9 top tips for navigating a new city

1. Download a metro map to your phone

Having a metro or public transportation map on your phone will give you a tool that’s easy to access. You’ll be able to refer to it whenever you need it – just make sure to keep your phone charged.

 

2. Use Google Maps

If you can download the Google Maps application on your phone, it will be a huge help as you maneuver around the city. You can even see where you are using the GPS on certain phones without having a data plan. Google Maps can still help you get from point A to point B, even without a data plan. Look up the directions on your computer and then take pictures with your phone of the directions and maps.

 

3. Get lost

It’s important to get a little lost in order to truly learn how a city is oriented. Wandering and taking note of different street names and major intersections as you calmly try to find your way will help you get a better sense of the city. Just make sure that you don’t have anyone waiting for you somewhere.

 

how not to get lost

 

4. Buy a city map and study it

Always have a city map tucked away somewhere, in case your phone dies or you become very lost. Also use this map to study up on how the city is oriented and which major streets, plazas and intersections define the city. When you see these places in person, it will help you understand the layout and how to get around.

 

5. Go on a city tour

City tours are great, not just because you get to visit the most important sights. On tours you’re often told compelling stories about these different places. These stories help develop your connection with the different places, forming an emotional bond, making you more likely to recognize it and where it’s located in the future.

 

6. Climb something tall and look around

Take advantage of lookouts and towers that are open to visitors. Getting a view from above a city can help you connect the street view and the map view of the neighborhood layout.

 

how not to get lost

 

7. Explore different neighborhoods

Pick a neighborhood each weekend that you wish to explore. Learning the city neighborhood by neighborhood will give you a thorough understanding of how the city’s sectors interconnect.

 

8. Go for long walks down main boulevards

Spend some time on foot around the city’s most visited and important streets and intersections. These are the major veins of the city. Once you recognize and understand these main areas, you can start to learn the details of the city layout little by little.

 

9. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when you’re exploring a new city is that it is OK to not know where you are and ask around for help. Duck into a coffee shop or place of business if you don’t feel comfortable going up to someone on the street. Most people have no qualms about helping someone find their feet and get around. You just have to be willing to ask.

 

Now that you know how not to get lost while you’re interning abroad, apply now to boost your career!

 

Photos

1. based on Navigator, by Thomas Abbs, CC-by-2.0

2. based on Tokyo Metro Wallet Map, by Oran Viriyincy, CC-by-SA2.0

3. based on walking, by kimdokhac, CC-by-2.0

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Elizabeth Trovall

After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her fourth year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.
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