As a study abroad student, you know that there are many hours of planning and researching to do before leaving home. There are bucket list items that must be checked off, adventures to be taken, and many memories to be made. With little time in each city, you want to maximize time and plan in order to see as much as possible in the amount of time that you have. There are a few ways that you can maximize your time abroad as a student. These include learning how to navigate transportation systems, planning day trips, tours, and excursions ahead of time, and also researching things such as restaurants and local things to do in each country that you will be visiting.

One of the most difficult things that I had to learn how to do was learning how the train system worked. This seemed simple, but once I was there it took me several days to figure it out. I had to learn which train I needed to take, what direction that they would be going in, where to buy the tickets, and which stops to get off on. If you are not familiar with train systems, (I wasn’t), this could be a big culture shock. Thankfully, google and apple maps will be your best friend while learning to navigate the public transportation systems in your study abroad location. Once you learn this, you will be able to hop on the trains and move around to many different places with ease.

The next way that you can prepare and maximize your time on your trip is by planning out day trips, tours, and excursions ahead of time. It is very helpful to have an idea of which places that you want to visit and plan out your trip around the big day trips that you want to do. Next, it is very smart to go ahead and book tours, and passes in advance. On my trip we had to miss out on several big tours such as the colosseum in Rome and the Duomo in Florence. These are just a couple of things that we had to miss out on because we did not book the tickets ahead of time.

The last bit of advice that I have about making the most of your time abroad is to have a plan, but also prepare to be flexible. While abroad, you may run into difficulties or hiccups that make you change your plans. Trying to stay calm and allowing your plans to be flexible will help limit anxiety and allow you to enjoy and make the most of each situation. All in all, remember that this is a trip of a lifetime and to enjoy every single moment because it will be over before you know it!

Hope you enjoyed reading!


Some of our class getting to see the Colosseum in Rome