Study abroad is without a doubt one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences in anyone's life.
When people decide to study abroad it is because they have a desire to expand their horizons, get out of their comfort zone, and to have fun! (If this sounds like something you have been feeling, you are in the right place). Now, study abroad does hit all of those criteria, but there is also a factor that many people forget about.
Study abroad also involves, well, learning!
That's right, study abroad isn't just you roaming free in a different country, hence the name 'study' abroad. If you chose to study abroad, there is still schoolwork involved! If you go for a full semester then that means you still have a full course load. It may seem like all fun and games at first, but it is something that needs your attention.
How do you balance education, and fun, while studying abroad?
My biggest piece of advice for this very important topic is to recognize the significance of your education while you are studying abroad. I do not recommend spending all of your time on your studies (no way!) but do make sure you don't just throw it all out the window.
Here are a few ways to make sure you, at least, get a passing grade, while also having the most fun.
Pay attention in class
For a J-term program, you may only be taking 1 or 2 classes because you are in your host country for a shorter amount of time. That does not mean the classes are easier or shorter. Your class could be up to 3 hours long, 5 days a week. It is very important that you pay attention in class. Paying attention in class will make sure that you actually understand the material, don't have to study as much for tests, and therefore, will have more free time for other activities.
Set aside time for studying
If you have a test coming up, or a group presentation, etc, then you should set aside time to complete those tasks. It does not have to be your whole weekend or even your whole night (unless you feel that you need it!) but being able to set aside at least a few hours to get your school work done will only benefit you. Wouldn't you rather feel accomplished and confident in your work? And I promise, you will still have plenty of time to explore the city!
Set realistic expectations
We already covered the fact that your education while studying abroad is important. Knowing this can help you to set realistic expectations for your time studying abroad. Your classes while abroad are specifically tailored to be similar to your classes at home, so it is not just a joke. Slacking off and skipping class could result in a failing grade and that could possibly ruin your whole trip. Go in with a clear head, and be prepared to get your work done so you can have fun!
The best thing you can do while taking classes while abroad is to treat it like you would a class at home. Keep your regular school routine, or make it even better! Let your study abroad experience bring our your best self. Get your work done in a timely manner and you will have plenty of time for other, more fun, activities.