The biggest takeaway I got from studying abroad was: it’s easy to get overwhelmed, push past it. I wish I had asked some students who had studied abroad for their tips. I guess I just wanted to figure it out on my own.
Keep reading my tips that I learned along the way while studying abroad in Shanghai.
1. Take risks
Try that ‘weird’ food, go out on that Tinder date (safety first!), sign up for a course you know nothing about...live a little! Sure you’ve decided to skip town and live in another country. But don’t let that be the only risk you take.
2. Get Organized
I found that when I started language school in Shanghai I was in my prime when I kept organized af! But then of course that all went downhill. I started wearing less and going out more and made friends in the city and was almost never home. An agenda (like this one) would have been a step in the right direction.
3. Self Care
Pick a day and make that the one day you don’t do a thing other than spoil yourself. If you don’t have the privilege of time to do so, then spoil yourself in other ways. Soak with a bath bomb, say no to that favour you don’t want to do or paint your nails a fresh nude colour.
4. Be Nice
It seems simple, but be nice. Sure it’s easy to get in a slump. To think that you feel so alone and that no one gets your life. Guess what: everyone else feels the same way (especially at school abroad). Suck it up* and go meet someone new and really listen to them.
5. Talk to Someone*
Ok the little asterisk above is for the anxious student. The one that feels like leaving their campus or meeting new people is an impossibility. Whether it's medical or other factors, sometimes people feel that block. The best tip I can give to you is the one you fear the most, talk to someone! It might be a professional counsellor at your school (or online) or it might be someone down the hall. Use your voice
6. Getaway for the weekend
While in Shanghai I had the chance to visit Beijing with my roommate and her friend. I had already planned on visiting Beijing, but to do so with people I knew was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. So I hopped on the bullet train with them and had one of the best times of my life! Pack up a cute weekender bag and #Justgo!
7. Record your experiences
Experiencing a trip through a screen might be my job, but it’s not always the best way to do it. I don’t believe in holding my phone up the entire time I’m away. Keeping a travel journal or a secret Tumblr could be a great way to record your experiences. It could be so you can share them with friends later or look back on them on your own.