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Veronica: One Week To Go

January 4, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everybody. Since I last wrote, not a whole lot has happened. I’ve exchanged a few emails with my host mom and she seems really cool. I have a very strong feeling that I’m going to love living with my family.

I’m working on packing. I’m probably about half way done with that. I ordered a carry-on bag from Gander Mountain that’s a backpacking/camping bag, but a good size for travel. That should come soon. The hardest part of packing that I encountered was that here it’s winter and brutally cold, so I feel like I should pack for weather like that, when in Montpellier it’s nice and warm. Packing for spring in the dead of winter feels a little wrong. But my packing list I made has helped a lot.

I’m going to try to write one more post before I leave on the 11th (so soon!!), but I’m not sure if I will be able to, so here are some things to remember for when you go abroad:

  • Don’t forget that you’ll need converters for all of your cords and plugs you bring with you. Good place to buy those is Amazon. The Learning Abroad Center also sells converter kits. I’m just going to buy hairdryers and such things when I get there, but I have chargers for my cameras and toothbrush that need converting. For your laptop, you shouldn’t need a converter because there is one built in, but you will need an adapter plug so you can plug into their outlets. I got mine at Best Buy.
  • You probably should check with the airline you’re flying on for their carry-on requirements, as well as requirements for your checked bag. My checked bag can’t weigh more than 50 pounds, for example.
  • Let your bank know that you will be abroad during your certain time you are there so they know the international purchases are you and not someone else. Also be aware of the exchange rate. In France, their credit/debit cards are different; they have a chip inside, no stripe like ours. So our cards don’t work in their stores and restaurants, etc. but they will work in their ATMs (I don’t know how, but I know they do). So be ready to take out a lot of cash at once, and also find out the limit for withdrawal for your bank, and also the money they charge you to use foreign ATMs. For example, my daily limit is $500, so if I take out a full $500 I get charged $15 for that money, so I don’t get the full amount. And again, don’t forget the exchange rate.
  • When you’re going through this entire process of getting ready for studying abroad, you’re going to need lots and lots of passport photos. More than they tell you. I was told I needed four and ended up needing about ten, or maybe more. So be aware of that. You can get those in the Learning Abroad Center.
  • I think that the last thing I want to say is that this process is stressful. It is. And it’s also very scary. Right now I’m absolutely terrified, but more excited than I have ever been in my life. All these crazy emotions about getting ready-and-going are a lot. But I simply can’t wait to get over there! It’s very hard to describe. This is going to be absolutely amazing.

So, we’ll see if I get a chance to write before I leave, but if not, my next post will be all my first impressions and all that excitement!

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