10 Things I Would Tell Myself Before Studying Abroad
Written by stellafitzgerald November 10, 2023
Studying abroad was such a life-changing experience. It was filled with new adventures, people, challenges, rewards, and experiences. If I could travel back in time to before studying abroad, here is a list of things I would tell myself in order to maximize my time at CIMBA…
1. Treat Yourself
While studying abroad, a very significant influence is money. It is very important to keep a budget while studying abroad. However, keep in mind that while money is limited, so is your time abroad. How many other chances do you get in your life to be young studying abroad in Italy? As a person that can be very stingy with money, I would tell myself to treat myself while abroad. Get that cappuccino. Buy some gelato. Lunch is on me. That purse from Florence will last a lifetime.
2. Talk with the locals
Some of the best experiences and connections I made were with the locals in the cities and countries I visited. I became very close to the locals of the Paderno and Bassano regions. They had the best personalities, sense of humor, and wisdom. They would always give me wonderful recommendations on the best, authentic foods, drinks, and restaurants. Through these conversations, I learned so much about the different local cultures, languages, people, and the world. By going out of my comfort zone and talking to these amazing, kind people, we were both able to grow and learn so much. (The locals like talking and learning from you as you do with them!)
3. Don’t limit yourself to one friend or friend group
When you are halfway across the globe in a new country, it is only natural to stay close to the friends and people who feel like home. This is totally understandable and acceptable, but I would encourage you to not limit yourself to one friend or friend group. By staying open to new friendships, I was able to meet some of my new best friends from all over the country.
4. You can’t control everything!
You obviously can’t control everything in life, but it is extremely important to keep this in mind while studying abroad. When I travel, I have a desire to try to make everything perfect… I need to see X, Y, and Z. I need to try this food from this specific restaurant. I need to have fun while also being relaxed on this vacation. Those are good goals, but things will come up that are outside of your control. Luggage gets lost. Trains will be missed. People get sick. Don’t let the uncontrollable ruin your experience. Take a breath, be flexible, and make the most of it.
5. Try new things
Studying abroad is one big adventure so be adventurous! Walk to town. Go on a hike. Go kayaking. Go paragliding. Cliff jumping? Hell yeah. These new things will make the best memories. (Please note that extreme activities are not covered as part of your insurance while studying abroad.)
6. Commit to your classes
My classes at CIMBA will go down as my favorite classes in my college career. The amazing professors are passionate about their studies, traveling, and teaching. CIMBA utilizes hands-on learning techniques that are engaging and informative. You will learn so much about the content, global companies, working with others, yourself, and the world if you engage and commit yourself to learning while abroad.
7. Public transportation, Airbnb’s, and hostels are your best friends.
The transportation in Europe is super convenient and helpful, so take advantage of it (just make sure you understand tickets, and requirements first so you don’t get fined)! AirBnB’s and hostels are inexpensive and really fun! You can stay at the coolest places and meet the most interesting people in these environments.
8. Those who wander aren’t lost.
My biggest encouragement to myself would be to wander. Just walk around the new cities and places you are visiting. You never know what hidden gem is around the corner. Some of my favorite sights and experiences were places and things that I accidentally stumbled upon by wandering around new places.
9. Be Aware and Cautious
After that last piece of advice, it is necessary to state the importance of being careful, aware, and cautious of your surroundings while traveling. Please wander, but make sure you have a good sense of yourself, belongs, and people around you while you do so. Traveling with a group of supportive friends is best. Look out for each other, and make sure to communicate!
10. Soak up the experience and your surroundings!
You are studying abroad in Italy! You are studying abroad in Italy! You are studying abroad in Italy! Look around. Take in the breathtaking views of the Dolomite Mountain range. Commit to memory the stunning vineyards and fields filled with poppies. Smell the fresh air. Just be present in the moment. Like I already said it goes by fast so make the most of each moment. (Don’t scroll through TikTok silly, you can do that when you get back home).