By Ingle International
Studying abroad. What does it mean to you? Weekend road trips? Cross-cultural romance? Updating your Facebook status every hour on the hour? Updating your wardrobe? Parties, parties, and more parties?
Studying abroad can encompass all of those things. But once you’re away from home, try to remember why you left. To learn – yes, about your program of study – but also about different life views, about yourself, and the world. Chances are you (or your parents) are spending big bucks on your overseas education, so how can you make sure you’re not throwing that hard-earned cash away?
That’s where this boring thing called “time management” comes in.
1. Schedule your fun
So, first thing’s first: You can’t do it all in one day. It sounds obvious, but most of us have to learn it the hard way. A simple solution? Buy yourself a schedule book, and start scheduling! It doesn’t hurt to save Friday nights for partying and leave the “tamer” activities for weeknights. Explore your city on Mondays, meet your language exchange partner on Tuesdays, go shopping after school on Wednesdays, and try a new restaurant each Thursday. And, of course, don’t forget to take a day trip at least one Saturday a month!
2. Make time for the boring stuff
Now that you have your “fun” sorted, don’t forget about your homework, keeping in touch with family back home, and washing those dirty socks! And if you get yourself a day planner, you can actually organize each day by the hour — a very easy way to keep your life in check.
3. You have control over your time management
During your first month of living abroad, you will probably find it hard to stick to a schedule. Or to say ‘no’ to all those new friends, cool invitations, and exotic food. It’s okay to go a little crazy initially, but try to tone it down after a few weeks. Saying ‘yes’ to everything means you will eventually be too exhausted to enjoy yourself, resulting in poor grades, poor health, and even homesickness. You don’t want to be responsible for ruining what should be the time of your life. So get your rest, eat well, exercise, and say ‘no’ when you start to feel overwhelmed by it all. It just may mean saying ‘yes’ to an extra month (or year) abroad.