Do's and Don'ts While Studying Abroad
College Life |  Source:

Do's and Don'ts While Studying Abroad

Take this advice, you may need it!

If you're one of the thousands of lucky students who get to study abroad spring semester, get ready to have one of the best experiences of your life. When you are abroad, you meet lifelong friends, create unforgettable memories, learn more about yourself than you ever have, and will experience the freshman 15 all over again.

I was fortunate enough to spend my first semester of college in Florence, and I am proud to say that I will be here for another semester! I couldn't be more excited.

As fun as studying abroad is and sounds, it is also stressful. Packing, adjusting to somewhere with a different culture and language, figuring out how to live as an expat is truly exhausting.

Here are some helpful dos and don'ts to keep in mind when you're studying abroad.

Go to class.
Study abroad students have the rep that they don't go to school. Instead, they party, travel, and spend too much money. Help people understand that studying is the first thing that should come to mind when one hears "study abroad."

Go to class, do your homework, study for tests. It is school after all whether you are taking pass/fail or bullshit elective classes.

Make a budget.
Make a weekly budget for groceries, eating out, living essentials, and travel. I saw so many students blow through their money in one semester because they didn't think cautiously about their spending.

Have fun responsibly.
Most study abroad destinations have a lower drinking age than the U.S., so many study abroad students take advantage of being able to drink legally and go to bars and clubs. All I can say is to be responsible. You are representing not only your school but also your country.

Take advantage of the opportunity to travel.
Traveling, especially in Europe, is very manageable time-wise and budget-wise. Take advantage of it and travel! Go on weekend trips, day trips, and somewhere exotic for your spring break.

Plan thoroughly, and remember that it's easier to plan in small groups rather than big groups. Before you book a trip through a travel agency geared for study abroad students, research how you can spend less money by planning it yourself.

Start a blog or keep a journal.
I can't say how important it is to record your study abroad experience. Write in a journal or start a blog for friends and family to keep up on your global adventures. Who knows, you could be the next Jay Alvarez or Alexis Ren.

Get to know the place you're studying.
Although traveling is important, don't spend every weekend away from the place you are traveling. Many students regret that they didn't get to know the place they were studying because they were always traveling. Balance is key!

Don't be an obnoxious American.
In Florence, American students have a rep of being loud, obnoxious, teenagers who spend too many early mornings walking back drunk from the club. To be frank, it's truly embarrassing because they're right. Try and make it a point to act appropriate on the streets after a late night.

Don't speak English all the time.
Part of studying abroad is immersing yourself in a different culture. I can't get over how many students I have witnessed order simple things in English.

Is "Vorrei un cappuccino per favore" really much harder to say than "Can I get a cappuccino?" Didn't think so. You don't have to become fluent, but try and learn the basics. You'd be surprised by how much you can scrape by with them!

Don't brag about all the fun things you're experiencing.
You should share your abroad experiences with friends and family. But remember that they are living their normal lives back in the States. If you brag too much about all the fun you're having, you might find that people get annoyed. Just keep perspective in mind.

Don't splurge on making your apartment or room look like one found on Urban.
Trying to make your place feel like home by buying unnecessary things is the last thing your abroad budget needs. You will be home soon enough to decorate however you'd like.

Don't compare everything to America.
You're in a new country where people have a different way of life. I get so tired of hearing people complain about the slower wifi, how the grocery stores are set up, city sights and smells, in addition to subtle and drastic changes. If you aren't open to being somewhere new and different, then why are you studying abroad?

Don't stress about the weight gain.
Weight gain when you're abroad is a thing. Indulge in the native food of your study abroad destination, exercise as much as you can, and utilize summer 2017 to get back in shape.

Studying abroad has been one of the most rewarding experiences, and I can only hope it's a positive experience for everyone who is brave enough to do it!

Image Alt
College Life |  Source: Business Insider

Celebrating The Holidays Abroad

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

I'm 18 years old, and I'm spending my first holiday season away from home. This experience came four years earlier than expected. It's a little bittersweet, but it's also different and exciting.

I've learned that holidays celebrated with friends or even alone can be just as festive. They're just missing the warmth and comfort of family and home.

