Eight Ways To Ruin Your Study Abroad Experience
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Eight Ways To Ruin Your Study Abroad Experience

Avoid these traps at all cost.

Eight Ways To Ruin Your Study Abroad Experience

Anyone who has ever traveled or studied abroad will (incessantly) tell you what a wonderful, life-changing experience it was. Many great changes can come from studying abroad, but believe it or not, there are some ways to effectively ruin the experience. So, have you’re best experience by avoiding these major mistakes:

1. Being Careless With Money

I’ve written a piece previously about how to budget while abroad, and it’s true that a little planning goes a long way, but a lack of planning can also go a long way in the OTHER direction. You’ll have a great first couple of weeks, but will spend your last months scraping by, which isn’t fun and involves turning down a lot of fun experiences. So don’t do this to yourself, and plan ahead.

2. Being Too Careful With Money

Likewise, you can in fact be too careful with money. You’re traveling, so now is the most reasonable time to live a little! If you turn down everything because you’re trying to economize, you’ll end up doing nothing the entire trip. So treat yourself!

3. Being Overly Concerned With Social Media Presentation

Pictures for Instagram and Facebook are becoming a travel tradition, but don’t let it consume your whole trip. It can be tempting to try and capture every last moment to savor for later (especially in the form of #TBTs), but the more time you spend trying to capture every moment on your screen, the less time you’re spending in that moment IRL. So take a couple of pictures, and then just take it all in.

4. Not Taking Any Photos

Of course you need a balance; don't leave yourself with an empty scrapbook. If you take no photos at all, you’ll have little to remember your trip by. So take photos of places and people that are special to you, and enjoy arranging them in scrapbooks and sharing them with family and friends upon your return.

5. Being Overly Concerned With Your Health

If you let food guilt overtake you on the trip, you’re never going to actually enjoy yourself. The food is one of the best aspects of travel; the one thing you truly can’t get back home. So don’t systematically turn down pastries, craft beers, wines, buttery local dishes, or anything else solely in the name of calories. Likewise, don’t fret about not taking part in your normal vigorous exercise routine. All of the healthy eating and exercise that you normally do will be waiting for you when you get back, but isn’t the point

of travel to do not what you normally do?

6. Not Worrying At All About Your Health

Of course overindulgence isn’t good either. Systematically saying ‘yes’ to all of the pastries and beer and buttery dishes can leave you feeling sluggish and sick. Listen to your body. It’s okay to turn something down and search out a healthier alternative. Not letting food guilt take over doesn’t mean completely forget that vegetables exist.

7. Waiting To Do Fun Things

One of my friends in the program was joking around about wanting to go to a particular café, saying it would “change her life”. Another girl responded “well, you should go soon, because you don’t want to wait until the last day to change your life then have to go home.” I laughed, but realized she actually made a really great point. Don’t wait to start having fun! Don’t wait for the weekend to start doing fun things: go out for drinks or dinner with your friends even though it’s Monday and not Friday; go to that play on a Tuesday night and don’t worry about waking up for class the next day; hang out at your friend’s apartment on a Wednesday; buy sweet treats on a Thursday; have a cozy night in on a Saturday. Think of how much time you’re going to be in your city (a couple of months), and how frequently you will have the opportunity to be back (less than you would like). Don’t waste it waiting for the weekend, and have more memories of the city than your dorm room or the library.

8. Having Regrets

Travel is not the place for regrets! There are so many different types of experiences you can have abroad: wild and crazy adventures, getting to know local people and making friends, making friends with people in your program, getting to know yourself, trying new things, traveling around, becoming a

pseudo-local, and so many more that it’s basically impossible to have every type of experience in one trip. So, don’t get hung up on what you didn’t do, and instead focus on what you did do. Embrace the things that make up your experience. So if you traveled around a lot but never became a local, or didn’t make a ton of friends but really got to know yourself, you’re still doing it right.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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