Featured Image

5 Tips to Make the Most of Your Study Abroad Experience

A study abroad trip is not something to let pass you by. Here are five tips to make the most of your experience and get all the benefits out of your program.

Studying abroad is something millions of students do. They may travel with a certain program, attend prestigious foreign schools, or simply go to experience the culture and lifestyle in another country. It’s an experience like no other that allows you to immerse yourself in a different place while completing your degree along the way. While you should work hard at your schoolwork, a study abroad trip can be so much more than that—and you need to take advantage of it. With that in mind, here are five ways you can make the most of your study abroad trip.

1. Learn all you can about where you’re going

Learning is the most crucial part of any study abroad trip. While learning in a classroom is great, learning about the culture you’ll be immersing yourself in when you go abroad is also a good idea. You should learn about the country’s traditions, some of the basic language, and the cuisine. Basically, just soak up all you can. If you end up really liking where you studied, be sure to also educate yourself on the process of becoming a citizen in case it’s something you’re interested in down the line. This might seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. There are resources such as Express Entry PR that can help you out if becoming a permanent resident is your goal. 

Related: Preparing for Your Adventures Abroad

2. Set goals for your trip

Before you even set off on your study abroad trip, it’s a good idea to set some goals for yourself. Exploring a new country without a plan can be overwhelming, as there’s a ton to do and see. You need to have a rough idea of the things you want to see, do, and achieve before your trip is over. If not, you may not get as much out of the experience as you would have liked. 

Unfortunately, setting goals isn’t always easy. If you want to achieve the best results with your goal setting, consider setting SMART goals—goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound. As far as what these goals are, that’s entirely up to you. They could be achieving a certain grade, learning a certain amount of words, or even learning to cook some of the native cuisine. By having these goals in place, you’ll have things to work toward that’ll keep you on the right path and busy during your trip.

3. Make meaningful connections

Another way to make the most of your trip is to make meaningful connections with others. Not only can these connections potentially help you out with your studies or future career, but you can also make some new lifelong friends from around the globe. While you’ll almost surely connect with other students in your program, consider befriending local students and others around town. These individuals can help immerse you more in the culture and understand things better. It also broadens your perspective. You can meet people at sporting events, cafés, festivals, and other things happening near where you’re studying. It can be hard to develop friendships and then leave these new friends, but it’s still worth it. With social media and video calling services readily available everywhere, keeping in touch with foreign friends is easier than ever.

Related: 7 Exciting Reasons You Should Study Abroad

4. Set time aside for yourself

While learning, studying, and reaching your goals is important, you also need to ensure you set aside some time for yourself during your trip. This time should be dedicated to doing exactly what you want to do. You could visit a museum, lie on the beach, play video games, go out on the town, or anything else that rejuvenates you.

Remember, not everything you do needs to be according to plan and focused on learning or bettering yourself. If you don’t have a little fun on the side, you’ll only regret it in the future. Don’t go overboard with this, but give yourself a day every now and then to simply do what you want, whether it’s productive or not. Of course, you always want to be safe and know the rules, traditions, and customs where you are. The last thing you want to do is offend anyone or break a law you didn’t know existed, so do some research before going off on your own.

5. Have a plan for homesickness

No matter how excited you are for your journey, there’s a good chance you’ll experience some homesickness while you’re away. You may miss your pet, your family, your friends, or even your bed. Whatever it is, ensure you have a way to deal with this. If not, some days will be spent sulking in bed and questioning the whole trip. If you feel homesick, a quick video or phone call with someone from home can be just what you need. Keeping busy can be another great way to fight off homesickness. But if you spend too much time reaching out to friends and family, it’s probably only going to make you miss them more, so be sure to find the right balance.

Related: Bringing Your Cell Phone to Study Abroad: What You Need to Consider

Go and explore, meet new people, join activities, and do things you enjoy to keep busy during your adventure abroad! Take advantage of this opportunity you’ve been given to grow  and immerse yourself in another culture. Using these five tips will ensure that your study abroad trip is as successful and rewarding as possible. 

Check out the tag “study abroad” for loads of great advice on making your experience the best it can possibly be.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

experiential learning international studies student life study abroad study abroad programs travel

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
CollegeXpress Logo


Are you our next winner?

Register now for our scholarship giveaway

Melanie Kajy

Melanie Kajy

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me tremendously during my senior year of high school. I started off using the college search to find more information about the universities I was interested in. Just this tool alone gave me so much information about a particular school. It was my one-stop shop to learn about college. I was able to find information about college tuition, school rank, majors, and so much more that I can't list it all. The college search tool has helped me narrow down which college I want to attend, and it made a stressful process surprisingly not so stressful. I then moved to the scholarship search tool to find scholarships to apply for because I can't afford to pay for tuition myself. The search tool helped me find scholarships that I was eligible for. The tool gave me all the information I could ever need about a particular scholarship that was being offered. The CollegeXpress scholarship search tool is so much better than other tools offered, like the Chegg scholarship search. Thanks to CollegeXpress, I was able to apply to tons of scholarships in a relatively easy way!



High School Class of 2020

CollegeXpress was able to give me a short summary, background, and helpful tips about Bob Jones University The information given was helpful in allowing me to understand and read about personal experiences while at Bob Jones.

Wendy Thompson

Wendy Thompson

Owner, Westport Educational Consulting

I just discovered your site and LOVE it—fun, interesting, full of incredible information you can’t find anywhere else, and a godsend for those of us in the college counseling business. I am a fan!

Makiyah Murray

Makiyah Murray

High School Class of 2021

The college application process has been a stressful one, but CollegeXpress has eased some of that stress with its readily available college resources. At the beginning of the process, I frequently used the college search feature, and now that I’m almost done applying, I’ve started using the scholarship search. Both of these resources have made it easier to find relevant information.



High School Class of 2023

CollegeXpress helped open me up to many colleges that fit my interests. I’m only a sophomore in high school, so I like having a lot to look at, and CX does a great job of picking colleges that meet my wants. It's a great website that I'll continue to use until it comes time for me to apply for colleges. I also like that it notifies me through email with options to look at. Thanks CX!

College Matches