10 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Semester Abroad


Krka waterfalls swimming

1. Take that chance to go to Ireland...tomorrow morning.

Be spontaneous. Sometimes the best memories are the ones that are the most unexpected.

2. Be open

...to making new friends, seeing new places, having new experiences, and trying things that you don't typically do at home.

kuna change croatia money

3. Budget accordingly....but still have fun

Look at your bank accounts and be realistic about how much you can spend per week. Stick to your budget the best you can. Though if that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity comes along, try not to pass it up - you never know if you'll be able to have the chance to ever do it again. Sometimes it's worth it to overspend for something awesome, even if it means the next two weeks you're eating grocery store pasta and cheap wine to compensate.

4. Go somewhere "random"

Budapest, Hungary? What's over there? I think you better go find out firsthand, because it's "random" and totally, completely, awesome.

paris maps

5. Take photos

Yes, you'll be that "tourist taking photos" but who cares? Years later you'll look back and be so glad you have pictures to look at.

6. Check in with family regularly

They care about you, and if they're anything like my parents (and most peoples' parents, I'm assuming) they're stressed out and making up scenarios in their head that involve scenes from Taken. Send them a quick Facebook message or text through Whatsapp to reassure them you're okay.

Blarney Castle View Cork Ireland

7. Remember to do your homework

The "study" part of study abroad is very real. While most classes abroad are notorious for being easy, it's still important to keep up with your classes to make sure you pass and can transfer credits back to your home institution.

8. Get to know your host family

They're the ones spending the time to cook you meals and let you live with them. They're the best locals you can get to know! Listen to their stories, practice speaking the language, and try out their recommendations for things to do around town.

Bellagio Lake Como

9. Write everything down

Whether it's a full detailed recap of your adventures or a quick list of the highlights, you will want to remember what happened on your travels years from now. Create a blog (public or private), make a Word doc, update a list on your iPhone, or even do it the "old fashioned" way - a journal and a pen.

10. Be in the moment

Trust me when I say your time abroad will go by fast. Before you know it, it will be the night before everyone heads back to the airport for the long-haul flight home and you will be with your friends, wishing it would last longer. Be in the moment, because there will probably never be a time again where you will be able to live and travel abroad, with limited responsibilities, with this exact group of people. Make the most of every situation, try to find the humor when things go wrong, and appreciate this time of life when you can be free to explore the world.

Soak it up. Enjoy it. And make this semester one you'll never forget.