Thanksgiving isn't a holiday celebrated in Italy. We worried we wouldn't be able to have a Thanksgiving feast because we couldn't find a whole turkey or cranberries in the grocery stores here. Luckily, Marist has a local restaurant prepare an American Thanksgiving dinner for the students every year.

We got dressed up and enjoyed red wine, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. It wasn't the same, but it was nice being with the Fox Family, our family away from home.

Everyone felt a bit homesick on Thanksgiving because we all have our own Thanksgiving traditions; however, we made our own this year. It will certainly be memorable.

Christmas, on the other hand, is a huge holiday here. The lights are already on and beautifully lining the city. People sell decorative wreaths at the weekly flower markets, and Tiger (a European Target) has cheap and cute Christmas decorations on full display.

There's Christmas music playing everywhere now, and the cold is finally starting to settle in. It still feels like Christmas just in another place. I feel lucky to be able to experience this holiday outside of the United States. It's so different in a good way!

I am going to be in Budapest, Hungary on actual Christmas day with two of my friends. Our families are coming to visit after Christmas, and we wanted to travel somewhere else for Christmas.

We plan on going to the Christmas markets in Budapest and having a true Friendsmas. Hopefully we can still get a mini tree to put in our AirBnB and a few small gifts to open. We plan on exploring the empty city on Christmas day and hopefully finding somewhere to eat a Christmas dinner.

It's nice being able to go out as an 18-year-old for New Years. I am going to go to a local bar with a friend on New Year's Eve in Florence most likely. I am excited to spend New Year's in a city because it's much more lively than it is in Vermont.

The holiday season is festive no matter where you are. The homesickness hits me at different points, but I just feel lucky to be abroad and surrounded by such incredible friends. So much to be grateful for, so count your blessings and enjoy this holiday season wherever you may be!

Image Alt
College Life |  Source: @aubreeplodinec

Tips for Staying Fit Abroad

It's hard to do when you're away from home.

If you're abroad like I am, you might be struggling with staying fit and healthy. You're probably eating delicious food, legally drinking wine, and devouring gelato and cappuccinos every day.

If you're in a city, you probably walk an average of two miles per day because you have to go to class, the grocery store, and to your favorite hangout spots. However, walking is not as satisfying as the gym or a sports game.

I've found that joining a gym is not very realistic because a) it's hella expensive b) the gym is far away c) you wouldn't use it like you would on a typical college campus.

Even though it's already November, it's not too late to start living a more balanced lifestyle. One of my November goals is to start eating healthier and working exercise (other than walking) into my day. Here are some helpful and realistic tips to live a balanced abroad lifestyle!

Write a daily workout routine/schedule.
Pinterest has an amazing variety of daily workouts. Take an hour to sit down and look at different ones before throwing your own master workout list. Post it somewhere you will see it all the time to keep you motivated!

I have a workout routine for every day (except Sunday--gotta have an off day) in addition to days that I will run. I didn't realize how effective home workouts really can be. You don't need a lot of space to get cardio and ab work in!

Eat salad.
A lot of my diet in Italy has, of course, consisted of pizza and pasta. It's taken me two months to go to the grocery store and buy lettuce, fruit, and vegetables to put into salad form.

I forgot how delicious salad is, not to mention healthy! Some baby arugula, goat cheese, green apples, walnuts with balsamic and olive oil hits the spot, leaving you feeling full and good.

Cut back on your sweet tooth.
Try limiting yourself to gelato or pizza to once or twice a week instead of three to four times a week. You can still enjoy it, just less frequently.

Get a friend to help.
Friends can be great sources of motivation! Have them work out with you and eat healthy with you. You guys can push each other to get stronger.

This is a no brainer, but sleep is essential to your well-being. It can be hard on the nights when you want to go out with your friends before an 8 a.m., but make sure you are getting at least eight hours a night.

The abroad experience is one of the most invigorating and amazing experiences you'll ever have in your life. You'll learn unforgettable lessons, create lifelong memories, and make best friends. You should enjoy the food, culture, and sites, but it's important to keep things in perspective. Your health comes first!

Image Alt
College Life | 

Free Foreign Language Resources You Need To Know About

Free apps are life.

Whether you're trying to fulfill your language requirement or preparing to study abroad, sometimes a little extra help reviewing foreign languages is a must. Here are some great apps and online resources that'll make acing your Spanish exams (and other languages) muy f?cil.

