10 Tips and Tricks for Study Abroad

Sallie Rochelle
December 15, 2019

As I say my goodbyes to Barcelona and look forward to going home, I have been thinking of all of the little things that I wish I had known before my study abroad semester. In this blog post, I have just ten tips and tricks that I recommend after the past three and a half months in Barcelona. Of course, I am extremely sad to leave, but I am getting excited to go home and see my family, friends, dogs, and my bed! I have also been sketching a bit to remember some of my favorite things abroad, and to keep in mind everything that is waiting at home for me, like my family’s dogs. So without further ado, here is my advice and some drawings of dogs!

1) UNDER-PACK: Everyone told me beforehand to pack less than you think you need, and I simply did not listen. I strongly advise you to under-pack because any clothes that you might leave at home, you can probably get abroad for cheap! This tip will also come in handy when you’re trying to pack up all your things to go home, because I am definitely struggling to close my suitcases.

2) Make sure to know the quickest way to school - This tip might sound dumb, but many of my friends and I realized the last week that we were not taking the quickest way and were adding about ten minutes to our metro to school. I suggest to try out different ways at first, and figure out which one you like the best! Also, to navigate the metro in Barcelona, I used an app called Barcelona Metro (it’s the red app with a white metro on it) and it made everything less confusing.

3) Keep phones safe - DO NOT under any circumstances put your phone in your pants or jacket pocket if you are studying in a city that’s known for pickpocketing. Even if you think that it’s safe in a pocket or that you’re not in an area with many people, keep your phone in a zipped bag or you’ll regret it.

4) Keep a journal! - This is one thing I regret not doing. Even if it is just a couple sentences about school or your day, I encourage you to write something down every day, because it will be fun to go back with your friends and read about everything you did abroad!

5) Make sure you have your travel priorities straight - This was also something I did not do before leaving for the semester that I wish I had. It would be helpful to do some research or talk to family about where you really want to travel abroad. It is easy to get here and get caught up in where everyone else seems to be going, and lose sight of what you wanted to do in the first place.

6) Make new friends - It is also easy to stay in your comfort zone and stick with the people from your college, but it is extremely refreshing and fun to get to know people from other schools and locals!

7) Try to incorporate things you do at home into your life here - This tip will make your transition into and out of abroad a lot easier. Whether you work out, draw, play sports, or anything else, it is nice to carry that part of your life at home or school while abroad.

8) Delete social media - Yes I know, this sounds crazy to a lot of people, how will you keep people updated? How will you post cool Instagram photos? How can you show everyone how amazing abroad is? Well, I deleted all my social media before going abroad and there are definitely more pros than cons in doing this. It helps you learn more and stay engaged with the new environment around you, you are less distracted all of the time, it forces you to use a more genuine means of communication, like FaceTiming or calling, and it completely eliminates any FOMO you might be having about what is going on at your university! This tip is sure to improve your abroad experience!!

9) There is no “right way” to do abroad - Many people think that you have to travel every weekend, do all the touristy things, or check everything off of your bucket list, but remember, there is no right way to do abroad! Everyone’s experiences will be different, so never feel as though you aren’t getting enough out of your semester if you aren’t doing what everyone else is.

10) Give yourself time/don’t be too hard on yourself - This is extremely important to remember during the first month or so of abroad. It’s okay to not feel comfortable or confident, it’s okay if your Spanish is bad, it’s okay if you get lost on the metro every time, don’t beat yourself up because it takes time to adjust and everything is a learning experience!

Sallie Rochelle

<p>Hi! My name is Sallie Rochelle, I was born and raised in San Antonio, TX and I am a junior at Sewanee. I am majoring in Psychology and Spanish but have always had a passion for the arts, whether that be dance, music, writing, painting, photography, fashion- I love it all! For the most part, I enjoy drawing or painting photographs that I have taken myself. I focus my art on mostly portraits but love to explore many other subjects, like landscapes, architecture, and abstract. Also, I love to travel and believe that photography and art is a perfect way to capture a moment or image that you want to remember forever.</p>

2019 Fall
Home University:
Sewanee - The University of the South
San Antonio, TX
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