When you decide to study abroad, your primary objectives are to study and learn, but there can be more to it than that to help you grow better as suggested by IBS International Business Seminars.
Some of the benefits of studying abroad can include the opportunity to learn about a new culture, learn new language skills, and the chance to build relationships with people around the world. Of course, there’s also the excitement that comes with traveling and seeing places you’ve always dreamed of visiting.
“How can you squeeze in a visit to your personal bucket-list locations during a short-term study abroad trip. Planning ahead is essential,” according to the IBS Study Abroad Blog.
Beyond just visiting certain sites, the following are some of the ways you can plan to make the most of any kind of study abroad experience.
Make a Bucket List
The concept of a bucket list was introduced above, in reference to an IBS Study Abroad Blog. A bucket list can sound a bit silly, but in fact, it’s a great way to start planning and organizing the things you want to do most when you’re studying abroad.
Put together a list of not only what you want to see in your location where you’ll be studying, but what you want to accomplish and any day trips or side trips you might want to take.
This can help you build a more concrete plan once you arrive, and you can cross off some of the things you can live without doing and prioritize others. If you have a family member or friend who’s traveled where you’re going check with them. If not, look at online forums and message boards because something you might think you want to do but not be all it’s chalked up to, or it might not be logistically feasible.
Also, while day trips and side trips can be great, don’t get so overwhelmed with trying to visit other places that you don’t fully experience where you’re staying during your study abroad program. Sometimes it can create a better experience to really immerse yourself in a few places for longer periods of time, rather than trying to pack too much into your time there.
Do as much of your research as possible before you leave the U.S. so that you have a very clear set of goals for yourself. Don’t until you get there to do your research.
Be A Local As Much As Possible
Some of the biggest benefits of studying abroad are related to the fact that you can learn a new culture and potentially even a new language. Immerse yourself as much as possible while you’re abroad to maximize those opportunities.
For example, try to eat at local restaurants rather than visiting American chains. You can also try and meet either friends who are locals, or you can meet American friends who are part of your program but might be interested in traveling off the beaten path with you. If you have friends, you may be more willing to try new things than you would otherwise.
Blog About It
Blogging about your time studying abroad can help you save your experiences forever. It’s a good way to organize everything you did including your photos, and you can put your thoughts down in real-time. You can then go back and revisit your experiences whenever you want.
Of course, your blog can also be an easy way to keep up with friends and family back home and share your experiences.
While you’re at it, take as many pictures and also videos as you can. These are ways you’re going to be able to remember all the details of your experience, and you’ll value them later.
Many cities in America aren’t that walkable because we’re a country that relies primarily on cars. When you go abroad, you’ll likely find quite the opposite is true. Many cities and towns are highly walkable, and you should make it a goal to take a walk every day that you’re abroad.
When you’re walking, you can see things that you might not see from a car or train window. It gives you the chance to reflect on your experiences and what else you would like to accomplish, and you’re likely to find hidden gems and secrets.
Finally, if there’s anything you’d like to do, just do it. Don’t spend too much time mulling it over to talk yourself out of it. Take advantage of the fact that studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Feel free to ask questions, send feedback and even point out mistakes. Great conversations start with just a single word. How to write better comments?