I'm sure you've heard of this app, but I just want to emphasize how awesome it is. It's a totally free way to brush up on many popular languages and is constantly being updated to include more. The review is presented like a series of games with levels to unlock, making it a fun and a productive way to procrastinate. This resource can be used online or on your phone, making it even easier to fit in review time.

Hindi Urdu Flagship
This one might be a little bit more obscure, but if you're learning Hindi or Urdu, you NEED to know about this site. From sections like Glossaries Alive, which goes over basic words and phrases, to more advanced Hindi-Urdu Voicemails for real world practice, this website is the perfect class supplement if you ever find yourself trying to learn these South Asian tongues.

Another free app/website that offers a host of languages to practice. It has a quiz structure to drill you on common phrases which are spoken to help with pronunciation. It's another game-like set up that's more fun than staring at a text book.

This program offers practice in 12 languages and free registration. Like most, it offers common phrases with pronunciation; however, it also has an option to connect with native speakers over video chat.

BBC Languages
This website offers resources for 41 different languages. After choosing the language you want to review, you are brought to a page with all different kinds of supplementary material and links to additional online resources. It's an awesome source to find cool ways to practice. There are also interactive dramas in French, Spanish, and Italian that can be a different way to supplement your practice.

Image Alt
College Life |  Source: RLTheis

Don't Let Anxiety Keep You From Studying Abroad

Going abroad is scary, but so worth it.

Going abroad has always been a huge dream of mine ever since I was young. I've never really had the chance to experience other cultures that differ from mine and now as a rising junior, I'm set to spend my spring semester in Australia.

The mere idea of my departure in February since shivers up and down my spine, both of excitement and of apprehension. I know that going abroad is going to send my anxiety through the roof, but it's a challenge that I've come to accept and hopefully will learn to overcome.

If you're considering studying abroad, but you also suffer with anxiety, then you might go as far to let this be a reason against you studying abroad.

Trust me, I've been there. I always had that little bubble of worry in the back of my mind asking me, "are you sure our anxiety can handle this?" I still haven't quite mastered the art of pushing that bubble away and making myself confident enough to know I can handle this, but I'm getting there.

It's not a secret that studying abroad can be a huge key to having a successful college experience. Everyone that takes the chance to go abroad usually comes back with positive stories to tell and a shiny, new outlook on their life.

It adds an interesting detail to your resume and can make you stand out in the life-after-college real world. Although it won't be easy, you shouldn't let your anxiety cripple you from this experience because you will make it through.

Whether your anxiety is diagnosed or undiagnosed, going to a foreign country for an entire semester can put anybody out of their comfort zone. Studying abroad comes along with a multitude of different worries, like leaving your friends, leaving your SO, leaving your family, making friends in a foreign country, having fun, and homesickness.

Although these all seem like pretty average concerns, us anxiety people blow them up into huge issues and this can cause us to panic more than usual.

There are ways to help keep your anxiety under control even while abroad. Learn to communicate about your fears, talk to anybody whether it be a parent, mentor, fellow study abroad student, counselor, or friend. Remember that even though you might feel like you're alone in a new world, you aren't.

There will be people in your travel group, your classes, even your new roommates who you can surround yourself with. Don't close yourself off to meeting new people because that will be the key to a happy study abroad experience.

Although I consider myself an introvert, and know putting myself out there in order to make new friends will be out of my comfort zone, I know I'm ready for the challenge.

Remember that you're in a completely new environment so make sure to keep an open mind when it comes to meeting people and nights out with new friends in a new culture. It's a learning experience for everybody!

As Billy Joel once said, "you can get what you want or you can just get old." So this choice is yours: Would you rather opt out of studying abroad and stay at your home university completely in your comfort zone, or would you rather take the chance to experience a million new things all at once and discover yourself along the way?

Image Alt
College Life |  Source: @vegasworld

Which Country Should You Study Abroad in? (Quiz)

Decisions are the worst, let this quiz decide for you!

Studying abroad is the hottest trend as of late. Seriously, everyone wants to study abroad. But, it can be hard to figure out where would be the best fit for you. If you're still trying to figure out where you should go, then take this quiz to find out!