What I Wish I Knew Before Studying Abroad
Studying abroad is becoming more and more popular in college curricula across the country. I know specifically for UTK, studying abroad is a way to satisfy the “ready for the world” requirement for Honors Program members.
The thought of studying abroad might be an exciting thing for you, as it should be. But from someone who studied abroad, spent way too much money, and was in emotional turmoil the entire time, here are five things I wish I knew before I decided to study abroad.
1. It’s best to go with your university
Some of my friends studied abroad with third-party companies, and the most difficult obstacle they had to tackle was figuring out how to get their courses to count for credit at their university. If you don’t want to worry with this, attend a program sponsored by your university, with your university’s faculty. There will be no doubt when you get back about the credits you earned.
2. Know how much money you’re spending … and where it’s going
After being in Germany for about three weeks, I realized that I had been way overcharged. When I requested a receipt from my university, they were unable to provide one. It was quite the runaround. Later, I found out they had charged everyone a “buffer amount” on the off chance that the program ended up being more expensive than estimated.
After six months, I was refunded that buffer amount, but I wish I would have looked into it earlier.
3. Being financially conscious is a good thing — most of the time
I traveled abroad with 500 euros in my purse and I had a goal of coming home with some left over. Sure, I used some credit cards, and I splurged on the delicious baked goods and strawberries, but what I didn’t do was spend money on making memories. I only studied abroad for about five weeks, but during that time, I lived as scarcely as I could. I was so afraid of running out of money.
There are two ends of this spectrum, and I was living on the money conscious end. Some of my classmates spent thousands traveling around Europe, while I spent the weekends studying and watching Netflix. I don’t regret coming back with money left over, but I regret not spending money on the things that would’ve created lasting memories.
4. Expect some emotional turmoil/anxiety/emotional breakdowns
Because I didn’t. And my trip was full of panic attacks. I wasn’t ready for what was coming. I didn’t ask enough questions. I wasn’t mentally or emotionally healthy enough to take surprises like, “oh, just kidding, you don’t have Wi-Fi.” Get ready to be flexible, and get ready to call your mom crying. If you’re anything like me, it’ll happen a lot.
5. Prepare yourself to change
I didn’t know how different I would be when I returned from Germany. I didn’t know how much I would miss being out of America. I also didn’t know how embarrassed I’d be to admit I was American. Despite what you may think, not all countries love Americans. (I went before Donald Trump was elected … I can’t imagine what it’s like now.)
Apply to Write for Uloop NewsJoin the Uloop News Team
Discuss This Article
More Uloop Campus Life Articles
DU HOUSING LISTINGSSee all DU Housing Listings
DU Housing Listings
WRITE FOR ULOOPApply to Write for Uloop News
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
TOP 5 NEWS ARTICLES
BROWSE OTHER COLLEGES
- By CollegeUniversity of Colorado at BoulderColorado State UniversityMetropolitan State University of DenverUniversity of DenverUniversity of Northern ColoradoRegis UniversityColorado CollegeUniversity of Colorado at DenverFort Lewis CollegeColorado School of MinesWestwood CollegeUniversity of Colorado at Colorado SpringsAdams State CollegeColorado Christian UniversityColorado State University-PuebloColorado Technical UniversityColorado Technical University OnlineJones International UniversityColorado Mesa UniversityNaropa UniversityThe Art Institute of ColoradoUnited States Air Force AcademyUniversity of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences CenterWestern State College of ColoradoAims Community CollegeColorado Mountain CollegeCommunity College of Aurora Community College of Denver Northeastern Junior College Pueblo Community College Academy of Natural Therapy IncAmerican Sentinel UniversityArgosy University-DenverAspen UniversityAuguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts-BoulderAveda Institute-DenverBel-Rea Institute of Animal TechnologyCheeks International Academy of Beauty Culture-Fort CollinsCheeks International Academy of Beauty Culture-GreeleyCollege of International Esthetics IncCollegeAmerica-Colorado SpringsCollegeAmerica-Fort CollinsColorado Academy of Veterinary TechnologyColorado Heights UniversityColorado School of Traditional Chinese MedicineColorado Technical University-Greenwood VillageConcorde Career College-AuroraDelta Montrose Technical CollegeDeVry University-ColoradoEcotech InstituteEmily Griffith Technical CollegeEmpire Beauty School-AuroraEmpire Beauty School-LittletonEverest College-AuroraEverest College-Colorado SpringsHealing Arts InstituteHeritage College-DenverIliff School of TheologyInstitute of Taoist Education and AcupunctureIntellitec College-Colorado SpringsIntellitec College-Grand JunctionIntellitec Medical InstituteInternational Salon and Spa AcademyITT Technical Institute-WestminsterJohnson & Wales University-DenverLincoln College of Technology-DenverMontage AcademyMontessori Casa InternationalMontessori Education Center of the RockiesNational American University-Colorado SpringsNational American University-Colorado Springs SouthNational American University-DenverNational Beauty CollegeNational Personal Training Institute of ColoradoNazarene Bible CollegeNew Dimensions Beauty Academy IncOtero Junior CollegePickens Technical CollegePikes Peak Community CollegePima Medical Institute-AuroraPlatt College-AuroraPrince Institute-Rocky MountainsRedstone CollegeRegency Beauty Institute-Fort CollinsRocky Vista UniversityRolf Institute of Structural IntegrationThe Salon Professional Academy-Grand JunctionTrinidad State Junior CollegeUnited Beauty CollegeUniversity of the RockiesUtah College of Massage Therapy-AuroraUtah College of Massage Therapy-WestminsterYeshiva Toras Chaim Talmudical Seminary
- By State
- By City