Studying abroad is a great idea for so many reasons. It allows you to experience different cultures, you are able to get out of your comfort zone, and you are able to have the time of your life. When I was preparing for my time in Europe, I was so excited leading up to the trip. I was concerned about what I was going to wear, who I was going to meet, and what I was going to learn. One thing I was not concerned with was planning.
If you are like me, going with the flow sounds like a lot more fun and stress-free than taking the time to make a plan before doing something. In everyday life, this approach may work but for studying abroad planning beforehand is crucial. I made this mistake, and I want to try and prevent other people from doing the same.
Why Planning Ahead is Important
There are a couple of reasons why planning is so important. First off, for the Summer Europe trip, you are traveling to six different countries. Each of these countries is known for something different, whether it is specific scenery, food, shopping, or whatever else. Since you have the opportunity to visit these places, most people (including myself) want to experience what the country and specific city are known for.
There’s only one problem… what if you don’t know what the city is known for? That’s where I went wrong a couple of times, I wanted to see everything, but I didn’t necessarily know what “everything” was. Fortunately, a lot of people on the trip were more prepared than me, so I always had some idea of where to go and what to see, but if I had done more research and planned I could have seen some more stuff that I really wanted to.
Get Enough Rest
Another reason why planning before the trip is important is that some days you really don’t have the energy to do everything you originally wanted to. Between staying out late the night before and getting up early and going to a seminar, there are days that fitting a nap into my schedule was crucial. By having a couple of ideas of things I wanted to see in a city, I was able to decide which activity I wanted to do the most so that I had some time to rest up for the night ahead.
One point that I think is important to remember is that looking back on the trip I don’t always remember how tired I felt, but I do remember how amazing it felt to see the Eiffel Tower or Big Ben. It is definitely worth being a little tired if it means being able to have great experiences.
I’m not saying that you have to spend hours coming up with an elaborate plan before going on your trip, but spending a little time looking into what each city has to offer can make all the difference in your experience.