Spending a semester or summer studying abroad is a once in a lifetime experience. As such, you want to make sure that you are making the right decisions to take full advantage of this opportunity. Below are seven common mistakes while studying abroad that you should avoid so that you can have the best experience possible.
1. Not Recognizing This as a Professional Opportunity
Studying abroad can be a great opportunity to learn a new language, round out your education, and have the experience of a lifetime, but many students also learn skills that help them stand out from the crowd as they enter the job search. For example, knowing another language can help you create a professional sale associate resume or other similar fields where you will be getting in contact with people from all over the world. Furthermore, working to keep your grades up despite the pressures of studying in another country sets you apart as responsible and disciplined, appealing qualities for any future employer.
2. Not Getting Traveller’s Insurance
Emergencies can happen anywhere, but when you are studying abroad, emergencies can be much more complicated. In accidents or illnesses abroad, your regular health insurance plan most likely won’t cover the bill up front and may only reimburse you a partial amount upon returning to your home country, leaving you scrambling to cover the costs. Traveller’s insurance plans can also be tailored to a student’s needs, even including emergency transport back to your home country.
3. Partying Too Much
Checking out the nightlife in a new country is an exciting part of the travel experience, but there is more to a country than the party scene. You don’t want to lose too much valuable time hung over or put yourself at needless risk. Furthermore, you will be seen by locals as a representative of your school and your country.
4. Not Getting to Know the Locals
Another of the common mistakes while studying abroad is to only hang out with the other students in your program. While choosing to associate only with individuals you already know is comforting, you are depriving yourself of a valuable cultural experience and potential friendships. The locals can also give you insights on the best places to visit, the best restaurants to try, etc. These are insights you could miss out on by restricting yourself to the same peer group.