7 Tips to Stay Busy Abroad

Stephanie Mertz
March 9, 2020

Worried about not staying busy while abroad? Or scared that you will be lonely abroad? That is okay, because as someone who likes to keep busy, I know how to stay busy. Here are 7 tips I have found to help me when I have felt bored abroad that are applicable anywhere:

1. Participate In IES Abroad Activities

While some activities may feel silly, like playing cards with “peer guides” (in my case, local French students) or doing a cooking class, they are actually a great opportunity to meet people. Spending more time with people in your program outside of class is a great way to make new friends who might have some similar interests as you. And in my case, meeting the peer guides was a great opportunity to become more immersed in the local culture and practice my French.

2. Go On A Hike

Nice is a beautiful city with some amazing hiking spots. Hiking along the coast of the Mediterranean has taken my breath away because of the huge blue skies, clear blue water, and the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks. I have also done a hike to a fort which gave me a great view of the city of Nice and another small French Riviera town. Hiking is great to do in solitude or great to invite people with you!

3. City Walk

Go on a walking tour of your city is a great way to explore parts that you may not have been to yet. In Nice, I have followed a travel book’s walking tour and found great new places in Old Nice. There are many free walking tours offered by hostels that only require a tip for the tour guide, so it is a great, inexpensive option to see new places.

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Reach Out

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your fellow study abroad classmates or even a local student you have chatted with in class. Everyone loves making new friends but sometimes it can be hard to reach out so don’t be scared! Ask people to coffee or for a drink and learn what they think of where they are studying. It could be a fun hour or a new lifelong friend!

5. Go To City Activities

Find something new to do! Go to a soccer game, visit a museum, or see a play. I went to see an Opera in Nice two weeks after arriving and it was an amazing experience. While the opera was in Italian and subtitles in French, it was a fun experience to dress up and go into the beautiful old opera building. Whether it’s a recurring event like the opera, a once in a lifetime opportunity like Carnival in Nice, go for it!

6. People Watch

One of my favorite things to do in Nice is to sit in a café or on the Promenade des Anglais and people watch. Most cafes in Nice are set up to people watch, with the chairs turned towards the street. Most of Europe has a strong café culture where people sit for hours with an espresso or two. From seeing old French women with their little dogs to people wearing crazy costumes for Carnival, it’s never a boring day in Nice.

7. Actually Study

The craziest thing to do while studying abroad is, well, studying! I do have readings, homework, tests, midterms, and papers to write in Nice. Doing homework in a café, working on projects with friends, or studying in the IES Abroad Center is a great opportunity to do well academically and learn some really cool things. Most of my classes this semester have been about the Mediterranean so it really is fascinating to learn about where you are living.

Stephanie Mertz

<p>I am a midwest girl who is out to explore the world. I have visited 6 continents already and am excited to go to new places during my time abroad! I love to go to new places, try new foods, and immerse myself in different cultures.</p>

2020 Spring
Home University:
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Worthington, OH
International Affairs
Political Science
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