I just came back from studying abroad in Spain, so here is my untold advice to those of you looking forward to studying abroad in the future.
1. You’ll get homesick/have FOMO
This is probably one of the hardest parts of going abroad, especially if you miss out on spending Thanksgiving and Christmas at home like I did. Your FOMO will definitely hit when you see all your friends snapping about Welcome Weekend or all the crazy shenanigans of Halloweekend, but the important thing to remember is that you’re abroad! Believe me, they’re probably jealous of all your snaps, too. Homesickness sucks but calling your mom weekly (or daily like I did) and hanging out with your fellow abroadees definitely helps.
2. You’ll probably run low on cash
Study abroad is basically just another word for bankrupt. If you’re anything like me, you’ll spend (almost) every weekend traveling, and not just that, but you’re going to want to go out in the city you’re living in and experience all of its amazingness. The best thing: SAVE. Seriously, costs rack up suuuuuper quickly between shopping, flights, hotels, etc. Was it totally worth coming back broke though? Absolutely.
3. Traveling will present itself with some issues
Missed flight? Check. Wrong train platform? Check. Any of these issues can and will go wrong when you’re abroad. I managed to scrape by without actually missing any form of transportation abroad, but there were definitely some pretty close calls. Not only can going somewhere become an issue but traveling within a city can as well. Take it from someone who navigated cities without a working cell phone – it’s hard. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done though!
4. You might not like the food
The food in Spain was great … for about a week. As someone who really doesn’t like ham, moving to a country where ham is considered it’s own food group did present a challenge. Thankfully sweet relief could be found in our local McDonald’s or even Domino’s when heavy reinforcement was necessary. Traveling to other countries also presents the opportunity to eat some new and delicious food so be sure to take advantage!
5. You’ll have to put yourself out there to make friends
I only traveled to Spain with one other SCU human (shouts to you my dear friend) so making friends was definitely a must – and a bit awkward at first. It’s kind of like going to orientation again and knowing no one. You know that you’re all going to become friends eventually; it just takes a little time. But don’t be afraid! Everyone is in the same shoes as you and definitely wants the company, too.
6. You’ll change
How and when are all up to you but it’s an integral part of the study abroad experience. While you may be a little unsure of what lies ahead, remember to embrace every single experience. Study abroad is a time for growth and new opportunities – you just have to be brave enough to face them!
7. You’ll have an unforgettable experience
Okay well you’ve definitely heard this before but it’s true all the same. I know that sitting in that abroad orientation may seem boring, and it feels like everyone literally just says “OMG it’s so amazing, my life changed, etc.…” but there’s a reason they’re telling you – because it’s true. So buckle up and get ready for the ride of your life.
Have fun abroad, Broncos!