A week today, I will be back at home after 14 heady months abroad in Spain, then France, then Spain again. Here is a collection of advice that I have picked up along the way, some of it from others, some from those clichéd guides (much like this one) and some I've learnt in my own sweet time.
Phoebe Rees is doing English and American studies at the University of Leicester, and is preparing to spend her year abroad at the University of Alabama in the USA's "deep south". Here's her advice based on her research, bookings and preparations for a year in Alabama.
Considering a year abroad, but not sure whether you will be better suited to Europe or East Asia? Here are some important factors to consider before filling out your year abroad destination forms!
There is a lot of discussion about years spent abroad during your degree; lots of thought about great work experience, improvement of your foreign language skills and an amazing CV on your return home. All of this is true - although you may not be taking a year out in a country which speaks another language - but I cannot help feeling that these people are missing some other, equally valuable, points which are worth considering in conjunction with your employability.
While you're preparing for your year abroad, it's useful to find out what other students in your position are up to! Here are the early-stage blogs and words of wisdom about year abroad preparations written by current students, and here's what last year's students got up to: Top of the Blogs 2011-2012. Blogging is a great way to document your year abroad, but here are some other weird and wonderful ways.
Layla Haidrani, 21, is studying History at the University of Kent, Canterbury and will be spending a semester abroad at University of Miami in the United States in Fall 2013. You can follow her on Twitter @layla_haidrani as she prepares for life across the pond.
Whether you’re heading to Paris, Perth or Pittsburgh, one of the most stressful aspects of preparing to leave home for a year can be choosing what to take with you, or thinking about what you’re going to miss. We read this review by year abroader Heather, and it inspired us to work with Sendmybag, the super-efficient luggage shipping service, and we've managed to get 10% off their fees for year abroaders!
A crucial question that all year-abroad students face: what to pack, and how much of it. Vicky and I were volunteering in Orion - a tiny therapeutic community in the Russian countryside. Our nearest and only shop had a very limited and sporadic stock of items, so we had to pack many things that perhaps you could buy when you reach your destination. Though this list isn't complete by any means, we hope that this might help you, the reader, decide how much to pack when going on your year abroad, and guide you to not over-pack as we did.