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Student Travelers: Here's How To Maximize Your Study Abroad Experience

Ready for the ultimate study abroad adventure? It's not just about hitting the books; it's your ticket to academic and personal awesomeness. Your study abroad experience will leave you with lifelong memories. To help you make the most of the coolest chapter of your academic journey, find out how to maximize your time abroad. Let’s dive in!

Should You Study Abroad?

Deciding whether to study abroad is a significant choice that hinges on various factors. Firstly, consider your academic goals and whether the programs offered abroad align with your field of study. Additionally, evaluate your personal readiness for a cultural shift, as studying abroad often involves adapting to a new environment. Reflect on your openness to new experiences and the potential for personal growth that comes with navigating life in a different country. Studying abroad isn’t for everyone, but it also offers many unique opportunities you may not get while at your home university. Truly take some time to decide if studying abroad is the right choice for you before you commit.

World map

How To Decide Where To Study Abroad

Where you travel for your study abroad could make or break your experience. Whether you’re considering doing a semester at sea and exploring multiple spots or studying in a European city where you can easily go on weekend adventures, you’ll want to keep the following things in mind.

  • Language - Choose a study abroad destination where the primary language aligns with your proficiency or one where you're eager to learn.

  • Cultural Interests - Select a location that aligns with your cultural interests, whether it's history, art, cuisine, or traditions. Immerse yourself in a culture that resonates with your passions, as this will significantly contribute to the overall enjoyment and depth of your study abroad experience.

  • Travel Opportunities - Do you want to spend your semester deeply exploring your host country or visiting as many countries as possible? Consider what type of travel you want to prioritize during your study abroad experience.

  • Cost Of Daily Life - Studying abroad in London is going to be significantly more expensive than in Vietnam. Consider how much you can spend in your day to day life to decide what country you should study in.

Students hiking while studying abroad

Make The Most Of Your Study Abroad Experience

Studying abroad is most people's first exposure to travel, but it is a privilege many are not lucky enough to have. Make the most of your time abroad by keeping the following things in mind.

Lighten Your Course Load

Your study abroad experience is a delicate balance between academics and exploration. While maintaining your course load and grades is important, don't overwhelm yourself with an overly rigorous course load. Lightening your schedule allows for flexibility and ample time to immerse yourself in the local culture, make new friends, and explore the unique opportunities your host country has to offer. Consider what electives you can incorporate into your study abroad experience so that you can balance your course load.

Make A List Of What You Want To See Before You Go

Before jetting off to your study abroad destination, create a comprehensive list of places, landmarks, and cultural experiences you're eager to explore. Better yet, make two lists. One for everything you want to do in the city you are studying in and one for other destinations you want to visit. This not only helps you prioritize your activities but also ensures you make the most of your time. Whether it's iconic landmarks, local festivals, or hidden gems recommended by locals, having a pre-departure checklist adds a sense of purpose to your travels and ensures you don't miss out on the enriching experiences your host country has to offer.

Rome colosseum

Conquer Public Transport In Your First Week

Navigating public transportation can be a daunting task in a new country. Take the initiative to conquer this challenge within your first week. Familiarize yourself with the local bus, train, or subway systems, and understand how they connect different parts of the city. This not only empowers you to travel efficiently but also gives you a sense of independence and confidence as you explore the city.

Make Friends With People Outside Of Your Classes

While classmates are valuable connections, making friends outside of your academic circle adds diversity to your social network and enriches your cultural experience. Engage with local students, join community clubs or events, and attend gatherings where you can meet people with different backgrounds and perspectives. Building connections beyond the classroom fosters a deeper understanding of the local culture, provides valuable insights, and can lead to lasting friendships that extend beyond your study abroad period.

Woman traveling in Italy

Keep A Budget

I rarely budgeted throughout college and I was in for a shock when I entered the workforce. Apart from learning this skill to set you up for success post-grad, budgeting well when studying abroad can ensure you get to enjoy all the experiences you put on your adventure list. Create a realistic budget that includes accommodation, daily expenses, travel, and leisure activities. Stick to this budget to avoid financial stress and ensure you can make the most of your study abroad experience without overspending.

Record Your Stay In Video Or Through Journals

In all my years of travel, one of the best things I have done is keep regular journals of my experiences and film my favorite memories for YouTube. The act of documenting your stay, whether through words or images, enhances your connection to the experience and allows you to share your adventures with friends and family back home. Plus, it ensures you can look back on all of your experiences in years to come.

Study Abroad Is More Than An Academic Adventure

As you gear up for your study abroad journey, remember that this adventure is more than a chapter—it's a dynamic story of growth and discovery. Embrace the opportunities to connect with new cultures, make lifelong friends, and challenge your academic and personal boundaries. So, as you embark on this extraordinary journey, keep the spirit of exploration alive, relish every moment, and let it be a chapter that adds a vibrant and unforgettable hue to the canvas of your academic journey. Here's to an incredible study abroad experience that goes beyond the classroom!

Where do you want to study abroad? Let me know in the comments!


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