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The Dynamic Lifestyle of Studying Abroad

March 28, 2023
by Caroline Briscoe
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As someone who favors structure and routine, the dynamic lifestyle of studying abroad is a challenge. I want to live with the "yes" mentality because that is a good way to open myself up to new opportunities and experiences, but I am also the type of person who will crash if I don't take a step back every once in a while.

I tried to use the past three weeks to discover a routine that works for me but through that time, I stumbled across a slight problem in that I realized no one week nor day will be the same. I recognized that I have to be okay with the fact that one day I might be working a 9-5 in the office for my internship with NEMI Teas and the next I could be walking the streets of Budapest"”literally. It's simply part of the experience.

A student standing partially in the sun and looks to the left smiling
Exploring Fisherman's Bastion in Budapest.
A student smiling and standing in front of the lit up Parliament Building in Budapest, Hungary
Seeing the lights of the Parliament Building in Budapest.

With that said, my Wednesdays are pretty consistent, so I use them as a day to regroup. Below is an overview of 24 hours in my life as an intern in London, featuring one of my Wednesdays.

7:10am: Get dressed

First things first, as soon as my alarm goes off, I get changed into my outfit for the day, wash my face, and brush my teeth. This habit helps me jumpstart my day and get into "go" mode. If I scroll on my phone or journal prior to this, it takes me a lot longer to make it out of bed, and I have it drilled into my head from abroad orientations that we shall not be late to work.

7:20am: Journal

Every morning I make sure I give myself five to ten minutes to journal. Journaling in the morning can be good for many reasons but specifically to clear your head before you start the day. Since my main goals in studying abroad are to increase my self-confidence and be more present, I use a gratitude journal. It forces me to think about the positive things in life"”the things I may otherwise take for granted. However, any type of journal can work. The minimal time and maximum benefits of journaling make it a great daily habit, especially while abroad.

7:30am: Breakfast

Back home, I rarely ate breakfast, but I've tried to make it a priority here because lunch is always up in the air. Since London is such a fast-paced city, it is known for its quick-ready meals. As a picky eater and a girl on a budget, I'm not as fond of lunchtime here, so a hearty breakfast is essential to making it through my day.

7:45am: Commute

On days when I work from the office, I have nearly an hour-long commute. This is typical in London but definitely not a perk. To make the commute a little bit more enjoyable, I make sure to give myself a few extra minutes to grab a coffee from Pret-A-Manger on the way. An oat latte is my current tried-and-true beverage, and as an avid coffee drinker, it saves me from a caffeine headache.

To my office, I take three different train lines and have a total of 17 stops along the way. It sounds like a lot, but it honestly goes by fast. I mean, the first time I commuted to my office I missed my final destination because it came up quicker than I imagined. I may or may not have spent two hours lost after that, but that's beside the point. The point is that the long commute isn't as bad as it sounds. I typically listen to a podcast. I probably listened to two podcasts a day back home, so not only does it make the commute go by quicker but it also gives me the structure that I had back at school.

9am: Arrive at work

My workdays typically begin at 9am, but again, the schedule can change. My internship is with a social enterprise, NEMI Teas. They are a specialty London-based tea company driven by impact. NEMI provides employment and support to refugees at their local cafe as well as emphasizes sustainability with biodegradable tea bags and plastic-free packaging. My role at NEMI is mainly to help with creating social media content (i.e. Instagram posts, blogs, newsletters, etc.) I really enjoy it because I learn something new every day whether it is about refugees, sustainability, or social media in general.

1:30pm: Leave for class

Because the location of our class (a combination of in-class and outside field studies) can change from week to week, the commute time also varies. On average though, I give myself a half-hour to grab a quick snack and get to class.

2-5pm: Class

Last week, we spent my International Issues & The Media class at the British Library. I love the fact that we don't always spend class in the actual classroom because three hours at a desk is a really long time, and I want to be able to explore new places in the city anyways.

Evenings

After class, my roommate and I typically try to do something London-y while we're already out and about. Last week we went to Harrods and did a little bit of shopping around the Hyde Park area, but our plans are usually spur-of-the-moment decisions. After a few hours of exploring, I head home to make dinner. My roommate and I have basically been on pasta diets for the past three weeks because we have yet to figure out the supermarkets, but I hope to start cooking more substantial meals soon"¦

Outside Harrods at night in London with people on the street
View from across the street of Harrods.
A student holding a plate of pasta and fork in the kitchen
My roommate, Malcia, eating tortellini for the third time this week.

Although my day-to-day routine changes, I try my best to keep my nighttime routine consistent. With such a busy schedule, a good night's sleep is essential. You also just don't want to be around me when I'm tired"”I can get quite irritable. In short, my post-dinner, wind-down routine is the following:

  • Shower

  • Weekly homework discussion post

  • TikTok (I try to limit myself to 30 minutes)

  • Journal

  • Bed

And, that's a wrap on a typical day (or Wednesday) in my life as an intern abroad. My schedule is not always consistent nor is it always perfect, but I'm enjoying every day of my time here.


Caroline Briscoe is the Content Creator - Blogger.
 
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