Spending a Semester Abroad: Do's and Don'ts
As my time in Prague for study abroad is approaching the end, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting. Where has the time gone?! I initially knew I’d look back on this semester abroad and wonder where the time went, but I never had a clue how much of an impact this city and my experiences here would have on my life. There have been ups and downs throughout everything, but I will always look back feeling grateful and cherishing the wonderful memories I’ve made here. Here is a list of some of my important do’s and don’ts while spending a semester in Prague:
DO: Allow yourself enough free time to explore Prague
This one is so important to anyone that studies abroad. It is so easy to become overwhelmed with the amount of things you have to do once classes begin, but it’s important to allow yourself time to roam the city freely. Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime experience that shouldn’t be taken for granted, and you’ll want to make the most of it. Try to go somewhere new weekly, whether it’s a park, a restaurant, or taking a different path.
DON’T: Focus on homesickness
I cannot stress this one enough. Feeling homesick will definitely happen as you’re living in a new culture and placed out of your comfort zone on a daily basis - it’s bound to happen to just about everyone! While it’s okay to get homesick and call your friends and family from home time to time, do not let this take away from your experience. The more you place focus on being homesick, the worse it will become. Just think about all of the time in the future you will have back at home versus your limited amount in Prague; although it is difficult at times, just know that you will be okay! Enjoy yourself and enjoy the city with this new sense of independence.
DO: Try new foods
I’ve always considered myself a fairly picky eater, but ever since studying abroad I’ve tried new foods I never would have imagined that I really enjoy. Expand your horizons and branch out - try to get something new on the menu every time!
DON’T: Assume that everybody’s experience is the same
It’s easy to compare your experiences abroad with your peers, but do not let this happen! Everyone thinks differently, which is important to keep in mind. Do not let this distract you from living out your semester (or however long it may be) the way that works best for you!
DO: Make new friends
Whether you make friends with locals or friends with your classmates, make sure to branch out and be outgoing! It’s intimidating to start over in a brand new setting, but it’s going to be worth it to leave your semester with friends and connections that will be a part of your memories forever.
DON’T: Forget to budget
Leaving home for a long period of time unpaid is definitely something to get used to. While most people do not work while they study abroad, it is important to budget the best that you can. Be smart about how you spend your money and make sure to spend it on things that only heighten your experience. Be sure to manage your budget so that you still have money left on that last stretch of time and so you aren’t left with nothing in your bank account!
DO: Manage your time wisely between school and social life
It’s important to manage your time efficiently, as you’ll want to maintain good grades, but also to be able to relax and hang out with friends. Make sure to be on top of your assignments and studies before you commit to anything else; but don’t forget to allow yourself to have fun with friends too!
DON’T: Spend too much time on social media
As it’s easy to spend time on social media in general, it’s not worth putting forth too much time looking at what other people are up to back at home. While it’s okay to check in from time to time and post some photos or updates, don’t let this interfere with being present in the moment. The last thing you want is to look back and know you were on social media or on your phone too much while you are abroad!
DO: Realize that there will be challenges
While studying in Prague is an exciting time and experience, realize that life will continue on as normal once you are settled and you will face challenges every day, whether they’re big or small. Although studying abroad may seem like a breath of fresh air, remember that there will still be some controlled chaos in the midst of your time here. These challenges you face will help you grow in the long run and strengthen you as a person.
And don’t forget to have the time of your life!
Interning at ARCHIP this semester has been a wonderful experience and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to see some of your work. I wish you all the best with your studies and futures!
Intern (University of Colorado Boulder)
Hello! My name is Sadie and I am interning for ARCHIP this semester while studying abroad in Prague. I attend the University of Colorado Boulder and major in Public Relations with a Business Minor. My interests and hobbies include hiking, yoga, and travel. I am happy to have the opportunity to intern at ARCHIP and study in Prague!