What I wish I would have done differently

Elizabeth Thies
December 31, 2019
The German Hillside

I'm sure that I am not the first person to tell you that there are some things they regret doing or not doing while studying abroad. I figured if I wrote about some things I wish I would have done differently maybe someone will be able to leave their future study abroad experience with zero regrets.

Your study abroad experience will fly by in a blink of an eye. As cliché as that sounds, it is the honest truth. Weeks are packed with exploring your new home, traveling to other amazing places, trying to get past the culture shock, and not to mention all the time you have to set aside for your studies. You will undoubtedly have to make sacrifices and decisions on how to manage your time, leaving you with a few disappointments.

Time management was one of the things I wish I had done better. I filled multiple back-to-back weekends with travel, and although they were incredible experiences, it left me pretty tired for my Monday classes. Power through is what I kept telling myself, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Indeed it was. The only downside was I spent less time in my new home and found my weekdays sometimes crammed in my room or the library getting my work done before the weekend when my friends and I would travel to another new place.

I would say spread out the travel. It is wise to have a few weekends in between your trips to relax in your home city and sleep in your own bed.

Also, stick to a schedule don't get behind on your schoolwork. Having to pull all-nighters abroad is not the most fun way to spend your time.

I recommend wondering throughout your city to find and try as many different study spots as possible. It could be cafés, bookstores, or park benches. Spending all your time studying in your room or the university library can get really old and depressing quickly.

Get out in your city more. Meet locals and work to break through that cultural/language barrier as soon as possible. One of my biggest regrets is not making friends with locals faster.

Volunteer. I knew that this would be a great way to emerge myself in my new home, but instead, I made the decision to do an independent research project. Although I enjoyed doing my research, I still wish I spent some time volunteering.

Hopefully, this advice helps guide you on how to manage your time to maximize your study abroad experience.

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Elizabeth Thies

<p>My name is Elizabeth Thies and I am originally from Medina, Ohio but I now live in Washington, D.C. as a rising senior at George Washington University studying International Affairs. I am passionate about traveling and learning foreign languages as I speak English and Spanish while learning Russian and German. I also really love staying active and am on GW's Women's Club Volleyball team and am an avid SCUBA diver. Spending time with animals (dogs are my favorite) never fails to make my day! Lastly, I am a huge book geek and am constantly reading my favorite genre of historical non-fiction.</p>

2019 Fall
Home University:
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Medina, OH
International Affairs
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