5 Tips For Studying Abroad
Start writing a post
Featured

5 Tips For Studying Abroad

As my semester studying abroad comes to an end, here are some things I have learned from my travels in Europe!

8235
5 Tips For Studying Abroad
Photo by lilartsy on Unsplash

I'll start out by saying that my experience studying abroad may be different than some. As a student at Miami University, I decided to participate in the Miami University Dolibois European Center (MUDEC) program located in Luxembourg. Being located in Luxembourg, I was able to travel to six other countries during the semester, usually on weekend trips.

If you're studying in a larger country such as Spain or France, you may have more central experiences than my own. But here are some general tips on how to get the most out of your study abroad experience!

1. Expect something to go wrong

Daniel Lerman / Unsplash

Okay, I know this seems a bit pessimistic at first. But when you're traveling in a different country and in an environment that you're not used to — something is going to go wrong. Most of the time it won't be your fault, like public transportation making you late for a connection or someone you're traveling with forgetting an important document.

When things go wrong, you will probably feel panicked at first. You're in a new country, surrounded by people who speak another language, away from your support system. But the more experience you gain, the less panicked you become. Things going wrong is a reality and the best thing to do is take the issue on with patience and acceptance, knowing that even though something went wrong, it doesn't mean the world will end. So take a deep breath and learn something from the experience!

2. Reach out to people

Tyler Nix / Unsplash

Going into the semester, I was nervous about making new friends in my study abroad program. I only knew two people going into the program out of about one hundred and twenty people. But as time went on, I met so many incredible people with different personalities, cultures, and interests. I became more connected with my roommate, one of the people I knew before the program after living with her and traveling with her every weekend.

Reaching out to people in your program, those around you, and your housemates is the foundation for being confident when reaching out to strangers in places you visit, from hostel bars to cooking classes. The friendships that you make while studying abroad are unique, as this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and the people that you meet along the way are definitely a part of that. Reach out to people that you think would be fun to travel with and talk about the things you'd like to focus on throughout the program during the first few weeks to find people with similar goals!

3. Use your language skills

Angélica Echeverry / Unsplash

You don't know how beneficial learning a different language from your native one is until you study abroad. While staying in Luxembourg, I've tried using my very basic Duolingo French skills. Although it can be a bit of a let down when you, let's say, order a coffee in your host country's language and the barista continues the conversation in English, keep trying! The locals of the country appreciate your effort.

Being immersed in another country's language and culture for multiple months can be a once in a lifetime opportunity, and as time goes on you will improve! I studied Spanish throughout middle and high school as well as college, so being able to use what I've learned during my weekend trip in Madrid was an amazing experience. Although my pronunciation wasn't the best, it was still great being able to communicate with people throughout the weekend. I would definitely encourage you to advance your language skills and use them while studying abroad, don't be nervous!

4. Experience the beauty of hostels

Shobhit Sharma / Unsplash

I'll admit — hostels can be good and bad. If you're in a mixed room with people you don't know, some loud snoring or unwanted noise during the nights can happen. Living in a shared space with strangers can be intimidating and weird at first. But as a college student on a budget, staying in hostels was by far the most interesting and fun accommodation while traveling.

Most hostel goers are respectful travelers like yourself and from all over the world, so talking with your temporary roommates and other people in the shared areas can lead to interesting conversations. Hostels are an affordable, backpacker friendly option for weekend excursions. It's important to keep track of your belongings though; you wouldn't want to lose anything while snoozing!

5. Stay connected to home

Guillaume Coupy / Unsplash

This is probably one of the hardest things to accomplish while being abroad, but it's also very important. It can be difficult juggling your different roles while studying abroad, staying involved with your commitments on your home campus with your family and friends, and trying to experience new things throughout your program. But staying connected to your home country and culture can make you feel less isolated while studying abroad and decrease your chance of getting homesick!

By sending texts throughout the week, calling your family and friends when you can, and reaching out to campus organizations about commitments, you're communicating with your support system. This is a crucial change of studying abroad: you are separated from your main support system and thrown into a new environment. Staying connected while abroad will help you feel centered as you experience things and travel places you never thought you would!

P.S. Sending people postcards is the perfect way to show them your travels and that you care!

Report this Content
Featured

Panic! At The Disco Announces Breakup After 19 Years

Band Makes Breakup Announcement Official: 'Will Be No More'

2512
panic at the disco

It's the end of an era. Originally formed in 2004 by friends in Las Vegas, Panic! At The Disco is no more.

Brendon Urie announced on Instagram that the band will be coming to an end after the upcoming Europe tour. He said that he and his wife are expecting a baby, and the life change weighed heavily in his mind to come to this decision. "Sometimes a journey must end for a new one to begin," he said.

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Top 3 Response Articles of This Week

Odyssey's response writer community is growing- read what our new writers have to say!

6237
https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-writing-on-white-book-1043514/
https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-typing-on-type...

Each week, more response writers are joining the Odyssey community. We're excited to spotlight their voices on as they engage in constructive dialogue with our community. Here are the top three response articles of last week:

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

To Mom

There are days when you just need your mom

18049
To Mom

There really is no way to prepare yourself for the loss of someone. Imagine that someone being the one who carried you for 9th months in their belly, taught you how to walk, fought with you about little things that only a mother and daughter relationship could understand. You can have a countless number of father figures in your life, but really as my mom always said, " you only get one mom."

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

The Way People In Society are Dating is Why I Don't Date

I need someone to show that they want me for me, not that they're using me to chase the idea of being in a relationship.

20316
The Way People In Society are Dating is Why I Don't Date
rawpixel

You hear your phone go off. He's asking you to hang out. Then, of course, you get the advice of your friends to decipher this text. Is it just hanging out or is it more than hanging out? You've probably done this at least once in your life or at least seen a tweet where someone posted their screenshots with a potential love interest.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

Winter Break As Told By 'Friends'

Is a month at home too much to handle?

12931

If you're anything like me, winter break is a much-needed light at the end of the tunnel after a long, stressful semester. Working hard for 15 weeks can really take a toll on a person mentally, physically AND emotionally. It's a nice change of pace to be back at home with your family and friends, but after a couple weeks, it can get, well... boring.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments