Looking back on my semester abroad, there’s not much I regret. Rather than dwell on what should’ve been, I truly appreciate every inconvenient experience and how they’ve contributed to enhancing my growth this semester. What I do look back and wish I’d done was ask for more advice before coming here to Austrailia. I consider myself a pretty independent person, so often times this stops me from asking for help when I might need it. While I’ve had such a fulfilling experience that has taught me about myself, a few more tips on how to navigate this semester and Sydney wouldn’t have hurt.
I’ve learned a solid amount through my own journey, and I feel that I could offer up good advice myself to anyone going abroad, especially nearly 10,000 miles away. The first that I’d emphasize thing to keep in mind would be to not spend too much time occupied with what’s going on back home. While it’s important to remain in contact with your friends and loved ones in order to avoid homesickness, spending all of your time with those back home can take away from how you experience where you are. There is so much to be seen and done without the added distractions of whatever is going on back at home. Constant FaceTime calls and texts don’t need to be apart of your study abroad, and you should keep in mind that your time is precious.
Another tip I’d give is to not restrict or coddle yourself. By saying this I mean that having a set program with specifically planned activities through your school or some other sort of guide is a privilege, but you shouldn’t restrict yourself to simply exploring by the book. Many of my best experiences abroad have been quite spontaneous and didn’t involve the stress of maintaining a schedule and making sure to see everything we could. Not having a plan can really be the best plan. While it can be quite intimidating to just take on a trip with no itinerary, you’ll find yourself so much more satisfies mentally without the strains behind maintaining a specific plan.
The most important that I’d advise someone going abroad to keep in mid is to never feel like this semester is supposed to go any certain way. Its easy to compare your own experience to other people that you know and I believe this is a real waste of precious energy. Trying to model your semester directly after someone else’s doesn’t work to you benefit, because as we all know everybody is unique and is satisfied by different things. In a time that should be focused on finding yourself, you should experiment with trying new things and exploring stuff you may not like that may not work in your favor. Its the mistake that make this semester so educational and special. If you allow yourself to follow your own journey and embrace these mistakes, you’ll be sure to come out on the other end better for it.