Studying abroad takes a great deal of courage (Great, now I sound like I'm sending you off to battle). You're going to be living off on your own in another country that is completely different from everything you know and anything familiar. You may be travelling with someone you already know or you may be starting a new adventure in your life with people you have never met.
When I studied abroad, I knew zero people I would be spending the next four months with before boarding the plane to Spain. It wasn't scary, it was absolutely petrifying. However, seeing as I'm sitting here writing it appears that I made it out alive. Whether you're studying abroad or just travelling, having some of your favorite things with you can make a huge difference, especially if the trip is long-term.
The following four items are what I consider to be my Personal Must-Haves for travelling (not in any specific order).
1. Sony Bloggie
This little guy went with me EVERYWHERE while I was living abroad. I made a ton of videos documenting my experience, and making those videos is one of the best decisions I've ever made. Rather than just having photos to look at, I now have a plethora of embarrassing video footage from my life in Spain. Who doesn't love embarrassing videos of themselves, am I right? I am able to watch moments from my 4 months in Europe unfold before me. I'm able to watch my first walk with my friend Tori to La Universidad de Sevilla. I am able to hear what it sounded like in the coffee shops. I can relive my hilarious camel ride in Morocco. Basically, I would like to give an Oscar to the Bloggie. You're the bomb.com, little dude.
2. Pictures of Friends and Family
This is especially important if you are living abroad for an extended period of time. Having some pictures of my friends and family was vital in making a smooth transition into Spanish life, because I was able to have a small snippet of home with me. You can remind yourself that these people do still exist and that you haven't been transported to some sort of alternate universe. I recommend hanging them up by your dresser or by a mirror so you can easily see them when you're feeling homesick.
3. My Handy, Dandy Journal
I cannot stress enough the importance of writing about your day-to-day experiences while travelling or living abroad. Not only is it a way to document your experiences, it is a great way to relieve stress and culture shock. I draw a lot in my journal, write inspirational quotes, cut and paste from magazines, and write. Your journal is your journal, you can do with it what you please, but simply having and using one is most important.
This is my stuffed animal reindeer that I received as a gift from my brother when I was seven. His name is literally Reindeer. He really enjoyed coming to Spain with me. Yes, I am 21 years-old. It was another little piece of home and he helped lessen the culture shock.
Until next time,