By Alejandra, BA Management with Marketing with European Study
Studying abroad can feel like a challenge, so here are my top 10 tips to fully enjoy your year abroad:
- Don’t hold back: This is one of the most important things I could tell anyone who is about to do a year abroad. You are going to arrive to a place you’ve probably never lived in, with people you’ve never met. Don’t hold back. I promise you will get to enjoy everything the city has to offer, if you give all you’ve got. Half a year, one year, it is nothing, so don’t be shy, express yourself, don’t hold back.
- Don’t just stick to those who you share nationality with: You’ve got more than enough friends back home who you share a language, a nationality, a neighbourhood, a group of friends with, among a million other things. Go beyond. Take this opportunity and make the effort to meet new people and broaden your connections.
- Discover all the places the country has to offer: I’m sure the city you choose is absolutely stunning and a year is probably not enough to know every single spot. However, the country itself also has so many incredible cities to offer. This takes me to my next tip.
- Rationalise the money: Trips are expensive. However, with a bit of planning, organization and saving money, it really isn’t that bad. Don’t spend it all at once. A year is a very short period of time, however, be smart with your money. Use it wisely.
- Stay in touch with the people back home, but don’t be afraid to make new friends: If you have never lived abroad, adapting to a new place can be difficult, but you just need to have the right balance. Message your friends back home, update them about your life, because after all, they will be there when you get home. But allow yourself to meet new people. Don’t compare your new friends to your friends back home. You’ll find yourself growing attached to new people who may be very different from your friends back home.
- Try to learn the language, and the culture: The opportunity is going to be handed to you in a silver plate. Be smart! Take it! You’ll appreciate it so much when you get back. Try to immerse yourself in the culture as much as you can. It’s the best way you get to know the cool places, the authentic places. That is how you actually get to know the city you are in.
- Don’t be lazy: You’ll have plenty of time when you are back home to sleep, to nap, to “Netflix and chill”. Don’t be lazy. Go on little adventures. On road-trips. Try to do as many things as you possibly can. Don’t turn down plans just because you are tired. You will regret it!
- Try new things: Don’t let fear or insecurity stop you from trying new things. Being away, there are so many things that you won’t have the opportunity to do back home. It really is now or never. Don’t be scared and do it now.
- Avoid drama: I know it sounds childish, but keep this in the back of your mind. Avoid drama as much as you possibly can. You are away for half a year or a year, it really isn’t that long when you come to think about it. There really is no time for drama. So if it comes down to you, avoid it.
- Cherish every second: Last but by no means least, the absolute most important thing I failed to do. Cherish every second. I thought I had all the time in the world, and suddenly I only had one month left. The nostalgia kicked in before I had even left. Every day of that last month in Milan I was saying goodbye to something or someone whether I knew it or not. Cherishing every second as much as I possibly could. Doesn’t matter how long you are there, whether it is a month, a term, or a year. Enjoy every day, every night-out, every place you go, every new person you meet. Everything.