Studying abroad grants you a luxurious one to five months (depending on the program) of living in a different country. Take advantage of this precious time on a new continent and explore as much as possible! Spending every weekend in Florence is definitely not something of which to be ashamed, however, seeking new opportunities may not ever be as simple as it is when studying abroad.
Your fearful ego cringes– what will I do? When eating out, skim a book, people watch, or converse with the bartender. If loneliness strikes, attend group tours and museums, write postcards, take photographs, write in a travel journal. Meet locals or travelers alike and create unforgettable memories.
Traveling unaccompanied might seem a tad gloomy and lonesome, but with the right mentality, it can trigger enhancing experiences that will leave your friends behind for solo adventures to come. Hence, more reasons to pack the bags and scratch numbers off of your mounting bucket list without waiting for an escort…
1.) Think independently!
Discover your own likes and dislikes without worrying what type of pizza your partner wants to split. Admire the art in a museum without wondering about friends’ locations. During a train ride, read a book, visit with a local or just enjoy the present moment. When you hop on the wrong bus by accident, figure it out! You are not the first to do it nor the last.
2.) Prioritize your time and money.
Hopefully, you’ve had the lesson on money management. It’s harder when abroad, so many places to see and treats to taste! Research what is free and do it. Check out the best gelato, best restaurants or the best views and experience those. Map out the places you want to see on your calendar, along with costs. It may seem like you have time and money, but a plan is best. It WILL be over before you know it.
Enjoy time with friends and without. Be open to what others want to do, but don’t give up on your wishes. Either find a companion or go it alone. People rarely share the same desires while abroad; exploring alone guarantees that at least you can accomplish those desires on YOUR list.
3.) Practice safety.
Before, during and after you travel abroad, you will peer at your own life with a fresh set of eyes. Traveling alone naturally increases awareness of belongings and encourages attentiveness to happenings around. This alertness sharpens if you research locations before departure, leaving you extra poised and familiar with the setting. Walking independently with confidence steers criminals away. Travel lightly and avoid distractions. Look like a local!
Distinguish between thrilling, fresh experiences versus dangerous ones. Before venturing off solo, leave an itinerary behind with your roommates and check in with them regularly. Be in a secure place by dusk, don’t walk down shady streets alone, and if a situation is fishy, trust your gut instinct and leave. In other words, use your common sense.
People travel by themselves daily. Don’t let fear stop you at your apartment’s steps! Real life experiences beat documentaries any day.
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