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Study Abroad Suggestions: Things You Should and Shouldn’t Do

by Emma Ferguson
Study Abroad Suggestions: Things You Should and Shouldn't Do | AIFS Study Abroad

Last Updated on June 21, 2019 by Emma Ferguson

DO study abroad, whether you know other people in your program or not.

Getting to know people in your own study abroad program is the first step in your entire experience. Sure, it may make you feel more comfortable and at ease knowing that you’ll have at least one friend from home, but don’t let it deter you if you don’t know anyone.

DON’T schedule weekend trips to other countries every weekend.

Yes, you’ll want to make the most of your experience and visit as many countries and cities as possible. But if you’re gone every weekend, you miss out on truly immersing yourself in the culture of your home-city. Getting some down-time on the weekends allows you to truly explore your host country while relaxing and not having to be a plane ride away from your room.

DO explore spontaneously.

The best exploring I ever did was by myself and when I least expected to be doing anything. I just jumped on the public transportation and went with the flow. You’ll find what you least expect when you don’t plan everything to the exact moment.

DON’T chronically use your Netflix account.

Who doesn’t love Netflix? Of course a night in every once and a while to catch up on a few episodes is fine, but don’t make it a common occurrence. You can watch Netflix when you’re home, not in another country with so many cool places and experiences to discover. Make the most of it!

DO make sure to find a balance between studying and exploring.

Yes, I’ve preached a lot about getting out and exploring, which is so important. Finding the balance between putting the “study” in “study abroad” and doing other activities is very important, as well. We sometimes forget that we are actually still students (even if we don’t want to be at that moment) and we still need to do our best in school.

DON’T call your mom and dad every day.

I love my parents as much as the next person, but contacting them every day would make me even more homesick than I ever was. Staying in contact is important but it’s also important to find your independence.

DO be proud to be American.

Since being abroad, I have gotten numerous questions and remarks regarding recent events and people that are associated with the United States. Some may be put off by this and, as a result, want to hide everything about themselves that makes them American, but I wouldn’t encourage that. There’s a difference between blending in to your host city’s culture and blending in and denouncing your American-isms. You are who you are!  I personally feel comfortable wearing my sorority’s letters and a baseball cap.

DON’T just hang out with people in your program.

One of my biggest regrets was not having more friends that were actual locals or that went to the nearby university. Of course being friends with other Americans and students is easy and comfortable but to truly immerse yourself and make your city feel more life home, I suggest putting yourself out there more.

This post was contributed by Emma Ferguson, who is studying abroad with AIFS in London, England.

Study Abroad Suggestions: Things You Should and Shouldn't Do | AIFS Study Abroad

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