• Study Abroad – Post-COVID Edition

    by Kiara Lozano

    An ornate ceiling of a cathedral in Rome, Italy.

    Now that travelling restrictions are beginning to loosen, it’s time to start thinking about studying abroad again. Travelling post-COVID brings many new challenges that haven’t presented themselves before. However, do not let it set you back - you might be surprised at the amazing opportunities they can actually create. I know that with proper planning you will be ready to take on the world this year!

    Pre-departure Preparations

    In addition to getting your passport, packing, and booking your flight, one of the biggest factors that you need to consider when studying abroad are the health laws and regulations of your host country along with any additional travelling requirement that might be needed upon entry. As the world continues to open up, many places may still require the use of masks in public areas, require proof of vaccination upon entry, or have other key considerations you need to be aware of. Communicating with your study abroad advisor and host country programmer ahead of time is essential for making sure you have all of your documentation and are prepared prior to your departure. For any additional concerns upon arrival, I recommend checking the CDC and US Embassy websites consistently for all of the latest updates relating to your host country.

    Setting Expectations

    My biggest piece of advice – expect the unexpected. During these unprecedented times it is important to consider that your study abroad experience might not look the same as you originally thought and that is okay!!! Instead consider it a chance to be spontaneous, embrace the unknown, and learn more about yourself during the process. When I studied abroad in Italy this past summer, my best experiences where those that were unplanned and unsought after. This was a huge breakaway for me as I tend to be an avid planner. But with COVID restrictions consistently changing throughout my stay, I could never be prepared – no matter how hard I tried. However, this allowed me to go into the experience without any expectations and enjoy the moment just as it presented itself. Not setting expectations truly makes your experience abroad.

    Immersing Yourself in the Culture

    As cliché as it sounds, do as the locals do! There is no better way to experience a new country than by immersing yourself in the culture and exploring the city the way the locals do. During my experience abroad, most of Europe was closed down to tourist and cross-country travelling wasn’t easily accessible or encouraged. This meant that I spent a lot of my time in Rome where I was based. At first this was discouraging, not because Rome isn’t amazing (it is!) but because I felt like I wanted to visit as many places as possible during my time abroad. However, I quickly realized that not being able to travel outside the country I was residing in was in fact the best opportunity. I was able to experience Rome with a more local perspective and made many Italian friends along the way. I strongly encourage you to look at study abroad from a more local approach and take the opportunity to welcome new experiences.

    Embracing Change

    Lastly, be open minded and eager to embrace change. This experience will bring many amazing opportunities, but it will also present challenges along the way. It is completely normal to feel homesick or experience culture shock – especially if it is your first time abroad. However, it is important to remember that it is all part of the learning experience and differences should be celebrated. Keeping a positive attitude and having a strong support group, whether it be friends or advisors, will help you overcome these bumps in the road and allow you to enjoy your study abroad experience to the fullest.

    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!

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  • The Benefits of Taking Summer Classes

    by Kiara Lozano

    An open laptop sitting on a table beside an iced coffee drink, writing pads and pens.

    After freshman year, I was so excited to finally have a break. No classes and no responsibilities. I mean who doesn’t want to enjoy their summer after a year of hard work?

    The truth is even though you need a break, taking one or two additional classes during the summer isn’t a bad idea. It can be manageable and very rewarding. I will admit at first I was not easily persuaded, but after my first summer class I was astonished at how easy, convenient, and beneficial it really was. In fact, the summer after my sophomore year I ended up taking four classes over the summer and am now on the path to graduating a semester early.

    Taking summer classes has been one of the most beneficial decisions I have made throughout my college career. Here are some of the reasons why I believe it is a great idea to take a few extra classes whenever you can.

    Save Money

    Summer session courses typically cost less than if you were to take them during the regular school semester and community college courses cost even less. There are also many scholarships available for students interested in taking summer classes that you can apply for.

    Graduate Early

    Taking summer classes do not need to take up all your time. Even just taking one or two every summer can help you graduate early. I recommend taking one in both June and July or doing an intersession to get ahead and not get burned out. By graduating early, not only are you saving money, but you have more time to get ahead in your career or have some off time before you start your job post college.

    Add Credentials

    A different benefit summer classes provide is allowing you to fit more credentials into your college career without adding extra years. Taking some classes during the summer could free up space in your schedule during the regular semesters to add a minor or even a double major.

    Shorter Duration

    Most summer classes are 5 weeks long and the intersessions classes around 2 weeks. Since you are most likely not taking a semester worth of courses, you have more time to focus on the given subject. You can finish classes faster, while still having time to do all the fun things summer has to offer. Sounds like a good deal to me!

    Flexibility

    Finding the format that’s best for you is important. Classes are offered various times throughout the summer, and you can take them in person, online, or asynchronous. Classes also don’t necessarily have to be with your university so if you find one at another university or local community college that fits your needs, get it approved and take it! Having different options is beneficial especially if you are planning a summer trip, work certain times, or simply prefer having more flexibility with your classes.

    Complete Harder Courses

    Finally, summer semesters or intersessions are a great way to tackle your more difficult courses. This allows you to have more time to focus on the subject without having to balance all the other aspects of a regular college semester. It is also a great opportunity to take the classes that are hard to get into, making sure that you get all the credits you need stress free.

    Taking summer classes is a great way to get those tough classes out of the way, get ahead, and save money while still having the flexibility and time to do all the fun summer activities! Don’t be afraid to utilize your time off to get ahead!

    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! 

     

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