I don’t have to tell you that your time studying abroad is a once in a lifetime experience, but with so much going on, it’s easy to forget to actually appreciate your time overseas while you’re there.
Trust me, these few months will go a lot faster than you want them to, but it helps to take a step back every now and again and process everything. It's easy to take a lot for granted while you’re exploring a new country (or continent!) but these opportunities may not come round again, so make the most of them while you can.
The great new people you meet
Travelling is always a great opportunity to meet new people, but there’s something about studying abroad together that bonds new acquaintances unlike anything else. Many of the people you get to know could become friends for life so take the opportunity to build and cherish these friendships as much as possible and make sure you make the effort to stay in touch when you go home too.
While it may come as a bit of shock at first, experiencing a new culture first hand is undoubtedly one of the best things about studying abroad. Unless you plan to move abroad after college, the chances are you probably won’t get another chance to spend months on end trying weird, wonderful cuisine or go out until 8 am just because it’s acceptable to do so. While some things may not exactly be up your street, you may develop a love for some new food or music that could stay with you for the rest of your life so try to get out of your comfort zone as much as possible.
Unless your college has a pretty rigorous study abroad program, it’s likely you’ll have more free time than you’re used to back home so it’s a great opportunity to unwind a little. While you shouldn’t, by any means, do nothing except watch Netflix or sunbathe the whole time, taking the occasional few hours just for yourself could help you figure out any major life decisions you’ve been meaning to make or even just catch up on months of lost sleep. Either way, you’ll head back home rested and relaxed, ready to take on whatever’s next.
It may seem odd to be nostalgic for the more difficult times during your time abroad but hear me out. It’s normal to go through a few teething pains when you move abroad for the first time, as the cultural differences and language barriers can make even the simplest of tasks challenging. However, getting through these challenges will show you just how much you’re capable of and any tricky situations back home will seem like a piece of cake in comparison. So the next time you hit a cultural brick wall, just grit your teeth and smile; you know it won’t always be this hard.
While you’re abroad, you’ll have an infinite number of opportunities to travel and explore, and the great thing is, you’ll actually have the time to do it. Say yes to as many things as possible and I promise you won’t regret it; be that a week-long trip of a lifetime or just going to a local music festival outside of town. You’ll get to meet new people, try new things, and realize just how much it’s actually possible to fit in over a few months.
The chance for reinvention
If there was ever a time to finally become the person you’ve always wanted to be, your year abroad would be it. Surrounded by people who don’t know you that well, you can become as impulsive, adventurous and confident as you choose and try out all the things you’ve always wanted to, be that skydiving or skinny dipping. You can also take the time to set any life goals you may have for the future so you go back home with a clear mind about what you want to do next.
Want to get the chance to learn about a new culture and live in the heart of a thriving European city? Study Abroad Apartments offers some great options for students planning to live abroad. Just get in touch with us if you need any help finding somewhere to stay and we’ll make sure you have one of the best options out there!