Enriching Your Studies Abroad!
Career Path : Education News
Isabella Basco is spending a year abroad in Salamanca, Spain, and to support fellow travelers, wrote an article for the Huffington Post outlining some tips. Despite all the amazing things which come with an education abroad, including personal exploration, culture immersion, new language skills and the accomplishment of completing your education with extra challenges, the loss of traditional infrastructures like friends and parents had Isabella feeling lonely. Loneliness is not an uncommon symptom of travelling alone, and despite finally being where you’ve always dreamed of, the effects of loneliness can make you want to revert into your bedroom and keep you from a fulfilling experience.
Taken from her own experience, Isabella has some tips to bating the loneliness and that feeling of being “lost”. One is to reach out to others. Opportunities might not always come your way, but if you reach out to them, they will. She didn’t find herself being invited out places, so she started asking fellow students what they were doing that night after class. She also began taking flamenco dance classes and Spanish guitar lessons. Becoming involved is not only a way to immerse yourself and learn about the culture, but participating in an activity is also a great way to meet locals and make connections!
Isabella also recommends not staying in one place for too long, and to travel to different cities and towns within your study country. If you happen to be in Spain, why not take a bus ride and check out France? Or Italy? Europe is a very accessible place to travel around from country to country, so if you happen to study there, take advantage of this fact.
Her last tip is to avoid laziness. It is too easy to revert to your habits or rituals like watching TV when you come home from class, but Isabella says that you’ll get a better experience if you go out instead, meet people, or visit a museum. One good suggestion she had was to buy a journal, sit at a café and just write out what you see and how you feel.
Other students who have studied abroad also had some great ideas about how to combat loneliness and get the most out of your travels. Here are some of their tips:
- Set goals for yourself
- Keep a journal and write things down –recipes you’ve tried, things people have said to you etc.
- Stay with a host family, it is the best way to learn a language.
- Push yourself to speak the local language.
- Study the city, have a visual map in your head and try to learn where you are going.
- Plan your finances to make sure you don’t run out of money
- Keep in mind that bigger cities are more expensive to live in (ex. Barcelona is more expensive than Seville)