Finding a Workplace Abroad – A Surprising Struggle

Like addressed in my last post, a part of the study abroad experience some people forget about is the “studying” part. I’ve been here for over two months now and I can finally say I’ve found my study spot. This was a challenge I was not expecting to be as difficult as it was.

With assignments like math and blogging I can really do those anywhere. Essays that require research and reading, on the other hand, I need a calm, quieter place to focus. At home, I find myself spending more time in the USF library than at my own apartment. Here, not so much.

With my first essay, I went to two different coffee shops before deciding it was time to venture to the library. I won’t name the coffee shops because I do enjoy what they have to offer, they simply didn’t work for my personal study habits.

The first coffee shop had awful wifi. I had been a couple times before to research places to travel but never for homework. I never had trouble connecting until, of course, I tried to connect for school-work.

Pro-tip #1 when exploring places to do work: don’t order something until you’re sure you’re going to stay.

I ordered a coffee at the first place and then sat down and tried to start my work. This was a mistake. I found myself not being able to connect to the wifi with a piping hot coffee in front of me that I didn’t want to waste.

I ended up staying for an hour journaling and reading my book. Two things I very much enjoy doing but not when I have work to do.

After I finished my coffee I went to a different coffee shop a couple doors down. This one was more of a chain so I figured the wifi would work fine. I went in, ordered a smoothie, and unpacked my things to begin my work. The wifi worked perfectly but they were blasting music. I found this extremely odd seeing as I was in a coffee shop not a night club. Remember when I said I needed somewhat quiet in order to do research for a paper? Yeah, I wasn’t getting that here.

I packed my things and took my smoothie to-go. Something that should be mentioned is not how far the library is from town but what it takes to get there. From where I was it’s about a 25-minute walk…up hill. I was not in the mood to sweat in 45 degree weather but I found myself with no other choice.

I ventured to the library, sat down, and got my work done. Over the next few days I finished my paper at the library. It’s a bit of an easier walk from my flat. It’s just up a HUGE hill the locals call “cardiac hill.” Sounds fun, right? Wrong.

For my next paper I was determined to find a coffee shop. At home, when I’m not at the library I’m at a coffee shop called Felicitous. I basically live there. I missed the calm aura and delicious offerings. I was to find somewhere that would make me feel the warm and fuzzy way Felicitous does.

The 25-minute walk into town isn’t as hilly as going to campus. Campus is on the top of a hill so no matter where you’re coming from, expect a nice glute workout.

I found a place that’s a chain and a bookstore. I’m a bookworm so I figured this could be the place for me. For about a week and a half, I was convinced it was. I finally found a place to suit all my needs! Wifi, moderate noise level, yummy foods and beverages. I would soon find out it was too good to be true.

Earlier this week I went to this place to start another essay. I figured it was safe to order something first so I got a coffee and went to start my paper. And guess what…no wifi! It would not connect for the life of me. Great! Betrayed by yet another place I thought I could trust.

My friend and I walked around a bit and found a coffee shop that was one of a kind. It checked all my boxes, except it closed at a ridiculously early hour. I was prepared to work around that for a great shop like this one. Until the coffee made my friend and I both very sick. I won’t go into detail but it wasn’t pretty.

We left that place and walked around to find somewhere else. I didn’t get the work that I wanted to finish done. In the very back of the shopping center there’s this cute little place called Coffee#1. This seemed like a chain so we didn’t get our hopes too high. Boy, were we wrong!

Perfect wifi, beyond delicious coffee and food, lovely atmosphere. This is it. I’m sitting here, a few days later, in Coffee#1 writing this post followed by a paper. I’m still in love with it. I finally found my happy place! Two months in. Nothing worth while comes easy.

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