4 Tricks for Keeping Up with the “Study” in Study Abroad

Written by Emily February 8, 2016

Focus on schoolwork before traveling so you don't have to worry about anything while you're exploring! (also--who has room for books in luggage?!)

The rain finally stopped for a quick photo in front of the lit up tower. It was breathtaking!

Enjoyed a break in the world famous "Angelinas" cafe, known for their hot cocoa and macaroons!

Maximizing our crepe consumption. When in Paris!

Taking in all the beautiful views Paris has to offer.


What a wonderful first few weeks it has been! Between planning trips, taking a weekend trip to Paris, and trying to visit all the local places here in Paderno, it has been non-stop adventure. So much in fact, that it’s been pretty dang easy to forget the primary reason I’m here in the first place. It is called study abroad after all!

With a few weeks of class under my belt, I’ve learned a trick or two on how to best maintain the “study/life” balance here at CIMBA. Especially with classes beginning to pick up, it’s essential to find the right balance between studying and experiencing Italy (both at the same time for bonus points!) to get the most out of this experience.

 Here are the top 4 tricks to help with the work/life balance while studying abroad:

1. Get a planner: Get a planner…and use it! It may be easier to get away with not writing important deadlines/events down at home, but during study abroad there is so much going on that it’s extremely easy to miss something if you don’t write it down as soon as you become aware of it. Especially with traveling every weekend, deadlines seem a lot further away than they actually are. Paper due in a week? No problem, right? Wrong! The time you would usually use to write the paper in the final days before it’s due would generally be when you are traveling over weekends. Be sure to get a head start on important projects and studying as soon as you hear about them.

 2. Plan Backwards: This is also much easier if you’re using a planner. Planning out the week on Sunday night makes sure that you plan time for everything. Having a few little tasks each day breaks up work and ensures that you won’t be scrambling to complete something the night before.

 3. Weekdays Are For Work: Completing everything you need to get done during the week means that weekends are saved exclusively for the things you want to get done—most likely meaning travel! Having schoolwork hanging over your head while traveling Europe is an awful feeling (trust me). Use weekdays to buckle down and get stuff done!

4. Get Into a Routine: This is much easier said than done! Schedules are more varied than at home and you never know when an exciting opportunity will pop up, but getting into some sort of routine will make your life seem 100% more organized. This will allow you to use your time most productively. Have two hours between classes Monday, Wednesday and Friday? Get in the habit of doing your homework then. Have an early class on Tuesday? Get in the habit of going to the cute coffee shop down the road every Tuesday afternoon. Getting into a habit makes it easier for your brain to focus on the task you’re trying to get done. We all know how easy it is to spend short one hour breaks catching up with home or checking up on social media, but if you actually use that time for something productive, it’s surprising how much you can get done! 

Looking at the semester with a “work hard, play hard” mentality is the best way to make certain that you get the most out the abroad experience while still doing well in school! Good luck fellow abroad-ers, and I hope this helps!