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Friday December 15th 2017

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Tips for Travelers

UnknownBy Jaden Lux–The decision has finally been made. Going back and forth over whether or not it’s a good idea is no longer in your mind. You are studying abroad.

This will no doubt be pulled you from the comfort zone of small town Iowa. The best college experience of all time is just ahead, but there are no doubt precautions to be made.

Jumping across the world is a remarkable feat, and it takes skills, a clear head, and an open mind. The only way to truly understand what it takes is to listen to students who have already been abroad. Students from the Morningside in Italy Program have a ton of tips that will make your journey as smooth as possible.

Technology
1). Everyone starts out as a newcomer when going to a new place. One of the biggest hurdles about exploring a foreign city is finding your way around.

Morningside student Julia Kudrna found that a smartphone app became the best option for not getting lost. “The Triposo app lets you download maps, and information about the city you’ll be staying at beforehand so you can get GPS when you don’t have Wi-Fi. It’s absolutely a lifesaver!” Kudrna said.

Not only is this app extremely useful, but even more importantly, IT’S FREE! Found on The App Store or in Google Play, it allows you to search any city within seconds of opening the app. Each major city has multiple tabs of information including Things to See and Do, Places to Eat and Drink, Book Hotels and Hostels, and Practical Information.

It also shows the currency exchange rate, so travellers can determine the best time to exchange American Dollars for the local bill. Even more options are available upon scrolling through the variety of links at the top.

Ask for help
2). A common fear among travelers is being that annoying tourist that doesn’t know where they are going. Saralyn Pearce, senior, feels locals are never shy of giving help where it’s needed. “Don’t be afraid to ask the locals for help. A small amount of communication can go a long way,” she says with certainty.

The key to this is showing kindness and respect to everyone you meet along the way. You will occasionally come across tourists who have a sense of entitlement and can be flat out rude to locals. If you act in this way, then there is a guarantee they will not be willing to help. Kindness will go as far as it needs to go when trouble or confusion takes control of your travels.

Have a plan for your phone
3). Having the Internet instantly in any place is a luxury for Americans. Unfortunately, data plans in America don’t transfer to foreign lands by themselves.

For Kelsey Krohn, junior, working out a plan with a phone company could be a lifesaver in an emergency. Krohn explains, “Get a small data plan to help with GPS while traveling. If a data plan is too expensive, find the nearest hotspot.”

This is especially important if Triposo becomes the main source of direction considering it uses Wi-Fi.

Pack as little as possible
4). Christina Vázquez, senior, focused on packing: “Pack as little as possible. You’ll probably want the room later.”

The goal for studying abroad is to become integrated into the community that you are living in. So leaving behind those extra couple of outfits is actually beneficial in the end. This forces you to go to a clothing store and wear something from the place you’re living in. This also gives space in the suitcase for things that have been picked up on along the way when it’s time to come home.

Peanut Butter!
Senior Dominique Swanson found some humor when giving advice. “Bring peanut butter because it’s so expensive abroad. When a man gives you a package that looks like [not something good] open it because it might be gummy bears,” Swanson says with a chuckle.

While Swanson might be joking around a little bit, there is some truth behind what she is saying. The moral of the gummy bears is to try things that you wouldn’t normally do. If something looks scary, do it, because it will most likely be an amazing experience and you can talk about it for the rest of your life.

Of course, do all of this with reason. There may be some people along the way who aren’t always looking out for your best interests. So find a buddy when you travel, use common sense, and never be afraid to ask for help from the authorities or a kind stranger.

The world is yours to explore if you know how to do it and treat it well. Buon Viaggio!