Tips for studying while studying abroad

Bethany Mullins is a student at Western Kentucky University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Bethany is currently studying abroad in Madrid, Spain on the ISA Summer 1 & 2 programs.

You may hear a lot about the fun things you get to do while abroad, but what you may not hear a lot about is the actual “studying” part. I know, for me, it is sometimes hard to study at my school back home, so just imagine how much harder it is come exam time in another country! So if you want to go abroad, but don´t want your GPA to go south, here are some tips to get your head in the game.

1) Plan ahead. If you know you’re about to have an exam, make a study sheet or a practice test before you leave for any excursions or to go out with friends. When you get back, you will be tired from all the traveling, but a pre-made study sheet is much quicker and easier to look at than a notebook full of notes and doodles.

2) Find a friend. Studying is a lot more fun if you find a couple of people from your class and study together. Something I love to do here in Madrid, is have a picnic with some classmates! One person will bring chocolate, one will bring sandwiches, and another wine. Then you don´t even feel like you´re studying!

3) Use your host family! This is mainly for if you´re studying a new language abroad. Living with a host family is a great advantage when you have homework that you need help with, or plain just don´t understand. Not only can they help you, but they can also teach you different tricks or a new way to look at the material. Also, a great way to learn new vocab!

4) Pay attention in class. This is a no brainer, but as long as you take notes in class and ask questions when you don´t understand something, it will be easier to remember when it comes time to take an exam. It is common to fight sleep if you have early morning classes, but remember in Spain there is always time for a long, afternoon seista!

Grab yourself a café (coffee) from the cafeteria, get out your pen and paper, and go! Time to study abroad.

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