Make the most of studying abroad
Studying abroad can be an overwhelming experience. Once you get there you can feel nervous, excited, homesick, jetlagged and overpowered by the amount of new information. You are exposed to new possibilities and you want to try everything. However the key to a successful study abroad trip is to stay reasonable and make the right choices.
Don’t let homesickness take over
Leaving your home to study abroad is stepping out of your comfort zone. Remember that you haven’t left your home for forever and that you’ll return. You will probably end up not wanting to leave the country where you’re studying after having a great experience. The first few days are the most difficult, when you don’t know anybody, you’re in a strange place and surrounded by people who don’t speak your language. Give it a few days, you’ll meet new people and the new place will start to feel homely.
Make a list of what you want to do
Before you leave home make a list of specific things that you want to do abroad. It can involve travelling to a certain place, seeing a monument, trying a local dish and anything you can think of and dream of doing. Research the city you will be living in to get some inspiring ideas. Be creative! Talk to your friends or relatives who visited this country, they can have some interesting ideas for you. Keep in mind the time you have to tick off the things from your list and choose things within your reach.
Have a plan
Except for having a list of what you want to do, plan all of them. Reserve some time for travelling and sightseeing. First give yourself a couple of weeks to get used to the new place and immerse yourself in the new culture. Don’t forget to include studying in your plan.
Get to know your host family
If you’re staying with a host family dedicate time to get to know them. You will spend a lot of time with them remember to be respectful of them and their traditions. On the first day have a conversation with them to find out the rules, what you expect and what they expect of your time abroad. They will include you in their everyday life, talk to you about their country, it will be nice if you share information on where you are from. If you’d like, you can bring a souvenir from your home country as a gift for your host family.
Mix in with the locals
Live like a local – do what they do (within reason of course!). Your host family or teachers can give you some tips. Try to make as many local friends as you can. Be open, talk to people don’t be afraid to ask questions. Join a club or a after class activity to meet new people. Participate in local celebrations, go to local festivals, fairs and picnics. You will get a chance to learn about the traditions and get to know the community you temporarily live in.
Don’t forget that you’re STUDYING abroad and do actually study. Attend and actively participate in classes. Do your homework and dedicate some of your free time to revision so you can come to class prepared. Don’t hesitate to ask the teacher and fellow class mates for help. Make studying your priority, after all it is the reason why you travelled abroad. Stay positive and don’t look at studying as a downside to your travels. Remember all the benefits that come from language learning, like better job opportunities, broadening your horizons and being more open, being able to enjoy international movies, music and literature.
Know your budget
Plan your expenses. Probably the best way to go is to set a weekly limit and not exceed it. Leave some money for souvenirs and unexpected expenses. Remember that you’re going to want to spend some money on excursions or fun activities like the cinema or a party.
Make the most of your studying abroad experience, be reasonable and have fun!
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