How To Make The Most Of Your Study Abroad Trip
Few activities offer as many learning possibilities as traveling. However, close your eyes and those weeks and months vanish like sand through a sieve. Much better plan? Take charge of your study abroad experience with these simple tips.
1. Prepare Before Departing
Late paperwork causes major hassles! Ask your study advisor, teachers, or prior study abroad students about preparation requirements before you travel. Health insurance, budgeting, homestays, weather, and airport pickup all crucial.
2. Set Personal Goals
Don’t take the “study” out of “study abroad.” Learn a new language, major, or pursue your dream degree. There will be lots of fun while abroad, but remember that your program is a chance to learn valuable skills for your profession.
3. Experience Local Culture
Before flying, successful study abroad students learn as much as they can about their new culture, including some local language. Find inspiration in books, movies, food, and music. Find out about famous writers, singers, athletes, and actors and current events. That way, you’ll feel connected to your new home and know some common topics.
4. Mind Open
This tip is common because it’s crucial! Don’t bring stereotypes to your adoptive nation. Instead, open your eyes, relax, and breathe in the culture—you’ll likely discover that many of your ideas about living abroad were wrong. Instead of thinking, “Well, in my country we do things differently,” go along for the ride.
5. Learn from locals
Look around when you’re unsure how to act in a new situation—locals are your best guides! Make sure to question your host family or teachers about their culture’s conventions and unstated regulations when you arrive and throughout your stay.
6. Gain New Knowledge
Don’t discount other experiences just because you studied Spanish in Barcelona or English in San Diego. You may be invited to dancing, cooking workshops, or a hike in a notable national park. Saying yes to as many new experiences as possible will give you abilities you never expected.
7. Handle Likely Homesickness
Ignoring or avoiding these feelings worsens them. Instead, stay in touch with family and friends to avoid homesickness. Connect with them by phone, email, chat, and blog to share your news. But don’t forget your new friends and environment—there’s so much to discover, and being active helps alleviate homesickness. Plus: You may become “homesick” for your new country after missing home!
8. Check Your Hip Pocket
Resist the temptation to spend all your money on cute trinkets, restaurants, and handicrafts. Your pennies must last for months in your new home. Learn how locals eat and shop to stay on budget. Ask your professors or host family about local rates to avoid overpaying for services and transportation. Our top tip? Get a part-time work if your visa allows. Language abilities will quadruple and income will rise!
9. Make More Friends
Avoid running straight for other study abroad students after class and instead befriend locals. At least one local buddy can help you understand your adoptive culture and get you invited to special events, sports games, and festivals.
Remember why you’re abroad. While your workload is high, you may feel homesick, or you may not want to study, put your head down and start! It may sound cliché, but this foreign experience is a once-in-a-lifetime chance that will benefit you for years.