July 4, 2012

Tips for Daily Living in a Foreign Country

After you’ve gotten your tickets, packed your bags and leased your foreign apartment; you may be surprised to find the little things in life may be more complicated than advanced grammar. 

Grocery Shopping
You will soon discover that the student budget doesn’t cover dining out for every meal and a trip to the grocery will be in order. Many countries have street markets, like Rome’s Campo dei Fiori. The market is a perfect place to practice your communication skills as you haggle price and discover new foods. Bring cash and a sturdy bag to carry your goods. 

Walking down the aisle of a foreign grocery store is an interactive vocabulary lesson, but it could present cultural challenges as well. Some grocery stores require communication over deli counters, and you may also may be required to weigh and price your produce selection. 

Many apartments abroad do not provide washing machines, and finding the right laundry detergent is also a challenge when shopping. (Learn the word for bleach!) You may be required to hand wash your clothes and leave them to dry on the line; or you may have to trek across town to the laundry mat.
The best way to manage your laundry is to pack lightly. Literally. Carrying your laundry across town can be a feat of strength if you over pack, and managing a bulky bag in a packed public transport car is extremely difficult. 

Choose clothing that is resilient and climate appropriate. If possible, choose materials that can be worn more than once. Although looking and feeling your best is important, you can save yourself a lot of grief with a low-maintenance wardrobe.

You may be required to provide your own linens, bedding and towels. Without a car, you are entirely dependent on public transportation, and most neighborhoods don’t have a linen store. This means you will be required to travel to the shopping districts, or even the outskirts, of the city to find household items. 

Even then, finding sheet sizes to match your mattress can be a challenge, and most language classes don’t cover the word “pillowcase” or “duvet”. Come prepared with a list in both English and the native language. If you need help, this will help you communicate more easily with the sales clerks.
If you study arboad, ask a professor for language and culture tips for making day-to-day living easier while you’re studying abroad. 

About the Author. An experienced writer on all things related to higher education and business, Amanda Watson spends her days covering the latest stories on various topics such as online mba rankings, web entrepreneurship, and social media marketing. You can contact Amanda at watsonamanda.48@gmail.com.

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