What NOT to do when studying abroad

Authored by:
Kate Whitley


You did it! You have finally decided to study abroad. You’re anxious for the unknown, but cannot wait to embark on this new adventure. As expected, you have a million questions. More often than not, you are overwhelmed with advice from friends and family telling you, “you must do this, you must do that.” But does anyone ever ask what YOU want to do? When talking with CIEE alumni, we asked: What is one thing you wish you knew before studying abroad? Rather, what would you tell yourself NOT to do? 

Alumni Advice - 

DON’T underestimate the beauty of the unknown

“I wish I didn’t underestimate the beauty of places off the beaten path. My favorite trips, sights, foods, and friends all came from cities I’d never heard of, countries I didn’t know much about, and cultures I wish I would’ve been exposed to sooner.”

- Sarah H., Gustavus Adolphus College | London & Rome

DON’T worry about missing out on things taking place at home

“I would tell myself to not be afraid of missing out on something. Your time abroad goes by so slowly, as you savor the unique experiences that each day brings. Simultaneously, by the end of the program you wonder how it went by so fast. Live each day to the fullest, but also integrate your normal schedule and routine into your daily life.”

- Max C., Arizona State University | Lisbon 

DON’T be afraid to explore the world alone 

“Exploring the world alone does not have to be scary.”

- Meghan G., Rider University | Berlin, Paris & Rome

DON’T doubt your capabilities

“I would remind myself that I am capable. I am competent. I can handle so much more than I thought I could, and an adventure like studying abroad is worth it in every sense.”

- Zoe M., University of La Verne | London

Every study abroad experience is unique - there’s no need to compare. Rather, do what YOU want to do, go where YOU want to go, and see what YOU want to see. You are the narrator of your own story. 


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