Smart Travel Tips For International Students
While the science is in about climate change, for those of us headed to new destinations, new seasons and customs might be a great experience, but also means a change in wardrobe and mannerisms.
Don’t buy before you arrive!
Unless you are flying into a Canadian winter from the equator, try to avoid buying clothes ahead of arrival. There are many options for warm winter jackets that you won’t know exist until after you arrive. There are second hand clothing shops that depending on your budget and personal sense of style can offer great deals, but few have websites. Your new friends will also be able to point out the best brands for winter as the time gets closer.
Work shoes and walking shoes
While no one in the right mind would go for a lunch time jog in heels (kudos to the women who run in them to catch their bus or train, we salute your skill!), being stylish at work or in class might not be what is called for the rest of the day. If your new home is wet or snowy, don’t be so vain that you would risk getting sick for the sake of your fashion. Many men and women in Australia will wear a pair or wet weather or water proof shoes on their way to and from their transportation before changing in to heels or their dress shoes at the door.
Never change who you are. If you feel homesick and want to put on your hometown football shirt, do it. If you want to wear clothing that is more of a traditional outfit than an every day one, go for it. Your grandfather would be proud to know you are in touch with him, and he never wanted you to forget him. Just remember that even if your grandfather never wore a jumper with his clothing, if it is ok for you to do so, just do it. Getting the flu was also something he would not have wanted you to do.
Close enough for comfort
Many Western nations value personal space. This goes for most everything from classrooms to dinners. About the only thing it does not apply to is public transport! Like anyone from a conservative background, space will exist physically between you until a level of comfort is established.
How to handle hands
While some gestures are universal, some are regional. The two fingered “rock star” sign means something else in Italy. The OK gesture is rude in Iran. Counting on your fingers in the UK should start with the thumb to avoid insulting staff at the café. Don’t worry if you make a mistake, someone will inform you of a different way to convey your message. No one expects you to be ‘finger fluent’ on your first day.
I don’t follow
Some jokes translate, and some do not. What is hilarious for you might get lost for your new friends. Australians love to quote local ads and Australian film. Brits love making jokes about Germans. It is ok to tell someone you are lost. They might feel the same when you tell a joke. In your head you are laughing but when it comes out … you may have had to be there.
What did you say?
While laughter is universal, humour varies. Every country is known for a quirk. But remember if you feel uncomfortable it is ok. Some cultures take getting used to. And if you disagree with the topic, say so.