Advice for Studying Abroad

I studied abroad in Rome, Italy during my spring semester of junior year, and it was the best decision I have ever made. However, I wish someone had written me a list of do’s and don’ts before I left. So, here’s a list of some advice I have for anyone currently studying abroad or studying abroad in the future.

1. Manage Your Money     

Whether you have $3,000 to spend, or $6,000 to spend, keep a spreadsheet to keep track of all of your purchases. Knowing how much money you have already spent will give you a better understanding of how much you have left, and you will also be able to tell what is taking up the majority of your money. It’s easy to lose track of your spending and you may spend more than you like, especially if you want to leave study abroad with a certain amount of money. Another tip is to withdraw a larger amount of money from ATM’s to limit the surcharge.

2. Dodge Pressure

When you’re traveling with some of your closest friends in a foreign country, it’s easy to feel pressured to do everything together. This includes traveling, eating out, and shopping. Once you know what you want out of your study abroad experience, you can choose to join or sit one out. In my personal experience, my roommates decided to travel to London, but I made the decision that it was out of my budget and I would not join. When my roommates would eat out, I would grocery shop to make home cooked meals on the weekdays, and save eating out for the weekends. Do what you want to do, but also have some fun and say why not?!

3. Take Advantage of Cheap Travel

The good thing about studying abroad either in Europe or the UK is there are multiple airlines that allow you to fly for very, very cheap! One of the more popular ones is Ryan Air! The cheap prices can allow you to fly to several different countries, even if you are on a budget! When I flew to Budapest, Hungary the round trip ticket was 50 Euro. The train is also a very popular mode of transportation, and is usually cheap at well.

4. Don’t Forget About the Country You’re Living In

Although you should use your time in Europe to travel to several countries, don’t disregard the country that you’re living in. There is so much to explore in every country alone, so what you’re looking for might be just around the corner.

5. Respect Your Surroundings

Don’t be a typical American! When studying in another country, everyone will already know that you are an outsider (somehow, they know). Don’t be loud and obnoxious, and instead take in your surroundings. Become aware of the new culture and attempt to speak the language, at least a little. Get to know the laws and regulations, and respect your surroundings. That includes you neighbors!