1. Don't be afraid to speak the language just because everybody in that town speaks it perfectly.
2. Make friends in class, they will make the trip so worth it.
3. Plan a weekend trip to go out of town. I was stuck in a tiny town for four weeks and did not go on a fun weekend trip that I liked. While in Europe, TRAVEL. I am extremely bummed that we did not get to go to Paris or the beach or Southern France at all.
4. With that being said, make a list of places you want to go before hand. Start making this list the second you know you are studying abroad, or even months or years before you even know you are going.
5. Make sure you have enough time to get places via train and plane. Trains run late and so do flights and it is no fun sprinting through the biggest airport in the country.
6. Also, make sure you don't have 7 hours to burn at the airport like I did. It was awful and there was nothing to do but watch movies.
7. Setting your mind on souvenirs you want to find can be disappointing. All I wanted was a sweatshirt that said France but because I did not travel much outside of my little town, there were no sweatshirts that said France to be found and I was, and still am, very disappointed.
8. Go to as many school activities as you can. I went horseback riding through the French countryside, hiked a volcano, and went to some cute little towns. Even if some excursions weren't that fun, those are the only souvenirs I have and I cherish them.
-Even if you think a windbreaker/rainjacket and a cardigan are good enough to keep you warm, they aren't. BRING A JACKET.
-Bring anti-itch cream. There are bugs even in the prettiest of places.
-If you think you start to like someone either from your school group or from this new country and are in a relationship already, tell your significant other immediately or they will be heartbroken when they find out about it a week after you are "happily" back together.
-Go out and do things. Even if you only have an hour until your host mom's dinner is ready. They know you will be out doing things.
-However, don't be disrespectful and show up late to dinner. I never did show up late and I'm glad I didn't. Don't ruin your relationship with your host family because you are being rude. These are connections that will come in handy if you ever want to couch surf in Europe.
-Get your host family a gift relating to your hometown. I gave me host mom a book about the Grand Canyon and she didn't seem to excited but she just posted a picture on Facebook of Havasupai Falls. :)
-Try new food. And wine. Even if you hate it.
-Be courteous to your teachers, classmates, store owners, and host-family.
-Do everything in your power to stay busy so you don't get homesick.
-If you get homesick like I did, it's okay to cry and let it out. Talk to a friend you are close with and maybe they will be feeling the same way. I was really homesick and home alone one night because my mom and sister were out of town and I could not stop crying so I messaged Siobhan on Facebook and it turns out she went through the same things a couple days before. We went out for dinner together and talked and had a blast and felt much better.
It's a totally different experience and very nerve-wracking but if you stay busy and know of fun things to do, you will be fine. Even if a 30 minute picnic in the park with your friends is all you can do, it's the little things. :)