How to Find Your Way Home Your First Few Weeks Abroad

Do you remember your first few days on campus? Did you ever get lost or confused as to where that English 101 class was before you were able to commit it to memory? Learning a new place is always hard the first few times until you get used it but how about learning a new city? It may seem like a daunting task but you do catch on after a while. There are tricks you can use to help you learn your way not only around Paris (or any other host city) but also how to find your new home abroad.

Paris is a great city because it has so many well known sites sprinkled throughout. For me, I had the pleasure of living in a supreme location. I was right down the street from the Louvre on the other side of the Seine River. I quickly discovered that if I could find the Louvre or the Seine, I could find my way home. It also doesn’t hurt that everyone knows where the Louvre is. It’s true that I did find myself in a funk only after 3 days in Paris but I did walk around my district, especially the area around the Seine for at least 1 hour every day. It was on these hourly walks that I familiarized myself with the surrounding area so that I would know how to get home.

You should do the same – and don’t just limit yourself to the streets around the main site. Make sure to explore every street in your district. Take your Paris Plan (a small, pocket sized map of Paris that breaks down every district into every street; these should be bought in Paris at any tobacco shop or newspaper stand) and explore! The goal is that you can enter into your district from any street/ any direction and be able to find your home without using a map or asking for help. Do you know in advance the address of your host family, dorm or apartment? If so, start looking up that district now and identifying your closest major monument to be your marker.



Packing Beauty Essentials for Studying Abroad: 101

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Should you bring your make-up or buy it abroad? How about your favorite shampoo? Packing your beauty essentials for studying abroad can be tricky. How do you know which items to pack and which ones to just buy abroad? Come with me for the 3rd installment in the How to Pack for Studying Abroad series as we break down the essential beauty products to bring and the ones to leave at home.



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3 Ways You Never Considered Going Abroad (But should!)

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Andrea’s note: On July 9th, Meaghan put her study abroad advisor hat on and shared with us the Ins and Outs of Choosing a Study Abroad Program. What you might not have known is that studying isn’t the only way you can go abroad during college. Check out these 3 ways you never considered going abroad but totally should- by Meaghan Murphy.

Internships Abroad – Working overseas for a short period of time with the goal being hands on work experience, training, and networking rather than making a salary. By interning abroad, you can test out a new interest or determine whether a certain profession is the best career choice for you

Teach Abroad – You spend a chunk of time overseas working with the local population and teaching them about your own culture and language. The countries vary as does the age of the population you work with, what’s included within your program and what type of salary you would get from teaching overseas

Volunteer Abroad – Basically what it says – you’re spending some time abroad volunteering with local projects. Often you pay a provider to connect you with a local group and you fly over and work with that particular group on a project. Countries, projects, prices, and time commitment vary by provider or organization

Miss America Building

(Volunteering abroad is a great opportunity. Photo by:

Now for my suggestions:

There are a ton of resources available to you. My first suggestion is to sit down and ask yourself exactly what you want out of a program; here are a few ideas of which questions to consider:

  • How long do you want to be away? (A few weeks, few months, as long as possible?)
  • Which part of the world do you want to be in? (Close to the USA? Somewhere that doesn’t speak English? A traditional hot spot like the UK or Spain or Italy?)
  • Do you want to take classes with other Americans or with local students?
  • What do you want included in the program – housing, field trips, meals?


Next, speak with someone who can help you narrow down your options.

Academic Advising

(Talking to your advisor is a great start! Photo by:

  • The majority of colleges and universities in the US will have someone who can advise on study abroad options.
  • Visit your study abroad or stop by the study abroad fair and speak with any of the numerous representatives.
  • If that doesn’t work, there are a couple of websites that can help narrow down the options. Those sites are,,
  • Speak with your friends and classmates – odds are at least one of them has studied abroad and they can help point you in the right direction
  • Ask your faculty advisors if they have any recommendations on programs to fit your major or your interests

It’s never too early to start planning, so start thinking about it now and start looking at the options available to you!


Meaghan Murphy

Meaghan found her passion for travel after a high school trip to Italy and Greece; since then she’s studied abroad in New Zealand for a semester, has worked abroad in Scotland for 3 months, and has visited Australia, England, and Canada. After graduating from Wheaton College in Massachusetts, Meaghan completed her Master’s Degree in International education from SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, VT. She currently works at University of Hartford in the International Programs Office and really enjoys speaking with students interested in traveling abroad.