Office of Study Abroad | Michigan State University -- Printer-Friendly View
Your involvement before you leave is vital to a successful study abroad program. How involved you become in planning and preparing for your time abroad will directly influence how well you achieve the personal and academic goals that you have set for yourself.
There are many ways to prepare for your journey.
- Talk with your program leader to learn details about your specific program and countries you will visit.
- Complete the online orientation (you will receive an e-mail with instructions).
- Visit websites and read books about the history, geography, and customs of the countries you are visiting. Study maps, read newspapers with good international news coverage, and watch videos of the places you will visit.
- Go online to access daily editions of foreign newspapers for helpful information and advice.
- Visit the Office of Study Abroad Advising Center - 108 International Center - where you'll find program evaluations written by previous participants.
- Review the Brigham Young University publications CultureGrams (http://online.culturegrams.com/) that are summary sheets on such topics as the people, customs and courtesies, and lifestyles of countries around the world.
- Review the U.S. Department of State publications Background Notes/Fact Sheets (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/). These include information about each country's people, history, geography, economy, government, and political situation.
- Talk with returned study abroad students, or international students from the countries you willl visit, as they can provide invaluable insights.
- Check out the international travel sections of bookstores and purchase one or two good student guides such as Let's Go, Lonely Planet, Berkeley Guides, or Rough Guides.
- Finally, if you don't speak the language, learn some key words and phrases, and purchase a small phrase book to carry with you when you are out and about. Everyone likes to hear even simple words or phrases in their native tongue.