to charge my phone and camera.