Studying abroad is an extremely exciting opportunity, but between living in a new place, adapting to a new culture, traveling AND having to focus on school… things can seem a bit overwhelming. However, with proper planning and ensuring you stay on top of everything from the start, your semester abroad can be the most educational experience of your life. There are a few things to keep in mind before and during your time abroad.
When it comes to prioritizing, remember that you are STUDYING abroad and not just on an extended vacation.
- Set aside time for all of your homework and studies THEN plan your travels around that.
- Stay on top of your work from the very beginning – this way it won’t pile up and overwhelm you all at once.
Choose your class schedule wisely
- While this may not apply to all students studying abroad, since classes and schedules are often times already predetermined for study abroad students, it does apply to some.
- If you do have the freedom to choose your own class schedule, establish the number of courses you can/need to take. Also consider what times and days the course is offered, and what requirement it will fulfill back at your home university, etc.
- If possible, consider extending your weekend by taking classes from Monday-Thursday. That way you have more time for homework and traveling. (HOWEVER, be conscious about not inundating yourself with school and work on the days you do have class).
Know when to travel and when not to travel
- Maybe going away for a few days the weekend before midterms isn’t the greatest idea… Or perhaps have a big exam or essay due but all your friends are going to Paris for the weekend. Think realistically about how much time you will need to do an assignment and then add a few hours. Waiting until the last minute and giving yourself very little time to complete an assignment or study will take its toll on you and your grades.
Don’t overfill your plate
- Studying abroad is a huge transition so prepare for it. Not only will you be in a foreign country with a different culture, you will be at a new school with different professors and students.
- Take on only as much as you can handle.
- Utilize your time to do everything you want and need, but don’t forget to give yourself a break every once in a while.
With that said, remember that you are also there to immerse yourself in the experience, explore and try new things. Carpe diem!
Thank you for sharing your adventure and advice with us, Emily!
Guest Blogger - Emily LaPlume. Emily is a senior at Champlain College pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and minoring in Event Management. Emily has been a seasonal intern at GSCU for over three years and has also interned at The Capitol Center for the Arts, Brandthropology and Fuse Marketing. Emily spent a studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland and another in Wellington, New Zealand.