ISA Alumni Give Advice to Incoming Study Abroad Students

Studying abroad is an exciting time, but with so many new things to experience, it can be hard to even get your bearings until a week or two have passed. Because of this, we asked some of our current student Global Ambassadors, who recently returned from studying abroad, what advice would they give to someone who is planning to study abroad.

Here’s their advice:


Do some research on your city before you arrive; make a bucket list of things you want to do or see to make the most of your experience abroad! Figure out what you want most out of your time abroad, be it to learn a language, get to know a city, or spend time exploring outdoors. Once you set an intention for your study abroad experience, it will make you that much more excited and will make your trip more purposeful.  – Becky Karl – Sevilla, Spain

Take advantage of being abroad and take weekend trips to surrounding cities and/or take a longer side trip to a nearby country before or after your program! These trips ended up being some of my favorite memories from my program. – Lauren Mitchell – Spain and Italy

Always believe that you can accomplish any task and achieve any goals you set. If you doubt yourself, you will never get anything done! – Karlee Kaltz – London, England

If you have any desire to go abroad, just do it and stay for at least a semester. – Carli Delecki – Salamanca, Spain

Enjoy every part of your learning experience. – Jade Oakes – Cusco, Peru

Although it’s super fun to travel around while you’re abroad, don’t forget to stay and explore your home city as well! Looking back, I wish I had spent more weekends in my host city rather than traveling every weekend.  – Cahner Olson, Paris, France

In the beginning you will have some difficulties adjusting to the culture. You will also begin to notice the cultural differences between where you are studying and our culture in America. Embrace both cultures! Acknowledge the similarities and the differences and take advantage of these new customs! For example, I studied abroad in Italy and was intimidated at first by the traffic laws and patterns that are so hectic in Rome. At first I thought this was a safety concern, but I then became accustomed to this and realized that this is just how Italians commute and transport. I eventually was able to familiarize myself with the chaotic traffic and public transportation options and work my day around them so they would not be so alien to me. – Jillian Salerno – Rome, Italy

Keep an open mind about every experience. This is your chance to embrace a culture that is different from your own, so don’t be afraid to leave behind your preconceived notions and fully immerse yourself in your new surroundings. You will grow and learn so much from having an open mind. – Vanessa Restifo – Cusco, Peru 

Studying abroad is not only a fantastic resume booster but it was the best time of my life. – H. James Silva – Dublin, Ireland


What’s your advice for the first time study abroad student? Leave a comment below. 

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