Making the Most of Your First Week Studying Abroad

A male student holding onto his backpack strap outside of an academic institution.

No doubt, starting your studies in a new country can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! Here we’ve created some general to-dos to make the most of your first week studying abroad on campus. Read on to learn more about how to prepare yourself best to get your new academic life off to a fantastic start!

Feeling stuck on program selection? Backtrack a bit and check out our blog on how to choose the right program for you!

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Prepare for Your Courses

To ensure your priorities are in order, it’s a good idea to use the first few weeks studying abroad to prepare for your courses by:

  • Making any outstanding payments
  • Purchasing textbooks and course materials
  • Reading over your course syllabuses

Doing so can give you a head start on your courses, and leaves some room just in case you have any questions for your professor, or need more time to find textbooks. Most importantly, it ensures you’re fully enrolled in all of your courses.

Student Tip: Did you know you don’t always need to use your campus’s bookstore to purchase your textbooks? You can find affordable alternatives on online forums like your academic institution’s Facebook student page, or, sometimes, free PDF versions online.

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Get to Know People

Your first few weeks are a great time to connect with other students who are in a similar position! You’ll be surprised to learn how many similarities you share with other students, and will appreciate their company. Here are some great ways to make new friends:

  • Join clubs and societies
  • Become study buddies with other classmates
  • Get a part-time job on campus
  • Attend orientation events

If you need a little more encouragement, read our blog for some suggestions on other ways to make friends while studying abroad.

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Cozy Up Your Living Space

It takes some special personal touches to turn a house (or sometimes dorm room!) into a true home. It can feel uncomfortable living in a completely different country, but if you add touches of your own personality and pieces of your home country into your space, it can make you feel a lot cozier. Turn your living space into a place you feel comfortable and happy in, with space for studying and relaxing. Some helpful tips include:

  • Have photos of loved ones on your walls or desk
  • Have one or more light sources (especially in countries like Canada, where the winter season is dark)
  • Display a sentimental item from your home country

Student Tip: Studies show having indoor plants can boost one’s mood, increase creativity, and eliminate air pollutants. They also happen to look great in a room–all reasons to have a few plants of your own in your living space!

Illustration of international students with backpacks on their institution's campus.

Explore Your Campus

Get to know what your campus has to offer by visiting new areas—you might find your favourite study spot or a cozy campus cafe for your coffee breaks! While you explore, it’s also a helpful idea to use any benefits you may have as a student. For instance, many academic institutions offer students a health and dental plan (as well as insurance) or a discount on certain campus facilities and restaurants, like gyms and restaurants. Some places off-campus, like grocery stores, may offer student discounts, too.

There are many ways you can save money as an international student. Follow the strategies highlighted in our blog to learn how to enjoy your time abroad on a budget!

With these tips in mind, you’ll definitely have a head start on how to make the most of your first week studying abroad. At the end of the day, it’s important that you also remember to have fun, and remember not to put too much pressure on yourself. Everyone’s study abroad experience is a unique one, and special all on its own.

Ready to start your study abroad journey? Reach out to us today—ApplyBoard’s experienced team is here to help!


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