11 Great Books to Read Before Study Abroad

Going abroad — whether for an academic semester or because you just feel like it, dammit — is an experience that can change the course of your life (or at least should, if you do it correctly). There's so much to see, so much to experience, so many places to go, and, of course, so much to eat.

Below you'll find my hints and recommendations, together with synopses and explanations of why I picked these books.

1. The Alchemist  by Paulo Coelho

A little boy in a terrific big world, the protagonist encounters the wonder and amazement of traveling, also learns that one's treasure is frequently found along the way rather than in the destination.

A surprise turn intertwines the notions of “house" and “fate," and creates for one magical and impactful publication that'll get you thinking about the way your journeys as a study abroad student affect your notion of “house" and “fate" also.

A brief book that has many excellent elements, this Brazilian fable is about a young shepherd boy who thinks it's his destiny to go to a faraway land and find a treasure he sees in his dreams.

2. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Contrary to Elizabeth Gilbert, your time overseas will (likely ) not involve traveling the world in an infinite budget, finding your awareness of self-love, and falling in love with a Brazilian businessman.

Even still, there is nothing wrong with entering your excursion full of optimism of things ahead, which is where Gilbert's inspirational memoir is useful.

3. Losing North by Nancy Huston

Huston touches on just how a person's language immediately and irreversibly defines them to other people -- but how can that change when a person speaks several languages? 

What exactly does it mean to be counted in 2 (or more) groups in precisely the same time? Indeed, these are questions you are going to be willing to answer yourself whether you are studying a language while studying overseas.

Known for its French expression meaning "to drop a track or eliminate control", Losing North is the author's reflections of her evaporating Canadian identity, along with her emerging as a citizen of this world -- shortly for you!

This fantastic set of writings and writings through this Canadian-turned-American-turned-Frenchwoman gets the tagline, "musings on property, tongue, and self-explanatory."

4. The Stranger by Albert Camus

The actual world is just one of the feelings, passions, and heated responses.  However, what if you believed not one of these?   Imagine if you're, where you went, a stranger?

Existential, we all know, but this is the question of this classic French book that tells the story of a guy in turns grieving, reveling killing, but with no emotional connection to his activities or their consequences. 

What would house mean to you personally if you're but a boat passing through the entire world? What would home mean should you rejected ever linking to anybody or anything?

This book attempts to explore these questions.

5. Abroad by Katie Crouch

Abroad is really a good “what not to perform while studying in Europe" read, as a result of its principal character

  1.   not residing with her program
  2.   making buddies with drug traders
  3.   generally forgoing logical decision making
  4.   getting killed.

Nothing like a book told from the view of Amanda Knox's sufferer to cause you to think twice about whom you befriend during study abroad.

6. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint

To adults, this comprehension is known merely as the clinical transport of information.  To a kid (or someone using a kid's heart), the significance is a far more purposeful thing.  In the end, sometimes a sheep is much more than only a sheep.

Among the most treasured stories-for-adults-disguised-as-stories-for-kids, this enchanting little fable about a tiny world, a pilot who crash lands in the town, along with a peculiar and impressive little boy is all about precisely what it means to be genuinely known.

Double bonus if you read the first version in French or some of the additional 250+ languages it's been translated into over the previous decades.

7. 1984 by George Orwell

Patriotism can be a tricky matter. Sure, it is great to be very happy, and it is natural to want security -- but at precisely what stage, and at what price, do we reach the tipping point, at which the equilibrium swings from sensibility into psychosis? Orwell's classic about "Big Brother" is particularly poignant when to read overseas.

What's the best method to rule any country in the world, and what's the function -- and duty -- of those citizens of the country once the government runs amok? 

Particularly if you're studying overseas in a country where political chaos is a larger reality than at home, this book will maintain weightier significance than usual as you are abroad.

8. Going Abroad: The Bathroom Survival Guide by Eva Newman

This excellent guidebook teaches the reader what she'd ever had to learn about overseas bathrooms, from ways to operate, trenches into bidets. 

Unusual, but useful.

​9. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

This is an assortment of first-person reports of Hemingway's period as a young author in Paris in the 1920's.  

Full of the romance and imagery every young author evokes when considering Paris, Hemingway's variant of this town is the one which I decide to cling to -- among gifted artists freely exchanging thoughts while sipping on beautiful roads eating food that is wonderful.

If you are researching in Paris because I did -- or love a hell of a love letter to some town -- check out this one.  And maybe it will motivate you to maintain the listing of your study abroad experience too!

10. Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

Told as a dialogue between the fantastic king Kublai Khan and his imperial explorer Marco Polo, this enchanting book is an explorer's poetic description of towns he's observed in his travels -- fanciful cities which don't exist in the actual world.

He clarifies cities with no walls or flooring but with water pipes operating where they usually would.  He explains cities with long, winding halls for guys that are always in pursuit of something.  

With stunning prose and virtually religious reverence for its "thought" of those fifty-five cities depicted his book is a treasure to anybody studying overseas and experiencing the miracle of their "imperceptible" cities for the first time.

11. Everything Matters! by Ron Currie Jr.

Everything Matters!   Explores with intellect and heart the way connections, love, vision, and effects have been shifted when you can see the guillotine looming over your mind.

Would anything matter?  Or, how would that matter?  That is my number one favorite book of all time, and it depends upon a response I adore.  

We hope that by reading this in your study overseas, you discover some answers to questions regarding your relationships in the home and your new buddies, and people are surrounding the things which are most vital for you personally.

Studying abroad is an experience that opens your heart and opens your head, and if you fill either of these again with lovely, life-changing literature, then you have the recipe for a wonderful time traveling.