You’ve made it: You’re finally here, at your new university and new home town. Your study abroad experience has only just begun! And there is so much to do and see. Unfortunately, after a few weeks, reality throws a book into your face: The first essay is due! You realise that you actually have to study here. What a bummer. However, always remember that going to university is a huge privilege which you should appreciate and use. It is understandable that you want to see as much as possible while you’re in this country, but don’t forget your responsibilities over all the excitement. This article is here to help you figure out how you can balance your studies and travel adventures.
EDUCATION IS IMPORANT
I’ve met so many students who don’t really want to be at university. They are here because they don’t know what else to do, or because their parents want them to have a degree. Let’s be honest. You’re not doing your fellow students or yourself a favour. Sometimes I want to shake up those people. They don’t realise that university is the ONLY time in your life when you can be so free and independent. University is so much more than sitting in a lecture theatre. It is about engaging yourself with extra-curricular activities and trying things out, it’s about discussing with other students and professors. It’s a time when it is save to ask as many questions as you want. If you remember this you will be so much more motivated for your studies!
TRY TO GET ORGANISATION SKILLS
That’s easier said than done, you think? What helps me is to write out a more or less detailed timetable for the time abroad. I also use a diary to organise my weeks. Some may find this a bit over-prepared, but it helps me to keep track of all the things I have / want to do. There are also some pretty cool free printables online that can help you out. Remember to keep this diary / the timetable with you, so you can actually note down important dates. Stick to what you write down and don’t think that ‘ooh maybe I can do that tomorrow instead’.
Figure out your most productive time of the day – some people get work done in the mornings, some are night owls. Whichever you are, finish university work during this time period and go to the gym or for a coffee in your not-so-productive time.
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GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK
Now the fun part of the story. Don’t go to hard on yourself. For succeeding in your studies you need to have a break from time to time. Of course a study abroad experience isn’t a real study abroad experience, if you don’t travel. So make sure you get out of the library and into the world! If you organised your timetable thoughtfully, you should be able to fit in the trips you want to make without having to worry. I usually did some weekend-trips or one-day-trips to nearby cities. So, let’s say every month, I reserved one weekend for travels. This way, I could fit in all the places I wanted to see without straining my budget or being pressed for time. I did two bigger traveling trips of one and two weeks. One was to Wales during holidays and the other was to Scotland at the end of the university year.
CONSIDER MUST-SEE DESTINATIONS
Before I went to Leicester for my Master I put some research into cities and places I wanted to see in the UK. I also asked some other bloggers from the UK for their advice. This way I compiled a list of around 10 “must see” cities – however, I did some additional trips to other destinations already. As already mentioned, I try/tried to do one weekend-trip every month. This way I get to see the country, but also stay on my budget and don’t neglect university. Now, I am studying abroad for a whole year, so probably have more time than most international / exchange students. Try to raise your weekend-trips to two per month and consider doing a longer itinerary before or after your course. If you put some thought into the places you really want to see before you start your course, it will be easier to actually find time to do those trips.
To sum up, you should indeed travel and have fun while you’re abroad. At the same time, you should not forget that you’re there for university too 😉 With these four tips you can easily balance studies and travel and get the best out of both worlds.