So you are getting ready to kick off your semester abroad… your bags are close to being packed, you are excited, ready to take on the world! There is no better gift than being able to go abroad for a semester! If you are like me, going abroad was an idea I had been thinking over for a year before impulsively deciding to move to Scotland on a whim and not regretting a single thing. As I wrap up my semester here, I think back to right before I hopped on the plane and made my way across the pond. Here are some tips on how to survive a semester abroad.
1. Spend plenty of time with your family before you leave
If it was not for my family (and academic advisors/mentors whom I love dearly), I would not have studied abroad. For the last four months, I have been missing them. So ensure that you spend plenty of time with that annoying sibling you pick on, your parents, your friends — whoever you are closest to! It helps you ease into the process more efficiently.
2. Do your work!
Being abroad can be overwhelming, people around you are going on all kinds of trips, you want to go on all sorts of trips, perhaps you even have a wishlist of places you want to go! Make sure you go to all of your lectures, seminars, tutorials, and workshops! Get all of your work done before going anywhere and try to work ahead! Most trains, buses, ferries and trains are wifi capable so study while you travel! Two birds, one stone!
3. Stray away from your typical circle
You came abroad to experience a different culture and a different experience! Get to know your coursemates, your flatmates, maybe your barista if you see them on a regular basis! If they are local, they will teach you all kinds of customs and even vocabulary you’ll find yourself using without trying. Join a society, and try something different! Don’t be afraid of what is different to you, “different” can be a benefit even though it is a little daunting at times. Plus, getting to know your coursemates can be a benefit to you – everyone loves having a familiar face in class.
4. Keep in touch
Being home sick can hit you at any point in time! Maybe it’s grandmother’s cooking or dad’s corny jokes, mama’s hugs or just the way home feels. So give those people you miss a call! Just to say hi for ten minutes or for twenty minutes, the calls do help! Send postcard or write to your favorite human beings! Just do not forget to keep in touch! Maybe these people are your number one motivators, it’s important to not forget about them!
5. Don’t forget to have fun
DUH! Explore your university, and your university town! Find the best chippy shop, bakery, coffee house, or chill nature scenes you might want to take in. Don’t forget to take plenty of pictures! Your school work is just as important as your experience! So make the best out of your semester abroad and don’t forget to find your balance!
Jazmine Prothero is a USAC Stirling, Scotland alumna. She attends Lindenwood University.