- Let Loose Earlier
Too many people return from their programs wishing that they had stepped out of their comfort zone sooner. Don’t just stay close to your university or apartment. The moment you branch out away from your comfort zone and your day to day routine, is when your education abroad experience really begins.
- Worrying about Home and Fear of Missing Out
This is easily one of the toughest parts about being abroad. While you are abroad, life continues back home. Students get into the habit of believing that everything will be the exact same once they return. If you picture this, then you’ll definitely be in for a rude awakening and some serious reverse culture shock after your program.
- Not Spending Enough Time with Host Family
With so many new people and sites surrounding you, you may put your host family in the back of your mind. However, spending small moments with your homestay are just as important and exploring your new city. More likely than not, this is the only time in your life that you will be placed in these circumstances. If you let yourself, you can create a lasting relationship with your host family.
- Not Trying Harder to Learn the Language
This is a once in a lifetime chance. It’s very easy to be caught up in your comfort zone and try to hang onto English as long as possible. If your programs is taught in English then you may find it a bit harder to immerse yourself. Make yourself join a new group or simply communicate in the language of your new home.
- Not Staying Longer
The most common regret of education abroad alumni. From a summer to a full year, your time abroad may initially seem like a long time to be away from home, but think about the past year. How much did you accomplish and learn? How fast did it go? It may take you a few weeks to feel comfortable in your new home, but after that you’ll want to stay as long as possible.
Samantha is a senior Economics major. She spent a summer abroad studying International Business in Austria with the Kentucky Institute of International Studies (KIIS).
Photo by Joseph Wrightson.