How to Make the Most of Studying Abroad

Congrats! You’re finally doing it. Going abroad, taking classes in entirely new country and starting the adventure of a lifetime. It’s a difficult challenge to bear though, but make the most of it and you’ll have no regrets.

Arrive early

This was something I regret not doing during my time in New Zealand this past summer. Some of the other students on the trip showed up to our hostel just a few days before we were supposed to be there. This gave them the chance to orient themselves around the city, recover from jet lag and get to know everyone before school work began. Arriving on the day of your orientation can make you feel a bit disoriented and giving yourself the time to adjust to all the new changes is extremely beneficial.

Stay late, or take a side trip

There are so many new foods, sights, activities and culture you’ll experience during what’s planned for you during your study abroad. You’re somewhere completely new you, so you might as well kick it up to 100! Why not take the leap and travel completely alone for a week after your program ends? Or take a weekend trip to Paris during your semester at Oxford? Take advantage of the transportation options around you and see as much as you can! Traveling within Europe while you’re already there makes it easy to visit multiple countries on a budget.

Create connections

A study abroad experience is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. A bunch of clueless students come to a country they’ve probably never been before and maybe don’t even speak the language of, and attempt to further their education while taking advantage of the lower drinking age. And they’ve got to navigate all this together while just meeting each other for the first time. Whether everyone on your program goes to your school, or you’re walking in head first knowing absolutely no one, the people you meet could be your best friends for life. They probably share your love of travel and adventure (I mean, why do you think they came on this trip?) and this is a great start to a beautiful friendship! (or relationship, wink wink) And don’t count out the locals either, you’re going to need a place to stay when you come back to visit!

EAT. IT. ALL.

Calories don’t count on vacation. Okay, this isn’t a vacation, but it is an experience! You have been transported to an entirely different world with food so different and delicious you can hardly believe it. Don’t restrict yourself! Make smart choices and take advantage of the gym at your institution you’re studying through, but remember that food is part of the experience. It’s important to immerse yourself in all parts of the culture, and food is no exception.

Remember to rest

It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in everywhere you want to go, every activity you want to do and every food you want to try, but don’t forget to put that on pause once in a while. You don’t have to go out every night and it’s totally okay to just have a night to read in your top bunk once in a while. Without rest, you’ll be completely burnt out and that will be even worse that FOMO, trust me.

Studying abroad was one of the best decisions of my college career. Nothing could possibly replace the experience I had. Make the most of your program and you’ll feel the same.