Antonella is one of our Essex students who studied abroad in Mexico in 2021-2022 and is now a Frontrunner in the Essex Abroad team. We asked Antonella for a few tips to make the most out of your time abroad…
Studying or living abroad can be a life-changing experience that can broaden your perspective, and help you develop essential skills that will benefit you throughout your life. However, making the most of your time abroad requires planning, awareness and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone. Here’s a few tips to inspire you to take that step…
One of the main reasons for traveling abroad is to experience a new culture. To get the most out of your experience, try to immerse yourself in the local culture as much as possible. Shop, eat, and socialize with local people; it will let you see and do things that you can’t learn in a guidebook. Joining a student club or organization is also a great way to meet like-minded people who share your interests.
Please do remember that socialization patterns vary across cultures, and how one goes about creating and maintaining friendships can differ greatly from back home.
Take advantage of your time abroad to explore the region or country you are in. Plan trips to nearby cities as well as to other regions. Don't get trapped in the most touristy places, but try to visit the country from one side to the other to get different perspectives from a cultural point of view.
Before you leave or even before you decide which countries to go to, give your goals some thought. It could be to learn a new language, to visit a specific place or to accomplish something about your personal growth. There are no right or wrong answers, but it's still a good idea to consider what you want to accomplish before traveling, even if it's just for the experience.
Once your experience is over, you are probably going to remember it as if it was a dream. Therefore, in the meantime, document your days abroad by writing a journal, a blog, or a personal website. During my year abroad, I had a personal journal I wrote in almost every day, and I can ensure you it is one of the most precious things I own since my return.
Writing can help you reflect more deeply on your international experiences and understand how your life and your inner self is changing.
Orientation events give you the chance to overcome your shyness, make new friends and learn more about the new environment you are going to live in. Attend events in person, ask if you have any questions, and pay attention to the advice given by students, and advisors. It will be simpler to dive in and fully enjoy the experience the more prepared you feel when you arrive.
Going on a year abroad does not mean going on a holiday. It means getting in touch with an unknown culture and making it your own. During my experience, I had the chance to see different landscapes, from wild nature to the majestic Mayan ruins. I tried the street food available on every corner, experienced the traditional Mexican music of the Mariachi and created connections with a welcoming and kind people. But most of all I learned to perceive the world from a different point of view which will lead me through life.
If you are thinking of a year abroad and would like to know more about Essex Abroad programmes then visit our dedicated webpages.
You can also visit our linktree to register for our upcoming events, sign up for our newsletter and book a one-to-one call with the team.
MA Translation student, University of Essex
I’m Antonella, I’m 21 and I’m from Italy. I moved to Essex in 2019 for my bachelor’s in Modern Languages and I’m currently taking my MA in translation. In 2021 I had the opportunity to go on my year abroad in Mexico and live the most incredible experience I could ever imagine.