Studying abroad is full of train rides, fun trips around the city, and meeting new people. Amidst all this excitement, there’s also a reason you’re there: to study. It can be really difficult to balance what you want to do and what you need to do, especially when there are so many new things to see and experience. Over the course of my first month studying abroad, I've learned a few tips and tricks to balancing my lifestyle while going on once in a lifetime adventures. Here are some ideas that might help.
- Time Management and Making a Schedule
Sitting down once a week for 5-10 minutes to plan out your assignments for the week will save you a lot of stress in the long run. I have two calendars I keep, one for general homework assignments and another for travel. Separating these two makes it less overwhelming to approach and allows you to separate the studying component from the abroad adventures portion.
Planning is absolutely key to managing your time. Designating a certain time each day (or even 1 or 2 times a week depending on your study patterns) to knock out some readings, papers, presentations, and other assignments will give you more opportunity to have fun during the weekends and not worry about school while traveling.
- Study Groups
Establishing study groups, even if it’s just you and a friend from class, will hold you accountable to complete assignments and prepare for exams or presentations. Scheduling a designated time once a week with friends, either in your class or just collectively as a group, to sit down and have some quiet study time will create a pattern in your study abroad routine which can often feel a bit sporadic.
Getting together in social settings can be distracting, but once you find the right routine, getting together with people can be a really great way to socialize while doing school work. You will be so grateful when exploring new areas of different cities, that all your work is squared away and ready to go.
- Find a Scenic Location
Take a walk around your campus or apartment and find a place you might like to study at. That could be a nice nearby park, a cafè, a library, or even a nice little bench, where you can set up shop for some good study time. You don’t have to be locked up in your dorm or stuck in a classroom in order to get work done. You’re abroad—enjoy it! Seize the day and venture out into the city you’re in for some local pastries and coffee while getting a bit of work done along the way.
Everyone studies in different ways and has preferences on how best to get work done. Ultimately, do what works for you! Studying abroad is a unique journey for every single person. Exploring not just new places, but learning and studying alongside new people is so enriching so take advantage of this opportunity. Finding a routine and a pattern will give you a bit of reassurance as you create lifelong memories in beautiful places around the world.
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My name is Tatyana Masters and I'm from Washington D.C. I can often be found with a book to read and camera on hand, looking for a new adventure or stranger to meet. I go to school in New York City, so in my free time, I like to ride the subway to different areas of the city and interview interesting people I meet for stories!