How to Make the Most out of Studying Abroad in England
I probably didn’t need to buy a snow globe in each city I visited
So, you’ve decided to study abroad in England. If you’re like me, you started searching for information about your new home in the dark corners of the Internet long before you came to this life changing decision or found this article. Now that you’ve begun you’re journey, here are a few tips I wish I knew before I boarded my flight to London.
1. Before you go, sit down and make a budget:
Save as much money as you can before you leave and keep saving once you get there. I know every website has told you to save your money and that study abroad is expensive. This is because it’s true. The summer before I went abroad, I worked a full time job and still ran out of money and had to take out a loan.
Figure out how much you want to spend on trips, souvenirs, food, clothes and anything else you might drop splurge on and stick to that budget while abroad. Once you’re abroad, make sure you spend your money wisely. I probably didn’t need to buy a snow globe in each city I visited- post cards or shot glasses probably would have sufficed.
Make smart choices about how you spend and you’ll find that the savings add up. But, don’t be afraid to take out a loan or beg your parents for more money if you do overspend. The loan I took out helped me go on several amazing trips with the friends I made and helped pay for the unhealthy amount of pizza and gelato I ate in Rome.
2. Spend time trying to learn the culture and absorb as much of it as you can.
Go out and have a Sunday Roast. Hit the pubs and clubs with your mates on weeknights. Change up your wardrobe. Embrace drinking tea, eating curry and greeting your mates with a friendly “you alright?” These are all things I miss now that I’m back in the states.
As much and as frequently as you can, do things that are quintessentially British. My friends and I found that going to pubs and grabbing a pint made us feel like we were part of the culture, but if that’s not your cup of tea, there are a million other things you can do. Embracing the English culture makes studying abroad that much more fun. It can also help you get over culture shock and even made me less homesick!
Once you get to England, be grateful for these new experiences, and while you’re at it, grab a pint for me.
3. Travel, travel, travel.
Get it? While you’re abroad, you have the unique opportunity to take a short flight to almost anywhere in Europe. Why not seize moment and go everywhere you can? During my four months abroad, I traveled to eight European cities. Each new city brought a new culture, new food, new sights and a new language.
When you’re travelling, make sure to plan your trips wisely. Decide on and book your trips early.
Be sure to research hostels, things you want to do and see, local dishes you want to try, or anything else that comes to mind before you leave. WiFi is typically limited once you arrive. Be wise when picking who you travel with. Some of the friends I made early during my study abroad experience and planned numerous trips with turned out not to be the best people to travel with. Also consider doing a solo trip- sometimes those are the most fun. No matter how you do it, get out there and travel!
Now that you’ve got some expert information about your latest adventure, sit back and relax. The time leading up to your trip can be nerve wrecking, I know. The trick is to stay calm and tell yourself that everything will be alright. This is going to be one of the greatest experiences of your life if you let it.
No matter what happens once you arrive in England, stay positive and enjoy your time abroad!