Speaking as an alum of Forum Nexus, if you have the chance to travel to Europe, I hope you don’t pass it up! Overall, studying abroad taught me the importance of firsthand experiences, being in control of my own life, and doing the work to make things happen the way I envision them. I gained fundamental life lessons like being able to adapt to different environments quickly and respectfully.

Cross cultural awareness and sensitivity are vital in order to respect ways of living that are different from how one may have been raised. In preparation to go abroad, I spent a lot of time learning what I could about each culture in order to be a respectful tourist, along with other research, and you should do the same! 

For example, I did what I could to understand the basics of each language, mostly learning mannerisms, greetings, and questions for things like directions. In preparation for your time abroad, make it your own fun responsibility to: 

Educate yourself on: 

  • Key phrases and mannerisms in the local language (i.e. Hello, Goodbye, Thank you, Right, Left, numbers 1-20/50, etc.)
  • Cultural Differences (food, attire, everyday activity, etc.) 
  • History behind places you plan to visit

Go Local! Get The Full Experience!

  • Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone by eating local food at a local restaurant.
  • Shop at local shops and market
  • Have a day in the life! As if you lived there

If You Disagree/Dislike/Disapprove… (of anything)

  • Keep it to yourself 
  • You are not abroad to judge
  • Consider a new/different perspective
  • Do not go out of your way to make any sort of comments 

Respect The People Around You 

  • There WILL be differences, embrace the beauty of other cultures! 
  • DO NOT stare, point, laugh, talk about etc. at or about people

Keep an Open Mind!

  • This is an experience where you will never stop learning. Make sure you don’t get in your own way by having a closed mind!

Don’t Leave a Trace 

  • Do not leave behind trash, a mess, or any other indication of your stay


This guest blog was written by FN 2019 alumna Chloé T. Chloé is a student at Hampshire College in Massachusetts, USA.