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The Art of Balancing Academics and Adventure While Studying Abroad

November 05, 2019
by Kylie Forster

There’s no denying that the “study” aspect is one of the most important elements of studying abroad - after all, what college student wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to take a fashion class in Paris or a business of food class in Florence? Still, it’s no secret that it can be difficult to manage a full course load or an internship while also traveling the world on the weekends. Below are three tips on how to better balance the stress of getting straight A’s and that perfect travel selfie.


Take courses that are unique to your city and offer immersion opportunities

You’re more likely to be more invested in a class that focuses on one of your host country’s specialties, whether it be architecture, food and beverage, art, or dance! Not only will you be more motivated to do well in classes that are fun, but you’ll fully appreciate them since they wouldn’t typically be available at your home university. These country-specific classes will also help you gain a greater understanding of the local culture, thus contributing to the experiences you may encounter while traveling. Many CEA courses also offer opportunities for immersion activities as well, including field trips to cafes, walking tours of different districts within the city, and classes with native students to keep you engaged with the community!


Dedicate one day each week to explore your city after classes

After sitting through a full three-hour class, it can be tempting to call it a day and head home to relax -- so at least once a week, challenge yourself to stay out and explore a new area of your city. There are always new gardens, museums, and restaurants to check out, and they may even be the perfect study spot! It could even be as simple as walking home from school instead of taking the metro (strolling along the Seine with a baguette in hand is one of my favorite ways to end the day). If you hold yourself to finding these hidden gems little by little, you’re sure to feel as though you’ve had a productive week in both the realms of school work and adventure.


Form study groups with friends

Classes abroad tend to be smaller than at the typical American university due to the small program size, so by the time the middle of the semester rolls around, your fellow classmates will feel like your very own family abroad. Since you’re bound to spend a significant amount of time with each other both inside the walls of the CEA center and across your host city, it can be helpful to form study groups where you work together on projects and review for exams. You can even get creative to keep the scenery uplifting; instead of meeting in a cafe or library, study together over a picnic at the Eiffel Tower!


Kylie Forster is the Fall 2019 CEA MOJO Blogger in Paris, France, and is currently studying at Marist College.
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