Everyone has that moment when they've just arrived at their study abroad location and all they want is to fit in. No matter where the plane has landed, standing out like a tourist's sore thumb is not ideal. Six months could never be enough to master all that comes with a country, but one element that is important anywhere is eating. Each country has its own way to do it, so once you eat like a local everything else might come a bit easier. Here are some universal tips on how to eat like a local, no matter where you plan on finding your new home.

1. Read Up

coffee, bacon, pizza
Alexandra Oduber

Before you even leave for your study abroad trip, take to the internet and read up. Your destination may not be too different, or you may have a lot to learn, but consider looking up at least the table etiquette of your new home away from home. 

2. Find the Cuisine in Your Home Town

cake, beer, pizza
Aubrey Miller

Take to Yelp or GrubHub to find what kinds of places around you offer food from the country you plan on studying in. Try as much as you find necessary so how you eat it may still be new, you will be well adjusted to any different flavors or spices. 

3. Watch Other People

wine, beer
Casey Irwin

As humans, we learn a lot by watching others, including how they eat. Once abroad, watch how people converse when they drink coffee or how they gesture around food. It's these simple acts that will give you insight on what people actually do everyday. Just keep it casual considering how people might interpret you staring at them. 

4. Don't Be Afraid to Get Messy

Lauryn Lahr

You might have to eat with your hands or drip sauce everywhere, but the mess often comes with the territory. Forget what you know about eating or staying clean, and dig in. 

5. Try Everything

seafood, shellfish, fish, shrimp, crab, prawn, lobster
Jocelyn Hsu

Don't leave a stone unturned when it comes to trying new foods. Even if that means you make eye contact with your food, to eat like a local means appreciating the different meal textures and preparations that are often rooted deep in years of culture. 

6. Be Cautious

water, beer, iced water, ice, glass, water cup
Jocelyn Hsu

In order to eat like a local, you have to be healthy like one. An important element of this is knowing your limits and realizing some things can't be done exactly the same way. Try everything while remembering to be cautious is key. Consider the water you drink, because you'll typically want bottled water, and how well meat is cooked. 

7. Take a Tour

ice, cream, ice cream, waffle, strawberry
Amelia Hitchens

As painfully non-local as this sounds, a food tour can give you the introduction you need to know what a city has to offer. You'll find the hot spots while also getting a good lay of the land

8. Ask for Help

Walker Foehl

Asking your host family or any friends you make to show you the ropes will probably enhance your experience by giving you the proper insights to enjoy things the way they're meant to be. Make sure to laugh at yourself with them as you learn the ways. 

9. Don't Overthink It

chicken, sauce
Helena Lin

No matter how much research you do, nothing beats actually sitting down at the table and eating. It may take a few tries to go through the rhythm of how to eat like a local, but don't overanalyze yourself because at the end of the day no one else is.

Much like smiles, hunger is universal. The first bite you take might change all of your hesitations and worries considering how good food abroad is, but now you can sleep easy on the plane ride there knowing you're pretty much set to eat like a local from day one.