Loop Abroad alum Amelia Matczak shares her top tips when preparing for your first trip abroad.
So, you have finally booked your first trip abroad, but how do you prepare for it? What should you pack? What should you expect? If you’re going on a travel camp, who else is going to be there? What kind of research should you do before making the trip?
These are all questions that flew through my mind when I went on my first trip abroad and luckily, through trial and error, I have found some of the answers and am now here to share them with you.
You need to take into consideration how much traveling your trip entails from the moment you get off of the plane. You should always pack light, but if you are going to be traveling around once you get to your destination, maybe you should think about a rucksack instead of a suitcase. Once you’ve made that decision, you can begin to make your packing list.
Expect the unexpected…but in a good way. Any time you travel outside of your own country, you are faced with culture shock. It might be something extreme, like not understanding what anyone is saying, but it could also be something as mundane as being unable to buy Gatorade. Eventually, or sometimes suddenly, these cultural differences can become overwhelming and not what you had anticipated, but you have to remind yourself that part of your purpose in being there is to expand your mind, experience things outside of what you are used to and to embrace these differences to help you better understand yourself and the world. So, expect to encounter things that surprise you.
That being said, you don’t have to go into the experience completely in the dark. I highly recommend reading some online forums or picking up a book on the place you are traveling to. That way, even though you will still experience culture shock, you will have some idea of what to expect.
Hopefully these tips have helped you prepare for your first trip abroad, but if you still want more advice, check with the organization you are traveling with! Most travel camps post suggested packing lists and have previous travelers you can reach out to with questions. If you have planned the trip by yourself and are looking for more advice, search online for suggested packing lists to your location, and, most importantly, get excited about your trip and have fun!
"This was a great learning experience! We were able to spend a lot of time with the vets and they were constantly answering questions and sharing their knowledge. Strongly recommend this trip!"
Andrea G., Thailand College Veterinary Service 2016
Wright State University, Dayton, OH