Study Abroad 101
Studying abroad in London was one of the highlights of my college experience. I met new people, visited other countries in Europe, and took classes that challenged and expanded my ways of thinking. Getting ready to go abroad in the Fall? While moving to another country might seem daunting at first, it can also feel empowering and exciting. Here is our guide to getting ready to go abroad, and making the most of your experience in a new place.
By Stephanie Mace
Going abroad is all about leaving your comfort zone. Take this opportunity to explore: join a club at your university, sign up for a weekend camping trip with new friends or just go for a walk in your city without a destination.
Before I moved to London, my mom made me go to the pharmacy near home and buy all my favorite products to take with me (think moisturizers, makeup, lotions etc.) While I felt silly arriving in London with a suitcase full of CVS items, I was relieved that I never needed to go searching for the more expensive British equivalent of my favorite products. The same goes for chargers -- order those adapters before you go!
Accept that your routine might change
At my college in Los Angeles, I was typically an early riser -- going for a jog or a yoga class before classes started. In London, I often visited the pubs with classmates on weeknights and found it much more challenging to wake up in the morning -- even though my earliest classes were at 10am or 11! Eventually, I realized that I was walking so much through the city streets that I didn’t need to wake up early for a workout!
Don't forget to actually study
It can be tempting to ignore the academic part of abroad while exploring and meeting people. Make sure to stay on top of reading and school work! Many international universities expect you to study independently, without regular assignments and quizzes, making it easy to fall behind. Carve out time to focus on your classes and review course materials -- tie it in with visiting a cool coffee shop!
Set a budget
With so many great restaurants, bars and museums to explore, studying abroad can become quite expensive. It’s helpful to arrive with a budget in mind, so you can plan how much you’ll spend each week. Be sure to consider the exchange rate (which definitely wasn’t in my favor in London)!
Embrace the local culture
While visiting the tourist destinations in your city is definitely worthwhile, be sure to take the time to explore the local culture. In London, I loved visiting the pub across the street from campus, checking out the Farmer’s Market around the corner from my flat, or wandering through the neighborhood book store. These experiences were some of the most memorable and unique from my semester abroad!