10 Tips for Adjusting to Study Abroad

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The beginning of your study abroad adventure can be overwhelming.  All of a sudden you’re attending a new university, surrounded by new people, and living in a new country.  It’s a lot to take in.  Here are a few tips to help you adjust to your new environment so you can make the most of your study abroad experience right from the start!

  1. Fight the jet lag.  Sleep_womanYou may want to spend your first few days at your Host University sleeping, but if you do that you’ll never adjust to the time difference, and you’ll miss out on a lot of great events!
  2. Go to fresher fairs and events, activity fairs, etc.  University_of_Portsmouth_Freshers'_Fayre_2011_2At your UC you might be a junior or a senior, but studying abroad lets you act like a freshman (“fresher”) again.  These events are a great way to meet new people and see all the opportunities available at your Host University.
  3. Unpack your stuff and decorate your room soon after arriving.  5192866091_6ee5f3b208_bYour accommodation will never feel like home if you’re living out of your suitcase, and you’ll look forward to returning to your flat after a long day of classes if you’ve decorated your room with posters and pictures of friends.
  4. Explore your Host University’s campus and city. pierWhen you stop getting lost and figure out your favourite restaurants and study spots you’ll feel much more at home.
  5. Just like when you were a freshman at your UC, everyone you meet is a potential new friend.  friendsTalk to people at orientation, in your halls, in your lectures, and make plans to go places with new people.  You could end up making British friends, American friends, and friends from all over the world!
  6. Make a routine and do things you like to do at home.  cookingDo you usually cook your meals? Spend time cooking every week.  Do you like to run in the mornings? Plan time each morning to work out.  And find societies at your Host University that pertain to your interests.  If you do some of the things you do in California when you’re in the UK, you won’t feel so far away.
  7. Talk to people back home, but try not to miss out on anything because you have to Skype people in California.skypeYour family and friends will understand that you have so much to do and see while you’re studying abroad that you don’t always have time to talk.
  8. Take photos and let yourself be a tourist. big benOnce you’ve gotten used to your Host University city you might not think about going to the tourist spots where you live, so try to do that early on. You don’t want to leave the UK without seeing the major attractions of your town.
  9. If you start to feel homesick, keep busy and distract yourself. foodIt’s totally natural to miss home but it’s much easier to feel sad when you are sitting by yourself in your room.  If you start to feel down, go for a walk or grab some food with your new friends, whatever will make you happier and remind you that studying abroad is fun!
  10. Remember that adjustment takes time, but it will get easier. Picture1Don’t expect to feel completely comfortable right away; there’s jet lag, homesickness, and culture shock to deal with. But most people say that studying abroad was one of the best times of their life and that will probably be true for you, too, it just might not feel like that in the beginning.