Random Study Abroad Tips!
I have one week left in Barcelona before I leave for a two week trip with my brothers! We are visiting Amsterdam, Munich, and Berlin for the holidays, and I am beyond excited. As my last blog post I decided it would be a good idea to give some tips to you future study abroad people! So here we go…
1. If possible, travel before and/or after your semester abroad. Even if it is just for a few days. It makes leaving your new home abroad a little bit easier and it give you a few days to adjust before the first crazy week of orientation begins. Also, if you are already spending a fortune on a plane ticket to Europe, make your trip as long as possible!
2. Get out of the American bubble. My first month abroad I found myself hanging out with other Americans a lot. It was easy to meet them since we had classes together and it was comfortable spending time with people from a similar culture with the same language. Get out of your contort zone and meet people from all around the world, you wont regret it!
3. Journal, blog, take pictures! Make lots of memories, but make sure you have a way of remembering them when you are 80 years old thinking back upon your time abroad. I had this blog, but I also wrote in a personal journal about my favorite experiences. Warning- take pictures, but not too many, make sure to live in the moment!
4. Don’t waste time. Obviously you need some days to relax so you don’t get overtired. But instead of staying home and watching a movie on your lazy day, try going to a cafe with a book instead. This way you can relax but you are still seeing new things, experiencing the culture that you only get to live in for a short time. Experience as much of this new culture as possible!
5. Do what makes you happy. Even though it seems like a long time, your semester is going to fly by so quickly. Make sure to do what you want to do instead of trying to please others. For example, if your family is begging to Skype with you, but you want to spend the day at the beach, go to the beach! Or if all of your friends are clubbing, but you would rather spend time with your host family, do that.
Prepare to open your mind to a new culture. Make observations about differences between this new environment that you are living in and the one you are used to. Savor every moment abroad and make sure you will return home with no regrets. I am sad that my time Barcelona is ending, but I am happy to be returning home with a new perspective on culture and life.