After hopping on the (amazing) bandwagon of studying for a semester outside of the country, I would like to encourage everyone I know to do the same. Although it has barely been a month that I have been outside of the United States, I have already experienced many enlightening moments and am constantly reminded about my own humanity, and eerily enough, my mortality.
Personally, I am studying at the University of Limerick in Ireland, which is in the EU. (Northern Ireland, part of the UK, is not in the EU.) Since a storm hit the first week I was here, I was pretty confident I had made the biggest mistake of my life and was about to hike back home so my mom could cook. It was raining or hailing constantly, cold, never sunny, and I had to make my own food (what!?)! Thankfully, my amazing friends helped me muddle through, and now I've finally gotten the hang of it--and like all storms, this one passed, and we now have consistently beautiful weather, albeit a little cold.
My point is that there are going to be moments when you think you're crazy for ever having the idea to leave the country, leave your family and friends, and start over somewhere new. But waiting for that moment when it all becomes worth it--for me, it was going to the Cliffs of Moher even on a disgusting day--is worth experiencing that homesickness and uncertainty a thousand times over. Besides, nothing in life is ever easy, so you might as well work for it!
Since coming to Ireland, I've visited "town" (or Limerick City), gone to international events hosted by my school, to the Cliffs of Moher, Dingle, Killarney, and Killarney National Park as well as most recently visiting Dublin. One thing I've learned from all of these experience is, first of all, don't discount the experiences offered close to home. Even though you probably went abroad to travel, there are amazing people everywhere, and there is a unique culture at your university, so make sure to experience that as well!
Another thing is don't be afraid of late nights--they will happen. Have a cup of tea or coffee (or something stronger) and embrace them. You only live once, as they say, so sleep when you get back home and live it up now, whether it's messing around with your friends in your apartment, going out to a bar or club, or just plain exploring.
Essentially, my tip for studying abroad is: just go. Do it! Everyone has completely different experiences depending on what they want to do and how fast they are willing to do it. But most importantly, don't underestimate yourself if you think you can't handle it--you definitely can! And it will be one of the best experiences in your life.