FOMO? 6 Reasons Why It's Good to Spend the Weekend in Your Host Country (Instead of Traveling While Abroad)

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Victoria Bruick
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When you choose to study abroad, you have the world at your fingertips. Paris is suddenly a short train ride away when you study abroad in London. And a flight to Australia seems quick and easy when you’re studying abroad in New Zealand. When travel seems so convenient, it’s easy to book every weekend with a trip and put aside spending time in the one place you were most excited to be in – your host country!

Hear from six of our Correspondents who shared advice through their study abroad blogs about learning to balance travel and spending quality time in their host country.

1. Find Favorite Places & Create Meaningful Memories

Alli Jones fell head-over-heels in love with Vienna, but, looking back, she wishes she would have started off her semester with a better balance between time away and time in Vienna. Read the full story in These Are a Few of My Favorite Things.

“I recommend that you sit down with your calendar early in the semester, once you have your academic calendar, and decide which weekends you plan to travel and which ones you would like to spend in your host city. Yes, you can travel every weekend if you desire, but there are so many things to do wherever you are and you don’t want to go home with no significant experiences or memories from the place you spent the majority of your time.”
Alli J. • Texas Christian University • Vienna - Music

2. Set Your Own Expectations

Jason Renner found that he had a different idea of study abroad than his peers – and that was okay. For him, study abroad was more about learning to live in Shanghai and less about spending time traveling around China. Read the full story in The Expectations of Travel.

“In my view, every weekend spent outside of Shanghai is an opportunity lost to further experience Shanghai. And when I say experience Shanghai, that doesn’t necessarily mean visiting all the museums and sites the city has to offer. It can mean anything from trying a new Chinese restaurant each day to talking to a new store-keeper. The little things about a study abroad experience, like these, can be as enriching as travelling to a nearby destination.”
Jason R. • Washington & Lee University • Shanghai - Economy, Business & Society

3. Get Connected with Your Community

When flights were too expensive to go elsewhere, Sydney Braat was happy she stayed in Dublin to spend quality time with her friends – and her host city. Read the full story in Learning to Stay & Thrive in Your Host City

A student poses with Sphere within a Sphere, a bronze globe outside the Main Library of Trinity College.
“When we arrive to Europe for a semester abroad, we suddenly awaken to the idea that the world is our oyster. We have everything at our finger tips, and we’re filled with so much enthusiasm to accomplish everything on our bucket list. By all means, I hope you see everything you want to see, but don’t forget to enjoy and thrive in your host city...Actively search for events happening in your community, like book fairs or holiday concerts. You’ll be surprised by how connected those activities will make you feel to your community.”
Sydney B. • Gettysburg College • Dublin Direct Enrollment - Trinity College Dublin

4. Stay for Special Events

While many of her peers in Barcelona traveled to Germany for Oktoberfest, Mary Katherine Prehn ended up having a blast staying in town for La Mercé festival. Read the full story in The First Month + Barcelona Festival Highlights.

“When you are planning those special trips to other parts of Europe, don’t forget to check the Barcelona calendar! Don’t forget about the city you chose to come to, it’s a popular destination for a reason. You never know what experiences are right at your doorstep. La Mercé was a great introduction to what this city can offer. Oktoberfest is three weekends. La Mercé is only once so choose wisely! You won’t be disappointed.”
Mary Katherine P. • Sewanee - The University of the South • Barcelona - Advanced Spanish Studies

5. Become an Expert on Local Travel

Madeleine Dietz fed her travel bug, while saving money on transportation and lodging, by planning exciting day trips around Amsterdam and its surrounding areas. Read the full story in Day Tripper

“One of my favorite things about the Netherlands is the accessibility of public transportation throughout the whole country.  To get around you use an OV Chipkaart, a little blue and white plastic card that give access to all public transportation.  That's right, you can use this little guy for the trams, subways, buses, and trains throughout the entire country.”
Madeleine D. • University of Rochester • Amsterdam - Social Sciences & Humanities

6. Learn What’s Best for You

Jessica Robyns experienced some FOMO when her peers were traveling every weekend, but she learned that, ultimately, she needed to do what was best for her. Read the full story in The Road Most Traveled.

“I’ve had to learn how to slow down and just enjoy being here- even if I’m just sitting in my flat. I also realized that traveling all the time just isn’t right for me. Traveling is stressful, and I personally need time to stay home and relax without worrying about going somewhere new every weekend. If other people like to be constantly traveling, that’s great for them, but that lifestyle isn’t right for everyone.”
Jessica R. • Lawrence University • Auckland Direct Enrollment - University Of Auckland

How will study abroad redefine you?

Find the host country you’ll fall in love with by browsing our study abroad locations by location, area of study, or interest. Learn more from our Correspondents through their posts on IES Abroad Blogs.

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Victoria Bruick

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