Catherine J. Fleming, a recent graduate of Florida State University with a degree in international business, spent a semester of her junior year studying in Florence, Italy, and another in a London internship as a senior working for an eastern European travel agency. After graduation last year, she worked as a counselor in FSU’s Study Abroad office in London.
She has these suggestions for students and faculty planning to study abroad:
- Meet as many of the locals as possible. Not all learning goes on in a classroom.
- Be flexible. Every day is different and usually never goes as planned. Go with the flow.
- Read up on the customs. Know what is polite, and impolite, in each place you visit. You never know when you could be offending someone.
- Know a few basic words in native language. Most everyone speaks English, but all appreciate the attempt.
- Ask the locals where the best places are to go, especially for food.
- Take some time to relax and enjoy, be more concerned with experiencing the place than seeing the sights.
- Don’t expect the service you get in America.
- This isn’t America or Disney World. Don’t expect it to be.
- Don’t be afraid to wander. Some of the best things happen when you’re lost.
- Don’t be afraid. This is an adventure.
- Don’t forget you’re there for school. The education you get abroad is priceless, so pay attention.