The more prepared you are for a study abroad program, the better equipped you will be to adjust to the host culture. However, you will inevitably feel disorientation as you settle into their your "home." This sense of discomfort is called culture shock and accompanies all travelers who spend a significant time outside of the United States. Many students also experience homesickness.
In addition to culture shock, there are a number of issues that you must be aware of during your time overseas. Some pertain to all students and some are specific to men and women when traveling abroad. These include handling emergencies from abroad, managing the academic program, developing a personal budget, and avoiding offenses that could involve expulsion from the program. You should should understand the nuances of the culture, particularly if you choose to live with a host family.
Most students will travel while overseas and you should become familiar with all of the options as well as the related risks. In an effort to fully internalize and remember a study abroad experience, the Study Abroad Office recommends that students keep a journal during their time overseas. Journaling can help preserve memories of the wonderful experiences you have had and help you cope with re-entry shock, a phenomenon experienced by many students when they return home.