With my departure day closing in, I find myself frantically taking on all the final details regarding my trip to Rome. Despite constantly checking emails and making phone calls, I realized there were some major issues I needed to resolve before my departure date. After a week of lots of internet research and interviewing friends who have travelled abroad, I decided to make a list of the points I wish I would have confronted sooner.
There are many, many different ways to deal with your funds abroad. Some people opt for credit cards, cash, or using their debit cards overseas. For my month in Europe, I decided to go with a Traveler’s Card. After talking to my local bank (and reading about the common occurrences of pickpocketing in Rome!) I decided that the safety and security of a Traveler’s Card would best fit my needs for money abroad. Same as with every route, however, there are drawbacks to using a Traveler’s card. I will be dealing with a currency converter fee for each purchase I make through my card. Check with your bank about options for students going abroad, most banks and credit card companies offer cards for this specific purpose.
I, for one, am addicted to social media. I read about different options of track phones, apps, and purchasing phones once in Rome, but decided to do some further investigating with my cell phone provider. I found that the global phone package with my phone company was not that much extra and could be easily turned on and off. I settled with turning on the global plan for my month abroad, mainly for the peace of mind. I want to have emergency internet access if I need to navigate where I am or make an important phone call. This option, too, has the drawback of taking my phone into a foreign place. I know I will have to keep a close eye on it to lessen the chance it gets stolen. Again, check with your phone company, as most offer international plans or a certain amount of data overseas for a set price.
Upon the exciting arrival of the final package I received from AIFS, I received my flight information. Reading through the materials, I came to the understanding that the AIFS representative doesn’t reserve a specific seat on the plane. As someone who prefers the window seat, I looked up my flight information to see what randomly assigned seat I had. Since I logged in and checked, I had the chance to change my seat on the plane. I was able to change both my international flights to a window seat, which I am relieved to have. Now I can lean and sleep, in hopes of diminishing my jet lag.
The Final Touches
In order to make sure that everything will transfer smoothly, I called my school’s Study Abroad Advisor. I wanted to make sure everything that needed to be done for my university was completed so I wouldn’t have to worry about it once I left. Once I called, I found that I had one more online preparation course to take. If I had waited until I had left, I would have had to take the time to complete it while I was in Rome- which sounds like no fun! It is always good to double check with your advisors to prevent any bumps in the road. Better to be safe than sorry!
Now that I have completed all these things, I am really starting to feel the excitement of leaving the country. As someone who has never been to Europe, I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to study in Italy. The next time you will hear from me, I will be in Rome!