When my friend showed me a tweet earlier this week that stated, “I see all of this abroad, but no studying,” I giggled. The tweet seemed accurate because students have the opportunity to travel within their designated and surrounding countries while shopping and exploring at some unique sites. Personally, I’ve never eaten out so much in my life while exploring the variety of foods the United Kingdom has to offer. Overall, studying abroad is “living your best life.”
However, studying abroad does actually require one thing out of the student. You guessed it, studying! Yes, you must study while “studying” abroad, or at least work. In my case, I am working on a short film and I have to say it hasn’t been glorious at times. With that being stated, the work my teammates and I do is rewarding. I wouldn’t trade this opportunity to share this community’s story through one of my favorite mediums, video journalism. The concept in theory sounds nice and, in fact, it is! The same rules apply overseas as they do back home; develop a study pattern. No matter if you’re working on a project or studying a subject there are many ways you can keep your mental health in check while studying abroad.
1.Develop at least one or two close friends. It’s nice to get to know your roommate or neighbors during your study abroad trip. Luckily before my Maymester, I developed a friendship with my current study abroad roommate. This definitely helped me debrief because there was someone I could always come home to. Plus, you can split the groceries and responsibilities without any tension! Even if this friend isn’t your roommate or neighbor, it’s good to have someone you can trust. Sure, you won’t become best friends in a heartbeat, but know that there are many students looking for a support system as well.
2. Bring something from home. Obviously everything you pack on the trip will be from home, but bringing a personalized item, whether it’s a comfy blanket, a picture of your pet, or a favorite piece of jewelry, will help you connect to your home. You will remember that home is not too far away. I wish I had more personalized items, but it does help that I have a blanket that I use during the school year. It protects me from the hard bed springs that poke at my back. Ouch!
3. Connect with friends and family back home. Unfortunately, posting on social media does not count as communication with friends and family. Pick up that phone and give your loved ones a buzz. Ten minutes can go a long way for both you and your family/friends.
4. Hang out with your classmates. Yes, it’s good to develop a few close friendships, but even for the classmates that aren’t your close friends, it’s okay to still hang out with them. Not only will these be useful connections for later in life, but it’s super fun (and safe) exploring the city with a variety of personalities. It can be chaotic at times, but it will definitely be worth the trip to see your fellow Longhorns’ personality abroad. Besides, who else will take your aesthetic Instagram pictures?
5. Get your work finished. At the end of the day, you are here for one main reason, and that is to get an education. Learn, live, and laugh, but know your professor is expecting some kind of effort in trade for a letter grade and some credit. Maymesters are great because they don’t take away the whole summer, but you have a limited time to balance work and fun. Don’t be afraid to tell your friends ‘no’ to exploring, if you’re behind on a project, or studying.
While this study may not feel like actual work because I enjoy it, I do plan to take a break in a couple of days. Maybe I’ll visit France? Until then…Bonjour!
This post was contributed by Faith Castle, a 2019 Global Ambassador majoring in journalism.
Don’t get left behind. Read more about Faith’s experience abroad>>