If you ever find yourself studying abroad, CONGRATULATIONS, you are in for an amazing ride! Initially, it can be a challenging experience, especially if you don't have any familiar faces around and are in a completely foreign country, but do as British royalty would often suggest, Keep Calm and Carry On!
Once you have passed the hurdle of what and where you are going to study, half the struggle is already over, now all you have to do is enjoy yourself!
Here are a few tips to help you adjust and make the best of your study abroad experience.
1. Step out of your shell
Studying abroad can be very overwhelming, especially if you are doing it in a program where you don't know anyone. Don't panic, take this time to get to know some new and interesting people.
2. Research your new home
Wherever your study abroad program may be based, be sure to do some research beforehand on the culture of the city or country. Every place on Earth has different customs and what might be the norm in America might not be applicable to cities in Asia or Europe.
3. No English, no problem
If your program is based in a non-english speaking, embrace this opportunity to learn and communicate in a new language.
4. Watch more TV
Learning a new language can be hard, but as you embrace your surroundings it will become easier. For example, try engaging with people at the grocery store or watch local programming on TV.
5. Don't stay in, GET OUT
Depending on how much time you are spending in a particular city or country for your study abroad program, explore the area as much as possible. Don't be intimidated to go out.
6. Taking travel back to the basics: Walking
A great way to know a city is to walk around it aimlessly and absorbing your surroundings and find out what the locals are up to.
7. Food is your way into familiarity
Another great way to know a city or familiarize yourself with a new culture is through their food. Food is a great unifying factor and can help your initial adjustment into a new city.
8. Ignorance is not bliss...especially in a foreign country
Do be cautious on your explorations though, every city has its own pros and cons. Some can be dangerous for single travellers and some incredibly safe, so educate yourself about your surroundings.
9. Don't feel obligated to fall in every tourist trap
If you are in an incredibly exciting city for the duration of your program, but are there for a small amount of time, don't get overwhelmed by trying to all the famed tourist things.
10. Don't forget it is STUDY abroad
And finally, please remember that ultimately you are there to STUDY, don't sacrifice your grade or academic experience in order to get in all the action. It might be travelling but it's not vacation.
If you are lucky enough to find yourself studying abroad, it is important to remember that this is a great opportunity for you to learn a great deal about a new country, culture, and yourself. While your time abroad, leave all inhibitions behind and explore to your heart's content but be safe and responsible. Don't forget, you still have to get an A in that class ;)