If you found yourself asking what “Your STAMP Team” is, don’t rush to google just yet. Your STAMP team is the team available to you as mentors for study abroad; STAMP stands for Study Abroad Mentor Program and you can learn more about advising here. Basically, we’re your one-stop shop for general study abroad questions and guidance. What qualifies us as this one-stop shop? Simple. We’ve been in your shoes, lived abroad, and lived to tell the tale. Now we’re committed to helping you maximize your experience by providing peer advising and this week we’ve put together our top ten pieces of advice (in no order) for studying abroad, so soak it up and feel free to leave any comments if you think we left anything important out or you’d like to add anything.
1) “Don’t let money be a reason why you don’t experience the most of your travel. Splurge! Who knows when you’ll be back!” – Faith Izuegbu
2) “Combating Homesickness: Your experiences abroad are far greater than the everyday lives of your friends and family back home. People want to be in your shoes so live it up and stop being sad!” – Faith Izuegbu
3) “Don’t come home for the holidays if you don’t have to. The money you spend on a flight to return for the holidays or visits could be spent on a trip in the region in which you’re studying. You know where you came from so go see someplace new! Trust me, home will be there when you get back.” – Oliver Babcock
4) “Take some time to research the technology available for communication. Many apps enable you to communicate via wifi and can make the time difference and physical distance from home seem much smaller. International cell phone plans can be expensive, so be sure to keep these apps in mind as an alternative to buying an international cell phone. Depending on your study abroad location, you may not even need another phone and could potentially do all of your communication via apps. Some apps to consider are Viber, Whatsapp, and even Facebook messenger. Viber and Facebook messenger even have options to make calls via wifi.” – Oliver Babcock
5) “Be careful with how much you pack, I brought two suitcases full of clothes because, well, I like to have options. Now, it’s been three weeks since I returned from Tasmania and one of my suitcases (which I paid to have sent home while visiting Thailand) is still in Sydney. I’m not sure if I’ll even be getting it back! You never know where you’ll be traveling or how much more you’ll want to bring back, so don’t make luggage an issue if you can avoid it.” – Madison Roser
6) “If you are doing an exchange or affiliate program, don’t be afraid to join organizations at school. Get involved, meet locals and international students. It will make a semester go much faster be much more worth your while! Plus it’s all about the stories once you come back.” – Madison Roser
7) “Be open to new friendships that can and will enrich your life through their culture’s food, music and dance. Being immersed in other cultures will help you understand people from different parts of the world. Plus, you never know when you might be in their neck of the woods and need a place to stay!” – Shirin Mansoori
8) “Take advantage of the different teaching systems from around the world. You will be able to learn valuable skills for independent study and research.” – Shirin Mansoori
9) “Whether it takes one or three years, studying abroad is possible – it just takes time. Look into not only where you want to go, but all the classes you can take in that country that apply to your major. Start planning as soon as you can! I planned three years in advance beginning my first semester on campus and I’m tentatively going to Japan the second semester of my Junior year.” – Andy Cerecero
10) “Never stop looking for scholarships! Whether it’s through the UT Study Abroad scholarship website (Global Assist) or on your own, there’s so much money out there. You just have to find it.” – Andy Cerecero
Well, that’s our two cents! We hope this advice finds you well and proves useful to you in whichever stage of study abroad you are. Be sure to check in next week and see what kind of tips, stories, and featured longhorns show up on the blog next. And as always, leave us comments if you have any suggestions for blog topics or just want to let us know how we’re doing. Take care!
-Your STAMP Team