It’s that time of year. Junior spring, when everybody in every college ever goes abroad to Europe or some other part of the world– unless they already went in the fall. Your feed is clogged with Facebook updates from various airports in Spain, Ireland, and Hong Kong. And Instagram is flooded with photos of iconic buildings, from the Big Ben to the Taj Mahal.
Studying abroad in college is cliche to say the least. But just because it’s unoriginal, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be excited. You should definitely be excited to travel, try new foods, and take a shit ton of photos that you’ll want to keep forever. Hell yes. Traveling is exciting.
For me, it’s especially exciting because I’ve never left the country before. Heck, I’ve never even left the east coast with the exception of a trip to Chicago–and that was probably the longest flight I’ve ever been on.
In just a few short days, I’ll be en route to Granada on an 8 hour flight, and I have a feeling it’s going to be quite an experience. Good or bad–I’m not sure yet.
Anyways, if you’re going abroad, here are some tips you might need in order to make the most of your trip:
- Don’t be an annoying American. Do your research before you go. Study the cultural norms, styles, and daily routines of the locals. Don’t order overly touristy foods, or travel in large, loud groups that take up the whole street. Respect the locals. Common sense stuff, you know.
- Actually study. Some programs are super bull-shitty and you hardly have any homework at all and that’s great. But make sure you actually do the tiny amount of work that is assigned to you. If you don’t pass because you’re fucking around the whole time and country-hopping every other day, you’ll be behind a whole semester. If your program is intensive, get ready for the challenge. Work hard to play hard. Just because you’re in a different country doesn’t mean school should go out the window.
- Don’t only hangout with Americans. The minute people touch down in a new country, they usually cling to the nearest American student they can find, especially if they don’t know the language. Don’t do that. Make friends and stay in touch with Americans, but don’t rely on them and hang out with them for the entirety of the trip. If you really want to make the most of your study abroad program, you should mingle with the locals and get to know the culture (and the language if it’s not your own language). You can socialize with the americanos at home, but these people will only be in your presence for a short while.
There are probably other tips but that’s all I have for now. Nos vemos 🙂