Do you remember that childhood dream you always had? The one where you would explore every treasure the world has to offer? Well you’ve set yourself up to accomplish this very dream. Be sure to take full advantage of everything this experience has to offer. Say yes to everything. Every travel opportunity, every event, every photo op. Even if you think you would absolutely hate it, do it. Studying abroad is all about trying new things. You may end up skydiving over the Swiss Alps, you never know.
If you’re in a country where the language interests you, you are in the most ideal classroom so don’t forget to take full advantage of it. Whether you’re intimidated or shy, take every opportunity to practice. I have studied Spanish my whole life and yet chose to study in Italy (surprise! They speak Italian). I lived abroad for 10 months and can proudly say that I know enough Italian to get by and hold a fairly steady conversation.
Along the same lines, make friends with everyone! Don’t limit yourself to just making friends with people from your own nationality or your host nationality. You may not have another opportunity like this to be surrounded by people and cultures from all over the world.
Travel any chance you get because when else are you going to have 5 months away with every weekend off? You’ll remember every detail, down to the last cobble stoned alleyway. While studying abroad isn’t always transformative for everyone, it CAN be incredibly life-changing and eye-opening if you take charge of your semester. Individualism is your key to ultimate freedom.
Learn to go with the flow; it will make your life infinitely easier. You’ve already made it this far into the unknown abyss so don’t stop now. If you’re anything like me this involves not worrying about what’s to come and enjoying each moment as it comes. Take the time to smell the pizza and pasta coming from the restaurants along the side of the alley on your way to class.
Everything will work out, do it the European way and learn to appreciate the journey instead of rushing from one thing to the next. Make sure to take full advantage of your opportunities by immersing yourself in your study abroad experience and growing with each mistake! You may never have this chance again.
P.S. Eat all the gelato. Everyday.
– Felicia is an SAI Ambassador from Carroll University who studied abroad with SAI Rome