Hello from across the pond! I hope that everyone's week has been going well (almost Friday!). I joined a group on Facebook called "Girls who Travel" which has been so great! You meet lots of women who are similar to you and love to travel! We've swapped stories, met for dinner and just been inspired from all of our experiences shared.
With that being said, I've also seen several posts on the group about studying abroad and how balancing that + travel has been hard or nearly impossible. I disagree with this for several reasons but really I think that it can be done and I will share with you how you can do it too!
I think, being a dreamer, that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I'm currently working towards my Master's in the UK and it is grueling and intense but I also believe that there needs to be a balance. I can't just go to school five days a week and come home on the weekends and do uni work - it just wouldn't work out with my personality.
I need fresh air and experiences. These things fuel my passion for what I'm doing and why I made the choice to study in the UK to begin with.
For those of you who are looking to study abroad, whether it be for undergrad or postgrad, I think that studying in Europe has a huge advantage i.e. traveling. I think there is a huge misconception that it's super hard to balance going to school + traveling the world but I think that you can strike a beautiful balance and it work perfectly in your favor.
I want you to believe in the possibility of traveling + going to school. I want you to believe that you can see as many places as you want because in all reality, it's all about time management and how well you are at that. If I had horrible time management skills and just wasted my days during the week instead of doing school work - there is no way my weekends would be free to travel.
I'd like to give you a few tips on how you can manage traveling to the list of places you've created AND finishing uni work in a concise, timely manner! But, before I do that, I'm going to give a few statistics that may wake you up a little bit!
Now that you know how much time your spending, on average, on social media & online - we can take that and turn it into productivity. Data suggests that you should spend about, on average, 70 minutes a day on school work (depending on how many classes you have).
If we do some math, which I know everyone hates, 70 minutes + 5 days out of your week M-F = 350 minutes. Do you think that you can get most of your work done in that time? I believe so! It depends on how much time you are allocating to it, being smart about it and whether or not you are also meeting with your groups, study buddies, etc.
Let's go through some tips to help you with your time management so that you can make the possibility of traveling the world + studying abroad a reality!
1. Make to-do list of what you need to do at the beginning of the week
2. Feel empowered & excited when you cross something OFF your to-do list
3. Get as much done as you can through the week, that way you have your weekends relatively free
4. Plan ahead!!
5. Look up ticket prices a few days/or week in advance
6. Book things accordingly. Hostel, Hotel, Transportation, etc
7. Make sure you allocate time for transportation to/from said location you are going to
8. Figure out when is the latest/earliest you can leave each destination & make it home in time for the start of the week
9. Have a spontaneous trip every now and then
10. Explore the country you are in on weekends if you just can't get away to another one
I'd like to give you a little hope and say that I've made it happen even with a jam packed schedule. My flatmate and I took a weekend to Belgium and we try to spend the weekends exploring the country we are in if we can't get too far away. Next week we have what's called "enrichment week" which is basically a week for you to play "catch up" and she is going to Morocco and I am headed to Ireland. We also have a huge list of places that we are going to visit within the next year that we are here in the UK. It's doable. It's definitely, definitely doable.
I don't slack. I get my work done. But, I also feel as though it's vital to explore the world around me because those experiences are the MOST valuable. I can learn all I want to at uni and write up the best dissertation in the entire world but what I'm going to remember most at the end of the day are the random conversations I've had with people from different countries and the adventures I've been on. Take your study abroad time outside the classroom and really utilize the position that you are in.
Not many people get the opportunity that we have received - so make good use of it! It's an amazing and beautiful thing - this world that we live in - and if you don't explore it while you can or while you are studying abroad - when will you?
I hope that this has inspired some of you to really push yourself to do the best that you can during the week and really prioritize your time efficiently - but also make time to explore because that will do your soul some good.