Today I have decided to give some hopeful students who wish to study abroad some tips. Studying abroad is intimidating and you never know what you will get yourself into while here, but I am going to try and give you as many tips as I can to prepare you throughout my blogs. Here are a few things that one might need to know when arriving in Graz.
- BUDDY PROGRAM: Everyone should sign up for the buddy program that the ESN provides. When you are assigned a buddy you have someone to show you around the city, someone to pick you up at the train station, and someone to talk to when you first arrive. My buddy and I have not really spoken since the first month of me being here, but that first month of her showing me around and answering any of my questions was a wonderful way to ease into the new city.
- SIM CARD: Before I left for Graz I was wondering how to go about getting cell service. I read tons of articles about the best option for cell service when abroad and eventually I found that I should just get a new sim card here. There is no perfect way to do the cell service, but I highly recommend the sim card option to save more money in the long run. I got mine at a local grocery store here and it is super easy to navigate. The ESN office also hands out free sim cards if you want one of those. Before you leave though you need to make sure that your phone is unlocked or else your phone won’t work with a new sim card
- TRANSPORTATION: Getting used to the public transportation was one of the most confusing things to me. When you are here and using public transport you will worship the app BusBahnBim. Had someone not told me about it I would have been so lost. I have only ever gotten on the wrong bus once, and I don’t want to do that again because they go pretty far out of the city and it is even more confusing trying to go back once you get on the wrong bus. They have a student card for public transport, but I actually didn’t get one since I am travelling a lot and I am within walking distance to most places.
4. ESN EVENTS: The ESN is something you will learn all about when you get to Graz, but go on their trips! It is a great way to meet other exchange students, and to travel while you are here. They even organize local events like dinners and tours.
5. GROCERY SHOPPING: When you get to Graz forget everything about grocery shopping you have ever learned and be prepared for something new. Wal-Mart is not a thing here, and there is nothing like a Wal-Mart unless you go 10 minutes out of the main city center. Even then you don’t want to carry all of your things back on the tram. When here you pretty much have different stores to buy different things. If you need food you go to a Spar, Hofer, Billa, etc. If you need things for the bathroom you go to DM or Bipa. Also I suggest going during the middle of the day when there are not a lot of people, or with other people so you don’t feel as rushed or stressed out. One thing you should know is grocery stores and most restaurants are closed on Sundays, so don’t procrastinate your shopping.
6. My last tip for someone coming into Graz is to be curious. There are so many hidden treasures around the city that you can just stumble upon if you just walk around and look through alley ways. The city has tons of courtyards and parks that you would never see without searching for them.
These are only a small amount of tips I have for people who want to study abroad, and I will probably give more eventually. If any one has questions to ask about studying abroad feel free to ask me!
P.S. I still have not ridden my bike… I will work up the courage for that one eventually, maybe.