02 August 2013

17 Ways to Make the Most of Your Time Abroad

It's finally Friday!!!!

Friends, I'm sure if you follow along regularly, you are all too well aware that I enjoyed my study abroad year a little too much. I loved it so much married it. (Sorry, I can't resist a bad nineties reference) I did indeed ended up marrying someone that I met during my study abroad year and moving back, so you should probably not have quite as much fun as I did. However, I do want to share a list of ways


1. Get off the computer.


2. Know that Creepy European men prey on women in the same places as Creepy American men. 
Please do not judge foreign men by the weirdos you meet in clubs/bars/tourists joints. They're there specifically to pick up "easy" women, and American women are often labeled as such. They do NOT represent all European men.

This is not to say that every guy who hits you in a club in Europe is creepy, but rather an encouragement to not judge an entire country's male population by your encounters with a couple of drunken idiots.

3. Join a sport or a club.

4. If you do something stupid, don't tell your mom about it afterwards.

5. Do try the duck liver dipped in chocolate.

Foie Gras au Chocolat

6. Do NOT try the Tartare.
Tartare French Specialty
A raw hamburger with a raw egg on top... This is considered gourmet dinning.

7. If he's cute, and you like him, go ahead and kiss him.

8. But double check what a kiss signifies in that culture beforehand.

Or you might just find yourself in a surprise relationship, like I did. Oops. It's okay though. We're married now, so things turned out for the best.


9. Speak the local language as much as you can, even if you feel like an idiot.
Your mistakes will make for some pretty good stories later on. ;) Being timid & looking snobby because you won't interact with the natives = no good stories.


10. Go on a trip - All by yourself.

Let's not talk about my hair or lack of makeup here. The point is that I was younger and exploring Rome all by myself.
P.s. Trying and ask passing tourists to take pictures of you. You won't like most of the selfies afterwards.
11. But don't tell your mom if you go the coachsurfing route.

12. Accept that you will feel like an idiot 90% of the time.


13. Do NOT tell the locals they are doing it wrong.
Especially when it comes to politics. You will lose many friends, and feel like an idiot when you finally learn that things are not always what they seem. No 21 year old language major is going to come and revolutionize an entire culture's way of thinking. Remember this when you have a cold and your foreign boyfriend tries to convince you sleep with a scarf on, even though it's 100° degrees out.

14. Take all the corny pictures you want and don't care about "looking like a tourist."

15. Have a least one American friend.
It's nice to know at least one person in your life that doesn't look at you like you're a total psycho when you mention PB&J sandwiches.

16. Always watch the movie in the language it was meant to be seen in.


17. Actually go to/pass your classes.
French parties and skiing in the Alps might sound like a great way to spend your year abroad, but if you don't pass your classes, you might be in a lot of trouble when you get back to your home university. Some study abroad scholarships even require that you pass, or you have to reimburse them. Ouch.

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What would you add to this list? Anything you don't agree with? I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

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