Schedule In Travel While Studying Abroad
If the university you’re going to be studying at abroad allows you to make your own timetable, give yourself a long weekend! I promise you, this gives you the opportunity to get the best of both worlds for travel and campus life. I wasn’t able to organize my own schedule at my overseas university, yet lucked out with Mondays and Fridays off and I was absolutely stoked. Here’s why.
Being in a different country – perhaps even a different part of the world – you ought to travel and explore, and small weekend trips are the perfect way to do it! There are always day tours on offer to different towns. Sometimes these are offered through international groups with their events found through Facebook, so join each one of these groups while you’re abroad.
Otherwise, venture to a different country for a night or two (this is especially easy if you’re in Europe!). Having a four-day weekend gives you just enough time to see a city and do the things you’re particularly interested in. You can leave on the Friday, have two full days away, and arrive back on Monday ready for the following week. Or, if you chose to cut it shorter, you can still have a great time and will appreciate having a day off before going back to classes. I know I sure did on my shorter trips!
Every time I met other international students I asked if they wanted to travel and almost every one of them was interested in some place. So, we caught up and spent several nights planning weekend trips (everything was on a budget, of course). Some of my trips were last minute, like a spontaneous trip to London for the weekend that I booked only the night before, whereas others took more planning, like a trip with a bunch of girls to Amsterdam.
Anyway, it didn’t take long before I got the travel bug and wanted to go everywhere I could. Skyscanner.com, a website for comparing cheap flights, became number one in my favorites bar. In the end, one of my biggest regrets was not organizing a student rail card giving discounted rates for every train journey in the United Kingdom – funnily enough, I didn’t think it was worth buying in the beginning, yet it would have saved me big time.
You may be wondering how to fit travel in around study. Yet, all you need to do is plan your travels around when your assessments are due. In my case, I made sure I would stay in town on weekends where I had to get work done (but, if you’re disciplined, I’m sure taking your laptop away with you works just as well). Make a schedule, circle all the free time and weekends you have, and then it’s just a matter of choosing where to go on a particular date.
If your living in student accommodation, you will either be placed with other international students or with local full-time students, and this works either way! You’ll find many international students want to make the most of their time abroad, so with this “say yes” attitude, it’s likely they will want to travel with you too! Travelling with new friends is exciting; especially those with a different background. You can honestly learn so much from them and make strong bonds that will last in the future.
On the other hand, if you are living with local students (as I was) they may often go home to their family on the weekends, which can make it pretty lonely to stay at your accommodation on the weekend.
This happened to me, so I made sure to have nights out with my flatmates during the week and spent time with my international friends over the weekends. It was a great balance!