Today is the day, my last day in San Francisco before heading off to my study abroad destination, Montreal. You bet I am excited! So before I embark on my red-eye flight (12:20 am with a 9 hr layover in Dallas, groan), I am posting some helpful and (hopefully) inspiring stuff here for all you readers.
Numero uno: Thinking of Studying Abroad (you should be)? Then by god APPLY EARLY for travel documents!
This tip is number one for a reason. Do NOT procrastinate on this part of the process. I learned this lesson the hard way. Need a passport? Visa? Certificate of Acceptance into Quebec (shudder)? Failure to do so will result in much stress, and lost money, money which could be spent on cool things abroad. For all you considering studying in Montreal, you just need to apply for a CAQ, which requires you to send in plenty of documentation and costs about 100 bucks. I had to send in documents a total of three times until my CAQ was finally issued. You think foreign immigration offices won’t be finicky? Think again.
Numero dos: Pack Light
It is no fun being in a foreign country, trying to get around while carrying the equivalent of two caskets in weight. What I am doing is taking one carry-on and one checked suit-case. That’s it. It’s hard to leave things behind (oh stuffed unicorn pillow pets) but I think part of the fun is leaving everything you know behind and starting fresh. Just bring the essentials (like weather appropriate clothing and a toothbrush).
Numero tres: Know Where You Are Staying That First Night
Many of you may already know where you’ll be staying. Some of us have to apartment hunt as soon as we land on the ground. For those of us not so lucky to have our lodging completely arranged by the time we arrive, it’s important to figure something out at least for that first night. Get a hostel, maybe even a hotel room, just make sure you don’t land yourself completely homeless that first night.
…and last but not least
Have a blast! This experience happens once in a lifetime, so by god break free of your comfort zone! Hang out with international students, try that “weird” food and learn what you can of another language! Myself, I can’t wait to eat some poutine and see real snow!