1. Pack lightly. Remember, you are what you wear. Essential pieces include one giant sun hat, several Hawaiian-print button-ups, white tube socks and an excessively large street map of your choice.
2. Be patient with the internet connection. It may say free Wi-Fi, it may allegedly connect to said free Wi-Fi after providing your name, date of birth, social security number and the name of your favorite online retailer, but don’t get your hopes up. It still doesn’t work.
3. Store hours aren’t what you’re used to. When select pharmacies advertise in bold, capital letters on their windows that they have the good will to be open for 12 hours in a row, thank your lucky stars. You would be nothing if not for this rare generosity. Note: Sundays not included.
4. Try new foods. Keep in mind that the quantity of bread you’ll eat over the semester is directly correlated to the strength of your desire to stay forever.
5. Watch out for history! Rather than running into figurative walls like, for instance, writer’s block, keep your eyes peeled for literal city walls, paying special attention to centuries-old fortresses and castles that you may stumble upon.
6. Have a friend from home keep you updated on new things you’re missing out on. This prevents confusing problems such as scrolling through your social media and seeing words like “fam” and “lit” appear. What are these words? Where did they come from? How much has changed? Ask a friend to use them in a sentence for you.
7. Fake it ‘til you make it. Unable to either pronounce or understand a single word or name in an art museum? No problem. What else is Google Translate for?
8. Keep a diary. Don’t be afraid to talk about your experiences, both the good and the bad. Go ahead, admit that you’re actually a little hazy on some of the “unforgettable moments.”
9. Don’t begin every sentence with, “This one time in [France]…” Others may well find that excessive and pandering. Instead, say it at the end of the sentence for a surprising twist.
10. Create a photo album on Facebook to share your experiences with family and friends. Don’t forget a cliché title, preferably in the local language of the country you’re in. Don’t worry about what pictures you include, no one looks past the first ten anyway.