Keep the “Study” in Study Abroad

You’re going to wish you had when you return home…

It seems just about every university offers an extensive study abroad program. Many students choose to study away from their home campus, and therefore appear to be traveling around Europe or their respective host continents for four months. While study abroad is a great experience that allows you to become a more globally conscious person, it can be detrimental to your GPA if classes are missed every Friday to catch that all important flight. Pretend you are a world traveler, while simultaneously excelling in school with these tips:

1. Understand Your New School

Often your home university will partner with a local university in your respective abroad location. As a result, you will be taking classes at a school that most likely will have a completely different grading and conversion scale than what you are accustomed to. Make sure you understand these differences in the beginning of the semester to save you from extreme stress later on.

2. Choose Your Classes Wisely

With some proper planning you will be able to catch your Friday flight AND attend class. It is possible! If your schedule permits, stack your classes and enroll in courses that begin late on Mondays, and classes that end early on Thursdays to ensure a hype weekend of travel. Also, it could be useful to research your professors. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to connect with professors and to form a global network.

3. Take A Language Course (if applicable)

Don’t just study abroad, live abroad. Experience your host country and all it has to offer. The best way to do this is to connect with locals, however this could be challenging if there is a language barrier. Therefore, it could be wise to enroll in a language course while abroad. Chances are you won’t become fluent in a few weeks, but you will have a higher chance of connecting with more locals. Not to mention, it will be useful to know a few phrases when you’re shopping or when you’re confused on the metro.

For many students, study abroad is a highlight of their entire college experience, so see the world and take in every new culture. After all, this could be the only time in your life you have the opportunity to be abroad for an extended period of time. Don’t let the experience have a negative connotation because you failed that Spanish exam one too many times.

This article was originally published on the “Stunited” blog. “Stunited” is an app founded by Rowan University graduate, John Rondi that strives to bridge the gap between academics and social media by providing an outlet for students to match, message, and connect.

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