10 Lessons I Learned while Studying Abroad

I know it's been a long time since I last posted, but I am so excited to be back with so much new content to share.

Au courant life studying abroad in Florence Italy at Ponte Vecchio

Studying abroad for four months was a whirlwind and by far the best experience I've ever had. I will share all the details in an upcoming blogpost, but I briefly just wanted to explain why I took the time off from posting.

Life is all about experiences, and during the beginning of abroad I found myself feeling stressed about posting on social media, writing up blog posts, and keeping content flowing. The second I realized blogging was becoming a burden on me was the second I knew I had to take a step back so that I could enjoy this once in a lifetime experience to the fullest. I apologize to those who look forward to seeing my posts, and hope I didn't let anyone down.

With that said, giving myself time off allowed my thoughts to flow more freely, ultimately giving me tons of new ideas and different outlooks on life. I can't wait to share everything I've learned and experienced with you now that I'm back!

In order to kick off the new content, I decided to share the top 10 lessons I learned while studying abroad.

1. It's ok to be selfish

There will be times when your friends want to go somewhere, but you're dying to go somewhere else. Follow your gut & don't feel bad for not joining in. Abroad is the one time in your life you can be absolutely selfish, so take advantage of it.

2. See as many places as you possibly can

There will be weekends when you're exhausted and want to stay back, but time is so short. Unless your sick or severely exhausted, try to see a new place every weekend even if its just a train ride away.

3. Always have a backup plan & prepare for the worst

Traveling presents itself with plenty of interesting curveballs. That said, always prepare for the worst. Get to the airport or train station extra early. Make a list before you leave of all the things you might be forgetting. And then double, triple check. Set 5 alarms to wake up if you have to. You can never be too sure with this one.

4. Don't stress about the little things

If there was a top concern I overheard abroad, it was by far people feeling concerned about their weight or appearance. I am guilty of this too at times! The issue is that the time spent worrying about appearances could be time spent taking in the beautiful life you are living. Try to really avoid talking or stressing about silly things, and look at the big picture.

5. Be spontaneous

My favorite nights out were the ones I almost didn't go. My favorite trips were the ones planned at the last minute. Never feel like it's too late to go somewhere or do something great- it's not! Be free in the way you live and encourage your friends to do the same.

6. Open up to new people

One of the highlights of abroad for me was the new friends I made. Never be afraid to open up to others, and they will show you the same openness back the majority of the time.

7. Put your phone down

This is a very important one. Please remember this. You are going to see some of the most amazing places and be tempted to take out your phone, snap some shots, and walk away. It's totally fine to want to take photos, but after, take a moment to put the phone away and actually take in that view. 

8. Don't rush time

I'm so guilty of this, but try not to always want to move on to the next exciting thing. Truthfully, everything you do abroad (even in your own city) is exciting and new. Try to slow down even the times when you're bored,  because it goes by in a blink.

9. Appreciate how privileged you are

If you are lucky enough to go abroad, make sure you remember how rare it is to get that opportunity. Most people do not get the chance to even leave their city, let alone country or continent. Thank your parents often, and really just try to remember how fortunate you are.

10. Realize that history matters

This might seem random, but before going abroad I hated learning about history. Living in Florence and even seeing other cities reminded me that history is everything and shapes the world around us. It made me eager to learn more about how things came to be and really appreciate them.