Study Abroad Tips: How to Schedule Travels
I have not been in Chile for over two months, and I miss it more and more each day. The six months I spent in Chile were the busiest six months of my college experience. In six months, I visited four countries and about 15 different places and sights in Chile. I cannot begin to express how important self care self love is. Additionally, I have learned a great deal about scheduling travels around classes when studying abroad. I was always great at the abroad part better than the study part. Here are my hard-earned tips.
1. Schedule ahead
There are so many holidays in the US that sometimes you might feel out of place when you are in a country with fewer holidays. We had to plan our Machu Picchu trip two weeks into studying abroad. It can be difficult figuring out flights in a different currency, as well as how and if you should get travel insurance. However scheduling ahead gets you peace of mind and ample time to change your mind if it comes to that. Taking a look at the schedule can give your residential director time write a letter to professors who might also need a note.
But sometimes you do schedule ahead and forget, and double book by telling your host mom that you would certainly go to the thrift shop with her.
2. Make Friends
Making friends might come easier to some more than others. But it certainly helps to make friends so that if you do miss class, someone can send you the notes. I was always a good student, but sometimes I get distracted. It gets incredibly difficult to even keep on track in a new country, a new dialect, and homesickness. If you have to miss class, make sure you have some solid friends willing to share notes with you. In my time in Chile, I actually did better after missing a class and getting the notes. As an American student, I was not used to studying for different types of tests. But after looking at my friends' notes, I quickly realized that I needed to study with flashcards focusing on practical details instead of big picture theories.
3. Constant Communication With Host Parents
I cannot even begin to imagine the stress and anxiety that accompanies parenting a foreign student. Whenever I traveled, I would check in with my host mom every night on Facebook. It was a good way of letting her know that I landed safely and where I was staying. It is crucial to be honest and open with your host parents. In my case, I was an only child again as my host parents were in their 60s and all of their kids were married and lived with their spouses. It was great being the center of attention, since I have not been an only child for about two decades now! All the more reason to treasure my time abroad and heed my host parents’ advice. When I got homesick in Buenos Aires, my host mom was able to give me tips on where to eat and what NOT to eat. Communication is key, and your host parents are responsible for you.
I hope your time traveling abroad is efficiently planned out (and budgeted for), and I hope you have a great time chasing new adventures around the world even while you are studying abroad. I will never forget my time abroad and I continuously tell everyone that it was the best thing I did in my college years. I know that I will graduate in May, still cherishing my time abroad.
Stephane Alexandre is the Intercultural Immersion Editor for Wandering Educators. A Tufts University student, she recently returned from studying abroad in Chile.
All photos courtesy and copyright Stephane Alexandre, except word photo: creative commons