So you’re gearing up to go abroad. This is exciting! You’ve packed your toothbrush, clothes to fit the weather of your desired location (because obviously you’ve researched everything you need to know about this place), and downloaded your playlist for the flight. You are ready to go. But wait– did you prepare your senses for this trip of a lifetime? Traveling abroad can be a sensory overload so let’s unpack (no pun intended) just what you need for your time abroad with Millennium Tours.
You can maximize your experience abroad by mentally preparing your five senses. Studying abroad, especially for a long period of time, can be overwhelming or taxing to say the least. But with the help of Millennium Tours and some simple thought adjustments, you will be prepared to take on the world! Make the most of your time by considering the following:
Maybe you selected your study abroad location purely because of the views, and I wouldn’t blame you! But maybe you chose your place simply for the program attached to your trip, or because you heard someone else had an amazing time on their Millennium Tours trip. All of these are excellent reasons, and one isn’t more right than the other. Just keep in mind what kind of place you’ll be staying in. Are you in the center of a bustling city? Or are you in a more rural area, maybe with mountains not far in the distance? Wherever it is, take a second to close your eyes and imagine the surroundings. Do you see yourself here for the duration of your trip? What things might you see in your destination that are unique to that nation or region?
This might seem funny, but you can also prepare yourself for the sounds of your study abroad location! You don’t have to close your eyes this time, but think again about the region you’ll be visiting. City or countryside? Coastal or landlocked? What is the most popular form of transportation in the area? What language is spoken? Unless you’re staying in the UK, people’s main form of communication may not be English, and even then, dialects and colloquialisms can sound foreign to unsuspecting ears.
Our sense of smell is one of the strongest connections our brain has to memories. Prepare yourself for ways another nation might smell, and find an appreciation for a different way of life. Will there be lots of fresh air where you are? Marketplaces rich with spices, herbs, or fresh produce? Smell is also deeply intertwined with our sense of taste, accounting for about 80% of it, meaning that what we think of as taste is mostly smell!
Consider the types of food you’ll be eating abroad and if there are comfort foods here that you’ll have to leave behind for the duration of your trip. Don’t hold yourself back from connecting with another culture because of the food. It can be a rich and meaningful experience to sit and break bread with newfound friends. Try something new together or if they’re local, let them show you their favorite flavors of home. I often find myself reminiscing about times and conversations I had with travel buddies eating new foods.
This, out of all the five senses, just might be the most overlooked when it comes to traveling! Think about the types of fashion worn in your city of choice. Consider the textures of fabrics you might encounter. Are the streets cobblestone, paved, or dirt roads? What type of vegetation is local to that region? Feeling a region (whether that’s food, fabric, or earth) can be grounding and connect you deeper to a people. It always magnifies my love for creation.
Stay in touch with yourself as you travel! This can help you feel at home and give you more confidence to try new, or unfamiliar things along the way. Inevitably, something will catch you by surprise in your travels. Instead of retreating, embrace the new and exciting ways of life you encounter. You will find upon your return home that your worldview has expanded, and who knows, maybe you’ll find practices you want to keep in your day-to-day life!