So you finally did it, made that choice to go overseas on exchange. The blood pressure and the endorphin's are firing at exceptional rates because of the liberation. Think of all the possibilities that could happen, make new friends, eat food, see sights, embed yourself in a new culture, eat more food, learn about the world, discover yourself, and most importantly EAT FOOD.
Sometimes when you try to do everything there is never enough time for anything, how can you make the most of the time you have there?
By all means this is no ordinary travel experience, it is one with difference and a purpose. So here are just a few tips, to get the most out of this incredible experience.
(As explained by Zombieland and its "Rules to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse”)
1) Say “YES” To Life
A local family invites you to dinner? You go to a convenience store? You are asked to go to a strange bar? Every opportunity is a new story to be told!.. Trying that deep fried spider… WHY NOT? Returning after a long journey, tell your friends about that time you almost ended up in the middle of of rice field because your taxi driver did not speak english.
2) Get Off The Phone
We spend so much time on our miniature computers to forget there is a wonderful world of out there. You don't need to watch online travel videos anymore, you are living it!
ONLY use it to expand your experience, by doing basic things like finding more food and places to go, don't get lost by using your gps!
Just try not to be texting all the time! Or uploading that snapchat, just because everyone needs to know you ate that authentic Pho.Have that experience first hand, tell them about later.
3) Be Prepared
What is worse than trying to enjoy yourself, but you realise that you forget you camera? Or your painkillers? And you don't know how to speak the language. Through time you will, but initially, just be prepared for the inevitable when you first arrive!
One of the best tips i have ever been given is when you leave the airport for the first time, don't bother trying to figure out the local transport system just yet. Simply get a “real” taxi and go to your accommodation and prepare yourself there. Thank me later when you are refreshed.
It you are unsure, this sneaky link might help!
4) Understand Where You Are Going
The thought of wanderlust is exciting, not having a plan or expectation. However regardless of where you are going there are cultural expectations, from small things such as greeting locals in a certain way, to proper table etiquette. Obviously you don't need to know all of these things off the get go, some you will learn while there. To make your trip even more exciting find things you might want to do!
Such as the first opinion just think about the “why” and what you wanted to get out of this choice. Such as finding spirituality, And build your journey around the pilgrimages of religion to the various temple and historical sites? Find yourself in an incredible way
5) Be The Non-Tourist
When you travel for leisure, you see things, you absorb them, you eat, move around from place to place, take a selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower, etc. (and for sure it's super exciting and many things are always happening!).
However when you travel with an exchange like yours, there's the chance to make a difference to the social fabric of where you are. Whether it is helping local community members or even teaching the children, this is more than just a simple holiday, it is opportunity to make a difference. The hope given to children with a lack of quality education, or the community that is grateful for the glimpses of kindness shown to them. There is no substitute for change.
Now take a hold of your journey and make it an unforgettable one!