Hey my name is Anna! I’m from Germany and I have been studying abroad since the age of 12 (2010), I'm always looking for new opportunities to expand my horizon by studying abroad and have taken part in various exchange programs in France, Malta, Israel, Dominican Republic, Colombia, China and currently Spain. I'm preparing for my one-year stay in Beijing 2020.
I have learned so much in the past 10 years that I have decided to write a short article on my 5 tips to make your time abroad a success so you don't miss any possible opportunities that arise while studying abroad.
1. Plan your stay abroad in advance
Many students travel to their host countries before renting an apartment. This is something that I definitely advise against, as you will already have a lot to take care of at the beginning such as sorting out your university classes and dealing with relocation. The demand for shared apartments and rooms at the beginning of the semester is always high. You can save a lot of money if you take care of your accommodation about 3 months before your arrival.
Invest a little time in planning your stay in advance. This will make many things easier for you afterwards.
- Write a list of goals and things you absolutely want to do, achieve, and experience while abroad.
- Explore your new area on the internet and see which groups and activities are nearby. Perhaps you can even make contacts before you arrive this way by joining Facebook groups for your university.
2. Find an internship (in advance!)
There are lots of reasons why you should consider taking an internship for 2-3 days a week while studying, including:
- You can get to know new people from a different environment.
- You can get some work experience.
- You will improve your language skills.
- You will face new challenges that will make you grow.
- You get into a business environment from which you will probably benefit in your later career.
- You can boost your resume.
- You can test yourself and expand your limits.
- You have the opportunity to make new friendships that will last your whole life.
If you don't want to miss this opportunity, you should definitely take care of an internship in advance. Many companies only accept interns for a minimum of 3 to 6 months. Therefore, you should not lose time writing, applying and visiting job interviews when you get to your host country.
3. Start your own project
Observe your new environment and look for new opportunities - dare to do something you always wanted to do and create something that inspires you or can help others.
4. Don't waste your time chilling
Use your time wisely and be aware that your stay abroad will end sooner than you can imagine. If you are bored you can try new things or meet new interesting people at different events.
Browse the internet for things to do, for example websites such as Eventbrite have thousands of activities - from concerts to lectures to fitness classes to food crawls - you will be surprised how many different things and events are offered.
5. Make new contacts
Try to keep in touch with your new contacts and friends. We live in a globally connected world and you never know what can result from something that started with a simple friendship.
Every exchange has a huge impact on our lives. Sometimes we don’t realize this until many years pass by. Don‘t waste your time, make the best of your stay and enjoy one of the best times of your life.
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