June 19, 2012

Surviving Abroad - Tips for Staying Focused in a Foreign Country

Studying abroad in a foreign country is a privilege and an adventure that many lucky students embark on in their college days. There is really no better time for world travel and studying abroad than college. The four years that young students spend on a college campus build them into strong-minded and confident young adults. It is through regular course study and consistently challenging situations that young college students discover their passions in life and their motivations for the future.

Many students decide to study abroad during their college years. Exploring new cultures, languages, and regions is a wonderful way to learn more about yourself and your interests. While studying abroad as a college student can be extremely rewarding, it can also be very academically challenging. With so many new experiences to have, new places to explore, and new people to meet, maintaining academic focus can be a real challenge. Consider these tips for more successful studying abroad.

Set a Schedule
Creating a consistent schedule can make all the difference in your academic and social life while you're in college. One of the most difficult aspects of college is managing the amount of freedom you have. You will have academic responsibilities that require your time and social obligations you'd like to fit in—it's all about finding ways to balance both. Studying abroad can add to the challenge of creating a balanced schedule. With so many new places to explore, it can be easy to put off your studies time and time again. Create a weekly and monthly schedule. Successful studying really boils down to a little forward thinking. Look at due dates and test times and plan a schedule around them. Try to schedule a 2 hour session of studying at least 3 times a week where you will only focus on your coursework. Leave spots open for searching the city, traveling, and other abroad activities.

Create a Work Space
Your study space plays a huge role in how successful your academic life is as well. Just as it is important to focus your daily schedule for your studies, it is also essential that you have a focused study space. Attending college in a foreign country can make even your study area feel foreign. Work hard to find an area on campus or in town that helps you stay focused for studying. Find a spot that is secluded and quiet. You want a space that is comfortable and distraction-free, but also inspiring and motivational. It's a good idea to try to work in the same space every time you study. By having one spot that you study in, you can get your mind and body used to this area meaning "work time".

Designate a "Fun" Day
While, of course, your studies are essential in college whether you are abroad or not, it is important that you recognize the importance of experiences as well. Studying and completing your classwork is important, but so is experiencing new things and taking advantage of all that a situation has to offer you. Going abroad is about expanding your horizons and creating new experiences. While this might not be challenging for many, it is important that you schedule some time to actually go out and explore your new "home". Designate one day a week or a month (whatever your schedule allows) to just explore and have fun. Try new things, travel, make new acquaintances, and see new things. Take the time to learn about the new culture that you are submerged in. Take in the history of your surroundings and expand your body of knowledge. Studying abroad gives you the perfect opportunity to try something new and live in a way that is very difficult to replicate in any other point of life—take advantage of it.

Aniya Wells is a freelance blogger whose primary focus is writing about online degree programs. She also enjoys investigating trends in other niches, notably technology, traditional higher education, health, and small business. Aniya welcomes reader questions and comments at aniyawells@gmail.com.

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