How to Balance Your Studies While Being Abroad

There’s no doubt that writing papers and doing some homework is part of a study abroad experience. You certainly don’t want your study abroad to bring down your GPA. But staying in your apartment to finish a paper instead of exploring Rome’s exciting nightlife can make anyone groan. How can you balance the urge to get as much of a cultural experience as possible without compromising your grades? Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind:

1. Try to do the most exciting and important cultural experiences during the beginning of your semester.
You will probably not be nearly as busy at the beginning of the semester as you are at the end. So while you have more time, try to hit that museum, park, restaurant, or anything else that is especially notable in your area. You will be far more resentful of the final papers and exams you need to study for, if you have not yet done the city’s important cultural attractions.

2. Reward yourself after devoting adequate time to your studies.
Rewarding yourself can ensure that you can still have some fun without your schoolwork being overlooked. Do you want to explore a nightclub? Or check out an exhibition? Tell yourself that you can only do those things after devoting at least three hours to that paper due next week.

3. Plan your homework time around the ideal times to do your activities.
Researching a desired activity’s opening and closing times will help you spend your day more effectively. Suppose a must-see museum closes at 5. If your classes end at noon, consider spending your afternoon at that museum. You can then schedule your homework time after that museum closes.

4. Talk to your professor about how you can incorporate cultural activities into your studies.
Most professors want you to have an exciting cultural experience as much as you do. Many excursions and trips, then, will often be part of the classroom curriculum. If you feel, however, that devoting time to your studies may be hindering you from exploring a city as much as you planned, consider asking them how you can receive credit for doing an appropriate cultural activity.

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