By Zoe Travers
There’s a lot I could say about my study abroad experience. But every person’s experience is totally different. So here is some advice from 5 study abroad students.
- “Don’t be afraid to travel alone and go to as many places as possible. Ask questions. Learn from the locals.”
- “I think my biggest advice would be not to be afraid to do things alone. At home I would never have gone out and done something just by myself but here I didn’t know lots of people so there were lots of times I wanted to something but had nobody to go with. The times I decided to go anyways I had so much fun – sometimes I met really cool people but other times I learned to just enjoy my own company and that has made me grow so much. I’m so glad I didn’t miss those opportunities because I was afraid to be alone.”
- “Have your money checked. Have a plan for how much money you’re going to spend every month. Don’t go too crazy buying gifts because you also have to worry about how many things you can bring back home. You have to take into account the weight limit for flights. Have a good plan for when you actually have to prepare for your projects. There comes a time (at least where I’m studying) when everything is being delivered at the last moment. You really need a timetable. I know it’s frustrating, and I know you just want to enjoy your time abroad. But you really have to do it because, otherwise, you would have come for nothing. You still have to do work. The last thing – go exploring. If you’re going to Europe, don’t just stay in the one place you’re at. Go look around. Go see other countries. Go with other people, as much as possible. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and you never know when you’re going to come back here.”
- “Let yourself feel everything. If you miss home, let yourself miss home. If you feel like you’re growing, acknowledge that growth. If you’re starting to doubt yourself, acknowledge those feelings. A lot of emotions are going to be crammed into one semester, so just let it happen and try to grow from it. And if you feel overwhelmed, just remember that you moved to another country, and that’s no small feat. Make sure to pat yourself on the back for that.”
- “Don’t lose your routine, especially after the initial excitement wears down, it’s important to keep exercising and eating right, as well as doing the other things (makeup, etc.) that allow you to retain a sense of identity (especially in a foreign place where everything is kind of existing in this international void). Also, bring rubbing alcohol if you use it for cleaning (I’m borderline dependent on the stuff and if you can manage to find it in the UK it’s way overpriced) (ditto for white vinegar). Also, expect to feel a bit sad after the first month, or at some point, because evidently it happens to most everyone and it would have been nice to know at the time. Expect it so you can prepare, and have a plan in place in case sadness or panic hits!”
There’s so much to learn during a semester abroad, and I hope this has been helpful in preparing you for your journey!