Eli Schipper is a student at Bethel University and an ISA Featured Blogger. He is currently studying abroad with ISA in London, England.
You have immeasurable opportunities and adventures in store for you while you study abroad. So many great things are ahead, but there are some common things that can detract from your time abroad. Here are 5 things to watch out for, and what you should do to avoid them.
1. Bringing a lot of things from home.
Trying to travel with three suitcases is a very big and heavy mistake. Advice I wish I would have followed would be to bring an empty duffel bag in your suitcase to fill with whatever you will inevitably get while you are abroad. Also, you can buy everything you want very cheaply, so don’t bring your favorite blanket from home.
2. Saying no to adventure.
Big or small, you should jump at any opportunity to experience what you cannot at home. Iconic locations, cultural events, day trips to beautiful natural scenery, and anything else that is unique to where you study should be one of your priorities while abroad. Missing these means that you are missing what you came for!
3. Refusing to cook.
Spending money every day to eat out means less money for adventures. Enjoy the local options, but the bulk of your money should go towards adventure and experiences, not towards food. Before coming to London, the most advanced meal I had cooked was macaroni from a box. Now I head to the grocery store every day and cook my own meals in my flat. This is healthier, more fun (especially if you convince your flat mates to do it with you), and far less expensive.
4. Thinking that you have to spend money to have fun.
For many experiences, the only cost is the train. In London, there are dozens of museums, art galleries, and sights that wont cost you a dime. Go to Westminster to take the same iconic photo the Beatles did on Abbey Road. Spend the afternoon in Regent’s Park. Some of the best experiences you will have are free, so spend time finding out what you can do with only a train ticket.
5. Being afraid of making mistakes.
If you don’t make mistakes when you are abroad, that means you aren’t pushing yourself into unfamiliar experiences. As you adjust to a new culture and lifestyle, you will unavoidably make mistakes. Planning can account for some mistakes, but most happen while you are out adventuring. Making mistakes is one of the best ways to grow, so expect a lot of growth while you study abroad.
The world awaits…discover it.