study abroad adventures
“We must take adventures in order for us to know where we truly belong.”

1. Keep A Journal

I cannot stress how important it is to write down your thoughts when out of your comfort zone. Not only is it important to keep track of what activities you did, but I also found that I enjoyed writing as opposed to keeping tabs electronically. Writing down what your first week in a foreign country is like and remembering how you felt at the moment is a piece you want to capture. As the end of my semester approached, I took a look at the early entries and recalled the excitement and apprehension I was feeling. There is a reason I made this my number one. Projecting your thoughts is also a positive way to reflect on the experiences and people encountered along the way.

2. Travel Somewhere By Yourself

If you have made the decision to leave everything you know and love behind for a few months, you are equipped to travel by yourself some place in your new home. This adventure could involve a weekend trip to meet other travelers, or a trek to the next town for some peace and quiet. It is common in a new place to surround yourself with people, but getting the chance to explore on your own is a feeling of satisfaction. This opportunity allows for you to recognize the colors, scents, and ambience of the surroundings. Walking to your next destination could give you a awareness of a new interest, or you could find out that your next destination is not a place of your fondness. Either way, you found out something about yourself. Self-discovery is key.

3. Take Advantage of the Local Culture

During my time in Australia, I spent my weekdays at the beach and my weekends exploring what was easily accessibly by walking or bus. These weekends were when I started allowing myself to be included in the community and not feeling like a foreigner. By attending the Burleigh Brewing Company, I had the opportunity to see what most locals in Burleigh Heads did on their Saturday nights. This feeling of belonging by attending local events was what made Australia feel like a home rather than I place I was temporarily inhabiting.

4. Forget Electronics

It can be hard to distance yourself from your loved ones back in the States, but it is 100% necessary. Minus not having Wi-fi in certain locations, it is such a great way to get to know the people who you are going to be spending the next few months with. When the cell phones are put away for 24 hours you can really get to know someone and what it is that brought them to the same place as you. The act of simply leaving your phone at home makes for an entirely different and more intimate experience. Take the time to divide your public life from your private life.

5. Stay in a Hostel

Growing up in a family that has been fortunate enough to stay in luxurious hotels when traveling, lodging in a hostel was definitely a change. The range in hostel accommodations is large, depending on the location and the price for what you are paying. After having stayed in seven hostels during my time abroad, I think it’s something that everyone should do. The not so clean bathrooms and the squeaky beds are small parts of traveling that make the Radisson (Thanks, TEAN) much more appreciated than before these four months began. Hostels allow for meeting other travelers and temporarily making camp for a cheap price.

Brittany Goldstein is a student at Indiana University and a TEAN Featured Blogger. Brittany is currently studying abroad with TEAN on the Gold Coast, Australia.