This is a guest post from one of my current ambassadors, Angeliz Torres. Angeliz is a junior at the University of Puerto Rico, majoring in Operations and Finance.
You guys remember my last blog? The one about studying abroad and the scoop on how to prepare for it? Well, I’m back with more. This will be part two of my blog about what happens DURING your study abroad experience. I’ll talk about what my experience (by the way, I’m already back home in Puerto Rico, yay!). So without further ado, here are my top things to do DURING a study abroad
1. Explore! – During my one and only semester in BU I met people from
Turkey, China, India, Ecuador, Mexico, Vietnam, Thailand, Greece,
Morocco Italy, Nigeria…need I go on? You’ll meet all sorts of people:
EMBRACE IT! Be open to learn about the local culture and customs.
You decided to go abroad, now take on the challenge of mastering the
language, go out and meet the locals and interact with the whole new
world around you.
2. Getting involved – just because you’re all the way across the ocean,
doesn’t mean you can’t join your host university’s different organizations,
clubs, teams, frats or groups. Get involved in those activities that most
appeal to you like you would join at home or go out of your comfort zone
and try something new. Personally, I joined a Leadership and Community
Service practicum which gave me the tools to go out and do something for
the community on and off campus. I would volunteer to set up activities,
at the animal shelter…anywhere!
3. Be a tourist – visit all the common and uncommon places within the
community; after all, you’re not just visiting, you’re LIVING there. Eat at
local establishments or go to the supermarket for fresh produce, take a
bus (or a walk) around the city and discover its hidden treasures and don’t
be afraid to ask the locals for directions when needed. Keep in mind that
you don’t know when you’ll have this type of opportunity again. Make the
best of it! Of course, take lots and lots of pictures.
4. Study – Don’t forget one of the main reasons you decided to go abroad: to
learn something new or to obtain a new perspective on things. Although
getting involved in extracurricular activities is very important, doing your
homework, writing papers, working on projects and taking tests will still be
a very important part of your study abroad experience.
5. Saving money – No matter If you were or weren’t able to land any type
of job in your host country, you have to make your money last, saving will
be crucial. Don’t buy too much stuff either, remember you’ll have to pack
it all someday and have to bring it back home with you. If you do have to
make certain purchases, be as prudent as possible with your spending. It
may sound a little strange, but being frugal could actually be a good thing.
6. Skype: my lifesaver – If you haven’t yet, download Skype or any other
webcam-calling program. The great thing about it is that it’s free, unlike
your cell phone which can run a huge bill at the end of the month with
those international calling rates. And besides, I think looking at the person
you’re talking to is 100 times better than just talking on the phone.
7. Reflect – This will sound like the 3rd part of my blog (the After). Write
about your experiences somewhere. Document what you do or don’t do,
save your pictures where you can find them. Share your experiences with
others and encourage them to also take the challenge of going abroad.
I hope you’ve all found my 2nd blog useful and has gotten you even more excited about
going abroad. Stay tuned for part three, coming soon! Happy New Year!