Hi! I am Issy, a final year Economics student who has just finished my semester abroad at Charles University in Prague!

Reflecting on my time abroad, I have put together some top tips to help future students prepare for their own exchanges:

  1. Research your destination before departure. It is a good idea to learn a bit about the country’s culture and language basics before you go (maybe download Duolingo for a couple of weeks!). I found that even a basic grasp of Czech was super useful in situations where English wasn’t widely spoken, like in the supermarkets, accommodation and restaurants outside the city centre. 
  2. Sort out your Visa ASAP. I quickly found out that the Visa process can be much longer and more complex that first anticipated. Starting early with all the necessary information can save you a ton of stress down the line. 
  3. Get involved. Your host university will hold activities and events for incoming exchange students, and they are such a good way to meet new people and immerse yourself in the culture. Stay informed about these events by joining Erasmus whatsapp group chats, downloading the ESN app, and following your host university’s Instagram accounts. 
  4. Keep an open mind. Approach your exchange with a willingness to learn and take on new experiences. While it is tempting to stick with fellow English students, stepping out of your comfort zone and making international friends will massively enrich your experience. Take advantage of the fact that so many international students can speak our native language. 
  5. Don’t be afraid to do things alone. While you will meet so many people abroad, there will inevitably be times when your friends are busy, but don’t let this stop you from exploring the city. Embrace solo adventures. 
  6. Take care of yourself. With the excitement of being abroad, it is easy to neglect your well-being. Remember to take care of yourself, eat well and get enough sleep. For your fun to be sustainable, you need to look after yourself. 
  7. Stay connected with your family and friends at home. Schedule regular calls with your loved ones at home, and if possible, plan times for them to come out to visit you. 
  8. Document as much as you can. Take photos of EVERYTHING. Trust me, you’ll want these to look back on when you return to England.

Enjoy your exchange! 

Semester Abroad Top Tips!

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