Study Abroad Planning: A BU Student Offers Tips, Tricks, and Insights

Study Abroad

Study Abroad Planning: A BU Student Offers Tips, Tricks, and Insights

Hold off booking those weekend trips, find out what adapters you need, and avoid overpacking

February 24, 2023
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As someone who has always dreamt of studying abroad, Boston University’s extensive abroad program remained on my radar until it became my turn to apply. Now, as I look back on the other side of the experience, having studied abroad this past fall semester, I can confidently say my time in London was nothing short of life-changing. From living, studying, and working in London to meeting new lifelong friends and traveling throughout Europe, I cannot stop thinking about my time abroad. So, to help make things a little easier for future Terriers studying abroad, I have compiled a list of five tips I wish I had known before my experience.

1. Wait to book your weekend trips before the program itself begins

GIF: People on an island, and one man says "okay, I have a plan...we do nothing."
Courtesy of

While you may be eager to start planning your travels, I recommend not booking any flights, hostels, or Airbnb before the program starts. Even if you have friends from BU joining you abroad, there are still many students from other universities, and many from BU, that you have yet to meet and will want to travel together. Most friends I traveled with were students I met after arriving in London. So, while you may be ready to jet off, grant yourself one to two weeks before you book anything at the start of the program.

2. Set aside time to explore the city you’re studying in

GIF: Two people exploring a foreign city.
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On the opposing side of the first point, keep some weekends free to spend in the city you’ll be studying at. I cannot tell you how many friends I had who said they’d over-extended themselves with weekend trips around Europe and felt they’d missed out on adequately exploring London. On the first day of orientation, an advisor told us that it was impossible to conquer all of Europe during our time abroad. He advised that instead of trying to fit in everything and inevitably burning out, we pick a handful of our top choices and spend the rest of our time traveling England.

3. Find out what items your program provides to avoid overpacking

GIF: A man who has overpacked for a trip.
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The program will most likely remind you what to bring and what to keep at home before your departure, but reiterating it is essential. For example, the BU London program provided each of us with bedding; however, we needed to supply our towels. These were relatively minor tasks in the grand scheme of planning, but very beneficial to know ahead of time to save space in your suitcase.

4. Determine what outlet adapters you’ll need and buy them

GIF: A cartoon hand popping out of an outlet hole to pull the plug.
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While it may seem easier to wait to buy your adapters once you arrive at your destination, jetlag and the chaos of moving will make stopping at a store to pick up an adapter the last thing you want to do. Of course, arriving in a new country with a dead phone battery is even less desirable, so buy and keep an outlet converter in your bag; it’s easy, inexpensive, and hassle-free.

5. Overestimate your expenses

GIF: Calculating Zach Galifianakis scene from the Hangover.
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Despite being a rather obvious tip, it is helpful to set aside more funds rather than less, especially abroad. Of course, don’t break the bank; however, expenses pile up fast between groceries, travels, going out, etc., so I recommend over-preparing. Additionally, learn the country’s currency and how it compares to USD.

Studying abroad was always a dream of mine, and the experience did not fall short. If you are going abroad soon, have fun, be safe, and don’t be afraid to meet new people, both in and outside your program. If you’re interested in going abroad, check out BU’s extensive list of programs.

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Study Abroad Planning: A BU Student Offers Tips, Tricks, and Insights

  • Kelsey Martirano (COM’23)

    Kelsey Martirano (COM’23) is a social media intern with BU Public Relations. She can be reached at Profile

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