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Tips and Tricks for Study Abroad: A Student Perspective

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Tips and Tricks for Study Abroad: A Student Perspective

As a college student, it can be difficult to find ways to travel the world for a multitude of reasons whether it’s because of finances, a strict school schedule, or lack of travel experience. A great way to maneuver around these barriers is by enrolling in one of UCBA’s study abroad programs. It’s a great opportunity to ease your way into the travel experience and with the planned itinerary, lodging and flights it gives you a lot less to plan and to stress about. The programs offered at Blue Ash also usually have some, if not all, of your meals included; the trips are also priced fairly and with scholarships, grants, and loans, it’s a fantastic way to get out of the country on a college budget.

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Participating in an experience as foreign as Study Abroad can be nerve wracking because it may take you out of your comfort zone. However, many students who have participated in a program are grateful for the unforgettable experience it gave them. UC Blue Ash student Lucia Garay, who participated in the trip to England and Spain last summer said, “I am incredibly thankful to have had the opportunity to study abroad; it is something that I have always wanted to do, but I did not think I would have the chance. I enjoyed learning about other cultures, trying new food, and exploring.” If you are thinking about enrolling, or are enrolled, here are some tips and tricks that I would have personally wanted to know before I embarked on my study abroad experience at the beginning of this past summer.

      1. Put the Study in Study Abroad

Even though it can be incredibly easy to forget about the course you’ll be taking while overseas, it’s extremely important to remember to focus on your classes because you’ll be getting a grade like any other college class. Luckily, I’ve found that the courses are incredibly interesting and it’s a great experience to learn about a topic in great depth inside and outside of the classroom setting. For example, one of the courses offered on the trip going to England and Wales in the summer of 2019 is a culture course that will explore the ways that culture in Great Britain and culture in the United States are similar or different. While I believe this would be an interesting course located in a lecture hall, being immersed in the culture you’re learning about adds a whole new layer to the learning experience.

      2. Packing

One piece of advice I have is to pack light. The weeks leading up to your trip you’re going to be anticipating how great travelling is going to be and you might completely overestimate how much you want to bring, and if you bring a lot, you’ll be left with huge bulky luggage that you have to drag behind you every time you switch hostels or hotels. There will be ways to wash your clothes in the country you’re visiting, so don’t bring an outfit for every day and consider buying cheap things that will take up a lot of space, like towels, when you get to the country you’re studying in.

      3. Keep an Open Mind

pinchosKeeping an open mind is crucial with an experience like study abroad, and it can make or break your experience. The food will be different, the language will be different (even people in Great Britain have different lingo), and at some point, you will most likely feel out of your element. Even though you don’t want to do anything that makes you feel extremely uncomfortable or unsafe, it’s a good idea to try new things, because you might regret it if you don’t.

       4. Be Safe

In an unfamiliar environment, it’s always important to be aware of your surroundings and to take the necessary steps to stay safe. I would recommend travelling in groups and making sure you have at least one person with you who has some sort of cell service in case you get lost or there is an emergency. It’s also a good idea to try to fit in with the locals. If you look out of place, lost, or incredibly touristy, you may be a target for theft or elevated prices in restaurants and shops. Lastly, just make sure to keep in communication with your fellow classmates and the faculty with you on your trip so they know where you are and where you’re going.

      5. Document Your Experiences

My final tip is to make sure to document your trip in some way shape or form. The memories you make with your classmates while abroad are priceless and it’s great to have something to look back on. You can keep a blog, take pictures, or, my personal favorite, keep a journal. In twenty years when some of the memories from your trip are becoming fuzzy, you’ll be able to open your old scrapbook or pull out your journal and everything will come rushing back.

Take the First Step

If you’re interested in taking part in Study Abroad in one of our study abroad opportunities, start thinking about 2020, which will offer three opportunities: England and Germany; Canada; and Costa Rica.

About Alexandra Georgiton

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