The key word, but often forgotten word in study abroad is study. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of being abroad, exploring new places, eating new foods, and navigating an entirely new country, the study portion becomes an afterthought. I firmly believe people learn from experiences as well as a traditional class experience, and study abroad is the perfect opportunity to combine the two!
For me, I am involved in my program and an additional online class. It has all been about finding balance between the adventure and studying aspects. In order to make my studying more interesting, I’ve looked for study sessions outside of our guesthouse in areas where I can still feel like I’m soaking up all that Cambridge has to offer!
The first place I enjoy studying is the back garden of our guesthouse. While I know it’s not out there in terms of adventure, if I have a few things to get done, I can multitask laundry and studying in the lovely garden outside my room.
Cambridge is also full of parks! Two of the green areas, Jesus Green and Midsummer’s Common, are adjacent to the River Cam with beautiful house boats parked in the river and the occasional rowing team practice going by. The UK, or at least Cambridge, has public wifi in most of their green public spaces, which is a great way to connect to wifi, study, and enjoy the (rare) English sunshine!
I think, though, my favorite place to study is a cozy coffee shop. I like to pick up a coffee or tea and pair it with a traditional British treat (scones!) to try a new food, and spend a few hours tucked away in a corner. I’ve come across some really nice coffee shops around town that allow me to settle in and get some studying done, while also enjoying the walk around the town to find them and some new treats.
Study abroad is all about the balance between studying and soaking in the abroad lifestyle – but it’s great when the two meet in the middle!