Cultural Experience | Europe

How to Avoid Study Abroad Regrets.

5 things I would do differently if I could study abroad again

Studying abroad was hands down the best experience of my life and I have no regrets, but there are definitely a few things I would do differently if I could do it again. If I had the ability to press rewind, here are a few things I would make sure to do….

1. Travel alone

I kept reading about how great it is to travel alone and the one opportunity I had to do so, I chickened out. I grew more confident while abroad, but I think travelling alone for a weekend would have both placed me outside of my comfort zone the perfect amount and connected me with locals on an even deeper level because I would have been more likely to rely on them. I’m determined to get around to it one day! More on Solo Travel Here

2. Keep a blog

After spending a lot of time working on a blog post after 48 hours in Oslo, I gave up because it “occupied too much time.” However, I know I could have easily written a post a week if I had committed just an hour or two per week. A blog would have been the perfect way to not only share my experiences with others, but also would have provided me with a way to never forget about all the details and fun I had along the way!  Better yet, sign up for your own College Tourist author’s profile.

3. Take full advantage of what my program had to offer

On the second to last weekend of the semester, I traveled to Sweden on a rappelling, hiking and canoeing trip with DIS, my study abroad program. It was SO well planned and filled with so many activities that I would not have done otherwise. I wish I had signed up for more of their weekend trips, as well as taken advantage of the different clubs and volunteer opportunities they presented us with all semester long.

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4. Splurge

I kept going back and forth on wanting to skydive in Switzerland and in the end, it was the price that stopped me from it. However, I wish I had told myself I would earn back that money this summer working and it would be worth it. That is the experience of a lifetime and would have been well worth the money.

5. Worry less about grades

I never let schoolwork stop me from going somewhere on the weekend, but it definitely stopped me from doing various activities during the week. I’m pleased with the grades I made, but I do wish that I had gone out more with my friends instead of staying in to study. I think it is important to find the right balance between experiencing the culture and not completely blowing off the study part of study abroad. One night I went to a Tove Lo concert with my best friend even though I had a paper due the next day, and I’m so glad I did!

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Studying abroad is the chance to start afresh and completely let go of any stereotypes you possessed about other areas of the world. It is the chance to see the world from a new perspective and to learn and grow tremendously while experiencing something out of your realm. I would gladly study abroad again if I could and would make sure to do those five things!

Molly O'Connor

Southern Methodist University | 6 stories

Molly is a senior at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX majoring in Communication Studies. Bitten by the travel bug during her incredible semester abroad in Copenhagen, she's learning to both find adventure in her every day life and to look for an opportunity to discover something new daily! Lover of donuts, running, people, and of course, travel, she's excited to share her stories with the College Tourist community! To follow along with her adventures, follow her on Instagram @ _hot_tamolly_ and check out her blog,

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