Sometimes study abroad students—myself included—forget that the “study” in study abroad means exactly that. You’re abroad so that you can explore and immerse yourself in a new way of life, but it is important to remember that every day is not a vacation. You are there to learn and to better yourself! This is particularly relevant to you Panther Program folks, as your grades abroad will impact your Pitt GPA.
Let’s start with the basics. Whether you’re just starting your trip or you see finals fast approaching, is time to develop a study plan. Spontaneous trips across Europe are amazing, but you know what makes them even better? If you bring along some of your homework! Stick to your study schedule, even if you’re traveling.
Having trouble finding places to study? When I studied abroad in Paris, “public” libraries required a very unfriendly process of obtaining a library card to enter the building, so I had a hard time finding a place to study. I ended up studying mostly in museums. So if you can get into museums free with your student ID and/or student visa, they are a great place to study and see more of your host city!
But what about finding time to study? Let’s talk about what time you wake up in the morning. I too had a difficult time finding time to study. Who wants to do homework when there is so much excitement right outside your window? Not me. So I pulled myself out of bed two hours earlier than I would have liked and studied at a café almost every morning. In Paris, sipping coffee at cafés alone is part of the culture, so I actually learned to love my morning routine.
That being said, in the immortal words of Tom Haverford: treat yo’self. If you can’t seem to find the motivation to study, treat yourself to a special something while you study, or study with a group of friends.
I know all of you know how to study already, but sometimes a friendly reminder is all you need, so here it is: go ahead and get your study on!
Elsie Zuch graduated from Pitt in 2016 with a major in English, a minor in French, and a certificate in Children’s Literature. She spent Spring 2015 studying abroad with CIEE in Paris, France, and interned at the Study Abroad Office in Spring 2016.
This article originally appeared in The Traveling Times, an online Pitt SAO newsletter.