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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Scranton chapter.

I have been studying abroad in London for two months now and it has been filled with some of the best moments of my life (so far), but it’s also been filled with some scary moments. It is an experience that I would encourage everyone to pursue. From meeting new people, to traveling to different countries and everything in between, it’s once in a lifetime and absolutely changes you as a person.

It was not however, easy getting here, so I do have a few tips for before and during your study abroad experience.

1. Get started early

The most important thing to do, is to get started early. As soon as you know you are interested, speak with your advisor about the options and possibilities you have. Different schools and majors are going to have differing degrees of availability to study abroad. For some, you may only be able to study for a few weeks or only during a

certain semester because of class requirements, so sit down with your advisor and have a plan for where and when you’ll study abroad, in addition to what classes you’ll take!

2. Put yourself out there

My first night in London, I was exhausted. The last thing I wanted to do was go out, but a girl had messaged me on Instagram and asked if I wanted to go to a pub crawl with her and another girl. I am the type of person who likes staying in as much as I like going out, and that night, I did not want to go out at all. But I knew it would be good for me, so I pushed myself (because if I’m honest with myself I was also nervous) and I went out with them.

I didn’t end up keeping in touch with those girls, but I met a ton of other people who I have since traveled with and have become really close friends. So, although I may not have wanted to at the time, I’m glad I went out and made those connections and put myself out there. There are times to push yourself and times you shouldn’t, and the hardest part is distinguishing whether it’s fear, or just nerves.

3. Travel solo

One of my favorite experiences so far has been my solo adventure. I went to Stockholm, Sweden and Oslo, Norway on my own for a weekend. Even though I knew that I was fully capable of doing so, that didn’t stop me from being nervous that something was going to happen that I wasn’t going to be able to handle. I am a person who requires a lot of reassurance when it comes to making decisions and knowing that I’m doing the correct thing in any given situation, but when you are by yourself, that isn’t an option. You have to trust yourself. Traveling solo has forced me to trust my gut and my decisions, something that I am so grateful for and that I’ll hold on to for the rest of my life.

4. Know your boundaries

I have had so much fun with the friends I have made here, but I think the reason why I am so confident in these friendships is because I have consistently stuck to my boundaries, and every single person has respected them. This has been from small things like wanting to end a night early, to not feeling safe in an environment and wanting to leave and head somewhere else. Yes, it is important to push yourself, but

knowing when not to, when to take a breather and do what you need to do, whether or not it’s a popular decision, is something you need to be able to do before studying abroad.

5. Be selfish (to an extent)

I only have five months here. I only have five months to see as much as I can and I don’t want to waste a single minute, so I’ve learned to be a little more selfish in this experience. I’ve put myself and what I’ve wanted first because in the end my time here is limited. I know I would regret it if I wasted any time doing something I didn’t want to do.

Overall, the best tip I can give, is to stay true to yourself, but don’t be afraid to come home a little changed.

Shannon Parker

Scranton '24

Hi! I am a senior English major, I love reading, writing, playing with my dog, and hanging out with my friends and sister:) I am also one of the CCs of HC Scranton!!