Studying abroad is an excellent opportunity for you to get out of your comfort zone and broaden your experience and knowledge. Besides studying, you might want to gain some non-academic experiences. Here are some tips to get the most out of your semester abroad:
- Make friends from around the world
One of the most important things is to make sure that you have someone to share your experience with. The whole experience will be a lot more exciting this way. Get to know the people around you. Try not to be shy. Make new friends from around the world. It is a way for you to get to know people’s habits in other parts of the world. You might encounter interesting things about them. The easiest way to do this is by getting to know your flat mates and join social clubs that the university offers.
- Travel and explore the area
Make some time to explore the new environment. Discover new things and gain more knowledge about the area. Surely, visiting the shopping centre is fun, but explore other areas (like the countryside) to really experience the vibe and culture of the area. You might find things that you don’t get to see back home. After all, what’s the fun in going to the same place over and over again. Take the train or the bus and just go to places you’ve never been before.
- Be open minded and get involved in their traditions
When living in a new place, don’t expect that you will find the food that you eat back home. Try to have the traditional food to get the taste of the new culture. You might not find it tasty, but at least you tried it. Based on my own experience, at first it might be a bit of a shock but after awhile you will eventually get used to it and you might even like it. If possible, try to learn how to cook the traditional foods so that when you’re back home, you can showcase your new skills cooking foreign foods to your family and friends. Also, you might want to participate in the local events and activities. It will broaden your knowledge about their culture.
- Gain new skills
If you are going somewhere that doesn’t speak your language, then this is an opportunity for you to learn their language, even if it is just the basics. This would probably help you during your semester there.
If you already have some basic knowledge, don’t forget to use them. Don’t be scared to make mistakes, everyone does. The easiest way to do this is by having a local friend that could teach you a couple of common sentences and have as much conversation as you can with the locals.
Above all, don’t forget to take pictures during your time abroad. Share your experience with your friends and family. You might look at the pictures in a couple of years reminiscing on the good times you had.