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  • A group of nine college students standing arm-in-arm on the front steps of an academic building.

    Three Tips to Maximize Your Study Abroad Experience

    Nicole Fatovic

    One of my must-dos in college was to study abroad. I was fortunate enough to make that happen this past summer, and it was everything that I had imagined. While I was able to explore London and Paris with my newly gained friends, it was easy to get caught up in the “abroad” part of the experience and forget what I was actually there for, which was the “study” part of the study abroad program.

    I went to London and Paris through a school-sponsored program for my major. I was able to take six credit hours of classes taught by professors from my school. Instead of using a traditional classroom setting, we went on daily excursions to various places in each city. Additionally, most of my assignments and projects were due at the end of the program.

    You’re probably thinking that I did not touch most of my schoolwork until the end of the program, and you would be correct. With the setup of my program and my eagerness to explore, it was effortless for me to put off my work and find tons of other things to do. While this was nice in the beginning, I started to feel overwhelmed by the amount of work I still had not touched and all of the things I still had not done in the city as the program progressed.

    Here are three ways you can maximize your time abroad while ensuring you gain the full educational experience you signed up for.

    Daily Down Times

    My first piece of advice is to utilize mornings and evenings for schoolwork so that your day is open for exploration and class time. While it is nice to have these times to reset and relax when needed, I think these are great times to get your schoolwork done without having to compromise other plans throughout the day.

    Healthy Habits

    Another thing that students often take for granted, whether abroad or not, is getting a good night’s sleep. Allowing your body to rest is especially important when you are in a new setting and are trying to squeeze in a vacation on top of academics. Be mindful of your fluctuating energy levels, too. Stay hydrated and try to stick to healthy food choices as much as possible; don’t splurge too much on the local delicacies.

    Plan Ahead

    Finally, in order to make the most of your time, it is important to plan ahead and make lists. Before going abroad, I utilized the bookmarks tab in Google Maps. It was a great tool for searching the places I wanted to go, visually marking them onto a map, sharing them with friends, and executing the perfect plan each day.

    If you plan to study abroad, I can almost guarantee that within the blink of an eye, you will already be approaching the end of your experience and yearning for more time. Studying abroad was the best decision I have made in college so far, and I would highly recommend it!

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 


  • A view of Lake Alice on the University of Florida campus.

    Finding Your Favorite Spot on Campus

    Nicole Fatovic

    When I was looking at what university to call my home for the next four years, I looked at all the “normal” things: academics, student life, involvement, school spirit, and a pretty campus. What I did not consider was something that I did not even realize I needed – a beautiful outdoor area where I could spend countless hours. Here’s why this area is so crucial to my college experience and why I encourage other students to find their favorite spot on campus.

    A student’s favorite spot on campus could be anything from a preferred place to study to a place to go to decompress. I wanted a place that would bring a sense of tranquility after a long day. As an out-of-state student, I was also searching for a small piece of home on campus. With these things in mind, I took walks around my campus during my free time trying to find the best spot. Eventually, I started to spend more time at a small lake on my campus called Lake Alice. This spot has so much to offer including picnic tables that make great study spots, spectacular sunsets, trails to walk around, and many spots to throw up a hammock. I find myself going there whenever I have some free time to relax, or if I want to do some light studying. This spot also helps ground me when I begin to feel trapped inside lecture halls and libraries.

    I encourage you to find a spot as I have done by following a few simple steps:

    Make a List of What is Most Important to You

    I was able to find my perfect spot by knowing what I enjoy doing in my free time. Aside from studying, I always make time in my day to get a workout in. This lake is conveniently located in between where I live and the campus gym, making this an easy destination to knock two tasks down in one trip. I also know that I enjoy spending time outdoors, so it only makes sense that my favorite spot on campus is outside.

    Walk Around

    Even as a second-year student, I still feel like there are parts of my campus that I have not fully explored. Go on a small walk, maybe bring some friends along, and see all that your beautiful campus has to offer.

    Craft a Schedule

    Let’s face it, we are all busy college students who don’t always have free time. I’m not free to spend every day at this lake, and that is okay. I try my best to find at least one time each week I can go to this spot. When I get too busy and cannot find time to go, it is alright because it ends up being even more enjoyable when I do find the time to go there.

    Having a place on campus that I look forward to going to keeps me motivated throughout the semester. Make a point to explore and discover a spot on your own campus that you’ll come to love as much as I love Lake Alice!

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started!