Rachel Hughes is a student at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is an ISA Featured Blogger and is studying abroad with ISA in Gold Coast, Australia.
Studying abroad can be extremely overwhelming. You are surrounded by all new people in a place you have most likely never been to. We are only here for a short amount of time and it’s important to figure out what you want out of your experience so you can make that happen for yourself.
Upon arriving, it can be easy to get swept up in meeting everyone, and following the group. However, I think that it is important to you know what you want out of the experience so you can avoid doing what other people want and focus on yourself. You will meet people in any situation you are in- that’s the beauty of study abroad! Everyone is in the same boat: alone, in a new country, and looking for friends to do things with.
My biggest piece of advice is to explore as much as you can. There are so many places that are going to be recommended to visit in the country you are in, and I made it my goal to leave my residence almost every weekend. You might only study abroad once and you don’t want to go home only having been to the place you are living. There are always affordable modes of travel and hostels that you can stay in with other young people who are also looking to explore.
Even if something scares you, say yes! It’s all about the experience when you’re studying abroad, and many of these are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. If you say yes and put yourself out there, you won’t regret it. When I came to Australia, my biggest concerns included fish and being in the open water. I have since become scuba-certified and fed fish up close and personal in the deep, open water. It’s scary but so satisfying.
You are given such an amazing opportunity while studying abroad. Budget your money and explore your country as much as you possibly can. Visit national parks, monuments, museums, and meet locals. Visit neighboring countries if you can, too. The world is so wide, see as much of it as you can!
Your Discovery. Our People… The World Awaits.