The first part of studying abroad is studying — crazy, I know. Professors abroad will have expectations about your academic performance, and every country has its own unique system. There may be a little or a lot of variance from what you’re used to from your home university.
Here are a few tips below that have helped me be successful academically abroad.
1. Find a place where you can focus
At home in the United States, I love studying in coffee shops, so I’ve decided to do the same abroad! I found a great place close to my school here in Barcelona where I can sit and work in between classes. It is relatively quiet, and I can get caffeine whenever I need it. Additionally, when I am at my homestay, I like to work in my room or out on the patio. It is a great way to get some sunshine while working.
2. Start on papers and projects early
Your semester is going to fly by faster than you can imagine! Before you know it, you will have midterms and finals. If you can start on the projects earlier in the semester, you will be less stressed when things are due. This way, you can also get answers to any questions that you might have from your professor in a timely fashion.
3. Don’t waste your absences
Most classes will provide a few free absences (at least in Barcelona) that will not affect your final grade. It is totally okay to use these, but be sure to save them for when you really need them! There may be days that you don’t want to go to class, but it might be better not to use the absence so that you can travel early.
4. Study for exams
Sometimes it can be difficult to find the motivation to study, but it is really important. Academics abroad are rigorous, regardless of what you might have heard, and require you to invest time and thought. If you only study for a test the night before, it will be challenging to be successful.
This post about tips for success in academics was contributed by Katie Simpson, a student from Drake University who is spending her spring semester on a study abroad program with AIFS in Barcelona, Spain.