A Few Tips for You

It is hard to believe that within 6 weeks I will be back in Louisville. It feels like just yesterday I was walking into my room at The Hague for the first time. I wanted to share some advice about some of the things that can have an impact on your study abroad experience.

Make a list of the countries/cities that you want to go to: This was one of the first things AJ and I did when we got to The Hague. We have been able to visit 10 countries on our list. The key is to travel early and often. That way, you are not traveling around the end of the semester when final exams and big assignments are due. Save the local areas for the end. Make use of any school holidays you may have. Fortunately, we did not have any tests during the first exam period so we had an extended fall break of about 10 days.

Stay on top of school work: It is important to get work done, even if it means giving up a night out during the week. You do not want to carry your books and notes around on a weekend trip trying to get work done. It is a hassle. Balancing school with traveling is not the easiest thing, but it is important that you do so.

Research the places you are going: By this I mean take an hour or so to look up some info on the places before you get there. Ask friends and family for recommendations on things to do. I have been able to use info from previous posts on this blog by others. You might be able to find a nice local restaurant, bar, or attraction that is not known to tourists. Also, look into events going on in the cities during the time you will be there. You never know if your favorite artist or author may be in town while you are there.

Pack light: Whenever you travel, pack light. Take only what you absolutely need for a few days and leave the rest. Make sure all your liquids are travel sized. I recommend walking whenever you can, you’ll see more of the city that way and you do not want to lug around a heavy backpack.

Be creative in your travel plans: Look into trains, buses, and planes. Buses are often dirt cheap, but the downside is a long travel time. Trains and planes are pretty affordable given that you plan well in advance. Look into other airports around you. Often, the low cost airlines fly out of secondary airports. You can travel to a city one way by train and then return by plane or by some other combination.

That is all I have for now. I will try to add more as I think of them. If you have any questions or comments, let me know and I will get back to you. Thanks for reading!

Chiraag Bhimani

Happy Packing!

This is a post for those UofL students who will be studying abroad this spring and aren’t exactly sure what to bring with you. This is not an exhaustive list by any mean, just a few things that I brought that came in handy when traveling.

Swim Towel – Most hostels will not have towels available for travelers. However, it is often not possible to bring a big towel with you when traveling, as space is a precious commodity. Before leaving, I bought one of those towels swimmers use that you just ring out and it’s instantly dry.  You need to keep those towels in their small case, but overall it has served me well and has taken up next to no room in my backpack.

Both a SMALL lock and a BIG lock – Hostels have all different kinds of lockers. Some are big vertical lockers like you would find in a sports locker room; others are ones you pull out from under the bed. The difficult part is that these lockers vary in size and don’t always fit a big combo lock. I brought a smaller lock and a bigger combo lock with me on each trip. I would say half the time I had to use the smaller lock because the combo lock was too big.

Small 3 oz. plastic containers – When flying, you are only allowed to bring liquids that are equal to or less than 3 oz. and these must be put in a plastic see through bag. If you pick up some clear 3-ounce (or less) containers before you leave, you will be able to put shampoo, lotion, or whatever else you need in these smaller containers so you have them available to you when traveling.

Money Belt – This is a super thin fanny pack that you wear under your shirt and basically in your pants that helps protect your valuables from pick pockets. You can put your passport, credit cards, cash and more in here. This way, if the worst-case scenario happened and someone pick pocketed you, they would not get these valuables in your money belt. You can look them up on Amazon.com. I promise you won’t regret this purchase.

Happy packing! – AJ