Everything you should remember when studying abroad
You only have three months left
For all those lucky people who are currently in foreign countries, it is important to know a few tips as your start your journey abroad.
Realize that four months is a short amount of time
It can happen too easily that you view your semester as being endless. When you first arrive, it seems like you have all the time in the world to explore the country you are in and the continent you spent hours flying to, but that simply isn’t the case.
Four months is not a long time. It is not long enough to get to do everything you want to do as upsetting as that reality is. When you’re having the time of your life, like you will be, it will go by in the blink of an eye.
An important thing to remember is to manage your time well. Don’t take even a day for granted because it will be over before you know it.
Try to not over pack
Though this seems like impossible advice to follow, it will end up saving you in the long run. If you start your trip with a little extra room in your luggage, it will give you space for all the things you will be buying while abroad – and trust me, you will be buying a lot more than you anticipate.
We all want to look cute and dress fashionably when traveling, but you won’t end up wearing everything in your closet and will have to somehow ship it back home eventually.
Be realistic with your travels
No matter where you choose to study abroad, there is going to be an endless list of possibilities as to where you can travel. The initial fear sets in that you will not be able to visit all the places you want to, and the sad reality is that you won’t be able to.
The good news about that is it means you’ll have to go back after your time abroad to see those places you couldn’t get to in the semester. Remember that travel can get pricey quickly and you don’t want to spread yourself too thin or you won’t be able to really appreciate where you are.
Keep your abroad friends close
Your semester abroad will be like no other experience in your life. The people you choose to have around you can either make or break your trip. Whether you are going with a group of your friends from school or going into it not knowing anyone, make friends with the people in your program. You will form an even closer bond with these people than you thought was possible in four months because of the incredible and once in a lifetime arrangement you will be in.
It’s also important to try and make friends with local people in your city because they are the ones who will be able to really immerse you into the culture of where you’re staying and will overall completely enhance your experience for the better.
Do your schoolwork the moment it is assigned
It is very easy to forget, that even though you are in a foreign country, you have schoolwork. The worst possible thing you can do is leave all your schoolwork to the last minute and then have to worry about it when you could be enjoying your weekend in whatever destination you have booked a trip for. If you get your schoolwork done the moment it is assigned, you will have less to worry about over the weekend and it will make your parents happy that you’re also getting an education.
Learn about the different cultures
Every place you visit has a history you may know nothing about, or at the very least has a history that you could always learn more about. Immerse yourself in the culture of wherever you are and you will be surprised at how much you can learn about a place. The world is a big place and full of people who live their lives differently from our own. Use your time abroad to educate yourself and broaden your horizons from your comfort zone.
Appreciate your home city
The moment you get abroad, your first thought is going to be: “Where can I travel to?” Though you should definitely take advantage of the chance to travel, it is important to also appreciate the city you chose as your home base.
The four months are going to fly by and if you spend every weekend in a different city or country, you will miss out on the opportunity to really be acclimated in your home city’s culture. Remember that you chose your city for a reason, so get to know it as best as you can while you are there – you never know when you’ll get the opportunity to live in a foreign country again.
Take the path less traveled
Take the time while you are abroad to do a little research on the city you are staying in and the cities you are planning on visiting. Going to the famous landmarks is obviously a must, but you will feel an even better sense of knowledge of the city if you explore the path less traveled. Your semester abroad should be a time where you take risks and experience as much as you can, and what better way to do that than to find hidden gems in the city.
Take a lot of pictures
You may look like the stereotypical American who is traveling when you take your phone out over and over again to make sure you take the perfect picture, but you will not regret it in the long run. It is important to appreciate each moment while you are there, but it is also equally as important to take pictures you can look back on for years to come. Pictures are a way for your trip to never be a fading memory.
Plus, since you’re going abroad, people at home are expecting you to blow up social media anyway, so you might as well take advantage of it.
Eat everything and anything
People will always warn you when you go abroad about being careful not to gain weight because it can happen quickly, but that is the worst possible advice you could be given. You will be traveling to places with food you cannot even imagine. If you do not take advantage of that then that should be your only regret when you get home. Be sure to read up on the national dish of each country you visit and make sure you try it, even if it is disgusting. You can worry about your abroad weight when you’re back home, but while you’re there just eat and eat some more.
Appreciate that this is the chance of a lifetime
It is rare in life that you will be given another opportunity similar to this. You have the chance to study in a foreign country for four months and travel around the world with your friends. It’s important to realize how lucky you are, how amazing this chance is, and how this is going to be a period in your life you will never forget.
Don’t ruin your trip by any means. Don’t end up in international jail or being sent home early. Stay healthy physically and mentally. You are going to need every single day you are gone to make it the time of a lifetime, so don’t waste a moment of it.
Thank your parents
Because without them, you wouldn’t be having the best four months of your life.