4 Tips to Navigate Your First Semester Abroad Like a Pro

Posted 27 January 2017
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Congratulations! You have been accepted to your dream university and arrived on campus along with other students from around the world. Now it’s time to think of the strategies to increase your productivity, adjust to new schedule and learn how to make the most of studying abroad.

1. Learn how to plan ahead

If you are not a type of person who likes to plan ahead, you must learn this new skill. Organizational skills are important if you want to be productive during your school years. Request a syllabus from your professor and a schedule of activities for the semester from one of the faculty members. That way you will be prepared for any upcoming exams, projects and activities on campus. Make sure to get yourself a notebook organizer to mark these deadlines. It will become helpful for drafting ‘to do’ lists to keep track of your daily activities.

2. Manage your time wisely

A second useful skill is time management. It is closely related to organizational skill discussed above. You may notice that you will need to manage your time better to finish tasks. You will need to study, find time for breaks, cook for yourself, clean and do many other things that take a lot of time. Make sure to estimate how much time each activity requires and build your weekly schedule accordingly. Time management is one of the most important skills you will learn during your school years that will be invaluable to your future.

3. Get to know your new home

Whether you are relocating to study abroad for one semester or for four years, get to know a city where you will be living. You may have an idea about North American lifestyle, but once you are here, immerse yourself in culture completely. Make sure to read local newspapers, visit current exhibitions and galleries, and participate in activities happening on campus and around the city. Not only you will improve your English skills and get to know the latest news, you will feel a sense of community.

4. Develop new skills

As new student, you want to keep up with your English language skills and good academic standing. There are many resources online that can help you learn new skills or obtain deeper knowledge in certain areas. Here is a list of just a couple of free resources every student can use:

Duolingo – a great app if you want to improve your English proficiency or learn a new language;
Khan Academy – an app that contains lessons on different subjects such as math, physics, economics and others;
Mind Tools – a website that offers tools and videos to improve management and communication skills;
YouTube – the most popular video sharing platform that contains many helpful tutorials on various subjects.

First semester abroad will be a lot easier if you follow these tips. Stay focused and determined, and follow your dreams!