Your guide to avoiding the most common and overlooked slip-ups while spending a semester abroad.
The semester I lived in Europe was without a doubt the best time I’ve spent in college. While I had more fun than I could’ve ever anticipated, I also made my fair share of slip-ups. Everyone is bound to make a handful of rookie study abroad mistakes. However, these are the 10 you should try to avoid at all costs to ensure you have the most incredible experience possible. And if you’ve already studied abroad, hopefully you can look back and laugh when you realize you’ve made most of these yourself.
Not Staying In Youth Hostels.
If you’ve never traveled abroad, the idea of staying in a hostel might seem a little scary (thank you, horror movies). But in all seriousness, it’s just the opposite. Not only will staying in hostels save you some major cash, but you’ll also meet really interesting people from other countries. During my first youth hostel stay in Paris, my friend and I were the only two girls in this six-bed room with four guys. And to be honest, it was a blast! We ended up hanging out with our German and Australian roommates the entire weekend, and in turn we learned a lot about their cultures.
Overdoing The Partying.
If your mission is to party until dawn at the hottest nightclubs, then by all means, rage on. However, I’m pretty sure most of us sign up to study abroad to see beautiful sights and immerse ourselves in different cultures. I’m not saying you shouldn’t drink, but just use your best judgement and pace yourself or risk wasting a precious day in Europe lying in bed with a hangover instead of gallivanting alongside the Ponte Vecchio or Eiffel Tower.
This might be a given, but trying to diet while spending a semester abroad is probably the worst form of self-torture one can endure. During my time in Italy I ate all of the pizza, pasta and gelato my heart desired. And trust me, I don’t regret a single bite. Plus, the amount of miles I walked each day helped to burn off some of the extra calories. Despite stuffing my face, I actually lost a couple pounds when I returned to the states. Imagine that!
Missing Your Flight.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s easier than you think. After a long night of partying in Barcelona (reference #2), my friend and I pressed our snooze button a few too many times and had to rush to the airport. Upon entering, we realized we were at the wrong terminal and had to hop on a shuttle to the correct one. With less than an hour until our departure time, the airport personnel wouldn’t let us even go through security. So, we had to pay for a new flight (ouch!) and waste four hours in the airport. Make sure to leave plenty of time to ensure you catch your plane, train or bus to avoid a major headache while abroad. . . .