How to make the most of a study abroad experience

If you’re preparing to study abroad, you probably have some grand, exciting ideas about what it will be like. And, in retrospect, you will remember it that way. But in reality, once you’ve unpacked your bags and settled into your new temporary home, the banality of life will creep its way into your everyday routine and settle in, too. 

Think about it: You have a bedroom, you have roommates, you have a commute, you have classes. You’ll need to go grocery shopping and cook food for yourself if you’re not in a homestay. You will have homework and new friends to make. You still have the expectations from parents or your school that you’ll return with solid grades. You might even feel some kind of pressure to come back a more culturally experienced person. 

You see, traveling abroad is an amazing experience that you will treasure for the rest of your life — and it will open your mind to new cultures in ways you can only imagine before you depart. I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone who can take this opportunity. But assimilating into another culture is hard work, and the need to maintain your relationships back home doesn’t make it easy. Your life hasn’t gone away; it’s just changed scenery.

Note: In 2014, I wrote a weekly blog series on travel and career advice for eHow. This post is from that series, so you'll have to head over to their site to read it in full. Thanks for reading!

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Travel TipsMegan Van Groll