First things first, the number one DO of studying abroad is committing to go! I am extremely passionate about getting as many people as possible to experience the opportunity of studying abroad because it was hands down the best decision I have ever made. I think it’s important to share a little bit of my experience so that no one misses out on any of the great things I experienced, and maybe so that no one makes the same mistakes I made or I saw people make while over there.
I already gave the first DO, so now the first DON’T is don’t waste this opportunity. If you want to study abroad and have a great time, it is important to be open to everything. Be open to new people. Be open to new food. Be open to new things and experiences. It is easy to get a little homesick from time to time, but the best way to combat being homesick is to go out and try new activities.
I promise that if you’re busy enough, it’s hard to even have time to be homesick. Everyone has their own priorities, so just because one person wants to do one activity doesn’t mean you have to do it. Spend this adventure doing whatever is going to be the most fun for you, it’s your trip!
The second DO is doing as much as you can. A lot of people will only have this opportunity once so it’s important to try and get the most out of it! Looking back now there are a couple of things I wished I would have made an effort to do or see, but I didn’t plan well enough. That’s another DO, it is very important to plan for free time and free days, it’s easy to say that you’ll figure it out as you go, but the truth is that some of these cities can be very overwhelming. There is so much to do and see, so without a plan, you may end up wasting some time, which is what happened to me in a couple of cities.
Another DON’T is don’t be taken advantage of. You hear about pickpockets and people who will try to con you out of money, and I witnessed a couple of instances while traveling in Europe. It is important to always be alert and aware of your surroundings. There are people over there that want to be your friend, but there are also people who just want your stuff. I never felt unsafe while in Europe, but I was constantly aware of everything going on around me. It’s possible to have fun and be aware at the same time!
Everyone has different priorities while studying abroad, but I think the main goal of a lot of people is to have an unforgettable experience. My time studying abroad was definitely unforgettable, and I hope yours will be too!