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Pre-Departure Resources > Maximizing Study Abroad

Make the Most of Your Abroad Experience!

The web has a wealth of information about making the most of your experience abroad — tips from travel experts and students just like you. The first thing to know is that you shouldn't spend all of your time reading about this topic online; you should just go out and experience your new city! If you do want some quick tips, though, try these websites:

We also recommend the interactive book Maximizing Study Abroad: A Students' Guide to Strategies for Language and Culture Learning and Use by R. Michael Paige et al. While this book does have some sections that are particular to learning a second language, the book has a larger focus upon intercultural experiences and learning and that will make it worth your purchase even if you will be studying in an English-speaking country.

20 Ways to Get the Least Out of Your Study Abroad Experience

  1. Only spend time with fellow Americans abroad.
  2. Don’t learn the language or about culture.
  3. Complain. A lot.
  4. Announce to whoever will listen how much better America is than the country you’re in.
  5. Only frequent McDonalds and Starbucks.
  6. Stay locked in your room and Skype your parents daily.
  7. Judge everyone based on cultural stereotypes.
  8. Spend the least possible amount of time in your study abroad city (and don’t make any local friends) by traveling every weekend.
  9. Take no part in the planning process and let parents or friends do everything for you.
  10. Stay within your comfort zone.
  11. Don’t do anything alone.
  12. Speak loudly during conversations, especially with people whose native language is not English.
  13. Avoid personal growth of any kind by not learning in classrooms or in social situations.
  14. Write off academic differences as inferior.
  15. Only use familiar products and eat familiar foods.
  16. Fill your suitcase with DU clothing and flip flops. Unabashedly wear them daily.
  17. Keep up with your favorite American TV shows and only go to American movies.
  18. View study abroad as one long vacation and view homework as optional.
  19. Avoid interaction with anyone foreign.
  20. Be just like this guy