The Art of Balancing Work and Play While Studying Abroad

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*Actually studying while abroad is important*

The very thought of new places, people, and cultures excites a passionate traveler. As St. Augustine pointed out, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” On the other hand, if you pursue education abroad, the pages of you read will easily amount to double that of those who choose not to.

girl studying on a porch
On the bright side, you're usually studying in a gorgeous place—no more dingy library lights!

It is one of the best ways to see the world, but as a student, your studies come first. It can be challenging to balance your work and fun time as you spend your days abroad. This is especially true because you may not have a guardian or your parent to guide you like back home. You are under your own supervision. 

Add to that the infinite distractions around you and the idea of dedicating time to study seems daunting, but with a few tips to get you started, you can have it all—you can study AND play abroad like a champ. Here's how:

4 ways to balance studying & adventuring while abroad

1. Partner Up and Make a Schedule

Don’t forget why you are studying abroad. There is a huge difference between a jolly vacation and an educational tour. The grades you earn will follow you home and can eventually help you travel more and with more freedom. One great idea is to find a good study partner right away. This way, you will never feel alone and will have support during those hard times you need to put studies first. 

You will be doing a world of good for yourself if you create a daily schedule to manage your workload. Taking the time to set a schedule for yourself and getting to know the coursework will result in more time for you to adventure in the end.

woman listening to podcast while studying
Find a study buddy and co-plan your adventure time versus time to hit the books.

2. Make Your Travels More Intentional

Studying abroad surrounds you with a wealth of cultural and historic offerings. And yes, exploring the museums, architecture, and monuments are vital to a well-rounded experience. Visit the Big Ben when studying in London and the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but put a little effort into it. 

Be sure to find the quickest and most affordable ways to make the trips. Spontaneity is great, but don’t get carried away with whatever is being presented to you. Do your own research and make an effort to intentionally and knowledgeably travel. 

3. Prep for Playtime

Now it’s time for some fun and play planning which means different things to different people. Foodies should explore different restaurants abroad and never underestimate the places that look like a little hole in the wall. Find others with similar interests by taking a cooking class and never miss a chance to enjoy the culinary arts in your adopted city. Do you love sports? Most major cities boast professional sports teams and the respective camaraderie of a sports crowd. You will also enjoy experiencing the different ways fans show their support. If you're a fitness nut, find local gyms (or new ways to exercise!) and get involved with gym meet ups.

If you are a party-person, there will be plenty for you, but don’t throw caution to the wind. Part of the beauty of studying abroad is that you get a taste of what it is like to really live somewhere new. You're not there for just a week vacation; you actually have some responsibilities. So party away if you want, but don’t forget about the classes you have on weekday mornings.

man studying on laptop
Make sure you go to class, amigos!

4. Get Some Rest

While most of us like to work hard and play hard, it is equally important for you to spare some time for rest. The last thing you need in a foreign environment is to be super stressed or fall ill. Taking the time to rest and replenishment can help you enjoy the best of both worlds: work and play. 

Normal healthy living rules still apply in your new country. Proper sleep, regular exercise, and a healthy diet will make life better no matter where you are, especially when you are living in a new place and exposed to all kinds of new things!

Voilà! A productive, yet fun, study abroad experience

You're not just there to stick your nose in a book and shut the world out. You're also not just there to ditch responsibilities and live it up every second of every day. You have to find balance—and you have to actually study when studying abroad. Take advantage of your destination to add more depth to your learning; visit related museum exhibitions, talk to experts in your area of interest, get to know your subjects from a variety of angles. 

Keep all these tips in mind, and you are sure to have an incredible time studying abroad anywhere in the world!

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Topic:  While Abroad