See the world, learn in an interactive environment, experience a new culture, find new friends, discover yourself, and about a million other things are reasons to be an international student. Whether you’re doing a semester, a year or an entire degree abroad, being an international student teaches you a lot about the world and about yourself.
Here are a few universal guidelines for handling your international experience:
If you are interested in going to a university that is in a non-English speaking country, even if your studies are in English, make sure to learn the basics of the local language. You don’t want to find yourself stuck somewhere with no English speaker in sight, or be the only one out of a group of friends that didn’t make the effort – that would be kinda awkward.
# Stay In Touch
Although being away from home is super fun, make sure to keep mom and dad in your thoughts, and email, at least once a week. You honestly may find yourself missing them and being in contact all the time, but just in case you don’t, remember that they probably miss you and would love to hear some feedback from your daily happenings, aw!
Imagine this. You’re attending a university in Florence, Italy, and you finished studying for the day, what do you do? You realize that right outside your door is one of the most historical cities on earth, filled with a rich artistic (and not to mention DELICIOUS) culture.
Once the realization hits you, you make your way through it all. Don’t miss out on the chance to truly enjoy the country you’re in. Eat the food, drink the wine (18+ in Europe!), walk the streets, meet the people, and paint the town the perfect shade of you.
# Keep It Real
Now that we’ve covered the fun part, don’t forget that you’re there to study. Make sure to cover all of your bases when it comes to your studies so that you don’t find yourself heading home earlier than expected. Part of what is so great about being an international student is that a lot of what you’re studying about, one way or another, is right outside the door.
Last but not least, one of the top reasons to be an international student is to learn how to handle life away from your family. Whether you’re living in campus housing, or in an off-campus apartment with roommates, you’ll have to learn to handle expenses, unknown places and obstacles, without mom and dad to be right there to assist. This is the greatest and hardest part of being away, but extremely worth it. Think of when you get back, everyone will think of you as this world travelling scholar who can totally handle her anything.