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Make the Most of Your Study Abroad Experience

posted by Erin Jacobsen

airplane-2At the beginning of your Study Abroad program, five months can seem like forever — but before you know it, it won't feel like long enough.

I learned a lot while studying in Paris. Here are some tips that I hope will help you make your Study Abroad experience memorable.

1. Create a list of places you want to go during your semester abroad. This will help you prioritize weekend trips and create a budget for traveling. Even if the list is lengthy, it will give you a better idea of what places interest you most. I also suggest making a separate list of places within your country that you want to visit. For me, different neighborhoods, museums, shopping districts and restaurants made me more eager to explore Paris as well as other countries.

2. Take on the ways of the locals. After completing all the tourist activities, take time to explore the smaller, quainter streets of your new city. Try out local bakeries and restaurants, find new places on your own, and learn the language as you go. Try new foods, taste traditional dishes and drinks — you may find something new that you love!

3. Make friends from around the world. At school, get to know people from your host country as well as students from other countries. Although this can be intimidating, remember every exchange student is in the same boat as you, and once you open up, it’s easier for others to approach you, too. Locals are typically more than willing to take you out and show you some of their favorite spots.

Exploring your new city helps you appreciate and understand your host country's culture and way of life. It also helps you develop street smarts, which is a good way to stay safe and aware of your surroundings. Go with a budget, a plan, an open mind and a sense of adventure. You will be amazed how much you learn.

Topics: study abroad, studying abroad, travel, culture shock, Life