For most, myself included, the biggest draw to a study abroad program is the ability to spend time in the country of your dreams while fulfilling some level of academic responsibility. I mean, we all know what we signed up for, we even picked out and registered for the classes ourselves but to commit to something and actually doing it are two different things.
For me, in the first week or two balance was something that I could only imagine and it probably is or will be the same for you. You’re not only trying to figure how to juggle classes, exploring and hanging out with friends, but in those first two weeks you’re literally trying to make friends, trying to figure out how to get to class without looking at Google Maps every other step, and in my case you’re spending way too long trying to Google Translate everything in the grocery store. Don’t worry though, you’ll get settled soon enough and everything else will become second nature so you can get back to the original issue (classes vs instagram model/best friend/explorer). It’s easy to stress and fall off either in school or in enjoying the beautiful country you’re visiting, but don’t you worry, I have some tips to get you through.
When it comes to finding a balance, it’s really important to figure out where your priorities lie. For me it was really important to keep classes as a top priority regardless of the fact that beautiful Florence was at my fingertips. It was also way easier for me to enjoy myself knowing that my assignments were done and I had nothing to rush home to do. My friend group was also the same and it helped having like minded people around, so I would say that is pretty important as well. If we had assignments due, we’d opt for an earlier and shorter dinner instead of our usual relaxed and longer nights out, and when we’d plan weekend trips we’d all make sure our assignments were done before we left Florence. On a personal level that is something I would recommend you do to keep on track regardless. If you have something you want to do whether that be a trip, a night out or lunch and shopping, do some academic work first and use whatever it is you want to do as a reward. Trust me, I would avoid all temptation to procrastinate when I knew a lunch date or opportunity to shop was on the line. Also just remember you’ll look back on your study abroad experience and be way more satisfied knowing you were able to not only explore this beautiful place, but you weren’t stressed about missed assignments and when you came back home your GPA was still alive and well.
Well, that’s this week’s blog. As usual, feel free to reach out with any questions and i’ll see you next time -deanna.