Want to study abroad?
Learn more about global programs available in the College of Engineering!
Time really flies while abroad. There are so many new and exciting things to do, it can be overwhelming. So it is important to be intentional with your time abroad. Follow these tips to ensure you maximize your time.
1. KNOW YOUR GOALS AND THEIR ORDER OF PRIORITY
While abroad, you will be pulled in many different directions: traveling, exploring local culture, studying, going out with friends, learning a new language and having time for yourself to rest. Therefore, I recommend writing down your personal goals for studying abroad before you leave. In my case, my number one priority was to use my time to advance my Spanish skills. Second, I wanted to make sure my time abroad did not prevent me from graduating on time. Third, I wanted to travel and explore the world. Having these goals made it easier for me to take a step back while abroad and determine if I spent an appropriate amount of time on each goal based on their priority.
2. Calculate the opportunity costs
Opportunity cost refers to alternatives you lose by choosing to pursue something else. This includes money and time, but also experiences and relationships. While abroad, you need to view your time through a lens of opportunity cost, especially with your studies. There are so many better things to do with your time abroad rather than spend it at a library behind a book. I am not saying slack off on academics, but rather be aware of its opportunity cost. As an engineer, I think it is often significant. It is a good thing to not worry as much about school and take advantage of the many international experiences of a lifetime. Although classes are pass/fail abroad, some people may still disagree with my viewpoint, arguing that medical and graduate school will care about your transcript. That is valid, but you must decide for yourself if the opportunity cost is worth it. In my opinion, you can’t let what others may think of you dictate your life.
3. SAVE TIME FOR REST AND SPONTANEITY
While abroad, the travel bug will bite, and it is a great experience to travel and explore other countries and cultures. Weekend trips can be a lot of fun, and it is good to plan them in advance to save money. However, don’t let the travel bug make you sick. One thing I wish I had done was designate more time for spontaneous things and exploring the city I lived in. I wish I had left more weekends to spend with the local friends I met abroad. Likewise, being in a foreign place can take a toll, since you are almost always out of your comfort zone. There are times when you just want to recharge, so designate time for that.
I hope these tips will help you as you plan. Feel free to reach out to me if you need some help or advice as you plan your Aggie experience abroad. Regardless, make sure to be intentional with every moment, because it will definitely go by quicker than you think.
Industrial Engineering, Class of 2023
If you found this blog post interesting, you may consider reading “IRAP: Two weeks in Yucatán that changed my life” and “Why You Can Afford to Go Abroad.”