Studying abroad is certainly one of the best life experiences that lucky students get to experience. It is a great opportunity to see new places, meet new people and live in a foreign country. However, time spent studying abroad is not all fun and games. There is an academic component during study abroad that cannot be discarded or forgotten when you travel. It is important to manage your time well and in ways that allow you to get your work done, learn as much as possible, and have the study abroad experience you desire.
Studying abroad is not the same as a vacation. You still have homework, classes and grades to consider. Due to these factors, you will need to continue making school a top priority during your time abroad. For starters, keep a journal with you during your travels. Often, you will see some historical spot or other that relates to school, and you never know when your idea for a paper will occur. Perhaps your study abroad program features offers some lectures that don’t require you to be in a classroom, like the ones on found this site for online college courses, or includes some integrated classes that have an exploratory aspect. If so, you may read a Dickens novel and then walk the streets of London he discusses, or read a play and then see it performed before your very eyes. These types of supplements to the traditional classroom setting not only solidify your learning and help you remember the material for life, but they are also a great way to get out and explore while receiving your education.
Some programs may be even more traditional, where students go to school all day during the day, and then have the evenings and weekends as free days. If this is the case, you will certainly need to set aside regular study hours for yourself. A useful strategy for getting your work done is to find a quiet place at your dorm, host family’s home, or public library, and spend a full hour working in silence every day. Having a specific block of time lined up, say, the hour before you go to bed, or lunch time, will make sure you get your work completed. Then, once you have made steady progress on your projects, you can reward yourself with going out and having fun in the new culture that surrounds you.
If you already have a poor academic record, you may not be eligible for studying abroad. Most study abroad programs require an admissions application, grade check, and essay for entrance. They are often very competitive, but sometimes students with a mediocre record may still get to study abroad. If you have been accepted to a program, but already know that you do not have the best study habits, then try to brush up before you go abroad. Look into study helpers like planners and organizers, and get familiar with using them. Keeping a calendar in your dorm or house will also help you remember deadlines.
If you let studying become your last priority, you will not be able to enjoy your study abroad experience. Procrastination can be really tempting, even when you are at home. Putting off your work until later becomes even more of a possibility when you are surrounded by fun and exciting adventures in your new country. There are many opportunities to get waylaid and distracted from your work, which can cause even the most diligent students to get off track academically when studying abroad.
The most enjoyable study abroad trips are a balance between work and play, study and exploration. If your program is more flexible, you will have to set your own rules. Even though it can be more difficult to focus on school when there are so many new things to do, see, and try, you will definitely enjoy your trip much more if you make school the priority it needs to be. Once your homework is taken care of, your leisure time will be stress-free and rewarding.
About the Author. Lindsey Wright is fascinated with the potential of emerging educational technologies, particularly the online school, to transform the landscape of learning. She writes about web-based learning, electronic and mobile learning, and the possible future of education.