You’ve been waiting for this moment for
weeks. Months. Heck, maybe even YEARS. You have absolutely no idea what to expect
your first day abroad. Will it be the best day ever and go off without
a hitch? Will it be the worst day of your life? (Uhm—unlikely). Will you even survive? YES, DEFINITELY. Though it turns out those first 24 hours are
a little different for everyone— Except for the feeling slightly dazed and
confused part… We’re meaningful travelers, and here’s
our rundown of what YOU can expect on day one: the good
the bad, and the ugly. The good
IT’S THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE Everything is new. Nothing hurts. And you’re about to have the best day. You’re riding high. Literally nothing could go wrong. The airport pickup. You come down the stairs towards baggage claim
and there they are waiting for you! They alleviate some serious stress about getting
from the airport to your new home city *phew* Thank God they’re there. Meeting your crew. New friends galore! You’re either meeting your fellow study
abroaders at the airport, on your way into town, or once you start moving into your new
digs—this might include meeting your host family! But, with so many smiling and excited faces,
you’re bound to make fast friends that you’ll keep for life. Exploring your new campus. Look at the birds! And the trees! And the flowers! And that one building that was definitely
in Harry Potter?! How CUTE are their accents? And that new bench? That’s definitely where you’re gonna be
studying. Exploring your new city. There’s going to be so many adorable doorways
and ‘grammable moments that you won’t know where to begin. But, don’t worry! You’re going to be there for months, so
you don’t have to snap every picture on your first day. Find your new fave coffee spot, your corner
market, and the garden pub for a drink after a long afternoon of classes. The bad
Not great, but you can definitely handle it. These might toss a wrench in your plans of
a totally perfect first day, but your plane-hair isn’t as greasy as you think. So, don’t let it hold you back. Language barriers. Oh man, remember that pesky little thing—that
quiz you forgot to study for? WELL NOW EVERYTHING IS A QUIZ YOU DIDN’T
STUDY FOR. Even if you have a pretty good grasp of your
host country’s native language, it can still be a struggle to adjust to it at first. You’ll probably feel like everyone is talking
a mile a minute—well, I guess a kilometer a minute—for your first few weeks. But don’t worry, you’ll train your ear
to get used to it. Did that Chinese guy say what I think he said?! Did you actually say pregnant instead of embarrassed? (Definitely done that before…) Placement exams. So, not everyone will have to take a placement
exam, but if you plan on studying a language abroad (which you definitely should), you’ll
probably have to take a placement test to assess your skill level and put you in the
appropriate class. Get ready for it to be preeeetty tough. I guess you didn’t picture yourself sweating
this much while you were abroad, huh? You forgot… What do you mean we needed a towel and twin
sized sheets? Ruh-roh! This is the great fear of travelers everywhere—forgetting
something important! It’s bound to happen. You’ll definitely forget something. This can really put a damper on day one, but
luckily, this usually has an easy solution. Just take a trip to the market or ask your
study abroad support staff for help. The ugly
Everything hurts now and you just want to take a nap. Jet. Lag. Don’t be surprised if you’re suffering
from a serious case of the sleepies. You’ve got to adjust to your new time zone—and
no, you can’t just lay down and go to sleep for 12 hours and think that’s gonna be okay. So, drink another quick espresso and toss
some cold water on your face. Stay awake and make it through day 1! No matter what! Getting spammed with texts from your parents. They’re worried. So respond to them, but don’t give them
the play-by-play. Just send them a happy photo or an “I made it! Let’s talk later this week” text and call
it good? The newness of it all. You’re so excited to explore your new surroundings,
but it’s probably pretty overwhelming as well, because you have no idea where you’re
going. It’s okay. Inhale. Exhale. Keep your map handy. Relax and try to soak it all in. Don’t worry, you’ll be strutting your
stuff down these cobblestoned streets like you were born here in no time. How to prepare for your first day Relax, unpack, and get settled in. Be open and stay calm. You might feel very, very nervous. It’s okay! It’s natural to feel like that, everyone
does. Odds are there’s someone around you, whether
it be a fellow study abroad-er or a program coordinator, who knows exactly how you’re
feeling. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, be honest
about it! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself! It’s going to take time to figure it out,
so just take it easy. I think every single person who has studied
abroad has seen a movie or a tv show about studying abroad and they’re expecting their
experience to be that shiny, and magical, and you’re living in reality. So, just take the experiences as they come
and they’re not always going to be awesome, but at the end of the day you’re going to
have a really cool, real experience to take back home with you. Say YES to everything! But keep it within reason. There are certain things that might be a little
out of your comfort zone, but trying them can really help open you up to new experiences. Once this experience is done you can’t get
it back and you should be trying to leave your comfort zone as often as possible. Try to get involved as much as possible and
you’ll soon make new friends and feel great! Write down your feelings—journal about it! It’s a lot to process, so it can be helpful
to write it out. Then you have something you can look back
on and laugh and smile about. Today was fun, but guess what—your study
abroad is only going to get better and better and better and better! So get ready and get excited. Cheers to you! Enjoy your study abroad!