How to make the most of a year studying abroad

Studying abroad is one of the most unique and exciting experiences. Many people say it, but it truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Studying abroad offers a whole lot more opportunities than staying in your country. But it can also be quite scary. So here are some tips to make the trip as enjoyable as possible and truly one to remember.

Make sure everything is organized

You’ll want to make sure that everything is taken care of before you leave. This includes things like health insurance, travel arrangements, emergency contacts e.t.c. By being organized you can make sure that you don’t run around like a headless chicken while you’re already abroad, which adds stress and takes away from your enjoyment there.

Write down what you want to do

Traveling to a new place can be overwhelming with all the sights to see and activities to do. And it can be difficult to manage to try to visit the local attractions while trying to manage your studies. The solution is to write up a travel bucket list and include the main items you want to see before you leave. This way, as you tick things off you’ll feel more fulfilled about going abroad in the first place.

How to make the most of a year studying abroad

Use the orientation program

Orientation programs can be quite awkward with all of the ice-breakers and strange talks. But being present at orientation gives you the opportunity to make new friends and listen to locally relevant advice. It’s even more helpful if you can be vocal during orientation, even though this is difficult for some (especially shy) people, because it helps you get over the fear of the new place and people earlier.

Take part in the local flair

Really embracing the local culture includes trying to learn the language and do things that would not be available at home. Find out about local music, food, and books. This will give you a conversation starter for people from the region. It might also help you to ask someone you trust, like your hosting family, about local manners and unspoken rules just to avoid any awkward situations.

Hang out with locals

It’s tempting to go running up to the other students who are studying abroad because they have something you can relate to. While it is helpful to build a support group like this, it is just as helpful to get some local friends that can show you around and introduce you to things. The more locals you meet, the better, because you are beginning to build a network.

Record the memories

You do so much while studying abroad that it’s easy to forget the individual and enjoyable little moments. Take some time to make a scrapbook or write in a journal for you to revisit later and remind you of this great time in your life. Take plenty of pictures but be sure to still live in the moment.

How to make the most of a year studying abroad

Watch your finances

It might be tempting to splurge on local foods and trinkets, but bankruptcy can turn a wonderful trip into a completely unenjoyable one. Make sure to budget so that your money lasts for the full trip, but do spoil yourself occasionally because this trip is never to be repeated.

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