The opportunity to study abroad is a special time in your life. While you need to meet your expectations as a student, you are in a foreign country to do more than study. As you get settled in and learn your schedule, you will realize that you have free time outside of coursework. When you look back on your time abroad, the things you do in your free time are probably the things you will remember most.
Get to Know the Country
Many of the institutions where you will study abroad are located in major cities. This is the first opportunity for you to explore. Early on, make a point of taking a basic city tour. This will give you a general view of the city and help you find areas that you would like to spend more time in. Then, figure out the public transportation system. After a few weeks, you will be a pro at getting from one part of the city to another.
Weekends are an opportunity for further adventures. Hopefully, you will quickly make connections with students from your host country. They can give you advice about things you must see that are within a few hours of your school. You may even make a friend who is willing to take you to their home for a weekend, allowing you to see another area of the country in depth.
Every country in the world has its own natural wonders that are well worth seeing in person. There may be tours to these sites offered through your school, or you may be able to travel with a tourist group. You will have to find out local rules about renting a car, but that is another possibility for going further afield.
Find Unique Cultural Experiences
Part of the purpose of a foreign study period is exposure to another culture. You want to take advantage of being so close to many unusual experiences. This exposure may start with trips to local museums or historical sites. These are important ways to learn about the history of the area and how people express themselves.
Food is another way that you can learn about a culture. Learn about local delicacies. Look for restaurants and bakeries that are not in the main tourist areas. In these places, you will get a much better sense of the authentic flavors of your host country.
As you get to know your classmates, you can get a better sense of the music scene in your area. While it may be interesting to learn about your country’s traditional music, you also want to see what current popular music sounds like. Go out for a night of clubbing with your classmates to hear the authentic sounds of the region.
In order to make the most of your time abroad, you must be able to pay for these experiences. As you find new opportunities, you may find your cash reserves are running low. As part of your preparations, it is important to learn how the ins and outs of personal banking in your host country as well as how to transfer money abroad online. This will give you options to handle the unexpected.
Make Connections for the Future
The personal connections you make in your host country are also an important part of the experience. Your classmates will support you as you deal with language barriers and the awkwardness of being a foreigner. Connecting with local people in the area will give you access to events and opportunities that tourists rarely see.
These relationships can also be helpful in the future. Social media makes it very easy to stay connected to people you meet in other countries. This could give you the chance to find a career and live abroad somewhere down the line. It may also give you an inexpensive home base when you visit the country again. You can return the favor when your friend comes to your home.
The freedom of studying abroad is a real gift in your life. Take advantage of all the wonderful things that your host country has to offer. Your time abroad can fill you with positive memories and create exciting possibilities for the future.