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!

8219
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

Why I Don't Write (Or Read) An "Open Letter To My Future Husband/Wife"

Because inflated expectations and having marriage as your only goal are overrated.

12180
Urban Intellectuals

Although I have since changed my major I remember the feverish hysteria of applying to nursing school--refreshing your email repeatedly, asking friends, and frantically calculating your GPA at ungodly hours of the night. When my acceptance came in I announced the news to friends and family with all the candor of your average collegiate. I was met with well wishes, congratulations, and interrogations on the program's rank, size, etc. Then, unexpectedly, I was met with something else.

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Top 3 Response Articles of This Week

Meet the creators making their voices heard on Odyssey.

3099
Top 3 Response Articles of This Week
Why I Write On Odyssey

At Odyssey, we're on a mission to encourage constructive discourse on the Internet. That's why we created the response button you can find at the bottom of every article.

Last week, our response writers sparked some great conversations right here on our homepage. Here are the top three response articles:

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

"Arthur's Perfect Christmas" Is The Perfect Holiday Special, Move Over Charlie Brown

Arthur Read is here to deliver the real meaning of Christmas.

4004
Pexels

As the holiday season draws nearer, many of us find ourselves drawn to the same old Rankin-Bass Christmas specials and the perennial favorite, "A Charlie Brown Christmas." However, I would like to suggest an overlooked alternative, "Arthur's Perfect Christmas." It is a heartfelt, funny, and surprisingly inclusive Christmas special that deserves more recognition.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Reclaim Your Weekends From The 'Sunday Scaries' With 'Self-Love Sundays' Instead

Everyone needs a day to themselves sometimes.

3661
Reclaim Your Weekends From The 'Sunday Scaries' With 'Self-Love Sundays' Instead
Olivia DeLucia

Laid back and taking it easy — sometimes that is the motto we all need after a busy week. Sunday scaries? Yes, they are valid – but you know what else is? A Sunday full of self-love. A lazy Sunday spent doing what you feel needs to be done to ease into the next week. Self-Love Sundays are a guilty pleasure that isn't only essential for our mind, and body, but are also a surprisingly proactive way to devote the upcoming week with a clear mindset.

So, what is a more suitable way to dedicate your week's end than a beautifully, connected playlist to accompany your face masks and journaling? Cheers, to a Self-Love Sunday (and a playlist intertwined with it to match). (Please note: "Sunday Morning" isn't included in this list, due to the obvious, but feel free to blast it anyway, we know you want to).

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

On Sunday Morning

Breaking Free

3329
Sunset Girl

The sun rose and peeked through the sheer curtains. Rose’s alarm shrieked. The loud bells caused her phone to jump on the side table. It was time for her to get ready for church. Blindly reaching for her phone, she shut the alarm off and pulled at the covers providing her a cocoon of warmth and tossed them to the side. She swept her bare feet across the bed to touch the cool wooden floor.

Rose softly tiptoed to the corner of the bedroom to grab her clothes dangling on the arm of the bedroom chair. Scooping all of the items of her chosen outfit, she headed to the bathroom hoping that she wouldn’t drop anything.

Round, piercing blue eyes stared back at her in the bathroom mirror. Rose fingered the wrinkles forming around her eyes. So many of them bore signs of laughter and smiling. Slowly dropping her hands, she couldn’t remember the last time she laughed in her home with Tom. Shaking her head as if to erase the negative thoughts, she reached for her makeup bag and went through her regular routine.

Applying her favorite deep rose lipstick, Rose headed downstairs to make her coffee and bagel to take with her to church. The smell of dark-roast coffee swirled in the air as Rose sliced her cinnamon raisin bagel. Hearing the Keurig sputter with the fresh brew, Rose found the interruption of the stillness comforting. The toaster signaled that her bagel was done with a soft pop. It had a delicious golden brown color. Placing the bagel on the counter, she generously spread honey nut flavored cream cheese across both halves. Gathering her bible, notebook, and pens from the side table on the porch she stuffed them into her purse. Purse hanging on her right shoulder she juggled her coffee and bagel in both of her hands as she headed to the garage.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments