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7 simple tips for mastering public transport in a new city abroad

Learning how to use public transportation effectively in a foreign country will make your first month in a new city a breeze. Seeing tourist sights, getting to and from your internship and running errands will be a piece of cake. Plus you’ll save money on taxi costs.


1. Get yourself a metro/bus pass

Buying individual tickets for the metro can be cumbersome. Plus, most bus systems require a loadable transportation charge card of sorts. The Intern Group provides interns with a public transportation card, which is an easy way to take care of step one for learning how to use public transportation abroad and mastering it.


2. Download a city public transportation app

Most major cities have maps of their public transportation systems available to download via app for smartphones. These transportation apps can help users see everything from bus arrival times to metro routes and how to get from point A to point B. Often there are also city maps that include public transportation information that you can download and use without wifi or an international data plan.


3. Always know the name of your stop

In case something happens to your phone or you get mixed up on your way somewhere, you should always know where you need to get off the bus or metro. The most important information to always have in mind is the name of the stop where you’ll be getting off. With this information, even if you forget your way, you can always get back on track using a map, asking around and taking a different bus or train.


how to use public transportation

4. Keep your ticket stub or metro card handy

You never know when transport authorities are going to check tickets or metro cards, so to avoid any fines always keep your ticket stub, receipt or metro card handy. For the same reason, don’t hop onto a ride without paying, even if you see locals doing so. It’s not worth the risk of getting fined or in further trouble.


5. Know which bus will bring you home

One of the first things to memorize when you’re in a new city is the different bus lines that pass by your apartment. This information will come in handy in a pinch, if you ever need to get home and aren’t sure how exactly to make it happen.


how to use public transportation

6. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

If you’re at the metro, don’t be afraid to ask metro workers for information about the different routes. If you’re looking for a bus stop or have a question about the route or direction, ask. It’s much better to ask someone at a nearby kiosk or food stand and get their perspective than simply hopping on a bus that might be leading you the wrong way.


7. Be aware of different metro exits

Sometimes it’s not as simple as merely getting off the metro. Larger stations sometimes have several different exits, leading to different city streets. Being conscious of the different exits is a good way to avoid any misdirection. Know what street you’re looking for when you get off the metro and try to take the exit that leads to that street. It will make your journey easier.



Now that you know how to use public transportation abroad, apply now to boost your career abroad with an international internship.



1. based on On the metro, by m01229, CC-by-2.0

2. based on Girl on the metro, by Gene Chan, CC-by-ND 2.0

3. based on The Tube, by PabloEscudero, Public Domain

Photos and blog by Elizabeth Trovall

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The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!