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How to Make the Most of a Year Studying Abroad

As you step out for your study abroad adventure for the first time, some helpful hints ensure you make use of your time. Studying in a foreign country is an exciting and unique experience and it surely offers more opportunities than remaining in your home country but can be scary. A few tips to make this experience enjoyable and truly one worth remembering.

Make sure everything is organized

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Ensure that travel arrangements, health insurance, emergency contacts are done prior to departure. Being organized enables no stress to distract from your enjoyment there.

Prepare your schedule and use the orientation program

Traveling to a new place is overwhelming with much to see and a lot to do, while managing your studies. Prepare a travel bucket list including major sight-seeing places, before you arrive. Orientation programs are awkward with the ice-breakers and strange talks. But the orientation enables making new friends and getting some locally relevant advice. It’s helpful to be vocal during orientation, but difficult for shy people, as you overcome the fear of a new place and people soon.

Take part in the local flair, hang out with locals and share

Embracing the local culture includes learning the language and do things not possible at home. Try local food, music, and culture. Ask someone you trust, like your host family, about local manners and unspoken rules to avoid awkward situations. Building a support group among students, it is just as helpful. The more locals you meet, enables building a network. Surviving your first year abroad isn’t very easy, with adjustments to money issues, language barriers, and different teaching styles.

Record the memories

Creator: berkozel | Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

With so much to do while studying abroad, you may forget the individual, enjoyable moments. Take time to prepare a scrapbook or write a diary to remind you of this opportunity. Take plenty of pictures but always live in the moment.

Watch your finances and avoid overspending

Though tempted to splurge on local food, booze and trinkets, bankruptcy can make your trip a disaster. Budget your funds to last for the entire trip, but spend occasionally. Education abroad is expensive and your student loan may not be enough. Avoid unnecessary expenditure and plan all expenditures.

Do not give in to peer pressure

If you don’t feel comfortable, stick to your instincts. It is always good to observe local rules, to make sure that you are appropriately tipping for services received.

Make new friends, be independent and responsible

Creator: Tim Robberts | Copyright: Tim Robberts

If you are used to everything done for you how do you do laundry? Can you cook? What about doing the dishes? You learn how to do them today; else you will have a very rough time abroad. It’s important to behave responsibly. Use the library and form study groups with students to help you to learn topics you find particularly difficult. While societies and clubs matter, don’t neglect studies.

Stay in shape, learn the language and study hard

A health test beforehand to prove you are in good health is advisable. Do look after your health, by exercising regularly, sleeping well, eating well, and drink much water.  Make an effort to learn the local language to interact with local students and interactions during lectures and seminars easier. Additional language skills are impressive to future employers.

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