Putting the “Study” in Studying Abroad

By Chelsea Colvin

So by this point in the semester you’ve become a local in your study abroad city, you’ve checked a couple countries off of your list of travels, and you’re probably about to embark on a 10 day Eurotrip for fall break. But on top of all this it’s easy to forget why you’ve ended up jet-setting throughout Europe in the first place.. to continue on the path towards your college degree, duh! Sometimes it’s hard to associate actual school work with the experiences you are having right now.. I know doing homework was the last thing on my mind when I was sipping limoncello in Capri or prosting steins at Oktoberfest. It’s like you’re on a semester long vacation-traveling every weekend and if you didn’t have classes during the week you would probably be gone then too. BUT sadly, you do have class. And more importantly you want to do well in these classes, no one wants to come back from their semester abroad and have their advisor tell them they need to re-take a class.

A little effort goes a long way, so in order to make sure you do well on your exams you’ll have to squeeze some time into your busy schedule of traveling every weekend for some serious study sessions. Personally, I wasn’t a frequent visitor of the library while I was abroad at AUR, but it became my favorite place the week before exams. I found it hard to study and write papers in my apartment so when I needed to actually get work done I migrated into the library the same way I would at my college back home. I was one of many students at my school who only took the library seriously when it came time for midterms and finals. So don’t be afraid to venture off and find the library at your school abroad, especially since the list of distractions increases dramatically overseas you’ll need to find somewhere quiet that allows you to focus on your work. Cutting down on the nights you go out will be necessary.. trust me I know this sounds terrible and you think you’re gonna miss out on something but it’s only for a week, you can do it!

Designating time throughout the week in between classes to catch up on work and review for upcoming tests always helped me. I made use of the extra time I had during the day and I would stay on campus for an hour or two after my last class ended to get work done. I knew once I went home and saw my roommates pouring their first glass of wine for the day that nothing would get accomplished. So for me being on campus was my time to do work. It really helped me focus because it was so easy for me to forget the main reason I was in Rome during the weekdays—to go to class and get my work done so that I could enjoy my upcoming weekend in Prague or Ireland.

Everyone does their studying a different way.. so find what works best for you while you’re abroad and stick to it! It’ll be worth it in the end when you go back to America saying you had the time of your life and also did well in all of your European classes 🙂

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