Studying abroad is an amazing experience that will provide you with personal growth, involvement with a new culture, and something that looks great on your resume (and the best partying you will ever experience). I studied abroad in Australia and it was easily the best five months of my life. Here is my story, live by my advice:
1. Go Single.
I was in a relationship before I studied abroad and we decided it would be best to break up so that I could fully enjoy my experience. (Well, to be honest, he dumped me but we got back together 2 years later so all good). A lot of kids in the group I was with stayed in their long distance relationships and they spent their whole semester in their room skyping their boyfriend/girlfriend. The rare time they did go out, they’d be fighting with them the whole time over texts. Don’t do that. Definitely don’t do that. Also, texting overseas is expensive. You’re spending a lot of money on this semester; make it f*cking count. My best memories in life so far have come from when I was abroad in Australia. You want to be as free as you can possibly be.
2. Fully Explore The Culture.
Try all of the food, even if you think it’s gross. Chances are, it probably is, but you’ll regret not trying it. Try dating the people, too. Why date an American when you can do that at home? Now is your chance to live those stories you’ll be telling at happy hour with your friends three years later. Besides, everyone should encounter foreskin at least once in their lives.
3. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone.
Being abroad gives you this sense of adventure to do things you normally wouldn’t do. Embrace that and just go crazy.
I’m so scared of the ocean because that’s where sharks live. I even get nervous putting my feet in the ocean. When I was abroad, I went scuba diving in The Great Barrier Reef. It was the scariest thing I have ever done. Literally, there were five sharks near me. SHARKS ARE SO SCARY. I was terrified and thought that I was going to die. They could probably feel my heart beating out of my chest. Will I ever do it again? Absolutely not. Do I regret it? Absolutely not. Now, I get to tell people that I went swimming with sharks in The Great Barrier Reef! Everyone thinks I’m so cool and brave.
4. Stay Off Social Media.
Okay, I get that you want everyone to think you’re cool when you post pictures of you being in a different country. I was recently dumped; it was my mission to post pictures of me on a beautiful beach with hot guys. But…everyone will think you’re having a better time if you don’t post at all. Wait until you get back.
Just live in the moment and leave your world at home behind. It’ll be there waiting for you when you get back, I promise. It’s so easy to get wrapped up into FB stalking and posting about everything you’re doing, but it’s not worth it. I suggest totally disconnecting while you’re abroad. Obviously, you want to keep in touch with your family and closest friends but you’ll regret it if you spent an entire semester overseas staring at your phone.
5. Do An Internship.
My internship is the only thing that looks semi-good on my resume. It also made me realize what I actually wanted to do with my life. It was completely unrelated to my major and that was the whole point. Totally try something new to see if you like it. It was awesome to experience a different culture’s work environment (Probably because in Australia they have 2 month long vacations and everyone starts drinking at 2pm, but you get the point.) Doing an internship at your college at home will make you dread it, but doing it in a different country makes it SO fun! Plus, you barely do shit when you’re an intern.
6. Don’t Worry About How Much Weight You’re Gaining.
When I think about the happiest I’ve ever been, I think about the fattest I’ve ever been, not about how much I weighed at the time. I gained 30 pounds when I studied abroad. It was pretty disgusting but it’s another thing I don’t regret. When I came home, all of the gyms and bags of kale were still there. There’s no time for worrying about what you’re eating or feeling guilty for indulging. This is the time to indulge. Just have fun and enjoy yourself. You can hate yourself when you get back, but you’ll have some wonderful memories to compensate for that.
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