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It’s Okay If You Don’t Feel Prepared (At All) For Your Semester Abroad

Posted by Emily Cummings on 6/13/18 2:24 PM

 ILP Thailand

Even after tons of research and asking all the right questions, if you’re still a little nervous to be traveling and living abroad, that is totally normal.


I’m going to let you in on a little secret: You are never going to be 100% ready to start a semester abroad. Even if you have flown before, even if you have done ILP before … even if this isn’t your first time out of the country, pretty much every ILP volunteer is a bit unsure before leaving on their semester.

Seriously, even ILP volunteers who have been two, three, four times are still a bit isn't totally prepared to be heading out again. Living abroad is just an adventure you can never full anticipate. 

Even if you're a bit nervous, come spend a semester volunteering with International Language Programs; here’s how to overcome what might be holding you back. 

Even though you won’t ever feel totally ready to go abroad, have tons and tons of resources to help you feel as prepared as possible to really help you out: 

Hear From Alumni 

One of the best ways to hear all about what your days will be like teaching English, volunteering in an orphanage and traveling around on vacation will be like is to talk to people who have been on an ILP semester, right? Good thing you can totally do that a couple of ways.  

On Facebook

When you’re accepted (after you fill out an application) you’ll get permission to access the Facebook page for each country. This page is full of volunteers ready to go and ones who have already gone to our country (and is a good spot for you to ask questions). Want an insider’s opinion about what the food is really like in China? Need a bit of help figuring out if you need 2 suitcases or 3? Wondering if you should pack your sunscreen or buy it there? The ILP Alumni on that page can help you out.

Talk To An ILP Representative 

Every single ILP representative (actually every single person in the ILP office) has gone on at least one semester, meaning you can call our office (801-374-8854) and chat with someone who has been there, done that. You can often find an ILP rep who has been to the country you’re headed to. 

If you'd like to get in touch but aren't sure how to contact your ILP rep, just reach out to the general ILP email or phone and we can direct you … or click right here. 

ILP China

Check Out The ILP Blog 

We write this blog for a lot of reasons, one is to help you feel prepared before you go and while you’re still living abroad. Want to know how much spending money to bring? Nervous about host families? Can’t decide what kind of teaching supplies to bring with you?

We have blog posts about tons and tons and tons of things you might be wandering. You can search by country if you want to know all things Poland, or by topic if you need to know all the things about “semester preparation” or you can use this handy search tool to search for what might be on your mind. 

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DM Our Instagram 

Yep, our instagram feed is pretty and full of pictures you’re dying to recreate yourself (not following us? Check out the ILP Instagram here and give us a follow), but it’s also helpful! We have a couple of people behind the Instagram who are there to answer your questions about our program and going abroad. 

ILP China

Feeling As Prepared As Possible 

Even if you do all of that and more, you probably won’t feel totally ready, which is normal! You can’t predict every little thing that will go right (and wrong) during your semester, which is part of the adventure. The best way to feel as ready as possible is to be open to the experience.

Be open to the food, the people and the weather — I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten stuck in the rain and have needed to choose between being soaking wet and unhappy and soaking wet and laughing way too hard. Love the idea of not knowing the language. Decide right now to be flexible and to love living in a part of the world that’s so different from where you grew up. 

ILP DR

Even if you aren't going to feel completely ready to be leaving to go abroad, ILP still wants you to feel as ready as possible! Getting your questions answered is as easy as sending a text: 

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Topics: Semester Preparation, ILP Basics, Benefits of Volunteering

Exploring The World For Over 25 Years

Hi! We are ILP, a non-profit org that has service abroad opportunities for college-age volunteers. Check out our tips for making the most of your time traveling and living abroad.

ILP Semester Abroad

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