Zac Richman: Post 4

Zac Richman: Post 4
ISA 2021
Florence, Italy

A list of advice for studying abroad
1. Do it! The experience is more valuable than any dollar amount.
2. If you fail, try again. I had 4 programs cancelled before my Florence study abroad worked out.
3. Learn a little of the language wherever you are going. As Italy was my 5th choice, I learned almost no Italian before I went. Studying on a plane doesn’t actually work out so great when you sleep through most of it.
4. Get out of your host country at least once. If you can’t, get out of your host city. See how people live in the suburbs or countryside. One of my very few regrets is not spending more time outside of cities. Not everyone lives off of a cramped side street. The suburbs are wide and sprawling. A wine tour would’ve taken me to the rolling Tuscan hills I saw in the movies. Living in a city for the first time can make you feel claustrophobic and cramped.
5. You will miss home. As nice as it is to fit in and assimilate, don’t forget where you’re from. A major personality change will leave you feeling like two people and nobody at the same time.
6. You will miss hearing English everywhere you go. Being able to understand everyone chatting around you will be a major breath of fresh air you may not even realize you needed.
7. It is a ton of fun being able to make your way through an interaction at a store or restaurant without using any English.
8. Do not forget headphones, you’re going to need them to listen to your own music. I didn’t realize I missed listening to my own music until I was biking down ancient streets listening to the Grateful Dead and country music.
9. Talk too much and listen even more than that. It’s important to be social and make friends. Being alone in a foreign country is much more difficult than you might think.
10. Apply for scholarships. There are a million scholarships and all it takes is writing a small essay to fund your entire trip if you work hard enough. I applied for a scholarship that paid for most of my trip and a credit card that gave me enough miles to go back to Europe, round trip, for free. You don’t have to apply for a credit card to get monetary assistance though, look up websites that offer you scholarships. There’s no reason that money needs to be a limiter for your study abroad experience.