The possibilities seem endless when you are in an entirely new place, with no familiar faces, and no one to tell you what to do. The task of deciding where to eat or what to do with your free-time can seem daunting with so many choices. It was stressful for me in the beginning – what if I picked the wrong thing and missed out on a great experience? So I made myself some guidelines for how to make the most of my time abroad, and I hope they can help you, too.
- Never eat at the same restaurant more than once. Maybe you can grab McDonald’s or Starbucks a few times, but for dinners out in the city or a nice lunch with friends, never go to the same place twice. There are so many places to go and foods to try, your taste buds will thank you.
- Make close friends, but don’t be afraid to fly solo some times. You will make lifelong friends from all over the world in your time abroad and of course you want to spend every waking moment together, but this is also a great time to figure out solo travel or just spend an afternoon in the city by yourself. Who knows, you might just spend 7 days in Tasmania eating canned tuna all alone, or in a bungalow in the jungle – the soul searching is worth it.
- Be part of the community. Whether that means joining the rugby team, taking a boxing class, joining the choir at the local church or being part of an organization, do it! Being part of your new local community will make you feel grounded and give you a sense of purpose when living in paradise feels like a vacation. It will build up your identity and confidence in your temporary home.
- Spend your money on experiences, not material goods. (Or, you know, your parents’ money if that is the case.) You’ve been saving money. Don’t feel bad for spending it if you can. A wise friend once told me, “What else are you saving for? These are the best experiences of your life, don’t let money hold you back.” So, pay that $150 to snorkel on The Great barrier Reef, or the $175 to tour the rainforest and sleep in a hut on the beach. You won’t remember the money, but you will never forget those beautiful moments where you felt alive and at peace.
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