Studying abroad is one of the most enriching experiences one can have in college. While excursions and group outings are often at the forefront of study abroad, the key to a successful program often comes down to the academics. Here are some ways academics can help create a better study abroad experience.
1. The Engagement
Traveling while studying abroad is certainly important, relevant and is something that I did quite a lot in my time abroad. However, it is important to remember that much of your time is going to be spent in your home city. That means, you must be engaged and immersed in the culture of your home city to feel like a local. And what better way to do so than by focusing in on your classes. By homing in on your coursework and getting involved in classroom discussions, you will quickly become less of a tourist, but rather a local. And don’t be afraid to reach out to your professors, this is a great way to build connections.
2. Find New Friends
Given a majority of time will be spent in your home city, making friends is crucial. One way to find new friends, just like in the U.S., is through your classes. Make an effort to ask somebody if they want to help you study or even form a study group with their friends. These study groups often lead to friendships that hang out together, join sport teams, travel, etc. Plus, building a global network has such great benefits in the future when seeking to travel.
3. Take Unique Classes
One thing that is great about studying abroad is the variety of classes to take that differ from the U.S. For example, my aunt studied abroad in England and took an American history class. Given the course was taught in England to English students, they had a completely different perspective which opened her mind. Take advantage of courses like these that can give you different perspectives that you couldn’t get back home.
Going out and exploring different places is an amazing way to grow personally and is truly something that cannot be taught in a classroom. But ensuring you are engaged and excited about your academics can make you time so much more meaningful. It is important to remember that your study abroad is not a vacation, but rather a chance to expand your education, both academically and experientially, so make sure to plan out a great course schedule!