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Putting the “Study” in Study Abroad

Putting the “Study” in Study Abroad

Living abroad has without a doubt been the greatest experience of my short 20 years. I’ve had so many delicious meals, eaten more gelato than I will admit and am speaking fluent Italian. (Just kidding about the last one!)

Fall break, basically a 10-day vacation from our semester-long vacation, is just around the corner, and we’re all itching in our seats to catch our flights around the world. However, before we embark on those journeys, we have one last speed bump: midterm exams.

Everyone always talks about how exciting it is to study abroad, and it is, but they always leave out the “study” part. In addition to our weekend trips, late-night gelato runs and leisurely strolls through the city, we actually have a full schedule of classes. And they’re not all easy. Most of the courses here consist of a midterm, paper, final exam and maybe the occasional quiz. That means that these grades are heavily weighted into your final grade for the semester; therefore, it’s imperative to do well.

Like any exam, it’s important to spend enough time to study. This is much easier said than done, especially when Rome is your home. Here are a few tips I use to stay on track while studying abroad:
1. Set aside time every week to read and annotate the assigned readings. They may not seem important now, but when you have to site an author from the first week of class, it’s nice to have something to reference.
2. Plan ahead. Especially if you know you’re traveling over the weekend. You won’t do your IMG_3685homework on the way home; I promise. Get it done before you leave.

3. Form a study group. If you don’t understand the material, there’s likely someone in your class that does. You don’t want to do poorly on an exam because you didn’t understand the material. That could put a real damper on your time abroad.

4. Use a reward system. Homework can be tough to get through sometimes. Set benchmarks and rewards for yourself once you’ve completed each task. For example, treating yourself to your favorite gelato shop once you’ve finished the reading for one class.

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